Special to USAfrica [Houston] • USAfricaonline.com
At a population conference in New York, Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) Eze Duruiheoma estimated that the current population of Nigeria is 198 million, and that the population living in urban areas has been growing 6.5 percent annually over the past fifty years. He cites that World Population Prospects prediction that by 2050, Nigeria will displace the United States as the third most populous country in the world after China and India. He also noted the 2014 World Urbanization Prospects prediction that by 2050, 77 percent of Nigeria’s population will be urban. The NPC chairman also looked at the number of internally displaced Nigerians. With respect to the Boko Haram insurrection in the northeast, Duruiheoma estimated that the number of internally displaced is 1.76 million, which is lower than other estimates, some of which can be as high as 2.5 million.
Nigerians know they are by far the most populous country in Africa, and they are proud of it. Estimates of the size of the country’s population range from the World Bank’s 186 million to 205 million by UN agencies. An accurate census is difficult in Nigeria in part because of infrastructure shortcomings. In the past, too, census results have also fueled ethnic and religious conflicts exploited by political figures. Nevertheless, in 2017 the director general of the NPC raised the possibility of a census in 2018. Given the practical and political difficulties and with the prospect of national elections in 2019, that timeframe seems overly optimistic. In the meantime, it is necessary to fall back on careful estimates.
Duruiheoma pointed out in New York that Nigeria’s urban population growth has not been accompanied by a “commensurate increase in social amenities and infrastructure.” More generally, economic growth has not kept up with population growth. Hence, the enormous slums outside city centers.
In effect, Nigeria has no population policy that would limit births, and Nigerians have traditionally valued large families. Yet the country’s rapid population growth, especially in urban areas, poses difficult economic, social, and public health challenges. A huge, rapidly growing population is not necessarily a source of national strength.
Special to USAfrica [Houston] @usafricalive USAfricaonline.com
Christmas [came] early for MTN Group [of South Africa]. The telecommunications operator’s shares are likely to soar when markets reopen on Thursday in Johannesburg after it announced late on Monday that it has settled a multibillion-dollar dispute in Nigeria.
It will pay just US$53.2-million (about R777-million) in a settlement with Nigeria’s central bank, a tiny fraction of the $8.1-billion (R118-billion) the Bank had sought from the group’s subsidiary in the West African country.
MTN Group shares plunged 22% on 30 August when it emerged that the Nigerian central bank had ordered four banks to refund the $8.1-billion it claimed was illegally expatriated by the telecoms provider between 2007 and 2015. Its shares, which trade on the JSE, have failed to recover significant ground since then on investor fears.At these meetings, MTN Nigeria provided additional material documentation which satisfactorily clarified its remittances
A second allegation by Nigerian authorities that MTN owes $2-billion in back taxes remains the subject of dispute, however. That matter is due to be heard by a Nigerian court in February next year.
The settlement amount with the central bank — less than 0.7% of the sum originally demanded — is likely to be seen as a significant victory for group CEO Rob Shuter, who took the reins at MTN last year from Phuthuma Nhleko. Shuter joined MTN from Vodafone Group.
In a statement late on Monday, MTN said a series of meetings were held in Lagos with central bank officials in November.
“At these meetings, MTN Nigeria provided additional material documentation which satisfactorily clarified its remittances,” it said. Upon review of this documentation, the central bank “concluded that MTN Nigeria is no longer required to reverse the historical dividend payments made to MTN Nigeria shareholders”.
“However, the central bank maintains that the proceeds from the preference shares in MTN Nigeria’s private placement remittances of 2008 of circa $1-billion were irregular, having been based on CCIs (certificates of capital importation) that only had an approval-in-principle, but not final regulatory approval of the central bank.
“The central bank instructed MTN Nigeria to implement a notional reversal of the 2008 private placement of shares in MTN Nigeria at a net cost of circa 19.2-billion naira — equivalent to $52.6-million. This is on the basis that certain CCIs utilised in the private placement were not properly issued.”
MTN Nigeria and the central bank have agreed that they will resolve the matter on the basis that the operator will pay the notional reversal amount without admission of liability, the group said.
“In terms of the resolution agreement, the central bank will regularise all the CCIs issued on the investment by shareholders of MTN Nigeria of circa $402.6-million without regard to any historical disputes relating to those CCIs, thereby bringing to a final resolution all incidental disputes arising from this matter.”
It said MTN Nigeria relied on “certain commercial banks to ensure all approvals had been obtained prior to the CCIs being issued and to ensure the CCIs were properly utilised in the private placement”.
“MTN Nigeria will be engaging with the banks in relation to the issues dealt with in the resolution agreement,” the group said. Presumably, this means MTN is going to try to recover at least some of the $53.2-million from the banks involved.
The original $8.1-billion demanded by the central bank followed just three years after the Nigerian Communications Commission imposed a $5.2-billion fine on MTN for failing to disconnect unregistered Sim cards. That fine was later reduced to about $1-billion.MTN Nigeria continues to maintain that its tax matters are up to date and no additional payment … is due
MTN Group said it remains involved in legal action with Nigeria’s attorney-general over the $2-billion in back taxes the AG claims are owed. The case came up for “initial mention” before the federal high court in Lagos on 8 November 2018 and has been adjourned to 7 February 2019.
“MTN Nigeria continues to maintain that its tax matters are up to date and no additional payment … is due,” the group said, adding that no provisions or contingent liabilities have been raised in the accounts of MTN Nigeria for the claim.
Nigeria is seeking to extradite a former oil minister accused of alleged wide-scale corruption in four different countries including Britain.
Diezani Alison-Madueke, who served in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan between 2010-2015, is believed to be living in London where she is being investigated by British authorities for suspected bribery and money laundering.
The 58-year-old, who is thought to be living with her mother in a property in the exclusive St John’s Wood district, was arrested by the National Crime Agency in 2015. She is currently on bail and has had her passport revoked while the authorities conduct their investigation.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke has been linked to three multimillion-pound properties in the British capital, one of which is at the centre of a civil lawsuit by the US Department of Justice. The US authorities believe the property was given to her as a gift in exchange for a lucrative oil contract.
In Nigeria, she is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of money laundering up to $115 million (Dh535 million).
She was also named alongside Jonathan in an Italian probe into a $1.3bn deal involving oil companies Shell and Eni, accused of receiving kickbacks from the deal. However, the two were not charged by prosecutors.
The Cambridge educated politician, who was also the first female president of OPEC, has always denied allegations of wrongdoing.
The international arrest warrant news comes as current Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari begins his campaign for re-election.
Buhari was elected in 2015 promising to recover some of the $230bn that has left Nigeria as a result of corruption since 2004. An estimated $37bn of stolen Nigerian money is believed to be in London.
Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency head Ibrahim Magu said it wanted to extradite Ms Alison-Madueke because “no prosecution” was progressing in Britain.
Matthew Page, associate fellow at Chatham House, said it was unclear why Nigeria was pushing for her extradition when it was unlikely she would be prosecuted successfully in the country given the state of the judicial system.
“The prosecution is more likely to be successful overseas and the Nigerian anti-corruption authorities have been assisting the US and the UK in their investigations,” he said.
Page told The National the most likely explanation for the request was “pre-election pimping” of the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption credentials.
Buhari’s main opposition is the People’s Democratic Party, the governing party in which Mrs. Alison-Madueke served as oil minister. ref: USAfrica wt wire reports
From November 9, 2018, Ethiopia will start its friendly visa-on-arrival policy for all Africans. Africa’s second most populous nation will make this move, according to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff [Fitsum Aregaa], as “Consistent with PM Abiy Ahmed’s vision of a closer and full regional integration in Africa — where minds are open to ideas and markets are open to trade.”
Abiy had earlier this year disclosed that following Rwanda’s lead, Ethiopia was going to allow a visa-free regime for all Africans. At the time, he was speaking at a state banquet held for his visiting Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.
Abiy said: “The President (Kagame) invited all Africans to travel to Rwanda without visas, we will follow you very soon.” On June 1 the issuance of visas online for all tourists kick started.
Ethiopia boasts the continent’s best national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which has made the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, not just a regional but global aviation hub.
The most recent time the issue was came up was when ex-president Mulatu Teshome at the opening of parliament said the visa-on-arrival regime was to be implemented in this year. USAfricaonline.com wt wire reports
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa accused US President Donald Trump of fuelling racial tensions on Thursday (Aug 23) after he said farmers were being forced off their land and many of them killed.
Trump’s tweet touched on the overwhelmingly white ownership of farmland in South Africa – one of the most sensitive issues in the country’s post-apartheid history.
The foreign ministry said in a statement it would meet officials at the US embassy to challenge the “unfortunate comments”, which were “based on false information”.
Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu would also speak directly with her American opposite number, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it added.
Trump wrote overnight: “I have asked Secretary of State … Pompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.”
His tweet apparently followed a segment on conservative Fox News about [an alleged] plan to change the constitution to speed up expropriation of land without compensation to redress racial imbalances in land ownership.
“‘South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers’,” said Trump’s post, which tagged the show’s host, Tucker Carlson, as well as the channel.
In the clip, Carlson painted an apocalyptic picture of the situation accompanied by on-screen graphics warning of the “threat of violence and economic collapse”.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who faces elections in 2019, has claimed expropriating farms without compensating their owners would “undo a grave historical injustice” against the black majority during colonialism and the apartheid era.
Even though apartheid ended in 1994, the white community that makes up eight per cent of the population “possess 72 per cent of farms” compared to “only four per cent” in the hands of black people who make up four-fifths of the population, Ramaphosa said.
The stark inequality stems from purchases and seizures during the colonial era that were then enshrined in law during apartheid.
But plans to change the constitution have yet to be approved by parliament, and there is a vigorous debate in South Africa about how land redistribution would work – and whether seizures could be economically damaging as they were in post-independence Zimbabwe.
Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party which opposes forced expropriation but backs land reform, said “fear mongering by international leaders adds no value”.
“The injustices of land dispossession in South Africa can be addressed by our constitution in its current form. We must ensure ownership of land for all South Africans,” he tweeted.
Later on Thursday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called for “a peaceful and transparent public debate”.
However she added that on “the expropriation of land without compensation, our position is that that would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path”.
Earlier this year, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton sparked a diplomatic row after he said that Canberra should give “special attention” to white South African farmers seeking asylum.
The level of violence against farmers and farm workers is hotly contested but the police’s latest figures show there were 74 farm murders in 2016-17, according to the Africa Check fact-checking site.
South Africa’s leading farming lobby group AgriSA on Thursday praised the government’s “commitment to agriculture”.
“As a country it’s important that we find solutions together – we did this pre-1994 and we can do it again,” AgriSA chief executive Omri van Zyl told the SABC broadcaster.
Van Zyl was speaking at a conference on the land issue also attended by Deputy President David Mabuza who warned against “spreading falsehoods”.
“We would like to discourage those who are using this sensitive and emotive issue of land to divide us,” he said.
But Kallie Kriel, chief executive of AfriForum – a group that advocates for its largely white membership – welcomed Trump’s intervention and attacked Ramaphosa for pressing ahead with the policy.
“We need to get international support to put pressure on the South African government to hopefully make them re-visit their stance,” he told AFP.
Kriel added that Trump could suspend South Africa from the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade programme if property rights were not respected.
“The US has a lot of power,” he said.
South Africa’s rand currency dropped as much as 1.9 per cent against the US dollar following Trump’s tweet, according to the Bloomberg news agency, ending four days of gains against the greenback.
Julius Malema, the leader of the radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, called Trump a “pathological liar” and told him to “stay out of South Africa’s domestic affairs”. ref AFP
U.S President Donald J. Trump, this afternoon Monday April 30, 2018 at the White House, told visiting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that his government is not only monitoring but outraged by “very serious problems with christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria.”
The transcription of Trump’s statement by USAfricaonline.com reads:
“We’ve had very serious problems with christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem; and working on that problem very, very hard… because we can’t allow that to happen.”
Buhari, a retired army General and dictator/ruler (1984-1986), attempted to minimize those issues when he claimed, contrary to video evidence and eyewitness accounts, that the “farmers and herdsmen” only carry stick and machete; not AK-47s and other deadly weapons. Across the social media, Nigerians share pictures/videos of them brandishing weapons.
Obama administration and Buhari’s started a deal for Nigeria to purchase up to 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft with sophisticated targeting gear for almost $600 million.
Special to USAfrica [Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @Chido247 @USAfricalive
“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.
Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.
Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.
Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.
Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.
In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.
“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.
By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.
“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency