Category Archives: African News


Uganda FGM ban: ‘Why I broke the law to be circumcised aged 26’

Sylvia Yeko decided to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) three weeks ago at the age of 26 – even though the practice, which used to be performed on teenage girls, was outlawed in Uganda in 2010.

Her circumcision ceremony took place in public – she showed us a video taken on the day. It shows an excited, cheering crowd surrounding Ms Yeko and another woman, whose faces are smeared with a whitish-brown flour.

They lie on bare grass with their legs open as an older woman approaches each in turn and swiftly cuts off their clitoris.

Neither of them screams because to do so would be a sign of weakness and would nullify what this community in eastern Uganda regard as a rite of passage before a woman can get married.

“During this day I felt so proud, I just felt so excited,” Ms Yeko tells the BBC as she watches the footage.

“Before I was circumcised I was taken as any other child, but now I’m someone respected.”

FGM convictions

She knows she could face up to five years in prison for being circumcised, but she insists that she wants to be identified.

Those who cut her genitals could be imprisoned for 10 years.

Sylvia Yeko at her home in Sebei, Uganda
Sylvia Yeko, seen here at her home, says she wants the authorities to know she broke the law

Since December, several of these public circumcision ceremonies have happened in the Sebei region of eastern Uganda – most of them in Kween district, which borders Kenya.

Three people have recently been convicted for practising FGM, including a 15-year-old girl and a woman. Nineteen others are in jail awaiting trial.

FGM is life-threatening. The immediate danger comes from bleeding to death after the genitals have been cut.

Then infections can set in. The women in the video also had their private parts covered with flour, and it’s not clear if the same blade was used for all the initiates.

Later in life, the scars could form keloids, which are growths. Childbirth is also likely to be more difficult.

Nevertheless Ms Yeko has become a sort of celebrity in Sebei – and when I ask if she is concerned that girls and women who follow her example are putting their lives in danger, she says she does not believe FGM is harmful.

Female genital mutilation

  • Includes “the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”
  • Practised in 30 countries in Africa, and some in Asia and the Middle East
  • An estimated three million girls and women worldwide are at risk each year
  • It is commonly carried out on young girls, often between infancy and the age of 15
  • Often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, to prepare a girl or woman for adulthood and marriage, and to ensure “pure femininity”
  • Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths

For her the act was not only a cultural rite but also a form of protest against the government’s failure to keep its promises to help educate and advance prospects for women once circumcision was banned.

People in these underdeveloped and poor areas expected to have greater access to social services and infrastructure by giving up FGM.

Children in Sebei, Uganda
Many families cannot afford to send girls to secondary school in Sebei

To make her point, Ms Yeko takes me to Kwosir Girl’s Boarding Secondary School, where a plaque on the wall reads: “Presidential pledge to stop FGM”.

But she says that even though the school was built in the wake of the circumcision ban and was meant to be free for all girls, costs can run up to $90 (£69) a term and are unaffordable for many in her community.

“They better take back their school because we’re not benefiting from the school and we’re not enjoying anything from this school,” she says.

Two donkeys carrying sacks in Sebei, Uganda
Rural communities in Sebei struggle financially

Kween is one of the worst-performing areas when it comes to education. According to government statistics, on average about 6,000 students enrol at primary school level, but by the end of secondary school only 200 students remain in class.

Ms Yeko says she did manage to get an education, but like many young people in the East African nation she remains unemployed.

A university graduate and now the mother of a four-year-old boy, her decision to get circumcised was to make the point that she feels let down by Uganda’s leaders. She even wrote a letter to the police before her cutting ceremony to make sure the authorities knew about it.

‘We are treated like children’

For another woman, who spoke to the BBC about her recent circumcision, the motive was more personal.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, she said she felt ostracised because as a married woman within the ethnic Sabiny community she was prevented from doing certain things because she had not been cut.

Women walking in Sebei, Uganda
FGM is a secret rite of passage for the Sabiny community

“In Sebei, a woman who has not been cut cannot go to the [communal] granary or pick cow dung from the kraal.”

Cow dung is often used to plaster houses, a task often left to women.

“A husband can marry another wife. She might be circumcised and then starts insulting the uncircumcised woman. You are just equated to your children,” she explained.

Yet the mother of three daughters does not intend to circumcise any of them as her hope is that they will be educated and less easily intimidated by the community.

‘She broke the doors’

Uganda’s first female Speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has been a key campaigner against FGM over the last 20 years. She visits the region every year and commissioned the Kwosir Girl’s Boarding Secondary School.

Sylvia Yeko at Kampala University
Sylvia Yeko defied her father to go ahead with her circumcision

Ms Kadaga maintains the decision to ban FGM came from the Sebei leaders themselves, who first passed a local by-law in 2009.

“I know that they are unhappy about a number of issues. But I think injuring yourself because there’s no road… it’s also not right. But I think it’s our duty to ensure that they have services,” she says.

The ban has seen the cases of circumcision fall in Uganda. In 2011 1.4% of women were circumcised and by 2016 that had fallen to 0.3%.

Children on a hill in Sebei, Uganda
Despite the ban, these girls in Sebei may still feel the pressure to be circumcised when they are older

But Ms Yeko’s father, Arapkwures Chemegich, who does not support FGM, says being heavy handed about the ban will not work and has created pockets of resistance.

He should know as he tried to stop his daughter from going ahead with her circumcision.

“When we tried to stop her, she actually fought and broke the door,” he says, showing me two doors inside the family hut that were hanging off their hinges.

“I think FGM should be stopped, but the method? They should not have come by force.

“It should be something they educate them about.”

CJN: Nigerians storm streets of New York, urge US, UN to back Buhari

Barely 24 hours after some concerned Nigerians trooped out en mass in the United Kingdom to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, their counterparts in the United States (US) have followed suit.

These Nigerians, under the auspices of Restore Nigeria Coalition (RNC) were spotted in the streets of Washington, chanting ‘Sai Baba’ as they urged the Donald Trump-led government and the United Nations to support President Buhari in flushing out corruption.

Cosmas Collins, President of RNC, speaking on behalf of the group, believes Nigeria has made tremendous progress in the anti-corruption fight as witnessed in the case of embattled Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Breaking: I am Justice Walter Onnoghen, I have not resigned

“They are sufficing to note that since 2015, the present administration has initiated measures aimed at reducing corrupt practices in the conduct of government business at all tiers of governance. This effort has yielded positive results to the admiration of the bulk of Nigerians and the consternation of a select few that have benefited from the rot in the system,” he said.

“Undeterred, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has carried on with enthusiasm and a determination to see that structural defects are fixed to curb the rot in the system for the betterment of Nigeria as a country.

Breaking: CCT declines to stop Onnoghen’s trial

“You may also wish to note that the bane of underdevelopment in Nigeria is as a result of the lackadaisical attitude of previous governments in the fight against corruption that has resulted in the wanton disregard for accountability and transparency in the conduct of government businesses and by extension governance in Nigeria.

“Since 2015 when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari took over the affairs of the state in Nigeria, Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress in governance evident in the dividends of democracy trickling down the ladder.

“However, the present administration has encountered numerous challenges from individuals and organisations that have subverted the system through nefarious ways and means all in the quest to portray the Muhammadu Buhari administration in poor light in an attempt to pitch the populace against the government to fulfil their personal agenda of causing unrest and disaffection in the country.

“The recent case of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, who violated the law in declaring his assets as stipulated by the law has further emphasized the level of rot in the system.

“A particular segment of the Nigerian society has cried wolf where none exist and painted a picture of political persecution, forgetting that Nigeria was on the brinks of imminent collapse due the activities of a few that have benefitted from the rot in the system.

“We are through this medium soliciting for assistance from the United States and United Nation in the war against corruption in Nigeria as initiated by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in recent times.

Onnoghen: It’s unfortunate FG has no regard for rule of law- Ohanaeze

“A vivid example can be seen in the instance where the Chief Judicial Official in Nigeria, either by omission or commission failed to declare a part of his assets running into millions of dollars.

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria as the number one judicial officer in the country for inexplicable reasons did not declare a part of his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau in Nigeria. The CJN cited “forgetfulness and mistake” as the reasons for the non-declaration.

“The non-declared items are bank accounts with balances that runs into millions of pounds sterling and dollars. This is too much to be right in our considered opinion. As the number one judicial officer in the country, it is wholly untenable for such an excuse, unless for deliberate reasons.”

Buhari arrives Kano for re-election campaign‎

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Kano in continuation of his re-election campaigns across the country.

Muhammadu Buhari

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari landed at exactly 12: 55 pm at the 303 Nigerian Air Force Flying Training School Base, Kano.‎

He was received by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos state, Minister of Aviation and Director General, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Rotimi Amaechi‎.

Buhari: Petty traders, others make brisk business in Kano

Others are; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, Minister of State Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris.

Others include, Kano Business Mogul, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Governors of Zinder and Maradi in Niger Republic and members of State and National Assembly.‎

We are capable of hosting Buhari rally’

‎The president is expected to address a gathering of party supporters at the Sani Abacha Stadium at Kofar-Mata in Kano, to seek support for his re-election in the Feb. 16, presidential election.

Sacked TETFUND secretary’s confession confirms corruption in Buhari’s Presidency..

Thousands of APC supporters singing solidarity songs and displaying various party insignia had thronged the streets of Kano since morning to welcome President Buhari to the ancient city.(NAN)

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Briton survives razor-blade attack in Somali jail

Mogadishu Central Prison is used to house those awaiting trial as well as those sentenced

A British man being detained in a Somali jail has survived an attack by inmates armed with razor blades, a prison official has told the BBC.

Suspected jihadists at Mogadishu Central Prison were behind the attack on Anthony Thomas Cox, who works for a private security firm.

He was arrested 10 days ago at the main airport in the capital, Mogadishu, with tear-gas canisters in his suitcase.

He is to be charged with endangering the public by failing to disclose them.

‘Tip-off foiled plot’

Mr Cox had suffered a minor cut to his neck during the attack, the deputy governor of Mogadishu Central Prison, Abdikarim Ali Afrah, said.

Abdikarim Ali Afrah
Abdikarim Ali Afrah said the British prisoner suffered a minor cut to his neck

Guards had managed to foil the attack thanks to a tip-off, he said.

“As one of the suspects was about to cut his [Mr Cox’s] neck, we managed to stop him. He sustained a very minor cut. He is doing well,” Mr Afrah told the BBC Somali Service.

Presentational grey line

More on Somalia:

The two men involved were suspected Islamist militants, Mr Afrah said.

One is thought to a be a member of al-Shabab, the other is believed to belong to the Islamic State group – both are fighting Somalia’s UN-backed government.

Embassy officials and staff from the US security company Bancroft, which employs Mr Cox, had visited the prison, Mr Afrah said at an earlier press conference.

Mr Cox had been catching a flight to Addis Ababa in neighbouring Ethiopia when security officials found several tear-gas canisters inside his suitcase.

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Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa ‘appalled’ by attack on protester

Protests erupted over a steep increase in fuel prices

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he is “appalled” by an attack by security officials on a protester that was featured in a TV news report.

His statement comes after widespread criticism of the way security forces have handled recent protests.

Mr Mnangagwa said he has ordered the arrest of those behind the attack seen in a Sky News report.

His condemnation has received a mixed reaction with some calling him “uninformed”.

Zimbabwe opposition accuses government of brutal crackdown

Zimbabwe blocks Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter amid crackdown

The state-funded Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has accused soldiers of using “systematic torture” in the crackdown on protests. In a report, that has since been removed from its website, it strongly criticised the authorities for using troops to quell demonstrations.

There have also been reports of a number of deaths.

Victims tell of being beaten and shot by Zimbabwe’s security forces

The report by Sky News shows a handcuffed man being pulled away from a van by a soldier and at least one police officer. He is then seen being repeatedly beaten around the head by one of the officials.

President Mnangagwa said on Twitter that this was “not the Zimbabwean way”.

Reacting to the tweet, many have criticised the president.

Nigel MK Chanakira said: “We have many wounded whom we may show you. Are you honestly so uninformed about what is going on in our country?”

Another echoed theses sentiments saying “what’s appalling is our president only stating now that he is appalled after all that’s happened”.

Unrest broke out a fortnight ago following a more than doubling in fuel prices, making it the most expensive fuel in the world according to .

Last week a government spokesman defended the crackdown, telling the BBC: “When things get out of hand a bit of firmness is needed”.

The continuing violence raises further questions about President Mnangagwa’s control over the military, which helped bring him to power 14 months ago.

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Bashir says Sudan protests attempt to copy Arab Spring

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has said there are efforts to destabilise his country through an attempt to replicate the so-called Arab Spring.

Mr Bashir, left, is visiting Egypt three days after some of the biggest protests in Sudan’s history

He was speaking in Egypt’s capital Cairo after meeting his counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

It is his second foreign trip since protests began in December.

The protests started over cuts to bread and fuel subsidies but have since morphed into anger at Mr Bashir’s 30-year rule. Protesters have been heard shouting: “The people want the fall of the regime”.

The slogan is adopted from the Arab Spring – a wave of protests which started in 2010 and spread across the Middle East and North Africa and led to civil wars.

Eighteen days of protests forced Egypt’s long-time leader Hosni Mubarak to resign in February 2011.

But any attempts to protest in Sudan at the time of the Arab uprisings were crushed, Reuters reported.

In his speech, President Bashir acknowledged there were problems in the country but said they were not as big as portrayed by the media.

Some foreign journalists have been prevented from reporting events in the country. This week journalists working for Al Jazeera, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency and Saudi-based Al Arabiya TV have been denied accreditation.

On Thursday, three people were killed in what appeared to be the biggest demonstrations yet against Mr Bashir.

Sudanese protesters chant slogans against President Omar al-Bashir during a demonstration in the capital Khartoum"s twin city of Omdurman
Protest organisers say demonstrators gathered in at least 50 places across Sudan on Thursday

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has become the driving force behind the unrest, has called for more anti-government rallies.

Witnesses told AFP news agency that police stopped protesters from gathering in public squares in Khartoum and Omdurman on Sunday by filling them with muddy water.

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Sacked TETFUND secretary’s confession confirms corruption in Buhari’s Presidency..

By adekunle Best

The PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) says the confession by the sacked Executive Director of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, that he was fired for refusing to give N200 million, as kick-back, to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has further exposed the seething corruption in the Buhari Presidency.

PPCO says the revelation did not come to many Nigerians as a surprise and has further vindicated the PDP’s position that the Buhari Presidency is inherently corrupt and thrives on concealments, deception, beguilement, propaganda and lies.

Minimum Wage: National Council of State approves N27,000

Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan, others attend Council of State meeting

The PPCO had always alerted Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari presides over a sanctuary of treasury looters who, as ministers, Presidential advisers, heads of special Presidential committees, APC leaders and members of President Buhari’s Campaign Council fritter our national resources with reckless abandon under Mr. President’s official cover.

We invite Nigerians to note that the Buhari Presidency has not given any reasons for Bichi’s removal. It has not also offered any form of explanation to the huge allegation bordering on corruption against a cabinet minister; a development, which betrays collusion at very high level.

Sacked TETFUND secretary’s confession confirms corruption in Buhari’s Presidency

This is especially given the series of corruption entanglement around the Presidency, including the allegations that officials of the Buhari Presidency took N500 million as bribe to reduce the fine imposed on a telecommunication company from N1.03 trillion to N330 billion.

Nigerians have not forgotten the case of the former aide of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, Mr. Baba Inna, who was arrested in September last year for allegedly receiving N2.5 billion from politicians, businessmen and women on behalf of the First Lady.

Thousands flee north-east Nigeria after devastating Boko Haram attack

Buhari Administration’s Achievements Have Rattled Atiku, PDP – Minister

This is in addition to the case of Mrs. Amina Mohammed, who while being paraded by the Department of State Services (DSS), last year stated in public that persons close to President Buhari were involved in serial looting under the official cover of the Buhari Presidency.

Moreover, we hope this is not one of the conduits through which funds siphoned to finance the alleged involvement of some individuals said to be close to the Buhari Presidency in the N1.032 trillion alleged corrupt acquisitions in 9Mobile and Keystone Bank PLC.

The PPCO therefore calls on President Buhari to end his sanctimonious posturing as Nigerians are already aware that he leads a parade of corrupt and inept leadership that has taken the fortunes of our nation to the abyss.

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We didn’t arrest Amaechi, Rivers police dispels rumour

By abekunle Best

PORT HARCOURT: The Rivers State Police Command has dispelled reports that the former governor of the State, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi was arrested on Wednesday by the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Usman Belel, on allegations of corruption.

The Command in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Nnamdi Omoni, noted that there was no time that police opened any investigation of Amaechi, who is now the Minister of Transportation, before effecting arrest on him (Amaechi).

Reports had trended on the social media claimed to have allegedly emanated from African Independent Television, alleging that Amaechi has been arrested by the CP in the state, Belel.

But Omoni, who is a Deputy Superintendent of Police, in the statement, urged members of the public to disregard the report as it is targeted at blackmailing the CP.

The statement read: “The attention of the Rivers State Police Command has been drawn to an item of news making the rounds in the Social Media, credited to AIT Nigeria News, on the purported arrest of the Ex- Governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in his home by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Police Command at the early hours of today 23/1/2019, on the allegation of corruption, directed by the Inspector General of Police.

“It has become increasingly necessary at this stage to put the records straight and state unequivocally as follows: That the Ex-Governor of Rivers State and Hon. Minister of Transportation, RT Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was never arrested by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command or any Security Agency for that matter, as reported by the AIT medium.

“That the general public is hereby enjoined to disregard and discountenance the above news report as being mischievous, ill-conceived, diversionary and only intended to undermine the security situation in the State and harass the Nigeria Police Force and the person of the Ex-Governor and Hon. Minister of Transportation.

“The Commissioner of Police wishes to assure the general public that there is no cause for alarm, as the state is peaceful and all business activities are going on peacefully. The Command under the watch of the Commissioner of Police, CP Usman A. Belel is committed to ensuring that the existing peace is sustained.”

He further added that the Police Commissioner has ordered for thorough investigation into the said report with a view to bringing any body or group found complicit to justice.

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Election: Reactions as Banky W begins door-to-door campaign

By abekunle Best

Reactions have trailed Olubankole Wellington popularly known as Banky W as he begins his door-to-door campaign in the February elections.

Bank W is running for the Lagos Eti Osa Federal Constituency seat

in the House of Representatives under the Modern Democratic Party (MDP).

A large number of Nigerians have voiced their support for the multiple award-winning singer and actor and could only wish him the best especially as he is not running under the popular parties,

Bnaky W has picked ‘Hope 19’ as his slogan.

Here what some of them have to say.

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Computer Village, Ladipo Market agog as Obi, Agbaje visit..

By adekunle Best

Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Peter Obi, and the party’s governorship candidate in Lagos, Mr Jimi Agbaje, on Wednesday visited the popular Computer Village in Ikeja.

Reports have it that the two candidates, along with the party’s deputy governorship candidate in the state, Mrs Haleema Busari and others, walked round the market interacting with traders.

Business activities were partially suspended at the market as many traders shut their shops to join the moving Obi/Agbaje train while those who opened for business viewed the procession from their respective shops.

Many people trooped into the market later, struggling into the crowd to shake hands with the two candidates.

The security details escorting the candidates had a hectic time controlling the crowd of people who had massed around them.

Reports have it that Obi and Agbaje had earlier in the day met with officials of Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN).

The candidates who arrived the market at about 10 am, left around 12. 30 pm for Ladipo Auto Spare parts Market in Mushin.

At the Ladipo market, Agbaje and Obi also moved around interacting with traders and visitors.

Both men were all smiles as many people holding PDP flags chanted their names and that of the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Traffic was at a standstill for some time within the market due to the crowd wanting to see the candidates.

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