The blind woman developing tech for the good of others

Entertainment, Facts, International Finance, international News, personality, Tech

Virginia Harrison BBC News, Singapore

Chieko Asakawa was awarded Japan's Medal of Honour for her contributions to accessibility research
Chieko Asakawa received Japan’s Medal of Honour for her contribution to accessibility research

An accident in a swimming pool left Chieko Asakawa blind at the age of 14. For the past three decades she’s worked to create technology – now with a big focus on artificial intelligence (AI) – to transform life for the visually impaired.

“When I started out there was no assistive technology,” Japanese-born Dr Asakawa says.

“I couldn’t read any information by myself. I couldn’t go anywhere by myself.”

Those “painful experiences” set her on a path of learning that began with a computer science course for blind people, and a job at IBM soon followed. She started her pioneering work on accessibility at the firm, while also earning her doctorate.

Dr Asakawa is behind early digital Braille innovations and created the world’s first practical web-to-speech browser. Those browsers are commonplace these days, but 20 years ago, she gave blind internet users in Japan access to more information than they’d ever had before.

Hands on a keyboard with a braille computer display
Braille and voice control are still key technologies for blind people

Now she and other technologists are looking to use AI to create tools for visually impaired people.

Micro mapping

For example, Dr Asakawa has developed NavCog, a voice-controlled smartphone app that helps blind people navigate complicated indoor locations.

Low-energy Bluetooth beacons are installed roughly every 10m (33ft) to create an indoor map. Sampling data is collected from those beacons to build “fingerprints” of a specific location.

“We detect user position by comparing the users’ current fingerprint to the server’s fingerprint model,” she says.

Close-up of blind person's can on road
Image captionCould navigation apps mean blind people have to rely on canes less?

Collecting large amounts of data creates a more detailed map than is available in an application like Google Maps, which doesn’t work for indoor locations and cannot provide the level of detail blind and visually impaired people need, she says.

“It can be very helpful, but it cannot navigate us exactly,” says Dr Asakawa, who’s now an IBM Fellow, a prestigious group that has produced five Nobel prize winners.

NavCog is currently in a pilot stage, available in several sites in the US and one in Tokyo, and IBM says it is close to making the app available to the public.

‘It gave me more control’

Pittsburgh residents Christine Hunsinger, 70, and her husband Douglas Hunsinger, 65, both blind, trialled NavCog at a hotel in their city during a conference for blind people.

“I felt more like I was in control of my own situation,” says Mrs Hunsinger, now retired after 40 years as a government bureaucrat.

She uses other apps to help her get around, and says while she needed to use her white cane alongside NavCog, it did give her more freedom to move around in unfamiliar areas.

Chieko Asakawa
Image captionDr Asakawa says memories of colour help with her work on object recognition and NavCog

Mr Hunsinger agrees, saying the app “took all the guesswork out” of finding places indoors.

“It was really liberating to travel independently on my own.”

A lightweight ‘suitcase robot’

Dr Asakawa’s next big challenge is the “AI suitcase” – a lightweight navigational robot.

It steers a blind person through the complex terrain of an airport, providing directions as well as useful information on flight delays and gate changes, for example.

The suitcase has a motor embedded so it can move autonomously, an image-recognition camera to detect surroundings, and Lidar – Light Detection And Ranging – for measuring distances to objects.

When stairs need to be climbed, the suitcase tells the user to pick it up.

“If we work together with the robot it could be lighter, smaller and lower cost,” Dr Asakawa says.

The current prototype is “pretty heavy”, she admits. IBM is pushing to make the next version lighter and hopes it will ultimately be able to contain at least a laptop computer. It aims to pilot the project in Tokyo in 2020.

“I want to really enjoy travelling alone. That’s why I want to focus on the AI suitcase even if it is going to take a long time.”

IBM showed me a video of the prototype, but as it’s not ready for release yet the firm was reluctant to release images at this stage.

AI for ‘social good’

Despite its ambitions, IBM lags behind Microsoft and Google in what it currently offers the visually impaired.

Microsoft has committed $115m (£90m) to its AI for Good programme and $25m to its AI for accessibility initiative. For example, Seeing AI – a talking camera app – is a central part of its accessibility work.

Microsoft's Saqib Shaikh demonstrates the firm's text-to-speech smartphone app
Image captionMicrosoft’s Saqib Shaikh demonstrates the firm’s text-to-speech smartphone app

And later this year Google reportedly plans to launch its Lookout app, initially for the Pixel, that will narrate and guide visually impaired people around specific objects.

“People with disabilities have been overlooked when it comes to technology development as a whole,” says Nick McQuire, head of enterprise and AI research at CCS Insight.

But he says that’s been changing in the past year, as big tech firms push hard to invest in AI applications that “improve social wellbeing”.

He expects more to come in this space, including from Amazon, which has sizeable investments in AI.

“But it’s really Microsoft and Google… in the last 12 months that have made the big focus in this area,” he says.

Mr McQuire says the focus on social good and disability is linked to “trying to showcase the benefits [of AI] in light of a lot of negative sentiment” around AI replacing human jobs and even taking over completely.

But AI in the disability space is far from perfect. A lot of the investment right now is about “proving the accuracy and speed of the applications” around vision, he says.

Dr Asakawa concludes simply: “I’ve been tackling the difficulties I found when I became blind. I hope these difficulties can be solved.”

Edited By Don Michael Adeniji 

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Google updated Maps, Earth 3D/2D imagery for 40% of the world’s population in the past year

News, Uncategorized

 

For Earth Day 2017, Google Earth rather appropriately received a huge revamp that dropped the desktop app for a web client, redesigned the mobile apps, and added several features to better explore the world. A year later, Google is sharing several usage stats for the updated service.

Nintendo Switch

Google frequently updates the satellite imagery used in its mapping products with sharper and more detailed data. In the past 12 months, Google notes that it “added enough new 3D and 2D imagery to cover 3 billion people.” Covering 40% of the world’s population, 400 cities and metro areas received new high-resolution 3D imagery in both Maps and Earth.

Meanwhile, the I’m Feeling Lucky feature added to Earth last year has been used 190 million times. Similar to on Google Search, tapping the dice button takes users to a random location on the globe to explore.

The built-in Postcards feature that allows users to snapshot a location created 40 million postcards, which would be equivalent to $50 million, €39 million, or ¥3 billion in actual postage fees.

Lastly, the Voyager tool that allows users to take one of 300 interactive tours was used millions of times in the past year, with the functionality being especially useful for teachers and students.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

More Info: 9to5google.com

Europa League round-up: Atletico Madrid join Arsenal in semi-finals as Red Bull Salzburg stun Lazio

sports

Atletico Madrid overcame a scare to see off the challenge of a fired-up Sporting Lisbon and book their place in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Red Bull Salzburg came from behind to earn a stunning 4-1 victory that secured an unlikely Europa League semi-final berth at the expense of Lazio.

Marseille were another side that overturned a deficit, with a 5-2 victory over RB Leipzig enough for them to progress.

Atletico Madrid overcame a scare to see off the challenge of a fired-up Sporting Lisbon and book their place in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Fredy Montero’s first-half header gave Sporting hope of overturning their 2-0 first-leg deficit, but Atletico comfortably protected their narrow lead after the break to advance to Friday’s draw despite losing 1-0 in the Portuguese capital.

Koke put Atletico in front after only 23 seconds of the first leg but they were on the back foot in the early stages in Lisbon.

The hosts got the goal their start deserved on 28 minutes when Oblak flapped at Bruno Fernandes’ right-wing cross and Montero, who missed a golden chance in stoppage time last week, stooped to head home from a tight angle at the back post.

Sporting continued to dominate and went close to levelling the tie on the stroke of half-time as Bryan Ruiz’s long-range strike forced Oblak into a fingertip save.

 Diego Costa’s frustrating evening ended when he hobbled off shortly after the break and was replaced by Fernando Torres, featuring for the first time since announcing he had decided to leave Atletico in the summer.

Torres flashed a header over after Antoine Griezmann had sparked Atletico into life with a left-footed shot which was saved low down by Rui Patricio.

athleticoThe Spanish side continued in search of a crucial away goal, with Griezmann bending a free-kick just wide before fluffing two one-on-ones.

In the end it was not required as Atletico avoided the drama endured by La Liga rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Champions League to remain on course for their third Europa League crown.

RB Salzburg stunned Lazio 4-1 to win an enthralling quarter-final 6-5 on aggregate

Meanwhile, Red Bull Salzburg came from behind to earn a stunning 4-1 victory that secured an unlikely Europa League semi-final berth at the expense of Lazio.

The Austrian outfit’s chances of progressing looked all but gone when Ciro Immobile broke the deadlock after 55 minutes to put Lazio 5-2 up on aggregate.

But just two days after Roma’s unbelievable victory over Barcelona, Salzburg followed in their footsteps to dump out Lazio.

Moanes Dabbur equalised 84 seconds later to boost Marco Rose’s side’s slim hopes of progressing before Amadou Haidara, Hwang Hee-chan and Stefan Lainer struck inside four second-half minutes to turn the quarter-final tie on its head and seal a 6-5 aggregate win.

Marseille thrashed RB Leipzig 5-2 to secure a 5-3 aggregate victory
Marseille thrashed RB Leipzig 5-2 to secure a 5-3 aggregate victory

Marseille were another side that overturned a deficit, with a 5-2 victory over RB Leipzig enough for them to progress.

Leipzig held a slender 1-0 advantage from the initial meeting in Germany and they got a crucial away goal through Bruma just 64 seconds into the second leg.

Yet the tie was soon level as Stefan Ilsanker scored an own goal and Bouna Sarr added a second before Florian Thauvin’s effort gave Marseille an aggregate lead prior to half-time.

Leipzig hit back through Jean-Kevin Augustin, and at that point they would have progressed on away goals, only for ex-West Ham winger Dimitri Payet and Hiroki Sakai to score and make sure of Marseille’s progress via a 5-3 aggregate success.

SkySport

FIFA ranking: Nigeria moves up

sports

eaglesNigeria has moved five places up from 52nd  with 609 points to 47th in the world and sixth in Africa with 635 points in the April FIFA/Coca-Cola rankings released on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Tunisia is the highest ranked African team on 14th place with Senegal and DR Congo on 28 and 38 positions respectively.

Germany still retains first place with Brazil following closely while Belgium who was fifth in the March rankings is now third.

The next rankings will be published on May 17, 2018.Super-Eagles-1

2018/2019 Trending Ankara tops By Emem Jacks

Africa, Fashion

Ankara Tops

Trending Ankara tops on jeans for ladies.

Ankara prints is definitely the trending fashion now. Ankara blouses on jeans fashion is undoubtedly one of the most popular fashion. Beautiful Ankara top goes well on jeans, do if you are a lover of Ankara and jeans, this article is definitely for you.

Looking back at those time when the only thing you can make from Ankara was buba, but  now you can make out any style with Ankara and look very good in it.

Why jeans?

Demin jeans are probably the most fashionable piece of clothing out there which is extremely adored by everyone, both male and female. Jeans can make you look casual, elegant, eye catching or rebellious. Depending on what you want and if you can combine it with the right top.

Jeans can match literally every piece of clothing ranging from tuxedos, blouses, formal wear or t-shirts. Besides jeans is cheaper compared to other piece of clothing. 

There is a modern trend in not only Nigeria but Africa to combine Ankara tops with jeans which looks very refreshing, compelling, alluring and also bright. Since Ankara prints is very colourful and bright. 

One of the styles is the peblon top, which is absolutely gorgeous and makes a befitting cooperate wear when combined with the right accessories.

These Ankara tops are simply breath taking especially when combined with the right outfit, which in this case is jeans. No matter what you wear you will literally have everyone stunned in your Anna print. Ankara is another celebrity signature look, so if you are pinning to look like your favorite celebrity I suggest you go for Ankara print and find the right style to suit your body figure, height and complexion. So, I hope you find the right Ankara print style that suits you. There are more Ankara print tops below;

BBNaija 2018: I hate Miracle, want him in hell – Nina says in tears

BBNaija, Big Brother Naija, Uncategorized

ninappBig Brother Naija 2018 housemate, Nina on Tuesday night broke down in tears over her relationship Miracle.

The love between the romantic partners- Nina and Miracle seems to be fading off as they both exchanged hurtful words.

However, Nina speaking to Tobi about the situation, broke in tears, saying that she regrets ever dating Miracle.

Nina“Do you know I just realised that from the first day I came in, I have been wasting my time with someone.

“I don’t care about Miracle anymore. I hate him. Once I don’t like you, as the days go by, I look for reasons to hate you.

“I don’t want Miracle in my life, he should go to hell.

“We kissed. It was fake. It wasn’t real.

“Give me drink, let me drink and sleep. I won’t cry again

 

BBNaija Housemate- Nina Chinonso Onyenobi

BBNaija, Big Brother Naija, Uncategorized

nina.png

Nina Chinonso Onyenobi is a graduate of English and Literary Studies. Nina is also into modelling, acting and beauty. She also contested for Miss IMSU in 2015. Chi is in an open relationship with Collinz Onyex.

Birth

Chinonso was born in May 31, 1995 in Owerri North, Imo State. She is the last daughter in a family of 5.

Education

Nina is a graduate of Imo State University, Owerri. She studied English and Literary Studies and graduated in 2017. Also, Nina claims fluency in four languages.

Hobbies / Career

Nina is a talented designer, as well as model and actress. Meanwhile, She contested in 2015 for IMSU Most Beautiful Face. However, she lost the crown to Sandra Joseph.

Big Brother Naija

Nina of course made it to the Big Brother House 2018. However, she was pictured kissing Miracle  in the bathroom.

She was asked a few questions, and here is how she answered below.

What will you be bringing into the BB House: I will be bringing my acting talent
What will you do with the prize money: I’ll pay my tithe, help my family and invest in business.
Finally, what irritates you most in other people: When people are proud and lying

2019 elections: Mass defection looms in APC

2019 Elections, Africa, local news, personality, PMB, Politics

SarakiAs reactions continue to trail Monday’s declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari that he would seek re-election in the 2019 general elections, there are indications that some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would dump the ruling party ahead of the polls.

The looming defection, New Telegraph learnt, is because the President’s confirmation of his second term bid has foreclosed the ambitions of some APC chieftains also eyeing the party’s presidential ticket.

A party source, who disclosed this to our correspondent, said the presidential hopefuls, mostly outgoing governors of northern extraction and top ranking federal lawmakers, have to look elsewhere to realise their respective ambitions.

New Telegraph, April 12, 2018

News Headlines 12-04-2018

International Finance, international News, local news, personality, PMB, Politics
News Headlines 12-04-2018
 
BUHARI-BASA-EO5
Me: – Interesting Move there sir. We may continue the push all the way to Daura soon.
 

Eight power plants shut down over operational constraint

At least Eight out of the 27 power plants in Nigeria were shut down on April 9, due to gas, line and frequency management constraints, data from the Power Generation Report by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, has shown.

For instance, the Trans Amadi Gas Turbine (GT) 1 and 2 were out due to line constraints while GT 3 was on fault. GT 4 tripped on generator differential lockout.

Also, ASCO Power plant GT1, was shut down due to leakage in the furnace, while Ihovbor Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) GT 1 was out due to gas constraint. GT2 was also out due to malfunctioning gas regulating valve.

Alaoji NIPP Gas Turbine 1, 2, and 4 tripped due to low gas pressure, while GT3 was shutdown due to generator air inlet filter trouble.

Afam IV and V Gas Power Plant GT13-16 were out on blade failure. GT17 tripped on loss of excitation. GT18 was out on inspection and maintenance, while GT19 and 20 are awaiting major overhaul.

The Guardian, April 12, 2018

ME: And the Darkness gradually envelope the land.

Regulation ‘inevitable’ for social media firms, Zuckerberg says

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that regulation of social media companies is “inevitable” and disclosed that his own personal information has been compromised by malicious outsiders.

zuccBut after two days of congressional testimony, what seemed clear was how little Congress seems to know about Facebook, much less what to do about it.

House lawmakers aggressively questioned Zuckerberg Wednesday on user data, privacy settings and whether the company is biased against conservatives.

As they did in the Senate a day earlier, both Republicans and Democrats suggested that regulation might be needed, but there was no consensus and few specifics about what that might look like — or even what the biggest problems are.

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, the top Democrat on the panel and a 30-year veteran of the House, said at the beginning of the hearing that he plans to work on legislation but is pessimistic that Congress will pass anything.

“I’ve just seen it over and over again — that we have the hearings, and nothing happens,” he said.

Me: Mark Should school them on the required moves. 

Luxury Ease Interiors; Affordable luxury; our lifeline

Furnishing, Homes, personality

Luxury Ease Interiors: A simple , sophisticated approach to every detail in design. Working with you , every step of the way.

Created in 2012

Founder:

bucky8Bukky Lepe;  09092220375

Products

Space planning , sale of couture upholstery and curtain fabrics , 3D wall panels, window treatments, luxury rug and carpeting, bespoke furniture, painting and paint effects

Bucky 3.jpg

 

South Africa and Nigeria are crucial for continental initiatives

Africa, Facts, International Finance, international News, Politics, World Bank
South Africa and Nigeria are crucial for continental initiatives
Africa will benefit from both countries backing free trade, and from cooperation between the continent’s two giants.

The impressive turnout at the African Union’s Extraordinary Summit on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 21 March showed the continent’s united fervour to boost its economic opportunities. Delegations from 50 countries, including 27 heads of state, attended the summit in Kigali.

NasarawaThe fact that there were almost as many leaders present as attend the bi-annual AU summits contrasts with the majordivisions within the AU on much-needed reforms of the institution. Countries seem to agree on boosting intra-African trade, but disagree on strengthening the AU itself.

At the January AU summit, 23 countries signed up to the Single African Air Transport Market and 30 have signed the AU’s Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.

Even though many hurdles lie ahead in establishing the free trade area and even more in allowing free movement of Africans across the continent, these agreements are important first steps. The AfCFTA initiative in particular has been hailed as a major achievement, paving the way for greater intra-African trade and more economic opportunities for all African states.

However while 44 countries signed the agreement, two of Africa’s biggest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, didn’t. Due to their economic, military and diplomatic strength and their history of driving change in Africa, these two countries are crucial for such initiatives. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa did attend the Kigali summit, and made upbeat statements about the benefits of the AfCFTA.

South Africa did sign the Kigali Declaration – showing its intent to sign the free trade deal in future, pending finalisation of outstanding aspects of the agreement. South Africa in fact proposed the drawing up of such a declaration, says the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies. Ratification of the AfCFTA would also need the nod from South Africa’s Parliament.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari decided at the last moment not to attend the summit, citing the need for further consultation. According to local reports, concerns were raised by private-sector organisations such as the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria. This came as a blow to Rwanda, the event’s host, and its President Paul Kagame, current AU chairperson.

Nigeria has a major role to play in Africa’s free trade deal. In fact, Buhari leads a country that has historically been at the forefront of getting the AfCFTA off the ground. The creation of such a free trade area was first mooted in the Lagos Plan of Action that followed a summit in Nigeria’s commercial capital in 1980. The 1991 Abuja Treaty on establishing the African Economic Community was the forerunner of the AfCFTA and trade experts often still refer to the process as the Abuja road map.

Nigeria initially proposed to host the secretariat of the AfCFTA. The country is also the undisputed leader of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – one of Africa’s most pro-active regional economic communities. Within the AU, Buhari has also been appointed the lead head of state on the AU theme for 2018 – winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation.

So why did Nigeria stay away?

While the only official explanation has so far been that the decision was put on hold ‘for further consultation with local stakeholders’, it is also clear that some Nigerians might not see intra-African trade in the same way as, say, South Africans do. Nigerians have in the past been on the receiving end of South Africa’s strong economic drive on the continent – the cellphone giant MTN being one obvious example.

This was also one of the reasons given for strong opposition in Nigeria to Morocco’s application to join ECOWAS at the end of 2017. Morocco is one of the biggest investors on the continent, especially in West Africa – and there have been fears that greater access via ECOWAS agreements on free movement of people and goods could threaten local businesses in Nigeria.

However Nigeria is also a major exporter and investor on the continent in financial services, manufactured goods, agricultural products and the like. Trade experts concur that in the long run, the AfCFTA can be a win-win for all, especially the bigger economies. Former United Nations Economic Commission for Africa head Carlos Lopes commented during the summit that Nigeria would come around on the trade agreement – although he later tweeted that it had missed a symbol of historic significance by not signing.

Clearly the two giants of sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria and South Africa, both have a lot to gain from greater intra-African trade. In the past, strong cooperation between South Africa and Nigeria has led to major advances, such as the transformation of the Organisation of African Unity into the AU.

In his new book on Nigerian and South African foreign policy, The Eagle and the Springbok, University of Johannesburg Professor Adekeye Adebajo calls South Africa and Nigeria the two ‘Gullivers’ in their respective regions. After a ‘lost decade’ where ‘Africa’s indispensable bilateral relationship’ between South Africa and Nigeria was marked by competition and diplomatic squabbles, there is a need for greater cooperation between these African powers, together with others such as Algeria, Ethiopia or Angola, he says.

‘The combined political clout of these two states represents a potentially formidable force in shaping Africa’s integration and representing the continent’s interests on the world stage,’ he says.

The AfCFTA and other AU initiatives need both South Africa and Nigeria. Ramaphosa has so far indicated that he is committed to regional integration and intra-African trade. Now is a good time to strengthen diplomatic links with Nigeria to keep the Abuja road map on track.

Liesl Louw-Vaudran, ISS Consultant

Source: ISS

Africa must steer the rules of the international financial sector

Business, International Finance, international News, World Bank
Although tax evasion is illegal and tax avoidance isn’t, both erode sustainable development in Africa.

The release of the Paradise Papers last year and the Panama Papers in 2016 revealed the role tax havens play in facilitating tax avoidance, tax evasion and illicit financial flows. The Panama Papers showed dealings associated with tax evasion and illicit dealings, while the transactions uncovered by the Paradise Papers involved largely tax avoidance.

Both flows negatively affect sustainable development in Africa, but tax evasion tends to generate a bigger response than tax avoidance, and subsequently provokes stronger political will to crack down on tax havens. Understanding the differences between tax evasion and avoidance, their influence in Africa and whether they qualify as illicit financial flows is essential when developing effective responses. Both are attempts by an individual or corporation to pay fewer taxes – but while tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance isn’t.

In practice, the distinction between the terms is not always clear. The Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development describes tax-avoidance practices as existing in a grey area that exploits differences in legal standards across countries, weak legal systems in some countries and different interpretations and acceptance of norms on international taxation. Whether these practices qualify as illicit financial flows is complicated.

There is general agreement that tax avoidance practices are the financial side of criminal activity and efforts to define them contain common elements, but many definitions still exist. One that has increasingly gained traction is ‘cross-border transactions of money illegally earned, transferred or used’. Of particular relevance to the leaks of the Paradise and Panama Papers is determining whether the flows are illicit, which takes into account both the legality and the legitimacy of the flow.

As tax evasion is illegal while tax avoidance is legal, focusing only on legality could undermine the application and effectiveness of international efforts to combat the problem. Determining what constitutes illicit financial flows also depends on the legislation of a particular state, due to differences in legal frameworks.

So international mechanisms designed to tackle tax-related illicit financial flows can be impaired by differences in national legislation, as well as a lack of capacity or willingness to enforce the laws.

Assessments that judge the legitimacy of a flow take into account factors such as rules, customs and fairness. It is widely considered legitimate for an individual to avoid paying taxes, but illegitimate for an individual to evade paying taxes. This distinction is important for determining whether an action is classified as tax avoidance or evasion. Thus, as illustrated by the World Bank, tax evasion is considered an illicit financial flow while tax avoidance is not.

Illicit financial flows fuel criminal economies, contribute to violence, perpetuate existing inequalities, subvert government institutions and undermine the integrity of legal and financial systems. They have even inhibited achieving some of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals in sub-Saharan Africa. Tax avoidance and evasion reduce the funds available for sustainable development in Africa.

But beyond monetary losses their consequences are even more serious. While both thwart Africa’s development, flows that are classified as tax evasion – and thus illicit financial flows – generate much more swift and tough international responses. Specifically this shapes the perception and treatment of tax havens.

One problem in developing cohesive international frameworks for cracking down on tax havens is contrasting views about the value and threat of tax havens. This includes tensions between stakeholders from developed, northern nations and those from developing southern countries.

Some argue that tax havens might have a positive effect on the global economy, facilitating greater global investment and allowing firms and individuals opportunities for tax avoidance to sidestep poorly designed tax systems. But evidence increasingly shows that these ‘treasure islands’ help facilitate crime and drain Africa’s resources.

The African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting showed that African actors and illicit financial flows figuredprominently in the Panama Papers. This is problematic for Africa, as northern counterparts tend to have a stronger voice and greater leverage in the creation and enforcement of laws and regulations governing the financial sector. No African nations are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and only South Africa belongs to more than one of six influential international financial institutions.

Also, when the OECD and the G20 designed the Common Reporting Standard – a standard for information exchange and the basis for bilateral agreements between states – they did so without meaningful consultation of low-income states.

The result, the Financial Transparency Coalition explains, is ‘a system designed by wealthy nations, with wealthy nations in mind, making many of the prerequisites impossible for countries that don’t have sizable tax administration budgets or advanced technical capacity’. Also, some wealthy countries choose to share information predominantly or exclusively with other wealthy countries.

Various responses are needed to combat tax avoidance, tax evasion and illicit financial flows more broadly – but increasing the contribution of African states in international financial institutions is essential. Africa must have a voice within international financial institutions to ensure that regulations, policies and responses reflect African priorities. This will help ensure that priority is given to the flows that most negatively affect sustainable development.

Without this participation, Africa’s relationship with tax havens will continue to be one of pain and no gain.

Marcena Hunter, Senior Research Analyst, Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime

Is Côte d’Ivoire becoming a wildlife trafficking hotspot?

Corruption, Facts, Politics, World Bank
coteTackling corruption is a priority in stopping the spread of this damaging transnational organised crime.

Since 2016, Côte d’Ivoire has recorded at least five major wildlife-trafficking events involving seizures and arrests. The most recent was in January, when 578kg of ivory and over half a ton of pangolin scales, leopard skins and other items were seized. According to media reports, the pangolin scales were probably poached and harvested in Côte d’Ivoire, while the elephant tusks came from West, East and Central Africa.

These seizures and arrests were the result of multiple investigations aimed at dismantling networks of wildlife traffickers. The investigations are being carried out by Côte d’Ivoire’s Transnational Organised Crime Unit and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests with assistance from the Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement (EAGLE Network) – a non-governmental organisation that fights wildlife trafficking.

Based on available information, the problem in Côte d’Ivoire seems smaller in scale than in other countries in the region (such as Nigeria or Guinea) or elsewhere on the continent, such as East and southern Africa. But recent seizures may only represent the tip of the iceberg, and could provide a long-overdue glimpse into both the crime and the networks that run it. Continued investigations will undoubtedly allow a better understanding of the phenomenon.

According to reports, pangolin scales and elephant ivory are the most trafficked wildlife products in the country. These products come from Côte d’Ivoire and other countries in the region, such as Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Liberia, and are believed to be destined for Asian markets. This makes Côte d’Ivoire both a country of origin and of transit. 

Although poaching has long since been recorded in Côte d’Ivoire, the country has only recently been flagged for wildlife trafficking activities. A TRAFFIC report published in December 2017, which presents data on pangolin seizures and trafficking routes between 2010 and 2015, makes little reference to Côte d’Ivoire. The main states that feature in West Africa are Nigeria, Guinea and Liberia. This highlights the need for more information on the scope and scale of wildlife trafficking in Côte d’Ivoire.

The main challenge is preventing the country from becoming a trafficking hub. Several internal factors make the country particularly vulnerable.

For a long time, the government has failed to prioritise conservation and anti-wildlife trafficking measures. The forest police and other bodies tasked with managing, preserving and protecting wildlife lack human, financial and material resources. Those involved in the illegal trade of protected species receive relatively light penalties, limited to a fine of 3 000 to 300 000 CFA francs (between €4.57 and €457), and two to 12 months in jail. There is little indication that authorities are planning a tougher stance which might be a grave oversight, given that wildlife crime is likely to grow.

Corruption generally enables organised crime. The EAGLE Network says some level of corruption among public officials is recorded in 85% of arrests of alleged traffickers. Trafficking in protected species is considered lucrative, and the corruption it breeds undermines the integrity of governance systems, including security and justice, and fuels the business of trafficking.

Wildlife trafficking is also related to other forms of trafficking and transnational organised crime. At the mass seizure in January, some of those arrested were found with evidence that could be linked to human trafficking, illicit arms, drug trafficking and money laundering. Unless action is taken fast against wildlife trafficking, criminal networks will widen their footprint in Côte d’Ivoire, compounding organised crime and corruption in the country and beyond.

To tackle the problem, Côte d’Ivoire’s government must acknowledge that wildlife trafficking is a form of transnational organised crime with potentially dire consequences for the country. A first step should be the toughening of existing legislation. United Nations Resolution 71/326, adopted in September 2017, calls on states to make ‘illicit trafficking in protected species of wild fauna and flora a serious crime’.

To prevent criminal networks from deepening their presence and impact in the country, Ivorian police and justice officials must step up investigations and increase monitoring and surveillance. This requires upskilling and raising the awareness of security forces – including water and forestry agents, police and customs. To dismantle transnational networks, cooperation between the police, intelligence and judicial authorities of affected countries must be strengthened.

Most important of all however in the fight against wildlife trafficking, is tackling corruption in the management and protection of fauna resources.

William Assanvo, ENACT Regional Coordinator West Africa, ISS

This article was first published by the ENACT project.

Picture: © WWF Global Photo Network/Flickr

Israel’s Violent Response to Nonviolent Protests

international News, Military, Terrorism, War

israel1Israel’s Violent Response to Nonviolent Protests

Yasser Murtaja was a self-taught photojournalist who reported on his community and had the distinction of doing camerawork for a documentary by Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident and artist.

Normally, that wouldn’t be a life-threatening career. But Mr. Murtaja, 30 years old and the father of a 15-month-old son, lived in Gaza, the enclave of nearly two million Palestinians ruled by ruthless Hamas militants that has been devastated by an 11-year blockade by Israel and Egypt and three wars between Israel and Hamas that have killed thousands of Palestinians and about 100 Israelis.

On Friday, Mr. Murtaja was shot and killed by Israeli security forces whilecovering protests that over the past two weeks have drawn tens of thousands of Palestinians to Gaza’s border with Israel, demanding to return to lands their families lost in the 1948 war that accompanied Israel’s founding.

At times, some of the younger protesters have moved close to the border’s no-go zone, burning tires and throwing rocks at the fence. Israel has said some Gazans have tried to toss crude explosives, shoot weapons and breach the barrier.

But in general, the protests have been peaceful, with many demonstrators staying far back from the heavily fortified fence to picnic and hold a tent camp sit-in. There has been no apparent reason for Israel to use live ammunition.

The government claims that the protests are a cover for a more violent Hamas agenda, including encouraging Gazans to penetrate the fence and push into Israel. Israel has a right to defend its border, but in the face of unarmed civilians it could do so with nonlethal tactics common to law enforcement, such as the use of high-powered fire hoses.

Since the protests began, Israeli forces have killed at least 29 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,000. On the day Mr. Murtaja died, eight other Palestinians were killed and five other journalists were among a thousand injured. There have been no known Israeli casualties.

The fact that Mr. Murtaja and the wounded journalists wore protective vests with signs proclaiming “PRESS” on the front has prompted suspicion that Israel deliberately targeted the journalists, as Reporters Without Borders, an activist group, and Rushdi Al Sarraj, Mr. Murtaja’s friend and sometime collaborator, have alleged. In an interview with TheNew Yorker, Mr. Al Sarraj recalled how the Israeli Army had earlier boasted that its soldiers were so precise and competent they “know where they put every bullet and where every bullet landed.”

The Israeli military has said its forces did not intentionally shoot journalists. But that assertion was undercut by Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defense minister, who said on Tuesday that Mr. Murtaja was a Hamas captain who had used a drone to collect intelligence on Israeli forces. That volatile charge is at odds with independent news reporting and, if it is false, could put other journalists at grave risk. Mr. Lieberman provided no proof for the claim and further demonstrated his disdain for justice, rule of law and the role of a free press by arguing on Sunday that there are “no innocent people” in Hamas-run Gaza.

An independent investigation into the killings is needed. But on March 31, after the first deaths, the United States, in support of Israel, blocked a proposed United Nations Security Council statement condemning the Israeli response, urging a transparent inquiry and affirming the right of Palestinians to demonstrate peacefully.

Such ideas should not be controversial. But ordinary Palestinians have few defenders, and much of the world has been shockingly mute about what’s happening in Gaza. Journalists have a right to work, and people have a right to demonstrate peacefully — and to assume that responsible authorities will ensure that they can do so without being shot.

Israel, a democracy with its own vigorous press and engaged citizenry, should understand that better than most.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

By The Editorial Board  of The New York Times The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

Reigning Daily With Christ – New Kingdom Church, Wuye, Abuja

Church, Facts, God, Words

JIDE OGUNSAKIN

PASTOR JIDE OGUNSAKIN Senior Pastor, New Kingdom Church, Pameec Plaza, Wuye, Abuja, Nigeria +234 806 313 4845

Thursday April, 12

PRAISE GOD WITH YOUR ALL

MEMORY VERSE:

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name (Psalms 103:1).

TEXT: Psalms 108:1-5

Until you praise God with your all you may never get His all and until you praise Him with your all you may never be made whole. Wholeness is majorly a product of praise that is why only the one leper who returned to give God praise out of the ten was made whole (Luke 17:11-19). Until you praise God spirit, soul and body your praise is not complete. David said: “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” By the way, are your hands within you? Then praise God with them. Are your legs within you? Then praise God with them even in a dance. Is your mouth within you? Then sing songs of praise unto Him. Everything that you have is given to you by God so use them to praise this God that has done you well. The faithfulness of God in your life is enough to attract your wholehearted praises. Don’t forget that God does fearful things in praises (Exodus 15:14). This gives us the assurance that praise is profitable. It will profit you in Jesus name. I don’t care what that challenge of your life may be, as you praise God today, God who only can do fearful things will attend to it in Jesus name.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

God is interested in your praise and He deserves it. Use all you’ve got to praise Him.

PRAYER:

Father, help me to give You acceptable praises today and forever.

READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR

Deuteronomy 16:21-22,   17,   18   Luke 14:15-35   Psalms 44:13-26

Ease of Doing Business, 2018

Facts, international News, Politics, World Bank

Ease of Doing Business, 2018

map

1. NZ

2. Singapore

3. Denmark

6. US

7. UK

14. Australia

18. Canada

20. Germany

28. Spain

31. France

34. Japan

35. Russia

46. Italy

60. Turkey

72. Indonesia

78. China

82. S Africa

92. Saudi

100. India

124. Iran

145. Nigeria

188. Venezuela

Source: World Bank

Country Share of World Population

Facts, international News

mapShare of World Population, 2017.

China: 18.3%

India: 17.5%

US: 4.3%

Indonesia: 3.5%

Brazil: 2.7%

Pakistan: 2.7%

Nigeria: 2.6%

Bangladesh: 2.2%

Russia: 1.9%

Mexico: 1.7%

Japan: 1.7%

Ethiopia: 1.4%

Philippines: 1.4%

Vietnam: 1.3%

Egypt: 1.3%

Germany: 1.1%

Iran: 1.1%

Turkey: 1.1%

Katsina, Jigawa, two others to get N70m loan for toilet construction

Herdsmen, Insurance, Politics, Terrorism

The United Nations Children’s Fund has said it has disbursed N70 million to 3,000 households in four states in Nigeria as a loan to construct improved toilets, under its Sanitation Marketing Programme.

safe_image (1).jpegThe UNICEF International Consultant on Sanitation Marketing, Mr. Amir Syed, disclosed this in a news conference on Wednesday in Katsina.

According to Syed, the loan is to assist Nigeria to attain Open Defecation Free status by 2025.

The international consultant listed Katsina, Jigawa, Bauchi and Benue states as the states that benefited from the loans.

He said that the loan was disbursed through some Micro Finance Institutions in the participating states.

Syed further said the programme had been extended to Zamfara State.

Seyd said 18 local government areas in Nigeria were currently participating in the programme.

The international consultant explained that Toilets Business Owners, trained on toilet technologies were engaged to construct the improved toilets for the affected households.

In his contribution, the Executive Director, Katsina State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Alhaji Aminu Dayyabu, said the programme was being implemented in five local governments in the state.

According to him, the local governments are Bakori, Mai’adua, Sandamu, Safana, and Dutsin-ma.

NAN.

In the Other News: How Buhari will help Igbos become President of Nigeria – SGF, Mustapha

2019 Elections, PMB, Uncategorized

How Buhari will help Igbos become President of Nigeria – SGF, Mustapha

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), has revealed why people of the South-East should support President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid.

Boss MustThe SGF said supporting Buhari’s second term bid was the “shortest way” to Igbo presidency.

Mustapha said this while receiving a delegation of the Ebonyi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

According to the SGF, with Buhari’s declaration, the APC needed to open its doors to others.

He said, “Preach it to the other south-east states that the shortest way to Igbo presidency is to support Buhari in 2019.

“This is the time to open your arms and your doors to even those that are perceived as enemies, you must have a large heart to receive them.

“That is why Mr President himself specifically directed the party to consider the provisions of waiver as provided for in our constitution. Why is he saying that? It is because in this game there are no permanent enemies or friends.

“The dynamics of politics can change and people that you perceive today are not with you, will be with you tomorrow. So, your ability to receive them with grace will determine whether they will feel welcome or isolated.”

Buhari speaks on 2019 bid; farmers, herders clashes

international News, local news, Politics

President-Buhari-and-Archbishop-of-Canterbury

President Buhari and Archbishop of Canterbury

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said irresponsible brand of politics played by some unnamed persons was responsible for the perennial farmers/herders clashes that has claimed hundreds of lives across the nation in recent months.

Mr Buhari also said the crisis predated his administration but added that ‘enduring solutions’ are being worked out to stem the bloodletting.

He also explained why he recently declared his intention to run for another term in office on Monday, April 9, 2018, during the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby in London Wednesday, President Buhari gave his reasons.

“I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not. So, I felt I should break the ice. We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others. We needed to concentrate on them, and politics should not be a distraction. The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.”

The President recounted some successes of the administration to his guest, with whom he has built a deep friendship in recent times, and was quite particular about strides in agriculture.

“We have cut the importation of rice by about 90 per cent saving billions of dollars in the process. People who rushed into petrol money have now gone back to agriculture. Even professionals have gone back to the land. Nigeria should be able to feed itself comfortably soon. I am so pleased,” the President said.

On the war against insurgency, he stressed the need for continuous education of the people, “so that they can be free from religious manipulation,” adding that no true religion advocates the hurting or killing of the innocent.

Responding to his guest’s comment on the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of Nigeria, the President also gave his position.

“The problem is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.

“Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”

President Buhari lamented that “irresponsible politics” has been brought into the farmers/herders’ crisis, but assured that enduring solutions would be found, and justice done to all concerned.

On Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl from Dapchi still being held by insurgents, reportedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith, the President said:

“We are managing the matter quietly. Making noise would not help. We are collecting as much intelligence as possible, working with the Red Cross and other international organizations. There are too many fraudulent people around, who claim they can do this and that. We won’t deal with them. That was how we got the Dapchi girls back, and the Chibok girls.”

Mr Welby said it was always a delight to see President Buhari, “whom I have tremendous respect for.”

“You have my best wishes on your recent decision. I read your declaration speech. We are neutral as a church, but we will pray for you. Great statesmen are those who run for the good of their country. We will be praying for you.”

The Archbishop presented President Buhari with a copy of his recent book, ‘Reimagining Britain. Foundations for Hope.’

Breaking News: Gunmen attack Nasarawa community, kill five

Boko Haram, Herdsmen, Politics, Terrorism

herdsmenThe Police Command in Nasarawa State has confirmed five persons killed in a fresh attack on Kadarko village and environs in Obi Local Government, on Tuesday.

Kennedy Idirisu, the command’s spokesman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lafia that the attackers invaded the village at night and shot everyone on sight.

He said the command had deployed adequate personnel to quell the attacks, adding that relative normalcy had returned to the area.

nasarawaHe said that the command had arrested three suspects in connection with the Kadarko attacks, but explained that the situation was “a bit tense.”

According to him, the State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Bello, is already on his way to the affected areas for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

A resident of Kadarko village, who spoke on the Tuesday attack, told NAN that the trouble started when a 17- year-old boy had his arm chopped off by unknown persons suspected to be herdsmen.

The source, who craved anonymity, said that the attackers later stormed the village at night, shooting sporadically at anyone on sight.

“Even the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp was not spared,” he said, adding that many people were injured in the stampede as women and children scampered for safety.

NAN recalled that Kadarko village was attacked on January 29 by gunmen that killed seven persons.

(NAN)

Nigerian govt bungles prosecution of two Boko Haram suspects

Boko Haram, international News, local news, Politics, Terrorism

Two Boko Haram suspects who were arrested over five years ago have been freed.

They were freed by the court on Wednesday after the judge accused the government of poor prosecution.

The Federal High Court in Abuja discharged two persons, Ibrahim Ahmed and Sani Argungu, arraigned for alleged ties with Boko Haram, for lack of diligent prosecution.

Discharging the defendants, Justice Binta Nyako noted that Mr Ahmed had been in detention since 2013 while Mr Argungu had been detained since 2012. The judge said since the time of their arrest and prosecution, the government prosecutors are yet to call any witnesses.

“The defendants have been in custody with no trial because the prosecution cannot bring its witnesses to court. So, I discharge the defendants and the suit is hereby struck out,” she said.

Mrs Nyako, however, said that whenever the prosecution was able to get its witnesses to attend court, the defendants could be re-arraigned.

The judge added that the defendants, although discharged, would be monitored. She warned them not to associate with any person of questionable character.

Mr Ibrahim, who said in his statement that he was a security guard at the Government House, Sokoto, was alleged to have been responsible for giving passage to Boko Haram members.

Over 100,000 people have been killed across Nigeria due to the activities of the Boko Haram terror group.

However, the terror group’s activities have been heavily curtailed by the military, who have since restricted the limited attacks to Adamawa Borno and Yobe states. The military have also ensured that the terror group no longer controls any whole local government in the country.

Nigerians paid less for petrol, kerosene, diesel in March – NBS

local news, Oil, Petroleum Products

NIPCOThe average price paid by consumers for petrol, diesel, and kerosene decreased in March compared to February, the National Bureau of Statistics has said

The bureau released separate reports on Wednesday on each of the fuel products.

The average price for petrol, per litre, decreased by 5.3 per cent from N172.5 in February to N163.4 in March.

The average price recorded for March 2018, however, increased by 9.6 per cent when compared to the N149.4 in March 2017

Although the official price for the sale of petrol in Nigeria is N145, the report shows that petrol is sold at higher prices in almost all Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja.

In fact, only Abuja had petrol selling at the average price of N145 per litre.

Apart from Abuja, the states with the lowest average prices per litre were Bauchi (N145.6) and Kaduna (N147.3).

The states with the highest average prices of petrol per litre for March include Taraba (N184.4), Jigawa (N180.9) and Ekiti (N173.9).

For diesel, the average price decreased by 1.65 per cent from N209.9 in February to N206.4 in March.

The average price also decreased by 12 per cent when compared to the N234.5 recorded as the average price of diesel for March 2017.

Taraba, Sokoto and Kebbi States had the highest average prices of diesel per litre, at N254.2, N249.2, and N230.8 respectively for March 2018.

The states with the lowest average prices per litre for March 2018 were Delta (N189.6), Bayelsa (N187.5) and Abia (N185.8).

For kerosene, the average price per litre across states was N268.9.

The average price was a 6.8 per cent decrease from the N288.6 recorded for February 2018 and a 13.6 per cent decrease from the N311.6 recorded for March 2017.

States with the highest average prices of kerosene per litre were Nasarawa at N305, Yobe at N300.7 and Cross Rivers at N300.6

Abia, Delta and Borno States had the lowest average prices per litre of kerosene at N229.3, N227.7 and N225.1 respectively for March 2018.NIPCO.jpg

Valverde: ‘How Roma surprised Barcelona’

sports
romaErnesto Valverde commented Barcelona’s 3-0 defeat against Roma yesterday: “It’s a bad defeat and we are sorry for everybody, especially the fans. We have to react because we can still win two trophies and we want to turn things around as soon as possible. The defeat it’s my responsibility of course. It’s always the manager’s responsibility, either you win or lose. One week ago we scored four goals against the same opponents, we played well and we blocked them. This time we couldn’t.”“We were not surprised by Roma, they didn’t play as we expected but it was a possibility. The team has enough experience to take a good result home but we didn’t.”

“We started very well but we couldn’t do what we wanted because they forced us to play on the wings with their pressing. They created us troubles and we were unable to play the second ball at any time. We didn’t create any goal chances and they made the most of their enthusiasm scoring three.”

“They had planned a solid and aggressive game. The season is still very long and it’s hard to win this competition every year. It’s hard to accept it for our fans and our people. We all suffer tonight.”

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14 hurt in new fires at Nigerian camp for displaced people

international News, local news, Military, Politics, Terrorism

camp ra

Tens of thousands of people are holed up in the camp at Rann — many live in tents or ramshackle dwellings

At least 14 people sustained burns in a fresh outbreak of fires at a camp housing tens of thousands of people displaced by Boko Haram jihadists in northeast Nigeria, according to an aid agency.

The outbreak comes just two weeks after a blaze at the camp, located at Rann, about 175 kilometres (108 miles) east of the Borno state capital Maiduguri, killed five people.

“There have been three separate fires reported,” stated a memo seen by AFP from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) circulated among international aid agencies in Maiduguri.

The incidents, which occurred over a number of days, resulted in “reported 14 injuries (and) estimates that over 1,000 shelters have been burned,” said the memo, which blamed flying embers from “cooking of food”.

Kaka Ari, a civilian militia member assisting the military in fighting Boko Haram in the town said fires had ruined hundreds of tents. The camp shelters refugees as well as internally-displaced people.

“For three consecutive days we recorded fire outbreaks in different parts of the camp which destroyed more than a thousand,” Ari said.

“People cook in the open and the breeze carries firewood splinters in all directions which end up at the tents and fire breaks out,” Ari said.

Last month five people were killed and several others injured when a fire broke out in the camp while residents were making breakfast.

Rann, where nearly 80,000 people are living and supported with humanitarian assistance from international aid agencies, has been vulnerable to attacks from Boko Haram.

On March 1 heavily-armed Boko Haram fighters killed three aid workers and abducted a female nurse, prompting aid agencies to suspend their operations.

In January 2017, a botched Nigerian air strike intended to hit jihadist fighters killed at least 112 people in what the military said was a mistake and blamed on “the fog of war”.

(AFP)