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|Friday, 05 August 2005||Nigeria - Facts And Figures|
Population: 126,635,626 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.71% (male 27,842,225; female 27,514,197) 15-64 years: 53.47% (male 34,456,738; female 33,259,194) 65 years and over: 2.82% (male 1,780,862; female 1,782,410) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.61% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 39.69 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 13.91 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 73.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 51.07 years male: 51.07 years female: 51.07 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.57 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 5.06% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 2.7 million (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 250,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Nigerian(s) adjective: Nigerian
Ethnic groups: Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%
Religions: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
Languages: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 57.1% male: 67.3% female: 47.3% (1995 est.)
GDP: purchasing power parity - $117 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.5% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $950 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 40% industry: 40% services: 20% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line: 45% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.6% highest 10%: 40.8% (1996-97)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.5% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 66 million (1999 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 70%, industry 10%, services 20% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate: 28% (1992 est.)
Budget: revenues: $3.4 billion expenditures: $3.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: crude oil, coal, tin, columbite, palm oil, peanuts, cotton, rubber, wood, hides and skins, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food products, footwear, chemicals, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, steel
Industrial production growth rate: 1.5% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 18.7 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 52.94% hydro: 47.06% nuclear: 0% other: 0% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 17.372 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 19 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: cocoa, peanuts, palm oil, corn, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava (tapioca), yams, rubber; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs; timber; fish
Exports: $22.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products 95%, cocoa, rubber
Exports - partners: US 36%, India 9%, Spain 8%, Brazil 6%, France 6%, (1999)
Imports: $10.7 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, manufactured goods, food and live animals
Imports - partners: UK 11%, Germany 10%, US 9%, France 8%, China 6% (1999)
Debt - external: $32 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: ODA $250 million (1998)
Currency: naira (NGN)
Currency code: NGN
Exchange rates: nairas per US dollar - 110.005 (January 2001), 101.697 (2000), 92.338 (1999), 21.886 (1998), 21.886 (1997), 21.884 (1996)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
|Friday, 05 August 2005||The Irresistible Femi Kuti|
The Irresistible Femi Kuti
Nigerian Afro-pop artist, Femi Kuti, plays June 18 during a concert in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo: Tony Karumba / AFP-Getty Images)
The stage reverberates with funky, groovy and danceable music. A trio of supple ladies enters the stage, gyrating their bodies in the most sensual way, to the applause of an exuberant audience. The venue is the Harare Gardens, Caltex Stage, in Zimbabwe. It is a rare music concert brought up by Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa). The musician is a rare face to this part of the world. But as he wound up his enthralling show, his name — Femi Kuti — is indelibly printed on their minds.
Born June 1962, in Lagos, the son of legendary Nigerian Afro-Beat pioneer Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Femi is a musical icon and a worthy successor to his father. Nimble footed, humorous on stage but hard-hitting in both his lyrics and talk, Femi has added a new dimension to the polyrhythmic sound in which his father specialized. Through flawless performances he has added the exuberance of young Lagos as well as the sound of American dance music such as house.
He first rose to fame in 1985 when he appeared in place of his father at the Hollywood Bowl after Fela was arrested at Lagos Airport on a dubious fraud charge. Femi delighted the audience with the same strident saxophone style and self-assured stage presence of his father. By 1987, he had formed his own band, the Positive Force, and their debut album “No Cause for Alarm” was released on Polygram Nigeria. It was an effective blend of soul and jazz with driving percussion and sociopolitical lyrics. He says of his music: “It reflects in my everyday living. I am a stronger believer in love.”
“My music gives hope to many lives,” he continued. “We perform five days in a row and two days are not for shows. We perform to twenty-three thousands of fans every night in Lagos. After every each show people are renewed and have great strength again.”
Femi’s music is intense and it embodies delightful and shindig melodies. The music is an amalgam of the West African fusion of “agit-pop” lyrics and dance rhythms, which has a major medium of social protest for the urban populace.
Like his father, some of his protest songs have provoked the ire of the authorities in Nigeria.
“Music is supposed to give hope and liberate. You see, I will sing music despite what the authorities decides is best for the people. I am not afraid of any force or those who try to prevent me in any way. I am not afraid to die. Even those who kill will die one day.” Femi says, resonating his father’s name Anikulapo (having control over death) Kuti (death cannot be caused by human entity).
|Saturday, 25 June 2005||FIFA World Youth Championship|
Nigeria go distance to put Dutch out
After a goal in the first minute of each half, the first quarter-final from Kerkrade’s Parkstad Limburg Stadium required an absolute marathon penalty shootout to separate the sides. Up against an inspired, physical and talented Nigeria, the hosts - so smashing in their previous matches - simply could not find a way home as they bow out of the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 at the last eight.
“This was our toughest game yet,” an overjoyed Samson Siasia said after the match. “The Dutch are a great team and it is like a dream to be in the semi-finals of a world championship.”
The hosts were hit with an impossibly early sucker punch before the capacity crowd even had a chance to settle into their seats. Roaring up the right from the kick-off, Solomon Okoronkwo crossed low for Promise Isaac who rounded the keeper. Dutch captain Hedwiges Maduro slid in to tackle away, but could only knock the ball off the post where John Owoeri turned up like fine dust to poke into the open goal and hand Holland their first deficit at these finals with only seconds gone (1:0. 1’).
Before the match Nigeria boss Samson Siasia had pleaded for more production from his strikers. “If our forwards start scoring, the Dutch will have a long day,” he told FIFA.com. In this light, Owoeri’s finish seemed an ominous sign for the hot hosts.
Urby Emanuelson fired a shot in retaliation three minutes later. But after a slight bobble, Ambruse Vanvekin grabbed it at the second attempt. As the Dutch were looking harried and nervous, the Nigerians oozed confidence as the half wore on. Isaacs’s snapshot from 18 yards had Kenneth Vermeer praying it went over with 12 minutes gone.
With the Nigerians owning the edge on pressure and power, Holland’s panache seemed to be fraying around the edges. Maduro - so cool and collected in the previous matches - was having a horrid time controlling a high-pressure midfield. Ghanaian-influenced Quincy Owusu Abeyie was getting no joy out of the Nigerians either. Familiar enough with tricky tactics and flicked manoeuvres, the Nigerians shielded him from the danger areas with ease.
Kruys comes close
Slipping his marker for once, though, the Arsenal man forced a goalmouth scramble that Rick Kruys came inches from turning into a goal in the 17th minute. Seconds later another fierce drive from Emanuelson had Vanzekin - trained by a Dutch goalkeeper coach - on his toes to push it out.
Ron Vlaar’s foraging run upfield lent credence to the smooth centre-back’s early days as a striker and his shot from 20 yards had the keeper diving low for the right post.
The hosts, in truth, should have gone in two goals down, as Isaac slotted through a delicate diagonal ball for Hertha’s Berlin’s Okoronkwo on the doorstep. But Vermeer was equal to the task as the hulking striker kicked himself for wasting an odds-on goal.
Dutch heads were up in no time flat after the break, however, as Owusu Abeyie’s pinpoint cross from the right picked out Vlaar, who glanced his header inside the far post (1:1, 46’). With the biggest roar in the pre-match squad announcement, the AZ Alkmaar back, who was recently called into Marco van Basten’s senior side, surely did his popularity with fans no harm.
The stadium was made to hold its breath when, in minute 68, Olubayo Adefemi’s slow roller nearly bobbled off of Vlaar and past a wrong-footed Vermeer. With Maduro still struggling and Dutch defenders beginning to argue amongst themselves, things were looking far from peachy for the hosts.
Piling on the pressure, it seemed only a matter of time before Nigeria took the lead. But unable to supply the killer blow, a late Dutch frenzy nearly saw Vlaar and substitute Gianni Zuiverloon supply the winner.
The match had more to offer, though, as these finals saw their third bout of extra-time. Owoeri went closest for Nigeria and Tim Vincken for the hosts, but the second penalty shootout of these finals beckoned.
Few at the Kerkrade ground will ever forget this marathon set of spot kicks. After a symmetrical and impressive back and forth, substitute Collins John - taker of the first penalty - had to come out again after even the keepers had been forced to take kicks. After scoring with a cheeky chip, Nigeria’s Vanzekin pulled off the save of a lifetime, setting the table for match winner against Ukraine, Taye Taiwo, to slam the winner for the Africans in a 10-9.
”I’ve never seen anything like that shoot-out,” Dutch boss Foppe de Haan said after the game. “We played very well overall, but had trouble creating scoring chances. In the end it hurt us and cost us the game.”
|Wednesday, 22 June 2005||Chukwu out, Eguavoen in|
President Olusegun Obasanjo has finally given his approval for the hiring of a foreign Technical Adviser for the Super Eagles to ensure the country’s participation in next year’s Germany 2006 World Cup finals. This is coming on the heels of the suspension slammed on Coach Christian Chukwu by the NFA following the Eagles’ floppy performance against Angola in Kano last Saturday.
The foreign Technical Adviser, whose nationality is still being shrouded in secrecy, is expected to pilot the fumbling Super Eagles in the remaining qualifying matches to realise their World Cup finals dream. The Sports and Social Development Minister, Colonel Musa Mohammed disclosed these yesterday in Abuja during the draws for this year’s FA Cup, which kicks off on June 29 with the final scheduled for August 31 in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
“I know most of you gathered here were worried over the outcome of last Saturday’s World Cup qualifier between our Super Eagles and Angola in Kano. We’re still hot in the race”, said Colonel Mohammed; a statement that was not amusing to those gathered for the FA Cup draws.
Continuing, he said, “I spoke with Mr. President on the need for a foreign Technical Adviser for the Super Eagles. As you are aware, Mr. President is always listening to every demand. He has given the go-ahead for the hiring of a foreign Technical Adviser for the Super Eagles. He (the foreign Technical Adviser for the Super Eagles) will take over from Austin Eguavoen, whom the Nigeria Football Association has asked to take over as the team’s new coach”. The Sports Minister, however, did not specify on which part of the globe the search light for the Super Eagles new Technical Adviser would beam.
Still licking the wounds of last Saturday’s draw in Kano, Col Mohammed announced a 10-man Committee to investigate the causes of the floppy performance of the Eagles in the encounter. Though he did not give details of the composition of the committee members, he said the NFA chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, the acting Secretary General of the NFA, Fanny Amu and other notable sports administrators would be part of the committee. The committee has been given five days within which to submit its report.
|Tuesday, 07 June 2005||Appiah targets South Africa|
Ghana’s Steven Appiah has his sights on beating South Africa
Ghana captain Stephen Appiah says that their 2006 World Cup qualifier in South Africa on 18 June will decide who goes to Germany from Group Two.
The Black Stars are currently level with DR Congo on 12 points, three points behind South Africa, who are top of the group.
2006 World Cup tables
“South Africa against Ghana is going to be the deciding match,” he told BBC Sport after his side’s 2-1 win over Burkina Faso on Sunday.
“We are going out there to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.”
Appiah, who helped his club Juventus win the Italian title this season, also said that South Africa’s 2-1 win on Saturday over Cape Verde had inspired the Black Stars.
“We watched South Africa’s match on Saturday and when they won it kept the pressure on us,” he said.
“But we were able to get through it with determination.”
The pressure on the Black Stars increased during Sunday’s match when Burkina Faso took a first-half lead.
“When we were down I told my colleagues not to give up and we kept fighting until we got the victory,” Appiah explained.
“Our morale and spirit for these qualifiers has been high and by losing to Burkina Faso we would have killed that spirit.”
Apart from the South Africa game on 18 June, Ghana still have to play Uganda at home and Cape Verde away later this year.
|Tuesday, 07 June 2005||Kenya sacks 9,000 workers over strike|
FOR embarking on strike over pay rise, Kenya’s government is reportedly sending out dismissal notices to some 9,000 civil servants.
The Daily Nation newspaper yesterday reported that already Labour Minister Newton Kulundu has also ordered managers to lock out those who did not report for work on Thursday and Friday last week.
Meanwhile, unions have agreed to reduce their demands for a 600 per cent wage increase.
The unions are also worried over plans to retire more than 20,000 employees as part of civil service reforms.
Amidst threats of the sack, last week’s strike call was only partly heeded by Kenya’s 120,000 civil servants.
Reports, said that some people went to their offices as normal but did not do any work.
However, hospitals have been badly affected and two patients have reportedly died because of lack of nurses.
The government has responded by asking retired medical personnel to report for work.
The East African Standard reports that the Health Ministry has recruited at least 400 nurses and other professionals to replace striking health workers.
Authorities in Kenya recently unveiled plans to cut 21,000 civil servants jobs in an attempt to reduce the country’s huge public sector salary bill.
The redundancies would take place from July, Provincial Administration and National Security Minister Chris Murungaru said.
Some 9.5bn shillings (£67m) have been made available for incentives, he said.
The IMF resumed aid to Kenya last year on condition the 410,000-strong civil service was paired down.
The institution halted assistance to the country in 2000 over concerns about corruption under the former leader Daniel Arap Moi.
But government officials sought to downplay the IMF’s influence.
“This is a government plan,” Murungaru told correspondents.
There are very few economic alternatives in Kenya now, and many won’t take the voluntary pay-off
“Donors are also supporting it but we have not been told to do it as a condition for loans or been pushed into it.”
“The pay offs would be funded by donors and the state,” he added.
The state sector tab currently amounts to about 70 per cent of the government’s ongoing expenditure.
But some observers say the programme may not work, as there are few employment opportunities in the country.
“There are very few economic alternatives in Kenya now, and many won’t take the voluntary pay-off,” said Dennis Kabaara, a local policy analyst.
“Coupled with the fact that this is such a small number of the public service, it is unlikely that it will in the long run achieve its target of reducing the wage bill significantly.”
An IMF review mission is due in Kenya soon.