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On October 5, four University of Port Harcourt students, Chiadika Biringa, Ugonna Obuzor, Lloyd Toku, and Tekena Elkanah left campus for the village of Aluu. According to Biringa's mother Chinwe, Obuzor was owed some money and he asked his three classmates to accompany him to the village to collect on the debt.
Within minutes of their arrival, a rumor spread that the students were not there to collect but to steal. An enraged mob stripped them naked while beating them with sticks and rocks then wrapped car tires around their necks -- a form of torture known as "necklacing." As the four men sat on the muddy ground dazed and pleading for their lives, someone doused them with gasoline, lit a match and set them on fire.

The killing of the "Aluu four" was filmed and posted on the web for the world to see and now serves as a stark reminder of what can happen when the rule of law fails and communities turn to vigilante groups to carry out summary executions of criminal suspects, said Eric Guttschuss, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"Vigilante justice and mob justice generally takes place when there is a culture of impunity for crimes and in Nigeria, the Nigerian authorities have failed to crack down on this culture of impunity," Guttschuss told CNN.
Mob justice is not unique to Nigeria and it would be unfair to characterize it as such.
One infamous lynching in particular shocked the world and helped to spark the civil rights movement in the United States. In August 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was beaten, his eyes gouged and shot in the head. His body was then thrown in the Tallahatchie River with a 70-pound cotton gin tied around his neck with barbed wire. His crime? Allegedly whistling at a white woman.
Till's mother insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket showing the horribly mutilated and bloated body of her child so that the world would see the brutality of the lynching. Chiadika Biringa's mother felt the same way when CNN approached her to talk about her son's killing.
"I want the world to know how our security failed us. I want the world to know that my son and his three friends are innocent of what they said they did," Biringa said.
According to news reports, the village of Aluu was on edge after several incidences of armed robbery -- and in a country where critics say corrupt police are sometimes considered more dangerous than criminals, mob justice is how many disputes ranging from pick-pocketing to kidnapping are often resolved.
But Chinewe Biringa says her son and his friends were just innocent kids. "He was a very kind hearted boy and we (were) so close," she said. "If my son sees you 100 times he will greet you 110 times."
Biringa says the boys also had promising futures in music. They had already recorded a song together called "Ain't No Love in the City" -- a title she now says seems eerily like a premonition of what came to pass.
"It's almost as if they knew they were going to die," Biringa said.

Biringa and her husband, Steven, an oil executive at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), says that he watched the video because he wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen his son's killing with his own eyes.
"I want them to know from beginning to end the barbaric nature with which they chose hunt them down," he said. "Even your worse enemy should not be treated in such form in the 21st century that people are still behaving and killing human beings as if they were rats."
The Nigerian police have arrested 13 people and, shockingly, one police officer who was on the scene and may have encouraged and even participated in the killing. While that officer is awaiting trial, the Nigerian police force has denied broader charges of rampant corruption and abuse.
Spokesman Frank Mba says while Nigeria's police is not perfect, the police "are committed to improving our competency through training and retraining and to improve our service, deliver to protect law and order and to stabilize democracy in Africa's largest country."
Guttschuss says it is not enough. He told CNN: "Generally if you are the victim of a crime and you go to the police, you are asked to fund the criminal investigation. If you don't have the money to fund it and meet the incessant bribe to the police the case is often dropped. On the other hand, the criminal suspect, if he or she has the financial means, can simply pay off the police."
This is why these extrajudicial executions are still all too common across Nigeria. It is impossible to find official statistics, but a quick search of the words in YouTube pulls up dozens of clips showing what happens to someone accused of crime when a mob sets themselves up as judge and jury.
This incident however, has seemingly galvanized the public. There are petitions and websites springing up to raise awareness of the issue and to pressure government and police officials. But many also say there are already laws against assault and murder which, when it comes down to it, is what mob justice is all about. For things to change, they say, the culture has to change.
Chinwe Biringa believes her son is now a martyr, and hopes that his lynching will lead to change -- much in the way that Emmett Till's killing did.
"If justice is done, then I will be happy," she said. "Because I know my son died a hero. He paid the price for Nigerian students in generations to come."
CNN

In a breakthrough, four teenage schoolgirls in Nigeria have invented a 'pee-powered' generator that converts one litre of urine into six hours of electricity.


Fourteen-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and 15-year-old Bello Eniola presented their invention at the Maker Faire Africa entrepreneurs event, in Lagos, using a resource that is free, unlimited and easily obtainable.
According to the Maker Faire blog, urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen.
The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder, international news agency reported.
The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator, and one litre of urine provides six hours of electricity.
Maker Faire blog described the generator as "possibly one of the more unexpected products" at the event.
While the system does have one-way valves for safety, more robust measures may be needed before it can be sold widely.
The report noted: "Let's be honest that this is something of an explosive device".
Nigeria's economy is on the rise, however, more than half of the country's 162 million citizens have no access to electricity, and even those who do can't guarantee having power every day, the report said.

 

Reuters

Rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have begun to  withdraw from the key city of Goma under a regionally brokered agreement. The M23 rebels were seen boarding trucks and heading out of the city, 12 days after seizing it from government troops backed by UN peacekeepers.

The deal calls for the rebels to withdraw towards the town of Kibumba The M23 rebels deserted from the army in April, with some 500,000 people fleeing their homes in ensuing unrest.

Who are the M23 rebels?                     

Named after the 23 March 2009 peace accord which they accuse the government of violating

This deal saw them join the army before they took up arms once more in April 2012

Also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army

Mostly from minority Tutsi ethnic group

Deny being backed by Rwanda and Uganda

Believed to have 1,200 to  6,000 fighters

International Criminal Court indicted top commander Bosco "Terminator" Ntaganda in 2006 for  allegedly recruiting child soldiers.

The UN and US imposed a travel ban and asset freeze earlier this month on the group's leader, Sultani Makenga.

The UK has suspended aid to Rwanda, amid concerns about the country's role in the conflict.

Both Rwanda and neighbouring Uganda strongly deny UN accusations that they are backing the M23.

Humanitarian crisis:

Reports on Saturday spoke of a number of flat-bed trucks carrying several hundred rebels out of Goma.

Some 1,500 M23 fighters were reported to have occupied the city.

M23 deputy spokesman Amani Kabasha told Reuters: "The M23 is leaving Goma."

According to the withdrawal accord, mediated by Uganda, the rebels are to pull back to a 20km (13 mile) buffer zone around Goma.

The accord had stipulated that the M23 would leave behind 100 soldiers to guard the airport in conjunction with a UN contingent and a government unit.

However, Sy Koumbo, a spokesman for the UN in Congo, told Associated Press that the rebels had tried but failed to force their way into the airport to seize weapons on Friday.

The rebels said recovering the materiel was part of the withdrawal process.

More than 270 Congolese policemen have arrived in Goma's port as part of the transition.

The UN has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis in the region because of the recent fighting.

Goma is the key city in an eastern border area that has seen years of conflict sparked by ethnic and political differences, and grievances over mineral resources.

Some five million people died during the 1997-2003 DR Congo conflict, which drew in several regional countries, including both Rwanda and Uganda.

 

Oil has driven Angola's booming economy over the last decade, helping the resource-rich country emerge from the wreckage of a long, vicious war to become one Africa's major economic players.

One of the biggest producers of black gold in the continent, the southwestern African country has seen its GDP surge by several hundred percent in recent years as the hangover from long conflicts turned into a hunger for profits.

More than 90% of Angola's revenue comes from oil production, but despite its oil wealth, Angola remains largely impoverished.

In Luanda, the vibrant capital of Angola, shiny new boardwalks, luxury properties and an influx of Portuguese expats are all signs of oil money in a city that was last year named as the world's most expensive for expats.

But despite the numerous new developments and Luanda's shiny facade, inequality prevails


Next to the sleek skyscrapers and luxury apartments, ramshackle shantytowns and crowded slums spread for miles in every direction, housing millions of people living on less than $2 a day.

In many cases, even basic necessities like water and electricity are lacking.

Activists like Elias Isaac say the much-vaunted oil wealth bypasses ordinary people in the country, run by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos since 1979.

"We don't see the money that is being generated from oil having direct impact on people's livelihoods," said Isaac, Angola program manager of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

"Angola makes a lot of money out of oil, there is no doubt about this," he added. "Angola is one of the few countries that can really pay its national budget without any donor funding, which is great. But where this money goes, that's the biggest issue.

 

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has named German Klaus Deiter Pagels as interim national team coach.


The move is part of Zifa's rebuilding process begins after the Warriors' failure to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Pagels has been Zifa's national technical adviser since 2010 on a government-to-government agreement.
His main task is to find a Zimbabwean assistant coach, who he can groom to take over permanently next year.
Zifa disbanded the Warriors squad after losing on away goals to Angola in a Nations Cup final-round qualifier in October, and coach Rahman Gumbo resigned last week.
Pagels, who has coached in the German third division, says that he will look at building a team with young talent, and that he will have a bias towards those playing in the domestic league.
"I've seen so many talented young players here and I will want to bring in more players from the domestic league into the national team in a short time," Pagels told BBC Sport.
"The reason that I said I can take the job is because I'm not afraid of anything, and from my experience I've seen so many things in football, good things and bad things, and it's not a problem for me to handle it."
Pagels is the third German to take charge of the Zimbabwe national team, after Rudi Gutendorf and the late Reinhard Fabisch, who was one of the most popular Warriors coaches, having taken the team to within one game of qualifying for the for 1994 World Cup finals.
Zimbabwe's next competitive matches will be two 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Egypt next year, with the Warriors already struggling with one point from two games.

 BBC

Ghanaians go to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections this Friday and political observers and polls both indicate an extremely tight contest between the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

These two main parties have profound differences when it comes to managing the oil sector and spending revenues. In an African nation that stands out by having five democratic elections in a row, including two peaceful transfers of power between parties, this election also stands out as the first where control of oil revenues is an important political "prize".

Ghana’s "world class" Jubilee field started producing oil in late 2010 with great fanfare—so far, though, production results have been disappointing and revenues have been well under the $1 billion a year predicted. Ghana’s oil boom comes with big challenges to Ghana’s democratic development and in many countries oil has fueled increased conflict, corruption, and authoritarianism.

Ghana has made progress putting a transparent system for managing oil revenues in place.
The Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project.Atuabo, Ghana. Anna Fawcus / Oxfam America.

The passage of 2011’s Petroleum Revenue Management Act mandated the establishment of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) which is tasked with monitoring compliance with the revenue law. All payments are disclosed by the government on a quarterly basis and the current government has taken the notable and step of disclosing many of Ghana’s petroleum agreements—a rare step in the African oil context.

Much of this progress is directly attributable to a vibrant civil society sector—including the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas—that has demanded policies and taken government, parliament, companies and donors to task when they haven’t delivered. The legal framework is still incomplete.

A Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Act, and implementing regulations for the newly created Petroleum Commission and PIAC are still in limbo. In addition, contract disclosure is currently at the whim of the present government and not required by law.

Creating a transparent system is one thing, holding government to account quite another. It is heartening to see that when the PIAC issued its first report earlier this year noting that some payments were misdirected or not reported the government and state oil company—the GNPC—were forced to respond. Yet, the government has not provided the new accountability and regulatory institutions—the PIAC and Petroleum Commission—with the bare minimum of resources to be able to function.

How do the two main parties differ on the approach to managing Ghana’s oil boom?
First:
The NDC has focused on investing oil revenues in infrastructure while the NPP believes that the country should go to the private capital markets for big ticket infrastructure items such as roads. Instead, it has campaigned on a platform of "free" secondary education for all Ghanaians with a focus on building human capital.

(Both parties are likely overpromising based on the expected levels of oil revenues.)


Second:
They differ on the role of the state in relation to oil production. The NDC believes that government revenues should be used to build up and capitalize the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) so it can eventually become an operator of oil fields and not just a passive partner. The NPP, meanwhile, would see GNPC as a joint venture partner, raising money on capital markets rather than relying on government subvention.


Third:
before losing power, the NPP had favored working with Trinidad and Tobago to develop Ghana’s gas potential. The NDC has gone with a Chinese contractor, Sinopec, and is in the process of constructing gas processing infrastructure. It is unclear whether this strategy would change if the NPP gained power and whether they would re-evaluate the Sinopec contract, which has been the subject of controversy regarding whether the government was getting value for money. Yet, both parties are keen to use gas reserves to fuel a local petrochemical industry.


Ghana’s next government must focus on completing the job of constructing a transparent and accountable system for managing the oil and gas sector. Contract disclosure, competitive and transparent licensing, and disclosure of beneficial owners of oil and gas blocks should become mandatory. New institutions such as the PIAC and Petroleum Commission must have the resources, implementing regulations and political space to do their job. 

The Ghana Revenue Authority must have the expertise and staff to be able to properly monitor and collect oil revenues. Ghana’s budget preparation and execution system must be strengthened; including by bringing more transparency to the process (Ghana scores poorly on the Open Budget Survey).

Finally, the government should respect the rights of local communities who are and will suffer the onshore and offshore impacts of Ghana’s oil boom.

By Ian Gary -/Oxfam

Chantal Biya (born 1971 as Chantal Pulchérie Vigouroux)[1] is the First Lady of Cameroon. She was born in Dimako, East Province, to French expatriate Georges Vigouroux and Miss Doumé pageant winner Rosette Ndongo Mengolo. Chantal Biya spent her adolescence in Yaoundé.


She married President Paul Biya on 23 April 1994, after his first wife, Jeanne-Irène Biya, died in 1992. Chantal Biya has established several charitable organisations. Among them are African Synergy, which pursues various HIV/AIDS initiatives, and the Chantal Biya Foundation (French Fondation Chantal Biya). She hosted the original First Ladies Summit in Yaoundé during the 1996 Organisation of African Unity summit. Her Jeunesse Active pour Chantal Biya is an organ of her husband's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement.


cameroonsfirstlady1Among Cameroonian women, Biya is famous for her hairstyles. Her signature style is called the banane, and is used for formal occasions. Biya has popularised other styles; collectively, they are known as the Chantal Biya. She is also known because of her exotic wardrobe. Some of her favourite designers include high-end Western labels such as Chanel or Dior.
Grand Prix Chantal Biya is a professional road bicycle racing event on the UCI Africa Tour. Chantal's mother, Rosette Marie Mboutchouang, was elected Mayor of Bangou following the July 2007 municipal elections.

 

 

In November 2010, Bertrand Teyou published a book titled La belle de la république bananière: Chantal Biya, de la rue au palais (English: "The belle of the banana republic: Chantal Biya, from the streets to the palace"), tracing Biya's rise from humble origins to become First Lady. He was subsequently given a two year prison term on charges of "insult to character" and organizing an "illegal demonstration" for attempting to hold a public reading. Amnesty International and International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee both protested his arrest and issued appeals on his behalf; Amnesty International also named him a prisoner of conscience. He was freed on 2 May 2011 when a well-wisher agreed to pay his fine in order that he might seek treatment for his worsening health condition.

 

Wikipedia

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