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Nigeria is protesting about the detention of about 1,000 Nigerian women at airports in Saudi Arabia.

The women, some of whom have been held since Sunday, had been planning to make the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Nigeria's ambassador to Saudi Arabia told the BBC the authorities were stopping women under the age of 35.

There has been an understanding in the past that Nigerian women are exempt from travelling with a male relative - a requirement for women on the Hajj.

Nigerian diplomats say the agreement between National Hajj Commission of Nigeria and the Saudi authorities allows visas to be issued for Nigerian women going to Mecca as long as they are accompanied by their local Hajj committee officials.

Correspondents say many Nigerians have entered Saudi Arabia illegally to seek work.

'Mismatched surnames'

Since Sunday, hundreds of Nigerian women have been stopped at the airports in Jeddah and Medina.

Nigeria's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abubakar Shehu Bunu, said he had made a formal protest to the foreign affairs office in the capital, Riyadh, on Wednesday.

"They are stopping women particularly between the ages of 25 and 35 without a male relative. Those over 45 are not a concern to the Saudi authorities," he told the BBC's Hausa Service.

One woman told the BBC her group were being held in Jeddah not because they were travelling without male relatives but because the surnames on their passports did not correspond with those of their husbands.

"Our husbands' names are different from our surnames and they won't allow that," Bilkisu Nasidi, who travelled from the northern Nigerian city of Katsina, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

She said the hundreds of women were sleeping on the floor, did not have their belongings and were sharing four toilets at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

It is a common practice for Muslim women in Nigeria not to take their husband's name.

More than two million Muslims are due to converge on Mecca for this year's Hajj, which is set to culminate over a four-day period somewhere between 24-29 October depending on lunar observations

 

A man was caught with a dead baby boy stuffed in his suitcase at Tipper garage near Gwarimpa, Abuja, Nigeria.
 A source said he was arrested on a  tip-off and another said his secret became known to public when the bus conductor asked him to bring his suitcase so it can be stored properly.  The man vehemently refused.
 The suspicious conductor asked him what was inside the suitcase and he refused to say.  As the man tried to leave the bus station, the conductor and others seized the  suitcase from him and found the dead boy inside.


naijapal

Chanting miners wielding machetes, clubs and spears marched from shaft to shaft of South Africa's beleaguered Lonmin platinum mine Monday, trying to intimidate the few workers who reported for duty in the fourth week of a crippling strike whose impact has already included dozens of miners killed by police.

At one point on their 10-kilometer (six-mile) trek, a striker lashed a whip at a man they accused of reporting for work. He took off across the scrubland with dozens of men waving machetes and clubs in pursuit. The man was saved by police officers who pulled him into their moving vehicle.
Meanwhile, labor unrest spread in the country, with an illegal strike by more than 10,000 workers halting operations at the west section of Gold Fields International's KDC gold mine.

The strikes are rooted in rivalry between the main National Union of Mineworkers and a breakaway union.

At the KDC gold mine, for instance, spokesman Sven Lunsche said the strike started Sunday night and that senior managers met Monday with strikers demanding the removal of NUM shop stewards and a minimum monthly wage of R12,500 ($1,560).

Some 12,000 miners at east KDC staged a weeklong illegal strike to demand the removal of NUM shop stewards that ended Sept. 3.

At a second platinum mine, Implats, 15,000-plus workers are demanding a 10 percent pay raise although they are continuing to work, spokesman Johan Theron said.

London-registered Lonmin PLC said just 6 percent of its 28,000 workers turned up Monday morning at its mine in Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg. Mine drivers drove around looking for workers to pick up, but the buses returned to the mine empty.

In Marikana, hundreds of chanting strikers descended on one after another of the Lonmin mine shafts, chanting anti-government songs and blaming President Jacob Zuma for the police killings. They were monitored by armed police in riot gear, some in armored cars, others on foot.

As strikers approached Lonmin's Hossy shaft, police escorted a speeding cavalcade of buses and vans carrying working miners and trucks with explosives as they rushed to get from one mine shaft to another.

Strikers have threatened to kill any miners or managers who do not respect their demand for all work to stop until Lonmin agrees to a monthly take-home pay of 12,500 rand ($1,560), about double their current wages.

Lonmin had hoped many more miners would come to work since a peace accord was signed last week with three major unions. But it was rejected by a breakaway union and nonunion strikers.

The government brokered the peace deal after police shot and killed 34 miners and wounded 78 on Dec. 16 at Marikana, a mass shooting reminiscent of apartheid-era days that has traumatized the nation of 48 million.

Ten people were killed in the week before the shootings: two police officers hacked to death by strikers, six union shop stewards and two mine guards burned alive in their car.

The Legal Resources Centre, meanwhile, announced that it has hired forensic experts and pathologists to investigate the Marikana violence on behalf of the South African Human Rights Commission.

The commission has stepped in following local news reports alleging that some miners were shot as they tried to surrender to police, others were shot in the back as they ran away from the police fire, and some were run over and killed by police armored cars.

Police and government officials have refused to comment on the allegations, saying they must await the results of a judicial commission of inquiry that is to report to Zuma in January.

Miners told The Associated Press they are getting desperate and do not have enough money to feed their families because of the no-work, no-pay strike. One said a loan shark is refusing to give money to any but long-time customers.

Still they said they remain resolute and will not return to work until their wage demand is met. The miners refused to give their names to a reporter.

The National Union of Mineworkers said the Marikana strikers had gone around Sunday night threatening anyone who went to work.

Negotiations between mine managers, several unions and representatives of strikers who do not want to be represented by any of the unions were postponed for 24 hours because the strikers' representatives said they did not know about the meeting, Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey said. She said the talks would start off by working out a framework for salary negotiations and probably would last several days.

But Gideon du Plessis, general secretary of Solidarity union representing mainly white mine workers, said the strikers' representatives sent a message saying their position had not changed and they would not go back to work until Lonmin agrees to the salary demand.

The last of the miners killed by police were buried during the weekend, one in Lesotho and three in South Africa. The Daily Dispatch newspaper quoted a family member as saying that one of them, Thembelakhe Mati, was wounded in the shooting and got away to hide in a shack, fearing he would be arrested if he went to the mine hospital for treatment.

Half a dozen buses carrying mourners who had attended the funerals in far-flung parts of the country returned Monday to a shantytown of tin-walled shacks without water or electricity near the mine

Nigeria's state-run oil company says suspected oil thieves have killed three of its employees near Nigeria's commercial capital.

Fidel Pepple, a spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said in a statement Monday that gunmen shot at a team of engineers and technicians doing repairs on an oil pipeline in a town just north of Lagos this weekend. Others were hurt in the attack, he said.
Pepple said the pipeline was under repair after being vandalized. Oil theft is common in Nigeria, an impoverished West African nation.
However, such attacks are rare around Lagos. They typically happen in the nation's oil-rich southern delta, a maze of creeks and swamps about the size of Portugal.

Nigeria, an OPEC member, is a top exporter of crude to the U.S.
Yahoonews

As part of the government’s policy to improve payroll administration, the ministry of finance and Economic Planning has embarked on an exercise to register all pensioners and workers on the active payroll.

In connections with the above Ghanaians in Germany are kindly requested to facilitate communication through Embassies/Missions to all Ghanaian Pensioners and workers domiciled abroad, including ex-service men to appear in person to the nearest Consulate or Embassy to provide information and their biometric data to include:

Photographs, .Staff numbers, Pension number, Regiment number .Date of birth .ID number .Retirement date. Position held before retirement ect.

This is to enable the Controller and Accountant General renew their status and process their Pension and salaries. This exercise also includes staff of Missions abroad.

Ghana embassy Berlin is therefore requesting of all Hon. Consuls and Heads of Ghanaian Union/Associations to help facilitate the process by informing all concerned Ghanaians to visit the Mission in Berlin to have their biometric data taken for the exercise

Contact

Ghana Embassy Berlin
George De Souza
Head of Consular
http://www.ghanaemberlin.de

Ethiopia has pardoned two Swedish journalists jailed last year for supporting terrorism, a minister has said, adding they would be freed soon.

Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson are serving an 11-year jail term after they were captured in July 2011 with rebels in eastern Ethiopia.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi pardoned the journalists before his death last month, the official said.
They have always argued they were in Ethiopia just to do their job.
Schibbye and Persson appealed for clemency following their conviction in December 2011 for supporting the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which Ethiopia regards as a terrorist group.
The Ethiopian New Year - when prisoners are often freed - will be celebrated on Tuesday.
"The two Swedes are among the ones to be released," said Justice Minister Berhan Hailu.
"The decision to pardon them was made in July," he said, adding that they had to leave the country within 24 hours.
'Weapons training'
Mr Meles, who was in power for 21 years, died last month after a long illness.
The government said his deputy, Hailemariam Desalegn, would be sworn in to serve as prime minister until the next election, due in 2015.
But this has not yet happened, fuelling speculation of a power struggle.
Schibbye and Persson were captured by Ethiopian troops during a clash with ONLF fighters in July 2011.
The men acknowledged during their trial that they had held talks with ONLF leaders in London and Nairobi, before entering Ethiopia from Somalia and meeting about 20 members of the group 40km (25 miles) from the border.

They said their contacts with the ONLF were intended to help them to get into a region the Ethiopian authorities would not allow journalists to enter.

They said they wanted to report on the activities of a Swedish oil company, Lundin Petroleum, in the Ogaden.

Both men denied terrorism charges, including claims that they had been given weapons training.

Rebels in the Ogaden region have been fighting for independence since the 1970s, and the ONLF has been at the forefront of the fight since it was founded in 1984.
The Ogaden is an ethnic Somali part of Ethiopia.
One ONLF faction has signed a peace deal with the government, but another splinter group has continued to fight the army.
Rights groups accuse Ethiopia of trying to cover up abuses by troops in the region.

BBC

Almost half the aircraft had been pulled out of service at Air Nigeria, this West African nation's second-largest airline, and its staff hadn't received a paycheck in four months when its top executive summarily fired nearly all of its employees for "dishonesty."

"Corporations are like individuals, who naturally will get sick," Air Nigeria chairman Jimoh Ibrahim was quoted as saying. "The usual thing to do is to admit them in hospitals, either for corporate surgery or for treatment, as the case may be."

The collapse and the mass firing of about 800 workers at Air Nigeria comes as only four domestic airlines are currently flying in Nigeria, down from nine flying at the start of this year. The dramatic decrease highlights the current turmoil of the nation's troubled aviation sector.

While the federal government insists it conducts strict maintenance and financial audits of airlines, the financial mess left behind after Air Nigeria's shutdown and a June crash by another carrier that killed more than 160 people has left many Nigerians leery of flying and distrustful of official safety promises.

"I think that if in the future, if anybody's coming into this business, I think the government needs to put in a particular panel to check that person's mental state, first of all, and the financial records need to be checked so we can know if this person can even do the job," said Isaac Balami, president of Nigeria's National Association of Aircrafts Pilots and Engineers. "We've seen people that can't even manage an ordinary business. ... Aviation is not for a lazy man or somebody who doesn't know what he's doing."

Angered by their firing, more than 60 former Air Nigeria employees protested Friday outside of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and later marched past a domestic wing of Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Former employees described a dysfunctional environment where bosses removed telephone lines and called Internet access and using an elevator to reach their high-rise office "a luxury."

Staff last received a paycheck in April and had been sitting at home for weeks for a call to return to work. At one point, employees also were forced to sign "loyalty oaths" to swear their allegiance to the company and promise not to be union members, workers said. Yet the company continued to collapse, even after it received money from a federal bailout fund, employees said.

"If they want to steal Nigerian money, don't use our hands or our heads to steal it," said an employee who asked only to be identified by her first name Barbara, out of hopes she might still receive the rest of her salary. "Just steal it and deal with your conscience."

Financial troubles have trailed Air Nigeria, a one-time darling of the country when billionaire Richard Branson helped create it as Virgin Nigeria in 2005. Branson pulled out of the airline and in 2010 Ibrahim took it over and renamed it.

Ibrahim, who also directs a major hotel chain, an insurance firm and an oil company, has strong ties to the country's political elite, as do many in business in the nation. But the engineers' strike earlier this year saw workers claim the company's finances stopped it from properly servicing its fleet. A top former company official also referred to airline's aircraft as "flying coffins" in local media reports.

The workers presented a letter outlining their complaints to officials at the civil aviation authority. Samuel Ogbogoro, a spokesman for Air Nigeria, did not respond to a request for comment Friday over the employees' allegations. The company has said, however, it hopes to reopen in 12 months, though it remains unclear how it will do that with the debts employees say it faces.

Experts believe Air Nigeria is not a unique case among airlines in Nigeria, however. Jet fuel purchases often must be made with cash in the country. Other executives with ties to government officials have floated airlines in the past.

Meanwhile, the country has suffered a series of fatal plane crashes over the last decades, with authorities never offering clear explanations for why the disasters happened.

In June, a Dana Air MD-83 crashed about five miles north of Lagos' airport, killing 153 onboard and 10 people on the ground. While an initial report suggests both engines failed on the flight, officials haven't explained why that happened, though they cleared the airline to fly again this week.

Meanwhile, other airlines appear to be grounded over financial concerns and other matters, leaving only four carriers flying and unable to meet the nation's growing demand for flights. That could put further pressure on an industry where corners have been cut in the past and pilots feel pressure to fly no matter what.

"The aviation industry is all about efficiencies, speed and accuracy," Balami said. "Can you imagine a pilot ... going through financial difficulties (and) he or she can't pay their bills and you expect them to concentrate?"

Yahoonews

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