Diversity & Inclusion
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a black african woman, to become head of the Wold Trade Organization
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a black african woman, to become head of the Wold Trade Organization
Credit: By the International Monetary Fund - (Public Domain)

Economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria looks set to become the first woman, and moreover the first black woman, to head the World Trade Organization (WTO). Trump had previously blocked her appointment, but Biden has now come out clearly in favor of Okonjo-Iweala. While Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is making history simply by being the first woman - and from Africa to boot - to head the WTO, says Nigeria's Amara Nwankpa, she is not only bringing "diversity and inclusion" to the international stage.

During her second term as finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala was "seen as a driving force behind the development of reform programs that helped improve government transparency and stabilize the economy", according to the US business magazine Forbes, which ranked her among the top 50 Power Women worldwide in 2015. Okonjo-Iweala will thus "bring to the new job impressive negotiating skills and leadership to address key issues facing the planet today", finds Amara Nwankpa of the Nigerian Public Policy Initiative.

Regional News • Europe
Dutch Court Orders Shell Oil to Pay for Harm Done to Nigerian Farmers
Channa Samkalden, lawyer for the Nigerian farmers, and Donald Pols, director of Milieudefensie
Channa Samkalden, lawyer for the Nigerian farmers, and Donald Pols, director of Milieudefensie Credit: Milieudefensie

Global environmental justice campaigners heralded a Dutch court's ruling Friday that Royal Dutch Shell's Nigerian subsidiary must pay punitive restitution to Nigerian villages for oil spill contamination that brought death, illness, and destruction to Nigerian farmers and communities.

Friends of the Earth said the ruling exceeded all expectations and marked the first time a multinational had been instructed by a Dutch court to uphold a duty of care for foreign operations.

The devastation, as Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) has previously described, has been vast:

Between 1976 and 1991, over two million barrels of oil-polluted Ogoniland in 2,976 separate oil spills. While oil production has ceased, pipelines operated by Shell still traverse the land, creeks and waterways. Leakages—caused by corroded pipelines as well as bandits—mean that the area is still plagued by oil spills.

Regional News • Africa
American hostage held in Nigeria rescued by US forces
American hostage held in Nigeria rescued by US forces
Credit: gregwest98 (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

An American abducted in Niger on Monday and taken to Nigeria has been rescued by the US Navy's elite SEAL Team 6.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman: "U.S. forces conducted a hostage rescue operation during the early hours of 31 October in Northern Nigeria to recover an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men. This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State. No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation."

Director of the Auschwitz Memorial offers to go to prison instead of 13-year-old Nigerian boy

In the northern Nigerian state of Kano, a 13-year-old boy has been sentenced to ten years in prison by a Sharia court for "blasphemy". The boy is said to have spoken obscenely about the Almighty in a dispute with a friend - what exactly Omar Farouq said was not disclosed.

Piotr Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, and 119 other people have offered to serve one month prison time each instead of the boy serving ten years. Cywiński written a letter to the Nigerian President and stated that "whatever the boy said, just because of his age he cannot be held fully responsible" and that he could not remain silent being "the director of the memorial of an extermination camp, where children were also imprisoned and murdered".

Business • Economy
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Credit: Jordan

Facebook will open its second African office in Lagos, Nigeria in 2021 to support the Sub-Saharan region, the company said in a statement.

“The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world," the Head of New Product Experimentation Ime Archibong said. “All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Nigeria: Musician Mr Eazi raises $20 million for African music creatives
Mr Eazi
Mr Eazi Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

Nigerian singer and entrepreneur Mr Eazi raised $20 million with his Africa Music Fund. The musician wants to offer funding and financial support for African music creatives. One of his main investors is Pan-African seed fund 88mph.

Mr Eazi said: "Artists cannot go to banks to get money for their music because financial institutions don't understand how to secure intellectual property. They get it for physical properties but not for music. So, because not a lot of people understand the music business, there is no finance product for musicians."

Regional News • Africa
Nigeria: Domestic flights resume on July 8th
Nigeria: Domestic flights resume on July 8th
Credit: / Avel Chuklanov

Nigerian airports in Lagos and Abuja will reopen and resume domestic flights on July 8th. On July 11th, airports in Port Harcourt, Kano and Owerri will reopen and others will follow on July 15th. A date for international flights will be announced in 'due course' said the country's aviation minister Haid Sirika.

Regional News • Africa
Nigeria: 300 men locked in rice-processing factory rescued by police

300 men had been locked in a rice-processing factory in Kano since the end of March. The men were held against their will, were forced to work and threatened if they wanted to leave. After one of the man called a human rights organization, the men were freed by the police.

Regional News • Africa
Nigeria: "No Means No!" - Protests against sexual violence
Late Vera Omosuwa
Late Vera Omosuwa Credit: Omosuwa Family

Over 200 demonstrators protested in Abuja demanding "Justice for all Nigerian girls and women". Protests were sparked by multiple high-profile rape and murder cases. Just this past week a 22-year old student named Vera Uwaila Omosuwa was raped in a church and later died.

Regional News • Africa
Fifty trafficked Nigerian women have been freed

In an evacuation on Sunday, fifty trafficked Nigerian women were rescued and freed from Lebanon and will soon be returned to their homes after the end of their quarantine period. NAPTIP (National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons) is to be responsible for interviewing the women. NAPTIP reports say that over 20,000 Nigerian women and girls were trafficked and forced into prostitution in 2019.