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CAIRO, Sept 18, 2018 (MENA) – Egypt extended its deepest condolences to the Nigerian government and people in the wake of severe floods that have so far claimed the lives of 100 persons in 10 states across the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Tuesday that the government and people of Egypt stand by those of Nigeria.

The statement noted that Cairo is confident that Abuja will overcome this crisis as soon as possible.

 

LAGOS, Nigeria, Sept 18, 2018 - Nigerian authorities say 100 people have died in flooding after heavy rains in recent days.

A National Emergency Management Agency spokesman tells The Associated Press that the deaths have occurred in 10 states and that the toll could rise.

The Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency say rising water levels will be higher than those recorded in 2012, when flooding killed 363 people and displaced over 2.1 million.

The agencies have warned that 12 of Nigeria's 36 states will be seriously affected by severe flooding.

Some of the worst affected areas are along the Niger River. Its water level is expected to rise substantially if water is released from the Lagbo dam in Cameroon as Nigerian authorities anticipate.

 

ABUJA, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Nigeria’s inflation rate rose in August over the previous year for the first time in a year and a half, driven by food prices, the statistics office said on Friday.

The slight jump, from 11.14 per cent in July to 11.23 per cent in August, curtails an 18-month run of falling rates from a peak of 18.72 per cent in January 2017, as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration battled to keep inflation under control.

Food prices rose 13.16 per cent over the previous year, versus 12.85 per cent in the previous month.

Now, the main factor to watch is “when and by how much pre-election spending kicks in, pressuring inflation,” said Razia Khan, Standard Charter’s chief economist for Africa.

“For now, we don’t see it in core inflation,” she said.

Nigeria will hold elections in February and March 2019. Typically, the months running up to the vote are a time of heavy spending as politicians campaign and the government tries to complete projects.

 

Nigeria names new spy chief

ABUJA, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Nigeria has appointed a new head of the country's intelligence agency, after his predecessor was sacked when security operatives blockaded parliament.

The presidency said that Yusuf Magaji Bichi has taken over from Lawal Musa Daura as director-general of the Department of State Services.

Daura -- a key ally of President Muhammadu Buhari -- was dismissed after ordering what the government called the "unauthorised takeover" of the National Assembly in early August.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said at the time the actions, which prevented lawmakers from entering parliament, were "a gross violation of constitutional order" and the rule of law.

The DSS under Daura was often accused of high-handedness and abuses against perceived political opponents of the Buhari administration.

The blockade came after the leader of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, defected to the main opposition from the ruling party.

Saraki, who has been at loggerheads with the executive since he took up the post in 2015, has since declared his intention to stand for president next year.

Buhari's office said the new spy chief was a "core secret service operative" who began his career with the Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO), the forerunner of the DSS.

Nigeria is facing multiple security threats, including from Boko Haram, where there is mounting concern about its IS-backed faction after a string of recent attacks on the military.

 

Kano (Nigeria), September 13, 2018 (AFP) - Soldiers have thwarted another Boko Haram attack on an army base in northeast Nigeria, the latest in a series of offensives against military targets in the remote region.

Scores of fighters attacked the base in Damasak, in the far north of Borno state, on Wednesday evening, firing heavy artillery in an apparent bid to overrun it.

Hours of fighting ensued but the attack was repelled with the help of aerial support, military sources in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, told AFP on Thursday.

Nigerian Army spokesman Brigadier General Texas Chukwu confirmed troops from 145 battalion were fighting the terrorists, calling the battle "fierce".

"The troops are dealing with the terrorists," he said on Wednesday evening.

Chukwu's statement was a departure from the military's repeated denials of Boko Haram attacks in recent weeks, which have seen dozens of troops killed and weapons stolen.

Last month, 48 soldiers were killed in a raid in the village of Zari, near Damasak, while last Friday, a base was sacked in the town of Gudumbali.

Gudumbali is 80 kilometres from Damasak. Thousands of civilians were forced to flee and Boko Haram temporarily seized the town before withdrawing the next day.

On Saturday, a regional fighting force set up to stop cross-border attacks helped to repel another attack on a base near Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad.

A senior military officer, who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the terrorists in Wednesday's attack were heavily armed.

"The terrorists attacked the base around 6:00pm but they met stiff resistance from troops who engaged them in hours-long battle," he added.

After about four hours of fighting the militants were "beaten" and forced to withdraw after a fighter jet bombarded their positions, he said.

There was no immediate indication of casualties on either side.

The latest attacks have been blamed on the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a Boko Haram splinter group headed by Mus'ab al-Barnawi and backed by IS.

Security analysts assess that the Barnawi faction currently poses a greater threat than that led by Abubakar Shekau, who has indiscriminately targeted civilians.

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 on a promise to defeat Boko Haram, whose insurgency has killed more than 27,000 people in northeast Nigeria since 2009.

MONROVIA, September 12, 2018 (News Wires) - Liberia president and former World Footballer of the Year George Weah made a surprise return to international competition in Monrovia late on Tuesday, playing in a 2-1 loss to Nigeria a few weeks short of his 52nd birthday.
Liberia had arranged the friendly to retire the number 14 jersey made famous by Weah but fans were in for a shock when, 16 years after his last international appearance, the striker led the national team onto the pitch wearing it instead.

Media reports said Weah, who led the attack and showed glimpses of the class that made him a household name around the world, received a standing ovation from fans when he was substituted on 79 minutes.

Goals from Henry Onyekuru and Simeon Nwankwo helped Nigeria to a 2-0 lead before the hosts pulled one back through a Kpah Sherman penalty late in the game.

Weah enjoyed a career in Europe spanning nearly a decade and a half that saw him play for Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille in France, AC Milan in Italy and English sides Manchester City and Chelsea.

As well as being named the 1995 World Footballer of the Year, he also won the Ballon d'Or in the same year and remains the only African to win either award.

Weah's popularity from his playing career saw him secure a landslide run-off win last December in Liberia's presidential elections.

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