Sunday, 17 November 2013

Cigarette-smoking toddler who shocked the world with his 40-a-day habit

At the age of two he shocked the world after being pictured chain-smoking cigarettes.
Two years on he's now a normal, cheeky five-year-old - and, while he's managed to kick the habit, he now has another addiction. Food.
Aldi Rizal became an international media sensation when he was discovered in a poor village in Sumatra, Indonesia, puffing on a cigarette while riding his tricycle.
Toddler Aldi Rizal stunned the world when it was revealed he had a 40-a-day smoking habit at just two years old
Toddler Aldi Rizal stunned the world when it was revealed he had a 40-a-day smoking habit at just two years old
Destructive: The youngster was discovered in a poor village in Sumatra, Indonesia, puffing on a cigarette while riding his tricycle
Destructive: The youngster was discovered in a poor village in Sumatra, Indonesia, puffing on a cigarette while riding his tricycle
Now Aldi has picked up a new addiction - to food. His huge appetite has seen him gorge on junk food and fatty snacks
Now Aldi has picked up a new addiction - to food. His huge appetite has seen him gorge on junk food and fatty snacks
The outcry led to the Indonesian government launching a campaign to tackle the problem of children smoking and organising special rehabilitation treatment to help Aldi quit.
Aldi was taken for play therapy sessions in the capital Jakarta for two weeks to take his mind off his 40-a-day habit and learn to be a normal toddler for the first time.
A new documentary series revisits the family two years on to find out how Aldi is getting on and reveals he has managed to stay off the cigarettes, but is still dangerously unhealthy. 
During his rehabilitation treatment, Aldi saw psychiatrists who encouraged his mother to keep him busy with playing and taught her about the dangers of smoking.
One of them - Dr Kak Seto - still sees Aldi and his family at regular intervals to ensure he is not falling back into old habits.
His mother Diane Rizal, 28, said: 'There are many people still offering Aldi cigarettes, but Aldi no. He says "I love Kak Seto. He would be sad if I started smoking again and made myself ill."
Aldi weighs nearly four stone, double what he should be for a child his age, and medics have urged his mother to put her son on a diet
Aldi weighs nearly four stone, double what he should be for a child his age, and medics have urged his mother to put her son on a diet
Aldi was taken for play therapy sessions in the capital Jakarta for two weeks to take his mind off his 40-a-day habit
Aldi was taken for play therapy sessions in the capital Jakarta for two weeks to take his mind off his 40-a-day habit
Trying to be normal: Aldi was taken for play therapy sessions in the capital Jakarta for two weeks to take his mind off his 40-a-day habit
Aldi's addiction to fatty foods sees him drinking three cans of condensed milk a day
Aldi's addiction to fatty foods sees him drinking three cans of condensed milk a day (he is pictured centre)
'At first when we were weaning Aldi off the cigarettes he would have terrible tantrums and I would call Dr Seto for help.
'But now he doesn't want them.'
However, Mrs Rizal is now worried about her son's weight, as he developed food cravings while quitting smoking, and now has a big appetite.
Mrs Rizal said the strong-willed little boy now demands food in the same way he used to beg for cigarettes, and the family struggles not to give in to his tantrums.
Mrs Rizal said: 'When Aldi first quit smoking he would demand a lot of toys.
Aldi's mother Diane Rizal, 28, says people still offer her son cigarettes even though he has kicked the habit
Aldi's mother Diane Rizal, 28, says people still offer her son cigarettes even though he has kicked the habit
'He would bang his head on the wall if he couldn't get what he wanted. That's why I get him cigarettes in the first place - because of his temper and his crying.
'Now I don't give him cigarettes, but he eats a lot. With so many people living in the house it's hard to stop him from getting food.'
Aldi also helps his mother and father Mohamed out on their market stall, where his bright bubbly character and cheekiness wins him lots of attention.
'I feel happy when people want to speak to him because the know him,' admitted Mrs Rizal.
Aldi, with his mother, Diane, 28, and father Mohammed
Aldi, with his mother, Diane, 28, and father Mohamed
'But I feel annoyed when they refer to him as 'the smoking kid'. It makes me feel like they are accusing me of being a bad parent.'
Mr and Mrs Rizal decided to take Aldi to a nutritionist for medical checks and now they've been given advice on how to put him on a healthier diet so he can start to lose some weight.
'Aldi is very overweight, his weight doesn't match his age,' said nutritionist Fransisca Dewi. 'His ideal weight is 17kg to 19kg. He's 24kg already.
'I think it is difficult for them. The mother says Aldi is a spoilt kid. If Diana wants to forbid him eating, it will be hard.
'She will need the cooperation from the entire household. One obvious thing is they let him have too much condensed milk. He drinks three cans a day and eats too many carbohydrates.'
Paediatric specialist Dr William Nawawi is also concerned that smoking at an early age has made Aldi more likely to suffer weight issues.
He explained: 'Nicotine can increase the endocrine hormone in the body. This condition can cause resistance to insulin.
'The blood will not be able to break glucose from food. This will make Aldi become bigger and bigger.'
Now, Aldi is back at home in his fishing village and is on a strict diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and smaller portions.
Mrs Rizal must also persuade Aldi's siblings and the rest of the family not to give in and provide him with junk food when she is not around.
Doctors hope that if Aldi can lose around half a stone to a stone, his weight will eventually even out as he starts to grow taller.
It is thought one-third of children in Indonesia try smoking before the age of ten. The Government has launched efforts to tackle the problem.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

The mother who gave away THREE babies by knocking on the doors of total strangers

Rosemary Redmayne in 1948 with a baby that she kept. She rejected three of her children, handing them to strangers
Rosemary Redmayne in 1948 with a baby that she kept. She rejected three of her children, handing them to strangers
No one will ever know what went through the young mother’s mind as she knocked on doors, begging strangers to take her three-month- old daughter.
It was the summer of 1946 in the Potteries village of Bucknall. 
She was turned down twice before the third stranger agreed to take her baby in.
At which point Rosemary, then 28, promptly disappeared to fetch the baby’s few belongings from her lodgings around the corner.
It was a brutal — some might say callous — parting, which would have far-reaching ramifications.
‘I was that baby,’ says Rita Holford, who 67 years on is visibly shaken by the very thought. ‘To this day I can’t get over being given away like that — and by someone who went to great lengths to ensure I would never find her.’
Even more shocking is the fact that Rita was one of three unwanted babies — dubbed Rosemary’s Secrets — rejected by the same woman within seven years. 
And it seems all three were abandoned in the same manner — by their mother banging on strangers’ doors until someone took in the babies. 
Though Rita has uncovered many clues — including the fact her mother also had two daughters she decided to keep —  Rosemary’s motivation remains a  mystery: what possessed her to just give away three of her five children?
We know she was a barmaid brought up in Northumberland.
She had jet-black hair and loved dancing. We know she was married at least twice. We know her maiden name was Redmayne and her first married name was Tweddell. 
She moved from lodging to lodging in the Potteries. And that’s it.
‘When I discovered the story I was so angry about it all,’ says Rita. ‘Then when I later find out I had two brothers I felt angry for all those wasted years when we didn’t know each other. It seems so unfair.’
All this would be inconceivable in today’s era of adoption agencies, vetting by social workers and criminal records checks. 
But just after the war, simply giving a child away was a fast solution for a desperate woman gambling that a bonny baby would stir maternal instincts in a stranger with the means to feed and clothe her.
John Askey, Rita Holford and Michael Moss were abandoned by their mother when they were babies. They were finally reunited 60 years on
John Askey, Rita Holford and Michael Moss were abandoned by their mother when they were babies. They were finally reunited 60 years on
Fortunately, Rita found herself in a warm, loving family. ‘My mother, Lily, may not have been the woman who gave birth to me, but she was wonderful,’ says Rita.
‘She dedicated her whole life to bringing me up.’ 
Lily Corden, a factory worker, was married to Harold, a bus driver, and they had a 15-year-old son when Rita entered their lives. 
Lily told friends that she didn’t hesitate when Rosemary came to her door, attracted by the beautiful, bouncing baby in her arms. 
It may seem astonishing that she welcomed a new arrival with such a calm, matter-of-fact attitude — but it’s entirely in keeping with her character. For she and her husband created a blissfully happy home for Rita — until 11 years on, tragedy struck when Harold, then 54, died of thrombosis.
It was then that Rita discovered she had been adopted. ‘I was watching my mother go through insurance  papers when I spotted a paper headed “adoption”,’ she says.
‘As soon as she saw me trying to peek, she snatched it away. But I sneaked back into the living room when she went to work and found my adoption certificate. It was incredibly shocking. 
‘Though I knew the papers must be telling the truth, I couldn’t believe I was adopted by this woman who had taken such wonderful care of me.’

  'As John and I sat on the sofa holding hands, I learned he had not been as lucky as Michael and me. Born Thomas, his first family had abused him nearly to the point of starvation...'

Rita Holford, one of three siblings abandoned by their mother
Such was her surprise that she decided not to confront her mother ‘because I couldn’t bear to hear her tell me I wasn’t her child’.
Three years later, Rita was visiting an elderly family friend with her mother in tow when the old lady asked: ‘Isn’t this the girl you adopted?’
Rita says: ‘The room went silent then and everyone pretended she hadn’t spoken. Then we all started talking about something else.
‘Later, when I brought it up, Mum started to cry: “I always thought your father would tell you about it.” I could see it would upset her terribly to continue the conversation so I dropped it.’
Sensitive to her mother’s obvious fragility, Rita made a discreet plan of action. A few weeks later, she delicately slipped the subject into conversation with a neighbour, who confirmed the adoption and also revealed the existence of a sister.
‘She told me there was a  little girl with Rosemary when she knocked on the doors. I was overjoyed, imagining us being happily reunited,’ says Rita. 
But she was never brave enough to discuss her abandonment with her mother, terrified of how upset she became when the subject had come up. 
Unwilling to hurt her mother’s feelings, she kept her curiosity to herself. 
She broke just once. Aged 21, when she held her first newborn child, Nicola, in her arms, she asked her mother: ‘How could any woman give away a baby?’ 
Her mother’s reply was short, the tone choked with emotion: ‘Well, she just did.’
Nearly 50 years passed before Rita felt able to try to make contact with her sibling, who was 11 years her senior.
In the meantime, she had married twice: first to Barry, the father of her daughter Nicola, now 46; and then to Garry, a mechanic, with whom she had two children, Gina, 36, and Garry, 35.
‘I had moved away from Bucknall for a while, but we eventually moved back,’ says Rita. ‘I soon got talking to  neighbours who remembered my past — I wanted to know more.’
So she began searching ancestry  websites, desperately hoping to find out more, using the name she had seen on her adoption certificate.
Her first discovery was that her mother Rosemary had died 15 years before. She admits the revelation left her strangely cold. 
‘I didn’t feel anything much about her being dead,’ says Rita. ‘But I managed to find her address and went to see the house where she had lived, as it was only in the next village, Blurton.
‘I knocked on the door of the neighbour to see if she remembered Rosemary, and she told me: “Yes, and her daughter lives around the corner.”
‘She pointed out a little house in the cul-de-sac and I nearly died — I had found my elder sister! I couldn’t stop myself from knocking on the door there and then, but she wasn’t in.
‘As soon as I arrived home, I wrote her a letter, explaining who I was and stressing I didn’t want to upset her, but was longing to meet her and find out everything I could about our mother.
Rita pictured at 18 months in 1948. She was taken in by Lily Corden, a factory worker, and Harold, a bus driver, and they had a 15-year-old son when Rita entered their lives
Rita pictured at 18 months in 1948. She was taken in by Lily Corden, a factory worker, and Harold, a bus driver, and they had a 15-year-old son when Rita entered their lives
‘After a fortnight, I had still heard nothing. So I wrote one more time. A few days later she left a message on my answering machine. My heart was pounding as I dialled the number.
‘I could hardly get my words out in excitement as I introduced myself, but all she said was: “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to go any further.”
‘I begged her to tell me whatever she knew about my mother, but all she would say was: “She was just an ordinary woman.” That was the end of our very brief conversation.’
Bitterly disappointed — ‘It was like being rejected all over again’ — Rita nevertheless felt driven to learn more.
‘I went to the local library archives,’ she says. ‘I found out Rosemary had married again and had another daughter, Carol, two years younger than me.
‘I was overwhelmed and excited that this time I might get lucky. I bought Carol’s marriage certificate, which confirmed we had the same mother.’
This time, Carol phoned after receiving a letter from Rita and agreed to pay her a visit. ‘I was so nervous, changing my clothes several times, pacing up and down the house,’ says Rita.
‘When she was finally there on my doorstep, I had the shock of looking at a younger version of myself, with the same jet-black hair.’
The sisters approached each other cautiously, however, as Rita admits: ‘We didn’t hug or even shake hands.’
With so many emotions fluttering under the surface, the women began to look at old photographs. 
‘What was really shattering was to see the picture of Rosemary for the first time,’ says Rita. ‘Carol told me: “You look more like her than me or my elder sister. Even your hands and your mannerisms are the same.”
‘That made me feel odd. And it upset me seeing photos of Rosemary holding Carol, who she had kept. 
How could she possibly have given me away when she must have held me the same way? Carol said our mother was a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving woman who enjoyed dancing — but she had no idea why I’d been given away.  
‘When she talked to our elder sister, she said she remembered that happening, but insisted she didn’t remember any details.’
Rita had gained a sister — but she was left with many questions. They consumed her for months, but she never imagined the result of her labours would be two brothers who had been abandoned as well. 
Rita found a vital clue when she had discovered Rosemary’s death certificate in 2009, which showed her first married name, Tweddell, and her maiden name, Redmayne.
The following year, she found records for a  Robert Tweddell born five years before her in nearby Leek.
Michael Moss, born Robert, pictured aged three. He had also been taken in by a warm, loving family
Michael Moss, born Robert, pictured aged three. He had also been taken in by a warm, loving family
‘It is such an unusual surname that I felt compelled to pursue it. His birth certificate showed the same false maiden name she’d used on mine: Rosemary Purvis. 
‘And though I could hardly believe it, a couple of weeks later I found a younger brother — born Thomas Tweddell, just 17 months after me, and only 13 months before Carol.
‘It was a huge surprise to discover my mother had given birth to three of us in barely more than two years.’ 
Though Rita’s children feared her brothers might not want to know, her husband supported her quest to find them, at considerable cost.  
Having already spent hundreds of pounds on birth, marriage and death certificates and website subscriptions, Rita scraped together a further £1,000 to employ a private intermediary, After Adoption, to make contact. 
She had explored every state archive available to her — now she needed professional help. ‘It was a lot of money, but I couldn’t bear to go through life without meeting them.’
It worked. And in October 2010 Rita’s life changed forever, with the news both brothers longed to have her — and each other — in their lives. 
‘First to write was Robert, whose name had been changed to Michael. He told me how surprised he was to hear about me, having only recently started trying without success to find his family. 
'He said he couldn’t wait to meet, and my husband drove me over to his house soon after. 
‘From the minute I walked through the door, we had tears in our eyes. Here was a brother who really wanted me in his life.
‘Champagne was produced, we exchanged childhood photos and he told me he had also been brought up by loving parents, and had a career as a chartered accountant.’
John pictured age 5. Born Thomas, his first family had abused him nearly to the point of starvation
John pictured age 5. Born Thomas, his first family had abused him nearly to the point of starvation
There was more to come. It was another week before the agency tracked down John, who lived in Northampton, and a few weeks later he paid Rita a visit.
‘We decided to meet before we got together with Michael, because otherwise it would all have been a bit overwhelming,’ she says.
‘I couldn’t wait for the car to arrive and as they got out I saw John’s wife, Penny, had tears in her eyes, and so did I. 
'As John and I sat on the sofa holding hands, I learned he had not been as lucky as Michael and me. Born Thomas, his first family had abused him nearly to the point of starvation. Another family had taken him in aged three and renamed him John. 
‘What was really agonising was to find out he had lived near me all the time he was growing up.
‘We must have gone to the same pubs and clubs, being so close in age, and certainly went to the same shops.’
In November 2010 the three siblings who had been given away as babies sat down together for the first time in their lives at Michael’s house.  
Rita says: ‘We had an early Christmas dinner with all the trimmings to celebrate our new family. Since then we have had many meals together, and often Carol comes along, too.
‘Astonishingly, Carol and I discovered our daughters once worked on the same hospital ward, and one used to give a lift to the other without any idea they were cousins.’
However, it is the three who were given away who share the closest bonds.
‘We often talk about the fun we’d have had as children together, John and I tormenting Michael, no doubt, and all the fun we missed.’
Happy as they are today, they long for the final piece in the puzzle to be fitted in place by the one sister who wants no part of her secret siblings.
‘She is old enough to remember Michael being born when she was six. And surely she was old enough to remember the details of how John and I, born in rapid succession within 17 months of each other, came to be given away when she was 11.
‘You would think our elder sister would want to put the record straight about our mother, because having three unwanted children, possibly with different fathers, between one marriage and another makes Rosemary sound like a woman who made a lot of bad mistakes.
‘It may be that Michael, John and I have the same father — but no father’s name was recorded on our birth certificates.’
Rita lives in hope that her elder sister will relent or that other Redmaynes — Rosemary’s real maiden name — living in the North-East could shed light on her secrets.
Until then she insists she and her brothers won’t waste tears on the cruel mysteries of their past.
‘Our message is that it’s never  too late to find family, not even after 60 years,’ she says. 
'We are so grateful for the good times we’ve been enjoying since we’ve found each other.’

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Photos: Muna, Eva, Sasha, Iyanya, Others, At Peter & Lola's Traditional Wedding Today

Photos: Muna, Eva, Sasha, Iyanya, Others, At Peter & Lola's Traditional Wedding Today

It was a star studded event. Not been feeling fine guys, I need to sleep now, so that the drugs could work. Hopefully I will continue work tomorrow by God's grace. See more photos after the cut.

Nigeria qualify for fifth World Cup finals

Nigeria qualify for fifth World Cup finals
Nigeria on Saturday qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after beating Ethiopia 2-0 at home in Calabar to go through 4-1 on aggregate.
Victor Moses gave Nigeria the lead after 20 minutes when he tucked away a penalty after Anyalem Hailu handled the ball inside his box.
Substitute Victor Obinna doubled Nigeria's lead on 82 minutes when he fired home a free-kick to kill off the game and the tie.
The reigning African champions thus march on to their fifth World Cup finals having also featured at the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010 tournaments.
But the Super Eagles' display on Saturday inside the packed 15,000-capacity UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar was laboured and, until Obinna's late goal, Ethiopia were still in with a chance.
Celtic defender Efe Ambrose came close for Nigeria right at the start of the game and goalkeeper Sisay Bancha then made a one-handed save from Emmanuel Emenike from 10 yards out as the home team pressed for an early opening goal.
Ethiopia's Saladin Said then saw a shot from a tight angle flash across the face of the goal before Moses calmly dispatched his penalty to put Nigeria ahead after Hailu was penalised.
Only a good Bancha save prevented Moses from scoring another goal half an hour in, and then Brown Ideye came close to doubling Nigeria's lead when his header off a cutback from the right by Ogenyi Onazi narrowly missed the target.
Bancha again denied Nigeria when Onazi's left-footed shot in the 43rd minute was kept out by the outstanding Ethiopia goalkeeper and Ideye could not put away the rebound.
Ethiopia had set their stall out to defend in the first half, but they came out of their shell after the interval and had a penalty appeal turned down in the 51st minute before Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made a brave save at the feet of Shemeles Bekele as they continued to fight for the equaliser.
On the hour, Bancha blocked an effort from Emenike inside the area after the Fenerbahce striker broke free of his marker.
Ethiopia attacked and played with a lot more urgency in the closing minutes of the encounter, but they lacked the bite to really trouble the home defence, and their hopes were ended when the power on Obinna's late free-kick proved too much for Bancha.

Boko Haram kidnapping Christian women.

Boko Haram
In the gloom of a hilltop cave in Nigeria where she was held captive, Hajja had a knife pressed to her throat by a man who gave her a choice - convert to Islam or die.
Two gunmen from Boko Haram had seized the Christian teenager in July as she picked corn near her village in the Gwoza hills,a remote part of northern Nigeria where a six-month-old government offensive is struggling to contain an insurgency by the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group.
In a new development, Boko Haram is abducting Christian women whom it converts to Islam on pain of death and then forces into "marriage" with fighters - a tactic that recalls Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army in the jungles of Uganda.
The three months Hajja spent as the slave of a 14-strong gorrilla unit, cooking and cleaning for them before she escaped, give a rare glimpse into how the Islamist have changed tack in the face of Nigerian military pressure.
"I can't sleep when I think of being there," the 19-year-old told Reuters, recounting forced mountain marches, rebel intelligence gathering - and watching her captors slit the throats of prisoners Hajja had helped lure into a trap.
Nigerian security officials say the Islamist have pulled back after army assaults since May on their bases on the semi-desert plain and are now sheltering in the Mandara mountains, along the Cameroon border around the city of Gwoza. From the hills they have been launching increasingly deadly attacks.
The rugged mountain terrain - as fellow al Qaeda allies found in Afghanistan - has proven an advantageous base for a movement that once styled itself the "Nigerian Taliban" and sees all non-Muslims as infidels who must convert or be killed.
The United States designated Boko Haram a terrorist group on Wednesday. Western governments are increasingly concerned about the wider threat posed by the group, which wants to create an Islamic state in a religiously mixed country of 170 million and which has ties with al Qaeda's north African wing.
Hajja's account of how Boko Haram has adapted and survived in recent months underlines the difficulties governments in the region face. The spread of the threat was underscored by the kidnap on Thursday of a French priest in Cameroon, an attack France believes may have involved Boko Haram.
The following day, Nigerian troops raided a base for the group in the Gwoza hills. The army said it killed 29 Boko Haram fighters and was "closing in" on the rebels.
The group, whose name broadly translates as "Western  education is sinful", has killed thousands during a four-year insurgency against the Nigerian state, targeting the police and armed forces as well as politicians and then turning on Christians in the predominantly Muslim north of the country.
The military offensive launched in mid-May, and the fact that large numbers of civilian vigilantes have supported it, has triggered a fierce backlash against local people by Boko Haram. The militants have killed hundreds in the past few weeks,including in massacres of school children.
The Islamists dragged Hajja along rocky mountain paths and slept in caves in the hills, a landscape unfamiliar to most Nigerian soldiers, recruited from the plains.
She ceremonially converted to Islam, cooked for the men,carried ammunition during an attack on a police outpost and was about to be married to one of the insurgents before she managed to engineer a dramatic escape. She says she was not raped.
"If I cried, they beat me. If I spoke, they beat me. They told me I must become a Muslim but I refused again and again,"Hajja told Reuters in an interview. Her family name is withheld to protect relatives still living in the Gwoza area.
"They were about to slaughter me and one of them begged me not to resist and just before I had my throat slit I relented.They put a veil on me and made me read from the Koran," she said in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, where she is now living.
At least a dozen teenagers like her remain in captivity,Michael Yohanna, a councillor in Gwoza's local government told Reuters. Some have married commanders, recalling Kony's  LRA,which abducted thousands of "wives" in a 20-year war in Uganda before a truce in 1986. Kony remains a fugitive.
A man called Ibrahim Tada Nglayike led the group Hajja was with. On one mission, Hajja was sent to stand in a field near a village to attract the attention of civilians working with the army. When five men approached her, they were ambushed.
"They took them back to a cave and tied them up. They cut their throats, one at a time," Hajja said. "I thought my heart would burst out of my chest, because I was the bait."
Among those who did the killing was the Muslim wife of the leader Nglayike, the only other woman in the band of fighters.
Reuters verified Hajja's account of having been abducted with independent figures in the region. Boko Haram shuns the media and none of its members could be contacted for comment.
Hajja says the long-bearded insurgents lived a basic lifestyle, eating corn, millet and occasionally meat from animals they stole and which she slaughtered.
The group, armed with AK-47 rifles and pistols stolen from police they killed, moved every day around the hills to avoid being tracked by the army and slept in the caves to shelter from the cold and for protection against air assaults.
"They didn't use phones but they had a radio," Hajja said.
"They would listen to BBC Hausa or Voice of America and jump and shout if they heard about Boko Haram attacks."
Forced out of cities and semi-desert bases since Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May, the militants have mostly retreated to hills and forests on the Cameroon border.
"It's the toothpaste effect: squeeze one end and it comes out the other. They have proven resilient and are adapting faster than the military," a Nigerian security source said.
Army commanders denied Boko Haram had any control over the Gwoza mountains: "We are curtailing their activities and I can assure you that ... the insurgency will soon be a thing of the past," Lieutenant Colonel Adamu Garba Laka said.
But a Nigerian general asked Cameroon this month for help infighting Boko Haram, and the backlash against civilians has made the conflict deadlier than ever.
According to one security source, in the five months after Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the northern there were 1,708 deaths in 83 violent clashes, compared with 667 deaths from 117 incidents in the previous five months.
Pushing the conflict into poor rural regions, like Gwoza,where Hajja was seized, runs the risk of radicalising more disenchanted youths and drawing more people into the violence.
"Gwoza has disintegrated. We have no schools, no hospitals,no government offices functioning," said councillor Yohanna.
"I worry that youths will take the law into their own hands.It will become a war between Christians and Muslims."
Insurgents moved freely through the hills and even into the town of Gwoza, Hajja said. Fighters made trips to collect cash,ammunition and weapons from the Sambisa Game Reserve, a forested region where Boko Haram has established camps.
Informants, mostly farmers, would warn them of approaching army patrols, Hajja said, adding that the rebels also appeared to have sympathetic contacts among the troops - something Nigerian military commanders deny.
"They know the area very well and many people help them because they are afraid or support their cause," Hajja said.
On once occasion, Boko Haram commanders were  traveling from Maiduguri, the state capital on the plain north of Gwoza,to meet the guerrilla group in the hills.
Hajja said her unit carried out dozens of attacks, killing police and anyone suspected of aiding authorities.
The longer the insurgency goes on, President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, will come under increasing criticism from his northern opponents as elections in early 2015 draw closer.
He risks growing resentment from a northern population whobelieve he is out of touch with their troubles.
It is also becoming a drain on Africa's second largest economy - Nigeria allocates a fifth of its budget for security.
Hajja eventually escaped by feigning severe stomach pains.Thinking her too ill to flee, the insurgents sent her to hospital escorted only by an older woman. Once she was among other people, Hajja threatened to denounce the group to police,prompting the woman to abandon her and flee.
"I finally tore off the veil and I cried," Hajja said.

China shuts down Nigeria Visa application centre in Beijing

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri
China has asked Nigeria to close down a visa application centre in Biejing for what it called “illegal activities”.
It could not be confirmed if there was such development in Germany and the United States.
SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that China had written a protest letter to the Nigerian Embassy in Beijing to communicate its disapproval.
The private visa application centre had opened to business to receive requests for intending travellers from China to Nigeria.
But the host country said Nigeria did not follow due process in setting up the agency, thus making  its activities  illegal.
A source confirmed the development to our correspondent on Saturday.
He said, “The information is correct. But it is not the Nigerian consular office that was asked to close down, it was the ‘illegal’ visa application centre. The Nigerian authorities did not inform China of its intention to open a visa application centre through a private company before it started operation.
“There is a procedure which must be followed. It is good to avoid a diplomatic row and to continue with the good relationship between the two countries on one hand and the citizens on the other hand”, he added.
In the note verbale written to the Nigerian embassy, China requested Nigeria to follow due process in setting up the private company as an agency for visa processing.
Note verbale is a diplomatic language, memorandum or note not signed, sent when an affair has continued a long time without any reply, in order to avoid the appearance of an urgency, which, perhaps, the affair does not require; and, on the other hand, not to afford any ground for supposing that it is forgotten, or that there is no intention of not prosecuting it any further.
Another source in China said, “It is true that the Chinese authorities asked Nigerian authorities to follow due process. The host country in situation like this will not take laws into its hands by shutting down the centre itself. It will only request the concerned country to do the right thing by closing down the place until the right things are done.”
When contacted last night, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ogbole Ode, said he was not aware of the development.
“I am not aware. It is already midnight in China so there is no way to confirm now”, Ode said.
But the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy, Mr. Ding Awhua, neither confirmed nor denied the report.
He said, as far as I know, the Nigerian Embassy or the cousular office in Beijing is open to business as usual. China and Nigeria enjoy cordial diplomatic relations, even if there is any issue between the two countries, there is a diplomatic channel of communication. Both China and Nigeria are law abiding countries and will not do anything contrary to the law.”
Culled from Nigeriaonline

Nigerians in Ireland


Recent Nigerian migration to Ireland began after Nigeria's independence from the United Kingdom in 1960; migration began to accelerate slightly during the late 1960s Nigerian Civil War, though it remained small.[5] Early Nigerian migration to Ireland consisted primarily of businesspeople, especially in the fishing industry (Irish-exported mackerel is widely-consumed in Nigeria). Other early migrants included medical students, who had intended to return to Nigeria after completing their courses, but ended up staying in Ireland. Migration began to become more noticeable after 1981.[6]Medical students trained at the Royal College of Surgeons as well as Trinity College.[7] The first significant mass-migration of Nigerians to Ireland comprised Nigerians from the United Kingdom. Most came only with the intention of extending their UK visas and then returning, but the ones who failed settled down in Ireland as illegal immigrants.[8] After the landmark High Court caseFajujonu v. Minister for Justice, which prohibited deportation of parents of Irish-born children, more Nigerians began coming to Ireland.[9] Then, from around 1996, during Ireland's "Celtic Tiger" period of rapid economic expansion and labour shortages, some Nigerian workers were recruited from overseas by Irish companies, while others came to the country, seeking either opportunities for jobs, or to set up niche businesses aimed at other African migrants providing goods and services which they expected would not otherwise be available in the Irish market.[10] Between 2002 and 2006, the population of Nigerian citizens in Ireland grew by 81.7%, according to Irish census figures, making them the country's fourth-largest migrant group at the time.[1] Many recent migrants are asylum-seekers.[5] However, from 2002 to 2009 the number of Nigerian applicants for asylum fell sharply, dropping from a peak of 4,050 to just 569.[11]


Though their migration is relatively recent, Nigerian migrants mention that they had contact with Irish people and institutions in their home country, such as charitable activities run by Irish Catholic clergy or Irish non-governmental organisations, which contributed to their positive image of Irish people prior to migration.[12] Among Nigerian respondents to a 2008 survey, 40% had no friends or family in the country at all prior to arrival, double the rate of other migrant groups such as Indians and Lithuanians, though slightly less than Chinese. 22% mentioned education and training as their motivation for migration, while 16% mentioned joining family.[13] They are far more likely (90%) than other migrant groups surveyed to have children, whether in Ireland or elsewhere.[14]Furthermore about half state that they are responsible for full or partial support of other adult or minor family members.[15] More than 80% were married, and those, for about one-fifth, their partners lived in Nigeria rather than in Ireland; more than 90% have children.[16]

Business and employment[edit]

A 2008 survey found that 86% of Nigerian respondents had been employed before migration to Ireland, while just 8% were full-time students. 27% had been self-employed, a much higher rate than other migrant groups surveyed. 25% had worked as managers and executives, 11% in business and commerce, 17% in local or central governments, 12% in health-related occupations, and 5% in personal services.[17] Only 16% had a job offer in Ireland prior to arrival, about double the rate of Chinese respondents, but less than a third the rate of Indian or Lithuanian respondents.[18] They are more likely than the other groups surveyed to find their employment through newspaper advertisements, rather than the internet or friends and family.[19] About half of the survey respondents were employed at the time of the survey, with another 16% of men and 13% of women looking for work. Many work in personal services and childcare (positions such as care assistants, security guards, waiters, or hotel staff).[20] This marked a significant shift from their previous pattern of employment in their home country, and has been interpreted as evidence of deskilling.[21] About half of Nigerian men and two-thirds of Nigerian women feel that their qualifications are fully recognised in their main job.[22] Compared to other groups they have an intermediate level of income (majority reporting between €14,401 and €31,720).[23] Fewer than 2% are employed in predominantly Irish working environments.[24]


Compared to other migrant groups, Nigerians have been noted for their high level of involvement in electoral politics, community organisations, and anti-racism struggles.[7] By 2008, two Nigerians had been elected to city council positions in Ireland, namely in Portlaoise (Rotimi Adebari) and Ennis.[25] A 2008 survey found that 50% of Nigerian respondents were registered to vote, more than double the other recent migrant groups surveyed.[26] 25% of the same survey group were again involved with trade unions, again far more than the other groups.[27] Involvement in political and civic activity tends to be high among asylum seekers while they are awaiting the completion of the asylum process, but drops off afterwards due to increased demands on their time by employment.[28]The same survey found that, Nigerians, in common with Chinese, often reported racism or discrimination in the workplace. They stated that they often suffered bullying from their managers as well as their co-workers.[29] They are often stereotyped as criminals.[24] They are also more likely than other groups surveyed to feel that Irish people are not accepting of diverse cultures and communities as part of society.[30]

Culture and community[edit]

In contrast to other migrant groups surveyed, Nigerians have a high level of English usage in almost all kinds of interactions, including with children, with other Nigerian friends, in other socialisation, and at work; only communication with partners was an exception to this trend.[31] 95% rate themselves as having "fluent" or "adequate" command of English.[32] However, they are strongly likely to feel that they do not have many values in common with Irish people.[33]
Community organisations established by Nigerians in Ireland include the Nigerian Association of Ireland and the Igbo Association of Ireland.[28] Nigerian organisations are typically ethnic-specific (as in the Bini Community in Ireland and the Igbo Progressive Union) or local-specific (as in the Association of Nigerians in Galway). There is also an umbrella organisation, the Nigerian Association Network in Ireland. Nigerians are also active in pan-African organisations and general migrant organisations.[34] Arambe Theater Productions, a pan-African drama group, was established in 2003 by Nigerian performance artist Bisi Adigun.[35] There is also a Nigerian-run beauty pageant, The Most Beautiful African Girl in Ireland. Some Nigerian churches have been established in various places in Ireland, along with various Nigerian-owned shops and restaurants, especially in Dublin's Moore Street.[36][37] Nigerians have also established several magazines such as Bold & Beautiful and Xclusive. Nigerian television stations are available through satellite providers such as Africa Independent Television and BEN Television.[38]


In a 2008 survey, about one-third of Nigerian respondents were in education on a part-time or full-time basis, mostly at tertiary institutions. They often face high tuition fees, due to the requirement that students have been employed and paying taxes in three out of the five preceding years to qualify for reduced European Union tuition rates.[39] The same survey found that 90% of Nigerian respondents had made use of health services in Ireland (such as GPs, hospitals, community health centres, medical cards, and private insurance providers), a much higher rate than the other groups surveyed (Chinese, Indians, and Lithuanians, ranging from 40% to 60%).[40]
Culled from Wikipedia