Leader Development & Education for Sustained Peace Program: Cross-Cultural, Geopolitical & Regional Education

In Review: Nigeria in Motion

From our 26 April LDESP Africa News Update.

imagesOn 22 April, Al Jazeera reported on what is deemed to be the worst incident of violence in the region since the rebirth of the insurgency three years ago. Nearly 200 were killed in fighting between Boko Haram and Nigerian troops in the country’s northeast state of Borno:

“The assault marks a significant escalation in a long-running insurgency in the predominantly Muslim north, where Boko Haram has mounted a co-ordinated assault on soldiers using military-grade weaponry. Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, has said it wanted its imprisoned members freed and Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law. Authorities had found and buried at least 185 bodies as of 21 April afternoon, said Lawan Kole, a local government official in Baga. Officials could not offer a breakdown of civilian casualties versus those of soldiers and fighters. Many of the bodies had been burned beyond recognition in fires that razed whole sections of the town, residents said.

‘Heavy firepower’

Brigadier General Austin Edokpaye said the Boko Haram fighters used heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the assault, which began after soldiers surrounded a mosque they believed housed members of the group. Edokpaye said they used civilians as human shields during the fighting, implying that soldiers opened fire in neighbourhoods where they knew civilians lived. “When we reinforced and returned to the scene the terrorists came out with heavy firepower, including [rocket-propelled grenades], which usually has a conflagration effect,” the general said. However, local residents who spoke to a journalist who accompanied the state officials said soldiers purposefully set the fires during the attack.” (Al Jazeera)

The Associated Press reported, “Nigeria’s military blocked access for relief officials to enter the town of Baga, which sits along the shores of Lake Chad in the nation’s far northeast, said Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, a Red Cross spokesman. Another 77 people are receiving medical care there in the ruins of a town where some 300 homes burned down, he said. Local residents blamed angry soldiers for burning down neighborhoods where they knew civilians were hiding.” In February, the Civil-Military Fusion Centre published a report on “The Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria,” which traces the interesting evolution of the group and provides a useful primer on the organization’s ideology, capability and impact:map_nigeria

Boko Haram, a once obscure Islamist terrorist group in northern Nigeria, has quickly risen to prominence by expanding its influence across Africa’s most populous and oil-rich country. Though latent for the better part of the past decade, since 2009 the group has waged a campaign of extremist, anti-government attacks across much of northern and central Nigeria. The insurgency killed over 550 people in 2011 in 115 separate attacks. In total, at least 2,800 deaths are attributable to Boko Haram’s violent and often rudimentary tactics; however, some reports suggest the death toll is closer to 4,000. In addition to targeting Nigerian Christians, government institutions and Muslims the group accuses of cooperating with the Nigerian government, the group coordinated an attack against the United Nations’ Abuja headquarters in August 2011, which killed 23 and wounded 81. The recent collapse of the Gaddafi regime in Libya raised concerns about the group’s potential involvement in arms proliferation across the Sahel. The recent adoption of monikers like the “Nigerian Taliban” has led some experts to suggest that the organization may take on the goal of a broader, international jihad. This report traces the historical evolution of Boko Haram’s development and outlines the dimensions of its conflict with the Nigerian state, including the spike in violence that began in 2009 and the response of Nigeria’s government to the extremist group. It also considers to what extent the insurgency poses a threat to the international community and reviews responses by the United States and the United Nations. Finally, the likelihood of a peace process between the militia and the Nigerian central government is considered. (Civil-Military Fusion Center)

Around the same time as the fighting in Northeast Nigeria that resulted in nearly 200 deaths, a splinter group split from Boko Haram and announced that their efforts would shift focus from domestic targets to international ones. The New York Times reported, “In Nigeria, Ansaru Militant Group Poses New Threat”:

“Having split off from Boko Haram — the dominant Nigerian extremist group responsible for weekly shootings and bombings — this new group, Ansaru, says it eschews the killing of fellow Nigerians.

“Too reckless,” said a young member of Ansaru. His group evidently prefers a more calculated approach: kidnapping and killing foreigners.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau Image source: BBC, “Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?”

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
Image source: BBC, “Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?

Just days before, his group had methodically killed seven foreign construction workers deep in Nigeria’s semidesert north. The seven had been helping to build a road; their bodies were shown in a grainy video, lying on the ground.

The West, which has often regarded the Islamist uprising here as a Nigerian domestic issue, has been explicitly put on notice by Ansaru, adding an international dynamic to a conflict that has already cost more than 3,000 lives.

Ansaru is believed to be responsible for the December kidnapping of a French engineer, who is still missing, and for the abduction of an Italian and a Briton, both construction workers, who were later killed by their captors as a rescue attempt began last year.

It is also likely that the group was involved in the February kidnapping of a French family on the Cameroon-Nigeria border — they were released on 19 April, under conditions that are unclear — as well as the kidnapping of a German engineer in Kano killed during a rescue effort last year.

“Any white man who is working with them” — meaning “Zionists,” — “we can kidnap them, everywhere,” said the young man from Ansaru, who called himself Mujahid Abu Nasir.

He had slipped into Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, with a bodyguard, traveling hundreds of miles from Ansaru’s secret headquarters in the north, getting past a major military base here. He said he had come under the authorization of Ansaru’s leader, Khalid al-Barnawi, who the United States says has close ties to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and has designated a global terrorist.

For three hours, with chilling precision, Abu Nasir, in a neatly pressed shirt and polished shoes, laid out Ansaru’s philosophy, after reciting a verse from the Koran promising “hellfire” for nonbelievers: opponents would be killed; Qaeda sympathizers were everywhere in Nigeria; and Westerners would be kidnapped.

He said Ansaru had been motivated by Al Qaeda itself, trained by its affiliate in the region — Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — and was now following in both their footsteps.

Before speaking or touching anything, Abu Nasir carefully put on black gloves and examined a reporter’s pen to make sure there was no camera hidden in it. He said he was the son of a Nigerian aristocrat, and he spoke Arabic, which he said he had perfected at a university in Khartoum, Sudan. He understood English perfectly but would not speak it, on principle.

“By taking these hostages, we are sending a message that they should be careful about giving bad advice to our leaders,” he said of Nigeria’s government, which he called a “puppet” of the West.

An image reportedly showing members of Ansaru in November. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Image source: Guardian, “Ansaru, the Islamist Group behind Foreign Hostage Killings”

An image reportedly showing members of Ansaru in November. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Image source: Guardian, “Ansaru, the Islamist Group behind Foreign Hostage Killings

Veteran observers of Nigeria’s struggle with Islamists say Ansaru has closer ties to Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate, in terms of both training and ideology, than any other extremist group in Nigeria.

“They are as dangerous as Al Qaeda,” said Maikaramba Sadiq of Nigeria’s Civil Liberties Organization. “They have the same training as Al Qaeda. They have the same approach as Al Qaeda.”

Nigeria’s top counterterrorism official, Maj. Gen. Sarkin-Yaki Bello, agreed. “They have the same objective, to Islamize the Sahel,” he said, referring to the belt of African countries immediately south of the Sahara.

In General Bello’s view, Ansaru is a more sophisticated version of Boko Haram, the group that spawned it: “They speak Arabic better, and they have more international connections.”

Analysts at the United Nations and elsewhere have long suggested links between Boko Haram — which fought a particularly bloody battle with Nigerian security forces in recent days — and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Moreover, Boko Haram is not strictly focused on attacking Nigerians: in 2011, it blew up the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, a rare strike by the group on an international target.” (New York Times)

Experts on Nigeria seem to agree that the security issues in the North are for the most part a result of extreme poverty and lack of good governance that has created a socio-economic gap between the Muslims in the North and the Christians in the South in a country that has ample resources. Recently the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics released figures indicating that poverty continues to rise in the country, especially in the northern part. The BBC reported “Nigerians Living in Poverty Rise to Nearly 61%:

“Poverty has risen in Nigeria, with almost 100 million people living on less than a $1 (£0.63) a day, despite economic growth, statistics have shown.

The National Bureau of Statistics said 60.9% of Nigerians in 2010 were living in “absolute poverty” – this figure had risen from 54.7% in 2004.

The bureau predicted this rising trend was likely to continue.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer but the sector has been tainted by accusations of corruption.

According to the report, absolute poverty is measured by the number of people who can afford only the bare essentials of shelter, food and clothing.

North-south divide

The NBS, a government agency, said there was a paradox at the heart of Nigeria as the economy was going from strength to strength, mainly because of oil production – yet Nigerians were getting poorer.

“Despite the fact that the Nigerian economy is growing, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty is increasing every year, although it declined between 1985 and 1992, and between 1996 and 2004,” head of the NBS bureau Yemi Kale said.

Oil accounts for some 80% of Nigeria’s state revenues but it has hardly any capacity to refine crude oil into fuel, which has to be imported.

Last month, there was a nationwide strike when the government tried to remove the subsidy on fuel, angering many Nigerians who see it as the only benefit they received from the country’s vast oil wealth.

The NBS said that relative poverty was most apparent in the north of the country, with Sokoto state’s poverty rate the highest at 86.4%.

In the north-west and north-east of the country poverty rates were recorded at 77.7% and 76.3% respectively, compared to the south-west at 59.1%.

BBC Africa analyst Richard Hamilton says it is perhaps no surprise that extremist groups, such as Boko Haram, continue to have an appeal in northern parts of the country, where poverty and underdevelopment are at their most severe.” (BBC)

Interactive map of Nigeria: includes information about wealth, ethnicity, health, literacy and oil as a natural resource.  Image source: BBC

Interactive map of Nigeria: includes information about wealth, ethnicity, health, literacy and oil as a natural resource.
Image source: BBC

Must Watch: “Fuelling Poverty”, 30-minute long documentary on a massive strike that paralyzed life in Nigeria. The documentary features newspaper headlines, television news footage and other information widely known about a government gasoline subsidy that saw billions of dollars stolen by greedy companies and the nation’s elite. (‘Fuelling Poverty’ Documentary Censored by Nigerian Officials, Huffington Post)

Nigeria Headlines: Security, Economy, Governance, U.S. Relations

Epiphanies from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister

It was hardly the best of circumstances for an interview when Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala sat down with Foreign Policy in Washington, D.C., recently. In addition to jet lag, the Nigerian finance minister was battling both malaria and the flu. “Anyone else would be lying in bed right now,” she said wryly. But toughing through malaria might be easy compared with the Harvard- and MIT-trained economist’s day job: attempting to clean up Nigeria’s notorious corruption and cutting hugely popular subsidies in a country that has become the textbook example of the resource curse. It’s also a brutal place to be in public life: Just two days after this conversation, Okonjo-Iweala’s mother was kidnapped and held for ransom. (She was released after five days.) In a wide-ranging conversation, the former World Bank managing director — favored by many to run the organization, though Barack Obama stuck with tradition and nominated an American, Jim Yong Kim, last year — touched on the biggest challenges facing Nigeria, why she’s bullish about Africa, and why Americans shouldn’t be so smug.  (…)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,
Nigeria’s finance minister
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: The big difference is that the United States, being a developed country, has strong institutions. In Nigeria — which is a much younger country, only about 50 years since independence — the lack of these institutions is to be understood. But it does make for a different way of doing business. Some of the things that are looked upon as corruption over there have found legal and professional names over here, in the United States. For instance, at home when people go to lawmakers and induce them with trips and gifts and so on to pass legislation, it’s called corruption. But in the U.S. it’s actually a profession called lobbying!

Look at what is happening to Africa in the midst of global uncertainty. It’s not a fluke. For almost a decade, the continent’s economy has been growing at close to 5 percent at a time of real global fragility. African policymakers, finally, are putting in place good economic policies and sound macroeconomic management. And throughout the crisis, they did not roll back these policies. The lessons have been learned.

Look at what is happening to Africa in the midst of global uncertainty. It’s not a fluke. For almost a decade, the continent’s economy has been growing at close to 5 percent at a time of real global fragility. African policymakers, finally, are putting in place good economic policies and sound macroeconomic management. And throughout the crisis, they did not roll back these policies. The lessons have been learned.

The first thing is to build strong institutions — the rule of law, fiscal management, savings. You need to keep your economy diversified. Nigeria went from an economy that was well diversified, with agriculture as the biggest industry, to a monoculture economy of oil. So we must manage the surpluses well. Channel them quickly into sound infrastructure investment — and into human investments. If you do those things right, then everything else will follow. (Foreign Policy)

Nigeria Boko Haram Commission in Dialogue to End Violence

A leading member of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s Boko Haram Committee has expressed confidence the panel will come up with recommendations to help resolve Nigeria’s internal security crisis. “As soon as the committee is inaugurated, I don’t think the chairman will waste time in convening the meeting and the beginning of the work. So we are looking forward to that,” said Sheikh Lemu, Boko Haram Committee leading member.  Officials say Mr. Jonathan will officially inaugurate the commission in mid-April.  Lemu says the group will objectively look at the security problems with the aim of coming up with effective solutions to the crisis. “The group has many people of integrity, many people who have concern for peace security as well as development of Nigeria as a whole.  Therefore, I’m optimistic that we shall look into the problem very objectively and give our advice in the form of recommendations to Mr. President,” said Lemu. The committee has been tasked with engaging key members of the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram in a dialogue to end the violence by developing a framework that could lead to disarmament and compensation for victims of the group’s violent insurgency within 60 days.  But some Nigerians are skeptical about the prospects of the panel’s work, saying successive governments have failed to consider or implement recommendations of other groups tasked with solving the country’s challenges. “The problem is that over the years other crisis that have happened in Nigeria, the government of the day will appoint a committee or commission, they will [present] their report [but] the government will dump it aside, and then the problem will recur,” Lemu said. (Voice of America)

Nigeria Carnage – Camps for Victims

Nigerian rescue workers set up temporary camps in a remote northeast town on 25 April and distributed aid to the masses displaced by brutal fighting that left 187 people dead. The bloodshed in the town of Baga near Lake Chad on 19 April probably marked the deadliest-ever episode in the insurgency of Boko Haram, a radical group which has said it wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The military has been accused of firing indiscriminately on civilians and setting fire to nearly half the town, but Nigeria’s defence ministry has fiercely denied those charges.  “Our team has set up 10 camps for displaced people,” said the spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema), Manzo Ezekiel. “Definitely thousands of people have been displaced, but as for now we cannot give the precise number,” he added. The Nema team includes medics to care for the injured, while food and clothing is also being distributed to the town which was the site of “barbaric” violence, area Governor Kashim Shettima said. “If there is need, we are going to re-enforce immediately,” the Nema spokesperson told AFP, noting that the devastation in Baga was still hard to quantify, nearly a week after the fighting. The Red Cross also has personnel on the ground, but spokesperson Nwakpa O Nwakpa told AFP on 24 April that his staff have still not completed a needs assessment. Baga is in Borno state, considered Boko Haram’s home base, but the town had not previously seen such intense fighting. (News24)

Death Toll in Nigeria Shootout with Islamist Militants Reaches 25

Twenty-five people were killed in a clash between Nigerian security forces and suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants who robbed a bank and attacked a police station in northeastern Yobe state, police said on 26 April. The military had earlier said seven people were killed in the shootout on 25 April. “Five policemen and 20 gunmen have been confirmed dead and over nine million Nigerian naira ($56,600) was carted away from a commercial bank,” Yobe State police commissioner Sanusi Rufai said in a statement, adding that the loot had been recovered. (Reuters)

Nigeria, U.S., Discuss Obama, Jonathan’s Exchange Visits

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, said modalities for the exchange of visits between Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Barack Obama formed part of his discussion with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. He told newsmen shortly after a closed door meeting with Mr. Kerry that the two presidents would exchange visits. The minister did not give further details of the proposed visits. “I was able to brief [Kerry] on the development in Nigeria, on what we are doing to revamp the economy, to reposition all the strategic sectors, agriculture, power, energy, petroleum, transportation and development of infrastructure in the country,” he said. “And that we are doing very well, our programme is on course and I also expressed thanks to him for what they (U.S.) are doing, the investment flowing into the country from the USA, especially in agriculture and the power sector. “All these programmes and investment will help to create jobs for our people in the country, particularly for the teeming youths of our country.” The minister emphasised that Mr. Kerry noted that Nigeria was U.S. strategic partner and that it would continue to support Nigeria in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency. Mr. Ashiru said the U.S. Secretary described the activities of Boko Haram as challenges Nigeria must face, adding that the government was doing its best. “But I thank him for the support they have given us in the past. “Then, we discussed the situation in Mali; we are unified in our belief that we must not allow any part of that sub region to destabilise our country or the region,’’ he said. (Premium Times Nigeria)

Nigeria Partners with Neighboring Countries for Border Control

The Minster for Interior, Abba Moro has said that the country’s entry points are porous. While speaking on Channels Television Breakfast Show Sunrise Daily, the minister explained that the federal government is working with neighboring countries as well as the United Kingdom and United States on how to protect Nigeria’s borders. He also revealed that plans are underway in constructing better prisons to avoid inmates from escaping, he said this will solve the problem of overpopulation in the prisons. (Channels TV)

Nigeria Takes Next Step in Power Privatization

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan accepted deposits by bidders for 15 state electricity assets on 22 April, a milestone in a privatization process meant to end decades of power blackouts. A signing ceremony at the presidential residence came a month after the bidders for 10 generation companies and five distribution companies paid deposits of 25 percent of the value of their bids. Power companies will now negotiate terms to complete the transfer from state hands before paying the remaining money and taking control of the plants and distribution firms, a process which is expected to take several months. Nigeria’s dysfunctional state electricity provider is being broken up into 15 firms handling generation or distribution in different parts of the country, with the aim of doing something no Nigerian president has managed for decades: switching the lights on. Despite being Africa’s top energy producer with the world’s seventh largest gas reserves, Nigeria produces and distributes only enough power for a few hours a day in the places that get it at all. Economists say power outages cost Africa’s second biggest economy billions of dollars on imported diesel for generators and in lost output. They say current GDP growth of around 7 percent could be pushed into double figures if electricity supply could be sorted out. (…)”Today’s event signals a major step forward in the implementation of our power sector road map,” Jonathan said. “I congratulate the signing parties for reaching this significant target in our collective efforts to revitalize this sector, which is so important to our lives and development.” Previous state sell-offs in Nigeria were blighted by political infighting and graft, which have caused years of delays. Regulators say this process was more transparent. Although it has appeared to favour established Nigerian oligarchs, some of them with scant experience of operating power companies, most have teamed up with capable technical partners like Siemens. (Reuters)

Nigeria: We Are All Guilty of Corruption, PDP Tells ACN

The ruling party says if anything, the leading opposition party is as guilty of the same crime. The Peoples Democratic Party has dismissed a statement from the Action Congress of Nigeria celebrating the categorization of Nigeria as corrupt by the United States as “misplaced.” The ruling party says if anything, the leading opposition party is as guilty of the same crime. “Why is the ACN gallivanting? That only the PDP is corrupt and the opposition saints? What sense is there in this naked dance in the centre of the market square,” asked a statement from the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh. The PDP said that ACN was least qualified to point an accusing finger because its leader is one of the most corrupt Nigerians of the living memory. “See who is pointing an accusing finger with all the sleaze going on in the states under the ACN; with the commonwealth of entire six states privatized to please the emperor at Bourdillon,” the statement said. Action Congress had earlier described the ruling party as a “cesspool of corruption” citing the US report released in mid-April. But the PDP hit back a harshly worded statement. “The world may know of corrupt cases in Nigeria because the PDP as the ruling Party has chosen not to condone corruption like the opposition. We have shown enough dispassion in the crusade that even some of our members found wanting had to face the full weight of the law. Winning the war on corruption is therefore a matter for all Nigerians to do his or her own beat,” statement by Mr. Metuh said. “A deeper insight reveals no doubt that all corrupt persons in the civil and public services are not members of the PDP, neither are all Nigerians in their private businesses members of PDP.” Mr. Metuh said, though it is easy to argue that as leaders all bucks stops on PDP’s table, it is at the same time needful to appreciate that all Nigerians must pull through their own beat. “The phenomenon of corruption predates the 14 years of the PDP but our party has taken bold steps to tackle it. Whether, the ACN agrees or not, the establishment of the EFCC, ICPC and the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act are some of the firm measures in fight against corruption,” Mr. Metuh said. (All Africa)

World Bank, Nigeria in $300m Mortgage Deal

A MAJOR revolution in Nigeria’s housing sector is underway. The World Bank is partnering with the Federal Government to develop a $300 million mortgage financing structure for affordable houses. Besides the joint venture, local banks are to collaborate with the government to develop a mortgage vehicle to manage housing development. The project will be mainly private sector-driven, with the government having a marginal share. Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in the company of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, made the disclosures at the ongoing World Bank/ International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings, holding in Washington D.C, United States (U.S). The minister said the World Bank facility would attract a zero per cent interest; 0.7 per cent commitment charge; 10 years of grace; and 40 years repayment period. She put Nigeria’s housing deficit at 17 million, which she said, has been growing by two million annually. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said that the government has urged states willing to pioneer the scheme, to remove the impediments on land acquisition, issuance of certificate of occupancy and other constraints on land-related issues. According to her, six states, Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bauchi and Anambra states, have all signified to participate in the pilot phase. She disclosed that the guidelines for setting up the structure of mortgage financing in the country is already being worked out and that by the end of the year, the institution will be in place. It will become operational early next year. The minister also spoke of a plan by the government to float a Eurobond before the end of this year, stressing that a timetable has been developed to that effect. (The National Online Nigeria)

Nigeria: French Ex-Hostages Speak Out About Kidnapping

Members of the family held hostage for two months by a Nigerian Islamist group spoke about their ordeal on French national television in mid-April. They said the four children helped them get through the tough times. Albane Moulin-Fournier said during the prime-time interview on France 2 that there had been some “very hard moments, physically,” during their captivity. Albane was held in a different location than her husband, Tanguy, who said they were put in extreme heat with little access to water. Tanguy’s brother Cyril said a routine of daily activities for the children helped the family keep their sanity. (…) Albane said her four children, aged 5 to 12 years old, tolerated the situation very well, given the circumstances. “[The children] did not cry, did not have nightmares,” she said. “They played with whatever they could find, bits of wood, empty sardine tins.” Things started to look hopeful for the family’s release, said Albane, when their captors began feeding them fruit and eggs, perhaps to help them put on the weight they had lost during captivity. (…) All three ex-hostages were thinner than before their kidnapping, but healthy. The family was turned over to Cameroonian authorities, and arrived back in Paris on 20 April. They were greeted at the airport by France’s President François Hollande, who declared, “Today, life has won.” They were kidnapped in Cameroon on 18 February during a visit to a national park in the north, before being taken to Nigeria and held by the Islamist group Boko Haram. The family had been living in Cameroon since 2011, where Tanguy was posted with GDF Suez. His brother Cyril had come to Cameroon on vacation, to visit the family. Despite their kidnapping, Tanguy said he would still happily return to Cameroon. (All Africa)

Nigeria: Nollywood Actress Makes Time Magazine World’s 100 Most Influential People

Actress Jolade-Ekeinde, has been named amongst the 100 most influential people in the world, describing the 34 year old as “Africa’s most renowned leading lady.” The TIME Magazine made the announcement in mid-April. Jolade-Ekeinde was named in the 2013 icons category of the list alongside young Pakistani activist; Malala Yousafzai, US first lady Michelle Obama, Burmese pro-democracy activist; Aung San Sun Kyi, RnB diva; Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and controversial Italian footballer; Mario Balloteli. (…) Fondly called OmoSexy by her fans, she has made 300 or so movies, from the 1996 Mortal Inheritance to the 2010 super production Ijé, shot partly on location in Los Angeles. (…) Jalade-Ekeinde brings a juggler’s grace to her roles as actress, singer, reality-show star, mother of four and philanthropist (the Omotola Youth Empowerment Programme)” the profile reads. (…) According to Collins, Nollywood is the world’s most productive English-language film industry not Hollywood. “The world’s most productive English-language film industry is not Hollywood but Nollywood. The teeming Nigerian cinema grinds out some 2,500 movies a year, mostly direct-to-DVD quickies mixing melodrama, music and an evangelical Christian spin. (Think Bollywood via Tyler Perry.)” he said. (24/7 Latest News)

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