Network Africa: Nigeria Now Africa’s Largest Economy As Rwandans Remember Genocide

Network AfricaOn this edition of Network Africa, the growth of Nigeria’s economy hits the limelight as it overtakes South Africa as Africa’s largest economy.

Nigeria has overtaken South Africa as the continent’s largest economy after a rebasing calculation almost doubled its Gross Domestic Product to more than 500 billion US dollars.

The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics confirmed that GDP for 2013 in Africa’s top oil producer was over 80 trillion Naira, up from the 42.3 trillion estimated before the rebasing.

Oscar Pistorius’ harsh grilling from the prosecution in his murder trial on Wednesday also features on this edition, with state prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, vowing to “get to the truth” as he questioned Pistorius about the killing of his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day 2013.

The prosecutor immediately boxed the double-amputee athlete into a corner in what could best be described by the defense as an “ambush.” Our correspondent, Betty Dibia in South Africa gives us details on the trial.

The UN World Health Organization has warned that this is “one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks they have ever dealt with” and it could take another four months to contain.

Therefore, to shed more light on the Ebola outbreak, Amarachi Ubani spoke to the Voice of America’s Carole Pearson, and it is quite revealing.

Stories From Rwanda

The past week has been highly significant for the people of Rwanda, as they remembered the victims of the genocide which ended the lives of at least 800,000 people in the space of 100 days.

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, along with the UN Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, lit a torch which is to burn for 100 days, representing the number of days during which the genocide took place.

Also, France has acknowledged mistakes in its dealings with Rwanda, but has repeatedly shut down accusations that it trained militias to take part in the massacres.

Still in Rwanda, brother and sister, Chance Tubane and Patience Nduwawe, have chosen not to be victims of their circumstance.  They run one of Rwanda’s most popular websites.

They combine their skills in I.T. and Communication and in 2011, they launched tohoza.com – an online directory and advertisement platform, where Rwandans can post or search for jobs and houses, sell or rent anything, and even look for partners.

Their site has literally become Rwanda’s second most visited website, turning its young founders into widely known entrepreneurs.

Russia Begins Integration Of Crimea Amid Sanctions

Russia-CrimeaOne week after the referendum in Crimea, Russia has already begun integrating the peninsula with people there already turning in their Ukrainian passports for that of Russia and Russian flags have now been hoisted at 189 Ukrainian military units and facilities in Crimea.

The EU has accused Russia of pre-planning this move, but according to Russia’s ambassador to the EU, the ‘reunification’ had not been pre-planned, but was the end of what it called an ‘abnormality’ which had lasted for 60 years.

The United States, having imposed sanctions on Russia’s main leaders, has ruled out sending US troops to Ukraine, which has gone ahead to sign that long awaited deal with the European Union.

Meanwhile, Nato is worried about the growing number of Russian soldiers on Ukraine’s eastern border.

What’s going on between Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union, only reminds us of the period just after the end of the cold war, when both sides continued their show of force for who was better.

Analysts believe the tensions surrounding the Crimea have further degraded relations between Russia and the United States.

The US and its allies thought the tension would all end at the negotiating table, which is why a series of warnings came from all parties opposed to the Russian take over.

Moscow however, has shown it is not afraid of sanctions or repercussions, and instead, pushed ahead, signing the declaration annexing Crimea, backed by the country’s parliament.

As with all things in international politics, there are actions and counter-actions. One of them is the sanctions imposed by the United States and the EU.

Will they bring Russia to its knees?

A Professor with the Political Science Department, Covenant University in   Ota, Ogun State, Kayode Soremekun, says there were several dimensions and views to the issue, ranging from what could be called ‘Russian aggression, Washington’s hypocrisy.’

He said that what has happened has been likened to an earlier throw back to what happened in the time of Adolf Hitler.

“When you are talking of international politics, every country has its own interest to protect and in this case Russia’s interests run counter to Washington’s interest.

“Russia has some Russians living in Crimea and what Russia did was a irredentist’s move,” Professor Soremekun.

He explained that the sanction would not only have effect on Russia but also on the countries that had issued the sanctions.

Mystery Of Missing Malaysian Flight MH370

malaysiaDiplomatic Channels also considered the circumstances surrounding the missing Malaysian plane, MH370 that has left the whole world amazed for over two weeks of the plane’s disappearance off the radar at the control tower in Kuala Lumpur.

The plane was on its way to the Chinese capital, Beijing, but disappeared after one hour of take-off time.

On board were 239 people and Malaysian authorities believe it was deliberately taken off course.

Since the middle of last week, the search has been in two distinct corridors, one stretching to the north-west of the last known location in the Malacca straits, and one to the south-west.

Rescuers are now working with leads from satellite images, believed to be debris from the missing plane, but even that has proved inconclusive.

Every minute and every hour is crucial in the search for the missing plane, especially the data recorder, which has a battery lifespan of 30 days.

On March 24, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, informed the families of those missing on flight MH370 that the plane likely crashed in the Indian Ocean west of Perth. Now the search will concentrate on the Southern part of the Indian Ocean.

With 26 countries involved in the search, using the latest technological equipment for an extensive search, there are still no answers on debris.

Nollywood Producer Says Films With Pornographic Scenes Didn’t Pass Through Censors Board

It all seemed like a joke when sometime last year American-based Nigerian actress, Judith Opara Mazagwu, popularly known as AfroCandy, called for actors and actresses who could fit into nude roles.

This call got mixed reactions from the public but it did not stop the producers of movies like Room 027 and Bold 5 Babes.

Fans of controversial actress, Tonto Dikeh, showed their disdain when they saw her in two different soft pornography movies. But the actress defended herself in an online interview, where she said, “Only the ignorant and pretentious souls would criticise this lovely movie. It is a film, it’s a job that has to be done. I accepted the script because when I see a good film in the making, I appreciate it.

“What everyone has seen is just a trailer and we all know trailers are supposed to be fun-filled so as to attract viewers. So, it’s allowed to be called a soft porn at this stage. That movie is the deepest story line I’ve ever read. It’s a movie most people can identify with: I love and appreciate all the hype around this movie.”

There has been the noticeable increase in the degree of nudity now accommodated in some of the recently released movies in the country.
In their defense the actors points at globalization and desire to meet international standard as a motivation for concentrating on this feature.

The Film and Video Censors Board have said such films will not be allowed to circulate in the country, unfortunately the producers of these movies are taken advantage of these online platforms and also find a way of getting them into the open market.

The chairman Film Markets Association, Norbert Ajaegbu said movies with these features leave the self like hot cake.

The president of the Association of Movie Producers, Zik Zulu Okafor has said a writer or producer has a right of expression but in Nollywood “we don’t encourage erosion of our core values”.

Speaking on Channels Television News At Ten, Mr Zulu explained that Nollywood as a body is currently working on the council (Motion Picture Practitioner Council of Nigeria) which has not been in place yet.

He said that what is established right now is only the Guild system, “there is no authority behind that” (the content) and therefore they are not able to control it. He left to that is the National Film and Video Censored Board.

He added that the online platform has to be checked and a lot of people are doing “shortcut” in releasing their films and they avoid the censored board.

Mr. Zulu said the censored board is raiding the market looking for producers who release movies without being censored
“A lot of these films come from Ghana because in Nigeria we are sensitive”.

He maintained the fact that “movies that contain nudity did not pass through censored board”.

Diplomatic Channel:North Korea’s Threat

Looking at North Korea’s threat as regards the launching of their nuclear programme which has been opposed by world powers,our foreign correspondent Amarachi Ubani had Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse; a lecturer from the University of Lagos on the programme Diplomatic Channel to give his analysis.

Maritime Industry And Its Insecurity

The Chief of Naval Staff;Vice Admiral Dele Nsoba said in the last ten years coalition of allied countries decided to combat insecurity in the Gulf and the Gulf of Aden.

Rep decries ill treatment of House resolutions

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, says the National Assembly has to urgently consider the manner resolutions of the legislature are treated by the executive.

The lawmaker was reacting to the decision of the executive not to seek a review of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling which ceded the Bakassi Penisula to the Republic of Cameroon.

She said the position taken by the executive flouts the resolution of the both chambers of the National Assembly and is a disservice to the country.

Nigerians in Brazilian prison visited by Diaspora Cmmte’

Looking into the case of 457 Nigerians in the federal prison of Brazil for various drug offences,the Chairman of the House of Represntatives committee on diaspora; Hon. Anike Dabiri Erewa was on our programme Diplomatic Channel with anchor Amarach ubani.

She revealed why they are there and that the Nigerian government has intervened.