Chief Correspondent; Nigeria
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Nov 16, 2010

Militants kidnap 7 from Exxon platform off Nigeria

LAGOS, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s main militant group said
on Tuesday it was behind an attack on an Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) oil
platform and it had kidnapped seven Nigerian workers, the second
such raid for which it has claimed responsibility in a week.

The U.S. energy firm said armed men boarded the offshore
facility, operated by its Mobil Producing Nigeria unit in a
joint venture with the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC), late on Sunday but gave no further details.

Nov 16, 2010

Nigeria reports Iran arms seizure to U.N.

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria has reported the seizure of an illegal arms shipment from Iran intercepted by its secret service in Lagos last month to the U.N. Security Council, Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia said on Monday.

Rockets and other explosives, hidden in containers of building materials shipped to Nigeria from Iran, appear to put Tehran in breach of U.N. sanctions imposed over its refusal to halt a sensitive nuclear program, diplomats have said.

Nov 15, 2010

Gunmen kidnap 8 from Exxon oil platform off Nigeria

LAGOS (Reuters) – Gunmen attacked an Exxon Mobil oil platform off the Nigerian coast late on Sunday, kidnapping eight Nigerian crew members in the second such raid in the region in a week.

The U.S. energy firm said armed men boarded the offshore facility, operated by its Mobil Producing Nigeria arm in a joint venture with the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), but initially gave no further details.

Nov 11, 2010

Nigeria says Iran pledges cooperation in arms probe

LAGOS (Reuters) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki flew to Nigeria on Thursday to discuss an arms shipment seized in the West African state last month which diplomats have said could put Tehran in breach of United Nations sanctions.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia said his Iranian counterpart had pledged Tehran’s cooperation with investigations into the shipment, intercepted by Nigeria’s secret service two weeks ago and found to contain rockets and other explosives.

Nov 10, 2010

Banks, schools shut as Nigerian unions launch strike

LAGOS, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Some banks, schools and parts of
Nigeria’s public transport system were shut on Wednesday as the
country’s two main unions launched a warning strike to press
demands for an increase to the monthly minimum wage.

Roads in the main commercial city of Lagos and the capital
Abuja were quieter than usual as many workers stayed at home and
there were long queues at some petrol stations as motorists
stocked up on fuel in case the industrial action is prolonged.

Nov 8, 2010

Nigerian “bad bank” set to absorb $15 bln bad loans

LAGOS, Nov 8 (Reuters) – A Nigerian “bad bank” set up to
restore the health of the banking system after a sector-wide
bailout last year said on Monday it aimed to absorb 2.2
trillion naira ($15 billion) of bad loans by the end of
December.

The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), run by a
former Wall Street banker, was established to soak up bad bank
loans, recapitalise nine institutions rescued last year, and
restore lending in sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest
economy.

Nov 8, 2010

Gunmen kidnap five from Afren oil rig in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Gunmen in Nigeria have attacked an
offshore oil rig operated by exploration firm Afren (AFRE.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz),
kidnapping five crew members including foreigners and injuring
two others, the company said on Monday.

Nigeria’s main militant group, the Movement for the
Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), made no immediate claim
of responsibility but threatened to carry out new attacks on oil
infrastructure in Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry.

Nov 4, 2010

Backers of $2.5 billion Nigeria Nitel bid get “cold feet”

LAGOS (Reuters) – A Nigerian firm in a $2.5 billion bid for former state telecoms monopoly Nitel said on Thursday some of its backers had “cold feet” and asked for an extension to a payment deadline, again throwing the sale into doubt.

GiCell, the Nigerian firm involved in the preferred bid for Nitel, said it had requested a 30-day extension to a deadline for a 30 percent bid security, a $750 million payment due at the close of business on Thursday.

Nov 3, 2010

Nigerian Senate approves board of state “bad bank”

ABUJA/LAGOS, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s Senate on Wednesday
approved a former Goldman Sachs banker to run a state-owned “bad
bank”, paving the way for it to begin absorbing non-performing
loans from lenders rescued in last year’s $4 billion bailout.

The Senate confirmed former Wall Street investment banker
Mustafa Chike-Obi as chief executive of the Asset Management
Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and also approved nine other board
members nominated in September by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Nov 2, 2010

Nigerian SEC takes ex-Union Bank execs to court

LAGOS, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) said on Tuesday it was taking the ex-head of
Union Bank and other directors to court over an alleged share
price manipulation scheme during a 2007 stock market rally.

The SEC said joint investigations with the central bank
found Union Bank (UBN.LG: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) had used 30.5 billion naira ($200 mln)
in credit facilities from two foreign banks to buy up its own
shares via local stockbroker Falcon Securities in November 2007.

    • About Nick

      "Based in Lagos since early 2008, responsible for coverage of Africa's most populous nation. Previously based in Senegal for four years, covering West and Central Africa, and before that in Germany and Britain."
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