Denmark bans Nigeria adoptions after raid on suspected baby factory

MDG : Denmark Bans adoption from Nigeria : Adopted girl in Lagos

Children’s minister halts all adoption from Nigeria with immediate effect following arrests of pregnant women in Lagos.

A Nigerian girl and her adoptive mother, hours after their first meeting in Lagos. Photograph: Anders Andersson/Getty Images

Denmark has suspended adoptions from Nigeria less than a month after Lagos police arrested eight people at a suspected baby factory.

“I have decided to suspend all adoption from Nigeria with immediate effect,” Denmark’s minister for children tweeted. “We must do everything we can to protect the children and to give the families peace of mind,” he said in a separate statement.

The minister, Manu Sareen, said he had taken the decision after the Danish regulator, the National Social Appeals Board, said it was “no longer justifiable to adopt children from the country”.

The board said it was difficult to ensure a lawful and ethical adoption process from Nigeria, but added that couples who had been matched with a child would not be affected by the ban. Further information was required from the organisation that helps Danish couples adopt from Nigeria, AC International Child Support, before making a permanent decision, it added.

In March, Nigerian police arrested several people, including eight pregnant women, during a raid on a house in Lagos. The women planned to sell their newborns for $2,000 (£1,200) each, reports suggest.

There have been several raids on supposed Nigerian baby factories since 2011, with more than 100 women discovered during such operations. Investigations by Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency that year revealed that babies were being sold for up to $6,400 each.

Buyers tend to be couples who are unable to conceive, and boys typically fetch a much higher price than girls.

According to the EU, Nigeria is one of the biggest sources of people trafficked into Europe, where victims are often forced into prostitution.

Human trafficking is widespread in west Africa, where children are sometimes bought to work on plantations and in mines and factories, or as domestic help. Others are sold into sexual slavery or, less commonly, sacrificed in magic rituals.

Kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls taken as brides by militants, relatives told


Relatives say they have been told of mass weddings involving insurgents and some of the girls abducted two weeks ago.

For two weeks, retired teacher Samson Dawah prayed for news of his niece Saratu, who was among more than 230 schoolgirls snatched by Boko Haram militants in the north-eastern Nigerian village of Chibok. Then on Monday the agonising silence was broken.

When Dawah called together his extended family members to give an update, he asked that the most elderly not attend, fearing they would not be able to cope with what he had to say. “We have heard from members of the forest community where they took the girls. They said there had been mass marriages and the girls are being shared out as wives among the Boko Haram militants,” Dawah told his relatives.

Saratu’s father fainted; he has since been in hospital. The women of the family have barely eaten. “My wife keeps asking me, why isn’t the government deploying every means to find our children,” Dawah said. The marriage reports have not been confirmed officially, and rely on eyewitnesses.

The 14 April abduction of the girls – students aged between 16 and 18 who were sitting a physics paper at their school, one of a handful in troubled Borno state that had opened specially for final exams – shocked a nation inured to violence during a five year-insurgency.

Desperate parents launched their own rescue attempts in the 60,000 sq km Sambisa forest where the girls were being held. Security sources told the Guardian that at least three rescue attempts had been scuppered.

This week, former prime minister Gordon Brown, the United Nations’ special adviser on girls’ education, will visit Nigeria to launch a campaign to raise funds and awareness of the schoolgirls’ plight. “We cannot stop terrorism overnight but we can make sure that its perpetrators are aware that murdering and abducting schoolchildren is a heinous crime that the international authorities are determined to punish,” he said.

Reports of the mass marriage came from a group that meets at dawn each day not far from the charred remains of the school. The ragtag gathering of fathers, uncles, cousins and nephews pool money for fuel before venturing unarmed into the thick forest, or into border towns that the militants have terrorised for months.

On Sunday, the searchers were told that the students had been divided into at least three groups, according to farmers and villagers who had seen truckloads of girls moving around the area. One farmer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the insurgents had paid leaders dowries and fired celebratory gunshots for several minutes after conducting mass wedding ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s unbearable. Our wives have grown bitter and cry all day. The abduction of our children and the news of them being married off is like hearing of the return of the slave trade,” said Yakubu Ubalala, whose 17- and 18-year-old daughters Kulu and Maimuna are among the disappeared.

The parents are planning a mass rally on Saturday to lobby the government for official updates rather than having to rely on reports from local people.

Nigeria’s armed forces face an uphill battle against the insurgents, who operate in small, mobile units and are drawn from communities that spill across the country’s porous desert borders. Near daily aerial bombardments have been halted as ground troops have poured into the forest in search of the girls.

“We are trying, but our efforts are being countered in a way that it is very clear they are being tipped off about our movements. Any time we make a plan to rescue [the girls] we have been ambushed,” said an artillery soldier among a rescue team announced by presidential decree over the weekend. In one clash, he said, 15 soldiers were killed by the insurgents.

“We know where these girls are being held in the forest, but every day we go in and come out disappointed. Definitely somebody high up in the chain of command is leaking up information to these people,” said the soldier, whom the Guardian was able to reach three times during shift breaks. Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, said in 2012 that Boko Haram had secret backers among government and security officials.

Another soldier deployed to Borno state said: “In my 13 years of service, I have never been in terrain this big and tough. There is desert and there is forest – you cannot imagine how difficult both of them are.”

He said there had been intelligence reports of the militants moving groups of girls to Marte – a known training camp – and to the Gwoza hills, a range of caves and valleys spanning the border with Cameroon.

The kidnappings have sparked debate on whether foreign intervention could help stabilise Nigeria. Officials have long ruled out such a move.

Nelson Uwaga, a representative at an official conference set up by presidential decree to discuss national unity as Nigeria celebrates a century of nationhood, said: “If countries can help us by way of arming our people through modern surveillance equipment, for defence and all that, it will be most welcome. [But] what the Boko Haram is doing is not a formal kind of fight but a guerrilla kind of fight, and it is only the local people that will tell you how to fight it.”

Chelsea bow out to superior fire power of Atlético Madrid

Chelsea 1 Atlético 3

Champions League

  • Fernando Torres 36
  • Lopez Adrian 44,
  • da Silva Diego Costa 60 pen,
  • Arda Turan 72
Chelsea’s Fernando Torres offers a muted celebration after scoring the first goal of the match against his old club, Atlético Madrid. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images

Once again there was the sight of a manager running along the touchline at Stamford Bridge, screaming to the skies and letting out all the euphoria. Except this time José Mourinho was back in the dugout, hands pushed into the pockets of his overcoat and knowing there will be no place for Chelsea in the final at Estádio da Luz on 24 May.

His team chose a bad day to lose their defensive resilience and Atlético were ruthless in the way they took advantage to recover from the opening goal being scored by Fernando Torres, their old favourite, and put in place Mourinho’s heaviest ever defeat at this ground. Adrián’s equaliser changed the entire complexion of the game just before half-time. Diego Costa’s penalty put La Liga’s champions-in-waiting in command after the substitute Samuel Eto’o had brought him down, and it was after Arda Turan followed in his own header to make it 3-1 that Diego Simeone could be seen on his victory run.

His team had shown great conviction to confirm an all-Madrid final and it leaves Mourinho staring at the strong possibility that his first season back at Chelsea will end without any silver. He did not win anything last season for Real Madrid, either, and he will be anguished about the way this semi-final veered away from him.

Torres celebrated his goal as if it were a form of apology. His hands were in the air but his palms were spread as if requesting forgiveness from his former club. Yet he took his goal with the kind of clinical finish that was a throwback to more prolific times at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. His shot took a slight deflection off Mario Suárez on the way but Torres did show his old penalty-box anticipation. Chelsea have oozed so much expertise lately when it comes to smothering football matches that it felt as if that might be the end of things. So it was a jolt when the direction of the match changed dramatically within eight minutes as Adrián scored his goal.

Ashley Cole will wince when he sees the replays because he made a terrible mistake in assuming that John Terry was going to clear Juanfran’s cutback from the byline. Terry could not adjust his feet quickly enough as the Atlético right-back turned Tiago’s cross back across the goalmouth. Cole had switched off for a split-second and Adrián’s shot was driven into the ground, bouncing off the turf to loop into the top corner.

Until that point, Chelsea had shown just the right balance between making defence their first priority and not overlooking the attacking part either. César Azpilicueta’s presence on the right side of midfield, with David Luiz playing just in front of the back four, had taken the number of recognised defenders in the team up to six. Frank Lampard and Mikel John Obi were suspended and Nemanja Matic was also ineligible because he had already played in the competition for Benfica. Mourinho’s tactics will no doubt attract more allegations of deliberate dreariness, but Chelsea did not neglect the fact they needed to get behind the opposition defence.

Their goal was classy in its creation and clinical in its execution. Branislav Ivanovic started the move on the inside-right channel but it was Willian’s improvisational brilliance that really created the danger. His turn, close to the corner flag, took him away from two defenders in one elegant movement. Azpilicueta took possession and picked out Torres, who was able to put home a low right-footed shot from 12 yards.

Mourinho’s first response to the equaliser came after 53 minutes when he removed Cole to bring on Eto’o. Azpilicueta went back into defence and this was the signal that Chelsea had to start playing with greater adventure. Yet Eto’o had been on the pitch only six minutes when he committed the mistake that ultimately condemned his team.

His challenge on Costa, as Chelsea were defending a corner, was careless in the extreme, and the consequences were heavy for the home side. Costa was shown a yellow card because of the amount of time he took to take the penalty, but when he finally got round to drawing back that distinguished right foot he put the ball past Mark Schwarzer as though immune to nerves.

The most disappointing part for Mourinho was that the goals were so easily preventable and, by Chelsea’s standards, almost unorthodox in the way they were created. Eden Hazard was guilty of not tracking Juanfran for the first and, at this level, a team cannot be so obliging as Eto’o was in dangling out his leg to bring down Costa.

A few minutes before, Thibaut Courtois had kept out Terry’s header with a splendid save. Shortly after Costa’s successful penalty, Willian put the ball in again and Luiz’s header came back unfortunately off the post.

Yet Atlético could also reflect on hitting the woodwork through Koke in the opening exchanges of the match and when they did it again, after 71 minutes, Arda Turan ended any lingering arguments with Atlético’s third goal. Juanfran supplied the cross again and Turan’s header came back off the crossbar before dropping at his feet again for him to score the third Atlético goal from eight yards.

Boko Haram is holding Nigeria captive -Maitama Sule

Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, has said that Boko is holding Nigeria captive and drawing the country many years back in the comity of nations.

He said Nigeria cannot move forward unless the problem of insurgency and the activities of other ethnic militia are curtailed.

Sule spoke in Jos on Wednesday after presenting a paper titled “Approach to Nation Building” at a centenary lecture organised by the Law Students’ Society of Nigeria, University of Jos, Plateau State.

He said massive corruption in the system and such criminal vices, have drawn the country many years back thus hampering development.

Sule, who was Nigeria’s former permanent representative at the United Nations also chided the youths for shirking their responsibilities as vanguards for development and giving up their positions as leaders of tomorrow while going about celebrating irresponsible leaders.

He said, “Nigeria is facing turbulent times with the activities of insurgents groups, such as Boko Haram and if they are not checked the country may be in fir more problems”

The NEF Chairman who was represented at the lecture by a don, Mr. Solomon Dalong said, “Our leaders today were leaders at 23, they were leaders at 40, and at 70, they are still leaders.

“It is very sad that unionism today has been corrupted and our young generation have given up their positions as a result of corruption.

“These were the vices that destroyed the unity of this country and led to the question whether the amalgamation of this country in 1914 is a blessing or a curse.”

In his remarks, the spokesman for the NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said Nigeria’s currently fishing in troubled waters and so called for concerted efforts to check the rising insurgency in the country.

He said, “We know that Nigeria is in trouble and we ask, where do we find solace or solutions?”

Insurgency in the north ‘pure madness’ – Defence chief


Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh

The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh on Monday described the evil acts perpetuated by the Islamic extremist, Boko Haram, in northern Nigeria as “pure madness.”

He also expressed conviction of the military’s might to rescue the over 200 abducted schoolgirls in Borno State.

Badeh spoke at the defence headquarters while playing host to the board of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency in Abuja.

He said, “What is happening in our country, most especially in northern Nigeria is pure madness, and we are killing the future of that region. It’s a pity. All of us here should sympathise with those of us who come from that region.”

Badeh told the NOSDRA delegation that the situation in the northeast had become critical given the kidnapping of the girls by the sect, but maintained that the military would rescue the abducted students.

The CDS added, “We are hoping, and while we are fighting we are also praying so that we can get over this madness. It is unfortunate that those girls were kidnapped. It is not about the number that really matters but the fact is peoples’ children have been kidnapped.

“We can’t go with our armoury to where they are, otherwise we will go and kill them. If you go and kill them then you will not have achieved anything. But I know we will get those girls. I know we will get them.”

Meanwhile, Badeh assured the delegation that the defence ministry would support the agency in its fight against oil spill in the country.

Earlier, the NOSDRA Board Chairman, Major. Lancelot Ayanya (retd), said given the sophistication of the terrorist group, it was time to unite as a country in confronting the challenges.

He deplored the antics of those who seek to draw political benefits from the crisis by denigrating the services of the armed forces.

Ayanya stated that the visit to the defence headquarters was based on the need to device new strategies in combating oil spillage and illegal crude oil refineries in the country, specifically in the Niger Delta.

Police arrest vice-principal for raping pupil


Tackling rape and sexual abuse.

The police in Ekiti State have arrested a 57-year-old Vice-Principal of St. Mary Girls College, Ikole Ekiti, Mr. Ayo Ajayi, for allegedly raping a 12-year-old pupil of the school inside his office.

Our correspondent gathered that the pupil had gone to the office of the vice-principal on March 18 and she did not come out as quickly as expected. This was said to have fueled the suspicion of some teachers.

One of the teachers, who reported the case to the police, was said to have moved closer to the door to open it but discovered that the door had been locked from inside.

She was said to have knocked on the door and the pupil and the suspect allegedly hurriedly stopped what they were busy doing inside.

The demeanour of the VP and the pupil was said to have given them away and one of the teachers reported the case to the police.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Victor Babayemi, confirmed the incident in a statement on Tuesday.

He said the vice principal was arrested and investigation into the case had begun.

The statement read, “Operatives of the Command arrested one Ayo Ajayi, aged 57 years, the Vice-Principal of St. Mary Girls College, Ikole-Ekiti, for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old pupil.

“The incident, which allegedly took place on  March 18, 2014, inside the vice-principal’s office, was reported to the police by a teacher in the school, who noticed the suspicious entry of the pupil into the VP’s office.

“Investigation revealed that the suspect had a similar case in the past which was not reported. The victim also admitted that the suspect laid her on his table and had carnal knowledge of her.

“The report of the medical examination confirmed that the victim’s hymen was not intact. Although, the suspect denied the allegation, but with the evidence against him, he will soon be arraigned in court for defilement.”

FG extends confab duration by six weeks

The Federal Government has extended the duration of the ongoing National Conference by six weeks.

Under the new arrangement, the conference will now end on July 31 instead of the earlier date of June 19 when the discussion had been programmed to end.

Before the extension, some delegates had advocated that the three-month period allotted was not enough.

But it was not clear whether additional budgetary allocation would be made in order to cater for the extension.

A new work plan released on Wednesday evening in Abuja by the leadership of the conference said that the confab has been adjusted following inputs from its leadership.

In the work plan, Monday July 21-Thursday 24 July has been devoted to consideration of draft report of the conference.

Also, Week 20 (Monday Juky 28-Thursday July 31) will be for production and signing of the final report.

Although reason was given for the extension of the conference some delegates had hinted that “we still have a lot of areas uncovered.”

The Conference Secretariat had yet to make any official response about allowance.

But some delegates had earlier warned that the leadership of the conference should avoid the temptation of extending the conference.

Those who were against extending the conference had feared that extension of the conference was likely to consume part of the time earmarked for the preparation of the 2015 general elections.

The President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Management and delegate representing the NIM in the Conference, Dr. Nelson Uwaga, had told THE PUNCH that extension would depend on seriousness of members.

“If we are serious, I don’t see us asking for extension of time. If the way we have gone the last one month is anything to go by, we cannot have enough time to finish. Don’t forget that the committee stage we are now is so crucial. That is where the chairman, his deputy and the management will need all the dexterity to manage the whole process”, he stated.

A delegate from the Niger-Delta, Ms. Annkio Briggs, confirmed the extension saying it was needed in order to give members additional time to debate burning national issues.

According to her, the extension became necessary as a result of the World Economic Summit that is billed to hold in Abuja as from next week.

She said during the summit,the Conference will be on hold adding that a good portion of the time allotted to the Conference would be off.

“We need more time to address all the issues that brought us to this Conference. We have been saying that the time was not going to be enough. I am sure the Conference Secretariat made a case and the Federal Government in their wisdom decided to extend the date,” Briggs said.


Woman bags 5 months in prison for beating 2- year-old to a state of coma


An Upper Area Court in Kado, Abuja, on Wednesday sentenced a 43-year-old woman, Janet Moses to five months in prison for beating a two-year-old boy to a state of coma.

The judge, Mr Abubakar Sadiq, sentenced Moses after she pleaded guilty to a one count charge of cruelty to a child.

Sadiq, however, gave the convict an option to pay a fine of N10, 000.

He said the sentence was to serve as a deterrent to others who might want to engage in similar acts.

The judge also warned the convict to desist from such acts and be of good behaviour.

He said the child, who has since recovered, was now with the social  welfare officials and would soon be reunited with his parents who are in Maiduguri.

The convict was arraigned by the police on March 31 and was convicted after pleading guilty to the charge but her sentence was deferred.

The prosecutor, Sgt. Simon Ibrahim, had told the court that Mrs Aisha Muhammed of the same address lodged a report against the convict at the Mabushi police station on March 22.

Ibrahim said convict beat up the two-year-old boy who was left in her custody.

He said the complainant returned home and saw the convict beating up the child who already had serious injuries all over him.

The prosecutor said during police investigation the convict confessed to have committed the crime.

He said the offence contravened the provision of section 238(b) of the Penal Code. (NAN)

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Nigerians’ll never support removal of fuel subsidy — ASUU

 IBADAN–THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU said yesterday that Nigerians would never embrace any attempt by the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy.


The academic union spoke through its national treasurer, Dr Ademola Aremu.

Speaking in a lecture entitled, “Clamour for fuel subsidy removal: In whose interest?”, at the pre-May Day lecture organised by journalists in Oyo State, he said government would not curry the favour of the union until knotty issues surrounding the petroleum industry were resolved.

According to him, subsidy could not be removed from fuel without tackling other policies and socio-economic issues which could re-ignite the faith of Nigerians in their leaders.

He said, “The starting point of this would be the removal of corruption which has become second nature to oil business in Nigeria, albeit a general characteristic of the business the world over. This could only be achieved through government accountability to its citizens.”

“Is it possible for government to give a near estimate of the crude oil being explored in Nigeria on daily, weekly or other such periodic basis? Can Nigerians be made aware of the amount of money invested in refining the crude oil produce? Can the memoranda of understanding between the international oil companies and the Nigerian government be made public with the rules of engagement stated in black and white”.

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Chibok abductions: Nigeria girls’ taken abroad’


A screen grab taken from a video released on You Tube in April 2012, apparently showing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau (centre) sitting flanked by militants Boko Haram has often targeted educational establishments

Some of the schoolgirls abducted by suspected militant Islamists in northern Nigeria are believed to have been taken to neighbouring states, a local leader has told the BBC.

Pogo Bitrus said there had been “sightings” of gunmen crossing with the girls into Cameroon and Chad.

Some of the girls had been forced to marry the militants, he added.

Mr Bitrus said 230 girls were missing since militants attacked the school in Chibok, Borno state, two weeks ago.

The Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for the night-time raid on the school hostel in Chibok town. It has not yet commented on the allegation.

In this photo taken Monday, April, 21. 2014. Security walk past burned government secondary school Chibok, were gunmen abducted more than 200 students in Chibok, Nigeria. The girls were seized from their hostel late at night

Mr Bitrus, a Chibok community leader, said 43 of the girls had “regained their freedom” after escaping, while 230 were still in captivity. This is a higher number than previous estimates, however he was adamant it was the correct figure.


The students were about to sit their final year exam and so are mostly aged between 16 and 18.

“Some of them have been taken across Lake Chad and some have been ferried across the border into parts of Cameroon,” he told the BBC.

Mr Bitrus said there were also reports that the insurgents had married some of the girls.


“We learned that one of the ‘grooms’ brought his ‘wife’ to a neighbouring town in Cameroon and kept her there,” he told the BBC.

Start Quote

I’m crying now as community leader to alert the world to what’s happening so that some pressure would be brought to bear on government to act”

End Quote Pogo Bitrus Chibok community leader

“It’s a medieval kind of slavery,” he added.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau first threatened to treat captured women and girls as slaves in a video released in May 2013.

It fuelled concern at the time that the group is adhering to the ancient Islamic belief that women captured during war are slaves with whom their “masters” can have sex, correspondents say.

Mr Bitrus said everyone in the community felt as though their own daughters had been abducted.

Men were “braving it out”, but women were “crying and wailing”, he said.

“Whether it is my niece or whoever it doesn’t matter. We are all one people,” Mr Bitrus told the BBC.

“That’s why I’m crying now as community leader to alert the world to what’s happening so that some pressure would be brought to bear on government to act and ensure the release of these girls.”

The government has said the security forces are searching for the girls, but its critics say it is not doing enough.

Boko Haram has staged a wave of attacks in northern Nigeria in recent years, with an estimated 1,500 killed in the violence and subsequent security crackdown this year alone.


A 60-second guide to Boko Haram