TIME Money

Here’s Who Just Unseated Oprah as the World’s Richest Black Woman

Diamond Collection By Folake Majin Fashion Show
Bennett Raglin—Getty Images Folorunsho Alakija attends a fashion show in Lagos, Nigeria, on Dec. 27, 2012

Oprah's about $300 million short

Oprah Winfrey is no longer the world’s richest black woman. That distinction now belongs to Nigerian oil baroness and fashionista Folorunsho Alakija.

Alakija is worth at least $3.3 billion — about $300 million more than American television personality Oprah — Ventures Africa reports.

The 62-year-old started her career as a secretary at the erstwhile Merchant Bank of Nigeria, but moved to England in the early 1980s to study fashion design. She then returned to her native country and set up a high-end label called Supreme Stitches.

Although she amassed some wealth from the label, a significant proportion of Alakija’s fortune comes from an oil-exploration license granted to her company Famfa Ltd. in 1993. The 617,000-acre oil block would go on to become the highly lucrative OML 127, in which Alakija’s family retains a 60% stake.

According to Ventures Africa, her assets include a real estate portfolio worth over $100 million and a $46 million private jet.

Read next: Jack Ma Is the Richest Person in Asia

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TIME Nigeria

Boko Haram Suspected in Mass Kidnap in Northeast Nigeria

The leader of Nigeria's Islamic extremist group Boko Haram on Oct. 31, 2014.
AP The leader of Nigeria's Islamic extremist group Boko Haram on Oct. 31, 2014.

The latest in a string of abductions

Islamist militants of the group Boko Haram are suspected of abducting at least 100 women and children, and killing nearly three dozen others, from a remote village in northeastern Nigeria.

Gunmen in trucks raided Gumsuri last Friday and staged an attack that ended on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing members of a local vigilante group. Gumsuri is located near Chibok, where 276 schoolgirls were abducted in April. The number of abductions in the new attack varies between news outlets, hovering between more than 100 and above 200.

Mike Omeri, a government spokesman, told TIME that the government is “outraged and deeply saddened by this deplorable act” and said the real number of those abducted isn’t known yet.

“It is impossible to verify the number of those missing at this early stage because it is presumed that many civilians fled during the attack,” he said in a statement. “As soon as government agencies and our local partners have together determined the credible number of missing civilians, we will provide that information to the public.”

The recent raid, the latest in a string of similar abductions in the restive region, comes about two months after the Nigerian government claimed it had reached a cease-fire with Boko Haram and that the group planned to release the schoolgirls. The group’s leader Abubakar Shekau later denied that a deal had been reached and said the girls had already been married off.

Read next: Girls Who Escaped Boko Haram Tell of Horrors in Captivity

TIME Photojournalism Links

Photojournalism Daily: Dec. 17, 2014

A compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Tyler Hicks‘ work aboard the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, one of the launch pads of the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). More than a dozen warplanes take off from the carrier every day for missions over Iraq and Syria. The five-acre ship, with a crew of more than 5,000, has long played a role in the U.S.’s fight against terrorism. Some of the first air strikes of the Afghan war in 2001 were made by jets that took off from the Vinson, and it was on that same ship that, in 2011, Navy SEALs brought Osama bin Laden’s body after a raid in Pakistan, and buried it at sea. Hicks’ photographs offer an intriguing look at this massive symbol of American military power in the Middle East.

Tyler Hicks: A Desert War on ISIS, Fought From a Floating City (The New York Times)

Kirsten Luce: Documenting Immigration From Both Sides of the Border (TIME LightBox) Powerful photographs of migrants trying to enter the U.S. and the border patrols trying to catch them.

Robin Hammond: Lagos Portraits (National Geographic) Compelling portraits of Lagosians presented alongside their take on the city.

The Year in Pictures: 2014 (NBC News)

John Stanmeyer (Vogue Italy) Insightful interview with the World Press Photo of the Year 2013 winner.

TIME Photojournalism Links

Photojournalism Daily: Dec. 16, 2014

A compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Robin Hammond‘s portrait of Lagos, Nigeria, where the booming economy is widening the wealth gap. Lagos is the largest commercial hub in Nigeria, which hosts Africa’s largest economy, and has become one of the continent’s great success stories. But not everyone has benefitted the same way. Hammond’s excellent photographs, made on assignment for National Geographic, take us from the exclusive clubs and gated communities of the rich to the squalid shanty towns and decayed housing complexes of the poor. The juxtaposition of impoverished and prosperous in this series is both jarring and stunning.

Robin Hammond: Africa’s First City (National Geographic)

Siegfried Modola: Rites of Womanhood (Reuters) These photographs document an arranged marriage in a Kenyan Pokot community.

Tomas Munita: Preserving Historic Yangon (The New York Times) The colonial-era buildings in Myanmar’s largest city have fallen into disrepair.

Steve Schapiro: The Long Road (The New Yorker) Compelling photographs from the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march.

The War Over the US Government’s Unreleased Torture Pictures (Wired) Interview with photography critic David Levi Strauss.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: December 5

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Peak gas: According to some forecasts, the fracking boom could be a bust.

By Mason Inman in Nature

2. To end the conflict with Boko Haram, Nigeria needs to address the alienation of its Muslims.

By John Campbell at the Council on Foreign Relations

3. “Protecting our coal workers is critical to successfully solving the climate problem.”

By Jeremy Richardson in the Union of Concerned Scientists

4. Tanzania can fight child marriage and protect the next generation of women by keeping girls in schools.

By Agnes Odhiambo in Human Rights Watch

5. When the last baby boomers move into retirement around 2030, today’s youth will carry the weight of our economy. They need support now.

By Melody Barnes in the World Economic Forum Blog

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: December 2

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Let’s push for more college-educated cops.

By Keli Goff in the Daily Beast

2. As strongmen — often U.S. allies — attempt to lock up lifetime power, an African democracy movement takes shape.

By Mark Varga at the Foreign Policy Association

3. Being connected is more of a good thing than a bad thing.

By Mathew Ingram in GigaOm

4. Beyond diamonds: Conflict minerals are a growing blight. Enforcing a global standard can stop abuse.

By Michael Gibb in Project Syndicate

5. Changing the way we classify psilocybin — magic mushrooms — could open the door to research and new treatments for depression.

By Eugenia Bone in the New York Times

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: November 14

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Superfast quantum computers could drastically change the future, and Microsoft might build the first one.

By Tom Simonite in MIT Technology Review

2. Water-smart urban design can reimagine life in Western cities suffering the worst drought in decades.

By Reed Karaim in JSTOR Daily

3. The new censorship: How intimidation, mass surveillance, and shrinking resources are making the press less free.

By George Packer in the New Yorker

4. A new approach to housing for families at risk that includes intensive, wrap-around services is showing early success.

By Mary Cunningham, Maeve Gearing, Michael Pergamit, Simone Zhang, Marla McDaniel, Brent Howell at the Urban Institute

5. Our best bet in the fight against Boko Haram might be sharing lessons on intelligence gathering.

By Jesse Sloman at Africa in Transition

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Nigeria

Suicide Bomber Kills 47 Children at Nigeria School Assembly

Police blame Boko Haram Islamist group

A suicide bomber has killed 47 children and injured 79 others during a school assembly Monday in north east Nigeria, reports Agence France Presse.

Emmanuel Ojukwu, a police spokesman told AFP, “There was an explosion detonated by a suicide bomber. We have 47 dead and 79 injured.”

He said that attack in Potiskum in Yobe state was probably carried out by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.

[AFP]

 

TIME Nigeria

Girls Who Escaped Boko Haram Tell of Horrors in Captivity

New Human Rights Watch report details the Nigerian Islamist group's abuse of abducted women and girls

Women and girls kidnapped by the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram are raped and forced to marry fighters even if they are underage, according to testimonies from women who have escaped the group.

In its latest report, “Those Terrible Weeks in the Camp: Boko Haram Violence Against Women and Girls in Northeast Nigeria,” New York-based Human Rights Watch estimates that the militant group has abducted about 500 women and girls from Northern Nigeria since 2009. Earlier this year Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in the northeast of the country. The mass abduction drew international outrage and sparked a viral social media campaign fuelled by the hashtag #bringbackourgirls. Human Rights Watch spoke to 12 of the 57 of the girls who have escaped; 219 are still missing.

Human Rights Watch explains that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has taken responsibility for abducting women and girls, and has justified the kidnappings as retaliation for the detention of Boko Haram family members held by the Nigerian government. In a 2012 video, Shekau says: “Since you are now holding our women, just wait and see what will happen to your own women … to your own wives according to Sharia law.”

But there’s also another motive for the kidnappings: punishing women who seek education. One victim who was kidnapped while traveling home from school in Konduga said that when the militants found out that she and her friends were students they said, “Aha! These are the people we are looking for. So you are the ones with strong heads who insist on attending school when we have said ‘boko’ is ‘haram.’ We will kill you here today.” Boko Haram’s name roughly translates to “Western education is a sin.”

The report confirms some of the worst fears about Boko Haram’s treatment of the girls they capture, specifically when it comes to sexual violence. According to interviews with survivors, most of the sexual violence and rape occurs within the context of forced marriages, although there are exceptions.

According to the interviews in the report, Boko Haram does not consider any girls too young for marriage. After one 17-year old prisoner complained that she was not yet old enough to marry a Boko Haram commander pointed to his 5-year-old daughter and said, “If she got married last year, and is just waiting till puberty for its consummation, how can you at your age be too young to marry?”

One woman who was raped in 2013 in a Boko Haram camp told Human Rights Watch that other women (specifically wives of Boko Haram leaders) were often complicit in sexual abuse of female prisoners. “I was lying down in the cave pretending to be ill because I did not want the marriage,” the woman told the researchers. “When the insurgent who had paid my dowry came in to force himself on me, the commander’s wife blocked the cave entrance and watched as the man raped me.”

Another girl was only 15 when she was forcibly married off to a Boko Haram commander after her abduction in 2013. “After we were declared married I was ordered to live in his cave but I always managed to avoid him,” the girl told Human Rights Watch. “He soon began to threaten me with a knife to have sex with him, and when I still refused he brought out his gun, warning that he would kill me if I shouted. Then he began to rape me every night. He was a huge man in his mid-30s and I had never had sex before. It was very painful and I cried bitterly because I was bleeding afterwards.”

The report cites numerous other reports of women being sexually assaulted by Boko Haram militants; some were raped within context of a forced marriage, others for being Christian, another was attacked for a perceived slight against the militants. The report acknowledges, however, that the group’s leaders did make some effort to protect kidnapped girls from random sexual abuses outside the context of “marriage.”

Human Rights Watch notes that rapes by Boko Haram are severely under-reported, largely due to the stigma around sexual abuse and the loss of virginity that sometimes occurs during the rapes in the conservative northeastern part of the country.

The report also delves into some of the specifics of the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls, thanks to testimony from 12 girls who escaped. The escaped girls said that Boko Haram did not discriminate based on religion when they abducted the schoolgirls, and took both Christian and Muslim girls. They said that they believe the militants were originally after the school’s brick-making machine, and only decided to kidnap the girls once they realized they were unguarded the principal, teachers, administrators were not on campus, and the only guard, an elderly man, had fled. One girl described the night Boko Haram arrived: “Two men told us we should not worry, we should not run. They said they had come to save us from what is happening inside the town, that they are policemen. We did not know that they were from Boko Haram. The rest of the men came and started shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and at that moment we realized, they were Boko Haram. We were told to be quiet. One of them told us that the horrible things we heard happening elsewhere, like burning houses, killing people, killing students, kidnapping people, would happen to us now. We all started crying and he told us to shut up.”

Another woman at the camps told Human Rights Watch she saw some of the Chibok schoolgirls forced to work for other women who were selected for “special treatment because of their beauty.”

The report also specifies that of all the girls who have escaped from Boko Haram interviewed by Human Rights Watch, only the Chibok schoolgirls have received any kind of state-sponsored medical aid or counseling. But one Chibok schoolgirl says the aid they received was more like a religious sermon, which is not what she needs.

“I just want someone who will listen to me and help me to stop the fear that takes over my mind when I think of my sisters (school mates) who are still with Boko Haram,” the girl told Human Rights Watch. “I am so afraid for them. Why can’t the government bring them back?”

[Human Rights Watch]

Read next: Boko Haram Kidnaps 30 Children in Nigeria

TIME Nigeria

Boko Haram Kidnaps 30 Children in Nigeria

File photo shows Rachel Daniel holding  up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel as her son Bukar sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri
Joe Penney—Reuters Rachel Daniel, 35, holds up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel, 17, as her son Bukar, 7, sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri, May 21, 2014. Boko Haram kidnapped an additional 30 boys and girls from a village in northeast Nigeria during the weekend.

Latest in a string of abductions despite reports of a cease-fire

Boko Haram militants reportedly abducted at least 30 boys and girls from a remote village in northeastern Nigeria over the weekend, throwing into question a government-declared cease-fire with the insurgents.

The Islamist extremists on Friday raided Mafa, a town in Borno state, CNN reports, and news of the abductions slowly got out because regional telecom service has taken a severe hit during Boko Haram’s five-year campaign of terror. Throughout the weekend, local leaders said the gunmen seized a dozen and a half boys and girls — some as young as age 11 — in what was thought to be an attempt at recruiting child soldiers.

The mass kidnapping in the restive region diminished hopes that the Nigerian government was close to striking a deal with the militants to secure the release of more than 219 schoolgirls abducted by the group in April.

[CNN]

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