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Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido. Photo Credit: Instagram

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, on Wednesday, in Kaduna said that if Nigeria were to be divided, North-West and the North-East would be the poorest countries in the world.

The monarch said this in his key note address at the opening ceremony of the second edition of Kaduna State’s investment Summit, with the theme “Making Kaduna Investment Destination of Choice.”

The emir also lambasted northern leaders for their complicity in further impoverishing the region through neglect of activities and policies that can improve the productivity and prosperity of the region.

He further explained that the North West and the North East regions, despite making up a significant population of the country, are the poorest in every aspect.

“We are in denial. The North West and the North East, demographically, constitute the bulk of Nigeria’s population.

“But, look at human development indices, look at the number of children out of school, look at adult literacy, look at maternal mortality, look at infant mortality, look at girl-child completion rate, look at income per capita, the North East and the North West Nigeria, are among the poorest parts of the world.

“As far back as 2000, I looked at the numbers, Borno and Yobe states, UNDP figures… Borno and Yobe states, if they were a country on their own, were poorer than Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

“Nobody saw this because we were looking at Nigeria as a country that averages the oil-rich Niger Delta, the industrial and commercial-rich Lagos, the commercially viable southeast, and you have an average.

“Break Nigeria into its component parts, and these parts of the country are among the poorest, if it were a country. And, we do not realise we are in trouble.”

Sanusi maintained that citizens in the Northern region of the country must begin to develop a change of mindset with regards to certain issues that are currently viewed as taboo.”

The Kano monarch asked some thought-provoking questions which he said leaders of the region must find answers to in order to ensure a better society.

They include: “What is our attitude towards educating our girls? What is our attitude towards child spacing, so that we can financially maintain and educate and bring up children? What is the purpose of a large population that is not educated, that is jobless, that is unemployed?”

Going further, he urged Muslims to imbibe education and stop using religion and culture to set the region backward.

“Other Muslim nations have put forward girl education. Other Muslim countries have pushed on. We are fighting culture, we are fighting civilisation. You tell me that you should not write love book in northern Nigerian.”

He also said it was wrong to burn books of science based on religion.
“What is the crime of those books?”

Going further, he questioned the right of people in having more children in the region without having the resources to take care of them. “Of what benefit is it to the North, having three million children roaming about?”

The former Central Bank governor also seized the occasion to speak about Nigeria’s increasing debt profile. He said among other oil-producing countries in Africa, Nigeria has been “borrowing domestically to fund current expenditure” and added that the growth of Nigeria was driven largely by rising commodity prices and debt, and the module has reached the logical limit such as the collapse in oil price.

The monarch also noted that, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Federal Government is spending 66 percent of its interest revenue on debt, which means only 34 percent of its revenue is available for capital expenditure, recurrent expenditure and development.

Sanusi said the 2017 budget presented by the Federal Government is a budget that goes for more debt.

“As a country, we must understand that the module of government borrowing and spending has reached its limit. Therefore, growth must only come from investment.”
The emir criticised leaders who “go to China to sign Memorandum of Uunderstanding (MoU) and come back with debt, forgetting their areas of development.

“A nation and a state is only transformed by vision. Once that vision is lost, every other thing around the vision collapses,” the monarch noted.
Sun News

This week on Keeping It Real, Nigerian students are accused of killing and eating a missing teenager who later returned home. The boy unfortunately died at the hospital of suspected drug overdose. Meanwhile, African students are attacked and beaten up by mobs.

In South Sudan, 4,000 people now flee the country everyday, due to the ongoing civil war.

        

In Cameroon, it is now more than two months since President Paul Biya shut down the internet in the southern part of the country.

In Ethiopia, 16 opposition members now face jail time for trying to create Oromo State.

The government of Rwanda withdraws from the African Court on Human and People’s Rights.
Individuals are also no longer allowed to sue the government at the court.

17-year-old Ifeoma White-Thorpe

For the third year in a row, a teenager of Nigerian descent, Ifeoma White-Thorpe, has accomplished what most high school seniors can only dream of – getting accepted into all eight Ivy League schools, as well as Stanford University.

Ifeoma who attends Morris Hills High School in Denville, New Jersey, got admitted to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, UPenn, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton and Stanford.

She is now dealing with a happier problem—figuring out which of the prestigious schools she’d like to go to in order to further her education, which she thinks will be focused on global health.

Her proud parents from Nigeria, Andre and Patricia White-Thorpe, said they will leave the final decision up to the brilliant teen, granted with the letters she has in front of her, there’s really not a bad choice she can make. Patricia, nee Eluemunor, is a pharmacist, according to her records, while the husband is a computer expert.

Ifeoma’s parents, Patricia and Andre
 Ifeoma with her Harvard College acceptance letter

“I want to go into global health and study biology, and so many of them have great research facilities, so I was like, I might as well just shoot my shot and apply,” Ifeoma told WABC.

“I got into Harvard early-action, so I figured I’ll just go there, so then I got into all the others and I was like, ‘Wait, now I don’t know where I want to go,’” Ifeoma added.

When she got her acceptance letters, she almost couldn’t believe it.

“I was shaking, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, like this might be eight out of eight,’ and I clicked it and it said ‘Congratulations,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness,’ and then I was like, ‘What did I say?’” she recalled. “I think my love for poetry and writing just really stood out.”

“At this point, none of the schools I’ve applied to said they give merit scholarships, so I’m praying that they give me some more financial aid or some money. Shout out to all of those schools, please give me something,” Ifeoma said with a laugh.

The Ivy League is made of up Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University.

In the video below, Ifeoma performs an essay about freedom:

The top 10 ranked schools for biology in the country are as follows, according to U.S. News and World Report: Harvard (1), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1), Stanford (1), the University of California – Berkeley (4) and the California Institute of Technology (5).

Students getting into all of the Ivies is a monumental feat, but it’s happened to a handful of teens over the past couple of years — Kwasi Enin in 2014, Harold Ekeh in 2015 and Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna and Kelly Hyles last year.

Reacting to the death of 336 Nigerians following the outbreak of Type C Cerebrospinal Meningitis in some parts of the country, the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, whose state has been the worst hit, on Tuesday said “there is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured.”

He made the remark while speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammdu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Zamfara has been the worst hit state since the outbreak of the disease with over 200 persons dead and several others receiving treatment at various hospitals and clinics in the state.

Medical doctors under the aegis of Nigeria Medical Association, Zamfara State chapter, had last weekend accused the state government of failing to prepare for the outbreak of the disease despite warnings.

According to them, the government is still not responding well to contain the outbreak.

Speaking in Hausa language on Tuesday, Yari said the outbreak might not be unconnected with the people’s total disregard to God’s commandments.

He said, “What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the type A virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has carried out vaccinations against this type A virus not just in Zamfara, but many other states.

“However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination.

“People have turned away from God and he has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow’ that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concern

“There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured.”

He also disagreed with the insinuations that his government failed to act accordingly to address the outbreak.

The governor said he called an emergency meeting comprising all top state and local government officials and traditional rulers towards stamping out the disease.

“The meeting came out with a strategy to be adopted and the money required to deal with the outbreak and a lot of work is going on,” he added.

Culled from The Nation

The Gambia holds its first election Thursday since the downfall of longtime leader Yahya Jammeh, with expectations high that new lawmakers will overhaul a national assembly once derided as a mere rubberstamp.

Gambians complain that under Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years, laws were often made by executive decree and buttressed by legislation much later on, if at all.

The 239 registered candidates representing nine different political parties on Tuesday end campaigning for the 48 seats up for election in the Banjul legislature.

Five seats are also appointed by the president, totalling 53 spots in the tiny west African nation’s parliament, and with just 886,000 registered voters according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), every ballot matters.

Awa Lowe, a resident of Kanifing, a Banjul suburb, told AFP expectations were high that the new parliament would ensure true accountability for government decisions.

“The next parliament will not be a rubberstamp National Assembly that passes any bill that comes before parliamentarians,” Lowe told AFP.

“Parliament will be diverse and that is what will make it interesting. No party would have the numerical strength to pass bills that are not in line with the interest of the people,” Lowe added.

– Altered landscape –
The landscape of Gambian politics could not have shifted more dramatically since the last legislative elections in 2012, when Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) took 43 seats, with a large number uncontested due to an opposition boycott.

Among the parties running this year, the United Democratic Party (UDP) is fielding the greatest number of candidates after long being seen as the strongest opposition force in Gambian politics.

Alagie Darboe, deputy administrative secretary of the UDP who is standing for a seat in The Gambia’s West Coast Region, said the party was aiming to win in 44 constituencies.

“The support we are getting from the electorate during the campaign is a clear indication that we are going to win,” he told AFP.

President Adama Barrow, who won December’s presidential race, was a former UDP treasurer who had resigned to run as the candidate of an unprecedented opposition coalition.

After a drawn-out crisis caused by Jammeh’s initial refusal to step down, mediation efforts by west African leaders and the threat of military intervention eventually delivered the country’s first ever democratic transition.

Barrow’s cabinet is made up of the heads of seven different political parties, all of which will field candidates in Thursday’s poll.

The president had initially said the opposition coalition was a “family” and would run again as a group in the legislative poll, but internal tensions broke apart the agreement.

As a result, parties whose leaders govern together as ministers will be pitted against each other at the ballot box, stoking tensions that some close to the government say could play into the hands of the APRC.

Yankuba Colley, the APRC’s campaign chief, said the party knew mistakes were made during the presidential election, but added that his candidates were working hard to show it was still a vital force.

“We are optimistic that we are going to defeat our opponents in the 29 constituencies (where) we fielded candidates,” he told AFP.

“Some of our party militants felt they made errors in the presidential elections,” he added. “Some of our militants thought APRC was dead… they are now convinced the party is alive.”

Although much has changed since the last vote, one peculiarly Gambian institution remains firmly in place.

Gambians vote with marbles dropped into coloured metal barrels representing the different candidates, and despite rumours of reform, the system will be used again for the legislative elections, IEC chairman Alieu Momar Njie told AFP.

Abbey Road, one of James Ibori’s London properties

The British Government will give the Federal Government information about Nigerians who own property in that country next year, a presidential aide has said.

Bolaji Owosanoye, Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, told the correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that negotiations on this had reached advanced stage.

Mr. Owosanoye said the measure being taken by the governments of both countries was a step forward in the fight against corruption.

“There’s no doubt that rogues in government oppress and impoverish their people by corruption and this must be sanctioned by collective action.

“We need to make sure that there is no safe haven for you (corrupt officials) to run to.

“Britain has promised that by 2018, she will provide Nigeria with the information about who owns what and where; that’s very helpful.

“These include all the houses that have been bought by public officials or accounts that are held by public officials on which they are right now not paying taxes or which they cannot explain the sources.

“So if you cannot buy a house in England, you have to look for somewhere else.

South Africa’s largest trade union and ally to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) Cosatu said on Tuesday that President Jacob Zuma must step down after his change of finance ministers triggered a credit rating downgrade to “junk”.

The trade union said it “no longer believes in his leadership abilities”.

“COSATU no longer believes in the leadership abilities of President #Zuma and will be communicating with the ANC and Alliance partners,” the Cosatu tweeted on Tuesday.

“COSATU no longer believes President #Zuma is the right person to unite and lead the #ANC says Bheki Ntshalintshali”

“We want an Alliance where partners are treated as equals says Bheki Ntshalintshali, COSATU general secretary”

Mariam Ohene and her baby were among over 480 migrants rescued

 A four-day-old baby belonging to a Nigerian lady, Mariam Ohene, was among over 480 migrants rescued by humanitarian ships on Saturday in the central Mediterranean Sea.

Also rescued with Mariam Ohene were her two year-old son named Benjamin and her Ghanaian husband, Richard.

They were all travelling on one of two rubber boats carrying over 200 migrants from North and Central Africa, Sri Lanka and Yemen and seen drifting some 22 nautical miles north of the Libyan town of Sabratha, the most frequently used departure point currently used by people smugglers in Libya.

The 29 year-old Nigerian woman had lived with her husband, Richard Ohene for over two years in Libya and decided to leave for Europe after they had the baby.

This 4-day-old migrant was rescued off the coast of Libya onboard a rubber boat

Rescuers handed life jackets to the migrants before taking them to safety in Sicily

“We want to go to France or Germany, there is a future for our family there,” Richard Ohene said.

The rescue operation was carried out by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open arms and lasted three hours. Migrants were transferred into the former fishing trawler Golfo Azzurro, expected to reach the Sicilian port town of Augusta on Sunday afternoon.

The other rescued migrants, on board two other rubber boats, were rescued by staff on the supply vessel Vos Prudence, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard told Reuters.

Those migrants were due to reach Italy on Monday, but the destination is still unknown, the Coast Guard added.

“A week ago, I collected a dead body from the Mediterranean for the first time, and (Saturday) I carried a new life,” Daniel Calvelo, the 26 year-old who transferred the baby from the raft into the rescue boat, told Reuters.

Italy has become the main arrival point in Europe for people fleeing persecution and poverty in Africa, most of them crossing the Mediterranean from lawless Libya in search of a better life.

Nearly 600 migrants have died so far this year trying to reach Italy from North Africa, the International Migration Organization (IOM) estimates. Some 4,600 people are thought to have died last year.

In all, 181,000 migrants reached Italy in 2016, about half of the total who arrived in the European Union by sea.

Reuters

The Presidency has given assurances that the war against corruption by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration will not stop despite the strong resistance by the opposition, “finding accomplices in various forms and guises.”

“Let me say one thing. Those whose illicit ways of accumulating money have been stopped will criticize this government but all that will not derail the unfaltering commitment of the President, Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to the war against corruption,” a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu said in a radio program Hannu Da Yawa on FRCN Kaduna at the weekend.

He argued that the President declared rooting out corruption as one of the cardinal policies of his election campaign.

“He is aware that this was one of the main reasons why Nigerians in their millions put their trust in him; the main reason they voted him into power in 2015.

“To keep that trust of ordinary Nigerians who voted him into the office, he has vowed to give corruption a good fight. He will not let them down.”

Malam Garba admitted that so far, the battle to uproot corruption from Nigeria has not been easy. “Corruption has been fighting back vehemently, finding accomplices in various forms and guises. Nevertheless, the Buhari administration will not relent.”

He said during the program that the days when corruption reigned indiscriminately in Nigeria are over. “Nothing will return our country to those sad, old days of wanton thievery that have plunged us into the economic mess from which Nigeria is currently recovering. The war against corruption in Nigeria is one of those clashes between good and evil, where good is determined to triumph.”

He dismissed rumors that members of the governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC were being spared, saying that all are equal before the law.

Highlighting the various measures introduced to promote transparency by the present administration, Malam Shehu disclosed that upon directives by the President, the National Hajj Commission carried out an audit of accommodation agents in both Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia and as result, a saving of more than sixteen million Dollars (USD 16.7 m) is being made by the paying pilgrims this year.

“Each Hajj pilgrim is being saved between 600 to 1,000 Saudi Riyals, which is about N60,000-N100,000 from accommodation, money that had lined the pockets of agents in the past. This year, houses are being rented directly from owners.” He commended ordinary citizens for embracing the whistleblower policy by ” taking extraordinary risks to expose corruption.”

On the ongoing rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja and the relocation of flight services to Kaduna for the six-week period of the closure, the Presidential aide said the government and people of Kaduna should think hard to devise ways by which the social and economic benefits brought to Kaduna in this period did not depart the city with the reopening of the Airport in Abuja.

“‘The government of Nigeria has done a big thing for Kaduna. You must show appreciation to this by supporting the administration.”

Referring to the “massive cash releases for capital projects in excess of a record one trillion Naira under the 2016 budget,” Malam Garba credited the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola with the record of being the the first ever Minister to ride on all the federal roads across the nation. He said in addition to the roads, three of the major projects very dear to the President which he is determined to execute are the Mambila power project, the Lagos-Kano, Lagos-Calabar and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway modernization projects and the new Presidential Initiative on Fertilizer, which he said is already making an impact by cutting the price of fertilizer to about fifty percent.

Kenya’s High Court on Wednesday gave parliament 60 days to enact legislation that would make it obligatory to have more female lawmakers, or face dissolution.

The 2010 constitution requires that no more than two thirds of lawmakers should be men, a principle hailed at the time as a big step towards equality.

However the current male-dominated parliament has repeatedly rejected legislation to enforce this.

Four rights groups had petitioned the courts to compel parliament to enact such a law before a general election on August 8, saying there was a risk of a constitutional crisis.

High Court Judge John Mativo said that by failing to pass the required law, parliament was guilty of a “gross violation” of the constitution.

“Parliament has a constitutional obligation to enact the requisite legislation and failure to do so within the stipulated period is in my view unacceptable and a blatant breach of their constitutional duty,” he said, according to a copy of the ruling seen by AFP.

He said that if parliament failed to enact the legislation within the stipulated time, “the petitioners or any other person shall be at liberty to petition the Honourable Chief Justice to advise the president to dissolve parliament.”

The constitution gave parliament until August 2015 to enact the legislation, a deadline which was then extended by a year.

While Kenya’s last election in 2013 landed more women than ever in parliament with 68 of 349 seats in the National Assembly, the country still lags behind much of the region in opening up politics to women.

World leader Rwanda has 61.3 percent of women in its lower house of parliament, followed by Ethiopia with 38 percent, Burundi with 36 percent and South Sudan with 28 percent, according to the Geneva-based International Parliamentary Union.

The improved showing of women in 2013 was largely due to another constitutional provision requiring that 47 “women representatives” be elected.

Kenyan analyst Nanjala Nyabola wrote recently that this had actually taken female politicians backward, as they were seen as only present to deal with women’s issues rather than participating as “full parliamentarians”.

Victor Kamau, lawyer for the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights which was one of the petitioners, hailed the ruling.

“The constitution… has been enforced, it has been brought alive in this judgement and we have been reminded as a people that this is the constitution we all aspired for,” he told reporters after the hearing.

AFP

About 328 deaths associated with Meningitis have been recorded in the country since November 2016, as 1.3 million vaccines arrived from World Health Organization and the United Kingdom.

The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by Mrs Boade Akinola, the Director, Media and Public Relations of the ministry.

Adewole assured Nigerians that the ministry would curtail the outbreak of meningitis ravaging some states.

“We have started working with the affected states on massive awareness and sensitisation, laboratory investigation and analysis, proper documentation and disease surveillance techniques.’’

The minister added that ministry through the National Centre for Disease Control and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), had been of tremendous support to the affected states since the outbreak.

He said the ministry was in constant discussion with World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, E-health Africa and other international health agencies for supplies of vaccines and injections.

“Through our initiatives, we have secured 500,000 doses of the meningococcal vaccines from WHO which will be used in Zamfara and Katsina states with additional 800,000 units from the British government .

“By next Tuesday, there will be a meeting with the International Review Group of the WHO, where request for additional vaccines shall be approved, as part of practical and medically certified efforts to stem this ugly incidence.’’

Adewole added that government was not relenting on the progress made, “as we have been assured of millions of vaccine doses through other notable and international donor agencies.’’

According to him, Nigeria has always been bedevilled with the stereotype A of meningitis in years past.

“This new outbreak is from a suspected new strain of the bacterial disease, Meningitis Stereotype C, of which the vaccine is not commercially available in required quantities.

“The vaccine can only be shipped into the country by WHO only, if laboratory investigation confirms the existence of the strain type C.

“Government is advocating for prompt diagnosis and issued directive to all federal medical facilities and PHCs to treat all cases of meningitis free of charge.’’

The minister urged Nigerians especially residents of Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Niger, Zamfara and Jigawa states to seek early attention when discomforted with symptoms of Meningitis

He also advised Nigerians to avoid clogging together in unventilated and over-crowded rooms. (NAN)

Boko Haram Islamists have abducted 22 girls and women in two separate raids in northeast Nigeria, residents and vigilantes said.

In the first attack on Thursday, the jihadists raided the village of Pulka near border with Cameroon where they kidnapped 18 girls.

“Boko Haram fighters from Mamman Nur camp arrived in pickup vans around 6:00 am and seized 14 young girls aged 17 and below while residents fled into the bush,” a Pulka community leader said.

“They picked four other girls who were fleeing the raid they came across in the bush outside the village,” said the community leader who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.

ATTACKERS

According to the official, the attackers were loyal to the faction headed by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf.

Barnawi was appointed last year by the Islamic State group to replace leader Abubakar Shekau, who had pledged allegiance to the Middle East jihadist group in 2015.

Another resident confirmed the raid and said the girls were likely to end up as brides for the fighters.

“They didn’t harm anyone during the raid and they made no attempt to shoot people running away from the village,” said the resident.

In the second incident outside the village of Dumba, close to Lake Chad, the jihadists killed a herdsman who had tried to escape after refusing to pay protection money, said Adamu Ahmed, a member of an anti-Boko Haram militia.

GUNMEN

“When the Boko Haram gunmen came for the money they realised he had left with everything and they decided to go after him on their motorcycles,” Ahmed said.

“They caught up with him near Dumba where they slaughtered him and shot dead 50 of his cattle.

“They took four women from the man’s family and the rest of the herd,” he said.

The promotion of Barnawi had revealed divisions in the group, as Shekau had been criticised for mass killings and suicide attacks against civilians.

Barnawi and his right-hand man Mamman Nur, who is seen as the real leader, had promised residents in areas under their control would not be harmed as long as they did not cooperate with Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram.

But in recent weeks the Islamist fighters have intensified raids in areas near Lake Chad, stealing food from residents.

They have also killed several civilians they accused of cooperating with the military.

AFP

The Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, has shared pictures of himself during what he called convocation day at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, amid the raging controversy over whether he graduated from the institution or not.

“Convocation picture with Mike idoko,” Melaye captioned the pictures on Instagram.

He captioned one of the pictures: “My convocation in ABU Zaria with my lovely parents”

Sahara Reporters had alleged that the Senator did not graduate from ABU, sparking a certificate scandal that has dragged for weeks.

Melaye, however, insisted that he graduated from the institution.

He said he has 7 degrees, and currently working on his 8th.

A young man has been sentenced to death by hanging for stealing a smartphone.

Tope Abiodun, 23, has been in a Nigerian prison for four years after stealing an Android LG smartphone valued at 87,000 NGN (£256).

He claims he was planning to sell it to buy food for his younger siblings, according to an activist who is highlighting the case.

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sentenced Mr Abiodun to death by hanging.

Justice campaigner Don Capello wrote of the case: ‘Justice Chizoba Orji of Apo high court FCT Abuja jailed 23 yrs old Tope Abiodun (from Kabba Kogi state) to death by hanging for stealing an Android LG phone valued at 87,000 naira.

‘This happened few weeks ago in a country where those that looted billions that were meant to make life easy for such youths from being tempted to survive through stealing, are out there roaming the streets in freedom.

Mr Capello said: ‘This is unfair to the poor and vulnerable masses. Tope fluently speaks Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa languages.

‘He has transformed since he was imprisoned four years ago, this is a lad that will assist visitors with their luggage down to cells of those they came to visit in Kuje prison.

‘He is a good boy we cannot allow to die. I am appealing to well-meaning Nigerians, clergies alike to come to his aid. He has an ageing mother, he was not born to see his father alive. One can easily understand his upbringing.’

Justice campaigner Don Capello shared a Facebook post of Tope highlighting the case.

The campaigner explained in a Facebook post: ‘Tope Abiodun committed this crime when he was 18-years-old, he told me the pressure to feed his younger siblings pushed him to do it.

‘Probably he did that as an ignorant young boy out of the normal juvenile delinquency stage in our lives.’

In the post, Mr Capello revealed that he had helped the youth process his case through the appeal court.

He added: ‘I am so sad about this because I have spent much to help this boy even though I have my issues.

‘At the end the judge gave him a very harsh sentence (death by hanging).’
It was not clear whether an execution date had been set.

There was no comment from Nigerian legal authorities on the case.

The death penalty in Nigeria can legally be enacted by hanging, shooting or stoning.

Offences that can carry the death penalty include same-sex marriage, treason and mutiny.

Rape, murder, terrorism, kidnapping and robbery are also punishable by death.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-4367986/Thief-sentenced-death-stealing-phone-Nigeria.html#ixzz4cvvELiph 

Kenya on Friday unveiled meningitis vaccine as the debilitating bacterial disease threatens to break out in the country’s northern counties amid biting drought.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, confirmed the outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, CSM, in five states with at least 282 deaths related to the disease.

The new meningitis vaccine called “Nimenrix” was developed by Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical giant and will bolster efforts to eradicate the highly infectious disease that is rampant in Kenya and 26 other Sub-Saharan Countries.

Deshnee Achary, the head of Pfizer Vaccines in the Anglophone region said Kenya became the first country in the region to benefit from a meningitis vaccine that was developed after rigorous scientific research.

“Vaccination is a critical intervention in healthcare like clean water.

“The meningitis vaccine will, therefore, offer long-term immunity against the disease to high-risk populations,” Achary said.

Kenya has recorded sporadic Meningitis outbreaks fuelled by droughts and displacement of populations in the northern frontier districts.

Achary noted that Kenya’s vulnerability to a meningitis outbreak remained higher in the light of escalating drought and influx of refugees from endemic and strife-torn neighbouring countries.

“Any meningitis outbreak in Africa coincides with drought hence the need for Kenyan authorities to take proactive measures like mass vaccination, hygiene education and intensive surveillance at border crossings,” said Achary.

She added that a partnership with the ministry of health will facilitate distribution of the Meningitis vaccine to the high-risk counties.

The Nimenrix Meningitis vaccine that was approved by global regulatory agencies five years ago has proved to be an effective tool of containing the bacterial disease which impairs physical and neurological functions of patients.

Dr Ombeva Malande, Director of East African Centre for Vaccines and Immunisation said the Nimenrix vaccine has over 90 per cent efficacy and will embolden other clinical interventions to manage the disease.

“Vaccinating people suppresses the meningitis bacteria to ensure it does not develop to fatal stages. Available data indicates Nimemrix vaccine has met the threshold of safety and efficacy,” said Malande.

Kenya belongs to the Meningitis Belt that comprises 27 Sub-Saharan African countries.

The World Health Organisation contends that 1.2 million new cases of Meningitis leading to 135,000 deaths are reported annually across the globe.

NAN

South African President Jacob Zuma has appointed Malusi Gigaba as the country’s new finance minister, replacing Pravin Gordhan who was sacked in a cabinet reshuffle, a statement from the president’s office just after midnight on Thursday said.

Zuma also said that Sfiso Buthelezi was appointed Deputy Finance Minister replacing Mcebisi Jonas.

“I have directed the new ministers and deputy ministers to work tirelessly with their colleagues to bring about radical socioeconomic transformation and to ensure that the promise of a better life for the poor and the working class becomes a reality,” Zuma said.

It was an expected move that had spooked investors this week and sent the currency tumbling.

Zuma’s replacement of Gordhan comes as part of a cabinet shuffle that changes 10 of the country’s 35 ministers.

Pressure has been growing on Zuma to step down after he recalled Gordhan, who has a strong reputation as a bulwark against corruption, from a trade trip in London earlier this week.

Frustration has been growing with Zuma after numerous allegations of corruption.

South Africa’s two main opposition parties took aim at the president on Thursday, with one appealing to the highest court to order impeachment proceedings and the other announcing it will launch a vote of no confidence.

Culled from AP

Photo credit: HapNins (Facebook)

A Nigerian pilot who works for Air Djibouti has become the first African pilot in history to fly solo around the world.

Ademilola “Lola” Odujinrin completed the final leg of his historic journey Wednesday afternoon, landing safely at Washington Dulles International Airport.

The pilot has completed the entire circumnavigation in a Cirrus SR22, stopping in more than 15 countries on five continents, returning to Washington DC, where his journey began back in September.

The flight is part of Project Transcend, a foundation which aims to inspire young people to achieve their goals, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Ademilola says: “Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of one day flying around the world. We have a responsibility to lead by example and follow our dreams. I want African children to think: ‘I can do this too!’”

Photo credit: HapNins
Photo credit: HapNins
Photo credit: HapNins
Photo credit: HapNins

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Air Djibouti’s Chairman, Aboubaker Omar Hadi, and Cardiff Aviation’s Chairman, Bruce Dickinson, who have supported me throughout this journey. Without them, this would not have been possible.”

Both formed part of a high-level delegation to welcome the historic aviator on the tarmac at Dulles Airport, including: the Ambassador of Djibouti to the United States, His Excellency, Mr. Mohamed Siad Doualeh; Senior Director of Strategic Planning for Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority, Mr. Dawit Michael Gebre-ab; and Chief Operating Officer of Air Djibouti, Mr. Moussa Houssein.

Other distinguished guests included the CEO Africa World Press, which plans to publish a book on the journey.

Ademilola has logged over 4,000 hours as a commercial Boeing 737 pilot since earning his pilot licence six years ago.

The Chairman of Air Djibouti, Aboubaker Omar Hadi, says: “By supporting initiatives like Lola’s flight around the world, Air Djibouti hopes to inspire a new generation of pilots in Africa and help to pave the way for the aviation industry to thrive in the region.

“The benefits will be felt within the region, as this will encourage more intra-African trade and sustainable economic development.

“With the commencement of the Single African Air Transport Market set for June 2017, air travel in the continent is positioned to grow rapidly and become a key contributor to the region’s economic and social development.”

Globally, the aviation industry represents a massive opportunity for African economies to play a larger role.

It is estimated that 2017 alone will see approximately four billion airline passengers worldwide, as well as over 50 million tonnes of cargo being transported by air.

PUNCH

Kenyan Maria Burendi beaten by Indian mob who mistook her for a Nigerian. Photo: TOI

A 24-year-old Kenyan woman was dragged out of a taxi on Wednesday and bashed by a racist mob in India, who mistook the woman for a Nigerian.

Coming just two days after a mob thrashed six Nigerians and a Congolese inside Greater Noida’s Ansal Plaza in Uttar Pradesh  on Monday evening, the fresh attack has left most Africans in the area too afraid to step out of their houses, according to Times of India.

Maria Burendi, the Kenyan, said  she left her home in Alistonia society at 6.15am to collect an African wig and some food from a friend at DPS Society.

On the way, she said the cab was stopped at 6.30am near the Omicorn roundabout by 10-12 men who then beat her up.

“They stopped the car and asked me to get out,” Maria told TOI over the phone.

“When the cabbie and I stepped out, they started slapping me saying that Nigerians are bad. When I said that I was a Kenyan, one of the guys asked them to stop and they relented,” she said.

“I was not expecting this. I wanted to buy some food items but could not. Later I thought I could collect my African hair wig from my friend’s place in Greater Noida. It was then that the attack took place,” she said.

However, police later in the evening said her version was doubtful. They said they nabbed the cab driver and when he was questioned, he denied any such incident happened.

Time of India

Nigerians attacked in India. Photo credit: Kingsley Blacgold

African students in India have decried the ‘barbaric racism’ against Nigerians in the South Asian country and threatened to lodge a formal complaint with the African Union.

The students who are members of the Association of African Students in India (AASI) have said they will also send a report to all heads of governments in African countries.

According to The Times of India, the association asked the Government of India to take concrete steps to protect the lives and properties of all African students in India, and especially in Uttar Pradesh following the recent false allegations against five Nigerian students.

“We are tired of the appeasement and promises made by the Indian government and therefore we will be taking stringent actions,” the association president Samuel T. Jack said outlining what AASI would do.

The association will write to the African Union countries to cut all bi-lateral trade with India if the country did not secure the lives of African student and ensure maximum security in areas where African students live.

“We will ensure that all the local media houses in our respective countries get details of the growing racism which African students are facing in India. We will also send a detailed report on the barbaric racism African students are facing in India to the high levels of all African governments and heads of state,” the association said.

While announcing that a nation wide protest would be held in India, the association said it would also ask African students to stop making India their study destination with immediate effect.

The African Students Association, Telangana, told TOI that a peaceful protest would also be organised in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile the government of India has condemned the attack on Nigerians in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida.

Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj asked the state government to conduct an investigation into the incident.

The incident once again put the spotlight on the racial prejudice that is regularly displayed by Indians.

In a statement, MEA spokesperson described the incident as “deplorable”.

The spokesman said Sushma Swaraj had spoken to the UP CM Yogi Adityanath, who has promised a quick and “fair” investigation. “Law enforcement authorities of the district have made arrests and are investigating into this matter. They are also taking necessary steps to keep the situation under control.”

Meanwhile, minister of state for external affairs MJ Akbar met the acting high commissioner of Nigeria and assured her of action.

The video footage of the mob attack on the African students spurred both the state and central governments into action.

Earlier, an African student, Sadiq Bello, in obviously a desperate appeal, tweeted to Swaraj, “@SushmaSwaraj as an international student in Noida, you need to act fast as living for us in Noida is becoming a life threatening issue.”

The African Students Association asked all African students in Noida and greater Noida to remain indoors until better security is provided to them.

Times of India/NAN

About 12 activists broke through security at Stansted Airport Tuesday night and chained themselves together on the runway to stop failed asylum seekers being deported.

The left-wing activists were trying to stop a flight taking up to 100 immigrants back to Nigeria and Ghana.

The runway was closed at about 10pm resulting in eight flights being diverted to other London airports. But by 11.30pm the airport was running as normal.

The protesters were part of three groups called End Deportations, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and Plane Stupid.

They were heard chanting: ‘No borders, no nations, stop deportations’.

One of the activists blocking the runway, Emma Hughes, said she was trying to prevent families from being separated.

She told Huck Magazine: ‘We’ve taken this action because many people on this flight are being placed in serious danger by being callously deported back to Nigeria and Ghana.’

‘There’s been a lot of attention recently on Trump’s racist Muslim ban, but what’s happening in the UK is equally repellant.’

‘People are being rounded up in the middle of the night based on their perceived nationality, forced on to planes in undisclosed locations and strapped down in their seats with no one witnessing the violence they’re facing.

‘Do we really want to live in the sort of society where these violent and secretive mass deportations are being normalised?’

It costs the UK taxpayer at least an average of £12,000 per year to house someone seeking asylum.

A Home Office spokesman said it could not comment on operational activity but added: ‘We respect everyone’s right to peaceful protest but we are clear that removal is an essential element of an effective immigration system.

‘We expect those with no legal basis to remain in the UK to leave voluntarily but if they do not, we will seek to enforce their departure.’

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