Thursday, 06 May 2021

NEWS AND STORIES

Items filtered by date: February 2021

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on Saturday said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigeria after terrorists abducted hundreds of school girls in Zamfara State.

Soyinka spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Ogun award lecture and public presentation of ‘Chronicles of the happiest people on earth,’ the latest book authored by him.

According to Soyinka, it is important for all to know that these were abnormal times, but that it seemed to him as times of shirking of responsibilities in key areas.

“We cannot permit ourselves to accept the child hostage taking as a way of life, we just can not continue in this fashion, some thing drastic and meaningful has to take place and it has to be collective,” he said.

Soyinka emphasised that this was no longer the responsibility of those at the top, in charge of security, in charge of governance as they had clearly failed the populace.

“They have failed us, there is no point trying to reason it up, trying to give an excuse, putting blame or whatever. The important thing is that we are very close to accepting a culture of the unacceptable,” he added.

The Nobel laureate said it had reached a point the states were shutdown when the children were kidnapped to sound the urgency that child hostage taking would no longer be acceptable.

Soyinka said it might sound extreme, but said “we don’t know what else one can propose at this particular time, yes life must go on but even those activities will generate and enhance our very existence.

“I think we have to take on a tonality of regrets, of the unacceptable, protestation and mobilisation on whatever level it is possible as a community of human beings,” Soyinka said in a report by The Nation.

Published in Business and Economy

By Helen Oji/ GUARDIAN.NG

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, faulted the prohibition of cryptocurrencies in the country, saying it should rather be regulated.

Speaking at a one-day Special Summit on the Economy organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with Bankers Committee in Lagos, the vice president said there was need for regulators to create knowledge-based regulations that would help maximise the strengths and opportunities associated with block chain technology and also minimise the risks and threats associated with it.

According to him, Nigeria needs to prepare for the shift to block chain technology and embrace technology for the nation’s developmental process.

“We must move Nigeria digital economy into global drive. Nigeria ICT is making giant strides. We have a lot; we must build softwares. As a nation, we have to embrace technology for our developmental processes,” he said.

Stakeholders at the summit also noted that for the country’s economy to record sustainable growth and reduce exposure to volatility in commodity prices, there was need to focus more on the provision of accommodative monetary policy measures that would enable faster recovery of the economy through improved flow of credit to households and businesses in key sectors of the economy, especially agriculture, ICT and manufacturing.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said while accommodative monetary policy measures that would support growth remain its priorities for 2021, the apex bank would continue to pay attention to trends in inflation because price stability was critical to guiding savings and investment decisions by households and businesses.

According to him, the agricultural sector was a key driver in taking the Nigerian economy away from negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, stressing the need to sustain measures aimed at increasing productivity of the sector and increase production of locally made goods in the country.

In addition, he stressed the need for government to seek alternative ways of funding infrastructure to generate more revenue and enhance sustained growth, noting that a well-built infrastructure system could have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country.

To this effect, he said the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria Limited (InfraCorp), a vehicle that would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment, would become fully operational by the second quarter of 2021.

He said the company, Infra-Co, would be one of the top infrastructure finance entities in Africa and would be wholly dedicated to Nigeria’s infrastructure development.

He added that Infra-Co would operate as a public-private partnership and would be initially funded by the CBN, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Africa Finance Corporation.

According to him, it would focus on developing public assets and reconstruction as well as new roads, rail, power and other key infrastructure sector projects.

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the banking sector plays a critical role in terms of reforms to reposition the country to effectively impact on different sectors of the economy to generate more revenue.

She, however, noted that the impact of the banking system on the rest of the economy depends on how it mobilises savings, allocates the savings, monitors the use of the funds by firms and individuals, pools and diversifies risk, including liquidity risk and eases the exchange of goods and services.

“When the banking system performs well, it tends to promote growth and expand economic opportunities. Economic growth is about enhancing the productive capacity of an economy.

“This is achieved by using available resources to reduce risks, remove impediments which otherwise could increase costs of doing business and hinder investment,” she said.

Published in Headliners
  • Girls marched on foot from school to the bush
  • Seven students escape from abductors
  • Troops spot students’ location; harmattan delays rescue
  • Concern for the lives of victims is our only restraint, Buhari warns bandits

By Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Bolaji Ogundele, Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja, Sani Muhammad Sani, Gusau/ THE NATION

The bandits who struck at the Government Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State,early yesterday ,appeared to have outsmarted security agents in the area in a game of wits in the moments leading to the invasion of the school.

The gunmen,according to sources,seemed to have divided themselves into groups,with one group engaging the security agents in a battle while another group moved into the school premises to abduct the girls.

This strategy,it was gathered,kept the security agents busy and unable to know what was going on at the school.

Preliminary report made available to the Federal Government yesterday put the number of the abductees at 307 as against the 317 initially reported.

Seven of the students escaped.

President Muhammadu Buhari,in his first reaction to the development yesterday, warned bandits against over-stretching their luck, saying the only thing shielding them from certain destruction is the restraint for the lives of the innocent captives.

The Nation gathered that security agents engaged in a fierce battle with some of the bandits who were used as decoys to divert attention from the abduction.

The preliminary report to government showed that the bandits marched the girls in the dark into the bush.

The military and security agencies have already located where the girls are being kept..

But the prevalent harmattan in some parts of the North, including Zamfara State and government’s concern for the lives of the girls, are said to be delaying a rescue operation from the air and on the land.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen Lucky Irabor, is said to be coordinating the rescue operation.

“From preliminary report, the bandits this time around changed tactics before abducting the school girls in Jangebe,” an authoritative source said last night .

“They (bandits) diverted the attention of security agencies by using kidnappers as decoys. We have it on record that security agents clashed with some kidnappers in Jangebe before the bandits struck.

“So, while security agents were battling kidnappers, the bandits took advantage to raid the school and abduct the girls.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “The girls were marched on foot into the bush under armed escort by the bandits who were more in number than the abductees.

“The girls, who were frightened, tried to save their lives by pleading and obeying the directives of the bandits.”

Sources said the location of the abducted school girls has been found.

Said one of the sources: “The military and other security agencies have located where the girls are being kept.

“But what is delaying the rescue operation, both in the air and on the land, is the prevalent harmattan in the North, including Zamfara State. The harsh weather makes visibility on land and in the air difficult.

“Troops and other agents are also being careful to ensure minimum damage in rescuing the girls. We may have no choice than to call a spade, a spade.

“We hope political authority in the stste will buy the idea of the military liberating these innocent girls.”

The Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen Lucky Irabor, was busy last night coordinating the rescue mission.

Other sources in Jangebe itself said the bandits struct at about 1am,shooting sporadically.

Seven abducted girls escape

Seven of the abducted girls succeeded in escaping from the grip of the gunmen, it was gathered last night.

The girls, according to the source, outwitted their abductors while they were being marched into the forest.

The girls said more could be on their way home as many of they were able to maneuver their way out of captivity.

We have deployed two surveillance helicopters, says IGP

Police Inspector General Muhammed Adamu said yesterday that the military, police, Department of State Security, and other security operatives have commenced coordinated search and rescue operations on the Zamfara abducted school girls.

Adamu ordered the immediate deployment of two operational surveillance helicopters to Zamfara State.

This is in addition to the personnel of Operation Puff Adder II earlier deployed to the State to support efforts by the Command to combat banditry, kidnapping and other related crimes.

The Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba said: “Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force have commenced a coordinated search and rescue operation, involving the deployment of both ground and aerial assets, aimed at locating and rescuing the students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State abducted in the early hours of Friday, 25th February, 2021.

“To ensure the success of the ongoing operation, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has ordered the immediate deployment of two (2) operational surveillance helicopters to Zamfara State.

“This is in addition to the personnel of Operation Puff Adder II earlier deployed to the State to support efforts by the Command to combat banditry, kidnapping and other related crimes.”

Adamu condemned the “barbaric and callous abduction of the innocent female students,” and pledged that the Police and other security forces will not relent until the abducted students are successfully rescued and reunited with their families”.

Mba said the joint rescue operation is being carried out by the Police, the Military and other members of the law enforcement community with support from the State Government and other Stakeholders.

The Zamfara Police Commissioner Abutu Yaro said a joint search and rescue operation was already underway with a view to rescuing the kidnapped students .

CP Yaro said the Force Commander Operations Hadarin Daji, Major General Aminu Bande, Brigade Commander 1 Brigade, Nigeria Army Gusau, and other state government officials led a heavily armed Re-enforcement team to Jangebe to complement the ongoing rescue operation in the locations where the students were believed to have been whisked to.

Concern for lives of victims is our only restraint, Buhari warns bandits

President Muhammadu Buhari,in his first reaction to the abduction of the girls, warned bandits not to over-stretch their luck, saying the only thing shielding them from certain destruction is the restraint for the lives of the innocent.

Security forves, according to him, have what it takes to end the impunity of the bandits.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu,said in a statement that the military have been mindful of the rules of engagement, adding that no criminal group is too powerful for strong for government to crush.

Government,he vowed, “will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments.”

He added: “no criminal group can be too strong to be defeated by the government.

“The only thing standing between our security forces and the bandits are the rules of engagement.

“We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits.

“Our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.

“A hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors.”

He warned the bandits “not to entertain any illusions that they are more powerful than the government. They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or irresolution.”

The President appealed to state governments “to review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles, warning that the policy might boomerang disastrously.”

He also advised states and local governments to be more proactive by improving security around schools and their surroundings.

The 27 students of the Government Science College Kagara,Niger State,who were abducted from the school last week remain in captivity as are about 100 Chibok school girls who were seized in April 2014 and Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped in Dapchi,Yobe State in 2018.

Published in Business and Economy

The world will not be destroyed
by those who do evil, but by those
who watch them without doing anything.
–Albert Einstien

Let us pause for a while and remind ourselves of what it would look like, if Nigerians lose their sense of reasoning and embrace anarchy in this age of technology advancement and the great awareness that the 21st Century has exposed mankind to. Also, we should ruminate that after half a Century years of Nigeria’s servitude to three years of civil war, it is a matter of regret that some misguided political elite since inception of President Muhammadu Buhari administration have been in constant ethnic and religious dialogue with history in negative ways.

Sadly, some prominent members of the political elite unguided utterances seem to beckon the above ugly experience witnessed in the country to repeat itself. This underlines a big problem, hence, the chairman, National Peace Committee (NPC) former Head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar recently cautioned state governors who are brandishing their tongues carelessly to be more temperate in their utterances in order not to instigate civil unrest in the nation. He said: “People who are old enough recollect what happened during the civil war. What were the things that led to the civil war? People from different states were being attacked, killed and their property destroyed, and people started migrating to their states of origin. And this is what is happening now…” The above warning is clearly lost just as the lessons of the civil war seem a child’s play in self hating Nigerians who would exult at such a despicable incidences of killings across the country to degenerate into a civil unrest. That the nation has been under the mercy of insurgents, bandits, kidnapping and herdsmen atrocities name it, for over a decade is absolutely disturbing. But what makes it even more worrisome is the paucity of fund that has become the annual harvest of security services budget. Hence, their constant romance with inadequate equipment and their inability to arrest the security challenges. In the face of their handicap, government officials keep saying our security services are up to the task. Yet, the crave for economic progress, peace and stability in the country continue to get slimmer by the day while the lust for anarchy, chaos, bloodshed, destruction and perpetual domination and subjugation of others seem to be the order of the day. It is shameful that the federal government’s body language and inaction continue to ignite the perpetuation of evil in the country, from its craftily blurred line between partisan or ethnic interest over the nation’s overall interest. Of course, that brings to bear the spate of bashing criticism of the ruling party over its poor handling of the security challenges among others facing the nation.

Surely, when there is clearly no path to peace, when every cause of action leads to chaos and anarchy then unity and proclamation of one Nigeria we so crave for would become partial. One of the most impressive aspects of President Buhari inauguration speech in 2015 is his declaration that he is for nobody but for all. Regrettably, as the administration progressed, President Buhari seems to allow himself to be held hostage by ethnic and religious sentiments. This is obviously illuminated from his predilection in appointments and siting of major projects in the northern region. And the growing grave yard silence and toothless statements from federal government about tackling insecurity, lawlessness and herdsmen brouhaha across the country.

As President, Buhari bears a special responsibility for every Nigerian life and property which he swore an oath to protect. In the short term, herdsmen and cattle business seems more important than tackling the burning issue of insecurity, unemployment and infrastructure deficit facing the country. Hence, the unnecessary pettiness and sympathetic allegation by the presidency the other day when it echoed that criminal herders are being tried and convicted in the South West. By the way, is the law suppose to protect criminals, that the federal government had to raise an alarm over criminal herders prosecution? If found guilty, should criminals whether herders or otherwise not pay the ultimate prize as defined by law? As it were, the calumny of facts occasioned from unguarded statements mostly from Miyetti Allah, is helping to heat up the polity. The group which is defined not by any political ideology but by an affection they have towards their business of cattle rearing have become so daring in recent times. However, the blithe assumption by Miyetti Allah arguing with audacious confidence that Nigerians (herders) are free to carry arms for self defence can only encourage the upsurge in small arms and light weapons in the country. It is even more worrisome that some state governors from the north express their support to weaponise the herders through their body language and public defence.

It is particularly disheartening to note that governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state who recently said: “They (herders) have no option than to carry Ak47 because the society and government are not protecting them… it not their (herders) fault, it is the fault of the government and the people, you don’t criminalise all of them…” In the face of all these, the federal government chose to turn a deaf ear and refuses to recognise the legitimate danger of such careless statements therefore, denounce and caution proliferation of arms promoters.

The measure at which insecurity bore the stamp of panic in the country has not only drawn international attention but has spawned and encouraged ethnic regions to set-up their own security architecture for self defence. In the northern region, we have the Hisbah, while Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) operates in the South West, now side by side with Amotekun, formed recently in the same region. Of course, the South East is drumming to everyone’s hearing that it has no intension of truncating the already moving train of its region’s security network. The South East committee chairman, Major General Obi Umahi said: “…the South East is the most secure geopolitical zone in the country today…the region governors have banned open grazing…they have done things about the security infrastructure. I am also aware that each state has motorised its security network…” What all these inflammatory dialogue and regional securities imply is that the window of unity to show that Nigeria is truly one, is rapidly closing. And it is hard to imagine how peace and unity that once defined Nigerians as the most happiest people on earth could sink any lower from the antics of those perpetrating evil. Therefore, President Buhari should overcome his flaws and use his charming charisma to urgently bring back Nigeria on the stead of peace and unity.

Published in Parliament

By Vincent Akanmode/ THE NATION

It is just as well that Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, saw the need to “clarify” his widely reported assertion that herdsmen have the right to go about brandishing AK-47 rifles because they need to defend themselves. Amid the outrage provoked by herders’ killing of hundreds of innocent people across the country, Governor Mohammed declared at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Bauchi State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists penultimate Thursday that herdsmen have no choice but to carry arms because of the insecurity they encounter while herding their cattle through Nigerian forests, particularly the attacks on them by cattle rustlers.

“The Fulani man is practicing the tradition of trans-human pastoralism,” he said. “He has been exposed to the dangers of the forests, the animals and now the cattle rustlers who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth, his cows. He has no option but to carry AK-47 and defend himself because the society and the government are not protecting him.”

As it would be expected, his pronouncement sparked widespread anger, particularly in parts of the country that have been at the receiving end of the horror unleashed by killer herdsmen. Among those who expressed anger were two governors, Daniel Ortom of Benue State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, who have had to experience the herdsmen’s reign of terror firsthand.

Expressing shock and disappointment at Mohammed’s statement, Governor Ortom, whose government had to conduct mass burial for 72 Benue indigenes on New Year day in January 2018 after the terror unleashed by herdsmen reacting to the enforcement of the state’s new anti-grazing law, challenged the Bauchi governor to point out the law that permits herdsmen to carry Ak-47 rifles. Ortom wondered why a colleague governor who took the oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would take the lead in violating the provisions of the same constitution by calling for lawlessness. Governor Akeredolu, on his part, wondered what would become of the country if other governors encourage their citizens to carry arms in self-defence.

Impelled by the widespread condemnation of his statement, Governor Mohammed issued another statement on Sunday purportedly clarifying the earlier one in an attempt to justify same. But the so called clarification was nothing short of adding insult to injury; a specious afterthought so arrogantly tendentious to qualify as a ploy meant to call the bluff of the governor’s traducers. The significance of the statement is not the clarification it purports to seek but the realization on the part of Governor Mohammed that the earlier one was unbecoming of a statesman.

In the clarification statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, the governor said his primary objective was to avert “the dangerous prospect of a nationwide backlash as tempers flared and given that the phenomenon of inter-ethnic migration is a national pastime involving all ethnic groups in Nigeria. By extension, the governor made it abundantly clear that it will be inappropriate to label any one tribe based on the crimes of a few members of the ethnic group.” He then added that the reference to Ak-47 “was simply (meant) to put in perspective the predicament and desperation of those law-abiding Fulani herdsmen who, while carrying out their legitimate cow-rearing business, have become serial victims of cattle rustling, banditry, kidnapping and assassination.”

The legitimate question that flows from the clarification is which part of Nigeria does not experience the air of insecurity for which Governor Mohammed is advocating Ak-47 for the Fulani, sometimes in worse dimensions? In Cross River State, for instance, hapless medical doctors have been the targets of kidnappers and armed robbers in recent times because their troublers perceive them as the most prosperous professionals in the state. Should doctors in the South-south state now carry arms because their lives are under threats of kidnapping and armed robbery?

As a journalist, I have lost count of the number of my colleagues who have been robbed, abducted or assassinated. In the recent EndSARS protest hijacked by hoodlums, both TVC’s and this newspaper’s offices were attacked by gunmen who also set fire to the buildings that house the two media organizations. Would these be justifications for media practitioners to carry arms? In Borno, Lagos, Adamawa and other states, there have been reports in recent times of schools invaded by insurgents or hoodlums to abduct students and teachers. The question Governor Mohammed should answer is whether teachers and school pupils should now carry arms because they desperately need to defend themselves in the face of the glaring failure of government to do so.

Clearly, Governor Mohammed has no one but himself to blame for the vitriol his infamous outbursts have drawn from well-meaning Nigerians. And he deserves no pity because his descent from the zenith of grace to the nadir of infamy was a personal decision. It is a form of misfortune that the good people of Bauchi State are saddled with a leader whose utterances can be so reckless in a matter that borders on national security.

Published in Parliament

Obviously exasperated and frustrated by the multifarious crises confronting and grossly devaluing higher education in the country, Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, over three decades ago, advocated that universities in Nigeria be shut for a year, during which their problems would be intensively studied and enduring remedies found. Not a few at the time considered Soyinka’s suggestion extreme and outlandish.

Despite the emergence of scores of well funded and managed private universities in the country over time, the crises in public universities, which still cater for the vast majority of students, that prompted Soyinka’s call, persist; and have even worsened in several ways. This makes us wonder if taking radical steps to address the challenges of public universities much earlier, as Soyinka had suggested, would not have been a stitch in time, that would have saved us from the current utter dysfunction.

Last year, public universities, at both state and federal levels, lay prostrate for ten months, as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) undertook a ten-month strike that commenced in March and was called off on 22 December 2020. With the Federal Government agreeing to pay the N40 billion earned academic allowances demanded by ASUU, another N30 billion for the revitalization of the education sector, as well as the arrears of salaries owed the university teachers, ASUU called off its strike.

Parents and students heaved a sigh of relief, hoping that the prolonged disruption of academic activities in the universities, with the attendant negative financial, social and psychological implications, had been put behind. But alas! From February 5, another strike, this time by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), has disrupted activities, in federal universities across the country.

Reports in the media indicate that the industrial action, by the non-academic staff unions, has resulted in the piling up of uncleared refuse, abandonment of toilets and bathrooms to filth, disruption of power and water supply, as well as healthcare services, in many of the affected institutions. These support services are the job of striking NASU members. Also, routine students’ registration, accessing of transcripts and even critical security services, have been disrupted. These are the core duties of SSANU.

This means that, even though lecturers are at their duty posts, meaningful academic activities can hardly take place in this kind of environment.

The grievances of the non-academic staff include the alleged non-payment of their minimum wage arrears, rejection of the Federal Government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) — just like ASUU — as well as opposition to the Federal Government’s sharing formula for the N40 billion earned allowances negotiated with ASUU, which reportedly allocated N30 billion to the academic staff.

It is difficult to understand why these two unions did not raise these issues during the ten-month ASUU strike. Their concerns could have been addressed alongside those of the academic staff, thereby averting the fresh round of industrial crisis in federal universities.

Again, if the non-academic staff had left the struggle for the payment of earned academic allowances to ASUU, can they justifiably complain if ASUU members are allocated a larger share of funds released for that purpose? In any case, if they are described as earned academic allowances, it stands to reason that lecturers will be the major beneficiaries.

Even then, the lesson to be learnt is that there are other stakeholders in the universities beyond lecturers. In future, the Federal Government should address problems in the universities holistically ensuring that the interests of all parties are taken into account at all times.

Still, the root of the problems confronting Nigeria’s public universities is insufficiency of funds to enable the system function efficiently and meet its onerous responsibilities. Despite the current economic fragility and consequent paucity of funds, governments at all levels must accord better funding of universities appropriate priority.

On their part, university administrators must manage available resources more transparently and prudently, while also more effectively tapping the universities’ huge, yet unrealized, potentials to raise funds autonomously. We urge that the current strike by non-academic staff be urgently resolved to restore normalcy in these institutions.

Published in Parliament

BY PM NEWS:

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with the new Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa behind ‘closed door’ at the State House, Abuja.

Bawa was screened and confirmed by the Senate on Monday as EFCC chairman.

Buhari with Bawa in Abuja

He arrived Abuja on Friday afternoon for a meeting with Buhari.

Bawa at the State House

The new EFCC boss immediately entered into a ‘closed door’ meeting with the president, which might not be unconnected with strengthening the anti-corruption war.

Buhari with Bawa in Abuja

During his screening by the Senate on Wednesday, Bawa stated his vision for the EFCC, promising to lead the EFCC by example and cut down discretion in the conduct of its affairs through institutionalizing a Standard Operating Procedure.

“What I envisage the EFCC to do is to ensure that we work on our own Standard Operational Procedure, to improve on our Standard Operational Procedures so much so that all that is expected of us is written down somewhere in a document to curtail the use of discretion from the office of the Executive Chairman down to the ordinary investigator.

“We are looking forward to an EFCC whereby I as the Executive Chairman if I give an instruction to a junior officer, he will look at my face and say, Sir I understand your instruction but I will not be able to do it because of so and so Section governing the rules and regulations of the EFCC”, he said.

He also stated that he was interested in establishing synergy with other law enforcement organizations, both nationally and internationally, and aggressively pursue the repatriation of seized assets.

Published in Headliners

The Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers has resolved to prevail on Governor Kayode Fayemi to contest for Presidency in 2023, stressing that he is well qualified for the task of leading the nation.

The Obas said they would send a delegation at an opportune time to prevail on him to contest for the position. The monarchs took the decision at their statutory monthly meeting in Ado-Ekiti after listening to a four-man voluntary organisation, known as “Our Belief Project”, led by Aloba Abejide.

Abejide had pleaded with the traditional rulers to call on the governor to make up his mind early and declare his intention to contest in the 2023 presidential election.

The state Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council, who is the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi Afuntade I, who welcomed the team to the Obas Council Chambers, in tandem with complimentary remarks from several traditional rulers, spoke at length on the sterling qualities of Governor Fayemi.

He stressed that the challenges confronting Nigeria today would definitely need a young, dynamic, energetic and brilliant Fayemi who has the wherewithal to be a good president.

Oba Alabi noted that Governor Fayemi was one of those who fought the military to bring back democracy to Nigeria and that a man of his calibre, with a higher degree in war studies would know how to resolve the issue of insecurity in Nigeria.

Summarising the views of his fellow Obas, the foremost traditional ruler said this was the time for an Ekiti indigene to become the President of Nigeria, adding that Ekiti people had helped many other tribes in the past to get to the top.

“All Ekiti Obas will support Fayemi wholeheartedly in the 2023 presidential election,” the Alawe stated.

Oba Alabi recalled the memorable and positive remarks made by the Sultan of Sokoto and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State during the October 2020 Arewa Summit in Kaduna. He said they expressed implicit confidence in Governor Fayemi.

The monarchs concluded that Fayemi would make a good President to lead Nigeria at this critical period of the country’s history. They, however, advised politicians in Ekiti to be united and work together on the project.

Published in Politics

BY MODUPEOLUWA ADEKANYE/ GUARDIAN.NG

Nigeria’s music scene is about to witness a much-anticipated collaboration as rap artistes, MI Abaga and Vector have announced via a visual on Twitter that they have a new song in works titled “Crown of Clay”.

In a tweet, Vector posted the artwork for the single and asked that fans turn on their post-notification for when the song will drop while MI tweeted “Crown of Clay, V & M.”

Before now, there has been no love lost between both rappers. They had been at each other’s throats.

In October 2019, MI dropped a beef song, The Viper, aimed at Vector whose nickname is Vector The Viper. Not long after, Vector responded with a track, Judas The Rat, a reference to Jude Abaga.

However, they have both decided to let bygones be bygones and this collaboration is proof of that.

Many of their fans have responded positively to the news and below are some reactions.

Published in Entertainment

BY MODUPEOLUWA ADEKANYE/ GUARDIAN.NG

Milan Fashion Week is here. The digitally-focused schedule is stacked with brands on the half-hour, starting with Missoni, Alberta Ferretti, and Kim Jones’s highly-anticipated ready-to-wear debut for Fendi.

Born in different parts of Africa but all operating under the Made in Italy brand, here are the five designers who opened Milan Fashion Week as part of a collective Wednesday:

Fabiola Manirakiza, 50

Fabiola Manirakiza Image AFP

She was born in Burundi but it was in Zaire, which became the Democratic Republic of Congo, that she learned how to sew, in a school run by Italian nuns. A doctor by training, she used this skill when she founded her label Frida Kiza in Italy in 2016, the name a tribute to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

Fabiola Manirakiza’s Piece Image AFP

She describes her work as a “mix between Africa and Italy”, like her silk scarves with Masai prints inspired by Botticelli’s painting, “Primavera” (Spring).

Claudia Gisele Ntsama, 29

Cameroonian fashion stylist Claudia Gisele Ntsama (C) from the collective “Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion” poses with her models on February 17, 2021 in Milan/ AFP

She was born in Cameroon, has since childhood wanted to be a designer and particularly in Italy, as “fashion is Italy”. She spent eight years learning Italian before moving to Italy in 2012, where she worked in odd jobs, in cleaning and at football stadium entrances among others, before getting a diploma in design from Bologna. She “fell in love” with hemp, “one of the most ecological fibres”, and built her own label.

Mokodu Fall, 45

Senegalese fashion designer, Pape Mokodu Fall/ AFP

He is originally from Senegal, has worked as a cartoonist, actor, and then painter. He came to Italy at the age of 22 “to experience the art and culture”. “My collection reflects my African origins,” explained the diplomat’s son who splits his time between Rome and Dunkirk in the north of France. “They are works of art that I transpose onto clothes.”

Models present creations by Senegalese fashion designer, Pape Mocodou Fall, aka Mokodu from the collective “Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion” on February 17, 2021 in Milan during the filming of the fashion show that opens the Milan Fashion Week on February 24, 2021./ AFP

Joy Meribe, 43

Nigerian fashion stylist Joy Ijeoma Meribe Image AFP

She left Nigeria where she was born because there, “designers have no status”. She obtained a master’s in international business before entering fashion, adding: “I’m not an ethnic designer, I live in Italy, I studied in Italy and I produce in Italy.

A model presents a creation by Nigerian fashion stylist Joy Ijeoma Meribe from the collective “Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion”/ AFP

” Her inspiration? “Strong, intelligent African women, like my grandmothers.”

Karim Daoudi, 27

Moroccan shoe designer, Karim Daoudi from the collective “Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion” / AFP

He born in Morocco 27 years ago, arrived in San Mauro Pascoli in northern Italy at the age of 13 with his family, “looking for a better future”. “At 17, I started working in a workshop making shoes for major brands,” before winning a competition on shoe design in Rome. His collection, entitled “Journey into the forest”, brings together shoes in bright colours that remind him of Morocco. To finance his passion, he works as a postman.

Published in Arts & Culture
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