Wednesday, 03 March 2021

NEWS AND STORIES

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 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

Agency Report

Golf Legend, Tiger Woods suffered some multiple leg injuries Tuesday morning in a horrific car crash in Los Angeles California.

Reports said the golfer had to be cut out of the wreck after the car rolled over.

Woods, 45 years old, was said to be on the steering wheel.

The accident happened on the border of the Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles at 7.12AM PST.

The Los Angeles County Sheriffs department confirmed that Woods was the driver of the vehicle.

Fire crews had to lift him from the vehicle with the “jaws of life” before Woods was transferred to hospital by paramedics.

Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent said the mega star is undergoing surgery for multiple leg injuries.

According to the department, the vehicle sustained “major damage.”

Woods was in the area for a two-day content photoshoot with Golf Digest, the outlet confirmed, after serving as host for the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational.

Published in News & Stories

By Abankula/ PM NEWS

Tiger Woods suffered multiple leg injuries from his lone horror car crash today in Los Angeles California.

His agent Mark Steinberg told Golf Digest that Woods “is currently in surgery”.

Woods, 45, was in California for a two-day content shoot with Golf Digest/GOLFTV after serving as host for the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational over the weekend.

The shoot involved Woods giving on-course lessons to a number of celebrities, but he mostly provided instruction and hit a few putts.

He was in good spirits on Monday but did not arrive to the course for the second day of shooting.

According to Los Angeles County Sheriffs, Wood was the sole occupant of the car, when it rolled over on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes.

The accident occurred at 7.12 a.m Los Angeles time.

The 45 year-old golfer had to be cut out of the wreck by fire crews before Woods was transferred to hospital by paramedics.

Published in Headliners
Tuesday, 23 February 2021 18:32

Most-Streamed Nigerian artistes on Spotify

By Samuel Oamen/ THE NATION

Afrobeat began in Ghana in the early 1920s. Nigeria later joined the Afrobeat wave in the late 1960s led by Fela Kuti who experimented with different contemporary music of the time.

Ever since, Nigeria has been producing amazing sounds that travel all over the world.

The music industry has gone from CD eras to streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Audiomack and Boomplay leading the way.

One of the leading music blogs, Mp3bullet.ng under Mp3bullet Media has compiled the list of most-streamed Nigerian artistes on Spotify.

Here is the list of Most-Streamed artistes on Spotify

1. Wizkid – 3,485,993,216

2. Burna Boy – 1,836,385,624

3. Mr Eazi – 1,059,515,866

4. Davido – 629,862,493

5. Maleek Berry – 442,738,299

6. Tekno – 205,976,589

7. Tiwa Savage – 179,123,712

8. P-square – 171,839,601

9. Yemi Alade – 146,942,395

10. Olamide – 141,684,604

Mp3bullet.ng bagged the best music blog of the year awards at POPA Awards 2016.

Published in Entertainment
Tuesday, 23 February 2021 18:28

Full list of winners in 14th Headies awards

By Alao Abiodun/ THE NATION

The 14th edition of the prestigious Headies award held on Sunday.

The event, which was virtual due to COVID-19 pandemic, was hosted by funnyman Bovi and Nancy Isime.

Fast-rising singers like Fireboy DML, Bad Boy Timz and Omah Lay received their first plaques.

Fireboy was the biggest winner at the 14th Headies on Sunday night snagging four awards — including the ‘Best R&B Single’, ‘Best R&B Album’, ‘Headies revelation’, and ‘Best Pop Album’ categories.

Here is the full list of the winners:

Producer of The Year

  • Pheelz – Billionaire by Teni

Best Vocal Performance (Female)

  • Niniola – Addicted

Best Vocal Performance (Male)

  • Praiz – Under The Sky

Best Street Hop Artiste

  • Mayorkun – Geng

Rookie of The Year

  • Bad Boy Tims – MJ

Best Pop Single

  • Nobody – DJ Neptune feat Joe Boy and Mr Eazi

Read Also: 14th Headies: Wizkid wins artiste of the year

Best Collabo

  • Ladipoe and Simi – Know you

Best Alternative song

  • Moelogo – I wonder

Best Rap Single

  • Falz – Bop Daddy feat. MS Banks

Best R&B Album

  • Fireboy DML – Tears, laughter and goosebumps

Best Alternative Album

  • Roots – The Cavemen

Next Rated

  • Omah Lay

Viewers Choice Award

  • Wizkid

Songwriter of the Year

  • Simi – Duduke

Best Pop Award

  • Fireboy – Apollo

Lyricist on The Roll

  • Ilbliss Goretti – Country

African Artiste Recognition Award

  • Master KG

Headies Hall of Fame

  • King Sunny Ade
Published in Arts & Culture

Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, who was rushed to hospital following a clash of heads with an Atalanta player during their Serie A game at the weekend, has been allowed to go home. The Napoli star is however still being observed by medics.

Osimhen spent the night in Bergamo after suffering a head injury in the dying minutes of the Partenopei’s 4-2 loss at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday evening.

Concern arose as the Nigerian suffered what appeared to be a mystery injury, and was run off the pitch on a stretcher and transferred to hospital.

Osimhen didn’t travel back to Campania with his Napoli teammates on Sunday evening, instead of staying overnight in the hospital while awaiting test results.

Yesterday, though, he was cleared to leave the hospital and is free to head home.

Osimhen has had his fair share of injury problems already this season, and a positive case of COVID-19 as well.

The centre-forward was afforded his 10th league appearance in the encounter since teaming up with the club last summer.

Osimhen made his contribution as Gennaro Gattuso’s men suffered their second consecutive defeat, after also losing against Granada in the Europa League.

With few minutes before the end of the game, the forward collided with Romero and fell awkwardly, hitting the back of his head on the turf before losing consciousness.

“Victor Osimhen, following the injury with head trauma suffered in the final minutes of Atalanta-Napoli, underwent tests with negative results,” read a statement from the club website. “The player will remain in Bergamo until tomorrow under the clinical observation of the blue health manager Raffaele Canonico.”

Although the club did not state the duration Osimhen would be on the sidelines, it is certain that the forward will miss Napoli’s second leg round of 32 of their Europa League game against Granada on Thursday.

Published in Sports

South Africa’s scandal-tainted former president Jacob Zuma and French arms giant Thales, accused of graft in a case going back more than two decades, will go on trial in May, the High Court ruled Tuesday.

Zuma is facing 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering relating to a 30-billion-rand ($2-billion / 1.67-billion-euro) purchase in 1999 of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment from five European arms companies.

He allegedly took bribes amounting to four million rand ($270,000 or 224,000 euros) from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales at the time when he was deputy president.

Judge Nkosinathi Chili at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg said the matter was certified as trial-ready and would be heard between May 17 and June 20, 2021.

Zuma was not present for the announcement.

The case was postponed last December, when Thales contested the racketeering charges linked to the arms deal.

But a court dismissed the challenge on January 22, a decision that Thales said it would not contest.

Both the state prosecution and defence attorneys had asked the pre-trial court for extra time.

They cited among other things Covid restrictions on international travel that could impede the availability of witnesses living abroad.

Zuma, 78, who was forced to step down in 2018 by the African National Congress (ANC) after nine years in power, is separately accused of enabling runaway looting of state assets during his tenure.

The judicial panel probing this alleged graft on Monday sought orders to jail Zuma for two years for defying a court order compelling him to testify.

The embattled ex-leader has repeatedly snubbed summonses by the commission, saying its chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is biased.

He testified only once, in July 2019, before staging a walkout days later.

The findings of the anti-corruption commission will not lead directly to indictments but may be handed to the prosecution for possible charges.

Published in News & Stories

By Tony Akowe and Sanni Onogu, Abuja/ THE NATION

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed on Monday briefed the National Assembly about Federal Government’s efforts that helped the country exit recession in the fourth quarter of this year.

Ahmed, who spoke at a meeting between the Leadership of the National Assembly and ministry, however, said the challenges brought about by COVID-19 made government’s revenue to drop by 65 per cent in 2020.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had attributed the country’s exit from recession to the harmony and cooperation between the Executive and Legislative arms of government.

Ahmed however, attributed the development to several efforts by the fiscal, monetary, and trade authorities. She said that the government spent more than was budgeted for on debt servicing for both local and foreign debts in 2020 by about two percent.

The minister said the challenges in 2020, which significantly disrupted the micro-economic development of the country with crude oil prices crashing to as low as $20 from $72 per barrel, made government’s revenue to crash.

Her words: “Another key development for Nigeria was the massive output cut by OPEC in the international market, which was designed to stabilise the crude oil market prices. This meant that the 2020 budget had to be revised.

“The impact of this development is that revenue went down by about 65 percent.”

Ahmed said in response to the development and with the support of the National Assembly, a number of measures were taken, such as the review of the exchange rate.

The minister added: “The effect was that our country went into recession in the third quarter. However, due to the significant stimulus as well as other interventions by the fiscal, monetary and trade authorities, a mild recovery has been recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020 with a positive growth of 0.11 percent. This means that the country has technically exited recession as we had projected.

“Oil price was fixed at $28 per barrel; oil production was 1.8 million barrel per day, but the performance was 1.7 million barrel per day. Exchange rate was set at N360, but we closed the year at N375.”

She said inflation was targeted at 14.13 percent, but “we closed the year at 14.89 per cent.”

According to her, “GDP growth rate was targeted at 4.2 per cent negative growth, but we were able to improve on that and at the end of 2020, it was -1.9 per cent.”

She added that as at the end of 2020, Federal Government’s retained revenue was N3.94 trillion, representing 73 percent of targeted revenue.

The federal government share of the revenue, Ahmed explained, was N1.5 trillion which represents 157 per cent performance over and above the target.

This, she explained, was because crude oil prices performed better than the projection.

She said: “Non-oil revenue collection stood at 79 per cent, Company Income tax and VAT performed at 82 per cent and 68 per cent respectively. Customs revenue collection was 79 per cent. Considering the challenges of the year, this is a good performance; in fact, this performance is higher than previous years.”

On government’s expenditure during the year, Ahmed said: “The N9.97 trillion amended estimate (excluding government funded enterprises) performed at 102 per cent. This means that there was two per cent spending above what was appropriated. This spending arose specifically because of a higher debt service repayment for both local and external debt.

“As at the end of the year, we had N1.7 trillion that has been released as capital expenditure, representing 89 per cent of the capital expenditure. The extension granted by the National Assembly enabled the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to implement the capital budget up to 100 per cent of the amount that has already been released to them.

“The extension meant that agencies could continue to spend the money that has been released to them. Wed have made an assessment and as at the end of the first week of February, I am afraid to report that the performance report of the extended amount was averaging about 30 per cent. We are going to make another assessment by the end of February.”

She also disclosed that as of December 2020, the government had released about N115 billion for COVID 19 expenditure, adding “after that, there have been more releases and we will provide details on that.”

Senate President Lawan said that the meeting was specifically for the principal officers of the National Assembly to interact with the minister on the continued implementation of the 2020 capital budget.

Published in Business and Economy
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