A Nigerian Professor, Charles Egbu, has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University.
An Egyptian court has sentenced to death Hisham Ashmawy, an ex-special forces officer turned Islamist militant, over several terror attacks, reports AFP news agency.
The Cairo criminal court condemned Ashmawy and 36 co-defendants to hang on 54 charges, a judicial source told AFP.
He was an officer with Egypt’s special forces but discharged in 2012 over extremist religious views.
He hit the headlines after he became one of the prime suspects in an attempted assassination of the former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim in a 2013 suicide car bombing.
Mr Ibrahim survived the bombing near his Cairo home but some 20 policemen and civilians were wounded.
He was since dubbed Egypt’s “most-wanted man” by the country’s press.
Security forces in Libya caught him in the port city of Darnah in 2018. They said at the time that he was wearing an explosive vest but was unable to detonate it.
When Ethiopian and Eritrea went to war over a border town more than 20 years ago, Ethiopian people living in Eritrea were forced to leave and the same was true for Eritreans in Ethiopia.
That was also Megebe Temesgen’s bitter reality.
As an Eritrean living in northern Ethiopia, she had no choice but to leave her home and friends behind.
But one of her neighbours, Shasitu Nigusse, helped out in her hour of need.
Looking back, Ms Megebe told BBC News Amharic that Ms Shasitu was then the only person in her life who could safeguard her home in Gondar and her belongings inside it.
Ms Shashitu rented out the house to tenants and collected rent payment on behalf of Ms Megebe for the next 20 years while was away.
She even stood in for Ms Megebe when local administration officers summoned her on matters regarding the house.
Ms Megebe finally returned home to Gondar in 2018, when Ethiopia and Eritrea made peace and the borders were opened.
She told the BBC she was touched that her neighbour held true to that promise made all those years ago.
“I’ll live here for the rest of my life,” she said.
Churches in Zambia have called on citizens to act to lower the country’s divorce rate.
Infidelity, drunkenness, gender-based violence, difficulty conceiving, weight gain, and lack of access to marriage counselling were among key factors cited by the more than 20,000 couples who divorced last year.
More women than men initiated divorce, and the average age of couple was between 25 and 45.
Other reasons for divorce quoted in a report published by the state-owned Zambia Daily newspaper included the failure of some men to support their families and “the abuse of social media”.
“Those statistics are disappointing and defeat the biblical principles on marriage which says ‘only death should do us part,'” said Reverend David Masupa, president of the Independent Churches of Zambia.
Noting the prevalence of couples reporting adultery in their grounds for divorce, Rev Masupa said people needed to be reminded that “adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God”.
A study is looking into the coercive practice in Uganda, amid calls for the government to address the issue.
Jane’s* husband likes breast milk. “He says he likes the taste of it, and that it helps him in terms of his health. He feels good afterwards,” said the 20-year-old from Uganda, who has a six-month-old baby.
Jane said her husband started asking for her milk the night she came home from the hospital after giving birth. “He said it was to help me with the milk flow. I felt it was OK.”
Men drinking their partners’ breast milk is not uncommon in some areas of Uganda, and in parts of Tanzania and Kenya. It is now being linked to gender violence and coercive behaviour and there are concerns over the impact on babies’ nutrition. Little was known about the practice until Uganda’s minister of state for health, Sarah Opendi, broke the silence in parliament in 2018 and warned against “a growing culture of men demanding to suckle, which was becoming a problem for some breastfeeding mothers and their babies”.
The reasons for the phenomenon, and its consequences, are now the subject of what is believed to be the first preliminary study into the practice, by Kyambogo University in Kampala and Britain’s University of Kent, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund.
“It was very much an exploratory mission. We didn’t know if we would find anybody willing to talk to us who admitted to doing it. We didn’t even really know if it was real or not,” said Dr Rowena Merritt, a British behavioural scientist who specialises in public health, and a lead researcher on the project.
The study focused on the rural Buikwe district, in the central region, where the behaviour is reported to be common.
Anonymised interviews were conducted with a group of four men who worked as “boda boda” motorcycle taxi drivers.
“One said: ‘I know other men do it, but we’ve never talked about it.’ So that to me would suggest that it is a common behaviour, but it isn’t socially accepted,” said Merritt.
The preliminary research suggested that men often drink before the child is fed, usually once a day, sometimes more frequently, and for about an hour at a time.
The men said they found it energising. “It sustains me, I come home for lunch and it relieves stress in the middle of the working day,” said Thomas*.
“There is a belief in some communities that breast milk has energising and curative powers, even curing diseases such as HIV and Aids and cancer,” said Dr Peter Rukundo, a senior lecturer at Kyambogo University who assisted with the research.
The men also said it was a way of initiating sex and showing affection. “But then it is happening to women who have just given birth,” he added.
One man told the researchers: “When breastfeeding, I feel like I’m being looked after like a child, and this becomes addictive. I feel like a prince.”
Women did not seem to have much choice in the matter. “It appears to be a hugely coerced behaviour from the people we spoke to,” added Merritt.
When asked what might happen if she said no, one woman replied: “I fear that my husband might go elsewhere if I wouldn’t let it happen.”
The behaviour has been linked to gender-based violence in the Karamoja region in north-east Uganda. “The principal nutritionist has claimed that it is a common practice there in the form of violence, that when the men get drunk some went for the breasts forcefully,” said Rukundo.
Health professionals, including midwives and nutritionists, told researchers about cases where babies had to be given formula milk because partners wanted the breast milk, and where women came to clinic with infected or bitten nipples caused by a man suckling. There are also risks to babies of cross-infection from the man’s saliva.
“There is a gap in public awareness of the risks in such practices. But the challenge is we don’t have the evidence of the magnitude of this behaviour. We need a survey on prevalence,” said Rukundo.
He also called on government and development partners to work together to mitigate harm. “We don’t have any clear message or deliberate effort, despite the health minister saying the issue is there. So, in a way, it is denial. If they remain silent, the issue will remain underground,” he said.
Merritt added: “The fear for me, is the longer that this continues it will become part of the culture and tradition for the next generation. I see parallels with FGM.”
*names have been changed
Schools targeted by extremist groups as half a million people are driven from their homes by violence and the climate crisis.
Roukiata Sow looks tired. The mother of five has welcomed 26 people under the roof of her small brick house. “What will those kids become? Some haven’t been to school for more than two years … Are they all going to be bandits?” she asks.
She is sitting, her head draped in a long grey veil, with other women and girls in a small courtyard in front of her home in Dori, the capital of the Sahel region of northern Burkina Faso.
“In this neighbourhood only, there are about 4,000 displaced persons. Every week, more are coming. We never thought this situation could happen in Burkina Faso. It seemed far from us,” she says. “I don’t even like watching war movies on TV. And now, it happens at home. For real.”
This year more than half a million people have left their homes as a result of the insecurity, exiled in their own land. Most have been taken in by other communities, given shelter and a share of meagre resources by people like Roukiata Sow. Others are living in tents or public buildings.
“This is an unprecedented humanitarian crisis for the country,” says Metsi Makhetha, the UN resident coordinator. “The situation deteriorated so quickly, that we struggled to adjust the response to the level of emergency. We are now catching up, but so far we have only received 41% of the funds that would be needed.”
Until a few years ago, Burkina Faso had been spared the terrorist threat that has plagued its northern neighbour, Mali.
But now attacks by armed men are happening every week, mainly near the northern and eastern borders. Several Islamist groups are active, in addition to various trafficking networks that thrive in chaos.
Badly trained and poorly motivated, the army has been struggling to contain the insurgency, in a war for which it was not prepared. Human rights groups have accused soldiers and militias of abuses that have fuelled the cycle of violence.
In the worst affected regions of the country, where the state has largely lost control, education has been put on hold. “Western” or secular education has been portrayed as unnecessary, or corrupting, by some radical Islamist preachers. Teachers have been killed and classrooms burned down.
About 1,800 schools have closed. “Tens of thousands of children are out of school, says Bernard Kitambala, Unicef office manager in Dori. “There have been threats, and some have been carried out.”
In a primary school in Dori, a teacher tries to make herself heard over the voices of a hundred children in the classroom. About half were displaced from neighbouring provinces or villages.
“It is not easy to teach in these conditions. They find it hard to focus. Two tents have been set up in the courtyard, and we’re using them as classrooms,” she says. “I’m scared, but we have to keep going. These children have the right to an education.”
For some, the danger has become too great. “We were in class when suddenly we heard gunshots. It was coming from everywhere around. We laid on the floor. Then we evacuated the students to safety,” says Tidiane Koundaba, a teacher in the village of Gorgadji, some 40 miles further west.
In a transit centre in Dori, he is waiting with several other teachers to be reappointed to a different area of the country. “The school was not directly targeted that time. But after they attacked the town hall, and the police station, we thought we might be the next target,” he says.
The violence has deeply traumatised those affected. Ramata, 15, was asleep at home late one April night when she was awoken by the sound of gunshots. “They came on motorbikes. The jihadists. They wore headscarves on their heads,” she says.
“They fired until dawn.” Her uncle and several other relatives were killed. Terrified, she ran into the bush. “I fled with my family, we were about 40 people. We didn’t even have time to put shoes on.”
Ramata now lives in Kaya, a city 60 miles north-east of the capital, Ouagadougou, which has become a refuge for many displaced families. She spends her days in an open space built for children and teenagers who have not yet been able to return to school, for lack of financial means or available space.
“Those children had to flee, some saw people being killed, many have nightmares,” says Lucienne Kontogom, the supervisor. “It’s important that we give them a sense of security.”
Here they play, receive basic education, and take part in group therapy sessions. With support from social workers, they try to understand what they have experienced.
“There’s a feeling of abandonment among those populations. Many feel that the state is doing nothing – or not enough – to help them. There’s a lot of bitterness,” says Chrizogone Zougmoré, president of the Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights.
“This very worrying. Because it’s a feeling that terrorist groups can manipulate. In these already marginalised regions, there’s a risk that a limited access to education and even fewer opportunities could drive more young people into armed groups.”
The attack was the deadliest on Niger’s armed forces in years, and took place in a remote area where jihadists linked to the Islamic State have been active.
About 100 Islamic militants ambushed an army camp in western Niger and killed at least 71 soldiers, a military spokesman said late Wednesday, in the deadliest attack on the West African country’s forces in years.
The attack comes amid a surge of assaults on army camps in the Sahel region, which have allowed jihadists to amass weapons and vehicles for their arsenal. Mali, a neighboring West African country, has seen such an increase in ambushes on its army that it has closed some of its most remote and vulnerable army outposts.
Col. Boukar Hassan, a spokesman for Niger’s army, read the death toll announcement on state television Wednesday night and said a dozen other people had been wounded after the ambush overnight.
Earlier in the evening, a tweet sent from the account of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger announced that he was returning early from an overseas trip in Egypt, following developments near Niger’s border with Mali.
Mr. Issoufou was among the leaders invited to a summit meeting next week in France to discuss the future of a French military mission in the region.
The large attack took place in a remote area of Niger where jihadists linked to the Islamic State have long been active.
The violence took place 30 miles from Ouallam, where four United States service members died along with four Nigerien soldiers two years ago when their joint patrol came under fire in an ambush.
Islamic extremists have long carried out attacks across the vast desert region, abducting foreigners and targeting spots popular with expatriates. A regional military force and the French military mission have failed to stem the violence.
Some analysts have suggested that the deadly ambushes on army outposts are aimed not only at stealing weapons, but also at expanding the area of land under jihadists’ control.
Unrest over the ambushes has mounted, particularly in Mali, where soldiers’ widows have held a number of demonstrations calling on the government to do more. Some have aimed their anger at France, the former colonial ruler in the region whose military intervened in 2013 to force jihadists from power in major towns across northern Mali.
France’s operation in West and Central Africa involves 4,500 personnel, making it the country’s largest overseas military mission. France intervened in Mali in 2013 after extremists seized control of major towns in the north and implemented a harsh version of Islamic law.
President Emmanuel Macron of France has said he expects West African leaders to make it clear at next week’s summit meeting that they want and need France’s military help, despite the anti-French sentiment expressed by some protesters.
The one-day nationwide strike by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Wednesday has been suspended.
The General Secretary of the Union, Joe Ajaero confirmed the suspension of the strike in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
The strike action called by the workers to press for the settlement of unresolved workers claims after the privatization of the power sector by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) disrupted public power supply and triggered a nationwide blackout on Wednesday.
At least one of the electricity distribution companies, IBEDC, notified its customers in the South-west that the strike action “led to a nationwide shut down of electricity installations and has resulted in the disruption of service across our network.”
Mr Ajaero said the action was called off in the early hours of Thursday following a tripartite meeting between the leaders of the union, BPE and the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo.
A Nigerian Army commander was killed on Saturday after an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Marte, Borno State.
Military sources said the army major, who was the commander of 153 Task Force Battalion in Marte Local Government Area, was leading a patrol of the unit’s perimeter when the bomb went off Saturday evening.
Our sources said the officer was the only one immediately confirmed killed in the attack. It was unclear whether some of his troops, including members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, were injured or killed during the patrol.
The name of the officer has been withheld as it was unclear whether or not his family has been notified by the military.
Army spokesperson, Sagir Musa, did not return a request for comment on the attack that killed the major.
The major has become the latest senior officer to die since a colonel was killed in battle mid-July.
Swathes of Marte Local Government Area were overrun by insurgents between late May and early June, but the military said the area had been recovered and future incursions would be prevented.
Insurgent attacks have reduced generally since late October, with the military crediting its new ‘super camp’ strategy that made it difficult for terrorists to overrun brigades and battalions.
Saturday’s attack has raised fresh concerns about Boko Haram’s ability to launch surprise strikes.
SOURCE: Premium Times
Modest inventory greeted with scepticism in Zimbabwe, where dictator was thought to have amassed fortune over 40 years.
No will has yet been found and there has been no other declaration of Mugabe’s wealth, or that of his second wife, Grace, nor of his sons and other relatives.
The former guerrilla leader, who took power in 1980 and ruled for decades, was buried in September in his rural home town of Kutama.
The final burial place caused tension between the government, which wanted him to be interred at the National Heroes Acre, a hilltop shrine in Harare, and his family.
When he was ousted from power in November 2017, Mugabe was given a generous state pension and a retirement package that included a pension, housing, holiday and transport allowance, health insurance, limited air travel and security.
Some of the Mugabe family wealth has been exposed by a series of legal quarrels. One, between Grace Mugabe and a Belgian-based businessman over a $1.3m diamond ring, lifted a veil on the lifestyle of his widow, nicknamed “Gucci Grace” for her reputed dedication to shopping. The family is believed to have an extensive portfolio of luxury homes overseas. In 2015, a dispute revealed their ownership of a $7.6m home in Hong Kong.
The ruling Zanu-PF party said in October it planned to transfer ownership of the sprawling mansion in Harare where Mugabe lived until shortly before his death to the family. The house is worth several million dollars.
The Mugabes are also thought to own more than a dozen farms. Several are in Mazowe, about 40km (25 miles) north of Harare. One, belonging to Grace Mugabe, has been the centre of a recent land dispute.
A 2001 US diplomatic cable, later released by WikiLeaks, said that while reliable information was difficult to find, there were rumours that Mugabe’s assets “include everything from secret accounts in Switzerland, the Channel Islands and the Bahamas to castles in Scotland”.
The news of the Mugabes’ wealth comes as Zimbabwe plunges further into a humanitarian crisis. The UN food agency said on Tuesday it was procuring 240,000 tonnes of food assistance to deliver to 4.1 million people in the former British colony where food shortages are being exacerbated by runaway inflation and drought induced by climate change.
“We are very much concerned as the situation continues to deteriorate,” Eddie Rowe, World Food Programme country director, speaking from Harare, told a news briefing in Geneva.
The country, once the breadbasket of Africa, is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade, marked by soaring inflation and shortages of food, fuel, medicines and electricity. The aid will be for January to June, Rowe said.
Five West Africa Countries have topped the energy access status in the ECOWAS region with their population having access to electricity, the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) says.
Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director, ECREEE, disclosed this during his presentation at the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament on Monday in Abuja.
He said that Cape Verde, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Cote D’ivoire were leading in the region while Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo had the least status.
According to Mr Kappiah, only 42 per cent of the total ECOWAS population had access to electricity while only eight per cent of the rural population had access to electricity.
He said that more than 175 million people are without access to electricity services in the region, adding that more needed to be done to improve the statistics.
The ECREEE director said that about 1.7 million people would benefit from the introduction of the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP).
He said that the estimated budget of the project was 223 million dollars, which was aimed at enhancing electricity access in West Africa and the Sahel region through stand-alone solar systems.
Kappiah added that the project would also benefit solar companies and local entrepreneurs from the ECOWAS, Mauritania, Cameroon and Chad.
“The next phase of ROGEP under ECREEE leadership is Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal, which are targeted because the countries are the major providers of candidates for emigration.
“The status of readiness of these countries to host the proposed activities is acceptable, given the political institution and technological environment.
“The implementation will create one million jobs, self employment for youths in the region, enhance various agriculture value chain as fundamental of the West Africa economy.”
The executive director added that the extension to all ECOWAS countries would follow recommendations by the ECOWAS Parliament.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mandate of the ECREEE is to sustain development and cooperation in the region with the objective of promoting cooperation among member states for the development of a viable regional infrastructure.
In particular, it has the specific sub-objectives of promoting provision of efficient, reliable and competitive energy sources to member states through the common exploitation of traditional and alternative energy sources.
It also promotes rural access to affordable energy in the region. (NAN)
At least 14 people were shot dead in an attack on a church in eastern Burkina Faso on Sunday morning, the government said.
The identities of the gunmen were not immediately clear, nor were additional details about the attack, which took place in the village of Hantoukoura near the border with Niger in the Est region. Burkina Faso’s armed forces were caring for the wounded and searching the area, the government said in a statement.
This year an Islamist insurgency has ignited ethnic and religious tensions in Burkina Faso, rendering large parts of the country ungovernable, especially in northern areas bordering restive Mali.
The violence Sunday occurred in an area known for banditry that has come under attack over the past year from suspected jihadist groups with to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
Its timing, during hours of worship, mirrored other attacks on Christians this year — a new phenomenon in a West African country that has long prided itself on its religious tolerance.
On Nov. 6 gunmen opened fire on a convoy of buses carrying mine workers in the Est region, killing 39.
Feelings are running high in Nigeria at the moment over two bills currently before parliament, known as the Hate Speech and Social Media bills.
Activists took their objections to the National Assembly, where they are being debated.
The protest in the capital, Abuja, is part of a series of rallies to be held across the country.
Activists say the bills will suppress freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the constitution.
They also say there are already sufficient laws dealing with some of the issues contained in the bills.
Rights group Human Rights Watch has said that the social media bill will prohibit statements deemed “likely to be prejudicial to national security” and “those which may diminish public confidence” in Nigeria’s government.
It fears the bill creates “vague criminal offences that would allow the authorities to prosecute peaceful criticism of the government”.
One demonstrator, Maurin Kabrik, told the BBC’s Ishaq Khalid that there were more important issues for the government to worry about.
“We need security, we need food. People are hungry, people are dying, these bills are not what is important right now,” she said.
Armed persons on Monday night invaded two communities in Taraba State killing at least five people.
Two village heads, the chairman of a vigilante group and two other persons were killed by the yet to be identified gunmen in Karim Lamido Local Government Area of Taraba State.
Locals say that the gunmen, numbering about 30, invaded the two communities of Bilango 1 and Bilango 2 in old Muri area.
The traditional rulers killed were identified as Garba Dangari, the village head of Bilango 1, and Sarki Ali, village head of Bilango 2.
“The gunmen suspected to be kidnappers were said to be on retaliation mission over the killing of suspected kidnappers by hunters and vigilante in the area,” a local vigilante official who asked not to be named for security reasons said.
The gunmen also reportedly abducted five children in the area before escaping into neighbouring Plateau State, the official said.
The slain victims, including the two traditional rulers, were buried on Tuesday.
The police have also deployed armed officials to the area.
When contacted, the spokesman of the police in the state, David Misal, confirmed the attack.
He said the police were investigating the attack but no suspect had been arrested.
Another Catholic priest in Enugu State, Malachy Asadu, was on Monday kidnapped by unknown gunmen.
His kidnap has sparked tension in the Nsukka suburb of Enugu.
The cleric was reportedly kidnapped along Imilike -Nsukka Road while returning from a Diocesan meeting at St. Theresa’s Cathedral, Nsukka.
Police spokesperson in the state, Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the abduction.
Mr Amaraizu said details of the abduction were still sketchy.
He said the police have commenced a manhunt for the hoodlums to rescue the priest.
Mr Asadu’s kidnap brings to nine, the number of Catholic priests kidnapped in Enugu State in eight months.
His kidnap comes exactly nine days after another priest, Theophilus Ndulue, was kidnapped on November 16.
Mr Ndulue was, however, released three days after some undisclosed ransom was allegedly paid to his abductors.
Armed gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on Monday night killed a driver and abducted 13 passengers along Abuja-Lokoja Road.
The incident occurred at Sabon-Gari Village when the hoodlums laid an ambush along the road and opened fire on moving vehicles.
The gunmen, according to an eyewitness, were said to have dressed in army uniforms and shot the driver of a Toyota Highlander coming from Lokoja axis.
The driver on sighting the gunmen had attempted to escape but one of the hoodlums opened fire and killed him instantly.
It was gathered that an 18-seater commercial bus coming from Abaji ran into the Hoodlums, who fired gunshots and whisked all the occupants into the bush.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja has threatened to jail the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), Yusuf Bichi.
By Halimah Yahaya for Premium Times
The judge gave the warning in Abuja on Monday in response to the failure of the SSS to release the detained publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare.
Earlier this month, in a court order dated November 12, the judge said the SSS must release Mr Sowore as directed by the court or it would be guilty of contempt and liable to be committed to prison.
“Take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in the order of the Federal High Court of Justice, Abuja made on the 6 November 2019, which ordered you to release the Defendants/Applicants in Suit No; FHC/ABJ/CR/235/2019 forthwith, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison. A copy of the said order of court earlier served on you is hereby annexed for your on-the spot reference.
“This court has been informed that even as at today, Tuesday the 12 November 2019 you are yet to comply with the lawful order of the Federal High Court by refusing to release the Defendants/Applicants namely: Omoyele Stephen Sowore and Olawale Adebayo Bakare (MANDATE), in your custody. You are hereby directed to comply with the court order forthwith or you will be guilty of contempt of court,” the document read.
The Federal High Court had ordered the immediate release of Messrs Sowore and Bakare from prison on October 21.
Mr Sowore, who was arrested on August 3 by SSS for planning a protest popularised with the hashtag #RevolutionNow, was granted bail for the second time on October 18.
A previous bail granted the defendant on September 24 was not complied with by the SSS.
The two accused are facing trial on seven counts of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.
There have been growing calls for the release of the accused persons, with many condemning the government of President Buhari for their arrests and charges.
Mr Sowore’s lawyer, Femi Falana, defended his client’s choice of the word “revolution” for the August 5 protest that later held in some parts of the country.
The lawyer said even the Supreme Court does not regard a revolution as a lawful offence.
“Even a coup that sustains the statuesque has been said not to be a revolution by the Supreme Court,” he said.
READ ALSO: Why we have still not released Sowore — SSS
Mr Falana said the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari staged protests after they lost previous elections.
“Buhari called for a revolution in 2011 like that of Egypt which was evidently violent.
“Only in 1948 was someone charged for staging a protest. And the charge was sedition,” he said.
Mr Falana asked the court to grant Mr Sowore bail on self recognizance.
He said various courts had decided on the rights of Nigerians to peaceful protest and that the court had ruled during a case instituted by Mr Buhari’s party that a police permit was unnecessary for the conduct of protests in a free society.
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Mr Falana said the prosecution had argued that Mr Sowore may jump bail like the separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu. He, however, argued that the allegations against Mr Sowore do not support that claim.
Aside from the court’s threat to imprison the SSS boss, Mr Sowore has also filed a suit against the agency.
He is asking the court to order the SSS to pay him N500 million as damages for his detention and violation of fundamental rights.
Victims recovered after plane crashes in densely populated area of city of Goma.
A small passenger plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Congo’s eastern city of Goma, killing 26 people, including passengers, crew and people on the ground, the government said.
The 19-seater aircraft crashed into residential homes on Sunday in the Mapendo district near Goma’s airport in the North Kivu province. Black smoke rose from the remains of the plane in the morning, but it gradually cleared as rescue workers carried bodies on stretchers and hundreds gathered at the scene. The wreckage could be seen amid destroyed homes with dozens of men trying to assist the rescue efforts.
The Dornier 228-200 aircraft was owned by private carrier Busy Bee and was headed to Beni, about 350km (220 miles) north of Goma.
The provisional death toll jumped to 26 later on Sunday and included 17 passengers, two crew members and seven Goma residents, according to the ministry of transportation. The government has extended its condolences to all the families of the victims.
Earlier, the National Border Health Program had said there were two survivors, including a crew member, who were being cared for at a local hospital.
Placide Kambale, a local pilot, said he took a taxi to the scene of the crash to help out. When he got there, the plane was on fire. “I called other young people from the neighbourhood, they helped me to try to remove those who still moved, he said. We have managed to recover two that was quickly sent to the hospital, but then the fire expanded.”
The UN mission in Congo said it sent an emergency crash and rescue team with two fire engines to support Congolese authorities.
Plane crashes are frequent in the central African nation of Congo because of poor maintenance and relaxed air safety standards. None of Congo’s commercial carriers, including Busy Bee, are allowed to fly into EU airspace because of safety concerns.
Publicly accessible list will allow schools and hospitals to conduct background checks.
By Emmanuel Akinwotu in Lagos
Campaigners have hailed the launch of Nigeria’s first sex offender register as a vital step towards tackling reported cases of sexual abuse, which are rising across the country.
The publicly accessible online register of people prosecuted for sexual violence since 2015 will allow public bodies and police authorities to conduct background checks and identify repeat offenders.
Oluwaseun Osowobi, the director of Stand To End Rape, a Nigerian non-government organisation that supports survivors of sexual violence, said: “If a case is reported anywhere in the country, the case is now on the register. It means that offenders have nowhere to hide.”
Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, along with 15 non-governmental organisations, supported by the British Council, will monitor reported cases of sexual abuse, providing monthly updates to the online register.
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria”, said Beatrice Jedy-Agba, the executive secretary of the agency. “It enables bodies such as schools [and] hospitals to conduct background checks and it will deter sex offenders because they will know their names will be published, affecting their employment and role in society.”
Data on the number of reported cases is scarce in Nigeria, where patriarchal traditions stigmatise people who come forward. According to Unicef, one in four girls in the country have experienced sexual violence by the age of 18 and hardly any receive any form of support.
In Lagos, one of only two of Nigeria’s 36 states to document sexual offenders before now, the most frequently assaulted group are children, many of whom are abused by relatives or family friends known to them, according to police authorities.
Police and support groups say the number of reported cases in Africa’s most populous country has risen rapidly in recent years.
As the number of cases has risen, failings in the criminal justice system have let down victims, many of whom report stigmatisation by authorities, exposure to their alleged abusers, and a low likelihood of prosecution.
Under the new system, sexual referral centres run by NGOs will be able to feed in data they collect on recorded incidents into the register, strengthening cases during prosecution.
Osowobi said: “We have cases where victims are being questioned in front of the perpetrators or in open spaces and criticised by officers for not remembering details like the road where the rape occurred.”
According to Stand To End Rape, which supports people who report sexual abuse and provides counselling services, the majority of sexual abuse cases are not prosecuted in Nigeria.
“Cases of sexual abuse are not prosecuted for flimsy reasons,” Osowobi said. “How police collect data is unprofessional and archaic. Police regularly misplace case-files or evidence. Eventually victims become exhausted by the system and give up.”
The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered that alleged internet fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, be kept in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services until the hearing of his bail application.
The court fixed the hearing for his bail for November 29 after he pleaded not guilty to a 14-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N33 billion.
Justice Mohammed Liman gave this order on Monday after Mr Mustapha was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency alleged in the charge signed by one of its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, that Mompha laundered the funds through a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, between 2015 and 2018.
Islamob Global Investments was joined as the second defendant in the charge.
EFCC claimed that the funds, domiciled in Fidelity Bank, were moved in tranches of N18 billion and N15 billion.
The commission further alleged that both defendants, not being a financial institution, or an authorized foreign exchange dealer, negotiated a foreign exchange transaction in the sum of N9.42 million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N10 million, N2.46 million, N10 million, N100 million, N61 million, N100 million, N40.7 million and N42 million.
The funds were domiciled in the defendants’ Fidelity Bank account.
The commission alleged that Mompha “between 2015 and 2018… procured Ismalob Global Investment Ltd to retain the aggregate sum of N18,059,353,413 in its account No. 5260000846 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful act to wit: fraud.
Mompha, between 2015 and 2017, also allegedly aided the company “to retain the aggregate sum of N14,946,773,393.00 in its account No. 5260000846 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc from Pitacalize Ltd.
Both actions were violations of Sections 18(3) and 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act, the agency said.
An activist, Omoyele Sowore, has filed a suit against the State Security Service (SSS) over his arrest and continued detention.
In the charge sheet made available on Friday, the Sahara Reporters publisher is asking the court to order the SSS to pay him N500 million as damages for his detention and violation of fundamental rights.
A judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja had signed a release order for Mr Sowore on November 6, after he met the bail conditions set by the judge. But the SSS refused to release the activist.
Many Nigerians and lawyers have said that the SSS refusal to comply with the order effectively meant that Mr Sowore was being held in illegal captivity by state agents.
Mr Sowore was arrested in August for planning a nationwide protest he labelled ‘RevolutionNow’. The Buhari administration said the planned demonstration was a treasonable act because it was aimed at causing a regime change.
He denied the allegations, saying his campaign was to mobilise teeming Nigerian youth to denounce poverty, insecurity and other national challenges assailing the country.
Following Mr Sowore’s initial arraignment in September, he was granted bail by the trial judge. But the SSS disregarded the order and the government filed new charges against the Sahara Reporters’ publisher.
Mr Sowore in his suit marked FHC/ABJ /C51409/2019 dated November 20, wants, among others, “A declaration that the detention of the applicant from November 7, 2019 till date in violation of the order for his release made on November 6, 2019 is illegal as it violates his fundamental right to liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 6 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“An order of this court compelling the respondents to pay to the applicant the sum of N500,000, 000, 00 ( Five hundred million naira) as general and aggravated damages for the illegal violation of the applicant’s fundamental right to life, dignity of his person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further violating the applicant’s fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and however without lawful justification.”
Joined in the suit is the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
SOURCE: Premium Times
Charity takes action after holes are discovered in two batches of Life Guard condoms.
By Rebecca Ratcliffe
The charity Marie Stopes International is recalling more than a million condoms in Uganda, after officials raised concerns that they were prone to breaking.
The charity began the recall of packets of Life Guard condoms after the National Drug Authority found they contained holes and did not meet quality standards. More than half of the affected products have since been recovered.
Marie Stopes Uganda, Uganda’s largest sexual and reproductive health organisation, supplies up to 2 million condoms across the country each month.
It is estimated that about 6% of Ugandans aged 15 to 49 are living with HIV, with women disproportionately affected by the virus, according to UNAids, the UN agency for tackling HIV. New HIV infections among young women aged 15 to 24 years were more than double those among young men.
Concerns were raised over two batches of the condoms, which each contained about 335,000 condom packs. Marie Stopes International said the manufacturer is approved by the UN Population Fund, the UN agency responsible for supporting family planning, and that products are tested at a World Health Organization lab before shipment.
Dr Carole Sekimpi, country director for Marie Stopes Uganda, said in a statement: “We are urging anyone with a box of Life Guard to read the box and contact us if they believe it is from one of the affected batches.”
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Distributors, pharmacies and other stockists have also been contacted by the charity.
“We take every measure possible to ensure that products are of the highest standard,” Marie Stopes International added in a statement. “We are working with the National Drug Authority in Uganda to urgently investigate what happened with these batches and ensure our products continue to meet the high standard of quality we and our clients expect.”
Communities already hit by war and drought face fresh disaster as 370,000 are forced from homes.
Ciraa Farah Ali was asleep when she heard the flood. It was dark, and the 45-year-old mother of seven was alone with her children in her small home in Beledweyne, central Somalia.
She knew the level of the Shabelle River was rising but had little fear that it would burst its banks. Late in October, swollen by unseasonal rains, it did. Ali had no time to gather her belongings and only just managed to escape with her family.
“I could not save a single item from my house. The neighbours came to rescue my children when our house was submerged. My youngest girl was washed away but thanks be to God she was rescued later,” she said.
Not everyone was as lucky.
Nuriya Hassan Ma’ow lost her grandmother, Ruqiya, 75, and her son Mohamud, 11, as the family attempted to flee from the rising flood water in Beledweyne, 200 miles from the capital, Mogadishu. Both were drowned.
“I was not at home. Everybody ran away. We are in disaster and mourning. I don’t know what to do. God will help us,” said Ma’ow, a 37-year-old shop owner. “I have not a house. There is no government assisting us.”
Ma’ow is in a makeshift camp for the displaced in in Ceel Jaale. About 370,000 people have been displaced so far due to flooding, according to the latest UN figures.
Authorities have not yet said how many people died in the flooding, Somalia’s worst in recent history.
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Beledweyne was worst hit. Its main hospital was shut after the main wards were inundated. With farmland and roads damaged or destroyed, communities already brought to the brink of disaster by drought and conflict are now threatened by malnutrition and disease.
“This is a catastrophic situation,” said the mayor, Safiyo Sheikh Ali. The Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who visited the town and waded through submerged areas, called the devastation “beyond our capacity” and pleaded for more help from aid groups.
Parts of the Lower Juba, Gedo and Bay regions have also been affected. Many displaced people were stranded without food, latrines or shelter.
The Somalia NGO Consortium, a coalition of more than 80 humanitarian NGOs, has said the country faces disaster, with as many as 6.3 million people without sufficient supplies of basic foodstuffs.
“The crises occurring within Somalia’s borders are a global responsibility. Climatic shocks are not a local phenomenon but a manifestation of the growing environmental emergency,” said Nasra Ismail, the consortium director.
Efforts attempting to provide food aid have been slowed by continuing rains which shut the airport in Beledweyne to relief flights.
Nur Ali Ebla, 39, said: “I was born in Beledweyne and this is the worst crisis I have ever witnessed. We don’t have shelter as the rains continue to drop on us.
“We have nothing. My husband is disabled and it was terrible when the floods came to our house becase I had to save my children and my husband at once.
“I did not have time to collect our belongings. So now we don’t even have the basics for cooking or preparing food. The flood took everything.”
Abdi Adan Isack, 37, was forced to flee the camp that he has been living in for the past five years to a new one on the outskirts of the city. His home has been destroyed.
“This is a new hardship coming to us. There is no place to return. My house was destroyed by the floods. We don’t have healthcare. My five-year-old son was sick for two days and now he is becoming weak,” Abdi said. “If we don’t get assistance of food and healthcare, this will turn into a famine.”
Habiba Muhumed Ali, 80, who is blind, was rescued last week by a group of volunteers who evacuated 137 survivors by boat from Beledweyne. Seven bodies were also recovered from the water, the Somali Red Crescent Society said.
“I could not see. I thought that I was going to die. Thanks God the boys [volunteers] rescued me,” Habiba said as she sat outside a makeshift house in Ceel Jaale camp. “We need food. We need drinking water. Everything is collapsed. I am scared to return.”
Abdi Abdullahi, who leads Red Crescent operations in Beledweyne, said rescues were continuing with boats and tractors but thousands of people were living in the open.
“Our concern is that another fatal disaster is on its way. We fear the floods could trigger deadly outbreaks of malaria, diarrhoea and other infectious diseases,” Abdullahi said.
Human Rights Watch said people were chained and faced physical and sexual violence in both state and religious centres.
Nigeria has been urged to end all forms of abuse in state-run mental health institutions as well as religious healing centres.
In a report published on Monday Human Rights Watch (HRW) said thousands of Nigerians with mental health conditions face prolonged detention, chaining, physical and sexual violence or forced treatment, including electroshock therapy.
The campaigning group said mistreatment is “rife” in both Christian and Islamic faith healing centres and state hospitals and rehabilitation centres. This is despite the recent closure of several facilities and a condemnation of abusive facilities from President Muhammadu Buhari’s office.
Last week, an Islamic rehabilitation centre with 259 patients in the southwestern city of Ibadan was shut down and its owner arrested. Buhari’s office said in a statement in October that Nigeria would not “tolerate the existence of the torture chambers and physical abuses of inmates in the name of rehabilitation.”
But HRW’s report shows that such interventions have fallen short of addressing a problem that is widespread across Nigeria. Stigma and misconceptions, including beliefs that mental health conditions are caused by evil spirits or demons, mean that patients are often detained, abused and forced to “sleep, eat and defecate within the same confined space”, often in front of others, HRW said.
There are less than 300 psychiatrists in a population of over 200 million, most of whom cannot afford mental health care. This drives many to traditional religious healing centres, where prayer and herbal treatments are prescribed.
“People spend years in institutions – sometimes decades – because Nigeria lacks adequate services to support them in the community,” according to the report.
Patients in some Christian facilities, HRW said, are forced to fast for up to three days as a form of religious treatment. Some Islamic centres are found to have employed whipping.
HRW said it witnessed dozens of men and women chained in state-run facilities in northern Nigeria and said “most had lived there for years, some for up to 15 years.”
Chaining was practiced across all but one of 28 facilities visited by HRW researchers. “Typically staff fasten a chain to either both or one ankle of a person and connect it to a heavy or immovable object, such as a bed, tree, or car engine. In some cases, shackles consisted of an iron bracelet around both ankles, making it difficult for the person to move around,” the report said.
Chaining has not been outlawed in Nigeria, even though the constitution prohibits torture and the UN has said the practice unequivocally “amount[s] to torture.”
A woman held in a traditional healing centre near the capital, Abuja, was found restrained to a tree trunk with an iron ring. She had been there for three weeks “with her upper body naked … she was unable to move and so she was forced to eat, urinate, and defecate where she sat,” HRW said.
A man held in Ibadan said: “I was chained for five months. It hurts when I try to walk.”
Emina Ćerimović, a HRW senior researcher, said people with mental health problems needed support. “People with mental health conditions find themselves in chains in various places in Nigeria, subject to years of unimaginable hardship and abuse.”
Some Nigerians have taken matters in their own hands, setting up groups to raise awareness and tackle stigma such as Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative, a user-led informal support network with more than 1,500 volunteers.
Shums, a 27-year-old man held in an Islamic rehabilitation centre in northern Nigeria, told HRW he was shackled by the leg to another patient. “We are like this all the time. Even when we have to use the toilet or sleep,” he said.
Akanni, a 22-year-old woman, has been held in a church in the southwestern city of Abeokuta for five months after suffering a mental health crisis when her mother died.
“When my father brought me, I didn’t know that he would leave me here,” she said. “I was not happy, but I don’t have a choice.”
- Some names were changed by HRW to protect identities
SOURCE: HRW/The Guardian
Tanzania’s highest court has annulled a law which allows families to marry off girls as young as 15 years.
The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a ruling of a lower court that said child marriages infringed on girls’ rights and were unlawful and unconstitutional.
Tanzania’s attorney general had appealed against the 2017 High Court ruling, which had struck off sections of the law which allowed the marriage of 15-year-old girls.
The court said girls could not marry before 18 – the age for boys.
The ruling is a milestone for the rights of girls.
According to the UN children’s agency, 31% of girls in Tanzania are married before the age of 18, while 5% get married before their 15th birthday.
Three Nigerians are among other foreign nationals who on Tuesday suffered from fresh xenophobic attacks on foreigners in different locations of Witbank, Mpumanlaga Province, South Africa, the Nigerian community has said.
The National Spokesperson of the Nigeria Union, South Africa (NUSA), Odefa Ikele, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from Witbank, that the attacks started in the early hours of the morning.
Tuesday’s attacks are coming on the heels of efforts by Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Cyril Ramaphosa to ensure they found amicable and lasting solution to the xenophobia in the latter’s country.
Such peace efforts saw Mr Buhari visiting Mr Ramaphosa and holding a town hall meeting with the Nigerian community.
“Groups made up of community members and taxi drivers went to different areas in Witbank attacking foreign-owned businesses and foreigners.
“Three Nigerians are injured, but no death case for now. Some of our nationals are seeking refuge at Witbank Police Station,’’ he said.
NUSA said the affected Nigerians are still taking refuge at the police station at Witbank.
The details of the incident are still sketchy but NUSA also said Police in the area have intervened and warned people to stay away from the Central Business District in the town.
SOURCE: Premium Times
Nigerian police have arrested two suspects in connection with hotel serial killings in the southern city of Port Harcourt.
At least eight women have been found strangled in different hotel rooms in Nigeria’s oil capital in Rivers state since July.
Outrage over the killings has prompted a social media campaign – using the hashtags #ProtectPHWomen and #ProtectPhGirls – to demand that the authorities do more to stop them.
Police said that one man was arrested after a tip-off that he had offered around $80 (£70) to spend the night with a woman.
The other suspect had been arrested in Kaduna in central Nigeria.
Rivers state police chief Mustapha Dandaura says a special task force – including the region’s police, hotel associations and tourism board – had been set up to improve security at hotels.
Any hotel in the state that did not comply with new guidelines, which include installing CCTV cameras and asking guests for documentation when registering, would be closed down, he said.
South Africa has apologised to Nigeria over a spate of xenophobic attacks which led to a spike in tensions between the two countries.
Twelve people were killed earlier this month when mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses, mainly in Johannesburg.
A special envoy from South Africa presented an apology to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
The envoy, Jeff Radebe, expressed the country’s “sincerest apologies” at a meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
“The incident does not represent what we stand for,” he said, adding that South African police would “leave no stone unturned” in bringing those involved to justice.
Mr Radebe also told President Buhari that the South African government condemned the violence and was taking decisive action.
Mr Buhari thanked Mr Radebe for “coming to explain to us what happened in South Africa recently, leading to [the] killing and displacement of foreigners”.
“President Buhari responded to profuse apologies from the South African president, pledging that the relationship between the two countries will be solidified,” a statement from his office said.
At the end of last week, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa told the BBC that he felt ashamed by the recent violence.
“We are very concerned and of course as a nation we [are] ashamed because this goes against the ethos of what South Africa stands for,” he said.
No Nigerians were killed in the violence in South Africa, but Nigerian-owned shops and businesses are believed to have been targeted by the mobs.
Of the 12 people who were killed, 10 are reported to have been South African nationals and two were from Zimbabwe.
Nigeria has been outspoken in its condemnation of the violence. A fortnight ago, it withdrew a delegation from a major international conference taking place in South Africa.
Tensions were inflamed after videos and images were shared on social media purporting to show Nigerians being attacked and killed. The Nigerian government said there was no evidence that this had taken place.
But it did say that Nigerian-owned businesses had been targeted.
The attacks started after lorry drivers staged a strike to protest against the employment of foreigners.
South Africa has become a magnet for migrants from other parts of Africa as it has one of the continent’s biggest and most developed economies.
Evacuation of Nigerians
But there is also high unemployment in the country and some people feel foreigners are taking their jobs.
While the diplomatic mission is taking place, Nigeria has continued to evacuate its citizens from the country.
Last week, Nigeria’s Consul General Godwin Adama said only those who were under distress as a result of the attacks would leave South Africa.
More than 300 Nigerians are expected to arrive in Lagos on Tuesday. Last week, 188 evacuees arrived back.
SOURCE: BBC Africa
There was panic at the University of Maiduguri on Sunday night as soldiers battled to repel a Boko Haram attack on the higher institution.
Sources at the university, located along Maiduguri-Bama road, said deafening sounds of gunshots were heard echoing from a direction the female hostels are located.
The gunshots lasted for about an hour and a half as soldiers engaged the intruding Boko Haram gunmen.
“It was a Boko Haram attack which has been repelled effectively by our soldiers,” a top army official in Maiduguri told PREMIUM TIMES.
The situation caused panic among students who are in the middle of their second semester exams.
Many of the students tried to leave the university campus, fearing it could be overrun.
“But soldiers and other security personnel protecting the school urged them to remain in the campus because no one would be allowed back to the campus should they find the need to return,” the security source said asking not to be named as he was not permitted to talk to journalists.
A female student who identified herself as Victoria said “the shooting was very close to our hostel (named B.O.T) and we were all scared.”
Ms Victoria said though the shooting has subsided, many of them were still very frightened.
Another student, Khadija Muhammed, said they also heard the shooting right behind their hostel, called Aisha Buhari Hostel.
“We have all been lying down on the floor since the shooting commenced; it lasted for about one an hour before it finally stopped some minutes to 11pm,” she said.
The Boko Haram has waged an insurgency since 2009, causing the death of thousands of people.
Despite the efforts of security officials, the terror group is still able to carry out attacks on civilians and soldiers in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
SOURCE: Premium Times
National Association of Nigeria Campus Editors (NANCE) hosts Campus Editors Summit’19 in Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) Abeokuta, Ogun State Nigeria. NANCE Campus editors summit was commenced on August 28th to 30th 2019.
NANCE is the mother body for all Editors cum Journalists in all Nigerian tertiary institutions. And it is saddled with the responsibility of promoting campus journalism as well as improving editors/Journalists within her umbrella via workshops, trainings, internship placement etc.. The body is also referred to as the national unity of other campus press bodies across the nation.
Campus Editors Summit is a day 3-day program which allows all Nigeria Higher Institutions Press clubs to have at least 10 campus journalists who will represent the school and participate in the program. The summit is a yearly program that the body organizes across the geopolitical zones in Nigeria. Last year the summit was organized in IMO state.
Campus Editors Summit is a program that aim at training and exposing students who have dream of becoming professional writers to meet professionals who will take educates them about the professional and how they can become successful as campus writers, the do’s and don’t in journalism, how to investigate, who to make a good news story and who to edit their content.
Journalism expertise that were invited to participate in the lecture and workshop programs campus journalists during the summit are Kabir Adejumo, premium times correspondent; Bayo Adegboyega, OGBC sport news reporter; Mike Ikenwa, editor-in-Chief, The bloomgist, etc.
Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta Press club was the host institution which received the students who traveled for the summit.
The first day of the event witnessed the arrival of students and journalists hangouts from all parts of Nigeria while the second day featured workshop and training on different areas of the media
The grand finale of the summit was used to expose the students on the cores of journalism through lectures.
Participants, at the end of the summit were presented with certificates presentation by the National president, Oladimeji John Jonathan, alongside Mapoly Press club Polytechnic represented by Micheal Olaoluwa and TASUED Press club president, Akinyemi Mustapha.
The president of the body, at the end of the summit delivered a messge to the participants;
“I appreciates God almighty who had given us the opportunity to achieve a summit which was successful in training and equipping campus journalists, I also appreciate the MAPOLY for the time, space and other things like accommodation the school provided for us. I thank all Campus journalists who have traveled down far to attend the summit. We call on the federal and state governments to support this body in order to achieve the goals of the body. All professional writers should support and help with the development of the body which aim at creating professional journalism from the grassroots and media organizations should help the body with internship placement which will help train our members in their organizations. Special thanks to The Bloomgist News who supported the program as a professional media body”Oladimeji John Jonathan – National president, NANCE
Two Burkinabe soldiers were killed on Thursday in the northern town of Djibo near the border with Mali after a bomb hidden in a corpse, dressed in military uniform, exploded, news agency AFP reports quoting a statement from the army.
“The body, which turned out to be a trap, exploded when it was handled, killing two soldiers and wounding six, three of them seriously,” the statement said.
A security source told AFP that the corpse exploded when soldiers tried to turn it over, killing an army doctor on the spot, and wounding others.
Burkina Faso is among countries in the vast Sahel region battling Islamist insurgency in the region.
It formed a regional force G5 Sahel along with Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Mali to take on the militants.
More than 300 people have been killed in Burkina Faso in four years of jihadist attacks, according to an AFP count.
Last month Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba resigned from office along with his entire cabinet.
His government had faced growing pressure over a rise in the number of kidnappings and jihadist attacks.
Opposition figures are in hiding as arrests and beatings continue. But the anger at Mnangagwa’s regime persists
Activists and lawyers in Zimbabwe fear that the brutal crackdown by security forces will continue “for the foreseeable future” as authorities seek to crush all possible opposition to the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Hundreds of activists and opposition officials remain in hiding this weekend after almost two weeks of arbitrary arrests, beatings, rapes and abductions committed by police and military in the poor southern African country.
The crackdown followed an outbreak of rioting and looting during a shutdown called by union leaders to protest a hike in fuel prices. So far 12 people have been killed, many more injured and between 700 and 1,500 detained.
“This is not going to be over quickly. We have seen that the state have just notched up the level of oppression and that is the level they are going to be operating at for the foreseeable future,” said Doug Coltart, a human rights lawyer in Harare.
The abuses are the worst seen in Zimbabwe for at least a decade and have dashed any remaining hopes that the ousting of autocratic ruler Robert Mugabe in November 2017 would lead to significant political reform.
One veteran activist described the crackdown as likely to become “the new normal”.
“This is going to go on for weeks, months, however long it takes for the authorities to feel sure they have made certain that there’s no real opposition left,” the activist, who requested anonymity, said.
Around 20 arrests were reported on Friday and Saturday across the country, as well as scattered incidents of assault. Police appeared to be targeting poor vendors and taxi drivers.
Hundreds of opposition activists are currently in hiding, or have fled overseas.
“They are not just trying to arrest me, they are trying to kill me,” said Ishmael Kawzani, a former independent candidate in local elections, who has fled his home in Kuwadzana, a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Harare, the capital, which has seen repeated army dragnets in recent days.
Jacob Mafume, an MDC spokesperson, said the five members of parliament, 10 councillors and more than 200 members of the party had been detained.
At least six people have been charged with subversion – an unprecedented number – and so face prison sentences of up to 20 years. They include four trade union officials, an MDC parliamentarian and a well-known social media activist.
“There is a kind of messaging here. They are saying: ‘We can go for your leaders, so we can go for anyone. They are saying to Zimbabweans we don’t care who you are,” said Alec Muchadehama, a lawyer representing Peter Mutasa, a senior trade union leader charged with subversion.
There are also concerns about mass trials of up to 60 men and women accused of participating in riots and looting.
It now appears very unlikely that Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe and won contested elections last year, will achieve his stated aim of ending Zimbabwe’s pariah status to unlock the massive financial aid necessary to avert total economic collapse.
This suggests that basic commodities such as food, fuel and medicine will remain both scarce and increasingly expensive, making further protests likely.
Authorities have defended the crackdown as a necessary measure to restore order.
Labour activists and unions are considering further protests in coming weeks. Teachers have been among the most vocal advocates of further direct action to force concessions from the government over pay and conditions. However, the detention of several leaders of teachers’ unions has made mobilisation harder, officials said.
On Friday the powerful Apex council, which combined dozens of civil service unions, said it would not accept the latest government offers of increased allowances and might move towards industrial action.
“The unions are cautiously moving towards the front line but they will want to move with a collective position. These guys are in an invidious position because they still need to earn and protests would contribute [to] a further erosion in government services,” said Piers Pigou, a South Africa-based expert with the International Crisis Group.
Lawyers are also meeting to consider their strategy in the face of the crackdown, and may demonstrate during the coming days week.
“After the sheer brutality of the last two weeks, the population has been cowed into submission. Lawyers have that layer of protection that might allow them to march, though being beaten up or shot is still possible,” said Coltart.
South Africa’s newly appointed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has promised additional funds to ensure female students have access to sanitary pads.
There have been growing calls for this amid complaints that girls – especially those in poor, rural communities – have been missing out on school because of the high cost of the pads.
In some provinces they are already free for all female students.
To cheers in parliament, he also announced that from next April the 15% tax on sanitary pads would be scrapped.
Bread flour and cake flour were also now going to be exempt from VAT, he said, explaining that he had asked people on social media for their tips ahead of the speech:
Quote Message: I received 3,299 tweets in total. One of them is from Tintsi Ngwenya in Johannesburg, who said: ‘Sanitary pads should be tax free – after considerable debate and consultation, as of the 1 April 2019, government will zero-rate the following items: One, sanitary pads. Two, bread flour Three, cake flour.’”
Mr Mboweni, who has only been in his job for two weeks, also gave a frank assessment of South Africa’s economy in the mid-term budget speech.
He said the country could not afford to continue borrowing at its current rate and must reduce its national debt, now expected to reach 60% of GDP in the next five years.
He said that the public sector wage bill exceeded its budget by 30bn rand ($2bn, £1,6bn).
Mr Mboweni repeatedly spoke about the cancer of corruption and said that those who were found guilty “must be locked up” in jail.
The speech was free of financial jargon – and he quoted from the Bible and Charles Dickens:
Quote Message: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity… we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
Quote Message: So too is the present time. As a country, we stand at a crossroads. We can choose a path of hope; or a path of despair. We can go directly to heaven, or as Dickens so politely puts it, we can go the other way.”
Quote Message: “So too is the present time – we can choose the path of hope or the path of despair.”
A Sudanese refugee is one of three people nominated for a prestigious human rights prizes.
The annual Martin Ennals Award recognises the work of human rights defenders at risk of persecution.
Abdul Aziz Muhamat, 26, has been held on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island for five years and the award organisers say he has been “a compelling and tireless advocate for refugee rights”.
According to the Martin Ennals Award, he was granted refugee status in early 2015, but remains on Manus Island, along with several hundred other men who were transferred there after arriving in Australian territory by boat and seeking asylum.
The award jury said Mr Muhamat had documented the allegations of abuse and cruelty they suffer in detention centres.
Quote Message: Aziz is one of the primary public voices among the men held on Manus Island and regularly speaks out on international news media. For two years, he sent over 4,000 thousand voice messages to report on his experience in detention for the multi award-winning podcast, The Messenger.” from Martin Ennals Award
The jury also tweeted this film about why they had nominated him for the prize:
The Jury on Finalist Abdul Aziz Muhamat @Abdulaziz_Ada from Sudan who speaks out from Manus Island where he is detained under Australian offshore detention for seeking asylum .https://t.co/roclYRi0cY pic.twitter.com/7AJZveZun4
— Martin Ennals Award (@martinennals) October 24, 2018
The AFP news agency also quotes the awards organisers as saying: “He has paid a price for this as he is seen as a ‘ring leader.’” Mr Muhumat, whose profile on Twitter says “detained by Australian government for five years, stolen my dreams”, tweeted his thanks to the jury for their recognition:
I would like to thanks the jury’s for recognition & the organisations who have supported our struggles last for 5years.
Life is not a matter of place, things or comfort; it concerns the basic human rights of the refugees, justice & human dignity. Let us protect refugees & Nature https://t.co/nBxRHLxSA5
— Abdul Aziz Adam (@Abdulaziz_Ada) October 24, 2018
The Martin Ennals Award is named after the late British lawyer who became the first head of the human rights organisation, Amnesty International.
The award ceremony will take place in Geneva on 13 February 2019.
Cover photo: Abdul Aziz Muhamat is from Darfur and left Sudan in 2013
Angola is planning to close down “illegal” churches starting November, nearly a month after the state made public legislation to regulate religious activity, online newspaper Jornal de Angola has reported.
“Religious denominations that are illegal in Angola will be closed starting in November, the national director for religious issues at the Ministry of Culture, Francisco de Castro Maria, said,” the website reported.
The move is expected to impact foreign-led churches in Angola, as “Mr Castro Maria affirmed that 50% of the churches in the country are established by foreigners from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Nigeria and Senegal”.
Defending the plan, Culture Minister Carolina Cerqueira said that while the government was neutral, it was forced to act against unregistered bodies which “exercise commercial activities or which are a threat to human rights and against the principals of urban life and positive coexistence”.
More than 1,000 churches are waiting to pass the legal process, with the government giving unregistered denominations a month after the 4 October publication to regularise their status.
However, the discussion has been in the pipeline since as early as 28 August, when the council of ministers passed proposed legislation on freedom of religion, faith and worship to establish more rigorous conditions for the legalisation of religious activities in the country.
At least 180,000 Congolese citizens have crossed the border with Angola since 1 October – most heading to the city of Kamako where they are living in precarious informal camps, local officials have confirmed.
The numbers are likely to be much higher as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola share more than 300km (186 miles) of border.
Many migrants are saying they were kicked out despite having documentation to live in Angola and there are unconfirmed reports that a number of them have been brutalized and even killed by Angolan forces.
The reason for the crackdown is unclear.
For many years, Congolese migrants have been in Angola, where they dig for diamonds on artisanal mines.
It could be linked to an attempt by the new Angolan government to take control over its mining industry.
Cover photo: Migrants expelled from Angola cross a river on the road to DR Congo. Photo: Reuters
Citizen TV anchor Jacque Maribe has admitted to police that her fiancé Joseph Irungu shot himself in her house in an incident investigators believe was a suicide attempt.
According to Ms Maribe, Jowie, as her fiancé is known, shot himself in his chest following a “serious” disagreement between them in her house in Lang’ata on the night of September 20.
Jowie later claimed in a police statement that he had been shot by three thugs after dropping off Ms Maribe at her house. Police have since questioned the narrative.
Ms Maribe and Jowie are being detained in separate police stations in Nairobi over the gruesome murder of Monica Kimani, whose body was found at her Kilimani apartment.
Jowie is the prime suspect in the murder.
The fresh details of the quarrel that led to Jowie shooting himself is contained in an affidavit sworn by the lead investigator. “That according to the statement from the Respondent (Jacqueline Maribe), the said Joseph Irungu alias Jowie on the night of 20/21st September 2018 at around 1am attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself on [sic] the left chest following serious disagreement between the two,” the investigator stated in his affidavit.
Police are yet to provide a link between Jowie’s stated suicide attempt and Ms Kimani’s murder.
They have also not expounded on the reason of the quarrel between Ms Maribe and her fiance.
On Monday, Ms Maribe and a third suspect Brian Kassaine were arraigned in Kiambu and the court ordered their detention for a further 10 days to allow for investigations.
The police have also announced they will extract DNA samples from Ms Maribe, information that will help in investigations.
Cover photo: Citizen TV journalist Jacque Maribe talking to her lawyer, Katwa Kigen, at the Kiambu Law Courts on October 1, 2018. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
As the country celebrate its 58 years of freedom from their colonial masters, a lot of activities which we have been following have been going on, and we have been publishing couple of things to do today to enjoy the holidays, from movies to watch, to places to visit, now here is a special meal to relax at home with.
- 20-25 shrimps (peeled, devined and cleaned)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (more as needed)
- 1 can (400ml) Coconut milk (Thai brand is my favorite)
- 1-2 maggi cubes
- Salt – to taste
- Place a skillet on medium high heat. Add in the oil. Stir in minced onion. Stir fry until the onion is wilted but not brown. Add in curry powder and turmeric. Stir fry for another minute.
- Add in coconut milk. Season with maggi and salt. Stir well.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add in shrimps. Simmer for another 2 minutes.