Monday, October 31, 2011

Artist of the day - Ola Onabule

There are two words that sum up Ola Onabule’s career and music – passion and perseverance.

For nearly two decades, Ola has blazed a trail, leaving behind an education in law to become a singer/songwriter. Then he decided to work outside of the mainstream system of big record labels, setting up his own studios and his own record label.

 “Though my music is of a different idiom, I write with the heart of a folk songwriter and the desire for my lyrics to be heard and read.” – Ola Onabule

Ola was born in London, the eldest of six children born to Nigerian parents. When he was seven his parents returned to their homeland where he spent the next 10 years of his life. He was a natural performer, both at drama and with music. His friends called him Gramaphone, such was his love of music and natural talent.

He later returned to the UK to study law, leaving in his final year to take up a degree in art. He bought himself a guitar and did a few gigs around London, inspired by the music of James Brown and Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Electra Records (US) spotted his talents and signed him to an album deal, which ended a year later.culminating in Ola setting up his own label, Rugged Ram Records.

Ola has since released six albums of original, self-produced material, with the latest album, SEVEN SHADES DARKER to be released internationally in the Spring of 2012 which will  take him on tour dates to theatres and Jazz festivals across the world.

Related story: Video - Ola Onabule's hope for Africa

Samson Siasia no longer Super Eagles coach

Almost three weeks after failing to qualify Nigeria for Januaty's Nations Cup finals, the Board of the Nigeria Football Association (NFF) has relieved Samson Siasia of his duty as Super Eagles coach.

The decision was taken at an executive Committee meeting of the Nigeria Football Federation on Friday in Abuja and finally ended weeks of speculation surrounding the fate of the former international striker.

Although the NFF kept the Siasia saga on the front burner by taking ages to reach a decision, in truth Siasia's had already been sealed once Guinea left the Abuja National Stadium with a share of the points courtesy of their late equaliser in the 2-2 draw.

In making Siasia the best ever packaged indigenous coach, with a monthly salary of N5 million, a brand new car and official quarters, the Glass House had insisted that the former junior international must at least reach the semi-finals of CAN 2012 before activating the second part of his contract, which would have ended in 2014.

But by not even qualifying for Equatorial Guinea/Gabon 2012 he did not fufil section 5.5 of the contract.

Perhaps in more advanced climes, Siasia would have done the honourable thing and resigned knowing that he had fluffled his contract, in the end he opted for the more ignoble termination by the football body.

However, with qualifiers for CAN 2013 kicking off in January, the Glass House knows it has to work fast to fill Siasia's boots.

Already news making the rounds indicate that former national team skippers, Stephen Keshi and Sunday Oliseh may be the ones to take charge of the Super Eagles.

Although a highly placed Board member had hinted that they were considering going for a foreign coach.

This Day

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Principal flogs student to death

A young man studying at Shiloh Hills Remedial and Advanced Studies Academy located at No. 7 Rumuibekwe Street, near Shell Residential Area in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was allegedly flogged to death by his principal, one Mr Chudi Nwoko.

Rivers State police spokesperson, Ben Ugwuegbulem, who confirmed the incident said the late student, a 13-year-old was subjected to severe punishment until he slumped and died. He said the matter, which occurred on October 20 was not reported to the police until five days later.

"It was only reported after staff from the school went to condole the family of the deceased and a relative of the boy attacked and wounded the principal. That was when the matter was reported to the police," Ugwuegbulem stated.

He said the case was currently under investigation at the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and that he did not have the full particulars of the late student but promised to get back to our reporter

When THISDAY visited the school, a staff who refused to disclose his name told our correspondent that the case was already with the police and he would not comment on it.

This Day

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Video - Nigeria's population explosion

CNN's Christian Purefoy reports on the population boom in Nigeria.

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Canada to invest in Nigeria's power sector

Canada has become the next country hoping to buy into Nigeria's electricity market still caught up in reforms sweeping through the power sector.

Canadian high commissioner to Nigeria, Chris Cooter, said there was "a global awareness that something massive is unfolding in the power industry in Nigeria."

Cooter and his deputy Jean Gauthier met power minister Bart Nnaji on Tuesday to seek specific areas where Canada can take part in Nigeria's power plan, said a release from the power ministry.

Nnaji has stressed the sensitive nature of the industry, saying the federal government would encourage state governments but discourage mutation of state-run power stations that could possibly be mismanaged and draw back gains on power supply.

"We are guarding against mistakes of the past while addressing other institutional lapses through the strengthening of National Power Training Institute and ensuring that World Bank commitment to the issue of bulk trading is not lost," said the minister.

Canada is interested in the bulk trade and wants to focus also on hydropower, where it is thought to have high comparative advantage.

Nnaji said Nigeria was ready to take on Canadian partners for two hydroelectricity projects, Mambilla and Gurara, expected to produce at least 3,300MW combined.

Cooter announced that Canadian companies were scheduled to visit Nigeria and join other multinationals bidding for different aspects of the power industry.

"The air indicates that something is enveloping Nigeria's capacity to lead the world," he told the minister when they met in Abuja.

"We are here to compliment these efforts to resolve your electricity challenges and galvanize your industrial leadership of Africa."

He allayed Labour concerns over reforms, insisting that privatization efforts in the sector had global investors excited.

But the minister assured that grievances behind Labour agitations would be addressed at all costs.

Daily Trust

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Video - Building broadband in Nigeria

Nigeria is a big country with over 150 million people. Mobile operator MTN has 40 million subscribers, but has had to invest heavily in the transmission network, building a microwave backbone, laying fibre and creating metro rings to improve the quality of service in the last mile.

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Wall Street wants Nigeria's Sovereign Wealth Fund

In a bid to ensure that they grab the portfolio of the Federal Government’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), Wall Street titans - Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase - are already courting top government officials for the management of the Fund.
The New York Times disclosed this Tuesday, saying that the Fund was expected to buffer the Nigerian economy from volatile commodity prices and impose fiscal

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had said that the Federal Government was considering the recruitment of the management team for the Fund through a transparent process.

She had said the government, which was targeting the best qualified Nigerians within and outside the country, had commenced with the engagement of KPMG to drive the process. Okonjo-Iweala had revealed that advertisements calling for applications from interested Nigerians would soon be published in The Economist and Financial Times of London.

In fact, Okonjo-Iweala had stated that KPMG was expected to conclude a shortlist of the candidates by mid- November.
New York Times quoted the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, who helped to create the proposal, to have said: “The country is at a point of inflection, and what we do in the next few years will set the pace. It’s a land of opportunities, which unfortunately has not been tapped well.”

According to the American-based newspaper, by saving and investing the petro dollars, Nigeria hoped to break the resource curse.

“The nation, which derives 80 per cent of its revenue from oil, created the sovereign wealth fund to buffer its economy from volatile commodity prices and impose fiscal discipline. The government so far has set aside $1 billion for the fund, and it could funnel as much as $2.5 billion a year, if oil prices remain high,” it added.

On his part, a research associate at the University of Oxford, who studies sovereign wealth funds, Ashby H.B. Monk, noted: “One of our biggest problems in civil society is the time horizon that we’re operating on — whether election cycles or quarterly reports. The idea of a sovereign fund is to give government bureaucrats an opportunity to make long-term policy knowing that the buffeting winds of capitalism won’t blow them off course.”

Aganga added: “It’s important that we have some savings for the future generations. It just makes sense for your economy. You’re completely exposed otherwise.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Rivers State, Mr. ChibuikeRotimi Amaechi, has said state governments are willing to partner the Federal Government in the implementation of Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) if they are given the latitude to access their funds and make individual contributions to the common purse.

Amaechi said this Tuesday while speaking at a colloquium titled: “Jurisprudence, Democracy and Rule of Law” held at the state House of Assembly, Port Harcourt, to commemorate the Supreme Court judgment that ushered him into office in October 2007.

Speaking against the backdrop of the suit instituted on Monday by the NGF against the Federal Government at the Supreme Court seeking to block the latter from the operating the SWF, he said: “The rule of law eliminates completely the rule of man. Governors agree that the Federal Government should save but the law has to be respected. What the Federal Government has done is merely kidnapping of our money.”

He explained that the SWF, “like all things in the country”, must fall within the ambit of the law.

“Section 80 of the constitution was talking about Consolidated Revenue, and it also says that the executive authority of a region shall extend to the execution and maintenance of the constitution of the region and to all matters with respect to which the legislature of the region has for the time being power to make laws but shall be so exercised as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive authority of the federation or to endanger the continuance of Federal Government in Nigeria,” he said.

He said the Federal Government was being economical with the truth in its bid to liberalise the downstream sector, arguing that it had spent N1.264 trillion, which is more than the N264 billion that was appropriated to it by the lawmakers for this year’s budget.

He said this is the question the lawmakers should be asking the executive arm of government at the national level, pointing out that beyond the argument of oil, subsidy is also the argument about corruption which takes place at the top and trickles down to permeate the entire society.

In his presentation, constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay, applauded the Supreme Court judgment that ushered in Amaechi as signalling the supremacy of the rule of law as unassailable.

He enumerated the guiding principles of the judgment as ushering in of a new operational philosophy of law, nourishing of the democratic culture and making courts to shy away from the constraints of technicality.

Similarly, Prof. Adele Jinadu, who also spoke at the occasion, observed that some had argued that the Supreme Court judgment on Amaechi versus INEC and two others usurped the rights of the voters, adding that “we must resort to government bylaws instead of government of rule of men.”

This Day

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Nigerian challenges Irish Immigration and wins

An Irish woman, her Nigerian husband and Irish-born daughter have won their High Court challenge to an order for his deportation made while the woman was pregnant with the child.

The man had already been deported.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan found the Minister for Justice’s decision to deport the man, an architectural student, effectively amounted to a permanent forcible separation of the family and the Minister had not fairly weighed their family rights.

It was “sobering” to reflect the couple’s daughter, born months after her father was deported last February, might never see her father during her childhood, he said. The “essential point” in the case was the constitutional protection of the fundamentals of marriage and insistence the State respects the essence of that relationship, the judge said. The judiciary was required to ensure those rights “are taken seriously”.

The Minister’s decision to deport turned on the conclusion the wife could choose to travel to Nigeria to join him but that conclusion was neither realistic nor proportionate and amounted to “a pure fiction”, the judge found.

With the possible exceptions of those employed in “the gilded world of international finance or the oil industry” who probably lived in “gated” communities specially designed for expatriates with lifestyles remote from the average Nigerian, it was difficult to see how any average Irish family would ever contemplate moving to Nigeria, he said.

It was clear from country of origin information on Nigeria that the risk posed to immigrants from western countries, including of kidnappings, are considerable, the judge outlined.

The man had arrived here in March 2009 but his applications for asylum and subsidiary protection were rejected. In October 2010 an order was made for his deportation; he was arrested in January 2011 and deported about a month later.

His wife is an Irish citizen and mother of two girls, one from a previous relationship and the second, fathered by the Nigerian man, born some months ago. Mr Justice Hogan said while the Minister was made aware the woman was pregnant with the man’s child, it was unsatisfactory certain other vital information was not supplied to the Minister or court or was supplied late, including about the couple’s marriage and the wife’s circumstances. Despite that, it seemed the wife has limited financial resources and has been left to manage the children on her own.

The judge also noted that when the man was deported, his wife was two months pregnant with their child, who was entitled to Irish citizenship. Addressing whether the order infringed the constitutional protection of family rights, the test was whether the Minister considered all the circumstances in a fair and proper manner and reached a reasonable and proportionate decision.

The reality was the Minister’s proposal would probably lead to this family being permanently forcibly separated, he found. In all the circumstances, the Minister had not fairly weighed their rights.

Irish Times

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

19 year old girl arrested for attempted kidnapping

A 19-year-old girl, Miss Tina Enebere, is now cooling her heels in police custody for allegedly kidnapping five-year-old Gift Agbasoga and his three-year-old younger brother, Emmanuel Agbasoga.

Vanguard investigation revealed that Miss Enebere stole the two brothers from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Orsu Obodo, Oguta local council area of Imo State.

Luck, however, ran out for the teenage kidnapper when she tried ferrying her victims across Oguta Lake in a speed boat without Gift, who started crying profusely to be taken along.

“The young boy’s pathetic cry attracted the attention of commercial motorcycle operators at the scene. They innocently stopped the girl from crossing the lake without getting to know the true story,” a villager told Vanguard.

The villager said the girl claimed that she was taking the boy to his father but when the motorcyclists contacted the parent, Mr. Chinonso Agbasoga, he denied knowledge of any such arrangement.

Agbasoga thanked God for miraculously intervening in the near mishap, stressing that it would have been double tragedy, having lost his wife earlier.

Reacting to the incident, the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Ernest Muforo, wondered why such a young girl would conceive such a dastardly act, adding that only a forthnight ago, some hoodlums attempted to kidnap a six-year-old boy, Onyedika Ekegha, also from Orsu Obodo.

The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Linus Nwaiwu, a deputy superintendent of police, DSP, decried the rising cases of child theft in the state, pointing out that the law would take its course, if and when the perpetrators were arrested.


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Boko Haram murders journalist

A Nigerian Islamist sect said it killed a state television cameraman because it had evidence that he was an informant for the security services, and the group warned it would kill anyone else who "steps on our toes".

Alhaji Zakariya Isa, a journalist working for the government-owned Nigerian Television Authority, was killed on Saturday by gunmen who attacked him at his home in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, in the far northeast where Africa's most populous nation borders Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", has been behind dozens of shootings in Nigeria's northeast this year, usually targeting authority and religious figures.

This is the first journalist to have been slain by the sect, although it has warned reporters not to misquote Boko Haram.

"Zakariya was killed because he was an informant of security agencies ... He gave information to security agents that led to the arrest of many of our members. We killed him not because he was a journalist but because of his personal misconduct, which was against the ethics of his profession," said a statement from Abu Qaqa, a spokesman for Boko Haram.

"We have no grudge against journalists that are working in line with the professional provisions of their work. Whenever they misquote or misrepresent our position we normally call them and tell them to correct the error.

"(We) will not hesitate to kill anybody who steps on our toes."

The State Security Service declined to comment on whether Isa was an informant.

Boko Haram is growing in ambition and sophistication. Both international and Nigerian security agencies believe it has been strengthening ties with al Qaeda's north African wing.

It took responsibility for a car bomb outside Abuja police headquarters in June before carrying out Nigeria's first known suicide bomb in August, when a car full of explosives was smashed into the side of the U.N. headquarters in the capital, tearing off part of the building and killing 24 people.

Boko Haram has previously said it wants sharia law more widely applied across Nigeria, its jailed members freed and the local government sacked.


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Medical practitioner advises Nigerians to take their mind off National football

A medical practitioner has advised Nigerians to take their minds off the recent poor showings of the country's national football teams so as to avoid suffering heart-related illnesses.

The medical practitioner, Dr Isabella Awoke, gave the advice on Sunday in Abakaliki while reacting to the Super Falcons' failure to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games football event.

The Nigerian team had lost 3-4 on penalty kicks to the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon in Yaounde on Saturday.

The African Qualifiers final round second leg match had ended 2-1 against the Nigerian side for a 3-3 aggregate scoreline.

The loss came on the heels of Nigeria's failure to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup finals, and the failure of its clubs in the year's continental competitions.

Awoke who is also an Abakaliki-based women football promoter remarked that it was unnecessary for Nigerians to continue endangering their lives with their passion for football.

"It is somehow fatal, when the politicians who manage football do not care about their feelings.

"Nigerians are very passionate about their football, but in times like these, when the results are steadily unfavourable, they should search for alternative sources of happiness," she said.

Awoke disclosed that she had attended to several people with high blood pressure in the wake of the Super Eagles' failure to beat Guinea's Syli Nationale in Abuja on Oct. 8.

"After the Super Eagles' elimination by Guinea from next year's Nations Cup for instance, I treated several people for high blood pressure, and this was a situation that was not palatable," she said.

The medical practitioner said Nigerian football fans should be aware that they were suffering from excessive freedom, which she described as one of the negative sides of democracy.

"Democracy tends to grant excessive freedom to individuals and constituted authorities, and that is why politicians in the country have abused the tenets of merit in making appointments.

"This is why, in a situation where individuals who do not have the faintest knowledge of football oversee its affairs, we should realise that football is not worth the lives of many Nigerians," she said.

Awoke pointed out that Nigeria achieved much of its football glory during the military era, when merit and commitment were the guiding principles in making appointments.

"The glory days, anchored by the late Emeka Omeruah and Sani Toro, among others, were witnessed during the military era, while the democratic days had seen the dwindling of our football with the pot-bellied politicians in charge," she said.

In his own reaction, Chief Angus Chima, an Ebonyi-based businessman and sports enthusiast, called on football fans in the country to take to the streets to protest the sport's steady decline.

"Due to the fact that the present Nigerian Football Association (NFA) board members are apologists of the government, it has been difficult to remove them to chart a new course for our football.

"The Falcons' failure to qualify for the Olympic Games should serve as a catalyst for football fans to revolt, to make government understand that the situation is no longer tolerable," he said.


Related stories:

Nigeria's Super Eagles fail to qualify for Nations Cup

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Husband gouges out wife's eye for ritual

Lying on her back at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital(LASUTH), Ikeja, 28 year olds Deanne Igho, a graduate of Accounting from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers state, slowly opened her eyes for the first time after several hours in the theatre.

But she could feel only in the right eye. She did not why. But pictures of the incident that occurred at her matrimonial home in far away Port -Harcourt, on October 7, 2011 returned to her. Only then did it occur to her that she will never see with her left eye again, except by divine intervention, no thanks to the handiwork of her husband of barely one year.

Deanne, who is currently undergoing the mandatory one year Youth Service in Port -Harcourt reportedly had a quarrel with her heartthrob, Sylvester Emezi two weeks ago, during which the latter allegedly pierced her eye ball with a sharp object.

Her shout for help, rent the air at 2a.m. but no one could come to her rescue. The mother of one's pleas to her husband to take her to the hospital fell on deaf ears as he reportedly left the house and locked her inside.

Bleeding profusely from the deep cut in the eye ball and eye lid, Deanne banged on the door and at the same time, made frantic calls on her phone for help. But none came until she reportedly passed out. Her little baby who at that moment , woke up, had his body stained with the blood from her mother's injury. He cried uncontrollably, apparently calling her attention,which unfortunately , was far from his reach.

Hours later, there were bangs on the door with the visitors calling out to Deanne. But there was dead silence from within. The door was reportedly forced open where, to the visitors dismay, Deanne was found in the pool of her blood on the ground, from where she was subsequently rushed to a private hospital,where the doctor suggested that they should go to a specialist hospital owing to the magnitude of the damage to the eye.

News currently making the rounds in Port Harcourt are that Sylvester intended using his wife's eye ball for ritual purposes. Reports had it that the man allegedly ran into a debt of N5 million and in his bid to pay, approached a herbalist who demanded that he brought his wife's eye ball with which a concoction would be prepared.

On application of the concoction, report said the lender would completely forget about the money . This claim, as gathered, would form part of Police investigation with the possible arrest of the purported herbalist.

Speaking with Crime Guard on the issue, the victim's younger brother, Nero Igho, explained how the family heard about the shocking news.

Said he, " That night , my phone rang and when I picked it , I saw it was my sister . I heard her crying in pains, saying she was afraid she was going to die. She pleaded that I should call her husband to come and take her to the hospital, that she was bleeding from an injury in the eye.

After that, I also called my father to call her husband, which he did without luck. When I called her hours later, someone picked and identified himself as Mr Castro, who informed me that my sister was in the hospital.

"Two days later, I travelled to Port- Harcourt and was told that she was rushed to the University of Port - Harcourt Teaching Hospital but was referred to a Specialist hospital as the doctors claimed they were writing their exams.

On getting to a specialist hospital, we were informed that they needed to carry out a surgery urgently on the eye to avoid any infection likely to affect the second one. They told us point blank that the eye was damaged. I reported the case at the Police station before bringing my sister to Lagos for the surgery."

Nero, who insisted that his family wanted justice to be done, further wrote to the a human rights group in Lagos, Crime Victims Foundation, to assist his family get the culprit in order for justice to be done. " Please Crime Victim should not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that justice is done", he stated in his petition to the Foundation.

Meanwhile, after the incident, Crime Guard gathered that Sylvester bolted away from Port-Harcourt, without anyone knowing his whereabouts. Unknown to all, he was lodging in a hotel in Festac Town area of Lagos, in preparation to leave the country as investigation later revealed.

But unfortunately for him, Nero, as gathered, got wind of his whereabouts following which he paid him a surprise visit last Sunday, in the company of a friend. Sighting the duo, Sylvester reportedly attempted to sneak away but was accosted by Nero and his friend. Nero, as gathered, spoke to him in a soft tone and succeeded in cajoling him to, at least, go and see his father-in-law, so that the case could be resolved.

But on reaching his father-in-law's Dopemu-Agege abode, he was apprehended by the Police, from where he was taken to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARs), Ikeja.

Investigation by Crime Guard revealed that Deanne's parents initially kicked against their daughter's relationship with Sly, as he was popularly called. But blinded by love, she reportedly insisted on settling down with Sly, who looked every inch a lady's man, owing to his seeming appealing looks and physique.

Upon her graduation in 2008, Deanne's father reportedly bought her car. But along the line, she got pregnant for Sylvester, thereby deferring her mandatory one year Youth Service Corps till 2011. The development, compelled Deanne's parents to soft -pedal on their initial position. A formal introduction, as gathered, was made preparatory to the marriage ceremony proper, which, unfortunately, never held until the unexpected happened.

Perhaps, Deanne could have had premonition of what lay ahead, following her resolve to quit, barely one year into the union. But on second thought, she reportedly endured, due to what a close source described as her 'concern over what people would say.'

Mrs Gloria Egbuji, CEO CRIVIFON and Sylvester Emezi

Along the line, she reportedly sold her car for the family upkeep. In spite of her sacrifice, Sylvester, as gathered, failed to reciprocate the gesture, as on several occasions, Deanne always complained about his coming home late and his uncaring attitude towards her and their son.

In fact, Deanne reportedly told her family that her husband had on that fateful day, returned home late, adding that the argument that degenerated to her being disfigured today, followed her complaint about his continued attitude of keeping late nights.

However, in a chanced meeting with Sylvester before he was taken to Port-Harcourt for more investigations by the Police, he wore an expressionless disposition, blaming his indulgence on provocation orchestrated by the devil.

Apparently unaware of the magnitude of the damage, he replied when asked about Deanne, "I am also looking for her and my baby. We actually had an argument and she threw the fan at me. I, in-turn, hit her back with the fan and she got injured. I took her to the hospital where I was asked to pay the sum of N75,000.

But I left her to look for the money only to come back and see that her parents had taken her away. Right now, I don't know where she is." Pointing to his hand, he continued, " Look at my hand, she inflicted this injury on me in the process." But his claim was described as blatant lie by Deanne's family.

They alleged that Sylvester had on two occasions gone for introduction for two separate women. But they both ended up running for their lives. Their reason was unknown before Deanne came on board. The first woman was also said to have had a baby for him.

But Deanne's family are not only angry at the indelible scar Sylvester has inflicted on their daughter. They are also angry at the reported nonchalant attitude displayed by Sylvester's family.

"As we speak, no member of his family has even bothered to come and see our daughter since the incident occurred. Deanne said she called them on phone on the day of the incident and we also contacted them. They only showed up at the police station when their son was arrested. This is unfair", the family stated.

But on her part , Deanne, who is at the centre of the controversy is still smarting to adjust to her new state. She was seen in a pensive mood, with on one able to fathom the thoughts running through her mind.

Her present state, according to the Executive Director, Crime Victims Foundation(CRIVIFON), Mrs Gloria Egbuji ,would no doubt devastate her. " But she needs a lot of encouragement at this moment.

She is a victim of crime and we have to help her. In fact, we condemn the act and feel that it shouldn't happen to anybody. We have already liaised with the Lagos State Police Command, following which the suspect was arrested in his hideout here in Lagos and would be transferred to Port -Harcourt, Rivers state.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Yakubu Alkali has assured us that he would link up with his Rivers state counterpart when the suspect gets there. I assure you that with this move, the case will not be swept under the carpet," she stated.


Related stories: Husband pierces wife's eyeball

Man sets family on fire

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Super Eagles continue to free fall in FIFA rankings

Nigeria continued with its free fall on the FIFA world rankings. The latest release had the Eagles dropping from 43 to 44.

In August, Nigeria was ranked 38 and has steadily lost ground after a series of bad results.

Cote 'd Ivoire dropped three places in the world rankings, but they maintained their place as Africa's highest-ranked team. The Ivoriens are now positioned on 16 down from 13 they previously occupied in the September rankings.

Cote'd Ivoire and Egypt are the only African countries in the top 30 world rankings.

Egypt are placed 29th in the FIFA rankings and Number 2 on the continent. Ghana remained at 33 and third in African. Algeria placed 35th and Senegal at 42nd make up the African top five.

Nigeria is paying for the sin of not qualifying for the Cup of Africa Nations by drawing 2-2 with Guinea in Abuja.

The Pharaohs kept their second place by moving seven rungs up thanks to their 3-0 thrashing of Niger in their Nations Cup qualifier last month.

The Black Stars' 2-0 away win over Sudan helped them to move up four places up and to occupy 33rd position in the global ranking.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Husband pierces wife's eyeball

Lagos State Police Command has arrested one Sylvester Emezi, who fled his Port Harcourt, Rivers State, home for Lagos, after allegedly piercing his wife's eyeball with a sharp object during a scuffle.

Acting quickly, criminal justice was under way. Emezi was arrested at a hotel in the Festac Town area of the state, weekend, and during investigation, it was discovered that he was preparing to flee the country.

The suspect, it was gathered, allegedly used the sharp object on his wife, Deanne, a youth corps member, at their Ada George Junction home, Port Harcourt, near Shell Petroleum Road on October 7, 2011, after she complained about his uncaring attitude.

After the alleged deed, 34-year-old Emezi, who claimed to be a cement distributor, reportedly locked his wife and their one-year-old baby inside, leaving her apparently to bleed to death.

But, before she passed out, Deanne, it was gathered, contacted a family friend in PortHarcourt, who quickly rushed her to the hospital where, she was told that the eyeball was damaged and needed urgent surgery to avoid infection from spreading to the second one.

She was reportedly brought to Lagos last week, where she underwent a surgery. But doctors said she would only make use of one eye, unless by divine intervention.


Related stories: Man sets family on fire

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Nigerian women make up 60 percent of prostitutes in Italian and Belgian cities

Trafficking of under-aged girls from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia is now in the rise, Executive Secretary of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related Matters (NAPTIP) Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba has said.

She also said that "Available statistics indicate that 60% of the prostitutes in Turin, Italy and Antwerp in Belgium are Nigerian girls."

Speaking before the House of Representatives committee on Diaspora yesterday, Mrs. Jedy-Agba said her agency has uncovered new route of trafficking under the cover of pilgrimage.

"It appears from the report of our staff who have participated in Hajj operations that there is an increased trafficking activity under the cover of the annual pilgrimage. Traffickers have devised an insidious plan to desecrate the Holy Land of Mecca with trafficked victims," she said.

The NAPTIP boss said the agency has identified two major trafficking routes - the Lagos-Cotonuo-Moussa- Ouagadougou-Mali route accounts for about 75% of trafficked victims to Europe and the Sokoto-Bori Koni in Niger Republic and Katsina Maradi-Niamey-Agadez-Libya.

She told the committee that there was increase in internal trafficking at the border towns of Calabar, Port Harcourt, Uyo Badagry, Benin, Kebbi, Sokoto and Maiduguri, with about 8million children at the risk of being trafficked.

Reports equally showed that there are large numbers of Nigerian women regularly taken to other West and Central African countries of Gabon, Cameroon, Ghana, Chad, Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina-Faso and the Gambia for sexual exploitation under the guise of taking them abroad for employment opportunities.

A recent fact finding mission conducted by the agency confirmed the existence of many brothels in Bamako, Mopti, Kayes, Sikasso, Gao, all in Mali populated by young Nigerians between the ages of 14 and 17 years being used as sex slaves," she said. At the age where they should be enrolled in educational leadership programs, these young girls are tragically denied so much of

Rep Abike Dabiri-Erewa (ACN, Lagos), who chairs the committee, promised that the National Assembly will look into the possibilities of amending the constitution to ease the process of domesticating international protocol on human trafficking.

Daily Trust

Related stories:Video - Documentary on human trafficking between Nigeria and Italy

Video - Part 2 of documentary on human trafficking between Nigeria and Italy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala affirms Nigeria will overcome its economic challenges


Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has expressed optimism that Nigeria’s economic challenges will be tackled, noting that the problem with the economy is not potentials but implementation of the plans to revive and boost it.

Meanwhile, the African Free Zones Association (AFZA) has called on the National Assembly to facilitate the passage of the bill to promote the activities of Nigeria’s free zones and make them better able to compete with their types across the world.

The bill has been pending at the National Assembly for seven years now.

Executive Secretary of AFZA, Mr. Chris Ndibe, who spoke with some journalists in Abuja, also called for far reaching reforms in the sector, noting that many countries of the world had taken advantage of free trade zones to boost their economies and create employment for their people.

On the kind of reforms he would like to be effected, he called for merger of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority and the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority into one body to give room for better coordination of free zones activities.

“Nigeria seems to be the only country in the world with two different bodies regulating free zones. This shouldn’t be. One body is okay to regulate the zones in any serious system,” he said.

To accelerate development through public-private partnership, he also argued that the pattern of appointing board chairmen for NEPZA should change.

He said: “The chairman of the board of the Nigerian Free Zones Authority should be the Minister of Trade and Investment as is done in most countries of the world that are progressing in the scheme.

“For free zones to work in any country, it must find a place in the heart of the President of that country. As far as I am concerned, Nigeria is just playing politics with free zones. If you look at most countries where free zones scheme is progressing, it changes to meet the needs and changes with the economy.”

Speaking at the 15th anniversary of Hallmark of Labour in Lagos at the weekend, Okonjo-Iweala stressed the need to make the young generation believe in Nigeria.

The minister said: “It has been seven weeks since I came back, but it is like seven years because the amount of work we need to do for economic development is tremendous. But I am optimistic that we can solve them. I keep saying that Nigeria’s problems are not insolvable, they are solvable. We need to give our young people the opportunity to be optimistic.”

Okonjo Iweala, who urged Nigerians to think more of how to assist the government and not what government can do, noted that “Nigerians are tired of hearing about economic potentials, what we need now is implementation.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega stated that there were a lot of issues to be argued about but, “we cannot just sit and diagnose our problems, we need to contribute our own quota to ensure that these challenges are addressed amicably.”

The INEC boss posited that for the nation to move forward, Nigerian youth must be involved in order to bring out positive attitude towards good governance.


Related stories: Okonjo-Iweala Unveils Governments Economic Priorities

Video - Newly appointed Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala focuses on creating jobs


Monday, October 17, 2011

Nigerian woman jailed 140 months for human trafficking

A Nigerian woman, Bidemi Bello, has been sentenced to 140 months in jail by a United States Court on human trafficking charges.

The 42-year-old Nigerian, who became a US citizen while she committed the crime, was also ordered by District Judge William S. Duffey Jr., to be deported from the US upon completion of her sentence.

Bello, who was first arraigned last September, was on June12, 2011 convicted of an eight count charge of forced labour, document servitude, alien harboring for financial gain and making false statement in an application to become US citizen.

Evidence and testimony at trial showed that Bello,formerly based in Suwanee, Georgia, brought her two victims simply identified as Laome and Dupe at separate times to US to work as nannies to her child. In return, Bello had promised she would send the young women to school in US, and for one victim, she also promised to pay her as well.

Laome was said to have traveled to US with Bello in October 2001 when she was 17 years old, using a fraudulent British passport she obtained for her, while Dupe traveled with an associate of Bello to US in November, 2004 when she was 20, also using a fraudulent British passport.

Upon arrival in US, Bello was said to have reneged on her promise to the victims and their families that she would send the two ladies to school in US and even pay one of them for her services.

She was also said to have threatened, physically abused, and isolated both victims from their families in order to force them to work for her without pay while also taking custody of their passports and government identification documents in order to maintain their services - an offence known as document servitude.

Testimony at trial also showed that the victims were sleep deprived, as they were forced to be on call for Bello's child all night, while Bello, who lived in an upscale home with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, made her victims sleep on the floor or a couch, prevented them from using the shower, or eat the food they cooked, and even forced them to eat spoilt and moldy food.

Apart from giving them several tasks to perform, she was also said to have prevented them from using modern appliances such as washing machine, dishwasher and lawn mower.

One of Bello's friend was said to have helped Laome to escape by hiding her in the back of another woman's car, who covered her with blankets, and drove her away while she was at a party. It was after her escape that Bello brought in the second victim, Dupe.

Dupe was said to have escaped by saving up $60 that was given to her by friends of Bello, before she was assisted by pastors at a church in Marietta after taking a cab to the church.

In accordance with US laws against such abuses, Laome and Dupe were given T-visas which allowed them to remain in US to assist in the prosecution of Bello. A friend and a relative of Bello were among the witnesses that testified at the trial about the abuse they witnessed.

Bello, who had moved out of US during the investigation, was found and arrested at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston upon re-entering US last year.

Quoting the Special Agent in Charge of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in Atlanta, Brock Nicholson, a statement from the Department of Justice said, "This sentencing closes the door on a shocking case of modern day slavery.

"Human trafficking deprives victims of their freedom and dignity and it has no place in our world. Cases like this one serve to strengthen our resolve to protect and defend those who may not be able to evade or escape the grip of human trafficking."

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Thomas E. Perez, in his reaction noted that, "holding other human beings against their will in servitude is a violation of human rights that will not be tolerated in our free society," adding, US was committed "to combating human trafficking in all its forms, vindicating the rights of trafficking victims and bringing human traffickers to justice."

Bello, is however not the first US-based Nigerians to be entrapped by the lure of cheap labour. Last year, a Nigerian couple, Emmanuel Nnaji and Ngozi Nnaji, was sentenced to 20 years and nine years in prison respectively, for trafficking a Nigerian widow and enslaving her for over eight years in US.

In 2006, a Nigerian-born medical doctor, Adaobi Stella Udeozor, a resident of Darnestown, Maryland was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison and fined for enslaving another Nigerian. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $110,249 to her 23-year old victim for her years of unpaid services.

In 1999, another Nigerian couple, Emeka Udogwu and Ifeoma Ezeona Udogwu, were arrested for trafficking two young Nigerian girls into the United States and forcing them to be their servants.

This Day

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Many Nigerian citizens detained in Libya

The al-Judaida prison in Libya which was hotbed of abuse and injustice has over 1,000 inmates, majority of whom were Nigerians detained by the National Transitional Council, the BBC reports.

Taher Husnein, who runs the prison, now said that some of the inmates are innocent of any crimes.

Among them are hundreds of Nigerians and other Africans - men and women - who had been detained because they did not have the right paperwork to stay in Libya.

"Please, please do something to help us," begged a desperate woman, Olichi Dioka.

Amnesty International has acknowledged the major challenges facing Libya's new authorities.

But it has urged them to ensure that continued abuse does not "stain the new Libya's human rights record".

"Only 1% of the people in here are guilty," said one detainee.

"The people who are really guilty have all fled. We've all been rounded up because they think we supported Gaddafi. But everyone had to support Gaddafi."

Another man said he had been detained because pro-government militias were looking for his brother who had served as a soldier. One was picked up after a picture of Col. Gaddafi was found under his car seat.

Another said he had simply been caught up in a private vendetta. "They have done no investigation, nothing," he said, with tears rolling down his face.

"I want to go home."

Daily Trust

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Chinua Achebe Tops Forbes' List of Influential Africans

Highly influential American Forbes Magazine, well-known for its lists, has published a list 40 most powerful and influential celebrities in Africa. Nigerian Novelist, Chinua Achebe, tops the list that also has ten other Nigerians.

Early in September, influential American Magazine Forbes called for nominations for a list of the 40 most powerful celebrities in contemporary Africa. Over 7,500 nominations came in. After a thorough sifting, a list of 40 eventually emerged. The list, dominated by Nigerians, included actors, cerebral authors, musicians, movie producers, super models, television personalities and athletes from across Africa. Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe was ranked No. 1 while Senegalese musician, Youssou N'dour and Ivorian football star, Didier Drogba ranked second and third respectively.

The other Nigerians on the list are Nobel Laureate, Professsor Wole Soyinka; Afro-beat musician, Femi Kuti; music producer, Don Jazzy; actress Genevieve Nnaji and novelist Chimamanda Adichie. Others are Tuface Idibia, P-Square, D'Banj, Nneka and Asa, all musicians.

How Forbes Arrived at 40 Names...

How did Forbes Magazine narrow down the huge number of nominations to 40? It explains thus: "Determining the celebrities who exert the highest degree of influence in contemporary African pop culture involved sifting through the nominations for the individuals with the highest numbers of votes, and then measuring their media visibility - exposure in print, television, radio and online. It also included their number of web references on Google, television/radio mentions and their general clout across the continent."

Forbes said further that a robust social media presence would have been an invaluable yardstick for determining the intensity of influence these individuals exert over their enthusiasts. However, apart from Senegalese hip-hop act Akon, Nigerian beat maker Michael Collins (Don Jazzy) and a handful of others who boast 6-figure followers on networks like Facebook and Twitter, "an overwhelming number of Africa's most influential celebrities have either a very small or non-existent social media presence."

Africa's favourite idols who use their celebrity status to impact social change are also on the rise, so says Forbes. "Take Liya Kebede, for instance. The Ethiopian-born supermodel has leveraged on her celebrity status to raise awareness about maternal health issues. She currently serves as the World Health Organization's Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and child health. She also founded the Liya Kebede Foundation, which seeks to reduce maternal mortality rates in Ethiopia and around the world by funding advocacy, training and medical programs."

Forbes said further that Drogba had also built on the cult-like following he enjoys at home to call for peace in his war-torn country: "Cote D'Ivoire had been enduring a civil war since 2000. After he led the Ivorian national team to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Drogba famously made a plea to the combatants, requesting that they drop their weapons in pursuit of peace. They listened. A few days later, there was a cease-fire. Apart from playing a pivotal role in the peace process, Drogba also donated a $5 million endorsement fee he earned from Pepsi to construct a world-class hospital in his hometown of Abidjan."


Albert Achebe (born 16 November 1930) popularly known as Chinua Achebe is best known for his first novel Things Fall Apart which is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos.


Nobel Laureate Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka, is the first African to win a Nobel prize. He was born 13 July 1934 is a writer, poet and playwright. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature and became the first African in Africa and in Diaspora to be so honoured. In 1994, he was designated UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication.

Femi Kuti

He is the first son of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Femi has been able to leverage on his father's brilliance, fame and fortune to position himself as one of Africa's wealthiest entertainers. He owns the popular Afrikan Shrine. Like his father, he has many popular albums to his credits like Bang, Bang, Bang. He also rakes in a lot of income from international shows and concerts worldwide.


Genevieve is one of the leading Nollywood actresses. She has acted in over 100 home videos in the country and more than a dozen TV soaps. Suave and delectable, Genevieve has also featured in many commercial advertisements and has received many endorsements. Last year, she appeared in the popular Oprah Winfrey show.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on 15 September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents, Grace Ifeoma and James Nwoye Adichie.

At the age of nineteen, Chimamanda left for the United States. She gained a scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years, and she went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. She is the author of the award winning Half a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus.

Tuface Idibia

There is hardly any doubt that he is one of the most successful entertainers to ever come out of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Born Innocent Ujah Idibia, Tuface has at various times won the MTV Base music award in far away UK, Best African Act at the MOBO Awards and at the KORA Music Awards.

He has received endorsements from Guinness and Airtel, among others.


They are a set of musical twins who took the Nigeria's entertainment scene by storm. With a sprawling mansion put in the region of N100m, Psquare, who have wined and dined with some of Africa's leaders-presidents and ministers alike-remain one of Nigeria's exports that have distinguished themselves in the world of entertainment.

Don Jazzy

Born Michael Enebeli, the prolific music producer, has been able to sell himself into the major market in the American music industry. After he formed the Mohits Inc. with his partner, D'Banj following their return from the United Kingdom, this chubby producer, who doubles as a musician, is a multi-talented entertainer. He became the toast of top American music acts like Jay Z, Kanye West and Kid Kudi after he produced a remix of one of D'Banj's hit song, 'Mr Endowed' with American superstar, Snoop Dogg. He is at present signed on to Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music.


Tagged the Kokomaster, D'Banj was born Dapo Oyebanjo. He remains one of Nigeria's most talked about and celebrated entertainers. He has done musical collaborations with many local and foreign acts and was recently signed on by Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music after a chance meeting with the rapper in Dubai. D'Banj latest album which is enjoying rave reviews on radio and television in the country is called Oliver Twist.


She is a Nigerian who made her name in music in Germany. Though Nneka's music is gaining ground in Nigeria as well, she remains one of the best exports from Nigeria who has done so well and brilliantly shown her musical talent.


Asa remains one of the few Nigerian musicians who has done well for herself in the world of music. Her business selling point is her unique voice. She broke out while under the tutelage of Questionmark Entertainment in Nigeria and has endeared herself to the world showbiz impresarios in the UK and France with her genre of music, afro soul.

This Day

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U.S. warns its citizens against trips to Nigeria

The United States yesterday drew the attention of its citizens to the risks associated with visiting Nigeria and asked them to avoid non-essential trips to the country.

The U.S. Department of State, which issued the warning, particularly pointed out 10 states in the country that were very risky because of the growing incidents of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks.

The risky states are: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers, Abia, Edo, Imo; the city of Jos in Plateau State, Bauchi and Borno states.

A statement by the State Department says that violent crime committed in Nigeria by individuals and gangs, as well as by persons wearing police and military uniforms, remained a problem throughout the country.

The advisory recalled several violent crimes that have been unleashed on the nation by armed gangs and religious sects, among them the bombing of the United Nations building and the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja as well and other locations in the country.

The statement further maintained that travel by foreigners to areas considered by the Nigerian government to be conflict areas without prior consultation and coordination with local security authorities was not recommended.

"The Nigerian government may view such travel as inappropriate and potentially illegal, and it may detain violators," it noted.


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The sister of late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua dies at 68

The elder sister of late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, Hajiya Mairo Tafida is dead.

Aged 68, late Mairo died at Federal Medical Centre Katsina on Thursday night. Until her death, she was acting as the head of the Yar'Adua family as she was considered to have influenced major decisions of the family.

Family source said late Mairo was asthmatic and had an attack on Thursday evening and was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre for treatment.

Until her death, late Mairo was a stalwart of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and actively participated in the party's campaign during the last election.

The deceased was survived by her elderly Mother, Hajiya Dada, six children and many grandchildren.

Late Mairo was buried on Yesterday at popular Dan Marina Cemetery were late President Yar'Adua was buried.

Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has condoled the family of former President Yar'Adua over the death Hajiya Mairo Tafida.

In a condolence message to the matriarch of the Yar'Adua family, Hajiya Dada, Mark said: "I received the news of the death of Hajiya Mairo Tafida with rude shock", adding, "At a time like this, her able hands and experience are needed for contribution to the socio-political development of the nation."

He prayed to Almighty Allah to grant the entire family the fortitude to bear the loss.

Mark however asked the family to take solace in the fact that late Mairo lived a short but eventful life worthy of emulation.

This Day

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Friday, October 14, 2011

US government to award $3 million scholarship to Nigerian students

United States Government has offered $3 million scholarship grants to Nigerian students for the 2011 and 2012 academic year, the US Embassy disclosed yesterday.

The scholarship scheme, under the Educational Advisory Centre, according to the Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy, James McAnulty, will afford Nigerian students the opportunity of studying in the United States. There are also many affordable degrees courses online

Speaking during 2011 Annual College and career Fair in Abuja, McAnulty said: “During the 2011 to 2012 academic year, we anticipate that Nigerian students participating in our Educational Advisory Centre will receive nearly three million dollars in financial aid and scholarships.


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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Umar Farouk 'Underpants Bomber' Abdulmutallab pleads guilty

A Nigerian accused of trying to bomb a US-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009 has told his trial in Detroit that he is pleading guilty to all charges.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, told a judge he was admitting all eight counts against him, including terrorism and attempted murder.

Abdulmutallab was badly burned when a bomb sewn into his underwear failed to detonate fully, prosecutors say.

Almost 300 people were on the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Abdulmutallab will be sentenced on 12 January 2012 but the BBC's Jonny Dymond, in Washington, says this is now a formality - Abdulmutallab will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Al-Qaeda links

US Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds verified that Abdulmutallab understood his right to silence before asking him if he wished to make a plea.

"Do I understand correctly that you wish to waive that right [in order] to plead guilty to all the charges in the indictment?" she asked.

"Yes," the defendant replied.

He told the court the bomb was a "blessed weapon to save the lives of innocent Muslims".

"The US should be warned that if they continue to kill and support those who kill innocent Muslims, then the US should await a great calamity... or God will strike them directly," he said.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is based in Yemen, said it was behind the attack on 25 December 2009.

US investigators have said Abdulmutallab told them he was working for AQAP and had received the bomb from them, as well as training.

US and Yemeni officials have linked Abdulmutallab to radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whom he is said to have met while in Yemen before the attack.

Abdulmutallab flew from Nigeria to Amsterdam, where he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit, which was carrying 279 passengers and 11 crew.

He was already on a US watch list, but not a no-fly list.

Passengers had to put out the fire after the bomb failed to detonate fully, the court heard on Monday.

Abdulmutallab's father, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, an influential banker who is well connected in Nigerian politics, said he had approached the US embassy officials and Nigerian authorities in 2009 to warn them about his son.

Abdulmutallab was denied a request to ban statements he made while being treated for burns at a hospital, as well as other material, from appearing at trial.

During the first day of his trial, on Monday, prosecutor Jonathan Tukel showed the court a picture of the remains of the burnt underwear which contained the explosive device.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) analysts found the high explosive pentaerythritol (PETN) inside the device. Officials say he planned to detonate it using a syringe filled with chemicals.

The bomb was not detected when Abdulmutallab passed through airport security in Lagos and Amsterdam.

The court was also shown a video of Abdulmutallab explaining his suicide mission.


Related stories: Video - Trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

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Nigeria Super Eagles draw with Ghana Black Stars

Under fire Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia expressed his delight with the way his team played in a goalless draw with the Black Stars of Ghana in their international friendly match, which held at Vicarage Road, Watford.

Only 72 hours earlier, fans had been baying for his and his players’ blood following the 2-2 draw the Eagles had played with the Syli Stars of Guinea at the Abuja National Stadium, which ended Nigeria’s Nations Cup 2012 dream.

“I’m delighted with the way they (Eagles) played especially after what happened over the weekend. I only hope that fans also saw the improvement. We’re building a team for the future,” said Siasia.

Commenting further, the former Nigerian international also said he felt his team had created the better chances to have broken the deadlock.

Although the match did end goalless one must commend the work the officials did on the players to ensure that they did not allow what happened in Abuja over the weekend to have drastically affected their game.

Instead after an initial wobbly start in which the Ghanaians had the bulk of the ball possession, the Super Eagles came back stronger in the second half and fashioned out a number of scoring chances.

Although the ground of Championship side, Watford was not filled a sizeable crowd did show up to enjoy a fairly decent show put on by both teams

On his part, Goran Stevanovic, Siasia’s opposite number, also believed that his players did well but refused to be drawn into specifics until later when he would have studied the match.

But the 45-year-old Serbian flatly refused to be drawn into the chances of the Black Stars at next year’s Nations Cup final when asked after the game.

However, Siasia will be the more relieved of the two because his current tenuous position as national team head coach would have become untenable had the Eagles followed up Saturday’s poor outing with defeat to West African rivals, the Black Stars.

But in spite of the slightly improved performance of his team, Siasia is scheduled to know his fate on Thursday when the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) meet in Abuja.

This Day

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President Goodluck Jonathan pledges we shall overcome terrorism


President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians that the present security challenges facing the country, occasioned by the terrorists attacks and bombing by Boko Haram and other groups, was a passing phase that will be overcome very soon.

Speaking at the investiture ceremony of five former and current Chief of Air Staff with the Distinguished Flying Star Medal of the Nigeria Airforce and Presentation of Flag to Mobility Command, Yenegoa, in Abuja yesterday, the President said what was happening was a passing phase which every great nation of the world had gone through.

Jonathan said: “I encourage all Nigerians to remain steadfast, vigilance and optimistic bearing in mind that the endeavour of building a great nation can never be without challenges. “I want to assure you, however, that as we work together and draw upon our collective strength and numerous ties that bind us in peace and unity, we shall prevail over the challenges and leave a better country for children.”

Commending the Air Force and Armed Forces as a whole for their immense contribution to the maintenance of national security and defence of democracy, the President said: “Members of the armed forces are currently involved in the internal security in several parts of our dear nation.

“I must also note with pride your contributions towards ensuring stability across our great continent and even beyond.

“Your active participation in bringing peace and stability to the West African sub-region has been commended globally. I wish to commend you on the professionalism with which you handled the various situations.

“Your courage, dedication to duty and professionalism bear noble testimony to the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian people. I am aware that these accomplishments have not been without great and often painful sacrifice and for this reason, the nation owes you and your families a debt of gratitude.”

He highlighted the role of the Nigerian Air Force in ensuring the security of the country, saying “I am confident that with the on-going positioning of the Nigerian Air Force for sustained the deployment of air power as evident in the establishment of the mobility command, the Air Force is destined for even greater achievement as we work to transform Nigeria.

“No nation can rightly boast of greatness in the absence of a vibrant armed forces bearing in mind the onerous task that nation building can only be accomplished when the safety and the territorial integrity of the nation is assured.

“There is, therefore, no doubt that building and maintaining the virile and motivated Air Force is secured to ensuring our security and national development. For this reason, the FG has continued to make substantial investments in the provision of new platforms and the reactivation of old ones.

“This is in addition to our commitment to ensure better training and improved welfare packaging for the improvement of men and women of our noble Armed Forces.”

President Jonathan congratulated the recipients of the Distinguished Flying Star, including Air Marshal Akin Dada, (1992-1993), Air Vice Marshal Femi John Femi (1993-1996), Air Marshal Isaac M. Alfa (1999-2001), Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike (206-2008), Air Chief Marshal O.O. Petinrin (2008-2010), Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar (2010-till date).

According to him, the award was in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of the Nigerian Air Force and security of Nigeria.

In his reaction, Air Marshal Alfa said “I am very happy for the recognition. As for the commitment to the country, once you have gone as far as being the Service Chief, you are actually never fully retired.

“You are always in the service of the country that is to say you are more or less on reserve and you can be called upon into active service many times. My commitment to the country is that anytime I am needed I am always ready.”

ACM Paul Dike said “it is always something special when you are honoured by your people, so I am delighted to have been one of those people that were honoured here today.”


Related stories: Video - President Goodluck Jonathan address to Nigeria on independence day

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Prostitutes sell semen to ritual killers in Abuja

Horny men in Abuja stand the chance of having their semen taken away and sold to ritual killers by commercial sex workers who have laid siege to the city.

This demonic practice may have been responsible for the woes suffered by some men including sterility, erectile dysfunction, marital crisis, failure in business and even death, said observers.

Our correspondents reported that some prostitutes with condoms filled with fresh semen were arrested by officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), while raiding some red light areas of the city.

A total of 104 suspected commercial sex workers have been arrested for prosecution during raids carried out by the board in collaboration with the Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour (SAP-CLN)

SAP-CLN is an Abuja-based non-governmental organization involved in the rehabilitation of prostitutes and street children.

An AEPB official, who pleaded anonymity, said some of the commercial sex workers were found with condoms containing fresh male semen after they were picked from the streets. He said the recoveries of the used condoms were made when officials searched bags brought in by the commercial sex workers.

Other items recovered include Benelyn cough syrup laced with codeine, Indian hemp, cigarettes and Dunlop Plastic Solution, an adhesive used in vulcanizing tires.

He said, "It is a recurrent thing here. We find condoms with sperm when we search their bags. The necks of the condoms are tied to prevent the contents from spilling and are carefully wrapped in toilet tissue.

"We also found Benelyn cough syrup, marijuana, cigarettes and an adhesive used by vulcanizers in fixing tyres. Some of them become very wild after taking drugs and one has to be careful when going for the raid."

A commercial sex worker, who gave her name simply as Joy, told our correspondent that the semen found with some of her colleagues were secretly taken away after they had sex with their patrons.

In an attempt to extract the semen from unsuspecting male "clients," she said, commercial sex workers exhibit extraordinary care and sex appeal, attributes which, she further claimed, caused many men to lose their guard.

As soon as the man gives in fully to the pleasure of the illicit affair, she said, the prostitute moans and screams wildly in fake ecstasy thereby setting the stage to carry out her mischief.

But where the male "client" refuses to succumb to the trappings of the fake expression of passion, she said, the girl would rub fetish powder on her nipples and offer them to the man to suck. After sucking the breasts, the man loses consciousness and the sex worker would steal all his valuables and collect his semen.

She said some of her colleagues also use drugs to knock out some of their patrons and entice them into having sex in a semi-conscious state. She said: "After pulling the condom, the girl would go into the bathroom and flush the tissue she used in cleaning the man while tying the neck of the condom.

"She would tie the neck of the condom to avoid spillage and carefully hide it away until she is ready to go. Sperm is a very hot thing for people, who use it for medicine. I don't know how much they sell it because am not into that kind of line."

"But I know that a lot of girls do it and they make so much money from it. I don't want to carry somebody's blood because I don't know what the juju priest will do with someone's sperm. I only do ashawo (prostitution) business. I don't sell sperm."

But determined to stamp out the criminal practice, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, through the AEPB, has launched an operation to dislodge prostitutes from the city.

The operation, which is carried out in collaboration with the Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour (SAP-CLN) has led to the arrest of 104 commercial sex workers in various parts of the city during three raids.

At the raid which was carried out on Thursday, September 29, a total of 44 suspected prostitutes where arrested and held for prosecution.

However, on Monday, October 3, the team arrested another 33 suspected commercial sex workers, while 26 suspects were arrested during another raid on Thursday, October 6.

The operation is carried out based on the provision of Section 35 (1g) of the AEPB Act No. 10 of 1997, which prohibits sex trade in the capital city.

The suspects were arraigned before a mobile court presided over by Mr. Aminu Abdulahi, a magistrate with the FCT.

Out of the 44 suspects that were arrested during the September 29 raid, a total of 31 pleaded guilty to the charge, while 13 pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.

About 16 convicts who could not afford a fine of N5,000 as stipulated in the AEPB law were sent on one-month imprisonment at Suleja Prison.

However, 13 other convicts, who could afford the stipulated fine, were sent for rehabilitation at the SAP-CLN center located in Sabo Lugbe, off Umaru Yar'Adua Way.

Out of the 33 suspects arrested on Monday, October 3, five of the suspects were released on bail, four were freed after they were screened and an undertaking extracted from them by the court.

The remaining 25 people pleaded guilty to the charge and were accordingly convicted but only seven were sent to Kuje Prison, while 17 paid fine and opted for rehabilitation.

The coordinator of SAP-CLN, Mrs. Grace Adogo, said the organization was touched by the plight of the commercial sex workers who were sent to prison.

She said a lot of the commercial sex workers saw what they did as business and not as a criminal activity. Adogo recounted the story of an inmate who, after spending one month at the rehabilitation centre, suddenly stripped herself and shouted on top of her voice that she could no longer cope.

According to her, the inmate said she used to sleep with several men in a day and send some of the proceeds home for the upkeep of her family.

She said, Our security men ran away on sighting her. "She shouted that she should be released immediately and we did, because we couldn't keep her against her wish. She said she used to sleep with several men in a day and could not continue to cope without seeing a man.

"She told me that her mother called and said she had lost so much revenue during the one month she was in the center and that she should come out and continue the business. The girl went back home."


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