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News & Announcements

News & Announcements


It was an evening of pomp and pageantry as the Nigerian High Commission in Freetown led by His ExcellencyAmbassador Henry John Omaku (fcim), welcome Nigerians, government officials from the host country, members of the diplomatic corps, and the business sector in a well-attended dinner to commemorate the 62nd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The rich cultural heritage of Africa’s most populous ethnic group was on display as various cultural groups showcased their artistry, culture, and dancing prowess before the enthusiastic audience.

Speaking at the occasion His Excellency, The High Commissioner, Ambassador Henry John Omaku emphasized that “we cannot but appreciate the remarkable journey to our 62nd Independence Anniversary Celebration.  Although like every nation, we have encountered many challenges and tribulations, it is no doubt that Nigeria has continued to soar above them all. As a nation with different tribes and tongues, we have continued to work towards attaining the vision of our founding fathers for a united and prosperous country.” This was clearly depicted in the abundance of the cultural display, food served, and the exchange of banters by Nigerian residents in Freetown from the different ethnic groups present at the occasion.

He further noted that “beyond the shores of the country, the foreign policy of Nigeria prioritizes Africa, starting with its immediate neighbours, the entire ECOWAS and Africa as a whole, has in the last few years received a renewed attention by the administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR); This is evident in the various efforts of Nigeria geared towards strengthening the strong bilateral relations between Nigeria and Sierra Leone, established in mutual respect and trust by our founding fathers; Together with the government of Sierra Leone, led by His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, the Nigeria High Commission has continued to work assiduously to strengthen this strong bilateral relation.”

In another development, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. David J. Francis also extolled the cordial relationship that exists between Nigeria and Sierra Leone which dates back even before the independence, and promised that the government of His Excellency Retd Brig. Julius Maada would continue to work towards consolidating the relationship.

The highlight of the occasion was marked by an exchange of toasts to the Unity and peace of Nigeria, as well as group photo shots with various dignitaries in attendance. As the Nigerian envoy, alongside members, of the High Commission played a good host to guests in attendance.

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News & Announcements

Phyna Beat 5 Others To Win BBNaija Season 7

After weeks of intrigues, Ijeoma Josephina Otabor popularly known as Phyna has won the 2022 edition of the Big Brother Naija reality show.

The seventh season, tagged Level Up, premiered on 23 and 24 July 2022.

Phyna beat fellow housemates, Bella, Adekunle, Daniella, Chichi, and Bryan, to win the converted grand prize worth N100 million, which is the highest in the show’s history and will be handed out to the ultimate winner.

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News & Announcements

Russian Troops Forced Out Of Key East Ukraine Town

Russian troops withdraw from strategic east Ukraine town of Lyman where Kyiv’s forces were threatening to encircle them.
Confirmation of the retreat came via Russia’s defence ministry. It will be seen as a significant blow, analysts say.

Details emerge of a recent deadly attack on a convoy of Ukrainian civilians, a day after dozens were killed near Zaporizhzhia, reports the BBC.

President Zelensky said Ukraine wouild liberate all of its territory, despite Vladimir Putin’s declaration that four occupied regions are part of Russia.

In an angry speech decrying the West on Friday, Mr Putin claimed people living in the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were now Russian.

Ukraine responded to Putin’s declaration by asking Nato to speed up giving it membership of the US-led defence alliance.
Ukraine’s nuclear operator says Russian forces have detained the head of the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

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Tragedy:  About 400 fans feared dead in Indonesia Stadium Stampede 

It was indeed a national disaster and a dark day for the Indonesian government as about 400 soccer fans feared dead in a stadium stampede after the home team, Arema FC lost to bitter rivals.
The unfortunate incident which occurred at the overcrowded stadium late on Saturday in Malang, East Java saw now fewer than 180 fans dead and another 180 critically injured.

The crash took place after police tear-gassed fans who invaded the pitch.As panic spread, thousands surged towards Kanjuruhan stadium’s exits, where many suffocated.
Fifa, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.

One eyewitness told the BBC that police had fired numerous tear gas rounds “continuously and fast” after the situation with fans became “tense”.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said it was “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension”.About 180 were also hurt in aftermath of home team Arema FC’s loss to bitter rivals at the overcrowded stadium late on Saturday in Malang, East Java.

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News & Announcements

Nyesom Wike and the PDP

THE PUBLIC SPHERE with Chido Nwakanma

Nigerians must thank Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for enriching the dramaturgy of Nigerian politics today. Nyesom Wike continually provides rich content, positive and negative, and forces conversations on power distribution, federalism, and Politics in Nigeriana. Wike stands out in the Fourth Republic for deepening the fought component.

The Governor of Rivers State is often in the news for audacity. I was in Port Harcourt in mid-September and saw first-hand the audacious infrastructural transformation of the oil city by the executive actions of Nyesom Wike. It is impressive. I previously lived at D-Line Port Harcourt and could not recognise Garrison Bus Stop and several other parts of the city. Port Harcourt bespeaks infrastructure boldly. It is all so fitting as Wike is one of the acclaimed Port Harcourt Boys in the Port Harcourt Son ditty of Duncan Mighty.

Nyesom Wike is one of the bright stars of PDP in government. He has shown bold vision and the capacity to execute, a critical success factor in government. He claims that he was the party’s lifeblood in the dark days of loss when many ran away.

Audacity sits well with Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, even if it tends to be loud, obnoxious, and in-your-face. As Elections 2023 Campaign kicked off on 28 September 2022, Wike shared the headlines. It was for the bold action of leading his cohort to stay away from the official declaration by his party’s presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku. Wike continued his protest action since the conclusion of the PDP primaries and, significantly, Atiku’s selection of Delta State Governor Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.

Wike claims that he is fighting the exclusion of the South from the PDP arrangements and the party’s alleged betrayal of its earlier agreement to cede the race for the presidency to the South. Additionally, he demands the resignation of party chairman Dr Iyorchia Ayu on two grounds. It is wrong to have the presidential candidate and the chairman from the North concurrently, and Dr Ayu had pledged not to be or remain the chairman if a northerner is a presidential candidate.

The arguments sound impressive and altruistic. The record in the public domain is slightly different. The PDP hierarchy disputes those claims.  The party says there was no agreement to zone the flag to the South.

Many patriots expected or assumed that the PDP would support the South-East’s aspiration to clinch the party’s presidential ticket. Governor Wike was one of those that worked against the interest of the region. The man who claimed not to be Igbo became an Igbo by ascription as he sought to appropriate the position.

When his party men chose Abubakar Atiku, Wike reportedly blamed his colleague governors from Southern Nigeria for failing to win the first prize. He was clever by half. The records show that Wike lost because his chummy and ally turned coat and played the ethnic card. However, it went beyond Governor Aminu Tambuwal. Ahead of the convention, many of those Tambuwal relied on declared publicly that they would vote for Abubakar Atiku.

Atiku then went against Wike as the choice recommendation of the party’s inner caucus for the vice-presidential candidate. Analysts can only speak of what is in the public domain. It bruised Wike’s ego. The strong counterargument to Wike’s entitlement is the candidate’s right to choose his running mate. It comes down to congeniality.

Ifeanyi Okowa has wisely stayed out of the skirmish as an interested party. He has remained a committed party man and running mate to the candidate. It is the way of wisdom.  

Indeed, both Wike and Okowa have avoided direct exchanges on the matter. Both men have been discreet, whether in southern solidarity or maturity, as members of the political class of 1999. Commendations.

Wike seems to be on a long thing concerning Dr Iyorchia Ayu unless he and his team change tactics. The party recently passed a confidence vote on Ayu. They say that an Ayu resignation requires constitutional amendment.

PDP must deal with the challenge of Nyesom Wike with wisdom. One of the consequences of the Wike rebellion is the colossal scandal around monies paid to the party’s Exco with about six persons returning more than N120m. Those members, allegedly from the Wike side, claimed they were responding to a report in The Nation, owned by APC’s Bola Tinubu that it was a bribe. They conveniently kept the money until the report. The party similarly disputes it and claims it was an agreed payment.

PDP must walk the path of a party seeking to convince Nigerians of its good intendments. The scandal is noxious. The stench is terrible. It has created room for internal and external opposition to sound like profound contributors when they are only continuing their local fights.

Wike has made the point about shaking the party and emphasising his significance based on the oil money over which he presides. The challenge for both he and the party is to find an honourable way to dismount from this horse. The onus is more on the governor. They should find rapprochement so no one ends up clutching at straws. More so, Nyesom Wike.

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I Passed DJ Cuppy Graduates From Oxford

London-based Nigerian Disk Jockey, Florence Otedola, popularly known as DJ Cuppy, has announced that she has officially graduated from the University of Oxford.

DJ Cuppy, who underwent a Master’s programme in African Studies at the prestigious university, made the announcement on her Twitter page on Tuesday.

She stated that though she didn’t get merit or distinction in her thesis, she was excited that she passed.
DJ Cuppy noted that she faced a tough year at Oxford and was proud of herself that she had finally graduated. She also appreciated God in her tweet.

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Judge Sentences Ex-Ogun State Official, Rufai, To 5 Years For Pandemic Fraud In US

A former aide to the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, Abidemi Rufai has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 in pandemic relief benefits in the United States.
Rufai was wearing a $10,000 watch and $35,000 gold chain when he was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York on his way to Nigeria in May 2021, reports The Associated Press.

Rufai pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, Washington, in May to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, and Judge Benjamin Settle issued the sentence Monday. The judge also ordered Rufai to pay more than $600,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said the 45-year-old had a history of defrauding the US government, including using stolen identities to file for emergency relief after hurricanes in Texas and Florida.
“When disaster struck, so did Mr. Rufai,” Seattle U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a news release.
“Whether it was hurricane disaster relief, small business loans, or COVID unemployment benefits, he stole aid that should have gone to disaster victims in the United States.”

Such fraud was rampant in pandemic relief programmes, according to the US Labour Department’s Inspector General, who said last week that $45.6 billion may have been paid out improperly in unemployment insurance from March 2020 to April 2022.

The Justice Department filed charges against dozens of people in Minnesota last week in connection with a $250 million fraud scheme that exploited a federally funded child nutrition programme during the pandemic.

Rufai, of Lekki, Nigeria, has a master’s degree and is politically connected in his home country, prosecutors said. He had purported to run a sports betting company since 2016, his finances were opaque and his main source of income apparently was defrauding the U.S. government.

He was known as a prolific political fundraiser, and in 2019, he ran unsuccessfully for Nigeria’s National Assembly, Assistant US Attorneys Cindy Chang and Seth Wilkinson wrote in a sentencing memo.
Between April and October 2020, he use a cache of stolen identities — investigators found more than 20,000 of them, with birthdates and social security numbers in one of his email accounts — to file for pandemic-related benefits.

He applied with the workforce agencies of at least nine states, including Washington’s Employment Security Department, in the names of at least 224 Americans. Just after returning to Nigeria in August 2020, Rufai was appointed as a special aide to the Ogun State governor.

He was featured in news magazines, photographed with a luxury Mercedes sport-utility vehicle he had purchased with stolen funds and had shipped to Nigeria. Rufai later returned to the U.S., and on May 15, 2021 — just a day after prosecutors filed an amended complaint against him — he was arrested trying to leave the country on a business class flight.

In recorded phone conversations from jail he discussed moving a large amount of money immediately following his arrest, prosecutors said.

Rufai apologised in a letter to the court, saying “my actions are outrageous and inexcusable.” He blamed them on gambling addiction and pressure to provide for his wife and children. “Your honour, I am now a rehabilitated man that is ready to live a crime-free life and also be a responsible man to my family and my community as a whole,” he wrote.

The defence requested a 2.5-year sentence, citing letters from supporters who wrote that Rufai had a charitable foundation that helped pay educational fees for primary students. The Justice Department sought nearly six years, saying a longer term was necessary for the part to deter others who might commit similar crimes.

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News & AnnouncementsUncategorized

Man Pleads Guilty After Murdering, Eating Testicles Of Other Man

A Michigan man pleaded guilty last week to murdering, dismembering and eating the body parts of another man he met on a dating app.
Mark David Latunski, 53, of Shiawassee County, Michigan, admitted in court last Thursday that he killed 25-year-old hairdresser Kevin Bacon after luring the University of Michigan-Flint student to his home in December 2019, according to local outlet

Latunski pleaded guilty as charged to mutilation of a body and to open murder, which encompasses murder in the first and second degree.
Latunski acknowledged stabbing Bacon in the back and taking parts of his dead body to the kitchen, where he ate them, after meeting the young man on Grindr, which is a hookup app for gay, bisexual and transgender men. He also reportedly admitted to police that he cut off Bacon’s testicles and consumed them.

Police reportedly found Bacon’s corpse hanging from the ceiling of Latunski’s basement in 2019, with parts of him removed, his throat slit and rope tied around his ankles.

“Kevin was a good kid, and he didn’t deserve what he got,” Bacon’s father, Karl, said, according to local WNEM. He said he has been unable to process everything yet but is relieved his family will not have to relive his son’s murder in court.

“We won’t have to go through a lengthy trial,” said Karl. “Seeing Kevin’s pictures again in court, maybe we won’t have to go through all that.”

The victim’s father also reportedly said there is no punishment severe enough for Latunski’s crimes, saying he hopes the homicidal cannibal gets “life without parole.”

Mary Chartier, Latunski’s lawyer, reportedly was against the guilty plea and had hoped to bring an insanity defence.

“The law requires that attorneys must follow the objectives of clients found to be legally competent as it relates to decisions, such as pleading guilty, even if the attorneys believe that it is not in the best interests of the client,” Chartier said in a statement to local TV5.
“We will continue to vigorously advocate for Mr. Latunski at the degree hearing and sentencing,” the attorney added.

Latunski faces another court hearing on October 18, when it will be decided whether he is guilty of first- or second-degree murder or manslaughter. He faces a possible life sentence in Michigan, which in 1847 became the first government in the English-speaking world to outlaw capital punishment. *Courtesy: Fox News

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Prince Harry ‘boycotts’ dinner with King Charles III after Meghan was ‘banned’ by the new monarch

The Duke of Sussex Prince Harry had snubbed dinner with King Charles III and his brother the Prince of Wales at Balmoral following the new monarch ‘banning’ Meghan Markle from joining the grieving Royal Family on the day Queen Elizabeth II died, The DailyMail reported on 23 September.

According to the report, Prince Harry wanted his wife to join him as royals raced to the Scottish estate to say their final goodbyes to Queen Elizabeth on 8 September.
Though, Britain’s new King allegedly phoned his youngest son and told him it was ‘not appropriate for the former Suits actress to be there.
In his attempt to persuade his father to allow Meghan to come with him, he missed a flight carrying William and their uncles Andrew and Edward to Scotland, reports said.

Angry with the turnaround event, Prince Harry missed his first flight and it is reported that he also refused to have dinner that evening with Charles, William and Queen Consort Camilla. He preferred to eat with the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex before leaving early the following day, The Sun reported.
“Harry was so busy trying to get Meghan to Balmoral and rowing with his family that he missed the flight. Charles has an open invitation for Harry to dine with him whenever he is in the country,” The Sun reported.
“But Harry was so furious that he refused to eat with his father and brother. It was a massive snub. And he got out of Balmoral at the earliest opportunity to catch the first commercial flight back to London,” the daily added.

The report further added that Prince Harry was the first member of the Royal Family to leave, boarding an early British Airways flight from Aberdeen. After reaching Aberdeen airport at 9.20 am, he boarded a flight to London leaving at 10 am.
Earlier, Prince Harry and his duchess sensationally quit royal duties and left the UK for California two years ago.

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News & AnnouncementsUncategorized

US To Ease Internet Curbs For Iranians Amid Unrest

The US says it will ease internet curbs on Iran to counter Tehran’s clampdown on protests which were sparked by a woman’s death in police custody.
“We are going to help make sure the Iranian people are not kept isolated and in the dark,” said US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

The relaxation of software controls will allow American tech firms to expand their business in Iran, reports the BBC.
At least 35 people have been killed in the worst unrest in Iran for years.
Mahsa Amini, 22, fell into a coma last week, hours after morality police arrested her for allegedly breaking headscarf rules.

Officers reportedly beat Ms Amini’s head with a baton and banged her head against one of their vehicles. The police have said there is no evidence of any mistreatment and that she suffered “sudden heart failure”.

Anti-government protests continued for an eight straight night on Friday, while pro-regime rallies also took place in Tehran and other cities.
Blinken said the partial relaxation of internet restrictions was a “concrete step to provide meaningful support to Iranians demanding that their basic rights be respected”. It was clear, he added, that the Iranian government was “afraid of its own people”.

The US treasury said the move would help counter the Iranian government’s attempt to “surveil and censor” its people.
But it is unlikely to have an immediate impact as it “does not remove every tool of communications repression”.

Billionaire Elon Musk said on Twitter that he would activate his satellite internet firm, Starlink, to provide internet services to Iran in response to Blinken’s announcement.
Starlink provides internet services via a huge network of satellites and is aimed at people who live in remote areas who cannot get high-speed internet.

US officials said that the updated license did not cover hardware supplied by Musk but his firm and others were welcome to apply for permission to the treasury.
Footage shared on social media on Friday showed large crowds of protesters gather in several Tehran neighbourhoods after dark, while other incidents occurred elsewhere the country. In the protests women have defiantly taken off their hijabs and burned them, or cut off their hair in front of cheering crowds.
While spreading across much of the country, many of the early protests were concentrated in western Iran, particularly areas with large Kurdish populations, the group Ms Amini belonged to.

On Friday, reports emerged from Oshnavieh, in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province, which borders Kurdistan, showing widespread protests, as well as suggestions demonstrators had taken control of large parts of the city. The BBC was unable to confirm this.

Videos posted from Oshnavieh showed large crowds of people marching through city streets with no police presence, while loud explosions could be heard.
Friday also saw pro-regime demonstrations in Tehran and other cities, with those present declaring support for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has been a target of anti-government protesters.

President Ebrahim Raisi spoke at a pro-government event, saying he would not allow the country’s security to be “threatened”.
“We will not allow people’s security to be put at risk under any circumstances,” he said, shortly after returning from the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Stressing that Iran’s “enemies” wanted to exploit the unrest, Raisi said the government would listen to criticism over Ms Amini’s death, but would not be influenced by “rioting”.

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