President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday returned to Abuja after performing the Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presidential aircraft conveying the president and members of his entourage which took-off from Royal Terminal of the King Abdul’aziz International Airport around 2.00pm (local time), landed at the presidential wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 6.34pm.
The President’s Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammed Bello; acting Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu and other government functionaries were at the airport to welcome the president.
While in Makkah, President Buhari, who performed the lesser hajj alongside his wife, close associates and aides, also held Iftar dinner meetings with prominent Nigerians, including his key ally and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Others who met with the president included Gov. Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara, who was accompanied by Emir of Maradun Alhaji Garba Tambari.
The president also had Iftar dinner meeting with Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, and Emir of Kazaure, Dr Najib Hussaini Adamu, where special prayers were offered for God to help Nigeria achieve total peace and stability.
The holy month of Ramadan is a blessed time for spiritual reflection and commitment while prayers are encouraged to achieve forgiveness, peace and prosperity of Nations.
President Buhari is expected to preside over the valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, a week before his inauguration for another four-year tenure.
Kenyan trio of Alex Korio (2015 men’s champion), Simon Cheprot (2016 men’s champion) and Polline Wanjiku (2016 women’s champion) will lead over 35 international elite athletes to Nigeria on Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s IAAF silver label Okpekpe international 10km road race which holds in Okpekpe, a hilly, rustic town in Etsako East local governmnet area of Edo state.
The trio will be coming in with their focus on making history as the first man and woman to win two Okpekpe titles since the inaugural edition of the race in 2013.
“The athletes will come in through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos and will be transported to Auchi where accommodation has been reserved for them. The athletes, together with their Nigerian counterparts will go on tour of the course on Friday in line with IAAF requirements,” revealed Mercy Etukudo, the race’s head of secretariat who added that the athletes will get their registration done as soon as they arrive in Auchi and will be taken on a tour of the race course on Friday.
“This year’s race will be explosive as we have assembled mostly 27 minutes runners for men and 31, 32 minutes runners for women. A new course record looks a cast iron certainty on Saturday,” said Etukudo who predicted Ethiopia’s Taye Grima, who holds the pre-race fastest time (28:07) could spoil Korio and Cheprot’s bid for a slice of Okpekpe race history.
Meanwhile final registration of all categories of athletes for the race will begin on Wednesday.
“All registered athletes will be screened and accredited for the race which begins early Saturday morning in Okpekpe. They will be provided with their bib numbers as a sign of accreditation for the race,” explained Etukudo.
The Okpekpe International 10km Road Race is powered by Pamodzi Sports Marketing, leaders in sports marketing and hospitality business in Nigeria. It is the first and only road race in Nigeria that has been granted full membership of Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and recognised as one of the prestigious road races in the world and the only race with an IAAF silver label status in Africa this year.
The race will be live on Satellite television (Supersports) and Terrestial (Africa Independent Television, AIT).
Millie Bobby Brown, the British star of hit show Stranger Things has said she was forced to change schools by “soul-breaking bullies” in England.
Brown, 15, who was forced off Twitter by cyberbullies, has been a vocal anti-bullying campaigner and became Unicef’s youngest Goodwill Ambassador last year.
She said: “I was bullied at school back in England. I actually switched schools because of it, it created a lot of anxiety and issues that I still deal with today.
“I have dealt with situations both in real life and online that are soul-breaking and it genuinely hurts reading some of the things people have said.”
The actress, who makes her film debut in the upcoming Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, said: “Young people’s lives are increasingly under pressure. First of all, I want to make sure that children are protected from violence and exploitation.
“I also want to combat the negativity on social media – I have experienced it – it’s like a disease. It’s negative hate that is genuinely so horrifying to me. Climate change is so important too.”
Brown will be back in season three of Stranger Things when the multi award-winning drama returns to Netflix in July, calling the show “one of the most important things in my life.
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“I am so excited about it because I worked really hard on it. It’s like my baby.
“I shaved my hair off for it, so ever since then it’s become one of my favourite projects I have ever done,” she added.
Film director Amma Asante came across an old photograph taken in Nazi Germany of a black schoolgirl by chance.
Standing among her white classmates, who stare straight into the camera, she enigmatically glances to the side.
Curiosity about the photograph – who the girl was and what she was doing in Germany – set the award-winning film-maker off on a path that led to Where Hands Touch, a new movie starring Amandla Stenberg and George MacKay.
It is an imagined account of a mixed-race teenager’s clandestine relationship with a Hitler Youth member, but it is based on historical record.
Warning: Some people may find some of the content of this article upsetting
In the Nazi era, from 1933 to 1945, African-Germans numbered in their thousands.
There was no uniform experience, but over time, they were banned from having relationships with white people, excluded from education and types of employment, and some were sterilised, while others were taken to concentration camps.
‘Disbelief and dismissiveness’
But their story has largely been untold – and it has taken Ms Asante 12 years to get her account of the period on to the big screen.
“Often there’s a form of disbelief, of questioning, sometimes even a dismissiveness of the difficult lives these people led,” she told the BBC about the reaction she received from some when she spoke about her research for the film.
The African-German community has its origins in the country’s short-lived empire. Sailors, servants, students and entertainers from present-day Cameroon, Togo, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Namibia came to Germany.
Once World War One broke out in 1914 this transient population became more settled, according to historian Robbie Aitken. And some African soldiers who fought for Germany in the war also settled there.
But there was a second group whose presence went on to feed into the Nazi’s fear of racial mixing.
As part of the treaty that was signed after Germany’s defeat in World War One, French troops occupied the Rhineland area of western Germany.
France used at least 20,000 soldiers from its African empire, mainly North and West Africa, to police the area, some of whom went on to have relationships with German women.
The derogatory term “Rhineland bastards” was coined in the 1920s to refer to the 600-800 mixed-race children who were the result of those relationships.
The term spoke to some people’s imagined fears of an impure race. Made-up stories and racist caricatures of sexually predatory African soldiers were circulated at the time, fuelling concern.
While anti-Semitism occupied a pre-eminent place at the heart of Nazi ideology, a line in Mein Kampf, the book published in 1925 outlining the political beliefs of party leader Adolf Hitler, linked Jewish and black people.
“It was and is the Jews who bring the Negroes into the Rhineland,” Hitler wrote, “always with the same secret thought and clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily resulting bastardisation.”
Once in power, the Nazi’s obsession with Jews and racial purity gradually led to the Holocaust, the industrialised slaughter of six million Jewish people during World War Two, as well as the mass murder of Roma, people with disabilities and some Slavic people.
Mr Aitken, who researches the lives of black Germans, says they were targeted too – albeit not in the same systematic way.
He describes them as being assimilated into the Nazi’s “spiralling radicalisation of racial policy”.
He says evidence shows their policies toward “other ‘racial aliens’ hint toward a goal of racial annihilationism”.
‘I felt only half-human’
In 1935, the Nuremberg laws, which among other things outlawed marriages between Jews and other Germans, were passed. These were then amended to include black people and Roma in the same category as Jews.
But a fear of racial mixing persisted and in 1937 the mixed-race children from the Rhineland were targeted for forced sterilisation.
He spoke about how he was taken in secret to have a vasectomy. He was then given a sterilisation certificate, to allow him to carry on working, and he had to sign an agreement saying he would not marry or have sex with people “with German blood”.
“It was depressing and oppressive,” he told the documentary makers, “I felt only half-human”.
Another victim, Thomas Holzhauser, said on the film: “Sometimes I’m glad I couldn’t have children. At least they were spared the shame I lived with.”
The children were inhabiting two places at the same time. They were both insiders and outsiders”
Very few others spoke about their experiences while they were alive, and “there have not been many attempts to uncover what eventually happened to the majority of them”, Mr Aitken, who is one of the few historians working on the subject, told the BBC.
“It is worthwhile remembering that the Nazis also wilfully destroyed many of the documents pertaining to camps and to sterilisation, making it difficult to reconstruct the fates of groups and individuals,” he said.
Ms Asante, who has also written and directed Belle and A United Kingdom, says many of these people suffered an identity crisis. They had a German parent and saw themselves as German, but they were also isolated and never fully embraced.
“The children were inhabiting two places at the same time. They were both insiders and outsiders,” the 49-year-old said.
Though their experiences differed, all black Germans were subjected to persecution under Nazi rule.
Germany’s colonial era, especially the attempted genocide of the Herero and Nama people in Namibia, already led to a negative view of Africans.
More on Germany’s colonial legacy:
After Hitler came to power, they were harassed, humiliated in public, excluded from types of work and education, and essentially rendered stateless.
There was some resistance. For example, Hilarius Gilges, who was mixed race, was a Communist and anti-Nazi agitator. He was kidnapped and murdered in 1933.
Once war broke out in 1939, their position became more precarious. People in mixed relationships could be targeted for sterilisation, imprisonment or murder.
Trying to be invisible
That was the fear of Theodor Wonja Michael, who was born in Berlin in 1925 – the son of a Cameroonian man and a German woman
“With vast skirts, drums, dancing and songs – the idea was that people on display were foreign, exotic and were showing spectators what their homeland was like,” he said. “Basically it was just a big show.”
Once the Nazis came to power he knew that he had to stay as invisible as possible, especially when he became a teenager.
“Of course, with a face like this I could never completely disappear, but I tried.
“I avoided all contact with white women. That would have been horrible. I would have been sterilised and I might also have been charged with racial defilement,” he said on the DW film Afro-Germany.
In 1942, Heinrich Himmler, who was one of the architects of the Holocaust, ordered a census of the black people living in Germany. This could indicate the beginnings of a plan of mass murder, though no such plan was ever put in place.
Instead, there is evidence of at least two dozen black Germans ending up in concentration camps in Germany.
“People would simply disappear and you wouldn’t know what happened to them,” Elizabeth Morton, whose parents ran an African entertainment troupe, said in the documentary Hitler’s Forgotten Victims.
Through Where Hands Touch, Ms Asante is trying to shed new light on these stories.
As a British-Ghanaian she feels that the role and presence of people from the African diaspora in European history is often missed out – and says her film will make it difficult to deny that black people suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
“I think there’s a lot of ignorance and currently there’s a lot of dismissing of what these people went through.”
Where Hands Touch is currently on release in the UK and on various streaming services in the US.
In multiple strikes, bandits have killed more than 26 people in Katsina State, with the casualties recorded in Dan Musa, Faskari and Batsari local government areas.
According to reports, the bandits riding motorcycles carried out the attacks on Tuesday.
The report said 11 persons were killed in Sabon Layin Galadima community of Faskari LGA, while five persons were killed at Mara Zamfarawa village in Dan Musa LGA with many animals rustled.
Eighteen farmer were killed on their farmlands in Yar Gamji village of Batsari LGA. There are 10 people still missing.
The police in Katsina State, however, confirmed that five persons who are members of the local vigilante were killed by bandits in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State on Tuesday.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Gambo Isa made the disclosure in a statement issued on Tuesday in Katsina.
He said that the killings occurred at Sabon-layi village of the local government area when members of vigilante group popularly called “Yan sakai” entered into a forest and engaged the bandits in a fight.
According to him, the bandits killed the vigilante members during the encounter.
He said that the police search team led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area evacuated the corpses and discovered a bandits camp inside the forest that was abandoned by the criminals.
The police spokesman said that investigations were ongoing to trace the bandits.
Naira Marley finally makes court appearance, as the singer’s mum burst into tears upon seeing him
Nigerian singer Naira Marley has finally made a court appearance following an 11-count charge preferred against him by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Naira Marley was charged to court at the behest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on 11 count charge bordering on cybercrime, possession of counterfeit cards and conspiracy to obtain gain.
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The Centre for Peace, Transparency and Accountability (CPTA) has commended the Federal Government for regularising payments of pensions and gratuity of retired military officers.
The Centre said the gesture has boosted the morale of serving personnel, especially those fighting insurgency.
CPTA in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Executive Director of the Centre, Mr Patrick Ogheneyero, , commended the Minister of Defence Mansur Dan Ali, for the transformation.
Ogheneyero said the era had gone when retired military personnel littered the streets begging for survival.
He noted that the development had helped to address most security concerns.
“We have scrupulously reviewed the security situation in Nigeria in the last four years, we appreciate the resolute determination of the military that has ensured that parts of the Nigerian territory overrun by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups were reclaimed.
“One factor, we have seen as a good motivation is the attention to the pensions and other benefits of military officers, the minister of defence has paid particular attention to matters of military pensions and gratuities.
“We have also studied the diligent and transparent manner military pensions have been managed under the current chairman of the board.
“We hope other pension funds administrators will learn lessons from the Military Pensions Board,” Ogheneyero said.
Stephen Curry is regarded as maybe the greatest shooter the NBA has ever seen, but where does he get his on-court toughness from? Gotham Chopra, director of "Stephen vs The Game" gives his insight as to how Curry's mother