Xenophobia: S/Africa finally allows Air Peace to evacuate 2nd batch of Nigerians

Air Peace flights
Air Peace flights

By Fortune Abang

South African authorities have granted landing permit to Air Peace Flight B777 to enable it to evacuate some 320 Nigerians escaping from xenophobia in that country, a Nigerian consular officer has confirmed.

Nigeria’s Consul- General in Johannesburg, Mr Godwin Adama, made the confirmation in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.

Adama spoke against the background of a complaint by the Managing Director of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema.

Onyema had said  that the refusal of South Africa to grant the permit made it impossible for the flight to leave Lagos at 1 a.m. for Johannesburg to convey the second batch of returnees.

But Adama said the permit had been granted the airline and that the flight would be late in the night of Tuesday.

Adama said, “They want Nigerians to arrive during the week, they are taking-off from here midnight.

“I do not know the exact time but they will be leaving (South Africa) midnight.

“I do not know why they were denied the landing permit. I think it is an airline operational issue. They did not get it yesterday but they told me that it came late yesterday (Monday).

“It was weekend and they were going to get it this morning; the airline did not tell me it was deliberate, but they explained to me that they have gotten it.

“Our manifest arrived last night towards the close of work and they were to take-off 1a.m. Nigerian time yesterday (Monday) but they did not because it was late.

“I have gotten it now so they will be able to make me know the time of their arrival here so that we can know when to take-off.”

Adama said buses provided to convey Nigerians wanting to return home were still at the mission premises and everyone was there.

“We are still really working on the number (320) to see how we can fill up the airline capacity with anyone that is readily available.

“We have more than enough, we are even trying to ensure that the aircraft is filled up that is why we are readily taking people who are on ground now.

“We have more than enough to fill the aircraft, the delay has also helped us because as we call names to board we see some people cleared at the last minute.

“The truth is they are people who have not been cleared, those who are ready to go are all here and we are trying to queue them up.

“We may not even be able to take all of them who are hopeful,” he added.

Adama said that the next batch of evacuation would be based on the Federal Government’s directives.

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Johnson says #Brexit deal emerging


Boris Johnson favourite to succeed Theresa May - Poll
Borish Johnson UK PM

Britain’s Boris Johnson said that a Brexit deal was beginning to emerge, but the EU said he offered nothing to break the impasse during a visit to Luxembourg where he was harangued loudly by protesters and rebuked for trying to shift the blame,

Don’t make the EU the bad guy,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said after a meeting with Johnson, describing the uncertainty over the timing and conditions of Britain’s exit from the European Union as a “nightmare”.

The British prime minister joined European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for lunch at the Bouquet Garni restaurant, an 18th-century building of bare stone walls and low ceilings in the medieval heart of Luxembourg.


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Seven-year-old Nigerian robotic kid aims for World title

Winners of 2019 World Robot Olympiad, from left, Christian Peter-Jesse and Brendon Ikem
Winners of 2019 World Robot Olympiad, from left, Christian Peter-Jesse and Brendon Ikem

By Olanrewaju Akojede

Seven-year-old 2019 World Robot Olympiad (WRO) joint champion Brendon Ikem has said that he aimed to be the best Artificial Intelligent (AI) developer in the world.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ikem, emerged champion alongside his pair Christian Peter-Jesse at the just-concluded 2019 World Robot Olympiad (WRO) held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island on Saturday.

The 2019 WRO Nigeria serves as the qualification stage to the upcoming WRO in Gyor, Hungary from Nov. 8 to Nov. 10, the qualifiers may have about 22,000 participants according to the organisers.

The theme for the 2019 WRO is “Smart Cities”, had over 120 students drawn from the public and private schools in attendance.

The 2019 WRO Nigeria was put together by Arc Lights Foundation, the national organiser of the programme since 2011.

The 2019 WRO Nigeria serves as the qualification stage to the upcoming WRO in Gyor, Hungary and the qualifiers may have about 22,000 participants according to the organisers.

Ikem, a pupil of Children’s International School, Lekki, Lagos, said that the robotic education means a lot to him, adding that he would love to be the world renowned AI.

“I am excited and happy to be the winner of 2019 WRO, I did not win last year but I came second, so, I am more determined to be the champion this year.

“I practiced and worked hard for this because robotics means a lot to me. I want to be the best in the world.

“ I will work hard to become the world champion,” he said.

Ikem’s father, Obed, an Engineer, said many preparations had gone into the preparation of his child before he became champion.

“So, much preparations had gone into his winning. We have been preparing for this for a long time. We had to teach him coding and build an application for him.

“I am a researcher and I gave him a lot of support towards realisating his dreams. Nigeria can be a great nation through Artificial Intelligence,” he said. (NAN)

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Gov. Bagudu pledges to fight cancer in 2020

Gov. Bagudu pledges to fight cancer in 2020
Gov. Bagudu pledges to fight cancer in 2020

By Ibrahim Bello

Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State has pledged to make provision in the 2020 budget to tackle cancer and increase awareness on preventive measures against the scourge in the state.

Bagudu affirmed this when members of the Roche Products Nigeria visited him in Birnin Kebbi on Monday.

“My administration will make provision in the 2020 budget to take-care of cancer and other health-related issues.

“The aim is not only to cure the diseases, but also to create awareness among the people on the dangers of cancer and early identification of the scourge,” he said.

Bagudu acknowledged the contribution of Medicaid Foundation to healthcare, adding that the foundation had been engaging in awareness and public enlightenment on danger of cancer and its prevention.

“The government will set-up cancer steering committee in the state, to be headed by Dr Zainab Bagudu, the founder of the Medicaid cancer foundation, along with eminent experts as members.

“My administration will sustain the promotion of good healthcare services, accessible and affordable to the people of the state as we have entered into collaboration with the European Union and UNICEF,’’

He said the agreement with the foreign bodies aimed at providing at least one Primary Healthcare Centre in each of the 225 wards in the state to enable people have access to healthcare services.

The governor also advised the guests to come out with training programme on scientific conference and laboratory by bringing knowledgeable personalities to conduct intellectual training for doctors, nurses and other health personnel.

Earlier, the wife of the governor and founder Medicaid cancer foundation, Dr Zainab Bagudu, said the visit aimed at signing a tripartite agreement with the state government and the foundations.

“This is also aimed at training of health officials in order to enhance public enlightenment to people and proper awareness to women with cancer cases.

“I am happy about the support and commitment of the state government to the provision of healthcare delivery to the people.

“We thank you for your various health intervention programmes in the state,” she said.

The representative of Roche Products Nigeria, Dr Oladipo Hameed, said the organisation was internationally recognised in most advanced countries in the world including UK, U.S and Germany.

“We request the state government to ensure fund is made available for the treatment of cancer in the state and fast track the endorsement of the MoU to enable the company further mobilise to the state.

“We are fully prepared to expand the cure for cancer, especially breast cancer to up to 100 patients as soon as we commence operation,” he said.

Hameed urged the government to ensure the inauguration of the state committee immediately to begin the work. (NAN)

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Desertification: NGO plants tree seedlings in Borno

Tree planting
Tree planting

By Rabiu Sani

A Non-Governmental Organization, African Climate Change Research Center (ACCREC), on Sunday began the planting of tree seedlings in Maiduguri as part of a comprehensive campaign to control desertification.

The Regional Director of the organization, Mr Usman Busuguma, who spoke at the inauguration of the exercise at Teachers Village Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp, said the campaign was designed to control desert encroachment in the state.

Busuguma disclosed that improved varieties of economic and non-economic tree seedlings would be planted in selected IDPs camps to enhance ecosystem in the metropolis.

He listed the selected areas to include Teachers Village, Bakassi and Gubio IDPs camps.

The director observed that there were lack of trees in most of the camps in the metropolis, a situation which made life unbearable to the displaced persons.

Busuguma added that the organization would expand its outreach to liberated communities in northern parts of the state, to enhance the campaign against desertification.

Also, Mr Kabiru Wanori, the state Commissioner for Environment, revealed that the state government would embark on massive tree planting to control desertification and protect the environment.

Wanori, represented by Bukar Zanna, the Director Planning, Research and Statistics of the ministry, added that the state government adopted practical measures to reintroduce tree planting exercise that was suspended due to the insurgency.

He noted that thousands of hectares of forest resources were deflated due to the conflict in the past 10 years in the state.

Also, Dr Mohammed Bello, an environmentalist at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), called on the people to imbibe the culture of tree planting to control desertification and protect the environment for sustainable development. (NAN)

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CAF Confederation Cup: Rangers lose 1- 2 to AS Pelican in Libreville 

Rangers International Football Club
Rangers International Football Club

By Victor Okoye

Rangers International Football Club of Enugu on Saturday lost 1 – 2 to Gabonese club, AS Pelican in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup, first round clash in Libreville.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the hosts raced to a two-goal lead early in the game before Nnamdi Egbujuo reduced the deficit for the Flying Antelopes before the break.

Rangers fought hard to get the much needed equaliser but fell short against a resolute Pelican defence.

The Enugu club side will need to score at least a goal in the reverse fixture without conceding to scale through to the next round.

The second leg will be played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu on Sept. 29.

NAN also reports that the Flying Antelopes are looking to become the first Nigerian club to win the CAF Confederation Cup.

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Bowen University emerges overall winner in computer programming contest

Participants at the 2019 NUCPC, organised by NMC
Participants at the 2019 NUCPC, organised by NMC

By Jacinta Nwachukwu

A team of three students from Bowen University, Osun State, on Friday emerged the overall winner of the 2019 Nigeria Universities Programming Contest (NUCPC), after slugging it out with 15 other teams.

Bowen University is a private institution owned by the Baptist Church and run by the Nigerian Baptist Convention.

The News Agency Nigeria (NAN), reports that the team, along with three others that came second, third and fourth, will represent Nigeria at the next level of the contest – the Africa and Arab Collegiate Programming Championship (ACPC).

Earlier, Prof. Stephen Onah, the Director/Chief Executive of the National Mathematical Centre (NMC), in a speech at the closing ceremony in Sheda, Kwali Area Council, congratulated all the participants, saying that everyone was a winner.

“For many reasons, this contest in itself is not an all comers contest. Its goal was to select the best from different universities. Before you came, you were among the top persons within your departments.

“You have been ranked as the best three in each of the levels, so no one is the least intelligent among you.”

Onah also said that in order to sustain and encourage the learning of computer programming, the Centre had collaborated with other relevant stakeholders to create clubs in the schools.

According to him, this will help the Centre to “catch them young” through different intellectual activities like debates and competitions, among others.

“This annual Nigeria Universities Programming Contest (NUCPC) for the 16 teams from Nigerian universities is in fulfillment of the mandate of NMC,” he added.

Similarly, Mrs. Oluchi Bamidele, the Coordinator, Computer Science Programme of NMC, said that the aim of the contest was to discover young talents in Computer Science/IT in the universities across the country.

“The contest also seeks to foster creativity, teamwork and innovation in building new software programmes and enable students to test their abilities to perform under pressure,’’ he said.

According to her, each university presented a minimum of one team and a maximum of three teams with each team comprising three members.

She said that the participants at the contest were undergraduate students, who had had less than five years of undergraduate studies before the competition.

Also speaking, Mr Mohamed Fouad, the Executive Director, ACPC, expressed satisfaction at the conduct of the participants and encouraged them to study harder so as to compete favourably globally.

Fouad said that the NUCPC was the most prestigious national programming contest.

“I’m very happy to see these bright students participating in the competition. This is the first time we are conducting this competition internationally.

“The conduct here is better than many other countries we have visited, considering the fact that this is the first time the country is hosting it.

“However, the students need to train hard, they need to train more and more, because internationally, they need to solve between 3,000 and 5,000 problems before we go to their final rounds.

“This is their first experience in this type of competition, so they need to try harder to reach the international level,” he reiterated.

He also said that the team from the Africa and Arab Collegiate Programming Championship had concluded plans to conduct free online training for the teams that qualified for the next level.

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Unilag supervisor commits suicide by ingesting sniper

Sniper chemical
Sniper chemical

By Chinyere Nwachukwu

The University of Lagos has announced the death of one of its workers,  Mr Sunday Meshioye, aged 36.

In a statement issued on Friday night in Lagos, the university said the late Meshioye took his life, by ingesting a pesticide suspected to be sniper.

It noted that until his death, Meshioye was a transport supervisor attached to the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences,

“It is indeed with a heavy heart that the management of the university announces the news of the untimely death of Sunday Meshioye.

“He was received as an emergency case at the Medical Centre of the university on Tuesday Sept. 10, where it was discovered and reported that he had ingested the pesticide, ‘Sniper’.

“He was administered first aid treatment before being conveyed in an ambulance to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital,  Idi-Araba,” the university  said.

It said the deceased before his untimely death, had been scheduled for a session with the Counselling Unit of the university.

The university said this was after several reported cases of attempted suicide.

On Tuesday, the deceased appeared before a panel of enquiry set up in accordance with the extant rules of the university to investigate the cause of fire that gutted a bus in his custody, the university said.

“His painful decision to end his life came even before the panel had concluded its investigations, as it had only sat once.

“The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, on behalf of the entire university community, commiserates with the family of the deceased and prays that God grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss, ” the institution said.

The vice-chancellor had in a bid to check the rampant cases of suicide among the youth, especially students, decentralised the counselling unit of the institution.

Ogundipe had told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Lagos that taking the unit to other sections of the university aside the Students’ Affairs Department would facilitate access to counselling.

He said the unit was taken to the Faculty of Education, College of Medicine and other key sections of the university so that students who might be undergoing some form of stress could easily reach out for help by talking to someone.

“Suicide is never the best way out to life’s challenges, seek help, talk to someone about whatever it may be,” Ogundipe counselled.

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Kenya introduces malaria vaccine – News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)


Malaria is caused by anopheles Mosquito

Kenya on Friday introduced the world’s first malaria vaccine, joining Ghana and Malawi to roll out the landmark vaccine for the disease that continues to affect millions in Africa.

The vaccine, known as RTSS, was launched in the western part of Homa Bay by the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Rudi Eggers, WHO representative to Kenya, said the vaccines are powerful tools that effectively reach and better protect the health of children who may not have immediate access to health facilities when severe illness comes.

“This is a day to celebrate as we begin to learn more about what this vaccine can do to change the trajectory of malaria though childhood vaccination.’’

Eggers said the vaccine will be available to children from six months of age in selected areas of the country in a phased pilot introduction.

He said the vaccine is said to be the first and only vaccine to significantly reduce malaria in children.

According to the WHO, malaria claims the life of one child every two minutes.

The disease is a leading killer of children younger than five years in Kenya.

Eggers said Africa has witnessed a recent surge in the number of malaria cases and deaths, threatening the gains in the fight against the disease made in the past two decades.

“The ongoing pilots will provide the key information and data to inform a WHO policy on the broader use of the vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa.

“If introduced widely, the vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.’’

The WHO said Homa Bay County is one of eight counties in Kenya where the vaccine will be introduced in selected areas.

According to WHO, the vaccine is a complementary malaria control tool, to be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention.

This includes the routine use of insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying with insecticides, and timely access to malaria testing and treatment.

The Ministry of Health, through the National Vaccines and Immunisation Programme, is leading the phased vaccine introduction in areas of high malaria transmission, where the vaccine can have the greatest impact.

The aim is to vaccinate about 120,000 children per year in Kenya across the selected introduction areas, including eight counties in western Kenya.

According to the Ministry of Health, the vaccine will be added to the immunisation schedule for more than 300,000 Kenyan children who are expected to be vaccinated in the next three years. (Xinhua/NAN)

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Street protest will not change our leaders – CharlyBoy

Charlyboy: the convener of the protest

By Joshua Olomu

Charles Oputa, a.k.a “Charlyboy”,  convener of  ‘OurMumuDonDo Movement’, on Friday said street protest by Nigerians over national issues cannot change political leaders at all levels.

Charlyboy made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He said that successive Nigerian political leaders had remained insensitive to the plights of ordinary Nigerians over the years and were not moved by such protests to hold them accountable.

Charlyboy also known as ‘Areafada’, lamented that for almost six decades of Nigeria’s independence, its citizens were yet to experience ‘freedom from bad leadership’.

He said he was therefore boycotting street protests over national issues, and urged advocates of good governance and patriotic Nigerians to resort to engaging the leaders through  other non-violence avenues.

The 68-years-old activist, self acclaimed “President of frustrated Nigerians’, recounted how he spent most part of his years fighting for the rights of ordinary Nigerians.

He said that in some cases, he went to the streets to champion the fights for the rights of those he never knew.

“I have spent over 40 years of my life leading protest for a better society, and I can tell you that street protest will not change our leaders.

“My father always told me back then that whenever I see injustice, I should fight it because it may come to affect me someday too, and that is my motivation for fighting injustice over these years.

“On several occasions, I have been tortured by the Nigerian police and the military for standing up to authorities to ask questions.

“However, on some occasions, I have been regarded as their friends, depending on the sensibility of those in power.

“I am not a professional protester, so now I have decided to use other means to hold leaders accountable,’’ he said.

The former president of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) said that he decided to use music as a tool to inspire ordinary Nigerians, especially youths toward holding leaders accountable.

He explained that he was leading an advocacy and enlightenment campaign ‘Na We Be Government” and decided to go back to music, his age-long passion to call citizens to participate in nation building.

“All over the word, the Arts, especially music have been used to inspire people and change narratives towards a better society.

“I did not go into music for money, but for the passion of it, and this time I am using it to awake the consciousness of all Nigerians toward building the country they desire.

“A lot of Nigerians have given up on their country because of bad leadership over the years, and do not believe they have a say in the affairs of their country.

“It is time they are reminded that power truly belongs to them and there is a social contract between them and elected political leaders.

“Citizens will do their part and political leaders should also fulfill their obligations as promised in their manifesto, and as required by the constitution,” he said.

NAN reports that Charlyboy is the second son of former Supreme Court justice Chukwudifu Oputa, who had set out to become a Catholic Priest, but left seminary school after a year.

An avid supporter of Okada riders in Nigeria, he is known to have championed many protests, especially when it affects the down-trodden in the society.

In the mid-nineties Charlyboy fought for the rights of military pensioners during the Abacha-led military administration by marching to the Ministry of Defence Headquarters in Abuja to demand payment of their pension arrears.

He had also spearheaded campaigns for Nigerian widows, and was founder of the “Save Nigeria from Nigeria’’ campaign, and he was arrested alongside other activists for civil disobedience during the fuel subsidy protest in 2012. (NAN)

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