Tag Archives: Noble Reporters Media

BBNaija’5: Fans mock HoH, Lucy’s hair, compare her to mop stick

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Big Brother Naija housemate, Lucy is currently being dragged by Nigerians over her hairstyle and “attitude”.

Comparing her to a mop stick Nigerians shared the photos below..

“I’m not going to say anything because they don’t listen to me in this house” the troll wrote.

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See comments below..

“I said it😂.. no difference between mop and the hair”

“This Lucy girl is the real deal. We need action and drama”

“Mop the whole house”

Recall with Noble Reporters Media that Lucy emerged the head of house for the week. This is coming after a Biggie made the housemates contend rigorously against each other in what can be termed as a game of luck.

Although there was a tie between Lucy, Neo and Ozo, the 29 year old came winner by throwing the highest number on the die.


#Newsworthy…

South African anti-apartheid icon put to rest

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Andrew Mlangeni, the last surviving defendant in the trial of Nelson Mandela and others who faced death for plotting to overthrow South Africa’s apartheid regime with guerrilla warfare, was buried on Wednesday.

Flags flew at half-mast as Mlangeni, who died last week aged 95, was laid to rest in a state funeral.

“We have lost not only a great patriot but a strident moral voice,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his eulogy before mourners who included ministers and elite members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

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“While history will place Andrew Mlangeni in the pantheon of the great leaders of our nation, he will be remembered by his people as a person of humility, humanity and dignity.”

The mourners wore face masks and observed social distancing rules in line with coronavirus precautions.

Like Mandela, the country’s first black president, Mlangeni spent more than quarter of a century imprisoned on Cape Town’s notorious Robben Island before his release in 1989.

After the first democratic elections in 1994, he became an ANC lawmaker until he retired in 2014.

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Mlangeni later became a fierce critic of the factionalism that gripped the ANC and rampant state corruption under President Jacob Zuma, who was in power from 2009 t0 2018.

Thabo Mbeki, Mandela’s successor, told mourners in a virtual address that Mlangeni was “concerned” about and spoke out against wrongs within the movement.

– Slide to see images –

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the eulogy during the funeral service of South African anti-apartheid figure Andrew Mlangeni in Soweto, South Africa, on July 29, 2020. – Mlangeni, 95, was the last surviving Rivonia trialist, spending more than quarter of a century imprisoned on Cape Town’s notorious Robben island before his release in 1989. (Photo by Jerome Delay / POOL / AFP)

Pallbearers carry the coffin of South African anti-apartheid figure Andrew Mlangeni during the funeral service in Soweto, South Africa, on July 29, 2020. – Mlangeni, 95, was the last surviving Rivonia trialist, spending more than quarter of a century imprisoned on Cape Town’s notorious Robben island before his release in 1989. (Photo by Jerome Delay / POOL / AFP)

“We need to commit ourselves to the renewal of the ANC he built, the ANC he was concerned about,” Mbeki said.

Born in the central Free State province in 1925, Mlangeni joined the youth wing of the ANC in the early 1950s.

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He was among the first group of liberation fighters to be sent outside of South Africa for military training in the early 1960s.

On his return home two years later, he was arrested.

The eight-month Rivonia Trial, named after the Johannesburg suburb where the ANC leaders were arrested, brought the anti-apartheid struggle to world attention.

Expecting to be sentenced to death, Mandela declared in an impassioned three-hour speech from the dock that freedom was “an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.

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Instead, the group was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mlangeni served 26 years behind bars alongside fellow anti-apartheid activists including Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and Dennis Goldberg, who died three months ago.

Mlangeni lived his entire life in Johannesburg’s Soweto township, the crucible of the anti-apartheid struggle.

He was laid to rest at the Roodepoort Cemetery, west of Johannesburg.


#Newsworthy…

Eid-el-kabir: ‘Calm Down’ Lagos Governor tells residents to copy boy in viral video

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has urged residents of the state to emulate a boy seen in a viral video pleading with his mother over a misdemeanor, and “calm down” even as they celebrate the 2020 Eid-el-Kabir.

In the video making the rounds on social media, the little boy could be seen pleading with his mother not to beat him after flouting her instructions.

The video did not just end up on social media as the Lagos State Governor, in his Sallah message to residents of the commercial centre, said the boy’s gesture, carries “deeper meaning.”

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Describing the exchange between the mother and son as funny, Governor Sanwo-Olu said it reflects the challenges parents go through trying to mold their children into better individuals, saying he wants to meet the boy.

“Interestingly, the video inspired this special message to the good people of Lagos State because of the deeper meaning it conveys,” the governor tweeted on his handle, Wednesday.

“Fellow Lagosians, we need to ‘calm down’ as we enjoy the coming holiday and festivity.”

A file photo of Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Sanwo-Olu reminded Lagosians of the sacrifices by Prophet Ibrahim, called on them to emulate such and also demonstrate self-restraint especially as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“We need to be moderate in our celebration and observe prescribed protocols towards defeating the deadly coronavirus,” Sanwo-Olu restated.

“The world needs the responsibility and commitment of its people to oust coronavirus.

“I urge every Lagosian to ‘calm down’ and not get carried away. Like the rest of the world, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and need to remain extremely careful to keep the gains of the sacrifices we have all made in the past months,” Sanwo-Olu restated.

“Let’s calm down! As an aside, I would like to meet the young boy since we both now have exclusive rights to the phrasal verb ‘calm down’.”


#Newsworthy…

Southern Kaduna Killings: Lawmakers call for prosecution of perpetrators

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Members of the Southern Kaduna caucus in the House Of Representatives have condemned the killings in their locality.

Citing section 33 subsection (1) of the 1999 Constitution which guarantees right to life, the lawmakers say raidings, killings and kidnappings of the people are unconstitutional, criminal and highly condemnable.

They also said herdsmen and farmer clashes, forceful land grabbing by non-natives of Southern Kaduna , reprisal attacks, banditry, criminality were some of the major causes of the killings and hostilities in the region and according to them, there has been little success in investigating and apprehending the perpetrators of the attacks.

On July 21, at least 11 people were reported killed by gunmen in an attack in Gora Gan Village of Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

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The attack came barely 24 hours after 21 people were killed by bandits at Kukum Daji village in neighbouring Kaura Local Government Area.

Following a series of attacks in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, indigenes took to the streets of the FCT on March 19, 2019, in a protest.

Many have continued to react to the spate of attacks in the region, demanding an end to the killings.

The presidency has also reacted to the killings, saying that it is more complicated than many people are willing to admit.


#Newsworthy…

Reps should stop N500m Chinese loan probe – Amaechi appeals

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The Minister Of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has appealed to the National Assembly to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.

Amaechi made the appeal during an investigative hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Protocols on Wednesday.

According to the him, the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.

The minister also argued that constant probing of the investigation may suggest that an arm of government does not agree with the loan and may cause the Chinese government to withdraw it.


#Newsworthy…

Half of COVID-19 patients given ventilation pass away – German study

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One in five patients hospitalised in Germany over the coronavirus succumbed to the disease, with the fatality rate rising to 53 percent for those who received ventilation, a study showed Wednesday.

Data of 10,000 patients admitted to 930 German hospitals between February 26 and April 19 were analysed by the German Interdisciplinary Association of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, the Technical University of Berlin and AOK health insurance group’s research arm WIdO.

Hospitalised male patients had a higher mortality rate than women, with 25 percent compared to 19 percent.

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Older patients were also significantly more vulnerable, as 27 percent of patients in their 70s died while 38 percent of those above 80 years old failed to pull through.

In this file photo taken on July 10, 2020, patient Heike Abicht poses for a photo of a testing situation in a corona screening station in the medical center of the Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich, southern Germany, amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Christof STACHE / AFP

“These high mortality rates clearly show that a relatively high number of patients with a very serious course of disease were treated in hospitals,” said Juergen Klauber, director of WIdO.

“Such serious course of diseases mainly affect older people and people whose health is already compromised, but also occur in younger patients,” he warned, urging the population to take necessary precautions to prevent new infections.

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Of the 10,021 patients, 1,727 were given mechanical ventilation. While almost twice as many who received ventilation were men, the mortality rates were similar gender-wise, the study said.

Patients were staying in hospitals for an average of 14 days, with those not on ventilation hospitalised for an average of 12 days while the duration for those who needed help breathing rose to 25 days.

File photo: HOUSTON, TX – JULY 28: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Members of the medical staff treat a patient who is wearing helmet-based ventilator in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 28, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura/Getty Images/AFP

Reinhard Busse, professor of healthcare management at TU Berlin, noted that on average, 240 days of ventilation would be required for every 100 hospitalised patients.

“These are important numbers to prepare for a second wave of the pandemic. However, we do not anticipate any problems with normal hospital beds, even with high infection rates,” he added.

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Thanks to its decentralised healthcare system, Germany has been able to significantly ramp up its capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, avoiding scenes like in Italy where some hospitals were overwhelmed by the sudden huge caseload.

Testers Cameron Robertson (L) and Lena Schaecher pose a testing situation for a photo in a corona screening station in Ebersberg near Munich, southern Germany, on April 29, 2020, amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Christof STACHE / AFP

However, health experts have urged against complacency, with the head of the RKI disease control agency, Lothar Wieler, repeatedly urging the population to keep to hygiene rules like social distancing or mask wearing.

With the summer holiday season in full swing, politicians are also watching anxiously at infection numbers which have ticked up in recent weeks.

As of Wednesday, Germany has recorded 206,926 cases of infections including 9,128 deaths.


#Newsworthy…

Kaduna-Abuja train service resumes operation

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The Kaduna-Abuja train service has resumed passenger operations, nearly four months after services were stopped due to the nationwide lockdown imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The railway opened bookings for passenger services on Wednesday morning with four trains a day connecting Kaduna to Abuja.

Railway health officials at the Rigasa Train station told Channels Television that coaches and the premises have been decontaminated before the resumption of passenger service.

Passengers were also mandated to wash their hands with soap at the entry point, their luggages were decontaminated, while their body temperatures were screened before being allowed to move to the ticket point.

In line with social distancing guidelines, the number of passengers per couch has also been cut down by half while the railway management has made the wearing of face mask and use of hand sanitizers compulsory.


#Newsworthy…

Borno State IDP Camp Razed By Fire – 1 Dead


One person has been confirmed dead and many others injured in a fire outbreak at the Muna garage IDP camp in Borno state over the weekend.

According to NEMA, the fire was ignited from one of the kitchens in the Emergency shelters erected in the camp.

1613 HouseHolds have now been displaced as a result of the fire outbreak.


#Newsworthy…

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Wande Coal – Again | Video

Watch Wande Coal – Again | Noble Reporters tv

COVID-19: Kwara stretch Palliatives to Unilorin


The University of Ilorin (Unilorin) says about 643 of its workers had benefited from the COVID-19 palliatives being distributed by the Kwara Government.

According to the institution’s bulletin issued on Monday, no fewer than 643 Departmental Staff have received food items donated by the state government as palliatives to cushion the effect of the lockdown occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic.

The university said that the food items, which included 200 bags of 5kg rice, 100 bags of 10kg garri and 50 bags of 5kg sugar, were distributed to the workers.

It noted that the Deputy Registrar, General Services, Mrs Maymunat Zakariyya, was charged with the distribution.

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It also said that the management of the university headed by Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, had in its letter commiserated with the Kwara Government on the Global COVID-19 pandemic.

Zakariyya noted that the letter requested the state government to kindly extend the distribution of the Federal Government palliatives to its low cadre staff to ease their economic situation in this period of the lockdown.

“The state government responded by presenting 200 bags of 5kg rice, 100 bags of 10kg garri and 50 bags of 5kg sugar to the university administration.

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“She added that the university administration, however, identified 643 staff on CONTISS 1 and 2, and departmental staff of the university as the most vulnerable, and the Vice-Chancellor graciously directed that the food items be shared to this category of staff,” it stated.

Zakariyya, however, admonished the beneficiaries to observe the COVID-19 protocols, imploring them to endeavour to stay safe while hoping that the world will soon get out of thd crisis.

According to the bulletin, one of the beneficiaries, Mr Ajadi Suleiman, who spoke on behalf of others, commended the Kwara government and Unilorin management for the support.

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Suleiman however advised the beneficiaries to accept whatever they got with joy and happiness.

“What the government has done is a good thing. We should all receive whatever gets to us with joy and happiness as it will do us a lot of good,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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We had an agreement, don’t forget – SGF remind IGP


The Southeast Governors Forum has told the Inspector General of Police, IGP Adamu Muhammed, to revert to the agreement they had on community policing.

The SGF issued a communique on Sunday which accuses the IGP of not sticking to the agreement they had when he paid a visit to their region.

The communique was read by the Chairman of the forum, Governor David Umahi, who revealed that state assemblies have been asked to enact laws to give legal backing to their security plan.

The communique reads: “The recent communication from the Inspector General of Police to our Governors on community Policing composition is not in keeping with the agreement we reached with him during his last visit to the South East.

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“In the circumstance, we cannot begin implementation of it until the programme reflects our earlier agreement. The South East Governors and their leaders request the IGP to revert to our initial agreement reached on community policing at Enugu.

“The forum agreed that all South East States Houses of Assembly should commence the process of enacting the state security laws in line with the South East joint security programme.”


#Newsworthy…

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FG threatens public servants disseminating unauthorized info.


Public servants in the country may be in for a raw deal as the Federal Government on Monday said it would decisively deal with any public servant that divulged official information without due authorization.

The Director of Information at the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Olawunmi Ofunmosunle, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

“The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, HOS, Dr. Folasade Yemi –Esan has noted with displeasure the recent unfortunate disclosure of unauthorized official documents in the social media. These official documents in some cases are correspondence minuted on”, the statement said.

The statement was contained in a circular issued by the HOS on 22nd May, 2020 and made available to journalists on Monday.

The Head of Service, Dr. Yemi-Esan, according to the statement described the development as “embarrassing to government,” noting that “such irresponsible and reckless action is an act of serious misconduct with a penalty of dismissal from service as provided in Public Service Rules, PSR. Nos. 030401 and 030402.”

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She further said that henceforth, any public officer caught engaging in “this act of serious misconduct will be severely dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the PSR.”

The statement further disclosed that the Head of Service thereafter directed Permanent Secretaries to draw the attention of their staff to the content of the circular as well as the consequences of breaking the rules.


#Newsworthy…

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Abike Dabiri-Erewa fight with Pantami get Messier. ‘Dirty Game’


After a series of confrontations between Nigeria’s communication and digital economy minister Isa Pantami and chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the fight over an office space took another turn late Sunday.

The disagreement between both government officials became public after NiDCOM published a video in February on its Twitter and accused Pantami of masterminding the eviction of its staff from office space at the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) building in Abuja.

NCC is under the control of the ministry Pantami heads.

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Dabiri-Erewa doubled down on that claim in an interview. The interview was aired on Friday and was later published.

But Pantami said on Twitter on Sunday that he was responsible for the eviction, claiming that the media reports did not tell “a true story.”

He has since deleted the tweet.

Dabiri-Erewa, however, insisted that Pantami was to be blamed for the problem, stopping just short of calling the minister a liar.

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She accused the minister of disrespecting her because she is a woman.

“An Islamic scholar should not lie Hon Minister,” Dabiri-Erewa tweeted, “You did that to me cos I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary.”

“Left the ugly incident behind me since Feb. But pls release all our office equipment. Public office is transient.”

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She asked the minister to “tell us where he locked up our equipment and release them. After the lockdown, we will settle for some options we already have.”

The missing properties, NiDCOM spokesman Abdur-Rahman Balogun said, include two units of single face data ports, 24 port patch panel, Mikrotik RB 750G router, Mikrotik cloud router switch, two Headsets with microphones, two Digital PABX, 4u Server racks, Patch cables, HP desk jet 1012 all in one printer, files and documents.

NCC in a statement by its spokesman Henry Nkemadu dismissed the claims on Sunday and said the report of forceful eviction was not true.

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Pantami in a tweet thereafter accused NiDCOM chairman of telling a “Big fat lie” and did not provide any explanation of events that led to the alleged eviction. He also did not speak on the allegation that NiDCOM’s working equipment was locked up in NCC building

The had since then deleted the tweet where he spoke on the issue, accusing NiDCOM chairman of telling lies.


#Newsworthy…

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Tension as Buhari probe office of Kyari, Osinbajo, Others


Presidency aides silent amid intrigues
A wave of apprehension is sweeping through Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as President Muhammadu Buhari begins a probe into the office of the late Chief of Staff Abba Kyari. The investigation may lead to all appointments and approvals made by Kyari without Buhari’s permission being cancelled.

This is as pundits said the volte face by the president in directing a reversal of over 100 decisions by Kyari could create more problems than it is trying to solve.

Also, a source within the Presidential Villa suggested that the power block that produced the new Chief of Staff Ibrahim Gambari might be the force fighting back.
Sleep might have already begun eluding many officials in the MDA’s on account of contracts okayed without Buhari’s approval. If this is what the president is targeting with a view to shoring up his sagging profile, analysts say trouble looms for those who cut illegal deals with the late CoS.

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Though no reason was given for the president’s action, reports suggested no less than 150 memos that didn’t have his authorisation may have been uncovered.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina declined to confirm or refute the report. “I’ve seen your text. I’ve seen your text,” he simply said and ended the call. Also, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu did not reply to a text message seeking a confirmation on the development.

Sources told NobleReporters yesterday that the directive might just be a continuation of the bickering that produced a deep crack within the ranks of the president’s men last February.

The first sign that all was not okay within Buhari’s inner cabinet emerged in December 2019 when National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno wrote a memo to the president alleging interference by Abba Kyari. He accused the late Kyari of usurping presidential powers and directed service chiefs to ignore instructions by the latter.

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Monguno’s account of a connection between Kyari’s alleged ‘meddlesomeness’ and an acute spectre of insecurity that had gripped the country was contained in a series of confidential circulars he addressed to top administration officials on national security.

The NSA also accused the chief of staff of sidestepping the president’s directive, to impose his own decision for implementation; a claim some analysts said was all but a direct accusation of treason against Kyari.

The revelations, first published by an online portal, appeared to undercut an integral aspect of the president’s response to critics: that there is unity among security chiefs towards the common interest of defeating terrorists and armed bandits, rather than an admission of clumsiness or crack in his team.

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In media interviews after the memo leaked, Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai said insecurity was being confronted across board in the Buhari administration. But Monguno’s memo showed he and other service chiefs had been taking controversial orders from Kyari, despite warnings from the NSA that such a practice was not only unconventional but also in violation of the constitution.

The first signs of war between the NSA and the CoS, two of Buhari’s most powerful aides, was the open letter which revealed both men locked in a bitter confrontation amid raging insecurity.

Perhaps the most potent of allegations raised against the chief of staff by the NSA at the time was that he had been flagrantly discarding decisions already taken by the president and imposing his own recommendation(s).Observers saw this as a jarring allegation bordering on treasonable felony.

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Since Buhari settled down in office in 2015, Kyari’s role as the chief of staff made him, perhaps, the most-courted associate of the president, arguably more than the president’s wife and other family members.

The chief of staff’s influence exposed him to some of the worst scandals of the administration. Shortly after telecoms giant, MTN, was slammed with a record fine in 2015, Kyari was the one who allegedly played the middleman in negotiating the fines, a role that threw up allegations of fraud when the scandal broke.

An MTN official who allegedly played a key role in the negotiation was said to have lost her job amid the controversy. But Kyari held on to his position, going forward to take part in bigger deals on government’s behalf. Kyari’s influence was also a matter of serious concern for Aisha Buhari, the president’s wife, who had repeatedly lashed out at the chief of staff for allegedly ‘caging’ her husband and making her redundant in the government.

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Last November, another online newspaper reportedly obtained documents showing Kyari overriding Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on a crucial decision on RUGA projects, a series of economic palliatives designed to curtail the herdsmen crisis. It was unclear when President Buhari began his friendship with Kyari, but there is little question that it remained deep and robust since 2015.

When the president was re-elected in 2019, he issued a directive to all his appointees to clear files and memos through Kyari on any matter that required presidential attention. The president did not even single out his vice president as an exception to that restriction.

Monguno’s argument in his memo was that the chief of staff did not swear to a constitutional oath and should, therefore, not be seen issuing directives that carry serious implications for the nation. When it comes to national security, Kyari’s job “stops at conveying Mr. President’s written directives,” the NSA argued.

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Kyari, according to those conversant with the inner workings of Aso Villa, had his hand in every pie, because he was “leveraging his sound education, brilliant intellect and experience in bureaucracy and business.”

One of the areas, which was used to criticise Kyari’s competence, was his stint at the failed Africa International Bank (AIB), which he presided over. His political opponents tried to define the late CoS as the architect of the negative public perception of the Buhari administration. They also contended that although every government throughout history is wont to harbour a kitchen cabinet, caucus or cabal, “the remarkable distinction is whether the kitchen cabinet is public-spirited or self-centered.”


#Newsworthy…

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Labour Minister hint on Presidency interest come 2023


The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said he reserves the right to contest for Senate or presidency in 2023.

Ngige made the remark while dismissing reports that he was interested in contesting for the Anambra governorship election billed for next year.

He spoke in his hometown of Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, on Sunday.

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Ngige, who was a former one term governor of the state, however, declared that he has no interest in becoming governor because he’s on a national assignment as Minister.

Ngige said: “Yes, there have been speculations that I am eyeing the governorship of Anambra State. They have written about it in a lot of media. I am a politician. They have the right to speculate on my next move. My next move is very vast.

“Elections will come in 2023, I have a right to vie for any position. I can vie for Senate.

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“I can vie for president if I so wish. Election will be coming in Anambra State, latest November 2021 to elect a successor to Obiano. I am not disqualified. I have a right to say I can run.

“I don’t have interest for now in Anambra governorship because I am on a national assignment.”


#Newsworthy…

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Popular Nigerian Dance crook Lose Mom


Popular Nigerian Dancer, Kafayat Shafau-Ameh otherwise known as Kaffy, is currently in mourning as her mother recently passed away. The dancer made this known on Instagram on Monday.

“Mama has gone to Rest! #82,” she wrote.

Her mother was 82 years old, may her soul rest in peace.

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Meanwhile, A social media user identified as Godswill Uche who seems to have been a childhood friend of Nigerian football star, Kelechi Iheanacho has lamented on how the football star forgot about him.

Don’t Miss:

I owe no one any explanation whether i sold my vehicle or not – Khafi said ..

Uche revealed how they grew up together in the same neighborhood in Owerri, Imo state.


#Newsworthy…

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US seeking another ‘cold war’ – Chinese FM blames

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a press conference of the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People via video link on May 24, 2020 in Beijing, China. Du Yang–China News Service/Getty Images


The U.S. should give up its “wishful thinking” of changing China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, warning that some in America were pushing relations to a “new Cold War.”

“China has no intention to change the U.S., nor to replace the U.S. It is also wishful thinking for the U.S. to change China,” Wang said Sunday during his annual news briefing on the sidelines of National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing. He also criticized the U.S. for slowing its nuclear negotiations with North Korea and warned it not to cross Beijing’s “red line” on Taiwan.

The U.S.-China relationship has worsened dramatically in the past few months as America became one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The world’s two biggest economies have clashed on a range of issues from trade to human rights, with Beijing’s latest move to tighten its grip on Hong Kong setting up another showdown between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping.

“Some U.S. political forces are taking hostage of China-U.S. relations, attempting to push the ties to the brink of so-called ‘new Cold War,’” Wang said. “This is dangerous and will endanger global peace.”

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Wang cautioned the U.S. “not to challenge China’s red line” on Taiwan, after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo broke with tradition last week and congratulated the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen on her second-term inauguration. Beijing considers Taiwan a province.

“Reunification between the two sides of the Strait is an inevitable trend of history, no one and no force can stop it,” Wang said. China’s defense ministry blasted a U.S. plan to sell torpedoes to Taiwan.

And he blamed Washington for the stall in historic negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea, saying China hoped to see continued interaction between the two sides. The comments came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — who has faced questions about his health — made his first public statement in three weeks, ordering military leaders to increase the country’s “nuclear war deterrence.”

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“We have seen some positive steps taken by the DPRK in the last few years towards de-escalation and denuclearization,” Wang said. “Regrettably, these steps have not been reciprocated in a substantive way by the U.S. side. This is the main reason for the ongoing stalemate in the DPRK-U.S. dialogue.”

Hong Kong
Tensions spiked last week after China announced the NPC would write sweeping legislation into Hong Kong law to criminalize the harshest criticism of China and the ruling party. The move drew swift condemnation from pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, who defied virus-related social-distancing measures and rallied in the city center even as Wang spoke.

Pompeo called the measure a “disastrous proposal” and indicated that it could lead the U.S. to reconsider Hong Kong’s special trade status.

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Wang on Sunday repeated China’s stance that Hong Kong affairs were an internal matter and said the principle of non-interference must be upheld by all countries. He didn’t directly address potential U.S. retaliation over the legislation.

He also argued that the coronavirus pandemic showed how the world was a “global village” and needed to work together, while repeatedly rejecting foreign criticism of China’s internal affairs.

U.S. Bills
U.S. lawmakers have advanced several pieces of legislation targeting China in recent weeks with bipartisan support amid mounting calls for Beijing to be punished for its alleged failure to disclose information early on about the spread of Covid-19. The virus has cost almost 100,000 American lives and tens of millions of jobs.

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Xi said Saturday he won’t let China return to its days as a planned economy, pushing back against U.S. criticism that the nation has failed to deliver on promised reforms.

“We’ve come to the understanding that we should not ignore the blindness of the market, nor should we return to the old path of a planned economy,” he told political advisers gathered in Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said.


#Newsworthy…

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Ng-cameroonian Singer, Dencia drag Burna Boy, Stefflon Don – Say..


Nigerian-Cameroonian singer, Reprudencia Sonkey, popularly known as Dencia has launched an attack on Burna Boy and his girlfriend, British rapper Stefflon Don.

Taking to Twitter, the Cameroonian-born singer and beauty entrepreneur called Burna his Boy ‘one of the biggest haters in the industry’ and accused the Odogwu singer and girlfriend Stefflon Don of bullying ‘everyone.’

She wrote: “Burna Boy is one of the biggest haters in the industry. Like I get it, ugly people are ugly inside out but his own is disturbing, he tries to hate & bully everyone, him and his Fat Ass GF, match made in hate heaven. Like, imagine their conversations being hateful & about people.

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“What’s the point of hating on ur colleagues?Burna hates and attacks everyone but people still support him,we can’t keep encouraging tertorists and bullies.

”His ugly ass needs a shower,drop the dose on the Damn drugs.Moisturize, get laser on that bumpy face of his.”


#Newsworthy…

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HK in crackdown as security chief warn against terrorism rise

Pro-Beijing officials expect no delays to the passage of new law amid signs the annual June 4 vigil will be banned.


Hong Kong’s security chief on Monday warned “terrorism” was growing in the city as the local government rallied behind Beijing’s plan to impose national security laws on the restive territory and police fired tear gas and pepper spray at thousands of people who took to the streets to protest.

“Terrorism is growing in the city and activities which harm national security, such as ‘Hong Kong independence’, become more rampant,” Secretary for Security John Lee said in a statement.

“In just a few months, Hong Kong has changed from one of the safest cities in the world to a city shrouded in the shadow of violence,” he said, adding that national security laws were needed to safeguard the city’s prosperity and stability.

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Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, told the public broadcaster RTHK on Monday that said he did not expect any delay in the drafting of the national security law.

Tam said members would start work on it soon after the NPC votes on the resolution on Thursday, adding that the standing committee would hold a meeting at the end of June to discuss the matter.

Earlier, Ray Chan, a pro-democracy member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, wrote on social media: “Call us terrorists, whatever you want, after the Wuhan Virus outbreak, China has no more credibility in the world.”

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Growing calls for independence
On Monday, police said they arrested more than 180 people during protests on Sunday.

Authorities had fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters who accused the police of using excessive force.

In a return of the unrest that roiled Hong Kong last year, crowds thronged the streets of the city in defiance of curbs imposed to contain the coronavirus.

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In contrast with previous rallies, however, there were louder calls for independence with chants of “Hong Kong independence, the only way out,” echoing through the streets.

Calls for independence are disliked by Beijing, which considers Hong Kong an inalienable part of the country.

The proposed new national security framework stresses Beijing’s intent “to prevent, stop and punish” such acts.

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Hong Kong government agencies issuing statements in support of the legislation included the Commissioner of Correctional Services and Hong Kong Customs.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan wrote on his blog on Sunday the national security law “itself” does not affect investor confidence, only the “misunderstanding” of it does.

“The central government has already said the law is targeted at the minority of people who are suspected of threatening national security and will not affect the rights of the general public.”

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Turning point for Hong Kong
Lee’s comments came amid growing signs that the June 4 candlelight vigil organised annually by civil society groups to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing could be banned.

While declining to go into specifics, former Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung told public broadcaster, RTHK, that anything that involves activities said to be “separatist in nature” may well be banned.

He explained that the purpose of the legislation was not to deter people from holding protests but to combat “terrorism”, and stamp out the activities of people who advocate independence for Hong Kong.

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Leung is a vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

RTHK quoted him as saying that whether the vigil itself could fall foul of the law could depend on what participants do even after the gathering is over.

The United States, Australia, Britain, Canada and others have expressed concerns about the national security legislation, widely seen as a potential turning point for the city, which was guaranteed rights and freedoms unknown on the mainland when it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

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On Sunday, the US said the new legislation could lead to sanctions that would threaten the city’s status as a financial hub.

“It looks like with this national security law they’re going to basically take over Hong Kong and if they do … Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo will likely be unable to certify that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy,” National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said in an interview with NBC.

“And if that happens, there will be sanctions that will be imposed on Hong Kong and China.”

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Beijing, meanwhile, has warned of a “new Cold War” with the US, saying the country has been infected by a “political virus” compelling people to continually attack China.

Taiwan, which has become a refuge for a small but growing number of pro-democracy protesters fleeing Hong Kong, said on Monday it would provide the people of Hong Kong with “necessary assistance”.


#Newsworthy…

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Just in: Afghanistan leader vow to set 2000 Taliban inmates free


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has started the process to release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a “goodwill gesture”, his spokesperson said, in a move that came after the government welcomed the armed group’s surprise announcement of a three-day ceasefire during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The decision to release the prisoners was taken “to ensure success of the peace process”, Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the ceasefire appeared to hold as there were no reports of clashes between the Taliban and Afghan forces by the end of the first day on Sunday.

Ghani said a government delegation was “ready to immediately start the peace talks” with the Taliban.

Government negotiators would be headed by Ghani’s former rival Abdullah Abdullah after the two signed a power-sharing deal last week that ended a months-long political crisis.

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Pres. Ghani today initiated a process to release up to 2000 Taliban prisoners as a good will gesture in response to the Taliban’s announcement of a ceasefire during Eid.The AFG Gov is extending the offer of peace and is taking further steps to ensure success of the peace process.

A US-Taliban agreement signed in February in Qatar’s capital, Doha, stipulated that the Afghan government would release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners while the Taliban would free about 1,000 Afghan security forces personnel.

The prisoner swap was mentioned in the agreement as a “confidence-building measure” before long-awaited peace talks between the government and Taliban.

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Before Sunday’s announcement, Kabul had already released about 1,000 Taliban inmates while the Taliban had freed roughly 300 members of the Afghan security forces, according to reports.

The Taliban said they were committed to freeing prisoners, but reminded Kabul that the agreement was to “release 5,000” of their members as agreed with the US in Doha.

“This process should be completed in order to remove hurdles in the way of commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations,” Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said on Twitter.

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The Taliban’s offer of a ceasefire came just days after leader Haibatullah Akhunzada urged Washington “not to waste” the opportunity offered by the Doha agreement that set the stage for the withdrawal of US troops from the country after more than 18 years.

US Special Representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who brokered the February 29 agreement, said the ceasefire was “a momentous opportunity that should not be missed” while pledging that the US would “do its part to help”.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also hailed the ceasefire, but said in a statement on Sunday that he expected “the Taliban to adhere to their commitment not to allow released prisoners to return to the battlefield”.

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He also urged the two sides to avoid escalating violence after Eid, the festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has made it a priority to end the country’s longest war and, in a bid to pull out foreign forces, US officials have been pushing the Taliban and government leaders to hold peace talks.

Analysts, however, say the Taliban has been emboldened by the agreement with the US, and attacks by the group have continued since the signing.

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War-weary residents in the capital, Kabul, expressed relief after the ceasefire was announced.

In a similar holiday truce in 2018, there were unprecedented scenes of fighters from opposite sides embracing and taking selfies.


#Newsworthy…

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Breaking: Japan lift lockdown as cases pause


Japan was poised to lift its nationwide state of emergency over the coronavirus on Monday, gradually reopening the world’s third-biggest economy after new cases slowed to a crawl.

Compared with hard-hit areas in Europe, the United States, Russia and Brazil, Japan has been spared the worst of the pandemic, with 16,581 cases in total and 830 deaths.

Yet with infections threatening to run out of control, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared an initial state of emergency for Tokyo and six other regions on April 7 — later expanding it to cover the entire country.

Businesses and schools were urged to shut and people were requested to remain home but Japan‘s “lockdown” was far softer than in other parts of the world and there was no punishment for anyone flouting the rules.

Citizens largely heeded the orders, with most of Tokyo’s famously packed streets falling quiet, and the number of new infections has fallen from a peak of around 700 per day to just a few dozen nationally.

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“It was acknowledged that the state of emergency measure was not necessary for all the prefectures and the declaration for lifting (the state of emergency) was approved,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the virus response.

Abe was expected to confirm the decision formally at a news conference at 6 pm (0900 GMT).

There does not appear to be one single reason why the pandemic has hit Japan as hard as other comparable countries, and trying to pinpoint possible causes has become a favourite sport on social media.

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High levels of hygiene and general health, removing shoes indoors, widespread masks, bowing as a greeting rather than shaking hands or kissing: all have been advanced as possible reasons but analysts agree there has been no silver bullet.

– Recession and deflation –

Japan has come under fire for a relatively low level of testing with around 270,000 carried out, the lowest per capita rate in the group of seven advanced economies, according to Worldometer.

But Japanese authorities insist that mass testing was never their strategy, as cases remained low enough to rely on aggressive contact tracing to contain clusters.

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Nevertheless, testing has been ramped up in recent weeks as authorities warn of a possible next wave of the virus that could overwhelm their previous strategy.

Medical facilities are also being boosted after horror stories of coronavirus victims being unable to find a suitable hospital bed — mainly for administrative reasons as only certain establishments are designated to deal with the virus.

Although the human toll has been less severe than in other parts of the world, the economy — already struggling from the effects of natural disasters and a consumption tax hike — has suffered.

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The world’s third-largest economy has plunged into its first recession since 2015, data published last week showed, shrinking by 0.9 percent in the first quarter.

With economic activity slowing to a crawl, the spectre of deflation is looming again, with consumer prices in March logging their first drop in more than three years.

In a bid to stem the damage, Abe has ordered a mass handout of 100,000 yen ($930) per person, part of a stimulus package worth around $1 trillion.

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Coronavirus has also taken its toll politically, with polls showing support for Abe falling rapidly — a recent survey for the Asahi Shimbun suggested backing had dropped to 29 percent, the lowest since he took office in 2012.

He performed a rare U-turn on the cash handouts — initially announcing an entirely different policy — and is seen to have bungled another signature move involving the distribution of two masks per household, which attracted widespread mockery.


#Newsworthy. ..

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