Category Archives: News

VP Osinbajo To Attend Ramaphosa’s Presidential Inauguration In South Africa

Agricultural Investment Will Bring Nigeria Out Of Poverty, Says Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo addressing an audience in August 2018.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to attend the inauguration of South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Saturday.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande on Friday, Osinbajo will represent the country alongside several other heads of State and Government from Africa and beyond who are expected at the swearing-in ceremony.

READ ALSO: Zamfara Election: INEC Holds Emergency Meeting On Supreme Court’s Judgment

He added that Osinbajo will “depart Nigeria on Friday evening, accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.

Osinbajo is “expected back in Abuja on Saturday evening”, he added.

Several Hurt In Package Bomb Blast In France

Emergency workers stretcher a woman to a waiting ambulance after a suspected package bomb blast along a pedestrian street in the heart of Lyon, southeast France, the local prosecutors’ office said on May 24, 2019. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

 

A package blast on a pedestrian street in the heart of France’s city of Lyon wounded several people Friday, officials said, just two days ahead of the country’s hotly contested European Parliament elections.

President Emmanuel Macron called the blast an “attack” during a live Facebook interview, adding that no deaths had been reported “for the time being”.

The area where the explosion occurred, on a narrow strip of land between the Saone and Rhone rivers in the historic centre of the southeast city, was evacuated and cordoned off by police, according to AFP journalists at the scene.

A police source told AFP the package contained “screws or bolts” and had been placed in front of a bakery near a busy corner of two popular streets.

A man apparently in his early 30s who was spotted near the scene shortly before the attack was being sought by police, a source close to the inquiry said.

Police said eight people were wounded but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

‘Windows were blown out’

Macron, in his Facebook interview, said: “It’s not for me to give a toll but it appears there are no fatalities. There have been injuries, so obviously I’m thinking of these injured and their families.”

“An eight-year-old girl was wounded…. We’re fairly relieved because apparently there were no serious injuries but on the other hand, we are certain it was an explosive device,” said Denis Broliquier, mayor of the city’s Second Arrondissement.

He said the suspect sought by police had been seen on video surveillance cameras.

“There was an explosion and I thought it was a car crash,” said Eva, a 17-year-old student who was about 15 metres (50 feet) from the site of the blast.

“There were bits of electric wire near me, and batteries and bits of cardboard and plastic. The windows were blown out,” he said.

A terrorism probe has been opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which has jurisdiction over all terror cases in the country.

France has been on high alert following a wave of deadly jihadist terror attacks since 2015 which have killed more than 250 people.

“It’s an area in the very centre of Lyon, a major street,” the city’s deputy mayor in charge of security, Jean-Yves Secheresse, told BFM television.

“These areas are highly secured, the police are continually present,” as were patrols by soldiers deployed in a long-running anti-terror operation, he said.

Lyon is the third-biggest city in France. The population of the city plus its extensive suburbs is 2.3 million.

The most recent package bomb in France dates back to December 2007, when an explosion in front of a law office in Paris killed one person and injured another. Police never found who carried out that attack.

AFP

Tradition Meets Tech As Kenya’s Herders Adapt To Climate Change

Traditional Samburu tribeswomen gather their goats to be sold at Merille livestock market, some 411km north of Nairobi in Kenya’s Marsabit county, on April 30, 2019. PHOTO: TONY KARUMBA / AFP

For generations, Kaltuma Hassan’s clan would study the sky over Kenya’s arid north for any sign of rain — some wind here, a wisp of cloud there — to guide their parched livestock to water.

But such divination has been rendered hopeless by intensifying droughts. Days on foot can reveal nothing more than bone-dry riverbeds and grazing land baked to dust, sounding the death knell for their herd.

“You might go a long distance, and they die on the way… It is a very hard life,” Hassan told AFP in Marsabit, a sparse and drought-prone expanse where millions of pastoral families depend entirely on livestock to survive.

Today, she leaves less to chance.

The 42-year-old relies on detailed rainfall forecasts received via text message from a Kenyan tech firm to plan her migrations, a simple but life-changing resource for an ancient community learning to adapt to increasing weather extremes.

Nomadic livestock herders in East Africa’s drylands have endured climate variability for millennia, driving their relentless search for water and pasture in some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain.

But their resilience is being severely tested by climate change, forcing a rethink to traditional wisdom passed down for generations.

Kenya endures a severe drought every three to five years, the World Bank says, but they are increasing in frequency and intensity, and temperatures are rising too.

With conditions ever-more unreliable, Hassan no longer relies on warriors she once dispatched to scout for suitable grazing land for her cattle.

“They wake up very early in the morning and they look at the clouds, they look at the moon, to predict. I use this now,” she said, scrolling through customised weather updates on her phone, sent via SMS in Rendille, a local language.

The service uses advanced weather data from US agricultural intelligence firm aWhere to provide subscribers with rain and forage conditions for the week ahead in their locality.

The forecasts are sent as text messages, so they are compatible with basic phones often used by pastoralists in remote areas.

Kenyan IT firm Amfratech, which launched the SMS service earlier this year, has also rolled out a more advanced app-based version. They hope to eventually sign up tens of thousands of pastoralists.

Dry skies

Rainfall — the difference between feast and famine in East Africa and the Horn — is more erratic than ever, arriving late or not at all.

A long dry spell can set a pastoral family back years and erode their capacity to handle future shocks, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in a 2018 report.

A second blow in quick succession can leave them teetering on starvation.

Such a crisis is already brewing in Kenya’s pastoral country to the north and over its borders in neighbouring arid regions.

This year’s so-called long rains failed to arrive, putting millions at risk. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned that hunger in pastoral areas will worsen in coming months.

“It doesn’t rain like it once did,” said Nandura Pokodo, at a dusty livestock market in Merille, an outpost in Kenya’s northern pastoralist heartland. Nobody wants his drought-weary animals, so he will return home empty-handed.

“It’s harder to find pasture… year after year.”

As the rains failed, Pokodo, 55, wandered for days between March and April in search of grazing land but found nothing. He lost 20 goats and sheep — a ruinous outcome for nomads whose fortunes are intertwined with their beasts.

“Even if you have a million shillings but have no goats or sheep or camel, they consider you very poor,” said Daniel Kapana, the head of Merille market, and an intergenerational herder himself.

 Turn to technology

The text messages have also helped Samuel Lkiangis Lekorima protect not just his livestock, but the safety of his community.

Longer, harsher droughts have stoked intense competition between pastoralists for ever-scarcer water and pasture. A feud between two groups over a watering hole near Ethiopia left 11 dead in May, local media reported.

Lekorima, a 22-year-old herder from Marsabit, said advance knowledge of rainfall helped keep his people wandering far, and avoid any potential tensions with distant clans.

“When I get that message, I phone people (and) tell them… don’t go far away, because there is rain soon,” he told AFP.

Other modern interventions are also playing a part, helping protect not just pastoralists but a sector that contributes more than 12 percent to Kenya’s GDP, according to the World Bank.

The Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute uses satellite imagery to determine when pasture levels are critically low — a portent of livestock death.

Some insurance products are linked to this index and issue payments before drought hits, so pastoralists can buy enough fodder for lean times ahead. Tens of thousands of herders have signed up, industry groups say.

“A drought should no longer be an emergency,” said Thomas Were, of CTA, an EU-funded institution that is driving a pastoralist-resilience project in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Helima Osman Bidu, a traditional herder and mother-of-three, has joined a women’s collective that invests in non-livestock related enterprises, another approach to drought-proofing the family finances.

“It is good to have something on the side,” she told AFP, nodding to a padlocked metal box nearby containing the group’s seed money.

AFP

Operation Puff Adder: Notorious Bandits, Suspected Killers Arrested In Zamfara

 

The Zamfara state police command through “Operation Puff Adder” has succeeded arresting some notorious criminals and have recovered Ak 47 rifles and other offensive weapons.

This is according to a statement by its spokesman, SP Mohammed Shehu.

In his communique on Friday, Shehu said the suspects were apprehended in a sting of operations carried out as part of the command’s continued determination and total commitment to rid the state of Armed banditry, kidnapping and other heinous crimes.

Mr Shehu stated that the arrests were made on the 2nd of April, 9th, 14th, 19th and 21st of May.

Below is the full statement by the spokesperson for the Zamfara Police Command.

“1.ARREST OF NOTORIOUS ARMED BANDIT/RECOVERY OF FOUR (4) AK-47 RIFLES

MANE OF SUSPECT :-

SANI RABIU ‘M’ of Ajja village if Birnin Magaji LGA

EXHIBITS RECOVERED For (4) Ak- 47 rifles with four (4) empty magazines.

On 2nd April, 2019 at about 1439hrs, Tactical team of the command in conjunction with the IGP’s Special Tactical Squad while on Operation Puff Adder along Wanke-Magami forest engaged some notorious bandits in a gun duel who attempted to invade munhaye, Danjibga, Keta and Yarkatsina villages of Tsafe LGA. As a result, one bandit, named Rabiu Sani ‘M’ was arrested while others took a retreat back to the bush with possible bullet wounds. Four (4) Ak-47 rifles were recovered at the scene. Suspect is undergoing discreet Investigation and will be charged to court soon.

2.ARREST OF A SUSPECT IN POSSESSION OF FAKE MOTORCYCLE PLATE NUMBERS

NAME OF SUSPECT:-

Alh Ibrahim Hussaini ‘M’

EXHIBITS RECOVERED:-

Forty pieces of fake
plate numbers.

on 9th May, 2019 at about 1400hrs, IGP’s Special Tactical Squad in a joint patrol with the personnel of the command, working on actionable intelligence, intercepted the above named suspect at Yardole motorcycles market in Gusau. The suspect is specialized in fabricating fake motorcycle plate numbers which are allegedly being sold to bandits and other notorious criminals in the bush and towns.
Suspect confessed to the crime. Investigation is still ongoing with a view to arresting other members of his gang whom he has been conniving with.

READ ALSO: Operation Puff Adder: Police Arrest 70 Kidnap Suspects In Katsina

3.ARREST OF FOUR (4) SUSPECTS IN CONNECTION WITH BELONGING TO BRIGANDS

NAME OF SUSPECTS:

1. Abdullahi Adamu AKA Malam Aska ‘M’

2. Mustapha Usman ‘ M’

3. Kabiru Ibrahim ‘M’

4. Sani Abdullah ‘M’

EXHIBITS RECOVERED:

Machetes, cudgels and Long knife.

On 9th May, 2019 at about 0030hrs, IGP’s Tactical Squad in conjunction with the operatives of the command while on patrol within Gusau Metropolis arrested the above mentioned suspects; who have been terrorizing innocent people of Gangaren Yarima, Kongo and Tudun wada Areas of Gusau metropolis. Suspects have confessed to the commission of the different crimes. Investigation is ongoing with a view to arresting other members of their gang.

4 ARREST OF TWO SUSPECTS IN CONNECTION WITH A CASE OF CULPABLE HOMICIDE

SUSPECTS:

1. Nasiru Mohammed ‘M’

2. Bello Ibrahim ‘M’

On 14th May, 2019 at about 1930hrs, in continuation with “Operation Puff Adder” in the state, Tactical teams of the command in conjunction with IGP’s Special Tactical Squad (STS) while on patrol within Gusau Metropolis arrested the above named suspects in connection with a murder of one Farida, whose corpse was found behind Dan- Maigoro filling station, Gusau on the 10th of March, 2019. Suspects are undergoing discreet Investigation with a view to unraveling the circumstances behind this dastardly act and will be charged to court as soon as possible.

5.ARREST OF FIVE (5) ARMED ROBBERY SUSPECTS

NAME OF SUSPECTS:

1. Adda’u Abubakar ‘M’

2. Kabiru Nasiru ‘M’

3. Basiru Abubakar ‘M’

4. Nasiru Salisu ‘M’

5. Murtala Abubakar ‘M’

EXHIBITS RECOVERED:-

1. One (1) locally made revolver pistol.

2. One (1) live ammunitio n for Lar rifle.

3. Two (2) cutlasses.

4. Part of the properties robbed.

On the 19th of May, 2019 operatives of the command on crime prevention patrol, having received a complaint of armed robbery attack on innocent people of Tudun Wada area, Gusau, intensified patrol within Gusau Metropolis. As a result, the above mentioned suspects were arrested in connection with armed robbery attack on one Surajo Shu’aibu ‘M’ and nine others residing in Tudun Wada area of Gusau. The suspects specialized in terrorizing the people of Gusau and its environs.
Having confessed to the crime, the Will be charged to court as soon as Investigation is completed.

6.ARREST OF THREE (3) KIDNAPPERS OF ONE KHADIJATU IBRAHIM MURTALA ‘F’

NAME OF SUSPECTS:

1. Jamilu Ibrahim ‘M’ aged 19yrs old.

2. Faisal Yahaya ‘M’ aged 15 yrs old.

3. Aliyu Ibrahim ‘M’ aged 15 yrs old.

EXHIBITS RECOVERED:

Motorcycle Lifan Robber-Robber

On 21st May, 2019 the command Anti-Kidnapping Squad in synergy with the intelligence unit arrested the above mentioned kidnappers who on 12th April, 2019 kidnapped a 4year old Khadijatu Ibrahim Murtala ‘f’ for ransom at Damba Quarters, Gusau. Suspects had collected a ransom of N250, 000 from the father of the victim named Murtala Ibrahim.
All the suspects have confessed to the commission of the offence, and will be charged to court for prosecution.

The command uses this mediu to u assure good people of Zamfara state that this effort Will be sustained until the entire state is rid of all forms of criminal activities. Therefore, appealing to members of the public to continue with support they are giving to the police and other security agencies in recording more success against criminal elements in the state.

SP MOHAMMED SHEHU,
PPRO,
FOR:- COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
ZAMFARA STATE COMMAND,
GUSAU.”

Libya Rescues 290 Migrants Off Tripoli Coast

File photo of a Libyan coast guardsman standing on a boat during the rescue of 147 illegal immigrants attempting to reach Europe off the coastal town of Zawiyah, 45 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, on June 27, 2017. PHOTO: Taha JAWASHI / AFP

 

The Libyan navy has rescued some 290 migrants from sinking boats off the coast of Tripoli in two separate operations, officials said Friday.

A coastguard patrol plucked 87 migrants of different African nationalities, including six women and a child, from a sinking rubber boat about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the Libyan capital. They were taken to a Tripoli naval base, said navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem.

In a separate mission, some 203 migrants including a woman and also all from African countries, were spotted on board two boats off the coast of the town of Zliten, some 140 kilometres east of Tripoli. They were taken to a detention centre in Suq al-Khamis.

UN agencies and aid organisations have opposed taking migrants to camps in Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, amid fears they will find themselves in arbitrary detention, or fall victim to militias.

Their already precarious situation has worsened since strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an assault on Tripoli on April 4, seeking to capture the city where the internationally recognised government is based.

More than 75,000 people have been driven from their homes in the latest fighting and 510 have been killed, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 2,400 have also been wounded, while 100,000 people are feared trapped by the clashes raging on the capital’s outskirts.

In 2017, Italy reached a deal, backed by the EU, to train and equip the Libyan coastguard in a bid to stop the flow of migrants seeking to reach Europe from Africa across the Mediterranean.

AFP

Facebook Plans Cryptocurrency Launch Next Year

This file illustration picture taken on April 26, 2018, in Paris shows the logo of social network Facebook displayed on a screen and reflected on a tablet. PHOTO: Lionel BONAVENTURE/AFP

 

Facebook has been in contact with US and British financial regulators with a view to launching its own cryptocurrency next year, the BBC reported on Friday.

“GlobalCoin” would work with a new digital payments system in about a dozen countries, starting in the first quarter of 2020, the broadcaster said on its website.

Previous reports have said Facebook is taking a serious look at blockchain technology under its “Project Libra”, in part to tackle doubts about privacy among its many users following a series of scandals.

But the targeted date appears new. The BBC said Facebook had already spoken to Bank of England governor Mark Carney and to officials at the US Treasury and was expected to flesh out its plans this northern hemisphere summer.

Facebook’s currency would be “stable coin”, a digital unit pegged to the dollar in contrast to more anarchic means of virtual payment such as bitcoin, according to earlier reporting by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal among others.

With more than two billion users across its platforms, which include WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook could have the clout to take a cryptocurrency mainstream and emulate the likes of WeChat in China, where the US site is banned.

WeChat allows its users to chat, shop and play games without leaving its platform, generating more revenue by offering a one-stop portal.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has said that adding e-commerce is the logical evolution of the company’s advertising-based business model.

But such a step is likely to invite more intense regulatory scrutiny at a time when Facebook is already under a cloud for abuses of privacy and the spread of fake news.

Facebook said it had disabled 2.19 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the number of the three months prior.

But Zuckerberg on Thursday rejected the idea of breaking up the social media giant, saying that would hamper the fight against deceit and harmful online content.

AFP

Merkel ‘Respects’ May’s Decision To Resign

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May announces her resignation outside 10 Downing Street in central London on May 24, 2019. PHOTO: Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday took note of the decision by British Prime Minister Theresa May to resign “with respect”, saying that they shared a “good and trusting” working relationship.

Pledging to keep working with May in the same spirit as long as she is in office, Merkel noted that Berlin “wishes to maintain close cooperation and a close relationship with the British government,” the German leader’s spokeswoman Martina Fietz said.

Fietz declined to comment on how May’s decision could affect Brexit, as “the development depends essentially on domestic political developments in Britain.

AFP

PHOTOS: Theresa May Fights Back Tears As She Announces Resignation

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation in an emotional address on Friday, ending a three-year tenure of near-constant crisis over Brexit.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” May, her voice breaking, said outside her Downing Street office.

See photos below…






BREAKING: Theresa May Announces Resignation In Emotional Speech

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May announces her resignation outside 10 Downing Street in central London on May 24, 2019. PHOTO: Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday announced in an emotional address that she will step down as Conservative leader on June 7 after failing to persuade MPs to support her Brexit deal.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,”May, her voice breaking with emotion, said in a statement outside her Downing Street residence.

The resignation will signal the formal start of a leadership contest during which May would remain as caretaker Prime Minister.

“I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday, 7th June,” May said.

“The process for electing a new leadership should begin in the following week,” she said.

The leadership race is expected to take several weeks.

AFP

Parade Of Children On Brazil’s ‘Adoption Catwalk Show’ Draws Criticisms

Map of Brazil Credit: Google Maps

 

A parade of adoptable children held in a Brazilian shopping center drew condemnation on Thursday, with some comparing the event to the sale of animals or slaves.

“Adoption on the Catwalk” in the central-west state of Mato Grosso was designed to “give visibility to children and adolescents who are eligible for adoption,” according to an official statement promoting Tuesday’s show.

The parade — organised by the local chapters of the Brazil Bar Association’s Childhood and Youth Commission (CYC) and the Adoption Research and Support Association (AMPARA) — was held in the Pantanal shopping mall in the capital Cuiaba.

“As we always say, what the eyes see, the heart feels,” Tatiane de Barros Ramalho, president of the CYC and a lawyer, was quoted as saying.

READ ALSO: Theresa May Announces Resignation In Emotional Speech

“It’s a night for potential adopters to get to know the kids and teens. The population can have more information about adoption and the children themselves will have a special day in which they will get done up for the parade.”

An undated photo published on G1 news site purportedly showed a girl wearing a white t-shirt and a short pink skirt walking down a catwalk in front of onlookers, who were recording images with their smartphones.

But the bar association said the photo was taken during a previous “Adoption on the Catwalk” event in 2016.

News of the parade sparked outrage on social media, prompting organizers to defend the event, saying none of the children had been forced to participate.

“It was never the goal… to introduce children and adolescents to families in order to achieve adoption,” the Brazil Bar Association of Mato Grosso (OAB-MT) said on its Facebook page.

It admitted, however, that two teenagers were adopted after the 2016 edition.

“The OAB-MT and AMPARA reject any kind of distortion of the event by associating it with dark periods of our history,” it added, referring to Brazil’s past as a slave trader.

The former Portuguese colony only abolished slavery in 1888, two decades after the United States.

Echoes of that period continue to reverberate today in a country where racism is deeply embedded.

A spokeswoman for the bar association told AFP the adoptable children who took part in Tuesday’s parade were accompanied by part-time foster parents.

Children who had already been adopted also participated with their families, she said.

 ‘Cattle market’

The bar association’s Facebook statement drew hundreds of comments, mostly critical of the parade.

“Selling animals or slaves?” Juarez Ternus wrote.

Another user said: “Shameful… it’s like a children’s exhibition fair in the form of a cattle market.”

“Like the slaves of ‘old’ — did they show their teeth?” wrote Silvia Morgan.

The National Secretary for the Rights of Children and Adolescents expressed its “regret” over the parade, which also sparked an online petition protesting the event. So far it has garnered more than 1,100 signatures.

Others defended the event.

“These parades have been responsible for transforming the lives of various boys and girls,” wrote Julio Resende on Facebook, signing his statement “by an adoptive family very grateful for the work of AMPARA.”

Judge Tulio Duailibi Souza, who had supported the parade, said “something has to be done for these children to be remembered by society.”

“I don’t see that this event resulted in more harm than good for these children who are looking for a home,” Duailibi was quoted by G1 as saying.

More than 9,500 children and adolescents are waiting to be adopted in Brazil, a state news agency reported Tuesday, citing figures from the National Adoption Registry.

AFP