January 20, 2020
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Dozens killed by heavy rain in Angola

Torrential rain in Angola has killed 41 people and caused widespread destruction, the government has confirmed.

Twelve out of 18 provinces were hit by a violent downpour which began in the early hours of Monday and lasted late into the afternoon, Interior Minister Eugenio Laborinho said in a statement.

Forty-one people died and more than 300 homes were destroyed by flooding, he said.

“In recent days we have been witnessing heavy rainfall, causing flooding, destruction of infrastructure and plantations,” he said.

More than 2,000 families had been affected, said Laborinho, warning that drinking water and electricity supplies had been cut off in some areas.

The rain comes on the heels of a severe regional drought caused by years of erratic rainfall and record-high temperatures.

Source: nation.co.ke

Man sues Buhari’s daughter, DSS, demands N500m

A trader, Anthony Okolie, who was arrested by the Department of State Services and detained for 10 weeks, has sued the DSS for N500m.

Okolie, in a suit filed before the Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, by his lawyer, Tope Akinyode, also demanded N500m from Hanan Buhari, the daughter of the President, Major General Muhammadu (retd.), as well as a telecommunications company, MTN.

The suit, with number FHC/ASB/CS/3/2020, is seeking an order to “compel the respondents (DSS, Hanan and MTN) jointly or severally to pay the applicant the sum of N500,000,000 only as general and aggravated damages for the gross and unlawful violation of the applicant’s right to acquire moveable properties, freedom of movement and self-dignity.”

The 33-year-old man said in a supporting affidavit that he was arrested on July 19, 2019, in Asaba, Delta State, for using a telephone line that was previously owned by Hanan.

According to him, he remained in custody, bound by handcuffs, till September 22, 2019, as the DSS waited for Hanan, who was schooling in the United Kingdom, to come and clear him but she never did.

Okolie also attached the receipt he was issued after purchasing the SIM card as well as the SIM certificate.

The affidavit read in part, “That on December 8, 2019, at Ogbeogonogo Market, Nebu Road, Asaba, Delta State, I purchased a SIM card with Phone Number, 09035666662, for the sum of N1,000 only and I received a SIM pack with accompanying documents as a result as evidence of purchase receipt.

“That in line with relevant regulations, I approached a kit operator of the 3rd respondent (MTN) named Jeff, who captured my biometric and registered the SIM card in my name and on my behalf.

“That in July, 2019, I visited my business associate at his residence in Asaba and saw him being taken away by officers of the 1st respondent (DSS). During the process, they obtained information from him on who he communicated with last over the phone and my associated announced that it was me.

“That immediately afterwards, officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) arrested me and led me to their vehicle, asking me to keep quiet and drove me to their offices in Asaba, Delta, State.

“That after a while, they disclosed that my arrest was ordered by the Presidency and I had to be taken to Abuja for further interrogation on which basis they drove me to Abuja by road the following day.”

The applicant stated that he explained to the DSS how he bought the SIM card but he was informed that the phone line, which was linked to his SIM card, was once used by Hanan.

“They thereafter labelled me a criminal for using a phone line that previously belonged to the 2nd respondent,” he said.

Okolie alleged that because of the personality involved, his case file was tagged, ‘First Family’ and he was denied access to his lawyers.

The trader claimed that his mother, who was not allowed to see him, developed high blood pressure while he lost a N5m business deal.

He added, “They also disclosed to me that the President wants to see me and my case was boldly earmarked, First Family. Based on the foregoing, officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) maintained that the 2nd respondent (Hanan) must be available to clarify her allegations against me before I was allowed freedom from their facilities.

“That the 2nd respondent (Hanan) was contacted several times by officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) but the 2nd respondent (Hanan) declined making herself available by claiming that she was busy with studies in the United Kingdom.”

Okolie asked the court to declare that his long detention was an abuse of his fundamental human rights.

He asked the court to declare that the actions of the DSS contravened sections 35 and 34 of the 1999 Constitution

Source: punchng.com

2023: Disquiet over ANN’s romance with RCCG

The debate over the 2023 general elections seems to be gaining momentum daily. This is irrespective of the fact that the current administration has more than three years to end.

That talks over the next election cycle, is to say the least, becoming destructive.

Little wonder the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, called for the jettisoning of the 2023 debate.

Tinubu, after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said attention should be focused on good governance, not the zone to produce the presidency in 2023. This admonition like others before it does not seem to make any meaning to the pro-2023 campaigners.

One of the vehicles that seems to be gainining prominence in this debate is the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, which appears to have the backing of a religious body to produce a presidential candidate in the 2023 election.

Sources said ANN is believed to have the backing of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye on this.

According to sources, the party is believed to be a launching pad for a Christian presidential candidate, particularly of the Redeemed Church stock.

However, an informed source close to Pastor Adeboye pooh-poohed this, claiming this kite is being flown by fifth columnists close to the President, with the intention of de-marketing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

According to this source, the main idea of flying this kite is to poison the mind of the President against Osinbajo. The plan, it was learned, is to portray him as being disloyal to the ruling APC and therefore make his chances of succeeding Buhari slim.

Another impeccable source told Vanguard that the plot ultimately seeks to discredit Osinbajo, after which he would be replaced with a top religious cleric from the Southwest.

It’s absolutely premature—Bewaji, CODER scribe

Expressing disappointment over the 2023 debate, a one-time member of the House of Representatives and Secretary of Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform, CODER, Dr. Wunmi Bewaji, said it will cause distraction.

Bewaji said: As regards preparation, I think it is absolutely premature for any political party or group to start heating up the polity. “We all know there will be elections in 2023, but the current government has not spent a year of its four years tenure.

For anybody to start the talk, it will make us lose focus which means, we are ridiculing the electoral process. “I think there should be something about performance, the fulfillment of mandate and evaluation of the works of the government that have been elected.

How do we achieve this, which is part of the responsible citizenship we are talking about?

“If we jump from one election and start talking on the next election, where is the mandate, assessment, performance, and evaluation, amongst others?

“If you allow this government to perform, or not to perform, you allow the party to perform, deliver or not to deliver, that will shape whatever political discussion we are going to be having on the 2023 polls.

On religious bodies supporting a political party, he called on the Corporate Affairs Commission or the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to sanction such a body.

He said: “If there is any such religious body doing so, it is very shameful. It is shameful, and I will expect the Corporate Affairs Commission or the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to take appropriate action.

Religious bodies are charity organisations, so they do not have the license to involve in politics. In our constitution, there is a clear separation of the state from the church. The church does not interfere in the state, and the state does not interfere in church activities. Nigeria is a democracy, not a theocracy.

A situation where we allow any religious bigots to impose any candidate on us, I think it will be taking us back to centuries.”

It is wrong — Okorie

Also speaking, the National Chairman of United Progressives Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie, faulted the development.

He said: “First, it is against the constitution of Nigeria. I don’t know the religious body they are talking about, I am a member of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church can never do it.

It is not in the character of the Catholic Church to be partisan anywhere in the world. If they are talking of Christian bodies, maybe they are talking about Pentecostal.

“To use a religious denomination to endorse a particular candidate is not only dangerous considering the nature of our country as a multi-ethnic and religious society but also unconstitutional.

It could lead the nation into religious politics that could snowball into a religious war. The issue of religion is a matter of the heart, not a matter of the head.

“So if Muslims say they are endorsing a party that party will fail 10 times over. The same applies to this one that one denomination is supporting.”

RCCG denies involvement

But dissociating itself from the speculations that it is planning to adopt a political party ahead of the 2023 general elections, the church said there is no truth in such a rumour.

Speaking with Vanguard, the church’s head of Media and Public Relations, Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi, said there is no truth in such a rumour.

Olubiyi, who is also the Managing Editor of the official magazine of the church, the Redemption Light, said RCCG is home to everybody including politicians from different persuasions and cannot possibly align itself to a particular political party.

His words: “Besides, RCCG, a church organisation destined by the Lord Himself to take the world for Him, is not a political association which can transmute from its divine responsibility to affiliate itself with any political party to the detriment of its numerous members who belong to several political associations in the country.

“So there is no truth in that rumour. The RCCG has no desire to align itself with any political party ahead of 2023 or at any time. Ours is a spiritual organisation with a mission to take as many people with us to make heaven.

We intend to pursue that objective until every nation in the world is reached for the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Bakare keeps mum

Efforts, however, to get Pastor Bakare proved abortive as his telephone line was not reachable.

Source: vanguardngr.com

Chasing citizenship in African countries: Cardi B, Ludacris, Idris Elba, Tiffany Haddish

Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B is the latest icon to share excitement at the possibility of having citizenship of an African country, using social media to let her fans know that she’s ‘filing for Nigerian citizenship’.

Several other stars including British actor Idris Elba and American rapper Ludacris have recently been granted citizenship in Sierra Leone and Gabon respectively.

In this article, we explore the pride of citizenship of African nations from the perspective of celebrated icons.

Cardi B as Chioma in Nigeria

Cardi B, who recently visited Nigeria and Ghana last month as part of her African tour, announced her Nigerian citizenship desires following the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and sent Middle East tensions soaring.

“Its sad this man is putting Americans live in danger. Dumbest move Trump did till date … I’m filing for my Nigerian citizenship,” she tweeted on Friday.

This week she asked fans to weigh in on whether her Nigerian name should be CHIOMA B or Cadijat.

Cardi B, who was born Belcalis Almanzar, is of Afro-Caribbean descent, tracing her roots to Trinidad and the Dominican Republic.

It was not immediately clear how the rapper might acquire citizenship in Nigeria.

Gabon’s Ludacris

Fellow rapper Ludacris recently acquired citizenship in Gabon after marrying a woman from the Central African nation.

Ludacris is married to Eudoxie Mbouguiengue, a 33-year-old model who spent most her childhood days in the French-speaking country before moving to the United States.Her father is American while her mother is Gabonese.

Elba traces father’s roots in Sierra Leone

British actor Idris Elba was last month given a passport from Sierra Leone, his late father’s birthplace.

“I’m no stranger to Africa: I’ve been in Africa, I’ve made films in Africa, I’ve championed Africa. But Sierra Leone, it’s a very different feeling because it’s my parent’s home,’‘ Elba said.

Eritrea’s Tiffany Haddish

In May, American author and comedian Tiffany Haddish was granted Eritrean citizenship during a visit to join in the 28th independence anniversary celebrations.

“Signing those papers and getting the validation meant the world to me. That is something my father wanted,’‘ Tiffany told the information ministry’s news outlet.

Air France probes death of stowaway on Abidjan – Paris flight

Air France is probing circumstances under which an individual managed to stowaway on a flight between the Ivorian capital Abidjan and the French capital Paris.

The carrier confirmed that the body of the deceased was found in the landing gear compartment of a plane at the Charles de Gaulle international airport in Paris.

“Air France confirms that the lifeless body of a stowaway was found in the landing gear compartment of the aircraft operating flight AF703 from Abidjan to Paris-Charles de Gaulle on 7 January 2020,” Air France said in a statement.

The airline also expressed its “deepest sympathy and compassion at this human tragedy.”

Even though the Airline has not commented on the age of the deceased, the body was that of a child aged around 10, AFP news agency quotes an unnamed source close to the investigation as saying.

Source: africanews.com

Zimbabwe president takes leave and hands power to deputies

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken a three-week leave and handed power to his two vice presidents.

Zimbabwe media has published articles on the president’s leave highlighting how he will be on vacation within the country.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga will be the acting president for the first half of the president’s leave, then his counterpart Kembo Mohadi will take over.

Mr Chiwenga is reportedly away in China according to Newsday newspaper.

A statement by President Mnangagwa’s secretary George Charamba said the president will be on annual leave till end of January.

“The President will spend his vacation in the country,” he wrote.

Source: bbc.com

General election 2019: Johnson to welcome new MPs to Westminster

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address his new intake of Conservative MPs later as they arrive in Westminster to take their seats in Parliament.

Many of the 109 new MPs won in areas traditionally held by Labour in Thursday’s election, which saw the Conservatives gain an 80-seat majority.

Their first job will be to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill that the PM intends to bring back before Christmas.

Mr Johnson is also expected to carry out a mini cabinet reshuffle.

He needs to fill posts made vacant by those who stood down ahead of the general election, including the culture and welsh secretary posts.

The Queen will formally open Parliament on Thursday when she sets out the government’s legislative programme.

It is thought the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) on leaving the EU could be put before MPs as early as Friday.

Ahead of the private speech, a Number 10 source said: “The PM has been very clear that we have a responsibility to deliver a better future for our country and that we must repay the public’s trust by getting Brexit done.

“That’s why the first piece of legislation new MPs will vote on will be the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.”

With the large majority, the bill is expected to pass through Parliament in time to meet Boris Johnson’s promise for the UK to leave the EU on 31 January.

Mr Johnson then has to negotiate a new trade agreement with the EU and have it ratified before the end of the post-Brexit transition period that ends on 31 December 2020. He has repeatedly said that the transition period will not be extended.

The Queen’s speech is also expected to include legislation linked to pledges made during the election campaign – most notably a guarantee on NHS funding.

Moves to get the Northern Ireland goverment at Stormont up and running again are also expected, with talks resuming before Christmas.

Source: bbc.com

Improving Nigeria’s power supply

Rabi Isyaka Rabiu,Department of Information and Media Studies, Bayero University, Kano, Kano State: Electricity generation, transmission and distribution are very crucial to national development and economic prosperity. Over the years, appreciable progress in the area of constant supply of this engine that lubricates the economy of every nation continues to be a mystery, particularly in Nigeria.

Suffice it to say that various models have been tried including the event that culminated in the privatisation of the sector, just to see that constant electricity supply becomes a reality in Nigeria. One may be quick to blame the government, we have however yet to understand that some of our own activities as consumers largely contribute to the failure in Nigeria’s energy sector.

Research has shown that for Nigeria to be fully sustainable in power supply, the country needs to generate an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 MW of electricity. Unfortunately, Nigeria presently is only able to generate between 4,000 and 5,000MW, and yet, we are not managing this meagre generated energy capacity efficiently.

To achieve that therefore, Nigerians need to start imbibing the habit of power conservation in order to save energy to improve their lives and property.

Conserving electricity energy will not only prevent unequal distribution of the light or providing low current one, it will also prevent hazardous effects that may likely cause fire incident due to power surges. In most cases, refusal to conserve the energy leads to numerous damage, thereby leading to loss of lives and property.

In Kano State for instance, the Sabon Gari and Kantin Kwari markets fires are a case study of dangerous electrical menance which led to the loss of wealth, all according to reports, due to the habit of non-switching off of electrical appliances when not in use, or when not around in the case of marketplaces and offices.

Also, there are a lot of fire incidences in many houses caused by electrical appliances as a result of not conserving energy.

Therefore, energy conservation is very essential to societal development, and, Nigeria can conserve it by switching off all appliances when not in use. Women as housekeepers also have an important role to play. They should try as much to always remind their husbands to be conscious of energy consumption rate and assist in its conservation at home.

Source: punchng.com

Apple has ‘deep concerns’ that ex-employees accused of theft will flee to China

Apple Inc on Monday told a federal court it has “deep concerns” that two Chinese-born former employees accused of stealing trade secrets from the company will try to flee before their trials if their locations are not monitored.

At a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, prosecutors argued that Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen should continue to be monitored because they present flight risks.

Federal prosecutors alleged Zhang worked on Apple’s secretive self-driving car program and took files related to the project before disclosing that he was going to work for a Chinese competitor. Federal agents arrested Zhang last year at the San Jose airport as he was about to board a flight for China.

Prosecutors allege Chen took from Apple more than 2,000 files containing “manuals, schematics, diagrams and photographs of computer screens showing pages in Apple’s secure databases” with intent to share them. Agents arrested him in January at a train station on his way to San Francisco International Airport for a trip to China.

The men were each charged with one count of criminal trade secrets theft and pleaded not guilty. They were released on bail shortly after their arrests and have been monitored since then.

Attorney Daniel Olmos, who represents the men, said Monday that both had family reasons to visit China and had shown no signs of violating their pre-trial conditions so far.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marissa Harris argued that if either man fled to China, it would be difficult if not impossible for federal officials to secure their extradition for a trial. Three Apple employees sat in the courtroom to support prosecutors, including Anthony DeMario, a strategic adviser to Apple’s global security group and veteran of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Harris read Apple’s statement to U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose, California.

“Apple’s intellectual property is at the core of our innovation and growth,” the statement said. “The defendants’ continued participation in these proceedings is necessary to ensure a final determination of the facts, and we have deep concerns the defendants will not see this through if given the opportunity.

Zhan stood listening through an interpreter and was dressed in a white and blue dress shirt, black jeans and Nike sneakers. Olmos told Davila GPS monitoring was unnecessary to secure Zhang’s appearance at trial.

“This is not an espionage case,” Olmos said. The government “is not requesting detention, but they are requesting essentially indefinitely location monitoring.”

Harris said Zhang’s wife told federal agents that Zhang, who is a permanent U.S. resident, attempted to flee to Canada when agents searched his home.

During that search, agents found a laptop at the bottom of a laundry hamper that they allege contained trade secrets about Ethernet technology from Zhang’s prior employer, chip supplier Marvell Technology Group Ltd, according to court documents.

Chen, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from China in 1991, listened to the proceedings through an interpreter and wore a dark blue hoodie. He has been under radiofrequency monitoring, which is less precise than GPS tracking.

Source: www.reuters.com

Rwanda begins vaccinating against Ebola

Rwanda on Sunday started a voluntary Ebola vaccination programme at its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus from its neighbour.

All countries in high-risk areas, even if not hit by Ebola, had been advised by the WHO to use a new vaccine developed by US group Johnson & Johnson, the country’s health minister, Diane Gashumba, told journalists.

The idea was “to protect those with high chances of getting in contact with people living in areas where Ebola has been reported to be active”, she said.

The vaccine, Ad26-ZEBOV-GP, is an experimental drug produced by US pharmaceuticals giant, Johnson & Johnson. It was used for the first time in mid-November in Goma in DR Congo, on the other side of the border.

So far, there have no confirmed cases of Ebola in Rwanda.

The epicentre of the outbreak in DR Congo, which has killed more than 2,200 people since August 2018, is located 350 kilometres (217 miles) north of Goma, in the Beni-Butembo region.

That region sits on the DR Congo border with Uganda.

More than 250,000 people in DR Congo have already been vaccinated using another product, rVSV-ZEBOV, made by US drug company, Merck Shape and Dohme.

Ebola in Goma

People working in the health sector, at border crossings, police officers, and business executives who frequently travel between the two countries are being given priority in the vaccination campaign.

But all residents in the border districts can ask to be vaccinated if they wish.

The first volunteers expressed relief at the measure.

“We lived in a life of worry because of what was going on in DR Congo,” Joel Ntwari Murchie, one of the first Rwandans to be vaccinated, told AFP.

“It caused a lot of border disruptions as we were restricted to buying or selling with DR Congo residents who live in Goma.

“The vaccine is an assurance to the safety of our lives and our children’s lives.”

The head of DR Congo’s anti-Ebola efforts, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, and the WHO’s representative in Rwanda, Kasonde Mwinga, were present at the campaign launch.

In August, Rwanda briefly closed its border with DR Congo and ordered its citizens not to visit the country when the first Ebola cases were recorded in Goma.

The city, which is the regional capital of the Congolese province of North Kivu, sits on the border with Rwanda.

The border has since been reopened, but strict medical checks are being enforced.

Source: punchng.com