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Another Nigerian Victoria Obaze becomes Mayor in UK

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Mrs Victoria Obaze, a Nigerian from Imo State made history on Wednesday after she was sworn into office as the first black female Civic Mayor of London Borough of Tower Hamlets, United Kingdom (UK).

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Obaze’s inauguration on Wednesday is the latest in turn of events that have seen Nigerians emerge as Mayors in their area councils of residence in the UK.

It will be recalled that Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, and Mrs Kate Anorue, both from Anambra State, were recently sworn into office as Mayors of London Borough of Brent and Enfield, respectively.

Obaze who contested three previous councillorship elections in 2010, 2014 as well as 2016 and failed, eventually succeeded in an election conducted on May 5, 2018 in Whitechapel Ward.

She later became the Council’s Deputy Speaker following her nomination by her Councillor Colleagues from where she took over the mantle as Mayor of London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

A statement containing brief history of Obaze obtained by NAN from her close associate and UK Chapter Coordinator, Ugonwanne Social Club Nigeria Int’l, a Nigerian socio-cultural group in UK, Ms Blessing Chijekwu, revealed that the newly sworn-in Mayor had lived in Borough for over 30 years.

“For Councillor (Cllr) Obaze life is all about service to humanity with diligence. Her political experience started when she was elected as one of the board of directors to oversee the regeneration of her area, the Ocean Estate, in the 1980s.

“The move motivated her to get into politics having noticed that there were no black women in the council chambers and this led her to open a project named Healthy Life Style for Stepney Women, East London.

“The project was funded by local authority through Ocean African Caribbean Association which she and her late husband Chief Evangelist Charles Obaze, co-founded.

“She also established Ocean Saturday School aimed at ensuring school attainment for children, as well as Ocean Football Club through which young boys were able to have residential football experiences with Chelsea football Club.

“Above all, Cllr Obaze loves God with a passion; she is a member of Parochial Church Council (PCC), as well as an Executive Council member at St Dunstan’s Church of England Parish in Stepney.

“She is also a Secondary School governor in Tower Hamlets and a habitual visitor to the elderly and physically challenged in the community,” the statement quoted Chijekwu as saying.

The statement also quoted Lolo Ngozi Nwanze, President, Ugonwanne Social Club Nigeria Int’l as saying that Obaze was chosen as life matron of the club because of her meekness and morality.

“These are the virtues that have brought her to where she (Obaze) is today.”

Obaze who has four children and two grand Children attended West London College and Metropolitan University where she studied Business Administration and Community Sector Management at different times.

She also has certification in childcare which enabled her operate a registered charitable childcare centre in UK named Vicharles Play Centre.

Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

Health

COVID-19: Expert urges Nigerians to adopt cashless payment systems

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A medical expert, Dr Chijioke Asogwa, has advised Nigerians to adopt cashless payment systems to keep and stay safe this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

Asogwa, who is the Board Chairman of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), gave the advice while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Wednesday.

He noted that the advocacy on use of cashless payment systems, which was in conformity to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy, had become necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 in communities in the country.

According to him, since the cash or paper money has surface, the same surface can also act as medium of spread.

Asogwa, a public health physician, said anyone that handle cash infected with the virus through human sneezing, coughing or mouth liquid droplets can get infected unknowingly through this process.

“As we are in the community transmission of the virus, one must be very careful to always monitor the surfaces he or she touches including touching surfaces of money.

“I advocate that all Nigerians should adopt the CBN cashless policy.

“This is a situation where one does all his or her monetary transactions electronically, by monetary/payment online transfers, ATM transfers and POS among others without touching physical cash.

“As we are in the community transmission stage of the virus, it is difficult for you to know or trace where the cash or physical money you want to collect is coming from.

“As far as the physical cash has a surface it can be infected with the virus even through asymptomatic patients of COVID-19.

Asymptomatic patients of COVID-19 are healthy carriers of the virus that show no sign of having the virus and they go about their daily business mingling with people and touching cash as well,’’ he said.

The health expert urged Nigerians to be circumspect in all they do and follow strictly NCDC and health ministry directives.

“As a matter of necessity, you must take personal responsibility for your health and that of your family members this season,’’ he added.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Feature: Nigerians mourn African music artist Majek Fashek

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Nigerians on Tuesday mourned legendary singer Majek Fashek who died in New York at the age of 57 — marking the end of an illustrious career over a span of three decades.

The guitarist and song composer, whose real name was Majekodunmi Fasheke, died in his sleep, said his manager Omenka Uzoma.

“He’s done a lot for Nigeria and Africa. This is a time for us all to celebrate his achievements, and not mourn,” said Uzoma.

Millions of his fans have paid tribute to the music talent on social media. “Legends don’t die. They live in our hearts forever,” said Oluwatosin Nwodo, a reggae enthusiast who described herself as one of Fashek’s hardcore fans.

Majek Fashek was a quintessential legend whose works will live forever … For he was a soldier and tool for change that reggae musicians are, symbolically,” Nwodo further wrote in a short tribute on Facebook.

Fashek shot to stardom in the 1980s. His musical style resembled Bob Marley, one of the pioneers of reggae music, who had a great influence on Fashek.

Through his inspirational reggae music, “Majek Fashek was a rare gift to mankind,” said Felix Duke, president of Nigeria’s Creative Industry Group.

“His music was always positive, his lyrics unique; a rare breed. Majek Fashek inspired his generation and a lot of us, even the new generation, through his music,” said Duke.

Local media reported that the cause of his death is not clear for now, but he had been ill for some time.

In December 2005, while preparing for a music tour, Fashek said his own death would only occur after his music reached every part of the world.

“I’m not gonna die until my music reaches the ends of the earth,” the African singer told his close associate and former record label owner Charles Novia in a private chat released on Tuesday.

In 2015, there was a hiatus in his career when he landed in a drug rehabilitation center in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, where he recovered and then returned to music.

“I will always remember Majek Fashek for writing Free Africa, Free Mandela, a song he made to lend a voice for the release of Nelson Mandela, then a leader of the African National Congress in South Africa,” said Sammy Wonder, a Nigerian music instructor.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

COVID-19: Lagos discharges 30 Nigerians, 3 Indians

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The Lagos State Government on Tuesday announced recovery and discharge of 30 Nigerians and three Indians who tested negative twice to Coronavirus.

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement that a total of 908 COVID-19 patients were now discharged.

Good people of Lagos, I bring you great news from our isolation facilities. Today, 33 fully recovered COVID-19 Lagos patients; 7 females and 26 males including 3 foreign nationals – Indians -have been discharged to join the society.

The patients; 21 from Onikan, 9 from Eti-Osa (LandMark), 2 from Lekki and 1 from Gbagada Isolation Centres were discharged having fully recovered and tested negative to COVID19.

”With this, the number of patients successfully managed and discharged from our Isolation facilities is now 908.

”As our frontline health workers records successes in this battle against #COVID-19, we urge citizens to adhere strictly to our public advisories and directives, as this is the only way we can break the chain of transmission of the infection,” Sanwo-Olu said.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Olowo assures Nigerian Army of more support

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Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, the Olowo of Owo kingdom, has assured the Nigerian Army of its support in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, banditry among other security challenges in the country.

The monarch gave this assurance on Tuesday in his palace at Owo when the Brigade Commander, 32 Artillery Brigade,  Brig. Gen. Zakari Abubakar paid a courtesy visit to the palace in Ondo state.

Ogunoye, who lauded the Nigerian army for the success recorded in the ongoing fight against insecurity and other criminal activities in the nation particularly in Ondo state and Owo environs, said it was highly commendable.

The performance of the Nigerian Army in curtailing security challenges in the country under the leadership  of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai is highly commendable.

“We will continue to support the military in order to further the course of peace and stability in the nation and Ondo State in  general,” he said.

The monarch, therefore, appreciated the COAS  for his doggedness and leadership quality,  particularly in tackling security challenges across the nation.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who presented the letter of appreciation for projecting the Nigerian Army in good light to the monarch, said Ogunoye had helped security agency to tackle criminality in the state.

Buratai, who was represented by Brig. Gen. Zakari Abubakar, Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade in Ondo State, promised that the Nigerian Army would not relent in carrying out their constitutional role of protecting  lives and property of citizens.

Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin has been a lead advocate in projecting the Nigerian army in good light, considering his high profile and high esteem.

“And for also providing credible information to the security agencies in the state to tackle crime in Owo community,” he said.

The top army officer, who said that troops had been deployed to some strategic areas in the state as Arimogija, Owo and Oba Akoko area, said that 24 suspects had been arrested so far within two weeks of operation in the area.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)

 

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Entertainment

Nigerian celebrities mourn late Majek Fashek

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Nigerian celebrities have taken to their social media platforms to mourn the death of Music Legend, Majekodunmi  Fasheke, a.k.a Majek Fashek.

Fashek’s a.k.a rain maker’s death  was  announced by his manager, Omenka Uzoma, through a short video on his instagram page.

Some of the celebrities include  Chibuzor Azubuike a.k.a phyno ,  Olanrewaju Fasasi, a.k.a Sound Sultan displayed the reggae artist pictures on their Instagram pages

Other  include Yomi Black, Bimbo Esho, actress Toyin Adegbola and Jude Okoye were not equally left out.

Phyno wrote: “Rest in peace, Legend.”

Sound Sultan had this on his page: “Rest in peace, power Majek.”

Yomi Black wrote:” Rest in peace, Majek Fashek.”

Also, Bimbo Esho, Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen Musical Company, mourned the late reggae maestro as she wrote ” Adieu Majek Fashek. May you journey well. The Rainmaker takes a final bow to the cold hands of death.

Actress Toyin Adegbola said “Rest in peace, Majek.”

Jude Okoye, Chief Executive Officer of Northside Music, also wrote: “Rest peacefully, my Legend.”

Fashek died June 1, at the age of 57, in a hospital in New York.

Fashek was a Nigerian singer, songwriter and guitarist, who was best known for his 1988 album ” Prisoner of Conscience”, which included the multiple award-winning single, “Send Down the Rain”.

Fashek, worked with various artists worldwide, including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg and Beyonce.

—–


Edited By: Muftau Adediran/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Foreign

Nigerian newspaper decries African American glass ceiling

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Blacks in the United States are unable to reach their full potential because of a glass ceiling created by whites, according to an article in a Nigerian national newspaper.

The article in This Day, under the title “The Mindless Murder of George Floyd,” asked, “Why are many blacks targeted in needless killings by the white cops? What crime have they committed? Is it a crime to be black? What happened to diversity and inclusiveness?”

African American George Floyd was killed after a white police kneeled on Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes until he stopped breathing.

In a video, the victim was heard saying “I can’t breathe” while three other police officers stood by.

The incident has triggered protests against racism in the United States, forcing curfews to be declared in several parts of the country.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat called on authorities in the United States to intensify their efforts to “ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.”

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

Nigerian Army Medical Corps gets new Acting Corps Commander

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The Nigerian Army Medical Corps gets a new Acting Corps Commander, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The handing and taking over ceremony was held on Monday at the Headquarters, Nigerian Army Medical Corps, Bonny Camp cantonment, Lagos.

The ceremony witnessed by Col. S. J. Adama, the outgoing Acting Corps Commander, who handed over to Col. I.B. Solebo.

The new Acting Corps Commander said that his vision was to have a highly regimented, professional and accountable Corps in the delivery of its services.

“You will agree with me that the amount of financial resources devoted to and already expended by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on healthcare infrastructure in our medical establishment is enormous.

“The Corps is unparalleled in the recent history of the Nigerian Army. As such, there is no gainsaying that to whom, much is given much is expected.

“By extension, performance, excellence and efficiency in the delivery of prompt and enviable healthcare to our officers, soldiers and their families is therefore not an exception, but the norm henceforth,” he said.

He said that regimentation was the bedrock of military indoctrination and panacea for victory at warfare and success in peacetime administration.

Solebo implored all personnel to reflect on the ethics, customs and tradition of the military and abide strictly by the rules therein, if we are to foster an enviable Corps for the future.

He urged all corps commanders to ensure that all military personnel in their various units engaged in physical activities as stipulated by the Nigerian Army to improve the performance at work.

According to him, to improve the performance at work, a physically fit body and mentally alert mind are essential.

“As such, all commanders are to ensure all military personnel of the Corps in their respective units actively participate in physical activities by way of morning physical training.

“And also evening games as stipulated by the NA except while on duty as the current COVID-19 pandemic settles.

“Participation in this activities are to be reflected in the PER’s of all personnel by their respective directors and commanders.

“All officers and soldiers of the Corps will also work to maintain their body mass index prescribed by the ASA.

“There would be special focus on health care deliver in the North East including the Reference hospital in the AOR.

“With the goal of reinforcing and bringing clinical, and surgical expertise closer to the location of injured amongst troops.

“Such that intervention is faster with the expected effect of further reduction in morbidity and mortality,” he said.

Solebo also said that all medical units would benefit from declaring their average drug usage on a monthly or quarterly basis.

According to him, drug availability on the NHIS in our hospitals and the scourge of fake drugs had become a topical issue.

“All medical units would benefit from declaring their average drug usage on a monthly or quarterly basis. This would aid budgeting and efficient use of primary funds including capitation and fee for service.

“A drive towards centralisation of drug procurement from a few validated sources would be urgently explored, whilst our drug manufacturing unit continue to explore capacity building and expansion to meet the drug consumption need of the NA,” he said.

Solebo, however, thanked the COAS for counting him worthy of steering the affairs of the Corps, saying that all his efforts would be channelled toward swiftly achieving the vision of the COAS.

He also thanked the outgoing Acting Corps Commander on the effort made to reposition the Corps thus far.

Present at the event include all Headquarters Directors, Commandants Nigerian Army School of Medical Science, Chief Medical Director 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Yaba.

The MD, Nigerian Army Drug Manufacturing Company Limited, the Ag Chief Medical Director Military Hospital Port Harcourt, Heads of Departments and Principal staff officers.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Defence/Security

Insecurity: Nigerian Army inaugurates ‘Operation Accord’

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The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), maintaining peace in Plateau and part of Kaduna and Bauchi States, on Monday inaugurated a special operation code name ‘Operation Accord.’

 

Inaugurating the operation in Gwantu, Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna state, Maj. Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, Commander of the Task Force, said the special operation aimed at address the spate of insecurity within its area of operation

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Operation Accord is an ongoing Defence Headquarters operation designed to neutralise and stem down banditry and other forms of insecurity in the North West and North Central zones of the country.

 

 

Okonkwo added that the operation was replicated by OPSH to block infiltration of fleeing bandits and militia groups into its area of operation.

 

He explained that the special operation aimed at identifying bandits and criminal hideouts, would last from till June 30.

 

The commander added that operation accord would facilitate the return of lasting peace within its area of operation, noting that it would also address all emerging security threats.

 

“Operation Accord is today being replicated for synergy of efforts in order to simultaneously conduct same operation within our area of operation from June 1 to 30.

 

“It will also identify bandits and criminal hideouts and neutralise them. The operation will be conducted concurrently with operation WHRL STROKE against banditry within North Central zone.

 

“It is aimed at facilitating the restoration of peace and security across our area of joint operation,” he said

 

Okonkwo assured members of the public that his men would be professional in carrying out the operation, adding that safety of lives and property would be prioritised.

 

“Let me assure members of the public that the military will professionally discharge it’s duties during the operation.

 

“Troops will observe rules of engagement and other best practices for the safety and security of civil populace,” he assured.

 

The Commander called on the general public to avail useful information to the military to enable it achieve the objectives of the operation

 

Okonkwo also cautioned his men against unprofessional practices, noting that one caught would be punished accordingly


Edited By: Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Education

COVID-19: Nigerian scientists working on preventive vaccines , call for assistance

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A group of scientists from different institutions in Nigeria coordinated by the Vice Chancellor, Precious Cornerstone University (PCU), Ibadan, Prof. Kola Oloke, has developed two potential vaccines that could prevent the Coronavirus disease currently ravaging the world.

This is contained  in a statement jointly signed on Monday by Oloke, the VC PCU and leaders of the team, Dr Oladipo  Kolawole, a Microbiologist, who specialises  in Medical Virology (Immunology and Bioinformatics) from Adeleke University, Ede.

Dr Ajayi Folorunsho, a Medical Physiologist with specialization in Pathophysiology from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, also signed the statement. 

The statement said that they were  spurred into action by the need to rise to the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to them, the research work has reached an advanced stage of animal trial experiment, which would help to establish the veracity and efficacy of the vaccines for the prevention of the dreaded disease. 

“We have worked extensively by exploring the SARS-CoV-2 genome from African countries to select the best possible potential vaccine candidates. 

“After trying out some selected processes of vaccine development, we have been able to choose the best potential vaccine candidates for the SARS-CoV -2 and they have made the possible latent vaccine constructs,”  the scientists revealed.  

The team pointed out that the research was a collaborative effort of a number of scientists from different institutions/disciplines.

“It was however carried out at the Genomics Research Hub of Helix Biogen Consult in Ogbomoso  and jointly funded by Trinity Immunoefficient Laboratory and Helix Biogen Consult owned by Dr Kolawole Oladipo,” the statement read. 

It stated that consequently, they have urged other researchers in Africa to rise up to the challenge offered by the period by coming up with more solutions.

It stressed that “The understanding of genetic diversity/variability of the SARS-CoV-2 in Africa, is a very urgent assignment.

“There is a need for African scientists to wake up and provide more solutions to the pandemic specific for Africans. 

“Therefore, this study was initiated to make significant scientific contributions to the development of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines”.

It further said as the team prepared for the animal trial experiment of the vaccine billed to commence any moment from now, the researchers expressed joy for the feat achieved.

“The findings from this research have shown the importance of multidisciplinary research efforts in healthcare. We are at the verge of something truly transformational in Nigeria and Africa and by extension, the world at large”

“We are  calling for financial assistance from the government and relevant stakeholders, so as to see the efforts through.

“In summary, the team has been able to construct two potential vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 , which should work in a much pretty way to protect the general populace against the novel COVID-19 , if it becomes successful in the animal trial experiments. 

“The animal experiment will help us to validate the constructed vaccine, evaluate its effectiveness and safety. 

“Therefore, we hereby call for support in various ways from non-governmental and governmental institutions to assist in the next steps of these novel vaccines development,” it stated.

Meanwhile, other key members of the team include Dr Onile Olugbenga, who specialises in Molecular Epidemiology and Immunology from Elizade University, Ondo State, Dr Ariyo Olumuyiwa Elijah, who specialises in Infectious and Tropical Diseases from Federal Medical Centre, Ido, Ekiti State.

Dr  Folusho Ajayi, who specialises in Microbial and Molecular Biotechnology from the Massasoit Community College, Brockton, United States, is also part of the research team as well as others not mentioned.


Edited By: Ifeyinwa Omowole (NAN)

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