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Nigeria’s Antetokounmpo to release ‘Coming to America’-inspired sneakers

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Nigerian-American basketball player, Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to release a limited edition of sneakers inspired by the iconic movie, ‘Coming to America’.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Antetokounmpo has had a good run in 2019 culminated by his MVP win in June where he gave an emotional tribute to his family.

Prior to his MVP win, in 2016–17, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in all five major statistical categories and became the first player in NBA history to finish a regular season in the top 20.

He received the ‘Most Improved Player’ award in 2017 and has received three All-Star selections, and led the Eastern Conference in voting in 2019.

His sneaker line tagged ‘Nike Zoom Freak 1′, which is in collaboration with Nike, is timely as fans of the 1988 classic are patiently waiting for the earlier announced sequel.

‘Coming To America’ is a comedy that follows Akeem Joffer (played by Eddie Murphy), the crown prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda, who travels to the United States in the hopes of finding a woman he can marry.

The designs are also being made in collaboration with Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the film and it’s upcoming sequel.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

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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Health

Buratai lays foundation for construction of Nigeria army reference hospital in Maiduguri

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS),Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday laid the foundation for construction of 200-bed-capacity Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Maiduguri.

Buratai said while commissioning the project that the establishment of the hospital would be of immense benefit, not only to the military, but also to the people of the Northeast.

He said that Nigerian army was committed to ensuring welfare of its personnel  and their families,  including families of deceased colleagues.

“We are gathered here today to give boost to our effort  by providing effective and efficient healthcare services to personnel, their families, as well as the  public within the northeast,”he said.

He explained that the evacuation of personnel  to military reference hospital in Kaduna had often resulted in loss of valuable time, especially in emergency cases, in addition to the stress the  patients went through during movement to access medical care.

“It is on this premise that the Nigerian Army decided to construct the 200 bed capacity hospital to provide tertiary level care to our troops ,as well as their families and the good people of the Northeast,” he said.

The COAS said that the hospital, when completed, would be adequately staffed and equipped to meet international standards..

“Let me use the medium to commend the officers and men of the Nigerian army for their gallantry in their various operations across the country.

“I must say that they have made remarkable progress in fight against ‘Boko Haram,’ISWAP, and other criminal elements in the country.

“I urged our gallant troops to keep it up and remain professional in performing our constitutional responsibilities,” he said.

The COAS urged relevant stakeholders to support the initiative to enable speedy completion of the projects.

Buratai commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his continued support to the Nigerian Army and Gov. Babagana  Zulum of Borno for approving  the land for siting of the project.

In his remarks,  Zulum said that establishment of the hospital would boost the health care requirements and welfare of troops and their families.

Represented by his Chief Of Staff, Alhaji Babagana Wakil,  Zulum said  the laudable project would not only meet the health needs of the troops but also that of members of the  public.

“It  will  also serve as a morale booster,as well as strengthen the civil-military relationship and add value to the development of the northeast,” he said.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (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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General news

Why illicit drug trade persists in Nigeria– Stakeholders

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Some stakeholders in  criminal justice administration have identified dearth of personnel in prosecuting agencies, unemployment, obsolete laws and compromise among security agents as factors responsible for the thriving illicit drug business.

The respondents told the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Monday in Ibadan that cases of illicit drug trade had continued to surface in courts in spite of frequent arrests, prosecutions and convictions by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

Mr Ayokunle Morakinyo, an NDLEA counsel, who had served as a prosecutor in many states of the federation, said that the agency lacks adequate human and material resources to execute its work properly.

He said that government had so many responsibilities that it was contending with, adding that this had made it difficult to meet all the needs of the NDLEA.

“Sometimes, we don’t have enough support to do a thorough job.

“When I was in Niger State as an NDLEA prosecutor, many people who were convicted and sentenced to years in prison soon went back into drug dealing after completing their jail terms.

“It is the same story when I got to Kebbi State, and the situation was the same when I was in Oyo State.

“In fact, some defendants who were granted bail also went back into drug trafficking and were arrested and arraigned for fresh offences when they had not been discharged from previous crimes.

“Unfortunately, state governments don’t seem to be interested in drug-related matters because they believe that the NDLEA, which is a Federal Government Agency, is there to handle it.

“There is also a psychological angle to the issue of drug dealing in Nigeria because some of the criminals feel that unless they buy and sell cannabis and the likes, they cannot survive.

“Socially, there is wide-spread unemployment where idle hands engage themselves in dealing in the  illicit trade,” he said.

The NDLEA counsel expressed worry that the situation might worsen if something urgent was not done to curtail the rising cases.

Mrs Oyinkansola Odebunmi, a counsellor and Founder of Oyin Counsel Concept in Ibadan, said drug trafficking was on the rise because the punishment attached to the commission of the crime remained light among other factors.

“This problem has also remained because some influential persons are out there encouraging the criminals.

“Another reason why drug dealing has persisted is that it is the only means of livelihood for some people and there must be a strong alternative before the dealers can stop peddling it,” Odebunmi said.

Also speaking, an Ibadan-based lawyer, Mr Stephen Raji, contended that some security operatives involved in investigating drug dealers sometimes compromise.

“I challenge you to watch court trials involving drug traffickers, you can hardly find big guys like barons being tried.

“The people you will find being made to face prosecution are ordinary smokers and sellers because the real dealers would have bribed their way through,” Raji said.

The legal practitioner called for a department to be established to supervise the day-to-day operation of NDLEA officers so as to forestall any compromise during arrest and investigation of suspects.

He also advocated regular training and retraining of the officers to boost human capacity development and productivity.

(
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
)

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Foreign

Nigerian military says scores of Boko Haram militants surrender

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Scores of Boko Haram militants, including senior commanders, have surrendered to government troops in northeast Nigeria, a military spokesman said on Monday.

The militants’ surrender came after the government’s sustained Operation Lafiya Dole offensive, John Enenche, the military spokesperson, confirmed to Xinhua in a statement.

Enenche did not give the exact number of Boko Harm militants who have surrendered.

Boko Haram has been trying to establish an Islamist state in northeastern Nigeria since 2009, extending its attacks to countries in the Lake Chad Basin, posing enormous security, humanitarian and governance challenges to countries including Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Niger.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

1st LD Writethru: Gunmen kill two senior officials in NW Nigeria

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Police in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Katsina said they have launched a manhunt for gunmen who shot dead a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the national ruling party, following a failed attempt to kidnap him.

Abdulhamid Sani, chairman of the Batsari local government area of the state, was shot dead on Sunday by the gunmen, believed to be bandits, state police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement early Monday.

The gunmen stormed the Batsari local government area of Katsina, where the 55-year-old Sani was a leader of the governing party, and began shooting sporadically with sophisticated weapons, Isah said.

Sani had resisted being kidnapped when he was shot dead by the gunmen, who later fled into a nearby forest, the spokesman said.

In a separate statement Monday, Gambo Isah said a group of gunmen, armed with AK 47 rifles, also attacked on late Sunday the residence of a district head in the Dan Musa local government area of Katsina.

Abu Atiku, the district head, was shot by the gunmen alongside his bodyguard during the attack, Isah said.

The bandits escaped later into a forest while the victims were taken to a local hospital. Atiku was confirmed dead while his bodyguard was admitted and responding to treatment. “Investigation is ongoing,” the state police spokesperson said.

The late district head is the second senior official killed by gunmen within the last 24 hours in the state.

Many people have been killed in northwestern Nigeria in recent months in a series of attacks by gunmen who also carried out robberies, kidnappings and cattle rustling.

Nigerian military has stepped up operation against gunmen groups in the northwest area, with scores of gunmen killed and their hideouts destroyed, according to recent statements from the defense headquarters.

(XINHUA)

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Banking

Global Finance 2020: Zenith Bank emerges best bank in Nigeria

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Zenith Bank Plc has emerged as the Best Bank in Nigeria in the recently released Global Finance Magazine World’s Best Banks Awards 2020.

The awards, published in the May 2020 edition of the Global Finance Magazine, was based on the performances of the banks in their respective regions and countries over the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019.

Global Finance’s “World’s Best Banks Awards” are recognised amongst the world’s most influential banking/finance and corporate professionals as the most coveted and credible awards in the banking industry.

Winners were chosen in more than 150 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Western Europe.

Founded in 1987, Global Finance regularly selects the top performers among banks and other providers of financial services and the awards have become a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, the bank’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, said in a statement on Monday that the award was a clear demonstration of the bank’s market leadership.

“This award is a clear demonstration of the bank’s market leadership, occasioned by our superior product offerings, best-in-class service and top-of-the-range technology which create value for our teeming customers.

“Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices.

“The bank, with a knack for setting the pace and raising benchmarks, is a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels,” Onyeagwu said.

Zenith Bank recently announced an impressive result for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019, with profit after tax of N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian Bank to cross the N200 billion mark.

Zenith Bank was ranked as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co.

The bank was also voted as Bank of the Year and Best Bank in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Nigerian troops kill 4 in airstrikes on gunmen camp

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Four gunmen were killed when the Nigerian military launched airstrikes to destroy a logistics warehouse of a “criminal gang” in the country’s northwest region, the military said on Monday.

In a statement reaching Xinhua in Abuja, the military said the weekend bombardment of the gunmen’s camp in the Birnin Kogo area of the northwestern state of Zamfara followed credible intelligence.

An attack aircraft that scrambled to engage the target had scored accurate hits on a large structure within the camp, used by the gunmen group to store their ammunition and other logistics items, the statement said.

The military said the warehouse went up in flames, as a result of its volatile contents, leading to its complete destruction.

According to the statement, the airstrikes were in continuation of the renewed onslaught against “criminal gangs” in parts of the Nigerian northwest and north-central regions where kidnapping and armed banditry, among other crimes, had become rampant.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Gunmen kill Nigeria’s ruling party official in failed kidnap attempt

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Police in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Katsina said they have launched a manhunt for gunmen who shot dead a leader of the All Progressives Congress, the national ruling party, following a failed attempt to kidnap him.

Abdulhamid Sani, a local government chairman of the APC in Katsina, was shot dead on Sunday by the gunmen, believed to be bandits, state police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement early Monday.

The gunmen stormed the Batsari local government area of Katsina, where the 55-year-old Sani was a leader of the governing party, and began shooting sporadically with sophisticated weapons, Isah said.

Sani had resisted being kidnapped when he was shot dead by the gunmen, the spokesman said.

The gunmen later fled into a nearby forest.

(XINHUA)

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