- Black American Billionaire Offers to Pay for Chibok Girls’ Education
African American billionaire, Mr. Robert Smith, who is currently sponsoring 24 of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls that immediately escaped from captivity, at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, Adamawa State, has offered to also educate the 21 other girls who were freed last October by the Boko Haram terror sect.
Revealing this yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aide, Mr. Garba Shehu, equally said that 21 Chibok girls were being treated as adoptees of the federal government, but disclosed that there was a lot of local and international interest in the future plans for the girls.
He said: “A black American billionaire, Mr. Robert Smith who is currently sponsoring the education of 24 girls from Chibok, among them the first set of escapees from Boko Haram, at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, has offered to pay for the education of the 21 girls released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free.”
“The Murtala Mohammed Foundation in the country is equally interested,” he hinted.
Responding to complaints by the families of the 21 Chibok girls that officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) had not allowed the girls to visit them at their homes in Chibok on Christmas Day, Shehu admitted that there were some hitches arising from a lack of understanding of the objective of the trip on the part of some security operatives.
However, following the receipt of the complaint, he said a directive had been given from the headquarters of the DSS for the access by the parents to be eased.
“If the situation persists, please let us know so that the higher authorities will make a further intercession,” he said.
The families of the 21 Chibok girls freed by Islamist group Boko Haram had said yesterday that they the girls were being closely guarded and were not allowed home for Christmas.
Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in April 2014, but freed 21 of them in October after negotiations with the Red Cross.
The freed girls have been in the federal government’s custody since their release but were brought home to Chibok for Christmas.
But family members told the BBC that the girls were kept in a politician’s house and barred from going home.
They were also prevented from attending church services with their families.
The girls were taken to the house of an assembly member in Chibok to be reunited with their parents but were not allowed to go to their own homes.
“I can’t believe my daughter has come this close to home but can’t come home,” said one father.
“There’s no point bringing them to Chibok only to be locked in another prison. They couldn’t even go to church on Christmas Day.”
Since their release, the young women have been kept in a secret location in Abuja for government debriefing.
Another said a soldier had confiscated his phone when he tried to take a picture of his daughter.
He said: “I snapped a picture of myself and my daughter but the security guys came and grabbed me by shoulder and snatched the phone from my hands and told me to delete all the picture I took.
“I told him I’m taking a picture with my daughter who was away for more than two years. He said to me that’s not his business, he deleted all the pictures including other pictures that were not taken there.”
One mother said: “I can’t believe my eyes that now my daughter cannot come home. How can I be happy when they don’t have freedom?”
A statement from the office of state governor, Kashim Shettima acknowledged yesterday that “armed soldiers… escorted the 21 girls to Chibok and remained their strict guards throughout the Christmas”.
Speaking earlier this week, one of the girls told Reuters news agency it was a “miracle” that she was home and she was looking forward to church on Christmas Day.
“I never knew that I would return (home),” she said simply. “I had given up hope of ever going home.”
Of the 276 students kidnapped, 197 are still reportedly missing, and negotiations for their release are under way.
Many of the Chibok girls were Christian, but were ordered to convert to Islam and to marry their kidnappers during their time in captivity.
Ms. Goni said some were whipped for refusing to marry, but otherwise they were well treated and fed until food supplies recently ran short.
The Chibok girls were first reunited with their parents in Abuja.
Meanwhile, the Borno governor spent the whole of yesterday, Boxing Day, in Chibok town.
A statement by his media aide, Mr. Aliyu Gusau said that while in Chibok, Shettima met the 21 schoolgirls freed by the Boko Haram in October.
Gusau said after the governor took off by road from Maiduguri early yesterday, after which he hosted the girls at a government building in Chibok.
Shettima, he added, was accompanied by Senator Majority Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, who represents Borno South where Chibok is located.
“The girls were very excited meeting Shettima again after they had met him in Abuja days after their release from Boko Haram captivity.
“The girls were happy that they presented a gift of a medium sized photo frame with a bold ‘Thank you’ printed on it.
“The frame has the picture that the governor took with the girls when he visited them in Abuja some months back. It also has individual pictures of each of the 21 girls.
“Glory Dama, one of the 21 girls, presented the photo frame on behalf of her colleagues. She said they deeply appreciated the show of love by Governor Shettima and his wife, Nana.
“The governor’s wife has visited them countless times in Abuja and whenever she visits, she demands to know their needs and she met them all, Dama said during the presentation,” the statement added.
It noted that the governor informed the girls that with their cheerful mood, the next concern had to be their future.
“As you know, 56 of your colleagues who escaped abduction are currently in two international schools where they have been since 2014. We are taking care of all their educational needs, from school fees to other basics.
“Left to me, I would want the 21 of you to join them in those two schools so that you can all feel at home and move on. However, the federal government has a plan, which we will jointly discuss and come up with a decision that is acceptable to you our daughters.
“President Muhammadu Buhari loves you so much and he is deeply concerned about our daughters that are yet to be freed. He is working on that and we are all working,” Shettima was quoted as informing the girls.
Shettima also announced the appointment of Yakubu Nkeki, the chairman of an association of the Chibok schoolgirls’ parents as councillor of the Mbalala ward in Chibok Local Government Area.
“We appointed Yakubu Nkeki as councillor for him to have a formal platform to continue his advocacy for the welfare of families of the missing Chibok girls, for him to ensure that they are given special consideration at all times by the local government area on all issues, particularly on welfare, on issues of health, empowerment, etc.
“Nkeki will also serve as a constant reminder to the council that there are parents like him who live in pain. He is simply there to advocate for the welfare of the parents and also as someone who has been a victim, he will stand by the efforts of government to protect schools through community surveillance in addition to formal security establishments,” Shettima said.
The governor also consoled parents whose daughters were yet to be freed, promising that all hands were on deck to ensure the return of all the girls. “I will be meeting the parents tomorrow (today),” he said.
Shettima presented clothes to the girls and their parents. The governor had previously donated clothes to the girls in Abuja.
After his visit to Chibok, Shettima drove to Askira town where he passed the night and is scheduled to return to Chibok today for meetings with community leaders and separate meetings with parents whose schoolgirls were yet to be released and those of the 21 girls freed in October.
Askira where Shettima slept, was attacked by the insurgents in 2014 forcing residents including the emir to flee to Maiduguri.
The emir returned some months back after his palace was rebuilt by Shettima. Hundreds of residents returned with the emir.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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