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Black American Billionaire Offers to Pay for Chibok Girls’ Education

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Robert Smith
  • 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.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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donald-trump

In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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