FRESH FM TOP NEWS THIS WEEK
Written by freshadmin3 on June 5, 2021
The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories captured in one shot. Find articles ranging from News, to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:
- Twitter Restricted After FG’s Order To Telecos
Telecoms operators in Nigeria have restricted Twitter in Nigeria, a day after the Federal government announced its indefinite suspension. Twitter users in the country woke up on Saturday encountering difficulty in accessing the microblogging websites while some navigated the hurdle using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), an industry group, confirmed it had received directives from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter. The President of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, made this known in a statement on Saturday. Mr Adebayo noted that the association had received formal instructions from NCC, the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter.
The Federal Government on Friday said it has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued by his office in Abuja.
The statement, signed by Ministry spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi, cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence. According to the statement, the Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately
commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria. The suspension comes days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s official account. The tweet had referenced the Nigerian civil war as the President threated to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”. It sparked reactions from many Nigerians who interpreted the statement as a threat to commit human rights violations.
- Reverse Unlawful Suspension Of Twitter And Suspend Plan To Gag Media – Amnesty Tells FG
Amnesty International has asked the Federal Government to reverse its decision to suspend the operations of the social media platform, Twitter, in Nigeria. In a
statement issued on Twitter, Amnesty International also urged the Federal Government to suspend plans to gag the media.
The tweet thread reads:
Amnesty International condemns the Nigerian government’s suspension of Twitter @Twitter in #Nigeria🇳🇬 — a social media widely used by Nigerians to exercise their human rights, including their rights to freedom of expression and access to information. #TwitterBan
— Amnesty International Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) June 4, 2021
We call on the #Nigerian authorities to immediately reverse the unlawful suspension and other plans to gag the media, repress the civic space, and undermine Nigerians’ human rights. #TwitterBan
- Twitter Deletes Buhari’s ‘In The Language They Understand’ Tweet
Twitter on Tuesday deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet where he threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”. Buhari made the threat after receiving security reports from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on the series of recent attacks on INEC facilities nationwide.
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigeria Civil War. “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” Buhari tweeted on Tuesday. The tweet by President Buhari sparked reactions
from many Nigerians who expressed displeasure and cited his reference to the civil war as a threat to commit human rights violations.
Former presidential candidate Kingsley Moghalu reacted on Wednesday saying “I think (your) language matters when you are a leader and when you are facing many crises because that language can be interpreted in many ways,” He accused Buhari of “bringing up evocations that are very unpleasant” but said the president should have
assured Nigerians that his government will continue to work to ensure the safety of lives and properties.
- Twitter’s Mission In Nigeria Is Suspicious – Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has taken a swipe at the US media giant, Twitter, saying its mission in Nigeria is suspicious. Mohammed’s comments came after Twitter deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet where he issued a threat to trouble makers in the country while making reference to Nigeria’s
civil war. While defending its action, the tech company said the President’s tweet violated its rules.
Addressing journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, Lai Mohammed accused Twitter of conveniently ignoring other inciting tweets and deleting that of President Buhari. He asked if Twitter which cited a violation of its rules had deleted violent tweets by Nnamdi
Kano and other Twitter users during the #EndSars protest.
President Buhari had during a meeting with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, issued a stern warning to those plotting to destroy Nigeria, saying they will soon receive the shock of their lives.
- Police Council Confirms Alkali As IGP, Almost Two Months After Appointment
The Police Council has confirmed Usman Alkali Baba as the Inspector General of Police (IGP), almost two months after President Muhammadu Buhari approved his appointment. Usman Alkali was confirmed on Friday during a meeting of the council in Abuja presided over by President Buhari.
The Minister of Police Affairs Maigari Dingyadi who confirmed the development in a briefing after the meeting quoted the Nigerian leader as urging the IGP to justify the confidence reposed on him by reducing the rising wave of insecurity in the country. Dingyadi had on April 6 announced President Buhari’s confirmation of Alkali as the replacement for Mohammed Adamu.
- 1999 Constitution must be reworked – Gbajabiamila
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has said the 1999 Constitution is being amended to address critical national issues the current document has failed to address. The Speaker said this on Tuesday at the opening of the zonal public hearing on amendment to the constitution in Lagos.
He noted that the current document falls short of these standards, explaining that this is “because the 1999 Constitution is the product of a hurried national compromise that we entered into two decades ago in order to ensure that the military returned to the barracks and that we returned to democratic government”. The Speaker said the National Assembly could only give Nigerians a people-oriented constitution after getting the inputs and support of the citizens.
Also, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said a national public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution will hold on June 3 and June 4 in Abuja. Lawan announced this on Tuesday at plenary while reading a letter addressed to him by the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee and Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege.
- Nigeria Senate Should be Scrapped to Reduce Cost of Governance – Gov. Akeredolu
Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Nigeria’s southwestern Ondo state is calling for a unicameral legislature for the country and the immediate scrapping of the senate. The country’s legislature is currently carrying out the process of amending the West African country’s 1999 Constitution.
According to Mr Akeredolu the lawmakers should only be engaged in legislative duties on a part time basis to reduce the cost of governance. The Governor stated this in Akure, the Ondo state capital on Tuesday during the South-West Zonal Public Hearing on the constitution review. He was represented by the state’s deputy governor,
Lucky Aiyedatiwa. According the Governor, “the position of the Ondo State Government has been made public. We advocate for a Federal Government largely reduced in size and scope of engagement. We want to see a Constitution that will enhance the performance of public office holders at all levels.
- Gov. Bello Asks Police Officers To Enforce Shoot-At-Sight Order
Zamfara State Governor, Bello Mohammed on Tuesday visited the Zamfara State Police Command, asking operatives to enforce the shoot-at-sight order issued by President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle the insecurity in the country. According to the governor, only those approved by law or the security agencies are to carry guns and other
sophisticated weapons noting that those found in unlawful possession of guns should be shot instantly.
In March, President Buhari directed security agencies to shoot anyone seen with AK-47 while ordering a clampdown on bandits. He had also on March 11 emphasised that security chiefs had received marching orders to go harder on criminals, including to shoot anyone found illegally with rifles. Matawalle said his administration is fully in support of the policies and programmes of President Buhari, especially in his bid to ensure the security of the lives and property of citizens.
- Southeast insecurity: ACF issues travel advisory
There was anxiety on Monday as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) issued a travel advisory to Northerners to shelve travelling to the Southeast, unless it is absolutely compulsory. The group said the advisory became necessary in view of the recent killings of innocent Nigerians, including Northerners in the Southeast, without provocation. ACF Chairman Chief Audu Ogbe said the ongoing crisis is reminiscent of the killings of Northern leaders in 1966, which triggered the chain of events that led to the three-year civil war.
Ogbe, former Agriculture minister and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), urged the Federal Government to arrest the killers of the former presidential adviser, Ahmed Gulak, who was shot dead in Owerri, the Imo State capital, last Sunday. The outcry over Gulak’s murder has continued as eminent Nigerians who expressed sadness over the violence urged the security agencies to investigate the killings and bring all the perpetrators to book.
The Northern Governors Forum described the assassination as most unfortunate and totally condemnable. Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, warned against insinuations and politicisation of the killing, saying that they could lead to violence. He added in a statement by his spokesman, Makut Macham, that a police report on the suspected killers should further be consolidated to enable relevant security agencies to forestall future occurrences.
- Customs CG, top officers to declare assets
Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the agency’s employees are to declare their assets as the Federal Government widens the scope of its anti-corruption war. It was learnt that asset declaration covers all cadres of staff in the Service.
The declared assets will be verified by any agency mandated by the government to do so. The date for the commencement of asset declaration by customs officers has not been fixed. But, officers will disclose their assets under the same law applicable to bank workers. Any customs officer found living above his income risks 10 years in jail. The regulations are in the Bank Employees, etc (Declaration of Assets) Act 1986, which was obtained by newsmen.
Also, customs officers are liable to additional 10-year jail terms, if he forges, falsifies or alters any document relating to importation, or exportation of goods, products or any article. President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to issue an instrument on the NSC.
- Ekiti suspends minimum wage, slashes salaries of appointees
As part of measure of navigating through the emergent financial challenges, the Ekiti State Government has cut down the salaries of Governor Kayode Fayemi and his political appointees as well as that of workers on GL 07 to GL 12. The State Government approved the new measures after reaching an agreement with the leadership of the Organised Labour following series of meetings on the latest state of finance occasioned by a shortfall in the allocations from the Federation Account.
An agreement to that effect was sealed and signed by the representatives of the government and leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) in Ado Ekiti on Friday. Consequent upon the agreement, Governor Kayode Fayemi, political office holders and other top government functionaries are to make a sacrifice of 25 per cent reduction in their monthly salaries for three months effective from May to July 2021. The consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage approved by the state government for officers on Grade Level 07 to Grade Level 12 would also be put on hold for three months effective from May to July 2021.
- FEC approves N18b for Kano, Calabar Free Trade Zone
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N18.1 billion for the development of infrastructure at the nation’s free trade and economic zones. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced this on Wednesday, while addressing state house correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting in Abuja.
Mohammed said the affected zones include the Kano and Calabar free trade zones, as well as the textile and garment park and the special economic zone in Lagos. He said the approval was of critical importance to the infrastructure development plan of the country. FEC also approved N9.24 billion as premium for insurance firms that will manage federal civil servants group life insurance in the country. The group life insurance is a joint regulation of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and National Pension Commission (PenCom).
- ‘10% cassava flour in bread’ll reduce wheat import’
The Federal Government on Tuesday said the policy of 10 per cent of cassava flour in bread and other confectionery would reduce wheat importation while the demand for cassava would have positive effect on the economy. The government stated that the policy has huge potential to generate massive employment, save billions of naira on
wheat import, provide huge foreign exchange (forex), and create wealth for average Nigerians and eliminate hunger.
Speaking in Ibadan at the capacity building development for master bakers on the use of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) for baking bread and other confectioneries, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs Karima Babangida, noted that the 10 per cent cassava inclusion was to guarantee acceptability and market sustainability across the nation to address the challenges. According to her, the agriculture policy put in place by the government is poised to building agribusiness ecosystem that would address challenges in agricultural sector in partnership with stakeholders to achieve export substitution, job creation, and diversification.
- Toll likely to return on federal highways
The Federal Government on Tuesday said tolling will soon return to the highways after their concessioning. The Federal government noted that 75 companies have submitted concession bids for 12 highways under the first phase of the Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI).
Head of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mrs Abimbola Asein, said the roads are Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Onitsha- Aba-Owerri, Shagamu-Benin, Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga, Kano-Maiduguri, Kano-Katsina, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Abeokuta and Lagos-Badagry. Asein said the HDMI was designed to attract investment and funding.
The ministry, she said, was working with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and other stakeholders on the initiative.
- Senate directs DPR to clamp down on cooking gas retailers
The Senate on Tuesday urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to clamp down on illegal roadside retailers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), popularly called cooking gas. It said such retailers should include those who either “operate without a valid licence or who operate within residential areas, or licensed plants who
lack basic and standard minimum requirements like fire extinguishers and detectors, water sprinkler, temperature gauge, pressure and volume measuring equipment, among others”.
The Senate also mandated its committees on Gas, and Industries to investigate the causes of the recent cases of gas explosions in Ogun State, 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to find solutions that would save lives, and report to the Senate. It called on the Federal and state Fire Services to enforce the mandatory use of fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and other safety equipment, in homes and places of work.
The upper chamber urged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), DPR, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and gas marketers and highly inflammable products to embark on aggressive, consistent sensitisation and awareness campaigns on safe ways of using gas cylinders and other inflammable materials to save lives.
- Uzodinma Accuses Opposition, Aggrieved APC Members Of Fueling Insecurity
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo has accused the opposition and aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of fueling the rising levels of insecurity in the
southeast state. The governor made the comment on Thursday when he inaugurated a security council at the grassroots level to proffer solutions to the state’s security
While calling on traditional rulers to help in the fight against insecurity, the Imo leader urged them to fish out criminals in their domains. Governor Uzodinma told the security council to go beyond organising vigilante groups in the state to gathering intelligence.
- Imo PDP Calls for Uzodinma’s resignation
Tension has heightened in Imo State following series of attacks on security formations and killings in the southeast state. A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Gulak was killed by gunmen on Sunday, becoming the latest high-profile casualty in the insecurity that has enveloped Imo State.
Members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) have been accused of masterminding the assaults but the group has repeatedly denied any involvement in the troubles facing the area.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had in the wake of the worsening security situation, asked Governor Uzodinma to resign, arguing that he (Uzodinma) has failed to secure the lives and property of the Imo people. The PDP leader noted that emerging developments suggest that the governor has no answer to the spate of killings in the state.
- APC Mourns Gulak, Calls For National Unity To Fight Crimes
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday mourned the death of an APC chieftain in Imo State, Ahmed Gulak, calling for national unity to fight crimes. APC in a statement by the National Secretary Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Senator John James Akpanudoedehe expressed shock over the killing of
the APC chieftain. The party described the late chieftain as a shining political leader and patriot.
The late Gulak died on Sunday morning after gunmen attacked a Toyota Camry cab conveying him and two others while on their way to the Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri to catch a flight. According to the police, the late APC chieftain left his hotel without informing the command and other security agencies in view of the fragile security situation in the South East, and Imo in particular. “The APC called for national unity to fight crimes in the country and urged relevant security agencies to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to track down and swiftly bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.
- Despite Attacks In South-East, INEC Vows To Conduct Anambra Gov Election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has vowed to conduct the Anambra governorship election despite the recent attacks on its facilities in the region. The Anambra governorship election is scheduled to hold on November 6, 2021, but the South-East has been a hotbed of insecurity with gunmen attacking police facilities,
burning INEC buildings, and destroying electoral materials.
Despite this, the Commission said it is engaging relevant stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the violence and also proceed with the election. This was disclosed by the National Commissioner of the Commission, Adekunle Ogunmola after a strategic meeting in Lagos, on Monday.
Top officials INEC across the country had earlier gathered in Lagos to brainstorm on how to better conduct free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria. The electoral body said it is working on a strategic plan and strategic program of action for 2022-2026. It noted that the event is aimed at repairing and strategizing ahead of the
- COVID-19: Nigeria to build N5.6 billion oxygen plants in 36 states, FCT
The Nigerian government has awarded the contracts for the construction of oxygen plant houses, installation and maintenance of oxygen production plants across the 36
states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Abuja. The project, which was awarded at a total sum of N5.6 billion, was approved at the Federal
Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday. The meeting was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
While briefing the state house correspondents shortly after the meeting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the decision was part of the administration’s efforts towards addressing the biting challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. He said COVID-19 has made oxygen a very critical commodity, and
that the best way to address such was to make it available to save the people of the pandemic.
- Resident doctors threaten resumption of strike, allege unpaid salaries
The National Association of Resident Doctors has threatened to resume its suspended nationwide strike. The association, which suspended its strike on April 10, 2021,
has given both federal and state governments two weeks to address issues bordering on the welfare of its members across the country or face another industrial dispute.
It expressed concern particularly over the conditions of its members in Abia and Imo states, who were being owed 21 and seven months salary arrears respectively.
The National President of the association, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, disclosed this in a communiqué issued after its 41st Ordinary General Meeting in Anambra State. Okhuaihesuyi lamented the hardship his members under Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System platform had suffered over delayed payment for over four months, urging government to expedite action towards migrating members to Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system.
- Obaseki Flags Off COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccination In Edo
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki on Tuesday flagged off his state’s second dose vaccination exercise against coronavirus disease, urging those who took the
first dose to make themselves available for the booster dose meant to provide full protection against the virus.
Governor Obaseki flagged off the exercise at the State Secretariat Complex, along Sapele Road, Benin City. Obaseki said the second dose is a booster dose which wil provide full protection against the coronavirus disease, adding: “The flag off is important to create awareness in the state and boost public confidence in the safety
and efficiency of the vaccines.”
- Senate passes bill abolishing HND/BSc dichotomy
The Senate, on Wednesday, read for the third time and passed a Bill that seeks to end discrimination between First Degrees graduates from universities and Higher National Diploma (HND) holders from polytechnics in the country. This follows the consideration of the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public
Service Matters; and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, during plenary.
Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, in his report, said: “The enactment of the bill to abolish and prohibit discrimination between First Degrees and Higher National Diploma for the purpose of employment in Nigeria will no doubt free holders of HND from stagnation and ensure balanced treatment with their
counterparts from other higher tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”
He added that the abolishment of the existing dichotomy between HND holders and graduates of Universities would meet the huge manpower needs of Nigerians, ensure social justice and enhanced corporate governance as well encourage patriotic contributions amongst HND employees in both public and private sectors. Senate President,
Ahmad Lawan, in his contribution, said the passage of the Bill would serve as motivation for polytechnic graduates.
- Gov. Makinde Announces 25% Reduction In LAUTECH Fees
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has announced a 25 percent reduction in the tuition fees payable by students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH). The governor made the announcement on Tuesday during an interaction with the students in Ogbomoso. While making the announcement, the governor said the
reduction would cut across all students irrespective of their statuses and indigenity.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa. He quoted Makinde as saying that he was thankful to the students for according him a warm reception despite the impromptu nature of his visit. He also stated that he was happy to fulfill the promise of securing the sole ownership of
LAUTECH for Oyo State.
The governor also inaugurated a High Dependency Unit of the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital and said that his administration would construct a befitting flyover in Ogbomoso. He also reassured the re-engaged 170 staff of the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital who were relieved of their employment by the previous administration that the current
government will pay their five months salary arrears.
- JAMB gives candidates two weeks to sort registration hassles
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has given two weeks’ extension to candidates genuinely unable to complete their registration for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). The deadline for registration was May 29, 2021.
A statement by JAMB’s head of information and protocol, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, noted that such candidates have between May 31 and June 15 to complete their registration if they were not able to by last Saturday because of NIN verification issues using a new guideline. The board noted that registration for the UTME is still not
possible without the National Identification Number while warning candidates against double registration.
- NECO Registrar, Godswill Obioma dies in Minna
The Registrar/Chief Executive, National Examinations Council, Professor God wills Obioma is dead. He was said to have slumped in his bedroom in Minna, Niger State on Monday after an official trip to Abuja and rushed by his wife and other relatives back to National Hospital, Abuja where he eventually gave up the ghost.
Late Obioma was the 7th Registrar of the Council. Circumstances surrounding his demise are still unknown but assassination as being rumoured is ruled out.
- ‘Let The Spirit Of NYSC Live In Us,’ – NYSC DG
The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has called on Nigerians to shun division and embrace unity by letting
the spirit of NYSC live in them. Speaking during an interview on Wednesday the NYSC DG said Nigerians should dwell on their experience in NYSC orientation camps where
they lived together in unity with fellow corps from various tribes.
” We have no other country except Nigeria. We must be patriotic, put our hands together and see how we can move the country forward. Let the spirit of NYSC live in us. If there’s no NYSC what would have happened to our country? There’s no country without its challenges. Over 5 million people have passed through the service year,” he said. The NYSC boss also noted that the NYSC oath and pledge to unity is binding not only during the service year and appealed for Nigerians to allow peaceful co- existence.
- Facebook Bans Trump For Two Years
Facebook on Friday set its ban on former US president Donald Trump for two years, saying he deserved the maximum punishment for violating platform rules over a deadly attack by his supporters on the US Capitol.
The two-year ban will be effective from January 7, when Trump was booted off the platform, and comes after Facebook’s independent oversight board said the indefinite ban should be reviewed.
In updating its policies, Facebook also said it will no longer give politicians blanket immunity for deceptive or abusive content at the social network based on their comments being newsworthy. At the end of Trump’s two-year ban, Facebook will enlist experts to assess whether his activity at the social network still threatens public safety, according to Clegg.
- Isaac Herzog Elected As Israel’s 11th President
Israel elected the even-keeled Labor veteran Isaac Herzog as its 11th president Wednesday, a parliamentary vote that coincidentally fell as opposition lawmakers scrambled to forge a coalition to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu. Herzog, 60, beat former headmistress Miriam Peretz to replace President Reuven Rivlin, who was elected in 2014 to the largely ceremonial position.
Wednesday’s presidential vote came as Israeli politicians from across the spectrum were holding 11th-hour negotiations to cobble together a new administration aimed at ending Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 12 straight years in office.
- China Allows Couples To Have Three Children
China on Monday relaxed its two-child policy to allow couples to have three children, a shift aimed at tackling an aging society. In 1979, China imposed a policy forcing couples to have only one baby, introduced by top leader Deng Xiaoping to curb population growth and boost economic development. The decades under this family planning move led to the under-reporting of female births, as well as a high rate of abortions of female foetuses, skewing the sex ratio.
Despite concerns about demographic imbalance, Chinese leaders hesitated to simply abolish the one-child policy. Instead, since 2013, they loosened the single child rule and allowed couples where one was an only child to have a second offspring. But only 1.45 million couples, or below 15 percent of those eligible, applied to have a second child as of May 2015. Since 2016, Beijing allowed families to have two children as fears mushroomed about China’s shrinking workforce.
But experts warned there would be no quick fix to the demographic challenges after strict and sometimes brutal enforcement of the single child policy. Meanwhile, the number of people aged between 15 and 59 dropped nearly seven percentage points, while those over 60 was up more than five percentage points. On Monday, in a meeting of
China’s elite Politburo leadership committee hosted by President Xi Jinping, officials relaxed the childbirth policy further to let parents have three children.
- Japan Births Hit New Record Low In Pandemic
The number of babies born in Japan hit a new record low last year, official data showed, highlighting concern over the pandemic’s impact on one of the world’s lowest fertility rates. In 2020, the greying country saw 840,832 births, according to data released Thursday by the health and labour ministry.
Politicians have expressed concern that the population of the world’s third-largest economy is shrinking faster than ever, with couples hesitant to reproduce as the pandemic fuels financial instability and fears over hospital trips. A declining number of births is a common trend among rich nations, and Japan has long been searching for ways to encourage a baby boom.
- Ecowas suspends Mali over second coup in 9 months
West African leaders suspended Mali from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) at an extraordinary summit Sunday, but stopped short of re-imposing sanctions, after a second military coup in nine months. Ten regional heads of state and three foreign ministers attended the summit in the Ghanaian capital Accra, with former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan serving as mediator in the crisis.
“The suspension from Ecowas takes immediate effect until the deadline of the end of February 2022 when they are supposed to hand over to a democratically elected government,” Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said after the meeting. The final declaration called for the immediate appointment of a new civilian prime minister and the formation of an “inclusive” government. In a statement, Ecowas also reiterated that “the head of the transition, the vice-president and the prime minister of the transition must under no circumstances be a candidate for the future presidential election”.
Mali’s new president, Colonel Assimi Goita who was the nation’s vice-president until Friday had arrived in the Ghanaian capital Accra on Saturday for preliminary talks. Goita led the young army officers who overthrew Mali’s elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last August over perceived corruption and his failure to quell a bloody jihadist insurgency. Mali’s constitutional court completed Goita’s rise to full power on Friday by naming him transitional president. Mali is among the world’s poorest countries, and the previous Ecowas sanctions hit hard.
- African Union suspends Mali after military coup and threatens sanctions
The African Union has suspended Mali’s membership in response to last week’s military coup and threatened sanctions if a civilian-led government is not restored, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The military arrested interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane last week and pressured them to resign, derailing a
transition to democratic elections after another military coup last August ousted the previous administration. Former vice president Assimi Goita, a colonel who led the August coup and last week’s revolt, was declared president on Friday.
The African Union called for “an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition … failing which, the Council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions,” the AU’s Peace and Security Council said. Mali’s neighbours and international powers fear the latest revolt will jeopardise a commitment to hold a presidential election in February, and undermine a regional fight against Islamist militants, some of which are based in Mali’s desert north.
- WHO Approves China’s Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine
The World Health Organization on Tuesday approved the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use — the second Chinese jab to receive the WHO’s green light. The UN health agency signed off on the two-dose vaccine, which is already being deployed in several countries around the world.
The move gives countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities “assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing”. Last month Sinopharm became the first Chinese vaccine to be approved by the WHO. The organisation has also given emergency use listing to vaccines being made by
Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the AstraZeneca jab being produced in India, South Korea and the EU, which it counts separately.
- Anerood Jugnauth, Former Mauritius Leader, Dies At 91
The former prime minister of Mauritius, Anerood Jugnauth, who is credited with steering the island nation’s economic transformation as its longest-serving leader, had died aged 91, the country’s president said. “It is with deep sadness and greater regret that we announce the death of Sir Anerood Jugnauth on June 3 as a result of
illness,” President Prithviraj Roopun announced Thursday evening.
His funeral and cremation will be held Saturday. Two days of mourning has been declared, with the nation’s flag lowered to half-maston all public buildings. In the years under his rule, Mauritius developed from a poor, agriculture-based economy into one of Africa’s richest countries, a miracle often attributed to Jugnauth.
- Biden Vows To ‘Fill The Silence’ Over 1921 Massacre Of African Americans
US President Joe Biden on Tuesday honored the forgotten victims of a 1921 massacre in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the worst episodes of racist violence in US history. Biden was in Tulsa to mark the 100th anniversary of the violence, which began after a group of Black men went to the local courthouse to defend a young African American man accused of assaulting a white woman.
The next day, at dawn, white men looted and burned the neighborhood, at the time so prosperous it was called Black Wall Street. As many as 300 African American residents lost their lives. A century later, Biden said, Black Americans’ “sacred rights” to vote are under “assault with incredible intensity like I’ve never seen.” Beyond financial compensation, city residents are counting on Biden’s visit to bring more attention to a tragedy that long remained taboo.
- Genevieve Nnaji: I’m honoured to reenact one of Fela’s Kalakuta queens
This is an artful retelling of Fela’s story and I’m honored to be a part of it,” Genevieve Nnaji recently expressed after she was announced as one of the casts of Fela
Ten-Twenty, an audio adaptation of Broadway musical ‘FELA!’. It would also be her first gig in radio plays.
Nnaji, in a statement to CNN, revealed what sold the radio play to her saying, “The contemporary issues highlighted… are what sold me. I grew up on radio plays and the
experience is nostalgic for me – the power of voice to influence minds and touch hearts is undeniable.”
She will play the role of one of the late Fela’s dancers known as the ‘Kalakuta Queens,’ in Fela Ten-Twenty. Fela famously married all 27 women in a single ceremony in 1978. The radio play, Fela Ten-Twenty, was directed by Funa Maduka. The audio adaptation of the Broadway musical ‘FELA!’ premiered last weekend on the Clubhouse app.
The production highlights the struggles of Nigerian music star and Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Anikulapo Kuti who was an outspoken critic of Nigeria’s military regimes and was frequently arrested for his troubles.
- Rema splashes 11m on new VVS diamond grill
Singer Divine Ikubor aka Rema has spent N 11m to acquire a new set of VVS diamond grills. The Jonzing World signee, who recently named his genre of music “Afrorave” with the intent to globalise and take Afrobeat to the next level, revealed this on social media.
Rema, who is currently in the US, shared photos of himself wearing his very expensive acquisition on his teeth and the artist responsible for its sale and installation. He posted: 11 Million Naira on that VVS Grill @johnnydangandco did that!”
- Gabriel Eziashi features Onyeka Onwenu in “Woman (Nwanyi Bu Ngozi)”
US-based music boss, Gabriel Eziashi, has teamed up with iconic Onyeka Onwenu on this evergreen hit single and its visuals titled “Woman (Nwanyi Bu Ngozi)”. Gabriel and Onyeka said the song is for all women all over the globe with its title “Woman, Nwanyi Bu Ngozi” interpreted as “A woman is a blessing and not a curse, nor an object or property as some would call or treat them. They further stated women are to be respected, cherished and honoured in their own rights. The song was produced by Teekay Witty and its video directed by Mr. Shabz.
Gabriel has been involved in the Africa, UK and USA gospel music scene for over 20 years. He has collaborated and shared the same platform with several world-renowned gospel ministers including Helen Baylor, Donnie McClurkin, Muyiwa of Riversongz, Yolanda Brown (double MOBO Award (Best Jazz) winner, Bishop John Francis, Tasha Cobbs,
Tye Trybett, Cece Winans, Mike Aremu and a host of other legendary gospel artists.
- Real Madrid Announce Ancelotti As New Coach
Carlo Ancelotti will return to Real Madrid as coach for the next three seasons, the Spanish club said Tuesday following last week’s resignation of Zinedine Zidane. The 61-year-old Italian, who won the Champions League for Real Madrid during his first spell at the club between 2013 and 2015, will sign his new deal and be presented to
the media on Wednesday, the club said in a statement. Ancelotti joined Everton in December 2019 and thanked the English club ands its fans “for their tremendous support.
Real won the Champions League three times under Zidane but ended the 2020-21 campaign without a trophy having finished second in La Liga behind city rivals Atletico Madrid. The Spanish giants also lost to eventual winners Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals. It was the first time that the 13-time European champions had failed to win a trophy in 11 seasons.
- Chelsea Rewards Tuchel With New Contract After Champions League Exploits
Chelsea rewarded Thomas Tuchel for winning the Champions League in his first five months in charge with a new contract to 2024 on Friday. The German joined in January with the Blues languishing in ninth in the Premier League. Tuchel was unceremoniously sacked by Paris Saint-Germain in December despite winning two Ligue 1 titles in his first two seasons in charge and leading the French giants to their first-ever Champions League final in 2020.
The 47-year-old was handed just an 18-month deal when he arrived in London, but his success in guiding Chelsea to a second European Cup triggered a clause in his initial contract for an extension.
- Argentina Suspended From Hosting COPA America
Argentina’s hosting of the Copa America football tournament has been suspended “in view of the current circumstances,” CONMEBOL said on Sunday, as the country endures a record coronavirus surge. The South American football body, which last week stripped Colombia of co-hosting duties over deadly unrest, said it was considering other offers to hold the tournament. The Copa America was originally due to take place last year, but was postponed for 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Less than two weeks before Copa America’s scheduled start, Argentina is under a nine-day lockdown and experiencing record daily infections. The Fernandez administration was hoping that the lockdown that began on May 22 would flatten the curve of infections ahead of the sports event. A survey conducted by pollsters Poliarquia among a representative sample of 1,274 city-dwelling adults, found that 70 percent believe the country should withdraw. Only 20 percent believed the championship should continue on Argentine soil, and 10 percent were undecided.
- Osaka Withdraws From French Open After Bitter Row
Naomi Osaka said Monday she was withdrawing from the French Open following the bitter fall-out from her decision to boycott all media activity at the Grand Slam event, revealing she has “suffered long bouts of depression” and will now “take some time away from the court”. The 23-year-old Japanese star was fined $15,000 on Sunday and
threatened with disqualification after she refused to carry out a mandatory news conference following her first round win.
“The best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” the world number two wrote on Twitter. “The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
She added: “In Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. Osaka said she has also apologised to organisers over the affair which has dominated the early stages of the French Open ever since she warned last week that she would not carry out any media activity.
- Mancini Names Italy’s 23-Man Squad For Euros
Coach Roberto Mancini unveiled his 26-man squad at the midnight June 1 deadline set by UEFA ahead of the June 11-July 11 tournament. Midfield pair Marco Verratti and Stefano Sensi were both included in Italy’s squad for Euro 2020 named late Tuesday despite recent injuries.
There was also a surprise inclusion of Sassuolo forward Giacomo Raspadori, 21, who has not yet played for the senior national side. Veteran Juventus defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci are also included, with Atalanta’s Rafael Toloi preferred to Roma’s Gianluca Mancini.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the Azzurri are looking for redemption in a tournament they won in 1968. They kick off on June 11 against Turkey in Group A in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, where they will also play Switzerland and Wales.
- Abductors Of Niger Students Demand ₦110m Ransom, Threaten To Kill them
Abductors of the over 136 students and staff of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, in the Rafi local government area of Niger State are demanding the sum of ₦110 million as a ransom for the safe release of the victims. They threatened to kill the victims should the school or their parents fail to meet their demands by midnight
of Tuesday this week.
The Head Teacher of the school, Abubakar Alhassan disclosed this to journalists on Tuesday, saying contrary to their expectation, the bandits claimed they have a total of 156 people with them made up of pupils and staff. He said the management of the school has contacted the state government on the latest development but that the government is insisting on not paying ransom to the bandits. This comes two days after bandits invaded Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school, a conventional Islamic school, and abducted many students including staff, killing one person and injuring one other person.
- Gunmen kill Ortom’s aide in Jos
Gunmen shot dead the Senior Special Assistant to Benue Governor Samuel Ortom on Security, AIG Christopher Dega (Rtd) in Jos, Plateau State Capital. Newsmen learnt he was shot in the chest several times by gunmen on Tuesday.
AIG Dega had a brilliant career in the Nigerian Police Force and was twice Commissioner of Police in Borno and Edo States. He hailed from Katsina Ala local government area in Benue state .
- Niger Govt Bans Commercial Motorcycles In Minna After Students’ Abduction
The Niger State Government has banned commercial motorcycles from operating in Minna, adding that the ban was proactive steps to protect the city and government seat from bandits. Ahmed Ketso, the Deputy Governor disclosed on Wednesday while briefing Journalists, a week after gunmen abducted 136 pupils from an Islamic school in
He also reiterated the state government’s commitment to rescuing the schoolchildren, noting that negotiations with the abductors were ongoing. According to Ketso, the negotiation was not about the payment of ransom but on how to secure the release of the pupils unhurt. He said the government is also aware that the bandits are demanding ransom from parents of the pupils, adding that government is however not involved in such negotiation.