FRESH FM TOP NEWS THIS WEEK

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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:

NEWS

  • Governors condemn killing of Borno rice farmers

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has condemned the killing of over 40 rice farmers in Garin Kwashebe, Jere Local Government Area of Borno State on Saturday, by suspected Boko Haram terrorists. The forum, in a statement by its Chairman and the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, described the attack as morally reprehensible.
Fayemi noted that the farmers were attacked while harvesting their produce totally oblivious of the danger that awaits them in nearby bushes.

He said that the method was consistent with the senseless bombings of busy markets, bus stations, schools and abattoirs whenever the terrorists felt overpowered by the security operatives. “This sad narrative raises serious questions on the general security situation in the country and around the capability of the nation’s security architecture. “It also raises questions on whether or not there are adequate arrangements to protect lives and property.

  • Zulum Asks FG To Engage Mercenaries, Suggests Other Ways To Clear Insurgents

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has given six recommendations to the Federal Government on how to win the war against Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents terrorising the north-eastern region of Nigeria. He made the suggestions on Monday when he received members of a presidential delegation who visited Borno to commiserate with the people of the state following the killing of 43 farmers in Koshobe Village.

The governor believes engaging mercenaries, as well as the immediate recruitment of youths into the military to boost its strength, will go a long way to defeat the insurgents. He stressed that it was also important to engage the services of neighbouring Niger Republic, Chad, and Cameroon to clear the remnants of the insurgents in the Lake Chad region and the Mandara mountains. He also urged the Federal Government to ensure the provision of mine resistance armoured personnel carriers and other equipment for the military, police, and other security agencies involved in the insurgency fight.

  • Security Agents Arrest Maina In Niger Republic

The former Chairman of the defunct Pension Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina has been arrested by security agents. Although details of the arrest remain sketchy security sources confirmed to newsmen that he has was arrested in the Niger Republic. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Maina for alleged money laundering to the tune of N2billion.

The trial judge, Justice Abang Okon issued a warrant for his arrest after he ‘jumped bail’ and failed to appear in court. He was said to have stopped attending his trial since September 29, 2020, prompting Justice Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the remand of his surety, Senator Ali Ndume, last Wednesday. Justice Okon Abang later granted the bail said the decision was based on the senator’s record of good behaviour in court.

  • COVID-19 Donations: Court Allows Suit Against CBN For Non-Disclosure

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted leave to the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and the Human and Environmental Development Agenda Resource Centre to sue the Central Bank of Nigeria for failing to disclose detailed information on COVID donations requested from it in July this year.

Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the order following an ex parte application moved on Monday by the two applicants’ counsel, Joel Ekong. The judge also ordered the applicants to file their substantive suit within seven days and serve same on the CBN within seven days after the filing. He directed the CBN to file their response to the suit within 30 days of being served by the applicants.

In their exparte application, the applicants noted that it was reported that “about N15bn in monetary contributions, is currently in the account set up under the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID19 (CACOVID) and domiciled with the respondent”. They, however, stated that they were “seriously concerned” that despite the donations, “the larger proportion of Nigerians, including the poorest and the most vulnerable people, have not benefitted, up till now, from the Federal Government and private sectors announced palliatives, donations, cash payments, cash transfers and other benefits”.

  • Court martial convicts, demotes Major-General Adeniyi over leaked video

A Court Martial in Abuja has convicted the former Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi. The tribunal on Monday found Adeniyi guilty of violating military social media guidelines and ordered his demotion by at least three years. Adeniyi’s aide, Private Tokunbo Obanla, who was prosecuted alongside the general, was also found guilty and sentenced to 28 days in jail with hard labour.

The verdict came eight months after a video of Adeniyi complaining about a lack of military equipment to combat Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East went viral. He also complained that insurgents were outgunning troops, noting that intelligence failure was responsible for an attack by insurgents that claimed dozens of soldiers. Embarrassed by the revelations, the major-general was removed from the front and also suspended by the military authorities. The Nigerian Army subsequently filed charges of military social media guideline violations against him.

  • Borno killings: Fire service chiefs now, Senate tells Buhari

The Senate, on Tuesday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack service chiefs as a result of their failure to secure Nigerians. The Senate decision, which is the third it would pass this year, followed a motion by Senator Kashim Shettima on the recent killing of 43 rice farmers in Borno State by the Boko Haram insurgents. The Senate asked Buhari to replace the security chiefs with new ones “immediately”.

The red chamber also asked Buhari to restructure and remodel the nation’s security architecture. Apart from that, the chamber demanded a probe into the allegations of corruption and financial leakage levelled against some top hierarchy of the military. The Senate asked Buhari to aggressively negotiate with the nation’s neighbouring countries for multinational cooperation in order to strengthen the war against insurgency.

  • Boko Haram Claims Responsibility For Massacre Of Farmers In Borno

The Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram, has claimed responsibility for the recent killing of tens of farmers in Borno, the BBC reported on Tuesday. The terrorist group said it killed 78 farmers in the Saturday attack in Zabarmari, near Maiduguri.

The military on Monday said it had counted 43 bodies but was still looking for more casualties. The killings sent shockwaves across the country, drawing condemnation from many Nigerians. On Tuesday, senators called for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack service chiefs and replace them with people with fresh ideas and solutions.

  • Boko Haram: Why Buhari is keeping service chiefs – Garba Shehu

Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President Muhammadu Buhari says the clamour for the sacking of service chiefs is ‘out of place’. According to Shehu, the president has the prerogative to appoint or sack any of the country’s service chiefs, adding that the president keeps the service chiefs as long as he is satisfied with their performance. Reacting to the call by several Nigerians who also want the president to rejig the country’s security architecture, Shehu said the decision to sack or retain any of the service chiefs is entirely the president’s.

Boko Haram were reported to have first tied up the farmers, who were working in rice fields, before slitting their throats. Shehu had said the farmers had no military clearance to be on the rice farms when the attack happened. His reaction was greeted by outrage on social media as many Nigerians lambasted him for blaming the dead.

  • Nowhere is safe in Nigeria, Sultan-led JNI laments

The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar-led Jama’atu Nasril Islam has urged the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, to henceforth stop paying lip service to security matters. This was as the Nigerian Governors’ Forum stated that the military would not be able to cope with the current security challenges in the country.

In an apparent reference to the killings of 43 rice farmers by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State, the JNI also said that “nowhere is safe in the country now”. The religious body noted that what Nigerians expected from the government was actions against insecurity and not mere condemnation of attacks. It noted that with wanton killings occasioned by acts of banditry, kidnapping for ransom and other related crimes, Nigerians had been so terrified as nowhere was safe for them.

  • Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Taraba, others renew call for state police

State governments, including Zamfara, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Taraba and Abia, have restated their call for state police amid rising insecurity in the country.
The state government officials, in separate interviews with newsmen, said the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu’s community police programme was not a replacement for state police. Earlier this year, the Federal Government, as part of efforts to address the increasing demand for state police, approved the IG’s community policing programme.

Ministry of Police Affairs also recently said 9,694 special constables for community policing who were about to graduate from 14 training schools, would be posted to different states to strengthen security.
But ahead of governors’ security meeting on Wednesday, some states reiterated the call for state police.

  • FCT spent N28.5bn on COVID-19, says minister

The Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Musa Bello, told the Senate Tuesday that the FCT Administration spent N28.5bn to tackle the coronavirus pandemic within Abuja, especially during the lockdown. Bello stated this while briefing members of the Senate Committee on FCT while presenting the revised 2020 budget of the ministry.

The minister said the fund was spent on provision of security services, provision of palliatives for indigent residents, as well as assisting neighbouring States who were distressed. He added that the FCT health facility supported residents from states where the level of government assistance was low. He said the territory also provided healthcare services for both residents and non-residents of the city. He requested that the FCT should budget be reviewed to reflect the realities on ground with respect to COVID-19 pandemic.

  • #EndSARS: Police Ask Court To Stop Judicial Panels’ Probes

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order to stop the judicial panels of inquiry set up by state governors to probe allegations of police brutality and human rights abuses of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other police tactical units. The NPF, through their lawyer, Mr O. M. Atoyebi, argued in the suit that the state governments lacked the power to constitute the panels to investigate activities of the police force and its officials in the conduct of their statutory duties.

In the suit, the police urged the court to restrain the Attorneys-General of the 36 states of the federation and their various panels of inquiry from going ahead with the probe focussing on police impunity.
The NPF said the action of the State Governors “is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.” The defendants who were sued by the NPF, include the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which set up the Independent Investigative Panel sitting in Abuja, the Attorneys-General of the 36 states, and chairmen of the states’ panels.

  • #EndSARS: IGP Orders Probe Of Suit Seeking To Stop Judicial Panels’ From Sitting

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has directed immediate investigations into the suit challenging the legality of the States’ Judicial Panel of Inquiry investigating the allegations against officers of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday hours after the police filed the suit.

“The IGP, who gave the order on the heels of trending reports in the media, on 3rd December 2020, expressed the disapproval of the Force Management Team on the matter and ordered investigations into the alleged role of the Force Legal Section including its Head. “Meanwhile, the Force Legal Officer has been queried and may face further sanctions if found guilty of dereliction of duty,” the statement read.

POLITICS

  • Borno killings: Buhari helpless, security has collapsed – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party has said, it has become apparent that President, Muhammadu Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress regime he leads have become helpless as the nation’s security deteriorates. In a statement titled, “PDP Condemns Beheading of Farmers By Insurgents…Tasks Buhari to Sit Up on Security,” signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party equally condemned the gruesome murder of 40 rice farmers in Borno by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

The statement read: “The PDP notes with pain that this horrific killing of compatriots comes as yet another of the recurring horrid testament and badge of failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to secure our nation and guarantee the safety of lives and property in our country.
“Indeed, our party is distressed by the escalated killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians by insurgents, bandits and marauders, who have continued to ravage and pillage our communities, while the lazy and lethargic Buhari administration continues with its lip service, rhetoric and false performance claims.

  • Defection to APC: Umahi after my life, says Anyim

Former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim on Monday petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu and the Department of State Services (DSS) over alleged plot to kill him for not defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). He alleged that Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi was behind the plot.

Anyim said Umahi was in his house on November 20 to advise him to defect from the PDP to the APC, adding that he had declined. He said no amount of blackmail or intimidation will compel him or any of the PDP leaders to follow the governor. He said Umahi is suffering from delusion and he needs help. Anyim, who raised the alarm in an open letter, which was sent to Umahi, President Buhari and the IG, said his blood is not available for Umahi in pursuit of his ambition.

  • 2023 Presidency: ‘It Is Too Early,’ Jonathan Reacts To Rumoured Ambition

Former President Goodluck Jonathan seems to be undecided yet about returning to office in 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari completes his second term.
Speculations that the former president may take over power from President Buhari, who succeeded him in 2015, may not end soon as Dr Jonathan could not give a definite position on his rumoured ambition.

He had a brief session with reporters on Friday after attending an event organised by the Commonwealth Community Choir in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
When asked if he would be joining the presidential race in the 2023 general elections, Dr Jonathan said, “It is too early to talk about that.” He also spoke about the issue of insecurity in the country and called for support for the Federal Government and the security agencies to overcome the challenges.

ECONOMY

  • About 25m Nigerians Set To Benefit From FG’s Solar Program – Presidency

The federal government will next week commence the process of installing five million solar home systems in under-served and off-grid communities across the country. The program is expected to benefit about 25 million Nigerians.
The program will include the assembly and manufacturing of components of off-grid solutions to facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing industry, while use of local content will be incentivized, Akande added.

It is also expected to create about 250,000 jobs including in manufacturing, assembling, installations, maintenance, and payment systems. Beneficiaries of the program will pay between N1,500 and N4,000 monthly to access power from the solar system. The solar program is part of plans devised by the Economic Sustainability Committee, which is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

  • FG Launches Autogas Programme, Asks Nigerians To Embrace Gas As Alternative To Fuel

The Federal Government has rolled out an autogas programme called the National Gas Expansion Programme. The programme is expected to extend operations to all states of the Federation. It is also in line with the Federal Government’s plan to make gas the first choice source of cheaper and cleaner energy. The Federal Government Autogas program is expected to deliver at least one million vehicle conversions by the end of 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari during the unveiling of the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Autogas Roll-out Initiative, asked Nigerians to embrace Gas as an alternative to fuel. He said, “I encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers.” The National Gas Expansion Programme involves the conversion of fuel-powered cars, generators from petrol to gas. It is aimed at deepening domestic usage of netural gas in its various forms.

  • Vehicle Owners To Pay N250,000 To Convert Cars To Autogas, Says FG

The Federal Government has explained that vehicle owners in the country will pay N250,000 to convert their cars to autogas. On Tuesday, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari had said one million cars are to be powered by Autogas free of charge.

But on Wednesday, Justice Derefaka, Technical Adviser on Gas Business and Policy Implementation to Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, explained that vehicle owners will have different payment plans to convert their cars to autogas. Derefaka further explained that there will be different payment plans for car owners who want to convert their cars, reiterating that the conversion is not totally free.

  • CBN okays dollar collection for diaspora remittances

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stopped naira payment to recipients of diaspora remittances (dollar inflows) from International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs). The customers are by a new regulation released on Monday, allowed to receive their funds through foreign currencies of their choice, including payment of the funds into domiciliary accounts.

The new policy, contained in a circular signed by CBN Director, Trade & Exchange Department, O.S. Nnaji, is expected to simplify and improve receipt and administration of diaspora remittances into Nigeria. According to Nnaji, recipients of such IMTOs remittances have the option of receiving these funds in foreign currency cash or into their domiciliary accounts. Also, beneficiaries of diaspora remittances through the IMTOs shall now get such inflows in foreign currency (US Dollar) through the designated banks of their choice.

  • Continued border closure counterproductive –MAN

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has said the continued closure of the nation’s land borders is counterproductive to the Nigerian economy. “There is a definite urgency to reopen the borders and re-establish that the normal protocol and normal trade treaties continue to take place because it is in our interest,” MAN President, Ahmed Mansur, urged the Federal Government on Thursday.

He said some Nigerian manufacturers exporting goods through the land borders may permanently lose their market share in the West Africa sub-region with continued border closure. According to the MAN President, one year is enough time to address the reasons for the border closure. Nigeria had in August 2019 closed its land borders to curtail illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into country from neighbouring West African nations. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had recently said the nation’s land borders may be reopened soon.

  • Arik Air sacks 300 workers

The management of Arik Air has relieved 300 members of staff of their appointments. This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.


EDUCATION

  • SSANU opposes ASUU’s platform, demands share of N40bn allowances

The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities has asked the Federal Government to ensure a fair sharing of the N40b earned allowances approved for university unions. It said the government should ensure that the money passed through universities councils which it said had the template for the sharing formula. Mohammed Ibrahim said: “We are not unaware of the prevailing industrial unrest in the university system and if allowing them a share out of the N40b promised by the government to end the industrial action is the sacrifice we can make, we would be willing to do so.

“If, however, we discover any attempt to allocate the disbursement through the Ministry of Education or any other government office and not through the councils as prescribed by law, we shall resist such attempt with all arsenals available. “We are ready to take the government head-on if an unjust disbursement of earned allowances is contemplated. I wish to tell people who think that way that they may be in for a shocker.”

  • SSANU, NASU members sweep Olayinka out of office

As the tenure of Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the 12th vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, ended yesterday, non-academic staff unions under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) bid him a symbolic farewell protest of “sweeping his feet out of office”. Speaking before the symbolic action, SSANU Chairman Mr. Wale Akinremi said the unions embarked on the exercise to thank God for seeing them through the tenure of Prof. Olayinka “under whom the workers suffered untold hardship.”

Carrying brooms and singing solidarity and farewell songs, to indicate their ‘cleansing’ of the university after Olayinka’s exit, members of the unions, who converged on the NISER Garden venue of the farewell rally at 9am, marched on the office of the vice chancellor around 12:30 pm, singing to register their rejection of the reign of the outgoing VC, whose five-year tenure ended yesterday. The workers swept the floor from the VC’s office to the main gate of the university to press home their points.

  • Strike: Consultation ongoing, says ASUU president

The President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has said consultation is ongoing as regards the union’s response to the government offer of last Friday. On Friday, the Federal Government agreed to exempt ASUU from the IPPIS and also increased the academic earned allowance to N70bn.

Ogunyemi in an interview with newsmen explained that ASUU members across the country needed to determine the extent to which the government was planning to meet their demands. “Consultation is still ongoing, we are still consulting. Those who will bring the results are still going about consulting, it is when they have finished consulting that they will collate and bring the report to us.

  • Bayelsa asks private schools to waive first term fees

Private schools in Bayelsa State will not charge first term school fees for the 2020/2021 academic session, but will only collect third term fees for the just-concluded session. This decision was reached during a meeting at the Education House in Yenagoa between the state Ministry of Education and the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Nigeria Union of Teachers, and the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools of Nigeria.

The Commissioner for Education, Gentle Emelah, who presided over the meeting, said the decision was aimed at easing the financial burden on parents. He said, “For the sake of fairness, the government thought it wise to consider the parents seeing that the pandemic and the flood situation brought hardship to everyone.

HEALTH

  • Reps demand better salaries, allowances for doctors, others

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, decried the mass exodus of workers in the health sector, calling on the Federal Government to discourage the migration of health workers to other countries. The House specifically urged the Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Productivity to “review the salary, allowances, and welfare of Nigerian medical practitioners.”

The House also called on the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity to “consider expanding the size of the medical practitioner in the country to create employment for the unemployed ones and develop a functional strategy that will attract diaspora medical personnel to work at various teaching hospitals.” In addition, the lawmakers mandated the ministry to ensure employment of Nigerian medical practitioners, while mandating the House Committee on Health Care Services to “call other relevant stakeholders for an interactive session in other to proffer a lasting solution to brain drain of medical personnel from Nigeria.”

  • Enugu establishes malnutrition centres for children, women

The Enugu State government in collaboration with United Nations Children Education Fund have established three centres for Management of Acute Malnutrition in the state. The establishment of the centres according to the state nutrition officer, Dr Henrietta Ugwu, was part of efforts to tackle rising cases of acute malnutrition among children in the state.

Ugwu spoke Wednesday, at a one day media engagement workshop organized by Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Enugu. While she revealed that acute malnutrition was a major challenge in the state, she stated that through UNICEF and the Federal Ministry of Health, the state was able to set up the CMAM centres which are located in Obollo-Afor, Abakpa Nike and Oji River.

  • Yellow Fever Kills 172 Persons In Nigeria – WHO

A yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria has killed 172 people so far, the World Health Organization said Friday. The outbreak poses an extra challenge to the country’s health system as Africa’s most populous nation deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, several concurrent disease outbreaks and a humanitarian crisis in the northeast, the WHO said. Nigeria has been battling successive yellow fever outbreaks since 2017. This latest outbreak was detected in November, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva.

“As of November 24, the outbreak has been reported in five states in Nigeria: Delta, Enugu, Bauchi, Benue and Ebonyi,” he said.
“A total of 530 suspected cases have been reported, including 48 that have been confirmed by lab testing. “A total of 172 deaths have been reported out of those 530 suspected cases.” He said sample testing was ongoing through national reference laboratories. There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, which is largely transmitted in urban settings by mosquitoes.

  • Six side effects of not drinking enough water

Drinking water often helps to maintain a healthy balance. Mild dehydration can decrease one’s energy level and mental functioning and increase stress on the body while severe dehydration can have far more damaging effects. To avoid dehydration, one should drink at least eight glasses of water every day as an adult. The importance of water to the mechanics of the human body cannot be overemphasized. It serves as a lubricant to the digestive system and all other body processes.

When you don’t drink enough water, the underlisted side effects happen.

· Low Energy · Higher Risk of Stroke · Slower Metabolism · Headaches

· Poor Skin · Weight Gain

WORLD

  • Africa to lose 30 million jobs by end of 2020 —AfDB president

President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says up to 30 million jobs will be lost in Africa by the end of 2020. According to the former Nigerian Agriculture minister, the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year dealt a terrible blow to the economies of African countries. He spoke on Friday at the ‘Virtual 2020 International Forum on African Leadership’ in Ivory Coast.

Adesina said, “The negative impacts on economies have been massive. The African Development Bank estimates that Africa’s GDP will decline by $173-236 billion by the end of the year. Africa’s economic growth rate is expected to decline by 3.4%. “The world has become more fragile as we all face common existential risks. All are affected, developed and developing countries. There’s no coronavirus for developed countries and coronavirus for developing countries.

  • Biden To Appoint Nigerian-Born Adewale Adeyemo As US Deputy Treasury Secretary

US President-Elect, Joe Biden, is set to announce a Nigerian-born attorney, Adewale ‘Wally’ Adeyemo, as deputy Treasury secretary, US-based media Politico reported on Sunday. Adeyemo, who is a former senior international economic adviser during the Obama administration, will serve under former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who Biden plans to appoint to lead the US Treasury Department. Adeyemo’s appointment is one of many key cabinet positions Biden is expected to announce in the coming days.

Born in Nigeria, Adeyemo was raised in California where he obtained a bachelor’s degree before proceeding to Yale Law School for his legal education. Before his appointment into the Obama administration, Adeyemo worked as an editor at the Hamilton Project, then served as senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to Jack Lew in the United States Department of Treasury. In 2015, he was appointed to concurrently serve as Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics and deputy director of the National Economic Council. He went on to become the first president of the Obama Foundation.

  • UK Approves Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine For Rollout From ‘Next Week’

Britain on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for general use as it announced a rollout of Pfizer-BioNTech’s drug from next week. The government on Wednesday accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use,” the department of health said in a statement.

“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week,” the statement said. Priority groups will include care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable. After months of “rigorous” clinical trials and thorough analysis of the data, the MHRA “concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness”, the statement added.

  • Japan To Give Free COVID-19 Vaccine To Residents

Japan will give free coronavirus vaccines to all of its residents under a bill passed Wednesday, as the nation battles record numbers of daily cases.
The bill, which says the government will cover all vaccine costs for Japan’s 126 million residents, was approved by the upper house of parliament, having cleared the powerful lower house.

The country has secured Covid-19 vaccines for 60 million people from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and for a further 25 million people from biotech firm Moderna. It has also confirmed it will receive 120 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna are already seeking emergency-use approval in the United States and Europe, after clinical tests showed their jabs were effective.

  • Boxing legend, Pacquiao, becomes head of Philippine ruling party

Philippine boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao has taken over as head of the ruling political party in the country, it was announced on Thursday. Pacquiao, who is a senator in the Philippines, was sworn in as the national president of the political party of President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night, said Ron Munsayac, Executive Director of the PDP-Laban party. The takeover took place more than one year before the country’s next presidential elections in 2022.

ENTERTAINMENT

  • Burna Boy’s ‘Twice As Tall’ most-streamed Nigerian album on Spotify in 2020

Burna Boy’s recent album, Twice As Tall, has been named as the most-streamed Nigerian album on the streaming platform, Spotify, in 2020. This comes shortly after, the album earned the singer his second Grammy Awards nomination. The self-acclaimed African Giant secured the number one spot on as the most-streamed Nigerian album on Spotify in 2020 with over 64 million streams to its credit. The rating is for albums that were released in 2020.

According to the streaming platform, in the second place on the chat of most-streamed Nigerian music, this year is Wizkid’s ‘Made In Lagos’, while songstress, Tiwa Savage’s Celia comes third. The Twice As Tall album has American rapper and business mogul, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, as well as Bose Ogulu, Burna’s mum as its executive producers.

  • ‘The Milkmaid’ Selected As Nigeria’s Entry For 93rd Oscars

“The Milkmaid” is Nigeria’s official submission for the 93rd Academy Awards in the International Feature Film (IFF) category of the Oscars. The Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) announced the selection on Tuesday. The NOSC said it received several entries, out which six films – “Sanitation Day”, “Voiceless”, “Oloture”, “Ibi” (The Birth), “The Milkmaid” and “Eyimofe” – sailed through the first vetting exercise. At the final stage, “The Milkmaid” scored overwhelming majority votes.

Written, produced and directed by Desmond Ovbiagele, “The Milkmaid” is a Hausa language-based thriller on insurgency, especially as it affects women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inspired by the image on Nigeria’s 10 Naira note, the film tells the story of a Fulani milkmaid who confronts religious extremists in a rural African community, in a quest to locate her missing sister, and how efforts to recapture her disrupted past prove complicated. The film was selected by the 12-man NOSC, having followed the prescribed procedures by the Academy, subject to further determination by the IFF Executive Committee.

  • Death plot: Duncan Mighty not telling the truth, says sister-in-law

Maria Nwakanma, a sister-in-law to Port Harcourt-based singer, Duncan Mighty, has refuted the allegations recently levelled against her by the latter. Nwakanma stated that neither she nor any member of her family was interested in any of the singer’s properties, adding that Mighty’s social media posts were a pointer to the type of husband he was.

In a nine part-post on Instagram, Duncan Mighty had accused his wife, Vivian, her mother, Charity Nwakanma, and siblings, Maria and Bright, of going diabolical to poison him and inherit his properties. He also claimed that he recorded some of his wife’s confession as evidence to back his claims.
However, in a telephone interview , Maria dared him to post the evidence he had. The truth cannot be hidden. You cannot cover a lie forever.”

SPORTS

  • Former Senegalese Footballer Diop Dies At 42

Former Senegal midfielder Papa Bouba Diop has died at the age of 42 after a long illness, local media and the West African state’s football federation said on Sunday. Diop is best known in his native country for scoring the winning goal against then defending champions France in the opening match of the 2002 World Cup.

Victor Cisse, the secretary-general of the Senegalese football federation, confirmed Diop’s death to AFP. Senegal’s President Macky Sall said on Twitter on Sunday it was a “great loss” for the country.

  • F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton Tests Positive For COVID-19

World champion Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Formula One’s governing body FIA announced Tuesday. “In accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain he (Hamilton) is now isolating,” said an FIA statement. Hamilton who on Sunday won the Bahrain Grand Prix, the first of back-to-back races in the Gulf state, has already secured a record-equalling seventh world championship this season.

“He woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms, he therefore, took a test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a retest. He is now isolating in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain. “Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well.”

  • 48 NBA players test positive for COVID-19

The NBA announced Wednesday that 48 players have tested positive for the coronavirus, a dramatic increase over the zero positive tests reported during last season’s quarantine bubble in Florida. The league said the positive tests are the result of 546 tests carried out between November 24-30 as the NBA gets set to begin preseason games in nine days.

The zero positive tests were from the beginning of last season’s quarantine bubble to the end of the season in mid-October. Under the league’s tough new Covid-19 protocols, a players who tests positive has to refrain from workouts for at least 10 days and more if he is showing symptoms. The NBA’s first preseason games are December 11 with the regular season scheduled to begin less than two weeks later.

  • Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira sacked as Nice coach

Patrick Vieira has been sacked as coach of Nice and replaced by his assistant following a run of five consecutive defeats, the French Ligue 1 club announced on Friday. The final straw for the former Arsenal player and France 1998 World Cup winner was Thursday’s 3-2 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen, which confirmed their elimination from the Europa League.

Adrien Ursea will take over from Vieira. The 53-year-old Romanian, who has spent much of his playing and coaching career in Switzerland, had been an assistant to previous Nice coach Lucien Favre and returned last year to work under Vieira.

METRO PLUS

  • Murder: Court Dismisses Maryam Sanda’s Appeal, Upholds Death Sentence

An Appeal Court in Abuja has dismissed the appeal filed by Maryam Sanda for lacking in merit. The court upheld the judgement by the FCT High Court which had sentenced her to death by hanging for killing her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, son of the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Bello,

Her Counsel, Joe Gadzama SAN, however, said they are heading to the supreme court, while Counsel to Police, James Idachaba, praised the judgement, adding that they are also ready to meet them at the apex court. In his two-hour Judgement, Presiding Judge, Justice Steven Adah, held that the court is duty-bound to do justice according to law and not sentiments. Maryam Sanda was on January 27 found guilty of stabbing her husband to death at their Abuja residence

  • UN Says At Least 110 Were Killed In Borno, Demands Immediate Release Of Kidnapped Victims

The United Nations has said that the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by Boko Haram insurgents in villages near Maiduguri, the Borno State capital has left at least 110 civilians ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded. The UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria Mr. Edward Kallon said this in a statement on Sunday.

While condemning the incident, Kallon also called for the immediate release of several persons who were kidnapped. Kallon further stated that such direct attacks against innocent civilians, jeopardize the ability for the most vulnerable people to survive the adversity they are facing which the UN is striving to alleviate.

  • Gunmen Kill Assistant Commissioner Of Police In Calabar

The Police Command in Cross River State has confirmed the murder of an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Egbe Edum, by gunmen in the early hours of Wednesday in Calabar. Edum before his murder was the Borno State Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP).

Speaking with newsmen in Calabar, the police spokesperson, Irene Ugbe, said the ACP came to Calabar to see his family after being away for a very long time before the ugly event occurred. The police spokesperson added that Edum was attacked while he was waiting for his wife to pick him up after his car broke down along the Murtala Mohammed Highway in Calabar.

  • Court Jails Ex-Banker For N11m ATM Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday secured the conviction of a former banker, Adam Adam, who was sentenced to one-year imprisonment. A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, noted that the convict was arraigned at the Yobe State High Court sitting in Damaturu by the Maiduguri zonal office of the anti-graft agency.

Justice Ibrahim Jauro sentenced Adam who was prosecuted on one count of theft to the tune of N11,657,500. Adam, a former service manager in charge of Vault Room and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at the Damaturu branch of Unity Bank Plc., allegedly diverted the said sum which was meant for the ATM of the branch.