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Social media was abuuz on Tuesday with Hollywood actress Kerry Washington’s birthday wishes to her Nigerian colleague, Uzo Aduba, in Igbo language. Igbo is one of the three major languages in Nigeria; others are Hausa and Yoruba. The scandal star, who is married to an Igbo man, Nnamdi Asomugha, took to her twitter handle @kerrywashington to send her wishes. American actress Kerry Washington and Hubby, Nigerian-born Nnamdi Asomugha She wrote:”@Uzoaduba, Ncheta Ubochi omumu gi. Ekele diri Chineke.” (Happy Birthday. Glory be to God.) Uzo, who stars in ‘Orange is the new black’, celebrated her 37th birthday on February 10. She replied Washington’s wishes in Igbo, through her twitter handle@Uzoaduba. She wrote:”Heh Nwannem Nwanyi, Ina asu Igbo??!!. Maka odi mma! Nwanne daalu maka ubochi Omumu m.” (My sister, so you speak Igbo? it is well. Thank you for wishing me a happy birthday.) Uzo Aduba The wishes have been trending on twitter with ‘Kerry Washington Igbo’ becoming one of the most searched item on the social platform. Here are some of the reactions: @Gladyss tweeted: “Kerry Washington’s Igbo is getting better than mine…. I have no excuse.” @nothing_dome wrote: “Damn, let’s talk about how @kerrywashington’ s written Igbo has far surpassed my own. SMH. Next thing, her jollof rice will come pass my own.” @Ucheperkins tweeted: “Nnamdi Asomugha has taught Kerry Washington my Igbo dialect. He has done well.” @thecelebrallemon tweeted: “At the top of the list of things making us smile today, (a very long list) is this beautiful Igbo exchange between actresses, @kerrywashington and @uzoaduba.

Renowned gospel singer Prince Gozie Okeke has shared good news on social media of how he woke up from coma after being unconscious for several days due to heart disease. In a post Gozie says: “Glorify the name of the Lord with me for saving my life from heart problem. Been in COMA for days and my Faithful God gave me back a new life. Glory be to his holy name Amen. Rejoice with me God has healed me totally. The joy of the Lord is upon me The singer alongside his now estranged wife Princess Njideka Okeke who joined Nollywood after they separated were known for their hit song ”Akanchawa”

Veteran Nollywood actress, Victoria Inyama might be enmeshed in marital crisis with her now estranged husband and renowned novelist Ben Okri, popular for one of his books ‘The Famished Road’. The mother of 3 wrote a message on facebook that has since gone viral and it is obviously about her marriage and her ”psychotic beast” husband who has refused granting her divorce while allegedly cheating on her

The Kano State Police Command confirmed on Saturday that three girls died of suffocation inside a parked car in Sabon Gari area of Kano metropolis. “The car has been parked there for more than one year; the girls were playing around it and later locked themselves inside. “Apparently, they could not open the door and there was no one around to assist them. Three of them died of suffocation while one survived,” Mr Magaji Majiya, spokesman of the command, disclosed. He said that the incident happened “around 3 p.m. on Friday”. According to him, the girls were aged between two and four years. “The victim that survived has been taken to the hospital while investigation has commenced into the matter,” Majiya said. Efforts to speak with the parents of the girls were not successful as none of them was reachable on phone.

Chief John Oyegun, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Saturday received 34,826 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Niger, who moved to APC. Among the defectors are the state Deputy Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Aminu Yusuf, former Speaker of the state Assembly, Alhaji Adamu Usman, a former Attorney General, Alhaji Abdullahi Wuse among others. Oyegun said in Minna at a rally to receive the defectors that Nigerians must shun sentiment and support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to set the nation on a new path of growth and progress. He said that the country require “people of principle’’ to help fight for the success of the programmes of the APC. “APC needs sincere soldiers as leaders, people who are ready to join the fight, because God entrusted Buhari to us to salvage the nation and its economy,” he said. He therefore urged the new APC members to support President Buhari in the efforts to restore the economy through the revitalisation of agriculture and solid minerals sectors. Oyegun noted that already, government support to agriculture had helped to drastically bring down rice importation. The APC national chairman stressed that the Buhari administration had also raised power generation to 7,000 megawatts and that the figure would go up by 50 percent after the completion of the Mambila hydro power project. He noted that the increase in power supply would help boost industrialisation and job creation in the country. Alhaji Aminu Yusuf, PDP state Deputy Chairman, said they joined the APC to assist in developing the state. “By the time elections are over, you don’t talk about parties anymore, instead you talk about development of the state. “The party approached me to come and join them and assist the government build the state. We are coming with our skills and experience to assist the government in developing the state,” he said.

The Senate has adopted the conference committee report of the National Assembly on the 2010 Electoral Act as amended, including the section that puts the presidential poll as the last in a general election. This followed the consideration of the report on a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and Electoral Act (Amendment) Act 2015. Among other provisions adopted are the timeline for submission of list of candidates, political party primaries and use of technological devices among others. Chairman of the Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sen. Suleiman Nazif presented the report. He said “the Conference Committee recommended that the Senate and the House of Representatives do consider and approve the conference committee report on a bill for an act to amend the electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and electoral (Amendment) Act 2015.” According to Nazif, the Electoral Act No 6, 2010 amendment bill 2017 was passed by the senate on March 30, 2017 and in the House of Representatives on Feb. 1, 2018. “However, some differences were noticed in the two versions of the bill as passed by both chambers. “Consequently, a conference committee was constituted in the Senate on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2018 and the House of Representatives also on Wednesday Jan. 24, 2018 to reconcile areas of difference that appeared in the two versions. “The committee met and deliberated on the two versions of the bill. After exhaustive deliberations, the committee noticed noticed seven areas of differences in section 36 (3), 49(2), 53(2), 63(4), 78(4),” he said. The lawmaker further explained that the committee in considering the House version in sections 25(1) and 8 (9A, a and b) dealing with sequence of elections and political parties primaries, “unanimously adopted the provisions in its entirety to ensure orderliness.” Contributing, Sen. Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano) said “ we appreciate your concern on the opinion of both sides. “I will like to raise this issue on point of order 87(c) which stipulates that the conference committee shall deliberate only between the Senate and the House of Representatives. “The conference committee shall not insert in its report, any matter not committed to it by either the Senate or the House of Representatives. “Mr President, this report on sequence of elections was never discussed in the Senate. So why are we bringing it here,” Gaya said. Similarly, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa) raised a a Constitutional Point of Order. “Section 76 of the constitution with reference to the matter in discussion stipulates that election to each houses of the National Assembly shall be held on the date to be appointed by INEC,” he said. In his remarks, the President of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki said “as I keep on emphasising, institutions are what are important. “As senators we have to finish our time and go, we must continue to strengthen institutions and by so doing we must follow the procedures that are also laid at all times. “For conference report, it has been the procedure and as such with all due respect I have to rule you out of order. “I know, every politics is local. As much as it is local, we also have to maintain the integrity of these institutions,” Saraki said. Eight Amendments to the Electoral Act: 1. INSTANT TRANSMISSION OF RESULTS: The overarching objective of this new electoral act is to reduce human interference in the electoral process and minimise corruption. In this regard, the Electoral Act amendment mandates the immediate transmission of voting results from polling units to collation centres. This will help to give real-time results and updates and end election malpractice. 2. ONLINE PUBLICATION OF VOTER REGISTERS: This amendment provides a fair and more level playing ground for all contestants by mandating INEC to publish all voter registers 30 days before the election. This will end the manipulation of voter registers. In the case of missing names on the voter register, voters have 30 days to complain to INEC. 3. FULL BIOMETRIC ACCREDITATION: The Electoral Act amendment gives INEC powers to utilise full biometric accreditation of voters with smart card readers and/or other technological devices, as INEC may introduce for elections from time to time. 4. RESTRICTION OF ARBITRARY QUALIFICATIONS: The Electoral Act amendment ensures that political parties can no longer impose arbitrary qualification criteria on candidates. This will encourage younger voters to contest, promote competition in the process, and make elections more free and fair. 5. CONFLICT RESOLUTION MECHANISMS: The Electoral Act amendment sets out a more rigorous process for the determination of candidates, as well as creates dispute resolution mechanisms that will allow those who are aggrieved to petition quickly. 6: MAXIMUM EXPENSES: The Electoral Act amendment sets out the maximum expenses that can be incurred by every politician who is seeking election, as well as designates the fees that aspirants will pay to political parties to purchase forms. This means that our elections will no longer be about money and politics, but about competence. 7. SUBSTITUTION, RESIGNATION & REPLACEMENT: The Electoral Act amendment ensures that the names of candidates must be submitted not earlier than 90 days before the election, and not later than 60 days before the election. Additionally, candidates can only be substituted not later than 30 days before the election. Additionally, in the case of resignations, the person who is resigning must do so physically (in-person) — and his/her resignation letter will be transmitted to INEC. 8. DEATH: The Electoral Act amendment specifies that in the case of a death occurring before an election, such election will be suspended for 21 days and a replacement will be done within 14 days — the remaining the 7 days will be used for campaigning.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has visited former President Goodluck Jonathan at his home in Bayelsa State. Jonathan and his wife, Patience, welcomed the elder statesman who was in their home for a private dinner. Earlier before the visit, Obasanjo inaugurated a government specialist hospital in the state and unveiled the Bayelsa Heliport which was renamed after the first military administrator of the defunct Rivers State, Alfred Diete-Spiff. Upon his arrival in Bayelsa, the former president was received by the state governor, Seriake Dickson, in company with some top government officials in the state. Obasanjo, on Friday, commended Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa for embarking on projects that would improve the overall development of the state and the people. Obasanjo gave the commendation while inaugurating newly built Bayelsa Diagnostic Centre. He said the centre was built according to international standard and would assist in improving health care delivery to the people. He added that “20 years ago when I came to Bayelsa for campaign, there was no space to gather people, but today, there is great difference. “Yes, for full development to take place in Bayelsa, there must be accessibility in terms of transportation, communication and health care delivery. “I must tell you, for six hours I am here, I have seen something to convince me that Bayelsa is already in transformation stage. “The health facility here is second to none.” Obasanjo also advised students of Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama, Bayelsa, to take advantage of education, and make themselves leaders of tomorrow. He gave the advice during an interactive session with the students in Kaiama, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa, on Friday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the former president was in Bayelsa, to commission some projects to mark Governor Seriake Dickson’s six years in office. During the interactive session, the former president said that after food and health, the next was education. Obasanjo, said a leader without vision would not go anywhere, because that is vision that drives a good leader. “The foundation of any human mind is education. A leader who does not give his people quality education, will perish with his people. “The root cause of militancy is lack of education, if you don’t build schools, that means you have to prepare for unstable society. “The only investment that lasts and that does not need repair is education. “My childhood was very rough, I never had the opportunity most of you have now, as students of Ijaw National Academy,’’ he said. Obasanjo in Bayelsa Earlier, Gov. Dickson said the diagnostic centre was part of his promises to the people of Bayelsa. Dickson reiterated his administration’s readiness to continue to work to uplift the healthcare delivery in the state. He said the uncompleted 500-bed hospital initiated by previous administration would be given a face lift in the next fiscal year. “We will complete the project before the end of my tenure,’’ he assured. The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitulah Etebu, said the centre was capable of taking care of the diagnostic needs of people in the state. He added that “the diagnostic centre would handle screening of blood, radiology and the result transmitted electronically to international partners in America.”

Police are on the trail of Mrs Nkechinyere Bartholomew, the madam accused of inflicting severe injuries and inserting sticks into the private part of her housemaid. The 12-year-old victim, Faith Nwanja, was released to her madam at the age of eight and they were living in Onitsha in Anambra state. The Ebonyi state Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Ms Loveth Odah, said that the suspect’s sister, who came back with the victim to Ebonyi, had been apprehended and detained. The detainee, Miss Chinelo Ngwuta, she explained, would lead the police to get the principal suspect, Bartholomew. She explained that the matter would be treated as a case in transit as the state command does not have jurisdiction over the matter because the grievous harm caused on the child was done at Anambra state. Frail looking and badly injured Faith Nwanja, had told NAN that her madam subjected her to serious bodily harm and abuse during the four years she served as her maid. “My mistress usually inserts sticks inside my vagina, hits me with iron rods, wires and also ties me with chain whenever she is going out. “My Aunty always use blade to cut my skin. “These scars, injuries on my head, body and lips were inflicted on me by my Aunty for 4 years, ‘’ Nwanja narrated in her dialect. Nwanja, a native of Okoffia-Ohaji, is currently in custody of Ezza-South Local Government in Ebony state. The suspect, Bartholomew, is at large. Mrs Ngozi Nwanja, the mother of the victim, said her daughter was 8 when she was handed over to Bartholomew. Mr Godwin Igwe, Head of Department, Child Development in the state ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, described the degree of injures on the victim as “real damage’’. “This is worrisome. There is increasing cases of child brutalization. “From all indications Nwanja’s hand is condemned and we don’t know the extent of damage to her brain and other parts of her body,” Igwe said. Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FEITH), Dr Emeka Ogah, has said the victim was currently undergoing series of medical examination. Ogah who was represented by Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Dr Robbinson Ono, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that paediatricians have been directed to carry out various test on the victim. “We are still investigating the case. We cannot give out any report now until the paediatricians have concluded the tests.’’ The Wife of the State Governor, Mrs Rachael Umahi, has condemned the dehumanisation of Nwanja. Rachael Umahi, wife of Ebony governor She directed all relevant agencies to ensure that the culprit was handled in accordance with the law while the victim would be treated and rehabilitated. Mrs Umahi gave the directive through her Chief Press Secretary, Mr Donatus Owo. “This act is highly condemnable, we have asked the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Police , organisations and agencies to follow up the matter to bring the culprit to book,” she said. (NAN)

The Nigerian Peace Corps has reacted to recent reports which implied that President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the Peace Corps Bill. In a statement issued on Saturday by the Public Relations Office of the Corps, Millicent Umoru, the NPC described the report as misleading and a “voyage of interpretation of the Constitution”. The report had insinuated that by not signing the Bill 30 working days after it was transmitted in December 2017, the President had denied accent to the bill. However, Umoru insisted that some of the bills that were sent to the President along with the Peace Corps bill had been rejected as the president expressly wrote the National Assembly to convey the reasons why those bills were rejected. The corps stressed that the Peace Corps Bill was not part of the rejected ones and as such it was wrong for the medium to have published such a report. Read the full text of the statement below: RE: BUHARI REJECTS NIGERIAN PEACE CORPS BILL. When our attention was drawn to the aforementioned report in the Vanguard Newspaper of Saturday, February 17, 2018, which was written by Mr. Soni Daniel, the Northern Regional Editor of the Newspaper and Mr. Emman Ovuakkporie, our initial reaction wasthat of disbelief. But after reading the entire report, it suddenly dawned on us that the authors deliberately elected to sensationalize the caption with a view to selling the Newspaper and on that note; we wish to assure the teeming members of the Peace Corps of Nigeria and millions of our well-wishers nationwide that the writers merely embarked on a voyage ofinterpretation of the Constitution. The truth of the matter is that out of about nine Bills that were transmitted to the President together with that of the Nigerian Peace Corps, the President rejected three and returned same to the National Assembly (NASS), stating reasons why he rejected them. And of course, the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill was not part of the rejected ones. We are not unaware of the grand conspiracy by some security agencies against the Peace Corps, especially the Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and Civil Defence in theiradversarial memos to the Presidency to thwart assent to the Bill. This conspiracy, whichwas also manifested in form of opposition during the Public Hearings conducted by both chambers of the NASS on the Bill, was roundly defeated by superior arguments of over 500 Oral and written Memoranda submitted during the Public Hearings in the NASS. The major plank of this conspiracy is that the functions of the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC)Bill overlap that of the Nigerian Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), which is far from the truth. (Nigerians should watch out for our full pageadvertorial on this issue in The Nation, The Sun, Daily Trust and Tribune Newspapers on Monday, 19th February, 2018). The advertorial clearly articulates the statutory functions of the Police, Civil Defence and that of the Nigerian Peace Corps. We wish to correct the erroneous impression created by this report, whose contents are just the authors’ interpretation of the provisions of the law, President Muhammadu BuhariGCFR, has not assented to or rejected the NPC Bill. And if even the President rejects the Bill, he will communicate same to the NASS, stating reason(s) for doing so. Moreover, the Spokespersons of both chambers of the NASS, Senator Sabi Abdullahi(Senate) and Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas (House of Representatives) have clarified the issues as far as the law on this matter is concerned. The authors also questioned the legal status of the Peace Corps, a position that smacks of mischief. For purpose of clarity, Peace Corps of Nigeria was duly incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission under the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap 1990, Part C as Nigerian Leadership and Marshal Corps, but changed to Peace Corps of Nigeria in 2002 in accordance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act. So, its legality has never been called to question and even if the Bill is not assented to, that will not stop it from functioning as an entity. The Bill is essentially to give statutory backing to the Corps. That this report is coming out a few days after the House Committee on Public Petition gave the Corps directive to take-over its Headquarters that has been under lock and key by the Police since February 2017, a directive that was almost executed before the intervention of the FCT Commissioner of Police, is suspicious. How sad! Sadder still is that in spite of several Court judgments pronouncing Peace Corps as a legal entity, including recent verdicts by two different Federal High Courts judges, the antagonists of the Corps have continued to disregard these valid Orders by refusing to unseal the Peace Corps office. So much for the Rule of Law! In conclusion, we request all PCN Stakeholders and indeed the entire Nigerian youth to disregard any erroneous, malicious and none-evidence based information against the NPC Bill. Patriot Millicent Umoru Corps Public Relations Officer

Mr Li Xuda, the Cultural Counselor, the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria says the 2018 China New Year celebration is dedicated to strengthening bilateral relationships with Nigeria. Xuda on Saturday in Abuja on the sideline of the 2018 Chinese New Year Temple Fair Festival with the theme,“ “Celebrating the Golden Era for China-Nigeria relations’’. According to him, the theme of this year’s Temple Fair is to further strengthen Sino-Nigerian exchanges and cooperation in all fields “2018 Chinese New Year is being celebrated by Chinese across the globe to mark the start of the Lunar Year of the Dog and the Spring Festival. “The annual cultural event, ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ has become a recognised brand, welcoming our guest and friends to experience cultural traditions associated with the celebration and enjoy art performances,’’ he said. Xuda said that the Chinese New Year celebrations are emblematic of the cultural tradition, heritage and aesthetic aspirations of the Chinese nation, abounding in distinctive Chinese symbols of great emotional appeal. He noted that the tradition of such celebrations in China dated back to more than 4000 years. He said the celebration also included the display of Chinese New Year couples, fireworks, preparing `jiaozi’ and family reunion, among others. The highlights of the event was the Chinese Cultural presentation by the “12 “China Corners Schools’’ in the Federal Capital Territory. The schools include Model Secondary School, Maitama, Government Secondary School (GSS) Byazhin, GSS Gwarinpa, GSS Jabi, GSS Apo and GSS Mpape. Others are Rahama International School, GSS Garki, Government Day Secondary School, Dutse Alhaji, Army Day Secondary School, Asokoro and Government Girls Secondary School Dutse.

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