In Spite of IMF’s warning, Nigeria’s debt level under control, says Adeosun

Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, fielding questions from Nigerian journalists after participating in the G-24 Meeting, as part of events of the 2018 Spring Meetings of the IMF/World Bank at the World Bank Office, Washington D.C., USA
In spite of the warning by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that debt levels in African economies were rising, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, yesterday said Nigeria’s debt level was still sustainable and under control.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Adeosun, while speaking to newsmen on the sideline of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meetings at the ongoing 2018 IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington DC, United States, noted that Nigeria had nothing to worry about.
“It is correct that debt levels in low income countries is a threat, but Nigeria is better described as a middle income country.
“The concern that has been expressed, and it is a legitimate one, is that debt levels in those countries are at 55 per cent of GDP, which is very high, but Nigeria’s is at less than 20.
“So, we are not one of the countries they have expressed concerns about. However, we will continue to manage our debt very responsibly.
“We are at 20 per cent of GDP and we do not intend to grow it aggressively. We are doing well at the moment, as debt rate to revenue is going down gradually as we replace debt with revenue and refinancing our debt,” she said.
The minister said the government would keep monitoring and analysing its debt levels at every stage, so that they don’t fall into the trap that most African States had fallen into.
She reminded Nigerians that due to recession and near collapse of major sources of income, which it had inherited from the former administration, the government had no choice but to borrow to save the country.
“There were two options. One was austerity, cut back, lay people off and wait for the oil prices to rebound.
“The other was to be more aggressive by expanding the budget, take on more debt and invest in infrastructure in the hope that you will get growth going and then you will be able to develop more revenues.
“Step one, two and three of that has been done. We expanded our budget, we pumped money into the economy, we made sure that recession wasn’t prolonged and we are now back into growth.
“What we need to do now is to accelerate that growth and focus on revenue mobilisation, which in turn will reduce our debt pressures.
“Some of the ministers that I was in the meeting with are still in recession. And that means real pain for a long time.
“In Nigeria, to shorten it, we had to borrow in order to do so, and I make no apologies for that, as that was the right thing to do,” she said.
On Thursday, the IMF Managing Director, Ms. Christine Lagarde, said global debt stood at $164 trillion, which was 25 per cent of global GDP.
She said the rising debt levels presented risk to low income countries, adding that such countries may face hardship and be unable to repay these debt if they do not look for alternative measures to borrowing.

Youth development our priority, says Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, reacted to the allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari, during a business conference in London on Wednesday, described Nigerian youths as lazy, insisting that the President was misquoted. He insisted rather that the welfare and development of Nigerian youths are among top priorities of the federal government.
The minister spoke while fielding questions from newsmen in Abeokuta, Ogun State, after attending the ongoing African Drum Festival.
He said: “Some people have just made it their full-time job these days to scrutinise and twist whatever the President says out of context.
“I wonder how a government that has employed 100,000 unemployed graduates and also feeds about 7.5 million people daily could be tagged anti-youth.
“Our social investment programme has continued to generate jobs and created opportunities for our teeming youths, while our empowerment programmes have been providing soft loans to over 400,000 youths. Millions of families and individuals have also continued to benefit from our Conditional Cash Transfer initiative.
“This is a government that is so concerned and passionate about youth development and it is not right for people to begin to quote Mr. President out of context, thereby inciting the youths against the government.
“Critics should judge us by our actions and not by their emotions.”
Mohammed said the festival, which started in 2016 as solely a Nigerian affair, is now drawing participants from African countries, adding: “I am sure that with the complexities and nature of those in attendance this year, the festival will soon become a global affair.”
Read More: FG passionate about youth development – Minister
He described the drum as a connecting rod that binds the African region together, saying the festival is aimed, among others, at ensuring that the continent does not completely lose touch with its past, and consider ways of adding values to drum for preservation, in the light of infiltrations of other musical instruments from the western world.
“We have learnt from this festival that drum is not just for music, but there is something deeper and connecting about drum, as far as Africa is concerned.
“It is so central and significant to the lives of various communities in Africa, because it serves as an instrument used to herald different situations, like wars and festivities, and people can interpret it when it is beaten.
“What we are doing with this festival is to go behind and beyond the drum and see what exactly it means for Africa.
“As I look at the drums from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana and others, I see something connecting us by their shapes, build and other features.
“We will continue to spend time, energy, funds and other resources to explore the role and importance of drums, particularly in the African context.

Shoemaker in court for allegedly selling, wearing customer’s shoes

A shoemaker, Adekole Farajimi, accused of stealing seven pairs of shoes worth N35, 000, was yesterday arraigned before a Badagry Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State.
Farajimi allegedly sold some of the shoes a customer brought to him to repair and started wearing the rest.
The accused, whose address was not mentioned, was arraigned on a charge of stealing.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Prosecutor, Akpan Ikem, told the court that the accused committed the offence on April 7, this year, at Ajara Vetho area of Badagry.
Ikem said that the shoes belonged to the complainant, Segun Aladesunmi, adding: “The complainant brought the shoes for the accused to repair, and after the repairs, the accused sold some of the shoes and started wearing the others.
“The complainant reported the matter to the Police and the accused was arrested.”
According to the prosecutor, the offence contravened Section 285 of the Criminal Code of Lagos State, Nigeria 2011.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Jimoh Adefioye, granted bail to the accused in the sum of N50, 000 and two sureties in the like sum.
He adjourned the case till May 18, this year, for hearing.

2019: Student’s leader alleges pressures from politicians

Bayero University
Ahead of next year’s general elections, president of the Student Union, Bayero University Kano (BUK), Khalid Sunusi Kani, has raised the alarm over unsolicited patronage and pressure from political actors of various platforms to support their interests.
Kani alleged that the leaderships of various student unions were being financially induced to mobile students in support of the political ambitions of the politicians.
In a statement he signed and made available to The Guardian in Kano, Kani, a 500-level medical student, said that the attitude of the political actors was threatening the ideology and philosophy of student unionism, saying the move, if left unchecked, was capable of mortgaging the bright future of the country.
He noted that regardless of the interest of students, the political class, who he said are currently on rampage, are desperate to impose their will on student’s leadership.
According to the statement: “Today, the condition of student unionism is worrisome, the desire of some students for union leadership is not driven by passion and commitment to public service, but rather for fame and to advance personal interests.
“Many students’ union leaders nowadays are in the habit of using their privilege to organise unreasonable award ceremonies in the name of ‘solicitation,’ where undeserving persons and politicians are honoured. The criteria for eligibility are usually not based on merit, but on one’s ability to give financial support.
“The money realise from such solicitations are usually embezzled among the ranks of the unions.

2019: Buhari’s second term bid divides Nigerian entertainers

…2Face, Yinka Davies, Skales, Felix Duke, others withdraw support
When President Muhammadu Buhari declared his intention to contest in the 2019 presidential election, many Nigerians frowned at his decision because they expected him to honourably step aside, and encourage the younger generation to take over the reins of Nigeria’s leadership. But there are also many who say that the man has done well and could continue.
Mixed reactions have continued to greet the declaration which some have described with unprintable words. While some believe he has the right to contest, others strongly argue that he is too old and doesn’t have what it takes to take Nigeria to Eldorado.
Although, it’s indisputable that the Buhari-led government has recorded laudable achievements in the past three years, it’s also not out of place to say that the administration has recorded some setbacks. It’s on this premise that Showtime went to town during the week to feel the pulse of Nigerian entertainers on the matter. However, while many entertainers declined comments for fear of losing the favour of powers that be, others eloquently spoke their minds.
I didn’t know he has declared to run for second term- Dbanj, singer
Has he declared his intentions to run for second term? Wow, I didn’t know! Well, I have nothing to say about it.
I don’t understand the idea of granting amnesty to Boko Haram—2face
I don’t understand the idea of granting amnesty to Boko Haram, it doesn’t make any sense. There are so many graduates out there who are jobless and not able to fend for themselves; why does it have to be people who don’t have respect for lives that the federal government is considering granting amnesty? This just means that we have accepted defeat. It means we’re trying to appease them. Many people are angry and tired, but because we are peace loving people and the government knows, that’s why they are taking advantage of it.
Running for second term is greed— Actress, Praise Sam Ogan
How can he even think of that! In a country where civil servants retire at 64, he wants to run for an election at the age of 75 and people will vote him in? This country is becoming something else; I doubt we can grow and become better even in the next 200-years!
Buhari is too old to rule us again- Pop music star, Skales
“Honestly, I’m not in support of Buhari’s decision to run for second term, so it’s a ‘no’ from me. I’m part of those people who feel younger people should be given the opportunity to rule this nation. When I say younger people, I mean people between the ages of thirty and fifty because we know what the future is. No offence to Buhari though, I have huge respect for him.
He’s a great man. But the truth is that these men are old! They should give young ones chance to rule because they can’t predict our future for us. They are done; they have seen their own future already.”
He has to step on toes to succeed- Musician, Djinee
“These three years have been painful for the masses as evident in the constant groans and pains you feel everywhere you turn to. It’s always darkest before dawn and before we enjoy a bountiful harvest, we’ll experience the pain associated with years of misrule.
But the change won’t come if institutions are made up of corrupt individuals who are strung across parties, decamping because they seek to line their pockets. For the president to move this nation forward, he will have to bite the fingers that fed him. And they include those he dines with because the ruling party and opposition are the same. Will he find ten honest Nigerians? Will he also probe himself for the sake of the nation? Your guesses are as good as mine.”
Nigerians should use their votes to decide — filmmaker, Prince Iyke Olisa
So far, this administration has inflicted more hardship on the masses than the paradise they promised. Despite the administration’s fight against corruption and the recovery of some stolen funds, we notice more hardship and upsurge of insecurity in the country.
We expected that when you fight corruption and recover stolen funds, the effect will tell on the economy; instead the masses are suffering more. I think Buhari has a clear agenda but there are some elements in his government whose presence and activities will continue to undermine his efforts. Any solution that is not affordable or effective is definitely not a solution.
Though one must not also fail to accept the truth that the previous administration had its lapses but as a progressive government, one expected that this administration should live beyond daily chanting of the dilemma called “Past administrations” and start making achievements and policies that will reflect on the lives of Nigerians. President Buhari has the right under the constitution to seek  second term.
His declaration was not surprising to me at all, in fact I would have been more surprised if he chose not to re-contest. I have not seen an African President or Head of state who will have an opportunity to continue and decline except maybe one or two.
People should channel their energy on how to make use of their votes in 2019 rather than agitate over someone’s declaration to run. Anyone has the right to declare to run for any office as long as you are eligible by law to do so.
However, the power to actualize that dream rests on the people who will decide with their votes. So if you think this administration is parading an old man, what are you preparing to do as a youth? If you think they haven’t done much to deserve second chance or term, what are you planning to do with your power (PVC)? So let’s stop grumbling and do the right thing. Buhari has right to contest, it is left for him to gather enough of our votes to continue. I see nothing wrong with his ambition.
PMB cannot rule Nigeria smoothly- Actress, Foluke Daramola
It’s within the constitutional right of the president to decide to contest for second term, but in my own view he’s still an aspirant. APC does not have a presidential candidate yet but one presidential aspirant until after the proposed national congress of the party.
And until all the presidential candidates are presented by all the political parties to Nigerians by all the political parties, it might not be intelligent enough for anybody to jump at anyone yet for consideration in the race. So, Nigeria does not have a presidential candidate yet until INEC presents them to Nigerians. Nigeria has been a dilapidated house under repairs and renovation, no doubt. Mr. President and his team have been trying their best. As far as I’m concerned, he has been trying his best to fix the house. And under such circumstance, the work might not be seen or appreciated, or even the intention of the person fixing it might be misconstrued.
Even a Nigerian like me won’t see it until the renovation work is completed and presented for proper assessment. But in all, what I see as the main problem of this government is how it has carried on with the politics. Mr. President, I believe, cannot continue to run this government smoothly and still make a great impact as it should be if he cannot decide to play the necessary politics needed to run the government.
He has no clue on how to solve Nigeria’s problem- Radio presenter, Sabina
This present administration had good intentions for Nigeria and Nigerians, or so we were made to believe three and a half years ago during the election campaigns. I was actually one of those who welcomed the idea of giving another set of leaders a chance to see what they could do differently to move Nigeria forward.
From my observation, President Buhari and his cabinet had no clue about the magnitude of the issues we face as a nation. Yet they made so many promises. I hold this against them for not properly counting the cost before promising paradise! In the area of fighting corruption, I welcome and applaud the presidency’s efforts, but I’m still expecting them to clean out the grey areas, no one found guilty should be spared. No sacred cows please, this is where integrity plays out the most.
Again, the hardship in the land has tripled compared to the last administration. Yes, sacrifices have to be made by all towards a better tomorrow but for how long? And what’s the plan to alleviate the pain Nigerians are going through? Why hasn’t the exchange rate improved in our favor in three years?
Why are Nigerians being killed on a daily basis and we don’t hear of people being questioned ?  What about stories of animals stealing money in offices manned by human beings? Look at education and health sectors.  Are we not retrogressive?
There’s hunger in the land and blaming the past administration for everything is actually a bad signal to the citizens who voted you in to turn things around for the better. Would you have the people’s mandate if there weren’t problems to be solved? I see Buhari’s administration as one with good intentions but it lacks the wherewithal to do what problem solvers do, and thus should give way to another crop of leaders.
Nigeria can sure boast of another set of practical intellectuals and critical thinkers who have something to contribute to the all round growth of this great nation. I appeal to Mr. President to allow them come in to help just as Nigerians gave him the opportunity to do likewise at the last election. I do not think he should re-contest.
Nigeria needs a more strategic president- Gospel music singer, Nikki Laoye
“I have no personal bias against President Buhari desiring a second term. But I just personally believe we need a younger, bolder and more strategic mind on the presidential seat at this time. Nigeria is such a rich country but we are not using the right strategies, neither do we have the correct structures in place. That’s why we are still having the same fuel scarcity, electricity issues, etc. The same issues that had been with us since I was a child still exist today. We need a drastic overhaul in our nation right now-the people, the mindset, the policies in place-. God help our country.”
Buhari hasn’t fulfilled half of his promise- Soma, ex BBNaija housemate
I don’t think Buhari has done half of what he promised Nigerians. So, I’m not in support of his second term ambition, it’s a big no!
I can never support him for second term- Musician, Felix Duke
“What can an old man do? He has nothing to offer, he brought pain and suffering to Nigerians so he should go home, sleep and enjoy his old age. I’m not in support of his declaration to run for second term, God forbid! Haven’t people died enough? I can never support him because I don’t want him back.”
Buhari deserves a second chance- Jaywon
“For me, I think everybody deserves a second chance. I feel he hasn’t done badly.”
It’s the people’s choice- Actress, Winner Lazarus
If he wants to run for second term it’s the choice of the people to vote for him and if they do then it’s fine. Everything depends on the choice of Nigerians
Anybody older than Nigeria shouldn’t contest in 2019- Juju music singer, Tayo Mix
Anybody who is older than Nigeria shouldn’t contest at all in 2019 because they only think about their families; they never do anything for Nigerians. They should allow younger people to rule so that problems such as power outage, joblessness, thuggery, violence, corruption, etc. will stop.
Yar’Adua’s tenure was better- Yinka Davies
“Our country won’t be crushed by one man’s  destiny. The destiny we bring to this world says a lot about who we are and affects our people, our surroundings, and our community. Should a violent man be called into a gathering, he may not be the culprit, but everything around him will revolt against something, that is where we are. It is not for us to decide, what matters is what destiny he brought to the office. Yar’Adua’s head was gentle.”
Buhari needs rest- Actress, Sylvia Edem
“They should allow young people to rule and stop religious conflicts because we need peace in this country. The past three years of his government has been from one violent attack to the other. Do you know how many lives we have lost and the level of hunger people are suffering from? Nigerian youths are angry; Buhari needs to take a rest. I’m not in support of his second term rule.”
He has nothing good for Nigeria- Agoha John
“Buhari should just go and rest and enjoy his old age. How can he think of running for second term because people are pushing him to do so? That man has nothing good for this country.”
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Ebenezer Obey’s 76th birthday gift to Nigerian youths

Instead of throwing a lavish party to mark his 76th birthday as people would expect, music legend, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi, seized the event to impact lives as well as give back to the society, especially the younger generation.
Evangelist Ebenezer Obey
Obey, who clocked 76 on April 3, said despite expectations that he would paint the town red with a classy event to mark his birthday this year, he had concluded plans to launch an initiative aimed at empowering youths, including talented young musicians.
According to the music icon, the desire to institute a music foundation tagged ‘Ebenezer Obey Music Foundation’ (EOMF), is a dream come true. “It is my joy that this dream has become a reality. I shared this burning vision and commitment to give back to the society through the youth employment initiative in music and skill acquisition to the teeming youths at my 75th birthday last year.
I thank God for the success of the initiative through the support of well-meaning Nigerians. Though it was not easy, we are glad that the dream has come to pass”, he said.
Speaking further, he expressed profound gratitude to God for being alive to celebrate his 76th birthday.
“I want to thank God for making it possible for me to witness another birthday; 76. I feel happy and grateful to God. Looking back at all what God has done in my life. I have nothing to do than to pay gratitude to Him and to thank all my fans and admirers all over the world for their support over the years.
I formed my first band. Royal Mambo Orchestra in Idogo, when I was 15 and today I am 76. That means I have been in music professionally for 61 years.
God has been so gracious to me in my music career and life entirely,” Obey said with excitement. He hinted that aside the prayer session that was held on April 3 at his Lagos State residence, a Special Thanksgiving Service will hold on April 29 at the Decross Gospel Mission Church, headquarters, Agege, Lagos; where the foundation will be officially launched as well as introduce one of his sons, Reverend Folarin Obey-Fabiyi as the deputy General Overseer of the church.
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Tech: A small family-run firm bought Flickr from Verizon and says it can bring...

Flickr was not the right fit for Yahoo, says an executive at SmugMug, which acquired the photo sharing site.
Flickr, which was owned by Verizon, has been acquired by photo sharing and image hosting site SmugMug.
SmugMug does not have any plans to lay off any employees nor fold Flickr into SmugMug.
The price of the deal has not been disclosed.
Flickr, the once red-hot photo-sharing site, has withered under the corporate ownership of Yahoo and Verizon.
Now Flickr is part of SmugMug, a small family-owned online photography firm that just bought it from Verizon.
Despite its small size, SmugMug is confident it has the right touch to bring back Flickr’s glory days.
“We love photographers, we are photographers, we’ve been catering directly to photographers for a long long time and we think we have the most insight into what photographers want from these platforms,” SmugMug VP of Operations Ben MacAskill told Business Insider in an interview on Friday.
That might seem like a tall order, given that consumer internet brands are notoriously difficult to revitalize once the buzz is gone. And Flickr is competing for consumers against giants like Instagram and Snapchat. But SmugMug, which was founded in 2002 and is still a family-run operation without any venture capital backing, is not afraid.
“We’ve weathered so many competitors over the years. When we first started, people were asking us why we were competing with brands like Kodak, which really doesn’t exist anymore,” MacAskill says.
“It just wasn’t the right fit for Yahoo”
Flickr was founded in 2004 and bought by Yahoo for $35 million in 2005 after exploding in popularity. The service, which lets users upload and share photos for free was once a cornerstone of the early internet. But its relevance began to decline — as did Yahoo’s — over the years because “it just wasn’t the right fit for Yahoo, they just really didn’t want to be in the space,” MacAskill says.
Shortly after Yahoo was acquired by Verizon and merged with AOL, the new owners approached approached SmugMug about a possible deal to buy Flickr, he says, noting that talks went on for nearly a year.
“We’ve been friendly with both the Flickr team and the team at Yahoo and then Oath for many many years so it was very natural development to see if we were potentially interested knowing our love of the product,” he said.
MacAskill declined to disclose the price of the deal, but said the company will keep Flickr as an independent and free website. He added that SmugMug does not have plans to lay off any Flickr employees.
So what’s the vision for Flickr 2.0?
It’s too early to tell what, if anything, will change about Flickr’s core service and functionality. But MacAskill did say that SmugMug doesn’t want to upend the community on Flickr nor get rid of the photos currently on it. He instead wants to invest in it.
“We just really love the platform,” he says. “I think it’s one of the greatest treasures of the internet.

RMD reveals close bond he shares with Ego Boyo

By Njoku Benjamin
…Ahead of premiere of ‘ Mr X Family’ TV series
Veteran actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo, fondly called RMD, has given an interesting insight  into the close bond  he shares with screen darling, Ego Boyo, saying “ she represents female side of what I present for male actors in Nigeria.”
RMD and Ego Boyo
RMD spoke ahead of premiering of his new TV series, “The Mr X Family”, which is slated for Sunday, May 6, on Dstv channel 151, Africa Magic Showcase. The series, starring himself alongside Ego Boyo as couple is sure to  mark the actors’ reunion after they co-starred in the now rested TV series,“Checkmate,” and the  late Amaka Igwe’s produced movie, “Violated” as a couple over two decades ago.
RMD’s co-starring with  Ego Boyo again has been generating a lot of excitement among fans. But the veteran actor said she’s the only actress that fits into the character as couple in the new TV series.
“I was looking for somebody who cuts across different generations. I needed someone who represents the female side of what I represent for male actors in Nigeria. I think Ego Boyo fits into that description,” RMD told HVP in a chat during the week.
While Ego Boyo is a very busy woman, the veteran actor said getting her to star in the new TV series, after she took a long break  from acting was not an easy task.
Describing  “Mr X Family” as a family drama series that viewers will surely fall in love with, RMD said it chronicles the story of a man who’s trying to raise his children in a morally debased society.  The actor explained that every season  of the series is made of 13 episodes.
The upcoming TV series which also marks RMD’s debut as a producer is already generating a lot of buzz in the industry. Announcing their reunion on his Instagram page last year, RMD  wrote: “I can only hope that getting back together again on TV will tickle fans of Ann Hathrope and Segun Kadiri and the fans of Tega and Peggy who have been craving to have them grace their TV screens again.”
“Ego and I are pretty excited about this and hope the excitement catches on,” he added.
Boyo and RMD are most remembered for their roles in pop-culture staple, “Checkmate,” which ran from 1991 to 1995, and starred RMD as Segun Kadiri, the arch-enemy turned lover of Ann Haastrup ( Boyo). In 1996, the duo also returned as Tega and Peggy in “Violated”, a movie that tells the story of a wealthy man who falls in love with a woman beneath his background.
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Untold story of my life after the accident that killed Dr. Giwa Suraj—...

…’I’m sorry,’ she tells Nigerians
By Ayo onikoyi
Nollywood actress, Ibinabo Fiberesima has never had any peace since she was involved in the  auto accident that  killed Dr. Giwa Suraj along Lekki–Epe expressway, Lagos in 2006. The former beauty queen  has been in and out of  prison following that ugly incident.
The last was in 2016, when the matter returned to  court again after she was slammed with a 5-years jail term. However, two years after she regained her freedom, the former president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria,AGN, has taken time out to recount her tales  of woes.
In  an interview she granted to seasoned journalist, Azuka Jebose, which he posted on his Facebook page, Ibinabo apologized to Nigerians for whatever wrong she has done.
She also pleaded with the Suraji family to forgive her for causing them unforgettable pain. She said “I have had periods of feeling miserable in the last 12 years as a result of this accident. I need to find peace. I seek forgiveness. I am sorry.”
I need to tell my story. I stayed silent for so long and watched as my life, character and person were being ruined in published reports, including social media. This is my story, told for the first time on social media platform.
My heart has never stopped aching. It will not. An accident took the life of someone. I am forever in mourning because of this. Two families’ lives have been changed forever with this unfortunate fatal accident.
It was an accident. Dr. Suraj Giwa didn’t have to die. I wished I could bring him back. I am sorry for the pains caused. I have also been maligned and disparaged in the media: I am a monster. I am a killer and a murderer, I am a drunk… No. Azuka. I am none of these. I am just another human being that was in a deadly accident and the accident caused the death of Dr. Suraj Giwa. It’s been 12 years of heartache, pain and depression for me. My eyes are rivers of tears. Some days I feel like killing myself.
Life has no meaning to me. I think about Dr. Giwa every day. I pray for his soul and I pray and seek forgiveness from his family for the pain and agony. I am very sorry.
It didn’t have to happen. I wished I knew it would happen that unfortunate day, I would not have travelled that road. I was not drunk that day.
Azuka, I was driving along Lekki road, returning home after picking up a friend’s daughter from a church Fellowship. Suddenly, a red car overtook the SUV in front of me. The SUV was travelling slowly, so I shifted to its front, too. The red vehicle was being driven by a young man and had his friends with him…I drove past the red car. I think that might have angered the young chap because he swiftly sped from behind, drove past me and made a sudden stop in my front.
I tried to avoid hitting those boys in the red car. I swerved and lost control in that moment, the impact dived my vehicle into inbound lane.. Dr. Giwa was inbound, thus he drove into my car and both cars collided. I collapsed and passed out..
Three days later, I woke up in a hospital bed to learn what had happened. I was weak, sore and in pains. I could not move my legs. I had been sedated for three days. Doctors said they had to sedate me to numb my pain. Meanwhile, the police had been informed that I was in that hospital. The Lagos State Police came to the hospital to take my statement of what happened. After I gave them my statement, I was arrested at the hospital and charged to court.
At my court appearance for hearing, the judge noticed how sick, weak, incoherent an disoriented I was: he also saw my injuries. He ordered that I should be sent back to the hospital for further treatment until I was well enough to stand trial. I could not walk then.
Later at the hospital, I woke up from coma and to reality. I was afraid and shocked. I could not believe I was involved in an accident that had taken a life. I was like: Wow!..Someone died in that accident. Oh my God!. I didn’t know the family. While I was in the hospital my family contacted the family of Late dr. Giwa who died in the accident. My family was there for the funeral and did everything during the mourning season. I was afraid.
But I met them in court and tried to approach them. I understood the anger and pain I had caused them, so I accepted their anger toward me….his sister was really angry at me… I wanted to talk to her… it was hard for me to get close to her… I understood all these: the pain and distress they felt as a result of the accident. I felt their pain. I wanted to tell them how sorry and remorseful I was… It was an accident. I did not intend to wake up that morning, went out and had a fatal collision.
Weeks later, I was arraigned. I attended all my court appearances. During the process I visited the family and attempted several times to make peace. I never ignored them. I am always sorry. I know the pain is tough, so I understood their anger but I kept begging. I am sorry. I had gone to so many good people and friends to assist me in pleading for forgiveness from the family. One of such friends is late Iyalode of Lagos.
She assisted me in begging the Giwa family: when I became well and able to walk, she took me to The former Imam of Lagos and the incumbent Oba of Lagos: these traditional and religious leaders begged on my behalf, pleading with the family for forgiveness and showed how sorry and remorseful I was that the accident happened. I never ran away from the scene of the accident. I was unconscious. How could an unconscious accident victim remove plate license and registration papers from the vehicle as reported in the media? Why would I do a thing like that? How could I have done a thing like that?
These were all lies manufactured and circulated in the media to tarnish me. Days after the wreck, I woke up in a hospital. I was never drunk as being speculated and alleged. I was never charged for drunk driving. I was charged for reckless and dangerous driving.
I am forever very sorry this accident happened. I never planned for it. I plead with the family. I reached out to the GO of the church where the late doctor’s wife worships to beg him to join me plead with her. He was on a crusade in Benue and I went and met with him. I am very sorry it happened. I am not arrogant or careless. I have just been wrongly represented and maligned in the media. The story has several versions that make me a heartless beautiful beast and monster. I have not said much because the family is bereaved. It hurts. I need to respect their sorrows and what they are going through:trying to explain myself, I thought, would sound arrogant. So I kept quiet. I have been sorry from the moment I learnt the accident took a dear life.
Life has never been the same for both families. I am sorry. Losing Dr Giwa altered our lives and I regret that. It’s devastating.
As the case was progressing, I began to read so many false stories about me being arrogant, being an alcoholic and drove under the influence on that day; that I refused to ask the family to forgive me..
Wow…I was stunned. How are all these possible?. So I approached Giwa’s family to find out the source of all these stories that do not make sense. The family said my Nollywood colleagues told them all kinds of things and lies about me. The lies included: that I owned a night club and so I must have been returning from my night club, drunk. I owned a night club years before the accident. They said someone that sells alcohol is an alcoholic. I am being punished with false statements saturating the media. I am broken…
Soon, I was stopped from going to visit Giwa’s Mother…. The only person that always met with me was Barrister Giwa , he is the eldest in the family…who would tell me “Ibinabo you were at the wrong place at the wrong time… things happen…” What do I do?…
Meantime, I became pregnant and my due date was approaching. At that point, I was sentenced to fine because the judge said I had shown remorse. I didn’t even have any money in court that day. A woman I didn’t know paid for me. So I left for UK to go and have my baby.
After the birth of my child, I returned to continue seeking peace and forgiveness with the family. My lawyer informed me of another court appearance. I came back to start all over again….
I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t look at myself anymore…why would this case reopen?. What have I done?.. In the middle of this craziness, false statements began to spread and track, again: that I was throwing parties and celebrating… How could I be doing that?. I wasn’t even in Nigeria…I just returned then from child birthing.
How could I have been throwing parties when I was pregnant?. Parties for what celebration?.. I couldn’t do all these things…… somebody lost his life, why should I party? But I kept quiet, secretly begging the family, seeking forgiveness. I kept begging… I feel their pain. I was involved in an accident: a wonderful son, father and husband lost his Life: I kept begging.. I dint know what else to do….
Giwa’s family said that somebody told them I was drunk at my club and must have been coming from there, that day. Are you serious?. My club was closed eight years before the accident happened..
There was no alcohol involved. I wasn’t drunk on the day of the accident.
These silly rumors manifested in the mainstream and social media: the rumors continue to spread that I was drunk when the accident happened… The accident had nothing to do with alcohol. Nothing!. My charge was reckless driving that caused someone’s death. It wasn’t driving while impaired. It wasn’t alcohol that caused the death of Dr. Suraj. It wasn’t… it wasn’t…there was nothing that concerned alcohol with the unintentional accident.
They keep breaking me with these false accusations in public. The public bought into them and perhaps, accepted I was drunk on that day. I keep praying to God to release me from this miserable bondage…I am broken! My life is uncomfortable.. I do not go out. I hardly socialize. I am afraid.
*To be continued.
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Oborududu says Tokyo 2020 Olympics gold now her target

Blessing Oborududu, Nigerian female freestyle wrestler and Commonwealth Games gold medalist, on Friday said her focus now was on winning a gold medal at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Oborududu said in Abuja that she would intensify her training to ensure that she achieved her objective of winning an Olympic gold medal.
Oborududu won a gold medal at the just-ended Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 68kg women’s freestyle wrestling event after defeating Canada’s Danielle Lappage.
“The 2018 Commonwealth Games was the best tournament I have attended so far, as I came back with a gold medal and I give God the glory.
“I think determination and my passion for the game and my target for the Games won for me the gold medal to add to my 2010 Commonwealth Games silver.
“In 2014, I won bronze. My target for 2018 was then gold, and I am thankful to God that I met my target,’’ the wrestler said.
Oborududu told NAN that she would immediately commence preparations for the upcoming World Championship holding in Budapest, Hungary in September.
She added that her target for the world championship was also to win a gold medal, which she said would boost her chances of winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.(NAN)
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Tech: The median employee at Salesforce made $155,284 last year — just 3% what...

All of Salesforce’s top executives brought home seven-figure salaries.
The median Salesforce employee made $155,284 during fiscal year 2018, which ended January 31.
That’s just 3% of CEO Marc Benioff’s compensation for the fiscal year: $4,653,362.
While Benioff’s seven-figure salary is nothing to gawk at, it doesn’t tell the full story. Equity wasn’t included in the fiscal year 2018 figures, and his real salary is closer to $13.2 million.
The median employee at Salesforce made a total of $155,284 in fiscal year 2018, according to a proxy statement filed by the company Friday.
The word “median” is key here: It’s different than an average; this salary represents one Salesforce employee whose salary happens to fall right in the middle of the range for its 29,000 workers around the world — though, notably, that calculation excludes the chief executive.
That median Salesforce employee makes:
$131,758 in salary
$6,503 in bonuses
$17,023 in non-equity incentive plan compensation, which is basically a goal-based bonus.
While that six figure salary may seem generous, it’s nothing compared to top-level executive compensation at the $90 billion company.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made $4,653,362 for fiscal year 2018 — a total made up of $1,550,000 in base salary, and $3,100,000 in non-equity insentive compensation. This means that the median employee got paid at a rate of 1-to-30, raking in about 3% of what Benioff made.
Salesforce, like most other publicly-traded companies, is required to disclose this information as part of federal regulation in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. This is the first time Salesforce has ever disclosed this information.
Meanwhile, Salesforce CFO Mark Hawkins made $1,500,000 in salary and incentive pay; chief operating office Keith Block made $2,300,000; Chief Technology Officer and cofounder Parker Harris made $1,800,000, and Chief Strategy Officer Alex Dayon made $1,800,000 as well.
It turns out, however, that these numbers only tell part of the story.
That’s because Benioff actually makes around $13.2 million annually when you factor in his equity bonuses.
Salesforce moved its annual executive equity payments from November to March, which means that executives didn’t receive any equity payouts during fiscal year 2018. This number made Salesforce’s reported executive compensation totals considerably lower than they would have been otherwise, according to the proxy.
If equity were included, Salesforce said that the CEO to employee compensation ration would have been 1 to 130, which means this median employee actually receives just 0.77% of Benioff’s annual pay.
Read more about the power players helping Marc Benioff grow his Salesforce empire here.

Tech: 1 out of 5 US homes with wifi now have a smart speaker...

Amazon’s Echo and other smart speakers are taking off with American consumers. Smart speakers have been a hot ticket item in recent years. Products by Amazon, Google and Apple, which allow consumers to play music, order food and get news just by talking to the device, have already experienced a surprisingly strong adoption in the US market.
This chart by Statista which is based on comScore data, shows that 20% of homeowners with wifi have at least one active smart speaker. That percentage will be inching up as well, if the past few months are any indication of the device’s steadily increasing adoption rate.

Globacom: Boston Consulting Group identifies telecom company, others as continental drivers of integration

According to BCG, a total of 150 companies are blazing the trail toward a more integrated Africa. In a report just released, the globally-acclaimed consulting firm, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), listed Globacom as one of the six African companies driving the amalgamation of economic activities within the continent. The others include Dangote Group, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa, Nigerian Breweries and Jumia. According to BCG, a total of 150 companies are blazing the trail toward a more integrated Africa. They consist of 75 Africa-based companies and 75 multinational companies that have established impressive track records in Africa and are contributing to further integration of the continent. The 150 companies were drawn from 18 countries, namely Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritius, Tanzania, and Tunisia. The multinational companies also listed in the report are mainly from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, while the rest are from China, India, Indonesia, Qatar, and the UAE. The report indicated that economic integration is gathering momentum on the continent despite the barriers of fragmentation which exist in Africa.  Globacom and the other listed companies are driving the process, according to the report. The various ways that the companies are making their impact felt on the continent include the active expansion of their footprint across several African countries, building strong African brands, using local innovation to adapt to the African consumer; investment in local talent and developing people advantage; building  local ecosystems and connecting Africa by facilitating the movement of people, goods, data, and information.ALSO READ: These 3 threats can stop Nigeria’s economy from growing in 2018BCG Senior Partner and co-author of the report, Patrick Dupoux, said: “Fragmentation in Africa is much greater than anywhere else in the world, and it adds significantly to the economic challenges facing countries that typically lack the critical mass to compete globally. Despite these barriers, we see more signs of economic integration with each passing month, quarter, and year. The primary drivers come from within the continent, led by African business.”Globacom has over the years built a reputation as an authentic African brand offering innovative solutions in voice and data services, thereby making telecommunication services more accessible to all in the markets it operates.

Tech: Health officials say to avoid all forms of romaine lettuce after an E....

The CDC is investigating an outbreak of E. coli in romaine lettuce. This O157:H7 strain causes bloody diarrhea and, in severe cases, kidney failure.
The CDC recommended on Friday that Americans avoid all forms of romaine lettuce.
E. coli is a species of bacteria that live in the intestines of people and animals.
Some E. coli are harmless and live inside our healthy guts, but other strains can make you really sick and cause kidney failure or death.
The recent outbreak that the CDC is investigating involves a dangerous E. coli strain that has spread to at least 16 states. The health agency believes the source of the illnesses is contaminated romaine lettuce from Arizona.
If you have any romaine lettuce in the fridge — be it pre-chopped, whole heads, or hearts — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend throwing it out.
The CDC believes romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region is responsible for infecting at least 53 people in 16 US states with a dangerous, diarrhea-inducing E. coli bug. The outbreak is still growing: officials initially said only pre-chopped romaine was a problem, but have since expanded that warning to all types of the lettuce.
The CDC has not linked the outbreak to any one brand of greens or retailer, so it is warning everyone who has bought romaine recently. The CDC is also asking people who are eating out or shopping for greens to be extra cautious about where their salad came from.
“Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region,” the CDC says on its website. “Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.”
The nasty strain of O157:H7 E. coli has landed 31 patients in the hospital so far. Five people have developed kidney failure, and others have the more common signs of E. coli contamination like bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
Here’s how an E. coli bug like this spreads and what can you do to reduce your risk of catching the potentially deadly bacteria.
What is E. coli?
E. coli gets a bad reputation as an illness-causing, bad-guy bacteria, but you probably have a bit of good-guy E. coli inside your body right now.
Escherichia coli is a broad term for a species of diverse bacteria. Certain strains of E. coli colonize our guts almost immediately after birth and stick to the mucus of our intestines, keeping our intestinal tract humming along smoothly.
The strain that has been linked to this recent outbreak, however, O157:H7, tends to be a pretty naughty version of the bug.
The O157:H7 strain sickened 25 people who ate leafy greens including romaine lettuce last November and December. One Californian died. In May of last year, O157:H7 turned up in soy-nut butter. Thirty-two people got sick from that outbreak, and nine developed kidney failure.
O157:H7 usually originates in the guts of cattle, but it can also be found in goats, sheep, deer, and elk. It can travel from cattle farms to nearby fields where lettuce is grown and contaminate the greens in the soil. It can also get on the lettuce when food-handlers don’t wash their hands properly after coming into contact with E. coli-harboring feces.
What makes the O157:H7 strain so dangerous for people is that it produces a nasty Shiga toxin, which can make us really sick. This kind of Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC, as it’s sometimes called, spreads to humans when little bits of feces get inside our mouth. That’s why a bit of undercooked meat or raw milk can make you ill.
But that’s not the only way to catch the bug.
“People have gotten infected by swallowing lake water while swimming, touching the environment in petting zoos and other animal exhibits, and by eating food prepared by people who did not wash their hands well after using the toilet,” according to the CDC.
Some signs that you’ve got a Shiga toxin-producing strain of E. coli inside include:
Bloody diarrhea
Harsh stomach cramps
A mild fever
What you can do to reduce your risk
The No. 1 piece of advice for reducing your risk of getting a nasty E. coli bug is something you’ve probably heard before: Wash your hands. And make sure people who are preparing your food are washing their hands, too.
Because E. coli contamination spreads from ingesting little bits of poo, any person or animal along the food chain from field to table can easily contaminate your produce or meat with feces, so it’s important to:
Cook meat properly
Keep raw meat separate from other food, and sanitize cutting boards after cutting up raw meat
Enjoy pasteurized dairy and juices, not raw milk
Wash produce before you eat it
Leafy greens (like spinach and romaine) are especially prone to picking up bacteria from nearby cattle farms. Rinsing away extra dirt can help reduce your risk of illness, but if a bit of lettuce is contaminated with E. coli, washing it won’t save you.
Pregnant women, young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems need to be extra careful about steering clear of E. coli-contaminated food. But most of us can survive E. coli food poisoning — the miserable symptoms listed above usually last five to seven days. More severe complications can include kidney failure, which happens in about 5% to 10% of cases and usually affects people under the age of 5 and over 60, according to the Merck Manual. There’s not much you can do to treat the illness, and typically the best thing to do is try to stay hydrated until it’s over.
It can be tough for public-health officials to track the source of an E. coli outbreak to one specific ingredient, but investigators tend to notice certain common foods when they interview sick people about what and where they ate.
The most recent outbreak has hit people on both coasts of the US, and the 53 ill patients range from ages 10 to 85 years old, with female victims accounting for 70% of cases.

Death of Avicii shocks music world shocked

The death Friday of 28-year-old Avicii, one of the world’s most successful DJs, stunned his fans and the music world.
Picture taken on May 30, 2015 shows Swedish musician, DJ, remixer and record producer Avicii (Tim Bergling) performing at the Summerburst music festival at Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden.It was confirmed Avicii died on April 20, 2018 in Muscat, Oman. / AFP PHOTO /
Here are some of the key reactions to the death of Avicii, a Swede whose real name is Tim Bergling and who was found dead in Oman.
“So sad. So Tragic. Good Bye Dear Sweet Tim. Gone too Soon.” — Madonna, who hired Avicii as a producer on her last album, on Instagram
“We had the honor to have known him and admired him both as an artist and the beautiful person that he was.” — Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and his wife Sofia
“You set the precedent for the rest of us producers/opened doors and set the trends. A real groundbreaker and influencer to all your peers. You should have lived to be 150. But your music is gonna live forever.” — Prominent electronic producer Diplo, on Instagram
“We lost a friend with such a beautiful heart and the world lost an incredibly talented musician. Thank you for your beautiful melodies, the time we shared in the studio, playing together as DJs or just enjoying life as friends.” — Leading DJ David Guetta, who collaborated with Avicii, on Twitter
“Words can not describe how I feel right now. I am gonna miss you brother.” — Dutch superstar Tiesto, an early mentor to Avicii, on Twitter
“A beautiful soul, passionate and extremely talented with so much more to do.” — Calvin Harris, the top-paid DJ last year according to Forbes, on Twitter
“Nobody can deny what he has accomplished and done for modern dance music and I’m very proud of him.” — Canadian DJ Deadmau5, who had mocked Avicii when he announced a retirement from touring, on Twitter
“I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to the man who really opened my eyes as to what my productions could one day sound like. @Avicii was a genius and a music innovator, and I can not believe he is no longer with us.” — Pop singer Charlie Puth on Twitter
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