COVID-19: 2021 WASSCE to start by August not May – WAEC (Punch)
The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria, says the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination will commence in August and not May.
WAEC also debunked reports by some news platforms (not The PUNCH) that it postponed the examination.
In a statement on Friday, Acting Head, Public Affairs, WAEC, Nigeria, Demianus Ojijeogu, said WAEC Nigeria Head, Patrick Areghan, was quoted out of context at a briefing on Tuesday when he announced the release of results of WASSCE for private candidates.
According to Ojijeogu, Areghan said the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted the academic calendars of schools, hence, it will be impossible for candidates to sit for the examination in May because most of the schools are still in their first term. Read more
Drug trafficker excretes 113 wraps of cocaine worth N423m at Lagos airport (Tribune)
A Madrid, Spain-bound drug trafficker, Okonkwo Chimezie Henry arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos on Easter day, Sunday 4th April 2021, has just finished excreting a total of 113 wraps of cocaine weighing 1.750 kilogrammes with a ‘street’ value of N423 million.
Okonkwo was about boarding a Turkish Airline flight number TK0626 at about 8 pm when he was apprehended at screening 2 points of the international airport and taken into custody by the International Drug Law and Enforcement Agency, NDLEA operatives at the Lagos airport.
According to the spokesperson of the anti-narcotic agency, Femi Babafemi, the suspect was subsequently put under observation at the JBTF/NDLEA facility for further investigation. Read more
Easter: FRSC apprehends 5,630 offenders, impounds 3,205 vehicles (Guardian)
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said it covered 1, 575 routes, impounded 3,205 vehicles, and apprehended 5,630 offenders for committing 6,880 offences during the Easter special patrol from March 31 to April 7.
The Corps also recorded a total of 103 road traffic crashes (RTC) as against a total of 200 in the same period in 2019 representing 14 per cent decrease.
The Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO) Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM) Bisi Kazeem, said this in a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
Kazeem said the Corps also arraigned 87 offenders in mobile courts, convicted 79 with option of fines and sentenced one to prison, during the Easter celebration. Read more
How soldiers avenging death of colleagues destroyed Benue communities 20 years ago (DailyTrust)
French writer, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, was the one who said the more things change, the more they remain the same.
The above saying fittingly captures what is happening in Benue State at the moment.
At the last count, many houses have been reduced to rubbles while more than 70 innocent persons have been gunned down, according to stakeholders in affected communities.
Trouble started after a militia ambushed soldiers deployed to restore peace in a warring community were ambushed and killed in Konshisha Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue. Read more
Rail: Work on Ibadan-Kano, Port Harcourt- Maiduguri, others starts soon – FG (Nation)
The federal government on Friday stated work would soon begin on some selected rail projects for which contracts have been awarded.
The government listed some of the rail projects to include the Ibadan-Kano, Port Harcourt Maiduguri, Kano-Maradi and Lagos-Calabar rail lines.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this while speaking in Abuja at the annual ministerial briefing on programmes, projects and activities of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its agencies.
He was joined at the briefing by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki.
The Minister said government has solved the financial problems associated with the rail projects. Read more
IGP appoints AIG Inuwa as Force Secretary, retains Mba as FPRO (Punch)
Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, on Friday, announced new postings, appointments and reappointments of top police commanders.
The IGP in a statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, announced the posting of AIG Hafiz Inuwa as the Force Secretary and member of the Force Management Team.
The statement was titled, ‘IGP Appoints AIG Hafiz Inuwa As Force Secretary As AIG Dandaura Moves To Zone-7 Headquarters’.
The IGP also approved the re-appointment of CP Frank Mba and Ag. CP Idowu Owohunwa as the Force Public Relations Officer and Principal Staff Officer to the IGP respectively.
Inuwa takes over from AIG Mustapha Dandaura who has been redeployed to Zone-7 Police Headquarters, Abuja. Read more
Church of England agrees to return two Benin Bronzes given to late Archbishop of Canterbury in 1982 (Tribune)
The Church of England will repatriate two Benin Bronzes to Nigeria despite the artworks being gifted to a former Archbishop of Canterbury during a tour of Nigeria about 40 years ago, the Telegraph of UK reported.
Following Black Lives Matter protests, there have been renewed calls to return the sculptures created for royalty in the Kingdom of Benin, present-day Nigeria, most of which were seized by British forces in 1897.
The Church owns two statues given to Archbishop Robert Runcie during an Easter visit to Nigeria in 1982 by the University of Nigeria and by then governor of Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Alli on behalf of the nation’s modern-day Benin region. Read more
‘Where are the dead bodies?’ – soldier rejects claim that 70 persons were killed in benue (DailyTrust)
A soldier has refuted the claim that the military killed over 70 innocent persons in Benue State.
At a press conference on Friday, the people of Mbator in Shangev-Tiev of Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State, said while more than 70 innocent persons were killed, 100 got missing during aerial and ground bombardments by troops.
The villagers appealed to the Federal Government to order the military to halt the killings, saying they are planning to storm more villages.
Daily Trust had reported how the military invaded the communities after 11 soldiers were killed in an ambush. Read more
Foreign reserves rise to $34.85b on ‘Naira for Dollar’ policy (Nation)
The ‘Naira for Dollar’ policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has led to positive accretion to the foreign reserves exactly one month after takeoff.
The foreign reserves, on April 1, stood at $34.85 billion, representing $404 million increase compared to $34.41 billion on March 11.
The uptick in reserves has been attributed to CBN’s ‘Naira for Dollar’ policy which has seen dollar inflows pass through commercial banks, instead of unofficial channels.
Also helping reserves accretion is the continued rise in benchmark Brent crude oil price, which stood at $63.29 per barrel as at April 8, representing about $23.29 above the $40 per barrel benchmark for 2021 budget. Read more
Academy of American Poets awards activist Kemi Alabi the First Book Award (USAToday)
Chicago-based writer and activist Kemi Alabi has received the First Book Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her work “Against Heaven” is scheduled for publication in Spring 2022.
Alabi, chosen for the honour by the acclaimed poet Claudia Rankine, will receive $5,000 and a six-week, all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center, an Umbrian 15th century castle in Italy. The academy will also purchase and distribute thousands of copies of “Against Heaven” to members of the Academy of American poets and will be featured in the American Poets magazine.
Rankine, author of “Citizen: An American Lyric” and “Just Us: An American Conversation” said in a statement Thursday that “Against All Heaven” was a virtuosic and multi-layered exploration of “black queer subjectivity.” Read more
Ingenuity helicopter poised for first-ever flight on Mars (AlJazeera)
Like a plucky character in a children’s’ book, NASA’s intrepid four-pound helicopter has survived a long, perilous journey to reach the rocky bottom of Mars’ Jezero Crater. There it will attempt what has never been tried before: flying on another planet.
The four-foot robot has already gotten through the rivet-wrecking vibrations of a rocket launch and overnight temperatures on Mars as low as minus 90 degrees Celsius (-130 degrees Fahrenheit). It detached itself from the Perseverance rover, straightened out its legs and raised its solar panel to the sun for the energy it needed to not only keep warm but also lift off from the surface.
The little helicopter with the oversized blades is poised to take flight no earlier than Sunday, April 11. Read more
Taylor Swift releases a ‘perfect replica’ of “Fearless” (BBC)
Most pop stars, if pressed, will tell you they don’t listen to their old records.
Years later, they can still hear all the imperfections, the missed opportunities, the things they’d have done differently.
So when Taylor Swift announced plans to re-record all of her first six albums, starting with 2008’s Fearless, it seemed likely that she’d take the opportunity to rewrite history.
After all, one of the best tracks on Fearless, the lilting Fifteen, is about going back in time to “tell yourself what you know now.” Read more
Journalists on trial for covering Myanmar coup (VOA)
Preliminary hearings were held Tuesday for three journalists detained in Yangon on February 27 while covering protests of the military coup.
The journalists — Aung Ye Ko, of the 7 Day Media; Hein Pyae Zaw of Zee-Gwet or “Owl” Media; and freelancer Banyar Oo — appeared in a prison court for the closed hearing, a lawyer representing them told VOA Burmese. The lawyer, Nilar Khine, said she did not seek bail because the courts have rejected requests in similar cases. Her clients are next due in court on April 20.
The journalists are among at least 60 members of the media arrested since Myanmar’s military seized control in a February 1 coup, according to lawyers. Read more
Prince Philip: An extraordinary man who led an extraordinary life (BBC)
He outlived nearly everyone who knew him and might explain him.
And so we have been left with a two-dimensional portrait of the duke; salt-tongued and short-tempered, a man who told off-colour jokes and made politically incorrect remarks, an eccentric great-uncle who’d been around forever and towards whom most people felt affection – but who rather too often embarrassed himself and others in company.
With his death will come reassessment. Because Prince Philip was an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life; a life intimately connected with the sweeping changes of our turbulent 20th Century, a life of fascinating contrast and contradiction, of service and some degree of solitude. A complex, clever, eternally restless man. Read more
Google explains why app can’t translate most native American languages (VOA)
Bill Waawaate is Indigenous, smart, educated, and the millionaire-founder of a highly successful snowmobile company. He also is a comic book superhero from a First Nation in Canada.
“The aim here is to help Canadians understand Indigenous culture and to erase the stereotypes about First Nations communities,” said Joseph Johns, the Montreal-based designed and publisher of the Citizen Canada comic book series.
Cree Comic Book superhero
Graphic shows Cree-speaking comic book superhero Bill Wawaate (“Northern Lights”), featured in the “Citizen Canada” comic book series by Montreal designer/publisher Joseph Johns.
Johns wanted his feather-caped superhero to speak English, French and Cree, a language spoken by more than 95,000 First Nations people in Canada. He assumed he could rely on Google Translate for help.
But the app, which supports 109 languages, does not offer Cree or any of the other roughly 150 Indigenous languages spoken today in North America.
So Johns started up an online petition urging Google to add Cree to its translation engine. That petition has so far received nearly all the 7,500 signatures he had hoped for. Read more
“Lost golden city” found in Egypt reveals lives of ancient pharaohs (BBC)
The discovery of a 3,000-year-old city that was lost to the sands of Egypt has been hailed as one of the most important archaeological finds since Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass announced the discovery of the “lost golden city” near Luxor on Thursday.
He said the find was the largest ancient city, known as Aten, ever uncovered in Egypt.
It was unearthed within weeks of the excavation starting in September 2020. Read more
NSF: Team Delta in slim lead over Bayelsa on swimming medals table (Nation)
Team Delta have as at Friday been dominating the medals table of the swimming event at the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) tagged “Edo 2020”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a total of 27 events from the scheduled 42 have been concluded in the swimming competition, with the setting of new records.
NAN reports also that Delta presently occupy the top position on the swimming medals table with a total of 24 medals comprising 15 gold, six silver and three bronze.
Delta are closely followed by Bayelsa, with a total of 23 medals comprising nine gold, six silver and eight bronze. Read more
LeBron James hints of early return from injury (USAToday)
As he screamed in pain, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James no longer appeared indestructible.
Nearly three weeks ago, Atlanta Hawks guard Solomon Hill dove for a loose ball and struck James’ right ankle. Moments after staying on the floor and making a 3-pointer, James left the floor, limped toward the locker room and winced with every step. The Lakers diagnosed James with a high ankle sprain, and he has not played since.
Does this mean that Father Time has finally delivered a knockout punch to the 36-year-old James during his 18th NBA season? Some pundits suggested so immediately following James’ injury. On Thursday, however, James posted a cryptic Instagram message with various weather metaphors possibly related to his eventual return, “the weatherman says the weather is changing soon and it predicts a thunderstorm.” Read more
Prince Philip: Sporting world pays tribute to Duke of Edinburgh (BBC)
A two-minute silence was held at Aintree as the sporting world paid tribute to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who has died aged 99.
County cricketers also observed a two-minute silence and wore black armbands for the afternoon session.
Flags were flown at half-mast at a number of venues, including Wembley and all nine county cricket venues.
There will be a minute’s silence before all Premier League matches this weekend and players will wear black armbands. Read more
Tokyo tightening virus measures nearly 100 days before Olympics (AlJazeera)
Japan’s government has approved tighter coronavirus measures for the capital, weeks after lifting a state of emergency and with just more than 100 days until the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
The new restrictions, announced on Friday, are far less severe than the blanket lockdowns seen in other countries and mainly call for restaurants and bars to close at 8pm, with the threat of fines for those that do not.
The new measures will also be implemented in the prefectures of Kyoto and Okinawa, according to NHK News.
They are already in force in virus hotspots including Osaka city, where a rebound in cases has forced the Olympic torch relay off public roads. Read more
Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish out for another 2 weeks after injury setback (BBC)
Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish is expected to be out for another two weeks after suffering a setback in his comeback from injury.
The midfielder has missed seven Premier League games with a shin problem, as well as England’s recent World Cup qualifying matches.
But Villa manager Dean Smith admitted Grealish had been rushed back “a little bit too quickly”.
“No, he’s not [fit],” said Smith, before Saturday’s game at Liverpool. Read more
Brazil’s Athletico Paranaense to buy COVID vaccines for fans (AlJazeera)
Brazilian top-flight football club Athletico Paranaense said it wants to buy COVID-19 vaccines and make them available to players, officials as well as fans, with paid memberships, free of charge.
Earlier this week, Brazil’s Congress passed a law allowing private firms to buy vaccines and if it comes into force Athletico said they would buy them, in conjunction with other businesses.The Curitiba-based club, who won the Copa Sudamericana in 2018, said on Thursday it would make the vaccines available “for all their employees, players, backroom staff and [members] who are helping by paying their monthly membership dues during the pandemic, even though they can’t go to the stadium”. Read more