COVID-19 protocols shunned as Lagos auctions 88 vehicles (Punch)
The car park of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences in the Alausa area of Ikeja was a rowdy place on Wednesday afternoon as over 300 Lagosians jostled to buy 88 vehicles seized and auctioned by the task force.
In what appeared a survival of the highest bidder, Lagosians shunned COVID-19 protocols to clinch their desired vehicles.
The PUNCH had reported that the task force said it obtained an order of the Lagos State Mobile Court to auction the 88 vehicles seized for various traffic violations across the state.
The Chairman of the agency, Shola Jejeloye, had announced that the public auction would hold today at the agency’s car park in the state capital. Read more
Why we reopened schools despite spike – Sanwo-Olu (Sun)
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed why the state government agreed to reopen schools despite the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor stated this while briefing newsmen at the State House, Ikeja, on COVID-19 update in the state, yesterday.
He said about 24,000 students were still missing from the public schools after resumption of schools at the end of the lockdown neccesitated by the first wave of COVID-19 in the country last year.
He said: “Last year, after the first lockdown and kids returned to school, about 24,000 of them have not come back to school. So, there is a challenge if you keep them out for that long and their parents or guardians now turn them for other things. Read more
Girl’s death in Yobe govt lodge caused by overdose – Police (Punch)
The Yobe State Police Command has blamed excessive drug intake for the death of a girl at the Yobe State Government lodge after an alleged sex bout with an official of the Ministry of Police Affairs.
The command in a statement on Tuesday by its Public Relations Officer, Dungus AbdulKareem, said the case against the four suspects arrested in connection with the crime was no longer homicide.
AbdulKareem said the deceased died of cardio-respiratory failure resulting from excessive use of drugs.
The statement read in part, “On January 7, 2021 around 7am, the Yobe State Police Command apprehended four suspects in connection with the death of a girl, who died at the government lodge, Damaturu. The case has been under investigation at the state CID, Damaturu. Read more
Nigeria looks to Russia, India for more COVID-19 vaccines (Guardian)
The head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, has said Nigeria expects to receive 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by early February 2021.
Shuaib made the disclosure during a tour of cold storage facilities with journalists in Abuja.
The vaccines, according to Shuaib, will be given to Nigeria through the COVAX programme backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to support the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
While Nigeria will seek to procure vaccines that are less dependent on cooling facilities, Shuaib said that talks were in progress with Russia and India to procure such vaccines. Read more
Traditional ruler sues subject for refusing to address him as ‘Igwe’ (DailyTrust)
A traditional ruler in Isiagu community in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Austin Nwankwo, has dragged one of his subjects, Chief Ben Ifeatu, to court for failure to recognize him as the traditional ruler.
Nwankwo wants the court to compel Ifeatu to begin to address properly as the traditional ruler of the kingdom.
He told the court on Wednesday: ” Chief Ifeatu had continued to address me as Chief Austin Nwankwo, when he is aware I am his traditional ruler. When he started contending my position as traditional ruler of Isiagu ancient kingdom, I tendered my certificate of recognition in the court. Government of Anambra State gave me certificate as traditional ruler of Isiagu; I am also the chairman of Awka South Traditional Rulers Council. When I tendered the certificate in the High Court, none of Chief Ifeatu and his counsel, N.O Nwadinobi, raised objection; yet, he had continued to address me as mere chief,” he said. Read more
Residents seek government’s intervention as land grabbers trouble Ogun residents (Guardian)
The residents of Igbesa community in Ogun State have called on Governor Dapo Abiodun and the state’s Commissioner of Police, CP Edward Ajogun, to save them from the illegal activities of land grabbers in their area.
The appeal was made yesterday after renewed violence by the suspected land grabbers, popularly called Ajagungbale, left a woman dead on Monday evening. According to Rauf Akeem Adeyemi, son of the deceased, Mrs Serifat Bankole was killed on Monday night when the hoodlums invaded Efo Gas Line area in Igbesa.
He said: “My mum was shot dead by the land grabbers who invaded our area when she was trying to rescue a three-year-old boy in her house. Immediately they came and started shooting in the community, people ran from the area to avoid being hit by stray bullets. My mum was also escaping indoor when he saw a boy in his house still playing outside. She ran back to rescue the boy, but she was unfortunately shot dead. Read more
Police arrest ABU security staff ‘working’ with gunmen to kidnap lecturers (DailyTrust)
The Nigerian Police Force has nabbed suspected kidnappers who have been terrorising Ahmadu Bello University.
One of the workers of the institution working at security department, Aliyu Abubakar, was also arrested by Special Tactical Squad of Inspector-General of Police for ‘providing’ assistance to kidnappers who have on various occasions terrorised the institution.
The Public Relations Officer of Nigerian Police, CP Frank Mba, at the ongoing parade of no fewer than 25 suspects for various offences told journalists that a suspect, Malam Jafaru, who ‘provides’ spiritual guidance to the kidnappers, was also arrested.
The arrest comes in the wake of a spate of kidnappings that have hit the university campus and its environs, with staff and students taken for ransom. Read more
NPF apologises to Nigerians over events that led to #EndSARS (Sun)
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Wednesday apologised to Nigerians over the excesses of some policemen that led to the #EndSARS protest in October 2020, saying the police have learnt their lessons and appropriate steps are being taken to ensure effective policing of the country.
The disclosure was made by the new Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 11, comprising Oyo and Osun States, Mr. Agunbiade Oluyemi, during his working/familiarization visit to Oyo State, where he was received by the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko.
The AIG, who held a meeting with strategic stakeholders in the security architecture of the state that include religious, traditional and market leaders, as well as the leadership of the Police Community Relation Committee (PCRC), also held another private meeting with top police officers in the state.
During the meeting with the stakeholders’ meeting, he stated that the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was set up for surprise operations against armed robbers. He added that some personnel of SARS got it wrong when they began to arrest suspected Internet fraudsters as well as undergraduates or youths with laptops on the road. Read more
Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States (CBC)
Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president in inaugural ceremonies on the west front of the Capitol that have begun in Washington, D.C.
Aides say Biden will use his inaugural address — one delivered in front of an unusually small in-person group and expected to run 20 to 30 minutes — to call for American unity and offer an optimistic message that Americans can get past the dark moment by working together. The ceremonies have been scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic, with heightened security measures arising from the Capitol riot exactly two weeks ago.
Kamala Harris was also sworn in as vice-president on Wednesday morning, breaking historic gender and racial barriers in American politics. Read more
Kenyan private school opens for teen mothers, babies (VOA)
Jackline, who does not want to use her real name, helps out her fellow teen mothers tend to their babies.
But she’s not in a daycare centre — she’s at school.
After Jackline, 16, got pregnant in August, like most young mothers, she said she almost dropped out of school — until she found Serene Haven.
“When you are in a class with people who are the same, you are all the same, you know it’s not hard,” Jackline said. “You are able to focus because everyone has the same challenge. Because you are sure your baby is safe, he’s with the matron here, and after a short while you will be with your child.” Read more
Mum’s ‘game changing’ hack turns iPhone into a document scanner (Metro)
People are praising a ‘game changing’ iPhone trick that lets them scan any paper document in just seconds. Using Apple’s standard Notes app and the camera on the back of the phone, the gadget can effectively replace a photocopier or document scanner. The secret was uncovered by a mum who posted it on Facebook and wowed hundreds of others who had no idea about the feature. ‘Did you know, if you have an iPhone or iPad you actually have a scanner,’ Brandi Mumma wrote on Facebook. Read more
Jack’s back: Chinese tycoon makes first public appearance since Alibaba crackdown (France24)
Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Chinese internet behemoth Alibaba, made his first public appearance in over two months in an online video Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation about his whereabouts.
In the 50-second video, Ma congratulated teachers supported by his foundation and made no mention of his disappearance or official efforts to tighten control over Alibaba and other internet companies over the past six months. The video appeared on Chinese business news and other websites.
The normally voluble Ma disappeared from public view after he irked regulators by criticising them in an October 24 speech at a Shanghai conference. Days later, regulators suspended the planned multibillion-dollar stock market debut of Ant Group, a financial platform that grew out of Alibaba’s payments service, Alipay.
Shortly afterwards, the record-breaking $37 billion IPO of his financial group Ant was spiked at the last minute by Chinese regulators in a shock move which some saw as retaliation for Ma’s outspokenness. Read more
Russia dismisses calls for sanctions after Navalny arrest (VOA)
Russia dismissed calls Tuesday for opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s release and threats of sanctions after his arrest, calling the issue a national matter.
Responding to calls for sanctions against Moscow a day after Navalny was arrested, a Kremlin spokesperson said Navalny’s case would be dealt with internally.
“We can’t and are not going to take these statements into account,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday.
“This is about a Russian citizen not complying with Russian law. This is an absolutely domestic matter, and we will not allow anyone to interfere in it,” he went on.
Navalny returned Monday to Russia after spending months in Germany recovering from poisoning — an attack he blames on Russian security forces backed by longtime president Vladimir Putin. Putin has denied these allegations. Read more
France’s Macron says success in Sahel enables operational change (France24)
President Emmanuel Macron opened the door on Tuesday to withdrawing some troops from Africa’s Sahel region, saying France could “adjust” its operations after successes against Islamist militants and the arrival of more European forces.
France, the former colonial power, has the West’s largest military presence waging counter-insurgency operations in Mali and the wider Sahel, an arid region of west Africa just below the Sahara desert.
Last year, Paris boosted its troop numbers for its Barkhane counter-terrorism operations by 600 to 5,100 soldiers.
“The temporary reinforcements that I decided to deploy have enabled the Barkhane force to put in great difficulty terrorist groups, which find themselves cornered and reduced to cowardly acts,” Macron said in his annual New Year’s wishes to the military. Read more
Prada drops Chinese actress over alleged surrogacy row (BBC)
Luxury fashion house Prada has dropped a popular Chinese actress at the centre of a row over surrogacy.
It has been alleged that Zheng Shuang abandoned two children born to surrogates abroad, after splitting up with her partner.
Condemnation of the actress poured out online after the news broke, with many calling for her to be barred from the entertainment industry.
She has since spoken out in her own defence. Surrogacy is illegal in China. Read more
Egyptian business giants invest $120m in Right To Dream academy (BBC)
An Egyptian conglomerate worth billions of dollars has invested $120m to take control of the Right To Dream academy, which was founded in Ghana in 1999 by a former Manchester United scout.
Right To Dream started out with a handful of youngsters being trained by Tom Vernon, once Manchester United’s head scout in Africa, on basic dust-filled pitches in Accra.
Focusing on both education and football, Right To Dream has grown to such extent that it bought Danish top-flight side FC Nordsjaelland in 2016.
The academy has produced 20 Ghana internationals since it was founded, with Strasbourg’s Abdul Majeed Waris and Ajax Amsterdam’s Mohammed Kudus among them. Read more
Arsenal agree to terminate Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ contract (Metro)
Arsenal have agreed to terminate Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ contract with immediate effect. The 32-year-old, who was signed for £17.7 million in 2018, has not featured at all for Arsenal this season after he was frozen out of the first-team squad by Mikel Arteta. The Greek centre-back was not named in Arsenal’s squads for their Premier League and Europa League campaigns, and his only playing time has been with the club’s Under-21s. A statement from Arsenal read: ‘Working closely with Sokratis and his team, we have decided to cancel his contract by mutual consent. Read more
Bayern to face African champions Al Ahly or Qatar’s Al Duhail in Club World Cup (Guardian)
Bayern Munich will face either African champions Al Ahly or Al Duhail of Qatar in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup next month, following the draw at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich on Tuesday.
The semi-final will be played on Monday, February 8 at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, just outside the Qatari capital Doha.
Before that Al Ahly and Al Duhail will meet on February 4 at the nearby Education City Stadium, another of the venues for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Cairo giants Al Ahly, coached by South Africa’s Pitso Mosimane, are Africa’s most successful club having been continental champions nine times. Read more
Novak Djokovic says Australian Open letter written with ‘good intentions’ (BBC)
Novak Djokovic has said his letter calling for better conditions for players self-isolating in Melbourne was written with “good intentions” and has been “misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful”.
Djokovic was criticised after he asked Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley to relax quarantine rules.
Seventy-two players are unable to leave their hotel rooms for 14 days.
The Serb said he acted because he “genuinely cares” about fellow players. Read more
Arsenal target Houssem Aouar looking elsewhere after being left ‘surprised’ by Gunners (Metro)
Lyon playmaker Houssem Aouar will wait to see if interest from Real Madrid or Barcelona materialises into a firm offer this summer before making a final decision on a move to Arsenal. The Frenchman was the source of intense interest from the Gunners last summer but the club’s bid of around £31m was rejected by the Ligue 1 giants, who were seeking closer to £55m. Aouar was keen on leaving Lyon but ESPN claim he was ‘surprised’ by the lack of concrete interest from Arsenal, who were well positioned to sign the midfielder given the financial effect of the pandemic on many top clubs around Europe last summer. The playmaker is not ruling out a move to the Emirates this summer but he will first wait to see if the interest in his services is greater at the end of the season compared to last. Read more
Sarah Thomas to be 1st female to officiate Super Bowl (CBC)
Sarah Thomas will cap her sixth NFL season by becoming the first female to officiate the Super Bowl in NFL history.
Thomas, a down judge, is part of the officiating crew announced Tuesday by the NFL.
“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” said Troy Vincent, Sr., the NFL’s executive vice-president of football operations. “Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honour.” Read more