Jos erupts in celebration as cleric returns from 8-month captivity in kidnappers’ den (Vanguard)
Their joy was spontaneous and knew no bounds! They danced, sang and praised God in many ways all because of the miracle man of the moment-Reverend Polycarp Zongo.
Zongo, a fiery pastor with the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), was forcefully taken away on his way to Gombe for a conference on October 19, 2020. In fact, all hope had been lost that he would even return alive, having spent over eight months in the captors’ den without any word from him, leaving his pregnant wife and family members in distress.
But on Monday this week, and against all expectations, ISWAP terrorists, who seized the reverend gentleman, voluntarily returned him to his family, leading to an eruption of unceasing joy and celebration in Jos, the Plateau State capital for days.
Many did not believe that he was the one when he sauntered into his compound. Others received the news of his return as one of the big jokes of the century. But it was true: He had been freed by his captors. Read more
Police raise squad to curb traffic robbery (Nation)
Some 127 suspected traffic robbers have been arrested by policemen Lagos since March, it was said on Thursday.
The suspects, according to a statement by spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi, were arrested in different parts of the state.
He said: “The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered that the combat training, musketry and range practice for police personnel in the command be continuous.” Read more
Lagos to address intending pilgrims on 2021 Hajj cancellation (Guardian)
The Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi will formally address the state’s intending pilgrims regarding the banning of pilgrims from Nigeria and other countries from performing the 2021 Hajj exercise by the Saudi Arabian Government.
According to a press release signed by the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Rahman Ishola, the Hon. Commissioner would address the intending pilgrims at the Multi-Purpose Hall of Shamsi Adisa Thomas (SAT) Mosque, Old Secretariat, GRA, Ikeja, on Saturday, June 19, 2021.
Ishola added that Prince Elegushi would address the implications of the Hajj cancellation by the Saudi Arabian authority and chart the next line of action to be taken.
While appealing to the intending pilgrims not to be apprehensive about the development, the Board Secretary urged them to be punctual at the meeting, saying they would have the opportunity of hearing directly from the Hon. Commissioner who will be speaking on behalf of the State Government and also express their views on the way forward for the 2022 Hajj operation.
The Board Secretary has confirmed that arrangements have been concluded for the administration of the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all intending pilgrims. Read more
Gov el-Rufai sacks 99 appointees (Leadership)
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has fired 99 political appointees as part of the government’s right-sizing of its workforce.
El-Rufai, who made the disclosure at a media chat with some Kaduna-based broadcast journalists, explained that the disengaged appointees constitute 30 per cent of political office-holders in the state.
He said the state has started implementing its rightsizing policy but was yet to disengage any
The governor disclosed that only agencies connected to the local government system have disengaged staff and these include the 23 local government councils, SUBEB and the Primary Health Care Board. Read more
Ghetto life motivated me to hustle hard –Olamide (Nation)
Singer Olamide has recalled his life’s experiences while growing up in a shanty town.
While speaking in a recent interview with The Guardian UK, Baddo Sneh disclosed how growing up in a slum in the Bariga axis of Lagos State motivated him to work really hard.
Shedding more liight on what life in the ghetto feels like, he described the ghetto life as almost the same all over the world.
According to the 32-year-old singer, surviving at the time was so difficult that getting three square meals was almost an impossible task for his family.
He also stressed that the development played a significant role in his drive to succeed against all odds. Read more
PDP’s Odey floors APC’s Agi at Election Tribunal (ThisDay)
The Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Calabar Friday, upheld the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Dr. Stephen Odey, in the Cross River North Senatorial District by-election.
Delivering the judgment in a petition by Joe Agi (SAN) with number: EPT/CR/SEN/03/2020, the chairman of the three-man election tribunal, Justice Yusuf Muhammad, upheld the preliminary objection raised by Odey’s lawyer that the two grounds of petition were pre-election matters.
The Tribunal, therefore, struck out the petition for lack of merit.
The tribunal also held that Jarigbe Agom, who is the second respondent in the petition, was never cleared nor contested the December 5, 2020, PDP primaries. Read more
Hajj Ban: NAHCON urges states to grant refund request without delay (Vanguard)
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has described the cancellation of Hajj 2021 for all foreign pilgrims as act of God, what Allah had decreed being played by Saudi Arabia.
The commission also urged states to grant refund request to any intending pilgrim without delay, while those who desire to roll over should wait for further decision by the board.
The statement signed by the Head, Public Affairs Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara on behalf of the commission said no matter how painful the cancellation was, the commission respects the decision of Saudi Arabia and have accepted it as Allah’s divine design. Read more
Buhari appoints 5 new perm secs (Leadership)
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of five new Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Civil Service following the recent conduct of a selection process to fill existing vacancies.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, who made this known in Abuja, said the appointed Federal Permanent Secretaries and their states of origin are as follows: “Adebiyi Olusesan Olufunso (Ekiti), Onwudiwe Maryann Ngozi (Enugu)Yusuf Ibrahim Idris (Katsina), Ogunbiyi Marcus Olaniyi (Lagos) and Ibrahim Abubakar Kana (Nasarawa).
She added that the date of the swearing-in and deployment of the appointees will be announced in due course. Read more
Troops rescue Kebbi teachers, students from fleeing bandits (Nation)
Troops of Operation Hadin Kai, have rescued two teachers and five students of Federal Government College, Birnin Yawuri in Kebbi State abducted on Thursday.
However one of the female students was found dead.
According to a statement by the Director Army Public Relations Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the rescue followed an encounter with the abductors.
The statement disclosed that the troops are still on the trail of the fleeing bandits. Read more
Scarlett Johansson criticises Black Widow’s ‘hyper-sexualisation’ in Iron Man 2 (BBC)
Scarlett Johansson has criticised the “hyper-sexualisation” of her character Black Widow in Marvel film Iron Man 2.
Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, first appeared in the 2010 film.
“You look back at Iron Man 2 and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualised, you know?” the actress told Collider.
“Really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever.”
Black Widow has since become a significant figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in seven films, and will star her own standalone movie next month. Read more
Anticipation builds for US-Canada border to reopen (VOA)
A formal announcement on the reopening of the 8,891-kilometer U.S.-Canada border could come any day. The border has been closed to all nonessential travel since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The closure of the world’s longest undefended boundary has been renewed every month since, with current restrictions expiring Monday.
According to the U.S. State Department, before the pandemic, an average of 400,000 people crossed the border daily. About $2 billion a day in trade made the same journey.
The government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signaled the reopening will be gradual and subject to restrictions. Read more
Austria to donate million Covid vaccine doses to Balkan states (Guardian)
Austria will donate one million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to western Balkan countries, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday.
In April, Austria and Slovenia promised thousands of coronavirus vaccine doses to the Czech Republic after coming under fire from Brussels for refusing to help EU partners in greater need of jabs.
“We will deliver one million doses of vaccines from Austria to the western Balkans from August until the end of the year,” Kurz told reporters after meeting representatives from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia. Read more
Music fans face great downpour as torrential rain hits Download Festival pilot event (Metro)
Music fans are braving the torrential rain as the Download Festival pilot kicked off today.
Things got off to a very, very wet start as 10,000 people rocked up to Donington Park, in Leicestershire.
They were seen donning waterproofs and raincoats as they set up their tents in the downpour, ready to spend the weekend partying away.
Bullet For My Valentine, Enter Shikari and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are headlining the pilot scheme, with Skindred, Twin Atlantic and While She Sleeps also on the line-up. Read more
Tanya Roberts left entire estate to common-law husband, handwritten will reveals (PageSix)
Former Bond Girl Tanya Roberts, who died in January at 65, left behind a handwritten will that made sure her pet goldfish and two dogs got taken care of — but specifically cut out some of her closest relations.
The document, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles, leaves everything to Roberts’ common-law husband, Lance O’Brien, including her $3 million home and pension.
“I know you don’t love me but you have been a true friend and for that I’m gratefull [sic]” she wrote to him, adding that he was her “best friend.”
The papers also make it clear that the “A View to a Kill” star didn’t want any of her possessions going to her sister Barbara Leary or nephew Zack, who filed paperwork the same day contesting the will. Read more
Iraq finds remains of 123 people in IS mass grave (VOA)
Iraq announced over the weekend that it had excavated a mass grave containing the remains of more than 100 people killed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorists in a facility located in the northwest of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul.
Officials believe the remains belong to Shiite prisoners executed by the group in 2014. The Sunni extremists massacred more than 600 people in that facility.
“This mass grave belongs to the residents of the Badush Prison,” said Ziya Karim, Director of Iraqi Government’s Martyrs Foundation. “They were killed by [IS] fighters after they controlled the prison. The first stage ended with excavating 123 corpses.” Read more
Foo Fighters to release disco album as the Dee Gees (BBC)
The Foo Fighters have unveiled their new musical direction – transforming from stadium rock heroes to a Bee Gees tribute band for their next album.
As the Dee Gees, a nod to frontman Dave Grohl’s initials, the band will release an LP including four Bee Gees covers.
Hail Satin will see the Foos take on the Gibb brothers’ 1970s disco classics Night Fever, Tragedy, You Should Be Dancing and More Than a Woman.
It will be released on vinyl for US Record Store Day on 17 July. Read more
Celtics trade Kemba Walker to Thunder in NBA bombshell (NYPost)
Kemba Walker’s time in Boston is over.
The Celtics are trading Walker, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and a 2025 second-round draft pick to the Thunder for 35-year-old Al Horford, center Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick, according to ESPN.
The move comes just over a week after a report by Bleacher Report that said Walker and the Celtics were on the brink of a breakup.
Walker reportedly felt unwanted and “hurt” in Boston after former GM Danny Ainge attempted to trade him in his first year with the team in 2019. Read more
Max Verstappen fastest in French Grand Prix second practice (BBC)
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the pace ahead of the Mercedes cars of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in second practice at the French Grand Prix.
The Dutchman led Bottas by just 0.008 seconds, with Hamilton 0.253secs off the pace and complaining that there was “something not right with the car”.
Verstappen and Hamilton set their fastest times – as expected – on the soft tyre while Bottas was on mediums.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso was fourth from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Read more
Tottenham make decision on Gennaro Gattuso after furious backlash from fans (Metro)
Tottenham have reportedly decided against hiring Gennaro Gattuso as their new head coach after a string of controversial comments he had made in the past resurfaced on social media.
Jose Mourinho was relieved of his duties way back in mid-April and Spurs are still yet to find a replacement for the Portuguese, with former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte initially the favourite to take over the reins.
But discussions with Conte broke down before separate talks collapsed with Paulo Fonseca, the man Mourinho succeeded at Roma. Read more
Busquets to return for Spain after negative virus test (Guardian)
Spain captain Sergio Busquets will travel with the squad on Friday for their second Euro 2020 Group E game against Poland after being given the all-clear from Covid-19 following a first positive test.
Busquets has been allowed to rejoin the squad, the Spanish football federation confirmed, after a negative result in his latest PCR test — but he is not expected to play against Poland.
The midfielder had to self-isolate at home after his positive test on June 6 and has therefore not trained for 12 days. Busquets is more likely to return for Spain’s final group game against Slovakia on Wednesday. Read more
Euro 2020: Uefa ‘confident’ over Wembley games but has ‘contingency plan’ (BBC)
Wembley Stadium for England’s Euro 2020 Group D fixture against Croatia
Wembley hosted 22,500 fans – 25% of its capacity – for England’s Group D fixture against Croatia
Uefa says it is “confident” the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 will be held at Wembley but has a contingency plan amid concerns around England’s coronavirus restrictions.
The Times reported the games could be moved from London to Budapest if VIPs are not given an exemption to England’s strict quarantine rules.
The UK government postponed lifting all restrictions until 19 July.
Most countries in Euro 2020 are on the government’s amber or red list. Read more
NFF to begin prosecution of violent fans soon –Akinwunmi (Guardian)
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says it will soon begin prosecution of fans exhibiting hooliganism at match venues.
NFF’s First Vice-President, Seyi Akinwunmi, said this while addressing participants at the Nigeria National League (NNL) Football Development Summit for Club Administrators and Media, in Abuja on Friday.
Akinwunmi, who declared the event open on behalf of NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said that hooliganism at match venues had affected the progress of the country’s football leagues.“We need to stop this attitude of win at all cost. We will also stop this hooliganism or whatever it is. Read more