Sunday, 31 May 2015

Elizabeth Smart Gave Birth to Baby Girl, Utah Kidnapping Survivor's Father Says

Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped from her Utah home at age 14 and then became an activist for missing children, gave birth to her first child in February.

The news was revealed by Elizabeth's father, Ed Smart.
"Elizabeth is great," Smart recently told "She just had a little baby girl about three months ago. Chloe. We're just so excited."
Read more 

Buhari's Inauguration & the restoration of electricity supply: APC's change or civil servants eye-service? - PDP Watchdog

Press statement from PDP Media Watchdog.

The PDP Media Watchdog has queried the events in the last few days prior to the inauguration on Friday May 29th 2015 of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. A situation were there was a total power outage and the whole country was shutdown for more than a week and the sudden restoration of electricity supply on the night of Democracy Day during the swearing of the APC's administration.

"Nigerians will recall the total blackout in the country in the last few weeks owing to shortage in power supply as a result of the vandalization of gas pipeline that powers the turbines and the gof major dam facilities in various part of Nigeria. However, after the prolonged wait by our people, suddenly, there was restoration of energy immediately President Buhari was inaugurated. Is this part of the APC's Change? Or an action taken by Civil Servants to impress the new government of APC of their total loyalty?"

The group reminded Nigerians of their earlier warning of the choice of APC to govern the country due to all the false propaganda by the Party before the elections and the die hard attitude of the All Progressive Congress not to see anything good in the administration of the PDP under President Goodluck Jonathan saying, "This same APC and their propaganda abused and condemned the Agricultural Policy of President Jonathan but chooses to make Goodluck's Agric Minister as the President of African Development Bank (ADB). We cannot also forget in a hurry of the noise by the APC and how they mobilized Nigerians against President Goodluck Jonathan on the total removal of fuel subsidy but now turned around 360 degree to campaign for the removal of the subsidy, we hope Nigerians have not entered into what is popularly called in our local parlance 'one chance'" the group said

The statement reads in parts, "While the PDP's administration since 1999 toiled hard to revamped Nigeria's economy and built several infrastructure for the people of this country, the opposition parties that has today metamorphosed into the present All Progressive Congress (APC) have been sabotaging the nation at every level in order to score cheap political capital.

President Muhammadu Buhari and his party the All Progressive Congress, APC have deceived Nigerians to vote for change but instead rides on the back of PDP's policies and programs which remains the only solution to solve Nigeria's challenges.

A party that will decide to sabotage, blackmail, destroy the economy and make her people suffer to score political points should not be encouraged and Nigerians should prepare to challenge the APC on all their promises and programs during the campaigns and no amount of excuse will stop the people from holding them to deliver on these promises"

Tunde Lawal
For: PDP Media Watchdog

Thanksgiving Service for Jonathan and his wife Patience St. Stephen's Ang. Church, Otuoke, May 31

Thanksgiving Service for Former President Jonathan and his wife Dame Jonathan at the St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Otuoke, May 31

My Father’s Kidnapping - Chimamanda writes on New York Times

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote about her 'father's kidnapping' on New York Times.

My father was kidnapped in Nigeria on a Saturday morning in early May. My brother called to tell me, and suddenly there was not enough breathable air in the world. My father is 83 years old. A small, calm, contented man, with a quietly mischievous humor and a luminous faith in God, his beautiful dark skin unlined, his hair in sparse silvery tufts, his life shaped by that stoic, dignified responsibility of being an Igbo first son.

He got his doctoral degree at Berkeley in the 1960s, on a scholarship from the United States Agency for International Development; became Nigeria’s first professor of statistics; raised six children and many relatives; and taught at the University of Nigeria for 50 years. Now he makes fun of himself, at how slowly he climbs the stairs, how he forgets his cellphone. He talks often of his childhood, endearing and rambling stories, his words tender with wisdom.

Sometimes I record his Igbo proverbs, his turns of phrase. A disciplined diabetic, he takes daily walks and is to be found, after each meal, meticulously recording his carbohydrate grams in a notebook. He spends hours bent over Sudoku. He swallows a handful of pills everyday. His is a generation at dusk.
On the morning he was kidnapped, he had a bag of okpa, apples and bottled water that my mother had packed for him. He was in the back seat of his car, his driver at the wheel, on a lonely stretch between Nsukka, the university town where he lives, and Abba, our ancestral hometown. He was going to attend a traditional meeting of men from his age group. A two-hour drive. My mother was planning their late lunch upon his return: pounded yam and a fresh soup. They always called each other when either traveled alone. This time, he didn’t call. She called him and his phone was switched off. They never switched off their phones. Hour after hour, she called and it remained off. Later, her phone rang, and although it was my father’s number calling, a stranger said, “We have your husband.”

Kidnappings are not uncommon in southeastern Nigeria and, unlike similar incidents in the Niger Delta, where foreigners are targeted, here it is wealthy or prominent local residents. Still, the number of abductions has declined in the past few years, which perhaps is why my reaction, in the aftermath of my shock, was surprise.

My close-knit family banded together more tightly and held vigil by our phones. The kidnappers said they would call back, but they did not. We waited. The desire to urge time forward numbed and ate my soul. My mother took her phone with her everywhere, and she heard it ringing when it wasn’t. The waiting was unbearable. I imagined my father in a diabetic coma. I imagined his octogenarian heart collapsing.

“How can they do this violence to a man who would not kill an ant?” my mother lamented. My sister said, “Daddy will be fine because he is a righteous man.” Ordinarily, I would never use “righteous” in a non-pejorative way. But something shifted in my perception of language. The veneer of irony fell away. It felt true. Later, I repeated it to myself. My father would be fine because he was a “righteous man.”

I understood then the hush that surrounds kidnappings in Nigeria, why families often said little even after it was over. We felt paranoid. We did not know if going public would jeopardize my father’s life, if the neighbors were complicit, if another member of the family might be kidnapped as well.
“Is my husband alive?” my mother asked, when the kidnappers finally called back, and her voice broke. “Shut up!” the male voice said. My mother called him “my son.” Sometimes, she said “sir.” Anything not to antagonize him while she begged and pleaded, about my father being ill, about the ransom being too high. How do you bargain for the life of your husband? How do you speak of your life partner in the deadened tone of a business transaction?

“If you don’t give us what we want, you will never see his dead body,” the voice said.

My paternal grandfather died in a refugee camp during the Nigeria-Biafra war and his anonymous death, his unknown grave, has haunted my father’s life. Those words — “You will never see his dead body” — shook us all.

Kidnapping’s ugly psychological melodrama works because it trades on the most precious of human emotions: love. They put my father on the phone, and his voice was a low shadow of itself. “Give them what they want,” he said. “I will not survive if I stay here longer.” My stoic father. It had been three days but it felt like weeks.

Friends called to ask for bank-account details so they could donate toward the ransom. It felt surreal. Did it ever feel real to anybody in such a situation, I wondered? The scramble to raise the money in one day. The menacingly heavy bag of cash. My brother dropping it off, through a circuitous route, in a wooded area.

Late that night, my father was taken to a clearing and set free.

While his blood sugar and pressure were checked, my father kept reassuring us that he was fine, thanking us over and over for doing all we could. This is what he knows how to be — the protector, the father — and he slipped into his role almost as a defense. But there were cracks in his spirit. A drag in his gait. A bruise on his back.

“They asked me to climb into the boot of their car,” he said. “I was going to do so, but one of them picked me up and threw me inside. Threw. The boot was full of things and I hit my head on something. They drove fast. The road was very bumpy.”
I imagined this grace-filled man crumpled inside the rear of a rusty car. My rage overwhelmed my relief — that he suffered such an indignity to his body and mind.
And yet he engaged them in conversation. “I tried to reach their human side,” he said. “I told them I was worried about my wife.”

The next day, my parents were on a flight to the United States, away from the tainted blur that Nigeria had become.

With my father’s release, we all cried, as though it was over. But one thing had ended and another begun. I constantly straddled panic; I was sleepless, unfocused, jumpy, fearful that something else had gone wrong. And there was my own sad guilt: He was targeted because of me. “Ask your daughter the writer to bring the money,” the kidnappers told him, because to appear in newspapers in Nigeria, to be known, is to be assumed wealthy. The image of my father shut away in the rough darkness of a car boot haunted me. Who had done this? I needed to know.

But ours was a dance of disappointment with the authorities. We had reported the kidnapping immediately, and the first shock soon followed: State security officials asked us to pay for anti-kidnap tracking equipment, a large amount, enough to rent a two-bedroom flat in Lagos for a year. This, despite my being privileged enough to get personal reassurances from officials at the highest levels.
How, I wondered, did other families in similar situations cope? Federal authorities told us they needed authorization from the capital, Abuja, which was our responsibility to get. We made endless phone calls, helpless and frustrated. It was as though with my father’s ransomed release, the crime itself had disappeared. To encounter that underbelly, to discover the hollowness beneath government proclamations of security, was jarring.

Now my father smiles and jokes, even of the kidnapping. But he jerks awake from his naps at the sound of a blender or a lawn mower, his eyes darting about. He recounts, in the middle of a meal, apropos of nothing, a detail about the mosquito-filled room where he was kept or the rough feel of the blindfold around his eyes. My greatest sadness is that he will never forget.

Governor Wike's Thanksgiving service at Salvation Ministry in PH

Governor Nyesom Wike, First Lady Eberechi Nyesom, and daughter participate in a service event to mark inauguration Thanksgiving at Salvation Ministry in Port Harcourt May 31.

Governor Wike, Senate President David Mark and Speaker of  the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha at a reception on Sunday to mark Wike’s  post inauguration  thanksgiving service in Port Harcourt.

2015 general elections most rigged in Nigeria – Dokubo

Ex-militant Alhaji Asari Dokubo, has described the recent 2015 general elections as the most rigged election Nigeria had ever experienced, saying they were not free and fair. Alhaji Dokubo who was in Imo to be part of the Biafra Day celebration with his Biafra brothers and sisters, said this during a chat with Vanguard in Owerri, May 30,
''The figures were self evident. The figures clearly showed the manipulations. The elections were not free and fair. Also, the stage was set to manipulate the elections. Our brother, Goodluck Jonathan, refused to listen to us. To him, the life of any Nigerian was not worth his election or ambition. For us, that was an abdication of his duties as President because we were also involved in the elections and we wanted free and fair elections. That was the time Dr. Jonathan ought to have taken action and stopped the fraud that INEC called an election. He did not do it. It was in the middle of a crucial match that the referee, Professor Attahiru Jega, who is from the same place with Muhammadu Buhari, issued a statement that if card readers cannot confirm your finger prints, then you can go on and vote. General Buhari was given 1.9 million votes in Kano. Somewhere in Imo State, as educated as Imo is, about 71,000 votes were voided. But Kano, there was no cancellation, no voided vote! And mysteriously, the Resident Electoral Commissioner and his family died a few days later in a mysterious fire. A stolen mandate cannot last for a very long time. The owners of the mandate, whether Goodluck Jonathan likes it or not, will one day demand for that mandate. I have nothing personal against General Buhari but things must be done the right way. Truth must be said. General Buhari today is now a tiger. The votes were manipulated. He took over power because Jonathan did not want people to die. Goodluck was ready to make sacrifice and he made sacrifice,''  Dokubo said.

Fmr President of Kosovo, Mr. Behgjet Pakolli pays courtesy visit to Buhari May 31

Former President of Kosovo, Mr. Behgjet Pakolli, paid a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, May 31.

John Kerry to remain in Swiss hospital after bike accident

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will stay in Switzerland hospital overnight after breaking his leg (right femur) in a bicycle crash Sunday. He was supposed to fly home Monday, State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

Kerry had to scrap the rest of a four-nation trip that included an international conference on combating the Islamic State group.

69 burnt to death in Onitsha petrol tanker accident

No fewer than 69 persons burnt to death Sunday evening when a trailer loaded with Premium Motor Spirit otherwise known as petrol that was descending from Army barracks side of Onitsha Enugu express way lost control and rammed into the Asaba Motor Park at Upper Iwekas Onitsha and exploded.

Eleven vehicles mostly commuter buses and two motorcycles inside the Asaba Park Onitsha including the 40 foot tanker laden with petrol burnt beyond repairs inside the park.

Governor Willie Obiano and the Anambra State Commissioner wept on seeing the number casualties when they visited the scene of the accident, the Governor told the relations of the victims to take heart and promised that the state will help in ensuring that the living victims are well taken care of in their respective hospitals

The Nigerian Red Cross Society officials were the first to arrive at the scene of the incident, and according to its Chairman Prof Peter Emeka Kathy “we have sixty nine burnt to dead persons as at now, there are other 30 casualties, a casualty is a living person, a dead person is no longer a casualty, so 69 persons are dead, and they have bee evaluated to various mortuaries in Onitsha, from Toronto to St Charles Boromneo Mortuaries and others in town”.

- Vanguard

Rider removed from naked cycling event for getting an ERECTION

The "over excited" rider was removed from the World Naked Bike Ride event before the event on Saturday. He was reportedly pulled aside and spoken to by officers. The event, which was held in Canterbury, Kent, was held to highlight the dangers cyclist face from cars.

One eye witness, who was taking part in the ride in Canterbury, Kent, described it as a "horrible sight".
"It's fair to say he was overexcited and got aroused. It looked like he was enjoying the event a bit too much. One of the organisers went over to him and told him to put his trousers on while speaking on a walkie-talkie to the police," they said.
According to advice given to riders before the event, any inappropriate behaviour would be dealt with by the police. Chief inspector Mark Arnold, of Kent Police, said an individual was spoken to and he was "required to get dressed and leave the protest" but no action will be taken against him.

World Naked Bike Ride events will be held in Folkestone, Kent, and Portsmouth, Hants.

- Daily Star

Joe Biden's eldest son dies of brain cancer at 46

The son of Vice President Joe Biden has passed away after a battle with brain cancer. Beau Biden was 46.
"It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life," Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement.

Buhari appoints Femi Adesina, Garba Shehu as Aso Villa spokesmen

President Buhari on Sunday May 31, announced the first set of appointments into his administration. Mr Femi Adesina (left) will serve as his Special Adviser media and publicity while Garba Shehu (right) as Senior Special Asst. media and publicity.

The President has also approved the appointment of Mal. Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure as the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP).

Mr Adesina is the current President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and serves as the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun newspapers.

Garba Shehu served as the Director, Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council. He was the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors sixteen years ago.

Abdullahi Kazaure is a career Foreign Service official and currently serves in Aso Rock Villa as a Special Assistant (Presidential Matters).

More pictures: An event to remember at Buhari's inaugural Gala night

 The inaugural Gala night was held at the Presidential villa on Friday May 29 2015.


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