Chibok girls: 82 reunited with families in Nigeria

Posted on: May 22nd, 2017 | by:


A group of the “Chibok girls” freed from Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants have been reunited with their families.

The 82 girls, who were part of a huge group kidnapped from their school in 2014, are in the care of security services in the capital, Abuja.

Their parents travelled by bus through the night to meet their daughters.


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More than 100 of the 276 girls, taken from the town of Chibok, are still being held by the militant group. Their whereabouts are unknown.

The reunion in Abuja had a celebratory atmosphere, with music and dance.

The BBC’s Alistair Leithead says the girls were already dancing when their parents got off the bus and raced towards them, in an emotional reunion.

The 82 young women were only freed two weeks earlier in exchange for five Boko Haram militants.

The most recent group freed was supposed to have 83 girls – but one refused to leave, saying she was happy and had found a husband, a Nigerian government spokesman said.

The freed girls remain in government care – under the eye of security services who are questioning them about their time spent as captives.

Mr Nkeke (Above) saw his daughter earlier than most last week

After the girls were abducted from their school in April 2014, a massive global awareness campaign began, using the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

The Chibok girls represent a fraction of the women captured by the militant group, estimates for which number in the thousands.

Credit: BBC

The Never Forget Series (Nelson Mandela)

Posted on: May 19th, 2017 | by:

Nelson Mandela


Hi everyone, I’m doing a short series titled “Never Forget” that highlights interesting facts about important African Personalities. Today’s post is about Nelson Mandela. Below are 7 interesting facts about the man who led South Africa to freedom:


Mandela’s birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela.  “Rolihlahla” which loosely translates as “troublemaker” in the Xhosa language, but strictly translated, the word means “pulling the branch of a tree.” He was given the first name ‘Nelson’ by a teacher in grade school.


Mandela was no stranger to trouble. He was expelled from the University of Fort Hare after joining a student protest. He later completed his degree through Unisa and later got a law degree from Wits University.


Mandela suffered the losses of two close family members while imprisoned. His mother died in 1968 and his eldest son, Thembi, died the following year. Mandela wasn’t permitted to pay his respects at their funerals.


Mandela reportedly received at least three offers to be set free from prison. However, he declined each time because he was offered his freedom on the condition that he reject his earlier activism in some way.


He was on the U.S. terror watch list: Mandela wasn’t removed from the U.S. terror watch list until 2008 — at age 89. He and other members of the African National Congress were placed on it because of their militant fight against apartheid.


He had a cameo in a Spike Lee film: He had a big part in Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic “Malcolm X.” At the very end of the movie, he plays a teacher reciting Malcolm X’s famous speech to a room full of Soweto school kids. But the pacifist Mandela wouldn’t say “by any means necessary.” So Lee cut back to footage of Malcolm X to close out the film.


He married a first lady. Before tying the knot with Mandela on his 80th birthday, Graca Machel was married to Mozambique President Samora Machel. Her marriage to Mandela after her husband’s death means she has been the first lady of two nations.

Thank you so much for reading. Any suggestions on who I should do next? Send me a message on twitter.

Benjamin J. Obeng


Nigerian School Helping to Combat Insurgency by Enrolling Boys

Posted on: May 17th, 2017 | by:



Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation continues to battle the scourge of insurgency, especially in its northeastern Borno State. Years back, the entire Muslim-dominated north was targeted by terrorists.

Government estimates indicate that there are at least 10 million young boys across Nigeria’s north who are sent out by parents and guardians to solicit for alms on the streets.

The boys are locally referred ‘almajiris’ – an Arabic term for boys who leave home in search of knowledge in Islam .

The country’s north suffers in the area of different social indicators like enrollment in school, child mortality and early marriages. Records show that attendance remains quite low in schools.

But a school in the region is trying to change the narrative. Here, young boys who would have otherwise fallen prey to Boko Haram recruits have found solace and the programme is seen as a viable means to ensuring that youngsters are not lured by terror groups.

The young boys in this school used to be sent by their families away from home to boarding schools across northern Nigeria, where they could learn the Koran under the care of an Islamic scholar or “Malam”, but with time the system became overwhelmed and neglected thus many became vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of abuse.

“We walk around the streets and beg for food to eat. My mallam (teacher) cautioned us against meeting or talking to strangers, he said it is not good because some of them may ‘steal’ us,” one boy told the AFP.

The school which is run with the support of the American University of Nigeria groups the boys according to age and time of enrolment, with the curriculum being expanded as the boys advance.

One of the aims of the programme is to encourage people to stop referring to the boys as ‘almajiris’, a word that tends to carry negative connotations.

“We have about 200 roughly in each programme. Some people have come forward to support it but the numbers don’t seem to be going down even though most of the internally displaced people have gone home,” one of the leaders of the group championing this cause said.



Sierra Leone Rejects Bid for One of the World’s Largest Diamonds

Posted on: May 15th, 2017 | by:

Sierra Leone 706ct Diamond 520

Sierra Leone on Thursday rejected a bid of over $7.8 million for one of the world’s largest diamonds at an auction.

The 706-carat gem is the second largest ever discovered in the West African country and was unearthed in March in the eastern Kono region by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government to handle the sale.

The chief auctioneer and head of the National Minerals Agency, Sahr Wonday told a packed room that the bid was below the government’s reserve amount.

“I regret to inform you however that none of the bids submitted here today matched the government of Sierra Leone’s reserve amount,” he said.

Five bids were handed to auctioneers in a sealed brown envelope, ranging from $2 million to $7.8 million.

The top bid, made by Ziad al-Ahmadi on behalf of Belgium diamond dealer Ray Diam BVBA, was rejected.

Chief auctioneer and head of the National Minerals Agency, Sahr Wonday told a packed room that the bid was below the government’s reserve amount.

Wonday said the government now hopes to get more for the stone at an international auction in either Antwerp, Belgium or Tel Aviv in Israel.


Credit: Dibie Ike Michael with Reuters,

Rwanda to build 500 smart classrooms nationwide by end of 2017

Posted on: May 12th, 2017 | by:


Rwandan schools are expected to start using smart classrooms by the end of this year as a result of a partnership agreement signed three years ago between the Government of Rwanda and Microsoft to digitise the country’s education sector.

The smart classrooms will give students access to computers and basic software as well as internet access to digitise teaching and learning.

Microsoft’s regional education industry manager for West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, Warren La Fleur told local newspaper The New Times in Kigali last week that the first batch of smart classrooms will be ready by the end of the current fiscal year.

“I would say that before the end of the current financial year you will have smart classrooms in Rwanda where this new way of teaching with digital identity will certainly be in place,” he said.

A Ministry of Education official, Nkubito Bakuramutsa said the project will reduce the cost of delivering learning materials to schools and improve learning outcomes.

“It’s a very strategic partnership. The idea is to ensure that Rwandan students become global citizens capable of working locally, on the continent, but also anywhere in the world,” he said, adding that 500 smart classrooms across the country could be fully connected by August 2017.

Students in all schools are expected to have access to the internet by 2020, as currently, only 531 schools in Rwanda out of the 3,500 are connected, Education Minister Dr Musafiri Papias Malimba said last year.

Rwanda is one of the fastest growing countries in Africa.




The Nigerian Surgeon Who Made Medical History

Posted on: May 10th, 2017 | by:



Dr Oluyinka Olutoye, a United States-based Nigerian Surgeon, a few months ago led a team of surgeons at the Texas Children’s Fetal Center to operate on a 23 weeks foetus. In the historic feat, the team took out the foetus, carried out the surgery, and then placed the foetus back into the womb. The mother of the child then carried the foetus till 36 weeks and gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.

Although this is not the first time a surgery has been done on a foetus taken out of the womb, it was the first time surgery has been done on a foetus with this particular tumor. Baby Garret Jorgensen had a rare tumor mass on two-thirds of his chest that compressed his heart and both lungs. The surgery which took over two hours to perform created a huge media buzz especially in Nigeria, even reaching the President’s attention.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President had this to say concerning the news: “Nigerians are great people, making greater positive impacts in all fields of human endeavour in the Diaspora. Dr Olutoye’s feat is one of such testimonies,”

Dr Olutoye is Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Fetal Center and fetal surgery team member, as well as a general paediatric surgeon in the USA.

Dr Olutoye received his medical degree from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1988 and his PhD in anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, in 1996.

He completed his residency in general surgery at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Commonwealth University, and his fellowship in paediatric surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pa.

In addition, he is a member of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society and is a Fellow of the Surgical Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Surgeons; he is also a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons.


by Benjamin J. Obeng



Nigeria’s quintuplets gifted with 3-bedroom house in Abuja

Posted on: May 8th, 2017 | by:

 Nigeria's quintuplets gifted with 3-bedroom house in Abuja

Parents of quintuplets born in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja last month have been presented a three bedroom bungalow house.

Head of the Civil Service of the federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, presented documents and the key to the three bedroom bungalow promised the father of the quintuplets, Imudia Uduehi.

Oyo-Ita, represented by Yemi Adelakun, Permanent Secretary (Common Services office) in the head of civil service of the federation, handed the items over to Mr Uduehi

Receiving the documents, Uduehi, said: “from the moment the Head of Service visited us in the hospital, everything changed for us”.

The female quintuplets were delivered through a cesarian section at the National Hospital in Nigeria’s capital.


Nigeria’s Vice President Defends His Nation’s Pride In Jollof War

Posted on: May 5th, 2017 | by:



His assertion over the weekend was in reaction to Information Minister Lai Mohammed’s internationally televised assumption that Senegal makes the best Jollof rice.

Lai Mohammed’s words were described as treasonous by Nigerians on social media who attacked him for betraying them in a decade-old battle with Ghana over who has the best Jollof rice.

“We all know that Nigerian Jollof rice is the best! We beat the Ghanaians and the Senegalese hands down,” Vice President Yemi Osibanjo came to the rescue of Mohammed who was believed to have misunderstood the question.

Osibanjo went further to spearhead the Nigerian pride by citing the country’s achievements worldwide including the recent victory of British-Nigerian boxer and heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

“We have everything, and our people are doing incredibly innovative things. For example, we are at the moment developing the most sophisticated animation technology in Africa.

“Our music and entertainment industry is the fastest growing in the world. Nigerians have won every prize in literature, from the Noble prize to the Pulitzer.

“Only last year, a Nigerian girl won a gold medal at the Olympics, Morolake Akinosun. Last Saturday, a Nigerian boxer won the world heavyweight title. Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua won the WBA becoming the boxing champion of the world.

“Last year Oluyinka Olutoye, a Nigerian surgeon successfully took out a baby from her mother’s womb, operated on the womb, and put the baby back in, and the baby was carried full term and was born naturally — a feat previously unheard of.

“And of course, nobody is as funny as Nigerians, whether profession or amateur. We even have a member of the national assembly who recently launched a CD; Aje kun iya ni o je. Who hasn’t heard of Aje kun iya ni o je.

“We are the most innovative entrepreneurs. The other day someone showed me a text; the young man had invited him to a book launch titled: Seven Steps to Becoming a Professional Whistleblower,” he said at a church event on the theme: Nigeria Recovering from Economic Recession.


What is Jollof rice?

Jollof rice is a common dish in West Africa that derived its name from the Wolof people of Senegal, hence its undebatable Senegalese origin.

Among the countries that consume this dish are Senegal, Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Cameroon, Mali and Ghana.

However, two countries – Ghana and Nigeria – have adopted the dish as not only a cultural delicacy, but a subject of contention as to who prepares it best.

The reddish one-pot dish is prepared with rice and tomoato sauce with alternative ingredients that slightly vary by country.

Common ingredients: Tomatoes, pepper, onions, vegetable oil, salt, curry, garlic, ginger, rice and meat, fish or eggs.



AfrikaBurn brings artwork to South African desert

Posted on: May 3rd, 2017 | by:

AfrikaBurn brings artwork to South African desert

A temporary city of art has been created in the desert of South Africa during the annual AfrikaBurn event in the Tankwa Karoo in the Northern Cape.

Launched in 2007, AfrikaBurn is a creative regional project featuring construction of temporary artworks.

Some of the works are burned towards the end of the event. Elaborate costumes, music, and performance are also shown during the event. This year’s event started on April 24 and will end on Sunday.

“This is AfrikaBurn 2017. This year there are 13,000 people at the event, and it is a very big experiment in creativity and community,” said Travis Lyle, director, AfrikaBurn.

A Sweden designer, Agust Helgason brought an art installation in the shape of giant baobab tree to the event.
He said the work is a combination of both Scandinavian and African arts.

“We’ve prepared for the whole year. And for two months we’ve been building the Giant Baobab Tree. And essentially it’s an investigation of the Scandinavian culture and the African culture, taking the tree of life from the Nordic countries and the tree of life from Africa, and combining them into one modern tree,” he added.

Krishnee Governor, an enthusiast of vehicles, decorated her mutant vehicle into a pangolin, using paper to mimic scales on its surface.

“The people didn’t even know that the pangolin is the most trafficked animal. So I wanted to do something to kind of bring that into focus a little. And so that’s why I picked this animal and it proved to be quite a challenge, obviously, because the pangolin is covered with scales, and to get all the scales on and to design the structure was quite tricky,” said Governor.

AfrikaBurn has become the biggest art festival in Africa, drawing a large number of artists, musicians, vehicle enthusiasts and tourists to the desert in South Africa each year.

Credit: Dibie Ike Michael with Reuters,

AFWNigeria Pulls Record Breaking Model Casting Call (@AfricaFWNigeria)

Posted on: May 2nd, 2017 | by:


The Model casting call for the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria 2017, would go down in history as one of the biggest of its kind in sub-saharan Africa. As early as 8 am on Friday 27 April, hundreds of aspiring models for the AFWN had already gathered in groups with their agents. It was a massive turnout which provoked discussions among those present at the Women Society Skill Centre, Lekki, venue of the casting.

Sola Olabisi, a fashion photographer, who attended the shows last year, said he was not surprised that the turnout of models jostling for Africa Fashion Week Nigeria platform is record breaking because the organizers have a way of putting up remarkable shows while promoting Africa fashion to the rest of the world.The models want identify with the growth and reputation of the brand.

AFWN casting team had on board, multiple award winning model talent scout and makeup artist, Bayo Hasstrup, AFWN Chief Operating Officer, Aiki Odiawa, Eke EKE Group Merchandising Officer Daviva, Mr Jide Adedeji the head stylist, Mr Zuby Enoma AFWN hair director and Mr Barrectt Akpokabayen the official photographer. The team went through rigorous session after session before final selection of 70 models.

The model casting is part of build up towards the AFWN 2017 that will come up between June 3 & 4 at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos. The organizers had two iconic shows in April as pre-events shows. The first one took place at the National Theater, while the second one was at the Tinubu Square, Lagos. The iconic shows held at historic veues, as a way of blending the creativity of designers with the richness of our cultural heritage of Lagos.

The Founder of Africa Fashion Week, Ronke Ademiluyi said she was overwhelmed by the large turn of models who aspire to join the fashion week every year. “The platform keeps growing every year with remarkable shows. We are not going to relent.That is why government and multinationals should support us. AFWN is more than entertainment. We add economic value to African designers on our platform with our creativity every year.”

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For info on becoming a showcasing designer at AFWNigeria 2017: