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Sudanese woman spared death for apostasy meets Pope Francis

Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy in May, sparking an international campaign to save her life

Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim at the Vatican

Her religious commitment earned her ostracism and detention in her home country, and saw her handed a death sentence and forced to give birth in shackles in prison.

On Thursday, however, Meriam Ibrahim’s commitment as a Christian, and her remarkable fortitude in the face of persecution, was rewarded by an audience with the pope as she flew out of Sudan to begin a new life abroad.

Smiling, with her two-month-old baby in her arms, Ibrahim was shown on Italian television stepping out of a plane in Rome, in a surprise arrival that the government’s junior foreign affairs minister, Lapo Pistelli, said was the fruit of sustained diplomacy.

Spared a death sentence for apostasy after an international outcry, the 27-year-old Sudanese woman had been staying at the US embassy in Khartoum with her husband and their two children since being blocked from leaving the country last month.

Politicians And Their Seasonal Gifts…Leadership

Just as they did at Christmas, many politicians in the country have been busy donating foodstuff and other items to citizens in this year’s Ramadan. At one of such public donations in Sokoto State recently, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the packages as a way of making the donors’ aspirations known to the state. He also stated that the donation of rice and clothing materials at the event showed how committed the party stalwarts were to the needs of the Sokoto people.

Coming after the Ekiti election and the “stomach infrastructure” claims made against the electorate in that election, it is pertinent to situate this seasonal donation from politicians to the people in proper perspective. Stripped of the constructive ambiguities the donors coat their donations, they are nothing but inducement to make the recipients sway the way the donors want them during elections. In plain language, the donation is a bribe.

Time to bring back the kidnapped girls….Daily Independent

We wonder why our President would carry out the wishes of a 17-year old activist when he had refused to heed to the call of most Nigerians

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan finally met with the parents of the abducted Chibok Schoolgirls on Tuesday in Abuja the federal capital territory. Also included in the meeting were the five girls who escaped from the Boko Haram camp. The meeting followed the plea to President Jonathan by the 17-year old Pakistani education rights activist, Malala Youusafzai who visited the Nigerian President to lend her voice to the campaign for the release of over 200 schoolgirls still in custody of the insurgents. Malala had spoken to news hunters shortly after meeting with the president that “I was able to meet with the President …I met and told him that I hear the voice of my sisters. I am representing my sisters and the parents today”. The President as a matter of fact wasted no time in inviting the Parents of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls to the Presidency but this was not possible as the campaigners who incidentally also came to see Malala allegedly took them back.

However this Newspaper is not impressed by this action of the President as we consider it a belated meeting. The question is why did it take the intervention of 17-year old Malala for the President to finally accept to meet the abducted schoolgirls’ parents? For close to three months, most Nigerians including a former minister had advised the president to visit Chibok and assure the parents of the abducted girls that his administration was making every effort to bring back the kidnapped girls. Indeed President Jonathan had even on many occasions reportedly refused to listen to the Bring –back –our –girls’ campaigners especially the leader of the campaigners, Dr (Mrs) Oby Ezekwesili who incidentally is a former Minister of Education. The campaigners had severally been tear gassed while some of them had been arrested for demanding information from the government on the missing schoolgirls. So we wonder why our President would carry out the wishes of a 17-year old activist when he had refused to heed to the call of most Nigerians and indeed the campaigners. Certainly we are disappointed by the inaction of the government until Malala arrived on the scene.

Indeed we are incline to believe like most Nigerians that the President was not convinced about the abduction of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls by the Boko Haram group. Even if the presidency believes that there is a political undertone in the abduction of these girls, the president needs to show that as elected President, he is indeed the father of the nation. He ought to be seen taking appropriate steps to ensure the release of the abducted schoolgirls. This Newspaper recalls that during the 1979 electioneering campaign in the United States of America, (USA), between the then President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, there were reports that Reagan’s running mate George Bush (Snr) used his contacts in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to engineer the hostage- taking of 52 American diplomats in Teheran by the Islamist Revolutionary group in Iran. Although Carter saw the handiwork of his political opponent in the whole affair, he still did all within his powers to ensure the release of the hostages though he failed in his efforts. Nevertheless most Americans actually testified that he did his best.

We equally expect our President to shun the insinuation of politics and sentiments and do more to ensure the safe release of the abducted girls. The Jonathan administration has only been giving promises that these girls would be back home to their respective parents. But how and when they would be released to their traumatized parents, nobody seems to know.

We definitely agree with Malala that as the president of the most populous black state in Africa, President Jonathan needs to fulfil his responsibility by listening to Nigerians who are saying, “Bring back our girls “

Confab delegates erred by debating derivation—Tony Uranta


Mr Tony Uranta is an activist and one of the prime movers of the call for the convocation of the national conference. In this interview, he laments that the confab did nothing to alleviate the sufferings of the oil producing Niger Delta people, particularly with the derivation issue. TAIWO ADISA, Nigerian Tribune, presents the excerpts:

The national conference appears to have come to an end,do you think the assembly justified its convocation?

 The conference has not really ended. It is scheduled to reconvene August 4 to look at the reports and ascertain that resolutions are reflected in the reports as they were arrived at, without any smuggled items or items taken out.

 I can say hopefully that when they reconvene, it shall not be only the reports they shall look into. There shall be issues concerning how to get the National Assembly to do the needful, by amending the constitution speedily so as to allow for a referendum to be held as soon as possible; and, thus, empower Nigerians to ratify or dismiss the resolutions of the conference.

Task Before New Aviation Minister….PM News


Osita Chidoka, Nigeria’s new Minister of Aviation who was sworn in on Wednesday by President Goodluck Jonathan, has no experience in the aviation industry, but will have to learn fast and listen more to professionals if he desires to succeed. He would need to urgently tackle some very pressing challenges bedevilling the aviation industry, including rampant corruption.

Chidoka replaces Stella Oduah who was relieved of her duties in February this year following series of corruption scandals, two major plane crashes, many deaths, and a complete loss of confidence in the sector by the Nigerian flying public.

As a former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Chidoka should use his experience in safety matters and put safety first in the aviation industry. He can only do that if the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, and other agencies in the sector are truly independent and are allowed to focus on their duties.

NBC’S Worrisome Fatwas, by Garba Shehu


One of the greatest achievements of the military in Nigeria, the liberalization of the airwaves through the issuance of licenses to independent broadcasters is under threat. The threat is from the increasing politicization of the regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC. Tragically, for Nigeria, it is an elected, “democratic” government that is engendering the demise of independent broadcasting.

NBC has today transformed from a regulator of a vibrant broadcast industry into a prefect, serving to secure and protect regime interests and nothing more.

Every three years, they statutorily called broadcast station owners to a roundtable to review its code.  A democratic engagement for the renewal of the code under professional industry managers such as Dr. Tom Adaba, as DG has, under this era of transformation become something akin to the issuance of Fatwas. Industry operators lament that these consultative meetings have become a hush up. After going through the motions, the “all-Powerful” NBC rams down the throats of the broadcasters a “pocket communiqué” prepared before hand with serious consequences that everyone has to live with.  Without a law backing their promulgation, these codes or Fatwas assume the force of law and are used to levy fines, suspend programs and issue threats of the withdrawal of licenses.

Assasination Attempt on Buhari?by Akin Osuntokun

Buhari (1)

I join President Goodluck Jonathan and other well-wishers to thank God that General Muhammadu Buhari came to no harm in the attack on his convoy two days ago. The bad news is that scores of lesser known mortals lost their lives in the twin bomb attacks in Kaduna. For the record I have just been informed by Dangiwa Umar of how, a while ago, he got President Jonathan to boost the security around Buhari – which he did – with, among other reinforcements, the provision of armoured vehicles for his personal use. Only God knows the role played by these appurtenances in the survival of the general.

In a manner of speaking, this incident was presaged by the relapse of Buhari into the characteristic mould of issuing volatile and inciting statements – itself a culmination of an earlier one by another national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Since the outcome of the Ekiti State governorship election, the party appears to have gone into a state of acute paranoia and panic. Contrived or inadvertent, the intensified momentum towards anarchic breakdown of society is an ill wind that will blow nobody any good.

How to pay Zakat and Zakatul-Fitr by Haroon Balogun

Some muslims confused their annual Zakah with Zakatul-Fitr while some who understand the difference still observe the two in the month of Ramadan merely to attract more reward in the month of Ramadan.


Zakat is simply the calculation of your dues on your assets and the fourth pillar of Islam, while Zakatul-Fitr’s scope and implication transcend what we must do in the case of the former.

However, we should remember that Zakat becomes due, one year after a person’s wealth reaches the value of Nisab (minimum amount paid) and according to most scholars, a Muslim’s wealth has to remain above that Nisab level throughout the course of the year. This means he must be free from all indebtedness and liabilities.

Again, it is done annually at a predetermined period. If one chooses to pay it in every Muharram or every Zhul-Qada, so be it. So, it is impossible for the whole Ummah to have reached the obligation of paying Zakah, at the beginning or end of Ramadan.

Who succeeds Fashola? : New permutations in Lagos by Emmanuel Aziken


THE defection of popular Lagos politician, Jimi Agbaje to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has further galvanized the political landscape in Lagos as the two major political parties strategise to outsmart one another in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.

WITH an estimated population of 21 million, Lagos State is unarguably the biggest pie in the 2015 electoral map at the state level.

Since the advent of the Fourth Republic, the state has been out of the grip of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and hence the seeming desperation of party chieftains in the state and in Abuja to find a sellable candidate.
Until Agbaje’s entry into the party last week, it had been almost an open field for the incumbent Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.

Besides finding a sellable candidate, chieftains of the party in the state have on their own and sometimes with the forced nudge of party officials in Abuja been forced to put aside their perennial differences.

With the PDP almost looking formidable, the ruling party in Lagos, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is also equipping itself with fresh strategies and ideas to fend off its perennial foe.

Liberian with Ebola-like symptoms hospitalised in Lagos..Premium Times

The disease currently has no cure and vaccine

Fear that the Ebola virus, which is raging in neighbouring West African countries, might have found its way into Nigeria was heightened on Thursday after a Liberian exhibiting the symptoms of the deadly disease was hospitalised in Lagos on Thursday.

The special adviser on Health to the Lagos State governor, Yewande Adesina, told journalists a patient with possible Ebola infection has been detained pending result of his blood sample sent to the Virology Reference Laboratory in Lagos and the World Health Organisation, WHO, in Dakar, Senegal.

According to Ms. Adesina, the 40-year-old man arrived in Lagos from Liberia on Sunday and was admitted to Hospital on Tuesday with severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

New Zealand minister offers to resign after evading airport security

New Zealand’s Transport Minister, Gerry Brownlee, on Thursday, offered to resign from his post after bypassing domestic airport security checks while rushing to catch a plane back to the capital.

According to a statement, Mr. Gerry and two members of his staff had entered the departure gate lounge at Christchurch Airport through a door normally used as an exit, to avoid mandatory x-ray and security checks.

The Prime Minister, John Key, told journalists that he was disappointed by Mr. Brownlee’s actions but would not accept his offer to resign.

“While he was obviously in a hurry, lots of people are in a hurry and that is not an excuse. He has made a stupid mistake. He has apologised and taken full responsibility, as he should,” Mr. Key said.

In his apology, Mr. Brownlee called his actions “thoughtless.”

Report says Mr. Brownlee, in his role as Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister, flies frequently between the South Island city of Christchurch, which remains badly damaged after the 2011 earthquakes and Wellington.


NFF Sacks Maigari …PM News

The Executive Committee of the board of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has sacked its president, Alhaji Aminu Maigari.

The Executive Committee met at the NFF Secretariat, Abuja early Thursday to review the crisis rocking the federation after the vacation of a court injunction as well as the lifting of suspension by FIFA, and resolved that after thorough deliberations on the secrecy surrounding all financial dealings of the federation and failure to call a meeting of the Executive Committee for the past eight months, during which so many weighty decisions on Nigeria football had been taken by a small cabal within the board, the Executive Committee passed a vote of no confidence on Maigari.

According to the Communique signed by Drafting Committee Chairman, Alhaji Muazu Sulyeman, the committee approved the immediate dismissal of Maigari from the NFF Executive Committee on grounds of alleged financial misappropriation, misapplication and maladministration.

Air Algerie says missing plane likely crashed in Mali…CNN

- An Air Algerie flight with at least 116 people on board which dropped off the radar in the early hours of Thursday has apparently crashed in Mali, the flight operator said.

Air Algerie said via Twitter that the plane has apparently crashed in the Tilemsi area, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the southeastern city of Gao.

Flight 5017 lost radar contact 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, early Thursday. It was supposed to arrive at Algiers’ Houari Boumediene Airport about four hours later.

Do You Need To Change Your Car’s Power-Steering Fluid?

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Steering fluid is a form of lubrication used to help your car’s power steering system to run smoothly and efficiently. The liquid contains a mixture of a base stock and a variety of additives. If your car’s power steering pump suffers from a serious mechanical problem, you may have to flush your steering fluid. Replacing power-steering fluid generally is not listed among the regular maintenance items that should be performed, so on most vehicles replacing it is at the owner’s discretion.

Do You Need To Change Your Car’s Power-Steering Fluid?

The Toyota Maintenance Guide does not call for the replacement of the Power Steering Fluid;  just fluid level checks and replenishment with ATF Dextron III or Power Steering Fluid.  If your Camry has over 100,000 miles (160,000KM), is over 10 years (2004 or model before) old or the power steering fluid has turned black, Flush or draining as much of the old Power Steering Fluid out of the system and replenishing with Power Steering Fluid with a Stop Leak additive may lengthen the life of your power steering pump and rejuvenate the oil seals if a mild leak is detected. The fluid turning black may be due to fluid break down and/or metal oxidation within the fluid lines.  Regardless, a fluid change is simple, inexpensive and a good Preventative Maintenance task for peace of mind.

Paracetamol does not help lower back pain, study finds

Researchers say painkiller is no better than placebo despite being frequently prescribed for condition

Paracetamol does not help to relieve lower back pain despite it being a commonly prescribed treatment, according to new research.

A study from Australia, published in the Lancet, has found that the painkiller is no better than a placebo at aiding recovery from or reducing the pain linked to an ailment that afflicts 26 million Britons.

The associate professor Christine Lin, of the Oxford-based George Institute for Global Health, the senior author of the paper, said people with back pain would be better off being as active as possible, avoiding bed rest, using heat wraps or heat packs and considering spinal manipulation.