Emir of Biu, Mai Umar Mustapha Aliyu, Dies At 79

Alhaji Mai Umar Mustapha Aliyu, The traditional ruler of Biu in Borno State, has passed away at the age of 79.

He died on Monday night at the Federal Medical Center (Federal Teaching Hospital), Gombe after a brief illness.

The family of the traditional ruler said “We lost our father a pillar to Biu Emirate and Borno entirely, the Emir of Biu.

“May Almighty Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him the highest place in Jannatul Firdaus.”

Alhaji Mai Umar Mustapha Aliyu ascended the throne in 1989.

The Biu Emirate is a traditional state-based in Biu in Borno State, Nigeria. Prior to 1920, it was referred to as the Biu Kingdom.


Drama As Salami Walks Out Magu’s Lawyers From Panel

In a dramatic twist, the Justice Ayo Salami-led Panel of Inquiry probing allegations of misappropriation levelled against the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, yesterday directed security agents to walk out two lawyers, Prof Zainab Duke Abiola and Mr. Aliyu Lemu, from the venue of its sitting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The two lawyers are part of Magu’s legal team. The panel is also investigating alleged mismanagement of recovered assets and abuse of office.
The trouble began at about 11.50a.m. when Mr. Wahab Shittu, who has been appearing for Magu, stood up to introduce other members of the legal team.
But Justice Salami was said to have interrupted Shittu, and insisted that only him would be allowed to defend Magu.

Salami thereafter directed security agents to bundle out the lawyers from the venue.
Shittu has appeared for Magu for the past two months and raised certain issues, including fair hearing for his client and the need to cross-examine witnesses who testified against his client.
Due to the seriousness of the matter, Shittu reportedly led Prof Abiola and Lemu to the venue of the panel yesterday.
Abiola is a globally renowned human rights activist, anti-corruption crusader, a member of the British Bar and the Akasoba of Kalabari Kingdom.

She is also the widow of the late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election.

Upon arrival at the venue, Shittu introduced members of his team before the panel. As soon as he finished speaking, Justice Salami ordered that only Shittu would be allowed to represent Magu, insisting that other members of the team would have to leave the venue. Attempts by Shittu and Prof Abiola to explain the sanctity of legal representation for Magu were resisted by Salami and other members of the panel, who refused to listen to their explanations.

Reacting to the incident, Abiola expressed her disappointment with the conduct of the panel.
She said: “What happened today (yesterday) has highlighted the nature and manner in which the panel of inquiry has been conducting its sittings secretly against the presidential directive and the instrument setting it up, that it should hold a public sitting. It is unacceptable and patently illegal.”
Prof Abiola further expressed the fact that she was appalled by the treatment meted out to her, saying the development is unprecedented in the history of Nigerian legal system, as even in the worst days of the military junta, Nigerians had the right to be represented by lawyers of their choice.

She expressed the fact that the conduct of the panel indicated a descent into a Hobbesian state where the powerful trample upon the honest and upright citizens’ quest to serve their country with honour and integrity.
The professor expressed the need for Nigerians to stand up in support of their anti-corruption champions.
Abiola also called for an end to the ‘travesty and charade’ being conducted by the panel, saying its action may ridicule Nigeria in the international anti-corruption community.

Forbes Lists Messi Second Footballer To Earn $1 Billion

Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi has been named the second professional footballer to earn $1 billion in his career.

This is after his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo was listed the first footballer to hit that hallmark. Ronaldo marked then as the third athlete to earn $1 billion in his career after professional golfer Tiger Woods and professional boxer Floyd Mayweather.
Forbes named Messi the highest-earning footballer in 2020 as the Argentine raked $126m ($92m in salary and $34m in endorsements) tipping him into the $1 billion mark.

Ronaldo came second in the list of highest-earning footballers for the year 2020 according to Forbes with his total earning $117 million ($70 million in salary and $47 million endorsements).

Other footballers who featured in the 2020 list of highest-earning players are Kylian Mbabpe, Mohammed Salah, David de Gea, among others

Buhari Mourns Veteran Thespian, Prof. Ayo Akinwale

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday extended heartfelt condolences to the Akinwale family on the passing of Professor Ayo Akinwale.

Before his death, Akinwale was a senior lecturer in the Department of Performing Arts, University of Ilorin.
This is contained in a press statement released by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President, Media & Publicity.

Buhari joined the university community, numerous fans, students and former students in mourning the Ibadan-born academician.
He made outstanding contributions to the development of the Performing Arts in Nigeria in a career spanning over four decades on stage, screen, lecture rooms and the airwaves.

The President noted that the scholarly works of the accomplished thespian, playwright and versatile producer, preserved on films and published books, will continue to inspire and delight audiences in years to come.
He prays for the peaceful repose of the soul of the departed, and comfort for all who mourn.

Nigerian-born Pearlena Igbokwe Appointed Chairman of America’s Universal Studio Group

Pearlena Igbokwe, a Nigerian-born media executive, has been appointed chairman of Universal Studio Group in the U.S.

Universal Studio Group is a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information for global audience.

It is comprised of Universal Television, UCP and NBCUniversal International Studios.

Mrs Igbokwe, who was born in Nigeria, has broken grounds as the first woman of African descent to head a major American television studio.

According to a statement by Universal Studio Group, she will lead the company’s growing global television studio businesses and report directly to Jeff Shell, CEO, NBCUniversal.

Most recently, Ms Igbokwe was president of Universal Television, where she oversaw all aspects of the studio business and achieved record volume for the legacy studio.

Some of the programmes under her purview include the critically acclaimed comedies “Russian Doll,” “The Good Place,” “Superstore,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “Little America,” popular dramas “Good Girls” and “New Amsterdam,” and Dick Wolf’s new “FBI” and “FBI: Most Wanted,” among many others.

She also served as Executive Vice President, Drama Programming, for NBC Entertainment, where she developed the top-rated new broadcast dramas.

Before joining NBCUniversal, Ms Igbokwe worked at Showtime for 20 years and was involved in developing a variety of hit series including “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie.”

She was also instrumental in the five-season run of the hit Showtime series “Soul Food,” a two-time NAACP Image Award winner for Best Drama Series.

Mrs Igbokwe currently serves as the Vice President of the Hollywood Radio and TV Society (HRTS) board and is a member of the Television Academy Executive Committee.

Mrs Igbokwe, who moved to New Jersey with her family In 1971, at age six, also sits on the Board of Directors of eBay, AFI and IAC/InteractiveCorp.

She is married and has two children. She resides in Los Angeles.

UBA USA CEO Sola Yomi-Ajayi Appointed to US EXIM’s Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee

Sola Yomi-Ajayi, the CEO of the United Bank for Africa(UBA)’s operations in the United States, has been appointed to the Export-Import Bank of the United States (US EXIM) Committee on Sub-Saharan Africa for 2020/2021.  Established by the US Congress, the Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee provides guidance and advice regarding US EXIM policies and programmes designed to support the expansion of financing for US manufactured goods and services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The committee is composed of prominent members of the US business community and Ms. Yomi-Ajayi is the sole representative of an African institution.  UBA USA is the only Sub-Saharan African deposit-taking institution regulated in the United States and provides a unique portfolio of banking solutions to corporates, governments, multilaterals, and development organisations transacting with Africa.  UBA USA can assist in trade finance, treasury, foreign exchange, transaction management and lending, drawing on UBA’s seventy-year heritage and unique pan-African network.

UBA’s Group Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu, stated that the appointment is recognition of the role UBA has played over decades in promoting and supporting large and small businesses in all its 20 countries of operations in Africa.

“The appointment of Sola, as a member of the US EXIM Advisory Committee for Sub-Saharan Africa is welcome news.  UBA’s global network of offices in New York, London and Paris, permits us to be the preferred financial intermediary between Africa and the rest of the world.  Our mission at UBA is fully aligned with the objectives of the US EXIM’.

The EXIM President and Chairman, Kimberly A. Reed, who congratulated Yomi-Ajayi and the other appointees said, “With six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world and more than one billion consumers, Africa is poised to play a pivotal role in the global economy.  Supporting US exports to sub-Saharan Africa is one of our top priorities at EXIM, and my deepest congratulations goes to the new members of the EXIM Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee”.

Others appointed into the committee are Daniel Runde, who chairs the committee, C. Derek Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Energy and Natural Resource Security, Inc; Scott Eisner, Senior Vice President, African Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Rebecca Enonchong, Founder and Chief Executive Officer AppsTech; Lori Helmers, Executive Director/Americas Export Finance Head, JPMorgan Chase Bank; Florizelle Liser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Council on Africa; Mima Nedelcovych, Chairman, AfricaGlobal Schaffer; EE Okpa, Principal, The OKPA Co; Marise Duff Stewart, Director Customer and Industry Relations, Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company and Paul Sullivan, President – International Business, Acrow Bridge.

EXIM is an independent federal agency that promotes and supports American jobs by providing competitive and necessary export credit to support sales of U.S. goods and services to international buyers.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-one million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points, in 20 African countries.  With banking operations in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and presence in France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance and ancillary banking services.

Heritage Bank, FAMO Provide Succor For 300 Private School Teachers, SMEs

As part of efforts to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 on the education sector, Heritage Bank Plc in partnership with Honourable Fatima Mohammed (FAMO) foundation has provided succor to over 300 affected private school teachers and small medium enterprises (SMEs).

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, have continued in the shutdown of schools for months leaving the private school teachers without any means of livelihood and no source of income.

To this effect, in alleviating the challenges, Heritage Bank and its partner supported over 300 Private School Teachers and small businesses as palliatives in 15 local governments; including five major markets in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area of Ifako Ijaiye, in Lagos State, weekend.

Speaking at the event, Mother Dan-Egwu, Group Head, Education, NGO & Faith Groups, Lagos Mainland Zone of the bank, stated that as educational-friendly financial institution, Heritage Bank appreciates the socio-economic role the sector plays in the country.

According to her, Heritage Bank deemed it necessary to partner FAMO to champion the corporate social responsibility of the bank in supporting private school teachers and small businesses out of hardship and the quagmire plunged into nationwide by the pandemic.

She further explained to journalists that Heritage Bank and the Foundation seek to help teachers in phases.

Dan-Egwu said that this phase will comprise of 300 teachers who will get food items and cash worth Ten Thousand Naira (N10, 000)each.

On the mood of selection adopted, she stated that FAMO selected the teachers based on the regions, as the first phase comprised of 300 teachers and SMEs in the South West (Lagos) would be assisted and the poorest of the poor were the main target through the help of National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST) to identify those teachers in direst need of the assistance.

She, however, disclosed Heritage Bank’s strategy to provide basic palliative care to the educational system at the resumption of academic activities in schools.

According to her, the bank has three areas of basic supports in providing mentorship program for schools, school portal and school health plan in partnership with Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs).

She further explained that support programs churned out by the bank are designed to instill value and keep students focused on making the best of their lives through corporate models, help school authorities to manage operations and steer them into moving educational system to the new digital era; where teachers can use technology in classroom management, administration, engagement with parents.

For the school health plan, Dan-Egwu hinted Heritage Bank would help to provide a very affordable health plan to ensure that every member of the school community is covered medically, as this will reduce the anxiety amongst teachers, parents and school authorities.

In her address, the Convener of FAMO, Honourable Mohammed, commended Heritage Bank for its bold steps in joining hand-in-hands to support the challenged private school teachers, SMEs sectors and the roles the bank plays in championing CSR in the country.

Mohammed stated that the primary aim was basically to cushion the effect of poverty especially as it concerns the private school teachers.

“The private school teachers because of the pandemic haven’t been paid for 6months and there are a lot of such cases around here. Ifako-Ijaye is the second largest LGA in Lagos State; therefore, it is time to reach out to the people. During the pandemic, we have reached out to them about 2 to 3 times. I reached out to Heritage Bank and they heard my voice just to partner with us with my palliative team just to cushion the effect,” she said.
Meanwhile, for the SME owners, she further stated that additional plans have been agreed upon with the Agency Banking Unit of Heritage Bank to empower them to function as agents in this space.

She also commended Heritage Bank as a youth friendly bank for their numerous supports to young Nigerians in helping to promote their businesses and dreams.

Bus Collides With Moving Train In Lagos

The bus at the scene of the accident

A passenger bus has collided with a train at PWD area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, with seven people escaping death.

The accident occurred around 8:12am on Monday.

Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said upon arrival at the scene, it was discovered that a passenger motor GGE 972 GE with six passengers had veered onto the train tracks while crossing the rail at PWD inward Oshodi and subsequently collided with a scheduled commuter train.


Rescue officials trying save lives

“The bus was then dragged along for a stretch of the journey before the train managed to come to a complete halt,” he said.

Oke-Osanyintolu said there was no loss of lives as the agency was able to extricate the passengers from the bus.

”The Agency was able to successfully extricate the passengers and note that there was no loss of life. Casualties have been provided with on site medical care and discharged.

Rescue officials evacuating the bus from the rail track

”Members of the public, especially drivers of commuter buses are reminded to obey traffic regulations to prevent injuries and transport delays.

”The wreckage of the bus has been safely removed to allow for free flow of commuter traffic,” he said.

No Deal: TikTok USA Rejects Microsoft Offer

By Agency Reporter

Microsoft said on Sunday it was informed by Bytedance that it would not be selling U.S. operations of TikTok to it.

“We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Trump Microsoft said on Sunday it was informed by Bytedance that it would not be selling TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft.

“We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” Microsoft said in a statement.

ByteDance has up till 20 September to sell off TikTok US Operations, going by the deadline given the company, according to President Trump’s executive order.

Trump issued the executive order on Aug. 14 giving the company 90 days for a deal to be completed.

The U.S. President had cited “credible evidence” that the Beijing-based media and tech company’s music and video sharing app may share user data with the Chinese government as reasons for the actions.

Veteran Actor and Lecturer, Prof. Ayo Akinwale Is Dead

Professor Ayo Akinwale, a prominent senior lecturer in the Department of Performing Arts, University of Ilorin, is dead.

The Professor died at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

His death was confirmed in a statement by Prof. Abdulrasheed Adeoye, Dean, Faculty of Arts, of the university.

He wrote, “TRANSITION TO HIGHER GLORY

“If life is not vanity upon vanity, then, what is it? Death is indeed wicked!

“With heavy heart and total submission to the will of the Almighty God, I announce the passing on to higher glory of Prof. Ayo Akinwale, of the Department of the Performing Arts, University of Ilorin. He died today, the 13th September 2020 at the Unilorin Teaching Hospital.

“May the Almighty God comfort the family and all of us.”

A versatile producer, academician, playwright and former broadcaster, late Akinwale was the producer of a popular movie, ‘Sango’.

He was also the pioneer board chairman of the University of Ilorin FM.

Akinwale was born to the royal household of Pa Akinwale in the ancient City of Ibadan and attended St. Lukes Demonstration School, Molete Ibadan, Oyo State, and then proceeded to Methodist High School also in Ibadan, where he was introduced to theater arts.

In 1966, he acted as ‘Imodoye’ in a movie titled ‘Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmole,’ produced by one of his teachers and then moved to Molusi College in Ijebu Igbo, where he obtained his Senior School Leaving Certificate.

He proceeded to the University of Ibadan before commencing academic work as a lecturer at the Polytechnic Ibadan. He became the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Culture of the University of Ilorin, and he was also the chairman of Oyo State Council for Arts and Culture.

Prof Akinwale had written several books and articles on Theatre Arts in Nigeria. Some of his publications include; ‘From Compound Space, to the Living Stage’ Nigerian Theatre Journal. Vol. 2, No. 1. (1998); ‘Theatre and Democracy in Nigeria’ Nigerian Theatre Journal. Vol. 6, No. 1, ‘Nigerian Playright’; Zulu Sofola (2005); ‘The Nigerian Theatre and Economic Viability.’ Arts Administration in Contemporary Nigeria; The Nigeria Broadcaster’ Media Nigeria; ‘The Theatre and Nigeria’s New Democratic Environment: A Sociological Overview,’ and many more.

He won the Best Indigenous actor award at the 4th Africa Movie Academy Awards. He featured in quite a number of movies as an actor and producer; he has produced many home videos in Nigeria. He featured in movies such as; Sango, Ladepo Omo Adanwo, Clash of the Gods, Iranse Aje, Eti Keta among others.

Prof Akinwale’s contribution to the theatre and movie industry in Nigeria gave him the leverage of being assigned South-West Zonal Co-ordinator for the Abuja Carnivals, and also a judge for the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST).