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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Ex- Super Eagles Player Godwin Okpara Opens Up About Life in Prison

Ex Super Eagles player, Godwin Okpara regained his freedom in January 2013 after spending 7 years in prison. He was charged with rape, sex with a minor and assault in 2005 after their nanny accused him of serially raping her. He was immediately deported to Nigeria after his release and has kept a very low profile ever since.

In a recent interview with TheCable, Godwin opens up about what he believes has been betrayal by those closest to him and his life in prison. “I swear on the lives of my children that I never had sex with her (the nanny). I rarely had interaction with her or the other women or girls that my wife used to have in the house often. I was a footballer so my life was going to training, coming back home, playing with my children. “By the time she arrived I was living in Belgium and I used to come home to Paris on those rare times when we had not matches,” he said

"She said she had injuries. I never saw any injuries on her. Yes my wife did beat her but that was just as she used to beat her own children. As for me I never laid a finger on her. I can call my children now in France so you can speak to them and ask if I ever beat her or the children even,” he further said. Speaking about his life inside the prison,  “Many times I wanted to commit suicide. Two things stopped me: hope of seeing my children again and the fact that I would have needed to hang myself if I wanted to do it ─ if I had access to pills I would have done it. I saw many inmates do it and I understood why they had to,” Okpara said. 

Angry Mothers Stage Mass Breastfeeding Protest in UK

Earlier on this year, a 25-year-old  mother of 2, Wioletta Komar, was kicked out of the premises of a Sports Direct store in the UK for breastfeeding her 3-month-old son. She had been sitting on a bench inside the store waiting for her father who was trying on T-shirts, when a member of staff suddenly marched over and told her that breastfeeding mothers were not welcome because of 'company policy'.

Some 70 mothers showed up yesterday at the Sports Direct store where the incident happened to show support for Mrs Komar, while also defending their right to breastfeed in public places. Organiser of the protest Leah Gibson said:We're here today to stand up for breastfeeding women and their right to feed their children in public without being asked to leave places. We just wanted to show everyone that we can feed in peace, without showing everyone our boobs. It’s shocking that we've still got this sexual ‘thing’ about boobs.'

Breasts were made to feed and nourish a child. Only 1 per cent of the population can’t physically feed their child this way so when you look at it like that, it shows you what they are for. 'Some mothers say "oh I don't want to feed my baby because my boobs are for my partner". No, they aren't - they’re for your child.' The group spent around 15 minutes in the shop and organisers confirmed there were no issues with Sports Direct staff on this occasion.

Mary Ebunoluwa Ewedemi - How She Built Her Business With Just ₦300

While many women sit down and murmur about how tough life has become, one woman shares her amazing journey of how she built her business now worth millions of naira with just ₦300. Mrs. Mary Ebunoluwa Ewedemi is one of the leading distributors of Flour Mills products in Nigeria, a venture she started with just ₦300. That humble start-up has steadily grown to become a multi-million naira business today. Read excerpts of her interview with The Sun below:

How did all this begin?
I spent 2 years to learn trading, and went on to establish my own venture. In those days, I was given pocket money, and I ensured I saved as little as I could. That was what I used to start up as my capital. When I needed a shop, my mother-in-law informed me of a vacant shop at Daleko Market in Mushin, Lagos. I got the shop and started selling semovita. I was the first person to sell semovita in Daleko.
But, I want to point out that I started my trade with ₦300, today my business has become great. I have sponsored my children through private universities. I have sent one to Canada and other places through my Semovita trade. I used to tell them that if you don’t work hard, you will not enjoy later. I started buying landed properties at the age of 18. I thank God today because everything comes from God.

Can you mention some of the difficulties you passed through?
As a child I used to wake at 3.30am, it wasn't easy. I was very smart and active. I learnt trade from my mother’s friend who took me to sell flour for her younger sister. I loved the woman so much and was attached to her. Whenever I had issues with her, my mother would insist that I go back and reconcile with her, since it was my choice to be under her tutelage. I used to leave home 4am everyday and trek to the market. Which child can you subject to such training today? If you send them on an errand to a short distance, they would ask you for transport fare. In those days, it wasn't like that; I would walk a long distance every day from 4am.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Kenyan President Signs into Law Controversial Marriage Bill Legalising Polygamy

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law the controversial Marriage Bill 2014. The bill makes marrying more that one wife legal in Kenya. The Marriage Act 2014 defines various types of marriages including monogamous, polygamous, customary, Christian, Islamic and Hindu marriages.

According to the Act, marriage is the voluntary union of a man and a woman whether in a monogamous or polygamous union registered under the Act. It states that parties to a marriage have equal rights and obligations at the time of marriage, during the marriage and at the dissolution of the marriage. All marriages registered under the Act have the same legal status.

Female Kenyan MPs had walked out of parliament in disgust last month after their male counterparts voted through the amendment. They argued that a decision to take on another wife would affect the whole family, including the financial position of other spouses. The bill was also opposed by Christian leaders who urged the President not to sign it into law, saying it undermined Christian principles of marriage and family.

LA Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Banned For Life, Fined $2.5 Million

 Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million for his recent racist comments caught on tape. He had come under fire for comments in a recording attributed to him, where a man asked his girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games.

Addressing the issue in a strongly worded press conference today, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said: "The man whose voice is heard on the recording and a second recording is Mr. Sterling. And that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are by Mr. Sterling. That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage."

Accordingly I am banning Mr. Sterling for life with the Clippers association or the NBA. He may not attend any NBA games or any practices. He is barred from attending NBA board of Governor’s meetings or participating in any other league activity."That while Sterling still owns the Clippers, Silver said he would “Urge the Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team and will do everything in my power to ensure that happens.”

Ghana's Fred Deegbe - From Banking to Making Luxury Shoes

Meet Fred Deegbe, a young entrepreneur who had no prior knowledge of shoe-making,  but today owns a high-end shoe-making company based in Accra, Ghana. Fred once visited a friend who laughed him to scorn because he wore one of those kinds of shoes that look like they are mocking the wearer; in a bid to restore his dignity, he went in search of a better pair of shoes. A few steps down the street, he spots this beautiful pair of shoes;

“As I admired them in the window of the store, a shoe-shine boy walked by. I raced outside to ask him if he could make a pair like these. He said it was impossible. I was stunned. I asked if he could make a shoe not a spaceship! This encounter with the shoe-shine boy prompted the journey which I am on right now”. He teamed up with a friend and started Heel The World (HTW), a high-end shoemaking company based in Accra, Ghana.

In 2012, Deegbe quit his banking job to dedicate himself fully to his new ambitious venture.
"We started buying machines and brought them over to the house," says the young entrepreneur, who launched the company from his parents' garage. "We had no intentions of starting the factory in the house, but one thing led to another and we just had to start." When I began, many people laughed at me for making Ghanaian shoes. A year later I am on my way to the World Economic Forum in Ethiopia because of my Ghanaian shoes.

Pastor’s Daughter Who Converted to Islam Set to Marry

Aishat (Charity) Uzoechina, the 26-year-old daughter of Pastor Raymond Uzoechina, came into the limelight last year after she voluntarily converted to Islam. Her action angered her family and sparked a religious controversy in the country. Following her conversion, she dropped her first name Charity and adopted Aishat in its place.

The news now is that Miss Uzoechina is set to marry. The Executive Director of Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, Ishaq Akintola, whose organization has kept tab on her, said Miss Uzoechina is set to get married on May 2nd, 2014 to the lawyer, Barrister Tijani who handled her case after her conversion to Islam became controversial.

Miss Uzoechina was quoted at the time as saying her conversion to Islam was “strictly personal, gradual and well thought-out. I joined Islam purely on my own terms. I love the character of Muslims that I have related with, particularly the way they behave. You know Muslims believe in God, I have Muslim friends and I watched what they do, that enticed me to join Islam.”

Abducted School Girls Allegedly Married Off for ₦2000, Moved to Neighbouring Countries

According to a Daily Trust report, the school girls that were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from their school in Chibok few weeks ago have been allegedly married off for ₦2000 each. See report below:

Most of the 234 Borno schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity have been ferried abroad to Chad and Cameroon after they were married off to sect members on  ₦2,000 bride price each, an elder said yesterday.The female students were taken from their hostels at the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok on the night of April 14. About 40 had escaped in the days after the incident, but parents and school authorities said at least 234 of them were yet to be found.

Dr. Pogu Chibok, who is the leader of the Chibok Elders Forum, said yesterday that latest information available to them indicates that most of the girls have been taken to the neighboring Cameroon and Chad by their captors.He said before they were ferried in canoes across the Lake Chad, a wedding ceremony was conducted at a town on the border with Cameroon where they were married off to Boko Haram militants. He said  ₦2,000 was paid as bride price on each of the girls to the specific Boko Haram members who took them from their school and who had assumed “ownership” of the students.

Prolific Director/Producer Amaka Igwe Dies at 51

Sad!!! One of Nollywood's leading directors, Amaka Igwe has passed away at the age of 51. She died last night April 28th in Enugu after an asthma attack.

She was in Enugu alongside her husband for pre-production preparations for a new Igbo soap when the sad incident occurred. She was immediately rushed to the hospital after initial intervention had failed but died before getting there.  Mrs Amaka Igwe is survived by her husband of 21 years Charles Igwe, 3 children and an aged mother. May her soul rest in peace.

Born Amaka Isaac-Ene, the deceased was an accomplished writer, producer, director, entrepreneur and teacher.  She is the founder of BoBTV Expo, founder and CEO of Top Radio 90.9FM, Amaka Igwe Studios, and the newly-launched Q Entertainment Networks.  A visionary and pioneer of modern Nigerian TV drama and film, she hit national limelight as the writer and producer of award-winning TV soap 'Checkmate' and its off shoot 'Fuji House of Commotion'.

Monday, 28 April 2014

'Hand of Hope' - Captivating Image of Life in The Womb

The picture above is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon. This was in 1999. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Dr Bruner performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb. During the procedure, he removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby.

As Dr. Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little baby reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger. Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile. The captivating moment titled "Hand of Hope" was captured by photographer, Michael Clancy

Little Samuel's mother said they "wept for days" when they saw the picture. She said, "The photo reminds us pregnancy isn't about disability or an illness, it's about a little person" Samuel was born in perfect health and the operation 100 percent successful. See another picture of him several years later below:

23 Year Old Kenyan Entrepreneur Who Runs 3 Businesses And is Putting Himself Through University

Meet Buken Makokha, a 23 year old Kenyan entrepreneur who grew up in the impoverished slum of Gatina on the western outskirts of Nairobi. He runs a delivery service company, owns a barber-shop, sells energy efficient stoves and is currently putting himself through university. Truly Inspiring!!! There is truly no excuse for failure.

Growing up in Gatina, Makokha became a multitasking entrepreneur out of necessity so he could pull himself out of poverty. One of the biggest challenges, he says, was feeling alone."We youth in the slums are not supported," says Makokha. "So you have to struggle with everything," he continues. "You don't have a mentor, you have no place to run for help that is what is making me work every day very hard.". By 3am, he's already up, studying and preparing his school assignments for later in the evening; by 7am, he enters the green doors of "Clean Touch," the barbershop he set up 3 years ago.

By 8am, he leaves the shop to an employee to start running his SkyHighSwiss courier service, making personal deliveries all across the busy Kenyan capital, whilst checking every now and then his Facebook page for any orders for his latest business venture: selling EcoZoom clean burning cooking stoves. By 4.30pm, Makokha parks his motorbike, and heads to Maasai Mara University where he is a 1st -year student of community development.  Lectures last from 5.30pm to 8.30pm and by 10pm he's in bed only to wake up at 3am again the next day to do it all over again.

Tests Reveal That Energy Drinks Contain Ingredient Extracted from Bull Urine

A recent study done by Longhorn Cattle Company, to test some of the top energy drink brands such as Red Bull, monster etc. have revealed that these drinks contain bull urine and semen.

Taurine is the ingredient that has been found in the drinks. Taurine is named after the Latin Taurus, which means bull. It was first isolated from ox bile in 1827 by Australian scientists Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelon.

It is often called an amino acid, but it lacks a carboxyl group and  is not strictly an amino acid. Taurine is present in bulls livers, semen and urine. This gives a clue as to where the taurine used in energy drinks is gotten from.

Nigerian Women to March in Abuja Over 234 School Girls Abducted by Boko Haram

Some Nigerian women are set to hold a massive protest for the release of the 234 girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents on April 15. The missing school girls have still not been found.

The women who will be dressed in an all red attire will march in Abuja on Wednesday to press for the release of the girls. Prof. Hauwa Abdu Biu hinted yesterday of the planned protest in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, during an emergency meeting convened by the wife of the governor, Hajiya Nana Kashim Shettima.

Yesterday, she told the meeting that the march, which will be tagged “Free our girls”, will involve women all over the country. She urged the wife of the governor to mobilise women to Abuja for the rally. “The last time we were in black, but this time around, the colour for the Abuja rally is red. So we should all be prepared and mobilised for the rally,” she added.

Oluyomi Ojo, Co - Founder Printivo on How He Started His Entrepreneurial Journey With ₦3000

Meet Oluyomi Ojo, Co-Founder Printivo, a business that is helping Nigerian SMEs handle printing needs without having to leave the comfort of their homes. Printivo offers easy to use design tools, fast delivery and quality prints. Read excerpts from his interview with Whoot Africa.

How did you get started in Business and what did it take you to get to where you are today?
I started my entrepreneurial journey in handmade greeting cards with N3, 000 from my mum in 2001, shortly after secondary school. Handmade cards were very valuable in those days, I was selling on various university campus, It was during those days I met Deji, now a co-founder at Printivo . We met in UNILAG and we did amazing things together, we later lost touch after I gained admission into LAUTECH Ogbomosho only for us to meet again in 2010 on a Campus Navigator. One thing I've always done is to plough back profit into the business and I think it’s a key factor in getting us here.

What were you doing before Printivo started and why did you decide to start Printivo?
From the little handmade cards business started with N3000, I moved into t-shirt prints (when GSM’s SMS function killed the demand for handmade cards), I later went into graphic design and then printing, eventually set up Urban-baze a studio that grew into an ad agency, all during my universities days.

Policeman Brutalises 8 Year Old Girl and Ties Her Up Under His Bed

Just last week a video went viral of a policeman assaulting a young woman in Lagos, while threatening to kill with his gun. And today, according to a Punch report, residents of Olufowobi Street, Ketu in Lagos, were thrown into shock after an 8-year-old girl, Amarachi Abakwam, was found tied up under the bed of a policeman Augustine Gbuchenge, with injuries on her head.

The father of the victim, Patrick, said that on the fateful day he had been looking everywhere for his daughter until they discovered her tied under Gbuchenge’s bed. Patrick said, “Last Thursday, I returned from work around 7.30pm and met my children and wife outside. There was power failure on that day so everywhere was dark. I asked after Amarachi but my wife said she was probably in our apartment sleeping. I was not satisfied with this explanation because my children don't usually sleep early. When I went up, I did not see my daughter so we started asking around. Some little children in the compound then told me that Gbuchenge had called my daughter earlier to help him buy akara.

“I went to the policeman’s room to challenge him but he denied seeing my daughter so we continued looking everywhere. After sometime, the whole compound got involved in the search and all clues pointed to the policeman.”The little girl was finally found under the policeman's bed, she was bound by her hands and feet while a piece of cloth had been stuffed in her mouth. She was said to have been bleeding profusely as she had sustained a broken skull.

The Movie 'Half of a Yellow Sun' Now Set to Be Released on May 2nd

The film adaptation Chimamanda Adichie's award winning book, 'Half of a Yellow Sun' will now be released on the 2nd of May, 2014. It was previously scheduled to be released on the 25th of this month but was delayed in order to obtain the required certification from the Nigerian National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).

Shareman Media, the Nigerian producers, and Film One Distribution, the Nigerian distributors of the feature film, made the following announcement to that effect: “The highly anticipated release of Half of a Yellow Sun in Nigeria has been postponed due to delay in obtaining certification from the National Film and Video Censors Board for the public release of the film. Subject to obtaining the certification of the Board, the film is now rescheduled for release on May 2, 2014.”

The movie is a love story that follows two sisters who are caught up in the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, OC Ukeje, and John Boyega, among others. 

'You Can Run a Business From Anywhere in the World' - Fola Lawal

Ms Fola Lawal, owns her own business Shecrownlita Scribbles, a publishing firm in Nigeria, and at the same time works in faraway Qatar as a Project Coordinator. In a recent Tribune interview, she says that despite being an employee of an organisation, there’s no reason for anyone not to be an entrepreneur. See excerpts below:

I understand you're on a full time employment in Qatar, yet you run a business here in Nigeria. How do you juggle it?
I work from 8 a.m to 5 p.m in my professional employment and 6p.m to 2 a.m working on my personal business. I have zero social life. I have a small home office corner where I spend most of my time. That’s every day.

How do you run a business in Nigeria from abroad?It is a good thing that we have the internet. Most of my work is done over the internet and phone calls. I have couple of people working for me on distribution.

Some people say to run a business in Nigeria, you have to be physically present to manage and oversee it, at least the startup phase.
Yes, I agree. I spend a lot on travelling home back and forth and spend a fortune making phone call, but I needed the job while I stabilised my business but I'm glad I have competent people who constitute my team in Nigeria. The world is a global village, you can run a business from anywhere at any time.

New Day, New Things, New Beginnings

It's a brand new day with new opportunities to rewrite the story of your life. You can start right now and choose how your own story will end. Open your heart and fill it up with faith, it will definitely end well for you. Have a great week ahead.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Vice President Namadi Sambo Loses Younger Brother in Ghastly Car Crash

Vice President Namadi Sambo lost his younger brother, Capt. Yusuf Sambo today in a ghastly motor accident along the Abuja Airport Road. He was reportedly on his way to the airport when his car crashed into a tree and burst into flames. He was 58 years old and is survived by a wife and 3 daughters. May his soul rest in peace.

He has since been buried at the Apo cemetery, Abuja according to Islamic rites, in the presence of former military President Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and several other dignitaries and sympathizers.

President Jonathan and his wife Patience, were at the Aguda House residence of the Vice President in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to personally condole him over the sad event.

Man Gives His Shoes to Barefoot Bus Passenger

When a man can offer his shoes to a complete stranger in a bus who had no shoes, then you know it's not about race or religion, just a human being with a conscience who cares about his fellow man. Love is truly what will make the world a better place to live.

The man who captured it all, Surjit Singh Virk says it is a day he will never forget. He was heading home from a religious parade and took a city transit bus. It was a busy day, but for some reason everyone on the bus had crowded into the back. There was just one person sitting in the front, a man in a black t-shirt who didn't have a jacket to ward off the cold and instead of shoes, he wore flimsy bags on his feet.

Virk saw the Muslim man climb on board and sit next to the lonely stranger. The man took off his socks and shoes and slid them quietly on the floor, as if he didn't want anyone to see.“At first, I was like, why is he taking his shoes off, is he going to pray?” Virk recalls thinking. “And then he said ‘Just take it, don’t worry about me, I live close by. The recipient was shocked by the unexpected gift and before he could say thank you, the man had walked off barefoot in the rain.

Microsoft Now Officially Owns Nokia's Devices and Services Business

In September last year, Microsoft announced that it was acquiring Nokia's Devices and Services business in a $7.2 billion deal. The deal was approved one month later by shareholders.

Both companies have now announced the completion of the deal which has been approved by governmental regulatory agencies around the world. So it's official. Microsoft now owns Nokia's phone business.

Mexican Graphic Artist Creates Make Up Free Barbie

What to you think a Barbie doll would look like without make -up? Mexican artist Eddi Aguirre gives us a clue; he created a sketch of what a Barbie doll would look like without make-up to illustrate a make-up feature for a magazine. In his sketch, he depicted a Barbie with freckles, bags over and under her eyes, frizzy hair, shiny skin and braces.

The designer uploaded the project to his online portfolio with the following description:
“An image used in a special make-up feature for the new magazine shows Barbie before and after make-up (nobody is perfect).”

The image of Barbie’s natural look has been dubbed refreshing as it reminds people the doll is an unrealistic role model for young girls.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Happy Married Life to Tiwa Savage and Teebillz

Tiwa Savage and Teebillz had their white wedding today in Dubai. The singer is a lovely looking bride, who looks so adorable in her wedding dress. Happy married life to the couple. See a picture of Tiwa in her wedding dress below:

The Unparalleled Love and Devotion of a Twin to Her Sister Whose Arms and Legs Were Amputated

How far are you willing to go in your love, commitment and devotion to that special person in your life? The story of this twin sisters will inspire you. Ellie and Sophie Challis are 10 year old twin sisters. While Sophie is a normal growing child, her twin sister Ellie had her arms and legs amputated at 16 months old after she contracted a deadly strain of meningitis. 

But 9 years on, not only has the courage of this happy, funny little girl humbled her parents, the strength and devotion shown by her twin sister Sophie has left them in awe. For it’s thanks to Sophie's help and encouragement that Ellie can now live a full and normal life, having been taught how to climb trees, swim and even play football by her sister. ‘From the moment Ellie came home from hospital, Sophie wouldn't leave her side, even though she was only a baby herself. It has been like that ever since,’ says Lisa, their 40 year old mum. ‘It has been a wonderful thing to watch unfold.’

Sophie most times accompanies her sister on the 200-mile round trip every 6 weeks to get her prosthetic legs replaced. She cheers on Ellie whenever she tries anything new from dressing herself and learning to write, to swimming and running a race.Sophie was only 18 months when Ellie came home but she seemed to take on a mothering role, she just seemed to know what to do,’ says Lisa. ‘I remember coming into the room and seeing Sophie holding Ellie’s bottle to her mouth as she couldn't do it herself.

New Church Founded in The USA That Worships Beyonce

An organization based in Atlanta, have founded a church called “The National Church of Bey” and they practice the religion Beyism, which is centred around award winning singer, Beyonce. And even though the singer has no part in all of this, the church's founder says, they would rather worship Beyonce than an invincible spirit (God). Strange things are happening indeed!!!

The church’s founder, Pauline John Andrews, recently stated, “We are very disappointed in the failure of the public to recognize the existence of a divine Deity walking among them. Deity’s often walk the Earth in their flesh form. Beyoncé will transcend back to the spirit once her work here on Mother Earth has been completed.”As our congregation continues to swell, we ask that you consider what is more real; an invisible spirit on high, or a walking, talking, breathing Goddess who shows you her true form daily?

Beyoncé’s spirit is entrancing. We know that she was sent to this place to spread love, peace, and joy. Open your mind to new possibilities and you will see, just as we did, that Bey is a true higher power. "We have published the Beyble and it will soon be available for free to the public. Donations have poured in and we will soon have enough to build a temple in honor of Mother Bey. We will invite her to speak to her flock, once the doors are open.”

Iranian Mother Who Forgave Son's Killer Says The Anger She Felt Has Left Her Heart

The Iranian woman who stopped the execution of her son's killer as the noose was placed around his neck has described how the rage she felt 'left her heart' when she slapped him. Indeed when you are able to let go and forgive, you set yourself free and fill your heart and life with peace.

Alinejad Hosseinzadeh, whose son Abdollah, 18, was murdered in a street fight, has described how she wanted her son's killer to die up until the final moments of his life. She said her son, who died 7 years ago, appeared to her in a dream 10 days before the execution and begged her to have mercy on his killer, known as Balal.

Alinejad was supposed to kick the chair away from under him, but in a dramatic last minute reprieve, asked the rope to be removed and slapped him. Her husband Abdolghan quickly lifted the noose and he was pardoned.. 'All these years, I felt like a moving dead body. But now, I feel very calm, I feel I'm at peace. I feel that vengeance has left my heart.' Despite the reprieve, Balal is still in jail. Under Iranian law, the victim's family can save a killer's life but cannot spare his prison term.

World Malaria Day 2014

The theme for this year's World Malaria Day is,"Invest in the future, Defeat Malaria". Global efforts to control and eliminate malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives since 2000, reducing malaria mortality rates by 42% globally and 49% in Africa.  But the disease still kills an estimated 627 000 people every year, mainly children under 5 years of age and pregnant women.

The WHO reports that around 40% of global malaria deaths occur in just 2 countries: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Malaria remains a risk for more than 90% of Nigeria's population and contributes to an estimated 11% of maternal mortality in the country. There are an estimated 100 million malaria cases with over 300,000 deaths per year in Nigeria, about 100,000 more than the deaths from HIV/AIDS.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, said that malaria still remains a major threat to public health in the country. People are urged to use long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets, keep their environment clean, while pregnant women and children must always take necessary preventive measures against malaria.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Woman Found Inside 6Ft Deep Gutter in Lagos

How in the world did this woman get inside the gutter? According to this report, at about 9am today, a passerby noticed someone stretching out a hand from a very small hole in a 6ft deep gutter just in front of Army Barracks Ojuelegba surulere, Lagos, calling out for help, the passerby quickly ran into the barracks to get help.

Within minutes, the place was crowded with people saying all sort of things about the lady inside the gutter, some said she was a witch who fell from the sky, while others said she was on her way from Oshogbo and got sucked in the gutter. When she was asked, 'What are you doing inside the gutter?' she replied weeping ''Please I need water, help me.'' 

A senior officer of the Nigerian Army asked the soldiers to get her out of the gutter for safety, a welder was able to cut off the iron shields on the gutter, and she was finally brought out by a good Samaritan who entered the gutter to help her out. A piece of nylon found with her was used to cover her naked body and she said: "My name is Amudat Jimoh, It was God that sent me here, He (GOD) said I should confess my sins so that I don't die, please I need water to drink, help me, I don't know how I found myself here, please help me."  A Lagos State ambulance later arrived and took her away for proper medical attention.

Irish Mother Develops Clothing Range That Helps Protect Against Skin Cancer

While many get to give up easily when challenging times come, others use it as an opportunity to create something new. The economic recession that hit countries around the world cost Irish Designer, Sandra Walsh two fashion boutiques, the whole downturn eventually went on to inspire her to create a fashion item that has become an international hit. 

The Irish mother of 2 used the low economic times to invent Canopi, a €40 fashion product for women who don't like showing off their arms. And in less than 3 years, she wholesales to 17 countries and is the first Irish designer to be sold in the Brown Thomas-sister store, de Bijenkorf, in Amsterdam.

This week, the Tipperary-born entrepreneur mixes style with healthy living by launching a new range, 'Five Tops For Life', which are made from a breathable 'Meryl' fabric, which has a UPF 50 in the fabric, which helps protect against skin cancer. The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating system measures the UV protection provided by fabric and a garment with a UPF of 50 only allows 1/50th of the UV radiation falling on the surface of the garment to pass through it.

Osita Iheme A.K.A Pawpaw Releases First Book

Nollywood actor Osita Iheme, aka Pawpaw, is showing us another part of him by pursuing another passion his. The actor has just written a book titled ‘Inspire 101′  which will be delivered to different schools in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to form part of their library and research materials.

The book has passed checks by the Nigerian Educational Regulatory Commission (NERDC), Prof Pat Utomi, Mr Dimgba Igwe and top comedian Ali Baba. Pawpaw who is really excited about the development, hopes his new book would have a direct positive impact on readers, especially students.

Inspire 101 includes Osita’s thoughts and beliefs which explain how he was elevated from a ‘not too comfortable background’ to his present status.“Inspire 101 is a compilation of my original quotes, a peep through the window of my soul,” the author concluded.

Ken Donkoh - Giving Ghana's Poor Children Quality Education at an Affordable Cost

Meet Ken Donkoh, the CEO of Omega Schools Ghana, a low-cost private school chain that is currently giving affordable quality education to kids from poor homes in Ghana. For a daily school fee of 1.5 Ghana Cedis (about US$ 0.75), Omega students get uniforms, a school bag, work books and exercise books, and a hot daily lunch. The school franchise is attracting thousands of poor kids to school while making a very tidy profit.

Coming from a very poor background himself,  Mr Donkoh clearly understood the challenges poor people face when it comes to getting affordable quality education for their children. He observed that the pay-as-you-learn model would be popular among poor people as it allowed them to pay a daily school fee instead of the common monthly or term-based school fees.

Ken noticed that the astounding success of mobile phone companies in Africa, due to their pay-as-you-go service that allows millions of people to buy cheap call credit based on their incomes. That was when he hit his golden idea! He would develop a profitable low-cost private school chain that targets thousands of poor children in Ghana. Using a business plan he developed for this idea during his MBA, he approached Professor James Tooley, who is well-known for his groundbreaking research on private education for the poor in India, China and several parts of Africa.

Find That Key and Open the Door of Success

We all have something of value inside us that the world needs. Finding that something is the key that opens the door of success. When you find that key, there is no limit to the things you can do and the lives you can touch. So search within, believe in yourself and go for it. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Aliko Dangote Makes List of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People 2014

Billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote, has made the list of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the world 2014.

While 'Drunk in Love' Singer Beyonce tops this year's list, 8 other Africans made the list. Some of which include Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Kenya's Ory Okolloh and South Africa's Thuli Madonsela. See the full list here.

Nollywood Actor Chris Nkulor Dies After Battling Prolonged Illness

Nollywood actor Chris Nkulor is dead. He passed away yesterday at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching hospital Ile-Ife after battling a prolonged kidney related ailment.

The actor will be remembered for many of his pastor related roles in Nollywood movies. May his soul rest in peace.

Seun Kuti to Lead Protest Against Boko Haram on May 1st

Seun Kuti, son of the Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is set to lead a massive protest tagged “Stolen Dreams” against Boko Haram in Lagos State on May 1st. The protest train, which will commence at 9 a.m from CMS, will travel through the major highways of Lagos.

His manager revealed that the rate of terrorism and the unbearable situation of the country spurred the protest, adding that “we want to protest and fight against the high rate of blood shed of children and women in the North. Nigerians can no longer condone the killings of these innocent souls. The massive long-walk is to demonstrate our grievance against terrorism”.

Seun, who queried various governments in the tensed zones on their positions, also said he is poised to leading the protest immediately he returns from his concert tours of Europe.

Wife Accuses Husband, Pastor Chris Okafor of Assault

The wife of the pastor of Mountain of Liberation Miracles Ministries, Bessem Okafor, has accused her husband, Dr Charles Okafor of beating her up at their home in Magodo, Lagos. She said, “I have not seen my children for 9 months and our lawyers agreed that I could come see them at home after school hours by 5pm. I went to the house at the appointed time, but my children were not there."

"I had to wait outside in the compound until 10pm before my husband arrived; the children were not with him. They were later brought home by the driver about 12am. By then it was clear I couldn't leave again, I had to spend the night. The following morning, I bathed and dressed them for school. They pleaded with me to stay back until they returned and since I hardly spent time with them the day before, I agreed.”

A few hours after her children had left for school, Bessem received a phone call from Chris who had also left the house. He allegedly questioned her presence in the house and ordered her to leave. When Bessem insisted on staying till her children returned from school, Chris allegedly sent a policeman who was part of his entourage to the house. She said, “The policeman told me to leave the house. At that time, I was wearing only my dress. I had washed my undies and spread them to dry since I didn't come with extra. I told the policeman that I would leave after my children returned from school. Later, Chris came in and on seeing me, he started beating me and dragged me out of the house.” Read more here.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Is 'Wearing Low Waist Jeans' the New Definition of Sexy?

The fashion trend where women sag their trousers, wear jeans that show off half of their buttocks has truly come to stay. You cannot journey the streets of Lagos or commute within the metropolis without coming in contact with young girls and even married women dressed that way. With less okadas on the road, we are no longer privy to constant  live pictures of these young girls with half of their behinds pouring out for the whole world to see.

These women present you with all sorts of bosoms and many times, people around especially women are highly embarrassed. I have personally seen it over and over again. So is it that wearing high waist pants and jeans are less attractive? Or is wearing low waist jeans  the new definition of sexy? Share your views please.

Prince William and Kate Recreate Iconic Photos of Prince Charles and Diana

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton who are currently on tour in New Zealand and Australia, have recreated similar Iconic photos of William's parents, Charles and Diana. See more images below:

Playing Puzzles, Building Bricks More Beneficial to Toddlers Than Learning to Read and Write - US Psychologist

A developmental cognitive psychologist in the USA, Mr Whitebread, has said that although learning to read was an important skill, teaching reading, writing and arithmetic to toddlers was a waste of money and the child's time. Rather he believes that playing with puzzles and building blocks alongside parents is more beneficial to toddlers than learning to read and write at a young age.

He said it was important for parents to play with their children, as these youngsters were more likely to enjoy solving problems, and will be better equipped to cope with failure. 'If you want your child to do well at school, then spend time with them in early life,' he said. 'They need episodes of shared attention, doing puzzles, reading books or playing with building blocks.'

He said that studies have shown toddlers who were taught to be 'self-regulated' learners were more likely than their contemporaries to enjoy problem solving, and more likely to know what to do if they made an error. Mr Whitebread said that learning to read at a young age could even be damaging for a child. 'Instead the parent can share something they love, such as making cakes, or tinkering with engines, the key is partly sharing the enthusiasm but mainly the conversations you have with the child while doing it.'

D'banj Visits Nyanya Bomb Blasts Victims

Popular Nigerian musician, Dapo Oyebanji aka D'banj, on Tuesday took a cue from  his fellow artist, Iyanya, to visit victims of the Nyanya bomb blast. He urged Nigerian youths to shun violence and embrace peace. He said government alone cannot do all that is required for peace to reign in the country, and that artistes should be concerned about achieving peace in Nigeria because if the violence continues, the entertainment industry would be endangered.

"I am a Nigerian and I am affected by any tragedy that befalls us and particularly in the spirit of Easter, I came to show the victims support. I have seen that the survivors are responding positively to treatment and thanked the medical team here for the efforts.We are appealing to the perpetrators of these acts to have a rethink and support the peace initiative so that our people would not be subjected to such wickedness,” he said.

He donated several gift items to the victims and also settled some hospital bills. The Abuja Health Secretary, Mr. Onakomaiya who accompanied D'banj said that his visit of would go a long way to lift the spirits of the patients. “You can see that some of the patients are really excited to see a renowned artiste like D-banj visit them; it is very commendable,” he said. Well Done to the Kokomaster.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Kenya's Dr Betty Gikonyo - Pursued Her 20 Year Dream to Reality

Meet Dr Betty Gikonyo from Kenya, pediatric cardiologist and surgeon, who shared a passionate dream with her husband to give quality healthcare at an affordable price through their own hospital. They had just returned from the US and were confronted by the lack of equipment and poor service in local hospitals, so they set out to make a difference. Betty says ,“You must have the spirit of persistence. You must believe that one day your dream will become possible no matter how long it takes.”

While practicing at a local hospital, they still strategised on how to realise their dream of starting a hospital that would offer high quality services and affordable treatment. For 10 years the couple knocked on the door of every financier in the country hoping to get a loan. Gikonyo recalls that banks were not enthusiastic about lending money to “2 doctors with no business background”.
Despite being branded “too ambitious”, the couple held on to their plan.

“The ideas and the plans that we had were so deep-seated that you really could not uproot them. Even as we saw patients and met people we would tell them we are going to build a hospital. Every time we had an opportunity we talked about the hospital.” In 2006, the couple’s 20-year dream came true when The Karen Hospital opened its doors to the public. The 102-bed hospital offers complex treatments including kidney transplants, cardiac surgeries, neurosurgery and dialysis for patients with chronic kidney problems.

Pharrell Williams Sheds Tears Over 'Happy' Song on Oprah's Show

41-year-old singer and producer, Pharrell Williams was overcome with emotion and began shedding tears after talk show host, Oprah showed him a video of fans around the world dancing to his hit song “Happy.”  He admitted he couldn't believe how popular the track had become. 

The star then explained his tears and said: "It's overwhelming because it's like I love what I do and I just appreciate the fact that people have believed in me for so long, that I could make it to this point to feel that." The producer who is delighted by the song's success said that the song had struggled to get any radio play before its release.

He said: "Zero air-play, nothing. And the next thing you know, we put out the video on November 21 and all of a sudden--boom. I mean, when I say boom, I mean boooooom. And we were like, what's happening? First of all, people are putting up their own videos. It was like no longer my song."

5 Nigerian Students Arrested for Godwin Ayogu's Murder

5 Nigerian Students of the University of Cape Coast  have been arrested by the police over the gruesome murder of a 19 year old, 200 level student, Godwin Ayogu. His body was found on the outskirts of the school's campus, with multiple stab wombs and his intestines gushing out.

The suspects are: Ogunsanyo Abayomi, 23, Obi Mnaetochi Brendam Ilozumba, 19, Oti Uchechukwu Chijioke, 20, Jimoh Oluwatobiloba Timileyin, 21 and Isaac Ifidon, 22. One of them was the deceased room mate and others were his friends.They are currently in the custody of the Homicide Unit of the Police Criminal Investigations Department, Headquar­ters, Accra.

The Homicide Unit of the Police Criminal Investigations Department, Headquar­ters, Accra said after investigation, revealed that Ayogu's roommate, Ogunsanyo borrowed money from him to pay his school fees. But instead of paying back when he promised, he traveled to the UK, promising to pay back when he returned. When he returned, instead of paying back, he moved out of the campus room he shared with Ayogu and rented a 2-bedroom apartment outside the campus. Ayogu took the matter to other Nigerians who are students of the school, asking them to talk to Ogunsanyo to return his money.

Kidnapped Boy is Set Free While Singing Gospel Song

When you set out to write a song or script for a movie, you never know how much inspiration someone may get from it, or how it may save a life. A 9 year old boy, Willie Myrick from Atlanta in the United States, was set free by his kidnapper after singing a gospel song "Every Praise" by award winning gospel artist, Hezekiah Walker continuously for the 3 hrs he was held captive. His love of gospel music may have saved his life.

Willie was kidnapped from his southwest Atlanta driveway. The man who kidnapped him, allegedly drove the boy around for some time before dropping him off . His actions during those terrifying 3 hours are inspiring people around the country. He says he sang the song until the man let him go. In front of a crowded sanctuary at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Willie said while he was singing, the man kept cursing and telling him to shut up before eventually kicking him out. "He opened the door and threw me out," Willie said. "He told me not to tell anyone."

His story travelled fast and soon caught the ear of  Hezekiah Walker, the writer of the song. Upon hearing the story, Walker made the decision to fly from New York City to Atlanta to meet Willie. "I just wanted to hug him and tell him I love him," Walker said. The singer entered the sanctuary of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church to a standing ovation, grabbing Willie into a tight hug as tears streamed down the boy's face. Walker then led the church, and Willie, in singing "Every Praise," the song that may have saved the boy's life. "I really believe that God spoke through me to save that young man's life," Walker said.

Iyanya Visits Nyanya Visits Bomb Blast Victims

Singer Iyanya took out time to visit some of the survivors of the Monday, April 14, 2014, car bombing that took place in Nyanya motor park, Abuja. Over 70 people died in the blast, and several others sustained injuries. 

The pop singer posted pictures of his visit to an Abuja hospital on Instagram. Kudos to Iyanya for his charitable act. God bless him for showing compassion.

Manchester United Coach David Moyes Sacked

Manchester United manager David Moyes has been sacked, only 10 months after succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson. This follows the club's poor performance this season seeing them slump to the 7th position in the Barclays Premier League.

Moyes had already been informed of his fate and thanked club staff at the training complex in anticipation of his departure. The players were not present at the time. 

It emerged on Monday that United’s owners, the Glazer family, had lost patience with Moyes after a dismal season.The final straw was Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Everton, their 11th in the Barclays Premier League this season, and a result that left the title holders 13 points off the Champions League places.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Mother Turns an Ordinary Craft to a Successful Business Venture

Bead jewellery making is one of the profitable business ventures anyone can try out. It is cheap, requires little capital, yields good profit and enables you to be creative. Mrs. Ngozi Nwokoye, CEO of Vibrations Beads, is one of the very many entrepreneurs reaping bountifully from making and selling beads in Nigeria and abroad. Her story is a proof that anyone can turn an ordinary craft or hobby into a successful business venture. The Mass communication graduate who was once an air hostess. says she tried her hands on several businesses until she stumbled into bead making.

“Before I shut down my last venture, that was when bead making started blooming, I tried my hands on it and discovered my love for handiwork. I developed more passion for it and that is why I tarried. And today, I thank God the business is thriving because Nigerian ladies are very conscious about their looks, we want to look good, fashionable and not to be left behind. And I can tell you that the business of bead making is really very lucrative”, she said slowly nodding her head.

According to Nwokoye, to start and excel in bead making, one must keep abreast of the latest and trending designs, via means like the internet, through the social circuit. “Bead making is fun,” she said, “and it doesn't require too much capital to start up. N10, 000 or N15,000 is enough to set you on your way to owing a thriving bead business. You can buy every material you need with less than N5,000 and then you get to learn the basics and the nitty-gritty in bead making. From there you can start.”

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Celebrity Photographer Shola Balogun's Success Story (Interview)

Celebrity Photographer Shola Balogun started out as an apprentice in 1997, today he is the Proprietor of Shola Creative Photo Studio, a hub of top models, actors, actresses and other high profile Nigerians and corporations. After his apprenticeship, he decided to carve a niche for himself as a celebrity photographer and today the rest is history. Read his interview with The Sun, about his journey to success.

How did you start?
I started as an apprentice and initially after my apprenticeship in photography, things were so rough. All I had was my Canon camera. Things were so hard, I had no money and I had no mentor. I started taking pictures at parties and as I developed and printed the pictures, I got paid. I did that for one year. I charged N60 or N70 per copy. Sometimes ,because I wasn't invited for the event, some people told me they didn't have money and insisted on two snapshots for N50.

Some even collected the pictures and told me they didn't request for them and seized them or even tear them. There was this friend of mine who had a small shop and I tried to use it as a contact point. Later, I had a misunderstanding with his brother and he said it’s either I stay and behave or I leave the place. Definitely the stranger had to go for the family to stay. That was why I rented a very small shop . Even subsequently, I still went about hanging camera on my neck. I stayed at the lab in case some people wanted to snap passport pictures as I could quickly snap them and print in the lab.

Happy Easter to You My Dear Readers

I know this is coming a little bit late...but I still want to wish you my dear readers 'Happy Easter'.
May all your dreams come alive, may hope be rekindled in your life and may God's love fill your hearts to overflowing on this resurrection day. Have a blessed Easter celebration.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bankole Cardoso - Inspired to Transform the Taxi Experience in Lagos

Meet Bankole Cardoso, the 25-year-old co-founder and CEO of Easy Taxi Nigeria, a free smartphone taxi app service. He says he was inspired by the efficient taxi services he witnessed during his 12 years studying and working in the UK and US. He hopes to transform the taxi experience in the bustling city of Lagos with his new taxi app.

"There was just a real lack of a taxi culture in Lagos and that is not because taxis don't exist. People don't trust the taxi system. There was no faith in it; there were a few kidnappings and people just didn't have comfort using taxis because it felt unsafe and so there is a negative connotation towards taxis,” Cardoso said. A big part of my inspiration was to try and change that mentality, and using this kind of technology I thought that people would catch on quicker than just using a traditional call centre method.”

Easy Taxi is a global company, launched in Brazil more than 2 years ago by German incubator Rocket Internet. The idea to bring Easy Taxi to Nigeria came to Cardoso a year ago, and he officially launched the app in the West African country in July/August 2013. The actual app service is free, while certified taxi drivers are recruited, trained in using smartphones and maps, and Easy Taxi links them with customers in their vicinity. The service charges drivers a 10% fee off every transaction they make from a customer they found through Easy Taxi. The service has just been expanded to Abuja.