‘Change In Govt. Won’t Affect U.S Programmes In Nigeria’

The American Embassy in Nigeria has said that change in government in the U.S. will not affect its international exchange programme with Nigeria or elsewhere.

The Counsellor for Public Affairs in the United States embassy Abuja, Aruna Amirthanayagam, gave the assurance while kick-starting an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) software development programme for secondary school students in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

Amirthanayagam said the international exchange program by the United States across the world has developed human resources capacity of over a million people who have in return impacted significantly on their community around the globe.

He explained that ICT is the immediate and future solution to notable challenges of humanity like poverty, environmental degradation, disease outbreaks, among others spurred into developing the students at a very tender age to provide IT solutions to the problem of their immediate environment.

The focus person for the programme tagged “Code Osun 2017 ” Femi Adefila disclosed that 20 students were selected from across four schools to form the pilot platform for the program intended to train the youths in the use of IT to solve problems around them.‎

Runway Jazz: Fashion and Music Meet At International Jazz Day Celebration

Runway Jazz The much anticipated event, Runway Jazz, which brought together lovers of the classy worlds of music and fashion at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos was truly an unforgettable night.

The event highlighted incredibly thrilling performances from both local and foreign artistes, accompanied by a riveting fashion show featuring top designers like Yomi Casual, Queen Ahneva, Wearable Art and Frank Osodi.

Jazz and fashion lovers, all beautifully dressed for the occasion, enjoyed every moment of it as the musical arts rocked the stage leaving the audience craving for more.

Comedian Bovi kept the audience entertained with his quick and witty presentations through the night.

Runway Jazz resonated a high level of class, style and grace as notable dignitaries graced the event.

They include the Consul General of the American Embassy, John Bray; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chief Femi Otedola, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, Folusho Phillips, Frank Nweke Jnr, and several celebrities from the entertainment industry.

The historic and entertaining concert marks the global celebration of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day, and shares the mandate to promote global peace, unity, diversity and dialogue among nations through music.

It was an evening to remember and it left guests in high spirits.

With the successful outing, one would be right to say the Runway Jazz should be a credible addition to the entertainment calendar for years to come.


U.S Tasks Nigeria On Violence Free 2015 Polls

Election ViolenceAhead of the forthcoming 2015 general elections, the United States Government has urged Nigeria to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections that would be free of violence.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, says it is only when the votes count that the electorate would accept the outcome of the result.

This was on Monday while declaring open a workshop for journalists on community reporting in the build up to the 2015 elections, organized by the American Embassy in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria.

According to the Ambassador, the 2015 elections present a golden opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate its lasting commitment to democratic values and institutions.

While stating that the United States was ready to support Nigeria on its journey to another democratic path, he emphasized the need for the government to tackle the issue of insecurity in all areas affected by insurgency.

He called on Nigerians to refrain from advocating , fomenting or condoning violence before, during or after the elections.

Mr Entwistle also urged political parties and the government to ensure that all registered voters participate freely in a peaceful and transparent process.

Also as Nigeria’s elections draw near, journalists are expected to play a greater role in informing the public with a view to allowing them make good choices on who would run the affairs of the country for the next four years.

The Guest Speaker, Professor of Mass Communication from University of Nebraska, USA, Gary Kebbel, said that the aim of the workshop was geared towards supporting Nigerian journalists to do a better job during the forthcoming election.

According to him, journalists have a key role to play in ensuring a free, fair and violence-free 2015 general elections.

The NUJ President, Mr Mohammed Garba, advised them to provide an impartial and complete set of information that would allow the citizens to make informed decisions.

He also urged the federal and state governments to step up the fight against insurgency in the north east and other affected areas to ensure the safety of the electorates, Journalists and electoral officials.

Some of the journalists covering the north eastern part of the country also allayed the fears of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about conducting a violence free election in the zone, due to intensified deadly attacks being carried out by the Boko Haram members in the zone.

They called for proper equipping and motivation of the nation’s security forces to enable them face the terrorists squarely.

Gunmen launch fresh attacks in Kabul

An attack has been launched by gunmen in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, assaulting Western embassies in the heavily guarded, central diplomatic area and at the parliament in the west, witnesses and officials said.

Billows of smoke from attacked building

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the assault, one of the boldest on the capital since U.S.-backed Afghan forces removed the group from power in 2001.

The Taliban said their main targets were the German and British embassies and the headquarters of Afghanistan’s NATO-led force. Taliban fighters had also launched assaults in two provinces, a spokesman for the insurgents said.

“We claim responsibility for these attacks,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The coordinated attack is bound to intensify worry in the run-up to the planned withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.

Afghan security forces, who are responsible for the safety of the capital, were scrambling to reinforce areas around the so-called green diplomatic section of the city centre.

Attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade that landed just outside the front gate of a house used by British diplomats in the city centre and smoke billowed from the area after the blast, a Reuters witness said.

British embassy sources said staff were in a lockdown.

Two rockets hit a British Embassy guard tower near the Reuters office in the city.

A spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said via Twitter that there were no reports of casualties on possibly seven locations in Kabul.

“ANSF and ISAF responding as needed,” the spokesman said, referring to Afghan security forces and their NATO partners.

However, fighting was going on near the U.S., Russian and German embassies, and at some ISAF facilities, the Twitter report said.

Three other rockets hit a supermarket near the German Embassy popular with foreigners, Reuters witnesses said. Women scurried for cover as crackling gunfire was heard above.

As the gunfire continued, U.S. army convoys could be seen coming to the area accompanied by Afghan police in flak jackets.

Shooting came from various directions in an area close to both the U.S. and British embassies, while smoke billowed from the nearby German embassy, the Reuters witnesses said.

Embassy alarms were sounding. Staff at the embassies were not available for comment.

Attackers also fired rockets at the parliament building in the west of the city, and at the Russian embassy, a spokesman for the parliament said.

Most MPs had left the building before it came under attack, said a lawmaker.

Afghan media said insurgents had stormed the Star Hotel complex near the presidential palace and the Iranian embassy and black smoke was pouring from the building.

In the eastern province of Paktia, insurgents occupied a four-storey building near the compound of the chief of police, a witness said.

A helicopter gunship from Afghanistan’s NATO-led force was firing at the building in the province on the Pakistani border, which has been plagued by violence for years.