‘I Will Miss My Dad Every Day’: Bill Gates Mourns Father, 94

gates-william
Gates Senior passed away on Monday. Photo: GateNotes

 

Bill Gates has described his late father, William Gates who passed away on Monday as a huge influence in his life, saying he will miss him “every day.”

“We will miss him more than we can express right now. We are feeling grief but also gratitude,” Bill wrote in a lengthy tribute to his dad whose death – aged 94 – was announced by the family on Tuesday.

In the tribute captioned Remembering My Father, Gates said his dad’s influence transcended his immediate family, counting himself and his siblings lucky to have had him as a parent.

“They gave us constant encouragement and were always patient with us. I knew their love and support were unconditional, even when we clashed in my teenage years,” the American business magnate added.

“I am sure that’s one of the reasons why I felt comfortable taking some big risks when I was young, like leaving college to start Microsoft with Paul Allen. I knew they would be in my corner even if I failed.”

 

File photo: Bill and Melinda Gates

 

While describing his late father as a philanthropist and a man with great work ethic, Gates credited him to have been instrumental in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without my dad. More than anyone else, he shaped the values of the foundation,” he said. “He was collaborative, judicious, and serious about learning.”

As a father, and husband, Bill said William Gates had a “profoundly positive influence on my most important roles,” teaching him how to respect women and treat children with love and respect.

Recalling a letter his late father wrote to him during his 50th birthday, the philanthropist admitted that Gates Snr urged him to stay curious.

“He said some very touching things about how much he loved being a father to my sisters and me,” he disclosed, adding that “he was everything I try to be. I will miss him every day.”

Twitter Accounts Of Apple, Musk, Gates Hacked In Scam

(FILES) In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. - Twitter shares closed the formal trading day up more than 7 percent after word spread of a team codenamed "Gryphon" working on a subscription platform. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)
(FILES) In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia.  (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

 

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin, in a massive hack.

The list of accounts commandeered grew rapidly to include Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Uber, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, bitcoin specialty firms and many others.

“Tough day for us at Twitter,” chief executive Jack Dorsey said in a tweet.

“We all feel terrible this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.”

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

The Biden campaign told AFP that Twitter locked down the hacked account quickly and removed the bogus tweet.

Twitter disabled the ability to tweet from validated accounts, those with the official blue checkmarks, for about two hours while working on a fix.

“Most accounts should be able to Tweet again,” the Twitter support team said in an evening update of the situation.

 

 

“As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

The duplicitous posts, which were largely deleted, were fired off from the array of high-profile accounts telling people they had 30 minutes to send $1,000 in bitcoin in order to be sent back twice as much.

“This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate!” Gemini cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss warned from his official account on Twitter.

“This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant!”

BitTorrent chief executive Justin Sun is offering a $1 million reward for finding the Twitter hackers and bringing them to justice, according to media reports.

-‘Giving back’-
The site Blockchain.com, which monitors transactions made in cryptocurrencies, said a total of 12.58 bitcoins, worth almost $116,000, had been sent to the email addresses mentioned in the fraudulent tweets.

The tweet that appeared on Musk’s Twitter feed said, “Happy Wednesday! I am giving back Bitcoin to all of my followers. I am doubling all payments sent to the Bitcoin address below. You send 0.1 BTC, I send 0.2 BTC back!”

 

 

It added that the offer was “only going on for 30 minutes.”

The fake messages that appeared on the accounts of other famous personalities made similar promises of instant riches.

The account of US President Donald Trump, which has more than 83 million followers, was not among those hacked.

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

 

“Given the accounts that got hacked more recently (Apple, Uber, Gates, Musk, etc), I am now leaning towards this being an internal compromise of a Twitter system, not an API attack from a social aggregator service,” bitcoin authority and author Andreas Antonopoulos said in a tweet from his @aantonop account.

Rachel Tobac of cyber-security firm SocialProof Security theorized that hackers got control of a Twitter employee’s administrative access to “take over a prominent account and tweet on their behalf.”

As evening arrived on Twitter home turf in San Francisco, the company continued to investigate what happened.

A version of the scam invited people to click on a link at which they would be exploited.

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

“All major crypto Twitter accounts have been compromised,” Winklevoss warned in a tweet.

Among the hacked accounts was @gemini, used by the crypto-exchange, according to his twin brother and co-founder Tyler Winklevoss.

Twitter has been targeted by hackers in the past.

In March 2017, the accounts of Amnesty International, the French economics ministry and the BBC’s North America service were broken into by hackers believed to have been loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last August, a series of insulting or racist messages were posted on the personal account of Twitter founder Dorsey without his knowledge.

COVID-19: Bill Gates Conspiracy Theories Echo Through Africa

In this file photo US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP
In this file photo US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP.

 

As the novel coronavirus wreaks global havoc, Bill Gates is the new bete noire for conspiracy theorists worldwide including in Africa where a Kenyan politician’s false online post has added major fuel to the spread of misinformation.

While Gates’s vaccine programmes on the continent have long provided ample fodder for speculation, the bogus claims have gained new traction amid the pandemic.

On March 15, Nairobi governor Mike Sonko published an old video of Gates warning about the consequences of a future pandemic, with the caption “Bill Gates told us about the coronavirus 2015 (sic)”.

While the clip shows the philanthropist telling an audience that the world was unprepared for global outbreaks in his TED talk five years ago, he made no mention of the coronavirus.

Sonko’s post generated so many interactions among his two-million plus Facebook followers that it remains the most prolific global post about Gates in the COVID-19 era, according to social media analysis tool CrowdTangle.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Do Not Cut Health Spending During Downturn, WHO Warns

So far, it has been shared more than one million times and has garnered 38 million views on social media.

The post highlights the role played by local public figures in spreading false or misleading claims in different parts of the world, according to the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), which studies disinformation globally.

“They typically travel beyond… niche communities when an influencer, such as a prominent celebrity, or even mainstream media source, amplifies them,” DFRLab’s Zarine Kharazian told AFP.

“Once they’ve achieved this level of spread, they migrate across languages.”

– ‘All-powerful elites’ –

Rumours about links between Gates and the current pandemic have enjoyed particularly broad appeal among different conspiracy communities worldwide since the virus erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

Since January, more than 683,000 posts globally from public Facebook pages and groups mentioned Gates, producing nearly 53 million likes, shares and views.

“One commonality of conspiracy theories that seems to span borders, languages, and cultures is a mistrust in ‘all-powerful elites’ and institutions,” Kharazian said.

“Gates’s prominent profile, outspokenness and active engagement in international public health work has made him a prime target for this particular strain of conspiracy.”

Among the most popular claims in Africa is the idea that Gates wants to control mankind with the use of microchip implants or digital tattoos.

Conspiracy theorists have also alleged that Gates stands to profit handsomely from an eventual vaccine and that his foundation patented a treatment years ago before unleashing the novel coronavirus.

Others again believe he created the virus for population control — a sensitive point in Africa where much of the visible push-back online has focused on the issue of a COVID-19 vaccine and experimental trials on local test subjects.

– Past controversies fuel suspicion –

A history of Western medical abuses in Africa explains some of the backlash, said Sara Cooper, senior scientist at the South African Medical Research Council’s Cochrane Centre.

“Over the last few decades, there have been various incidents of medical research conducted in Africa which have involved gross human rights abuses,” she told AFP.

They range from forced sterilisation experiments carried out in Namibia when it was part of Germany’s colonies in the late 1800s, to controversial drug trials conducted by Western pharmaceutical giants in various African nations in the 1990s.

The distrust of Western vaccines was evidenced by a recent viral post, which claimed that French maverick scientist Didier Raoult had warned Africans against using “the Bill Gates vaccine” because it contained “poison”.

AFP Fact Check debunked the claim — Raoult never made the comments and a vaccine does not yet exist.

But it struck a chord: the French version of the post was shared more than 47,000 times before it was taken down.

Politicians in Nigeria have also pushed similar narratives including Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister notorious for sharing misinformation along political and religious lines.

Fani-Kayode, who has a strong following among Christians from southern Nigeria, has shared multiple posts claiming Gates was part of a secretive power elite, which wanted to achieve world domination using the coronavirus and 5G technology among other things.

– WHO fights back –

As the virus numbers and rumours spiralled, agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) raced to stem the spread of misinformation by running online campaigns and helping governments to set up dedicated web portals.

The WHO also held a workshop with more than 50 journalists in Nigeria in February.

“Journalists and media are critical to getting the right messages to the community,” emergency officer Dhamari Naidoo said.

“We want you to transmit the right information to the people, and to contribute in stopping the spread of rumours.”

AFP

COVID-19: US Halting Of WHO Funding Is ‘Dangerous,’ Says Bill Gates

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates leaves the Elysee presidential palace, after a meeting with French President on April 16, 2018 in Paris.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

American business tycoon, Bill Gates, has described President Donald Trump’s halting of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) as “dangerous as it sounds.”

President Trump had on Tuesday said he was instructing his administration to halt funding while “a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

Trump explained that the US will now “discuss what to do with all that money that goes to the WHO.”

Gates in a tweet on his handle, however, faulted Trump’s decision at a time the world is fighting a pandemic.

“Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds,” the businessman said.

The world, more than ever, needs the WHO which is helping to slow down the spread of COVID-19, according to Gates.

He said: “Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.”

The WHO had in January declared coronavirus a public health emergency of global concern with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledging about $100m to help in the fight against the pandemic.

According to the foundation, the money will be deployed to help find a vaccine for the pandemic

Bill Gates Exits Microsoft Board

 In this file photo US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  JEFF PACHOUD / AFP
In this file photo US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

 

Microsoft on Friday announced that co-founder Bill Gates has left its board of directors to devote more time to philanthropy.

The 64-year-old stopped being involved in day-to-day operations at the firm more than a decade ago, turning his attention to the foundation he launched with his wife, Melinda.

Gates served as chairman of Microsoft’s board of directors until early in 2014 and has now stepped away entirely, according to the Redmond-based technology giant.

“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years,” Microsoft chief executive and company veteran Satya Nadella said in a release.

“Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges; and Microsoft and the world are better for it.”

Nadella said Microsoft would continue to benefit from Gates’ “technical passion and advice” in his continuing role as a technical advisor.

“I am grateful for Bill’s friendship and look forward to continuing to work alongside him,” Nadella said.

Computing and compassion

Gates left his CEO position in 2000, handing the company reins to Steve Ballmer to devote more time to his charitable foundation.

He gave up the role of chairman at the same time Nadella became Microsoft’s third CEO in 2014.

Regularly listed among the world’s richest people, William H. Gates was a geeky-looking young man when he and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975.

Gates grew up in Seattle with two sisters. His father William was an attorney and his late mother Mary was a schoolteacher and chairwoman of United Way International.

He began programming computers as a 13-year-old student, and fell in love with the machines.

Among the tales told about Gates is that while working on school computers, he tinkered with programming to put himself in classes made up mostly of girls.

With his parents’ blessing, Gates dropped out of Harvard to start “Micro-soft” with his late childhood friend Allen.

A key move was to focus on licensing software to computer makers in numerous “partnerships” that resulted in affordable machines being available to the masses.

As the personal computer market grew, Microsoft became the world’s top software company. Its virtual monopoly led to a much-publicized antitrust trial, in which the company managed to avert a break-up but had to endure years of government monitoring.

Gates went on to turn his attention from software to fighting disease and other humanitarian challenges with his wife, under the auspices of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“This move is not surprising to the Street as Gates has continued to focus more on his myriad of philanthropies across the globe over the past decade,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a note to investors.

“Gates is a historic figure in the technology world and his legacy at Microsoft will be felt in Redmond for decades to come.”

 

AFP

Gates Foundation Donates $100m For Coronavirus Fight

Bill Gates

 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday pledges to commit up to $100 million for the global response to the novel coronavirus epidemic that has claimed nearly 500 lives.

The funding will be used to strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts, the foundation said, including protecting at-risk populations and developing vaccines and diagnostics.

“Multilateral organizations, national governments, the private sector and philanthropies must work together to slow the pace of the outbreak, help countries protect their most vulnerable citizens and accelerate the development of the tools to bring this epidemic under control,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman.

The amount includes $10 million previously pledged in late January.

The foundation said it would direct $20 million to organizations like the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection, the National Health Commission of China and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A further $20 million would be allocated to help public health authorities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, regions which have been disproportionately affected by recent epidemics like the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic of 2009.

The foundation also pledged up to $60 million to accelerate the discovery, development and testing of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for the virus.

AFP

Bill Gates Emerges World Richest Man, Again

Bill Gates

 

Microsoft Founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates has, once again, reclaimed the position of the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Gates is said to have a net-worth of $110 billion.

He replaces Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, at the top spot after Microsoft’s shares went up nearly 48 percent this year.

Microsoft’s success this year has been helped by winning a US Pentagon $10 billion cloud-computing contract in October.

It is the first time in over two years Gates has held the top spot although in October he briefly topped Bezos after Amazon reported a profit drop.

US, Gates Foundation Plan $200m For Sickle Cell, HIV Cures

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates leaves the Elysee presidential palace, after a meeting with French President on April 16, 2018 in Paris. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

The US government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged Wednesday to jointly invest $200 million over the next four years to achieve affordable gene therapy-based cures for sickle cell disease (SCD) and HIV.

The administration of President Donald Trump announced earlier this year its intention to end the HIV epidemic over the next decade and has also identified SCD, which disproportionately affects people of African descent, as a condition requiring greater attention.

Gene therapy is a relatively new area of medicine designed to replace faulty genes in the body that are responsible for a disorder, and has been responsible for new treatments for blindness and certain types of leukemia.

But the treatments are complex and costly, ruling them out as an option for most of the world.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said the collaboration would focus therefore on “access, scalability and affordability” to make sure the eventual treatments are available globally.

The NIH and Gates Foundation aim to achieve clinical trials in the United States and countries in sub-Saharan Africa within the next seven to 10 years.

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders characterized by the presence of an abnormal protein in the red blood cells, causing the feet and hands to swell, fatigue, jaundice, and episodic or chronic pain.

Over time the disease can harm a patients’ vital organs, bones, joints and skin and it is currently only curable via a blood and bone marrow transplant, available to only a tiny fraction of people who have the disease.

When it comes to HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART) are now able to reduce patients’ viral load to the point that they are undetectable and cannot be further transmitted.

But “a major goal is to find a cure, whereby lifelong ART would not be required,” said the NIH’s Anthony Fauci.

Though SCD is a genetically inherited disease, and HIV is acquired from infection, gene-based treatments are said to hold promise for both, and “many of the technical challenges for gene-based cures are expected to be common to both diseases.”

The goal for SCD is to achieve a gene-based intervention that either corrects the gene mutation responsible or promotes fetal hemoglobin gene expression to achieve normal hemoglobin function.

For HIV, the proposed cure would involve targeting the reservoir of proviral DNA that lurks inside a small number of cells even after many years of ART.

The NIH said that approximately 95 percent of the 38 million people living with HIV globally are in the developing world, with 67 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, half of whom are living untreated. Around 1.1 million Americans are affected

SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans, according to official figures. Fifteen million babies will be born with SCD globally over the next 30 years, with about 75 percent of those births occurring in sub-Saharan Africans, said the NIH.

PHOTOS: Buhari Meets Bill Gates, Dangote In New York

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has met with Bill Gates and Business mogul, Aliko Dangote in New York.

During the meeting on Wednesday, the President applauded the contributions of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Aliko Dangote Foundation to humanitarian and developmental activities in Nigeria.

See Photos Below: 

Buhari Applauds Bill Gates, Dangote For Humanitarian Activities In Nigeria

Aliko Dangote, Bill Gates and President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday applauded the contributions of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Aliko Dangote Foundation to humanitarian and developmental activities in Nigeria.

Meeting with the duo at the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, the President said they have touched humanity in many positive ways and congratulated them “for achieving what you had set out to do.”

“Thanks for deriving pleasure in helping people. Congratulations to you for returning part of your wealth to the people in diverse ways. Whatever we save in areas in which you have intervened, we can deploy to other areas like the building of infrastructure,” President Buhari said.

READ ALSO: We Will Increase Access To Water For Nigerians, Buhari Tells UNGA

On agriculture, in which Alhaji Dangote makes huge investments, the President noted that farmers were very happy in Nigeria now, “as we have made fertilizer available, cut the price by half, and given many other incentives. They have no regret going back to the lands. The more we invest in agriculture, the better for us.”

Mr. Gates congratulated President Buhari “for assembling a cabinet that excites us,” saying he was pleased that one of the priorities of the administration was human capital development, of which health, nutrition, and education are key components.

Noting that Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as Aliko Dangote Foundations, keep track of Nigeria’s attainments on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as enunciated by the United Nations, he submitted that they were encouraged that there was an improvement in reduction of child mortality.

“Every local government area has better health/education situation today than in the year 2000. We are delighted with that. Nigeria is our biggest commitment to Africa. It’s only in India we do more in the world,” Mr. Gates said.

On polio eradication, he said Nigeria reached a zero wild poliovirus free milestone for three years in August, noting that the next six months were critical so that the country could finally be declared polio-free.

Alhaji Dangote appreciated the Nigerian military for helping with vaccination in the theatres of war while fighting insurgency, thus adding to the advances in the country’s polio status.

RECAP: Week Of Drama As Dapchi Girls Return, Melaye Tackles Police, Bill Gates Surprises

Week In Review: Dapchi Girls’ Freed, More Trouble For Melaye

 

March 18 – 24 In Review

The highpoints of the week are the return of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls after 30 days and the allegations of conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms against Senator Dino Melaye.

 

Herdsmen Attacks Terrorist Acts?

The week began on Sunday with a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), ordering the deployment of its personnel to secondary schools in the North East. The directive was part of measures by the Federal Government to strengthen the security for students in the region following the abduction of the Dapchi school girls. The President also cancelled his trip to Rwanda, where he was expected to attend the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union scheduled for March 21, 2018. A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that certain key stakeholders in the country were concerned about the provisions of the treaty.

President Buhari Mourns Christopher Abebe, Stella Obasanjo's Dad
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

On more reactions to the incessant killings in Nigeria, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) asked the UN Security Council and its members to declare herdsmen attacks as acts of terrorism. SERAP also urged the international body to urgently hold a special session on Nigeria and to visit the country to press the authorities to end the killings and destruction of property of citizens, particularly in the north-central region. In Bauchi states, soldiers attached to Operation Lafiya Dole killed four suspected members of a militia group during a patrol at Burra Junction in Ningi Local Government Area of the state. The armed men were said to have opened fire on the troops who responded immediately, killing four of them in the process. In another development, troops on Exercise Cat Race arrested 12 herdsmen for their alleged involvement in the destruction of farmlands in Benue State.

 

Police vs Melaye

On Monday, a Federal High Court in Abuja adjourned the trial of Maryam Sanda till April 19, to enable the prosecution to call its first witness. The defence counsel Mr Joseph Daudu had on behalf of Mrs Sanda made an application for the charges to be dismissed on the grounds that it was incompetent, null and void. In the meantime, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fixed April 3 and 4 for the first Monetary Policy Committee meeting in the year. The apex bank fixed the date following the concession made by the Senate to screen and confirm the nominees appointed by the President to fill the posts of CBN deputy governors and members of the committee.

In Katsina State, Governor, Aminu Masari revealed plans by his administration to facilitate the release of about 116 inmates presently held in the state’s prison. The governor made the disclosure when he received a delegation from the Presidential Committee for Prison Reform and Decongestion. On legal matters, the absence of the prosecuting witness stalled proceedings in the trial of a former governor of Oyo State, Mr Rashidi Ladoja, who is being prosecuted for an alleged fraud of N4.7bn. Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Olabisi Oluwafemi, told Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos that he was unable to bring his next witness to court.

Recall: Melaye Rejects Appeal Court Judgement, Heads For Supreme Court
File photo: Senator Dino Melaye

 

Later in the day, the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, was hit with allegations of sponsoring and arming political thugs in his state. The Police levelled the allegations against Melaye following the arrest of two suspects who confessed to the various criminal roles they played in committing several kidnappings and armed robbery in different towns of the state.

 

Fresh Attack In Kogi

Residents of Kogi State were thrown into mourning on Tuesday after 10 people, including a traditional ruler, were killed by suspected herdsmen in Omala Local Government Area of the state. The assailants reportedly raided four villages during the attack which spanned two days – Sunday night till Monday afternoon. The villages affected are Agbenema, Aj’Ichekpa, Opada, and Iyad. Elsewhere, human rights group Amnesty International accused the military of failing to prevent the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State despite being warned. The group alleged that the security forces failed to act on advance warnings that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters was heading to Dapchi town. In a swift response to the allegation, the Defence Headquarters denied the claims by Amnesty International. The military described the claims as “outright falsehood and a calculated attempt to whip up sentiments and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians”.

In Abuja, former Vice President Namadi Sambo met with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa. Mr Sambo, however, left the State House quietly and refused to brief reporters about what he discussed with the President. In the North East, NSCDC officials recovered food items and books donated to malnourished children but stolen by some persons in Borno State. Borno NSCDC Commandant, Ibrahim Abdullahi, told reporters that the items were retrieved from the unauthorised persons while trying to transport them to the eastern region of the country.

File photo: A community deserted in Kogi State by residents after alleged hersdmen invasion.

 

For the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Oyegun, President Buhari’s administration has defied its challenges to deliver on its election promises to the people. Oyegun believes the fight against corruption has been won to the extent that it can no longer be a threat to the national economy. Meanwhile, Mr Ladoja’s trial continued in Lagos where the EFCC called a former director in the Oyo State Civil Service, Mr Yinka Fatoki, to testify in a case of alleged fraud to the tune of N4.7bn involving the former governor. Ladoja is being prosecuted alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in the state, Waheed Akanbi.

 

Dapchi Schoolgirls Return

March 21, 2018, is a day Nigerians and the APC government will not forget so soon; the day the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls regained freedom from the captivity of Boko Haram terrorists. The Federal Government confirmed the release of 104 students abducted by the insurgents on February 19 in Yobe State. Unfortunately, five of the girls lost their lives as a result of the trauma they went through while one of them was not released. Lauding the girls’ release, the APC was optimistic that the Federal Government would also secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014. The party said this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi. On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused the Federal Government and the ruling party of ‘scripting’ the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls, in the bid to seek re-election in 2019. The party further called on the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the incident.

In Adamawa State, troops arrested a wanted Boko Haram suspect, Bubayi Isa, and three other in Kalaa village in the state. A statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, revealed that the arrest was made following a tip-off. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said it was set to arraign a former governor of Kebbi State, Saidu Dakingari, for allegedly misappropriating N664.3 million belonging to the state. ICPC noted that it would arraign the former governor at the High Court of Kebbi State in Birnin Kebbi. Meanwhile, the National Assembly has concluded plans to pass the 2018 budget on Tuesday, April 24. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, disclosed this during Wednesday’s plenary at the lower chamber in Abuja.

FG Confirms Release Of 101 Dapchi Schoolgirls
Some of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls who regained freedom from Boko Haram terrorists on March 21, 2018.

 

FG’s ERGP Evaluated

President Buhari visited Zamfara State on Thursday where he directed security agencies to stop the killings and criminality in the country, as well as improve their strategies on intelligence gathering, surveillance, and accuracy in deployments. During the visit, the President held an interactive meeting with political leaders, traditional rulers, elders, and victims of criminal attacks in the state. The Federal Government took a swipe at the opposition party over the PDP’s reaction to the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists. The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, noted that the claims by the PDP have shown that the party has yet to learn from the mistakes of the past.  Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, however, accused the Federal Government of complicity in the abduction of the Dapchi girls. He described the disappearance and reappearance of the girls as “a laughable arrangement” for which some people are already smiling to the banks.

Far from the abduction saga, the Senate on confirmed the nomination of Aisha Ahmad and Edward Adamu for appointment as CBN deputy governors. The lawmakers also confirmed the nomination of Professor Adeola Adenikinju, Dr Aliyu Sanusi, and Dr Robert Asogwa, for appointment as members of the MPC, while they rejected the nomination of one other member of the committee. Also in Abuja, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo addressed a meeting of an expanded National Economic Council on Investment in Human Capital. Professor Osinbajo said that investing in people is a primary aspect of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present administration. Also speaking at the event, philanthropist and Founder of Microsoft Corporation Bill Gates faulted part of the government’s ERGP. Gates, who is also the co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the implementation of the plan was at odds with the needs of Nigerians.

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates and President Muhammadu Buhari inside the Presidential Villa.

 

Elsewhere, the PDP accused the APC of interfering with the trial of its former National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh. Mr Metuh is standing trial for alleged money laundering being part of the funds linked with former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd). An Abuja High Court also adjourned Dasuki’s trial till May 2 and 3, 2018, in further compliance with the Supreme Court order. A judge of the court, Justice Hussein Yusuf, announced the new trial dates after being presented with the apex court judgment of March 2, 2018, which ordered an accelerated hearing of the case.

 

Buhari Hosts Dapchi Schoolgirls

President Buhari received 104 Dapchi girls and two other students released by Boko Haram terrorists at the Presidential Villa. Addressing the freed captives on Friday, he asked them to pursue their dreams without fear. The President, however, warned all Nigerians that his administration would not condone any attempt to politicise security issues. He also revealed plans by the Federal Government to offer amnesty to terrorists that are willing to drop their arms. Following the releases of the girls, the Defence spokesperson, Brigadier General John Agim, said the military does not have enough capacity to maintain a huge security presence in all schools to prevent terrorist invasion or abduction of students. Brigadier General Agim noted that it is difficult to deploy troops to schools due to the huge land mass, especially in the North East which is volatile to attacks. He also accused Amnesty International of having the intention to ‘harm’ Nigerians. The Defence spokesperson said although the organisation might have credibility in other countries, he noted that it lacks credibility in Nigeria.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, the founder of Complete Care and Aid Foundation, Mrs Aisha Wakil, popularly known as ‘Mama Boko Haram’, revealed her efforts towards securing the release of the Dapchi girls. Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja acquitted Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, a serving justice of the Supreme Court, of the corruption charges against him. Justice John Tsoho, in his ruling, dismissed all the 13 counts of money laundering and passport fraud instituted by the Federal Government against the judge. Justice Ngwuta was one of the judges whose houses were raided by operatives of the Department of State Services in October 2016.

Pursue Your Dreams Without Fear, Buhari Tells Dapchi Schoolgirls
President Buhari speaks when he received the Dapchi schoolgirls and others at the State House in Abuja on March 23, 2018.

 

Another killing was recorded in Plateau state following the death of three persons in Tah community of Dong in Jos North Local Government Area of the state. The attack was said to have occurred on Thursday night while four men were on patrol to secure the community. Ahead of the 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup, the Super Eagles beat Poland in an international friendly played in Wroclaw, Poland. Chelsea winger Victor Moses scored the only goal via penalty in the 62nd minute after he was brought down by a Polish defender.

 

Buhari’s Administration Evaluated

On Saturday, socio-political organisations and key stakeholders from the northern part of Nigeria scored the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari low and, consequently, rejected him as their candidate for the 2019 general elections. The leaders who met on Saturday in Kaduna insisted that the present leadership representing the region has failed in its mandate and, therefore, must be replaced by competent persons. Elsewhere in the region, the Nigerian Military reopened the Maiduguri-Bama-Banki Road, about four years after it was captured by Boko Haram terrorists. Borno State Deputy Governor, Mr Usman Durkwa, who cut the tape to reopen the road, said the development has proven the success in the collective fight against insurgency in the North East.

Meanwhile, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) announced the resumption of operations in Rann in Borno. The agency announced the decision in a statement on Friday, about four weeks after it withdrew humanitarian operations in the town following the death of three aid workers. In Jalingo, A former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), accused the military of complicity in the killings in Taraba, Benue, and other “riverine states” in the country. General Danjuma also accused the military of covering those behind the attacks which claimed scores of lives in 2018. The Nigerian Army, however, faulted Danjuma’s claims, saying it has been living up to its constitutional responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of the nation.

The Nigerian Military reopened the Maiduguri-Bama-Banki-Road on March 24, 2018.

 

Following the allegations of criminal offences of conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms, the police threatened to declare Senator Melaye wanted, should he fail to appear at the Kogi State Police Command on March 28. The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said an invitation and a court summon had been issued to the lawmaker, both of which he had reportedly ignored. Senator Melaye, in his response, stood his ground to appear before the police only in Abuja, saying his safety cannot be guaranteed in Kogi State.

Buhari This Week: Cancels Rwanda Trip, Visits Zamfara, Receives Dapchi Girls, Bill Gates And More

Buhari’s March 18 – 23 In Review

The President this week cancelled his planned visit to Rwanda, received former vice president Nnamdi Sambo, American business magnate, Bill Gates and the freed Dapchi schoolgirls. He also got a blast from the past, with an aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan refuting claims by Vice President Osinbajo that they mismanaged funds.  

 

SUNDAY: ‘Intense’ Security For North East Schools, Rwanda Trip cancelled

The week started with news of intense security for schools in Northeast part of the country. Troubled by a terrorist invasion of schools in the northeast, President Muhammadu Buhari had previously ordered the deployment of Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) officials to secure secondary schools in the North.

Buhari’s decision was spurred by the abduction of over 100 schoolgirls from the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, Yobe State, about a month ago. They were however released on Wednesday, March 21.

The Commandant General of the NSCDC, Mohammadu Abdullahi, in compliance with Buhari’s directive commenced the tour to provide adequate security for Northeast schools on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Buhari cancelled his trip to Kigali, Rwanda, where he was expected to attend the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union scheduled for March 21, 2018.

In honour of the late Senator representing Bauchi South, Ali Wakili, Nigeria’s first citizen sent a high-level government delegation to Bauchi to commiserate with the people of the state and his family. He described the Senator’s death as ‘shocking.’

The day ended with a retired military officer, Colonel Hassan Stan-Labo taking a swipe at President Buhari. Stan-Labo who spoke as a guest on Channels Television Programme, Sunday Politics said apart from visiting the state troubled by herdsmen attacks, Buhari should assume the role of Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic and sack Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, from office. Idris had previously flouted Buhari’s directive to relocate to Benue State due to incessant killings in Benue State.

 

MONDAY: Signing the CFTA, Screening CBN MPC Members

The week officially kick-started with an explanation given to Nigerian on why Nigeria backed down from signing Pan-African Continental Free Trade Area. Throwing light on the issue, Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe said the decision was “in the national interest of a great and diverse country.”

Also, to represent Buhari after the cancellation of his trip to Kigali, Rwanda, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama was assigned to represent the country and to be supported by a Nigerian team.

This explanation didn’t go down well with some Nigerian scholars. An Economist, Tilewa Adebajo who was a guest on Channels Television’s News at 10 criticised the decision of the Federal Government to withdraw from the signing of the new pan-African Continental Free Trade. According to Adebajo, this move is a “catastrophic mistake.”

The day didn’t end without confirmation of the President Buhari’s nominees for the positions of Deputy Governors and members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The Senate Committee on Banking and Finance, on Monday, commenced the process of screening them. The nominees were made up of two Deputy Governors and four members of the Monetary Policy Committee.

 

 

TUESDAY: Meeting With Sambo, Congratulatory Messages, ‘Blast From The Past’

Tuesday commenced with President Buhari holding a closed-door meeting with Former Vice President, Namadi Sambo at the presidential villa in Abuja.

Details of the meeting were not disclosed as Sambo left the presidential villa without responding to questions from journalists. Many Nigerians were left wondering what relationship the former VP was building with Buhari’s administration after the previous Jonathan-led administration exit after 2015 elections.

In a delightful mood, Buhari churned out congratulatory messages to newly elected Russia President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Buhari believes Putin’s success for the fourth time in the election is a testimony of the confidence Russians have in his leadership while he attributed Merkel’s victory to her hard work.

Buhari’s administration, however, received a blast from the previous administration on Tuesday. Reno Omokri an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan spoke out loud on Monday. He countered claims by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, that the former President’s administration had shared about N150 billion before the 2015 elections. Omokri who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today confidently took a swipe at Buhari’s administration. He said the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo lied!

However, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was quick to silence critics of the Federal Government. He said despite the challenges experienced by the present administration it has still been able to deliver on its election promises, especially its campaign promise to fight corruption.

 

WEDNESDAY: Dapchi Girls Are Back!

Wednesday, 21st March 2018 went down as an unforgettable date in Nigeria’s history. The Federal Government confirmed the release of 104 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists. The girls were released on Wednesday after their abduction on February 19 from their school in Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, confirmed the number of those released. He also responded critics and claims that a ransom was paid for the release of the schoolgirls. According to him, the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls by Boko Haram terrorists was ‘unconditional.’

Mixed reactions trailed the return of schoolgirls with some Nigerians expressing great delight and others demanding more explanation on the ‘sudden return’ with no arrests made, despite the heavy security agents deployed to secure Yobe State after news of the attack. Few others called for the release of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted from the Chibok Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014. Nigerians believe these girls deserve not to be forgotten by the Buhari-led administration.

Excited by the news of the release of Dapchi schoolgirls, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said they are optimistic that the Federal Government will secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014.

Due to Buhari’s refusal to go to Kigali, Rwanda. Nigeria was notably absent from the signatories as 44 African countries signed the agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent’s economic development.

The day ended with Buhari dining and wining with American Business magnate and Co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates to a dinner at the State House in Abuja. They were joined by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and other top government officials.

 

 

THURSDAY: Zamfara Visit, Bill Gate’s Bombshell, Tweets For Leah

President Buhari visited Zamfara on Thursday. This is in continuation of his visit to states affected by herdsmen crisis. His first point of call was the Katsina Airport where he was received by the state Governor Aminu Bello and members of the executive council. He later left for Zamfara where he promised better security and directed security agencies to do all possible halt the killings and criminality in the country.

The ever-supportive Vice President also seized the day to assure of the Federal Government’s effort to grow Nigeria’s economy. While delivering a speech on at the Expanded National Economic Council on Investment in Human Capital held in Abuja, he revealed that investing in people is primary to the Buhari-led administration.

Bill Gate on Thursday challenged the Nigerian government to invest in human capital development. The founder of Microsoft believes this would lay a good foundation for the nation’s prosperity. Nigerian businessman, Aliko Dangote also joined voices with Gate, he called on the Federal Government to provide solutions to human capital challenges experienced in the country.

The philanthropist also did not hold back words in criticising the Federal Government. He faulted part of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, saying the implementation of the ERGP is not at par with the needs of Nigerians.

Responding to criticism from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Buhari’s information minister fired back at the party for doubting the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists. PDP had earlier called on the UN to investigate the Federal Government for ‘scripting’ the abduction of the schoolgirls. Mohammad condemned the claim by the opposition, he said the PDP is “inhuman, insensitive, unpatriotic and unworthy party” for making such allegation against FG.

Buhari didn’t go to bed on Thursday without assuring rescue of Dapchi schoolgirl Leah Sharibu, who is still Boko Haram terrorists’ den.

“It is disheartening that one of the girls, Leah Sharibu, remains in captivity. Let me assure that I am as committed to her freedom as I was to the girls’ freedom when all 110 of them were in captivity. We will do everything in our power to bring Leah back safely,” Buhari tweeted.