I See Myself As Superstar Who Has Broken The Jinx – Yahaya Makaho, Visually Impaired Singer

Yahaya Usman, popularly called Yahaya Makaho, a blind singer who rose from being a street beggar to a famously known singer in northern Nigeria,spends time with some of his fans while wearing his trademark sunglasses in Kaduna, Nigeria, on September 25, 2019. PHOTO: Kola Sulaimon / AFP

 

Yahaya Makaho feels his way to the microphone before launching into a song for his new album at a recording studio in the northern city of Kaduna.

Blind since early childhood, the singer has overcome obstacles that often crush the dreams of disabled people in this region and risen from street beggar to star.

In the last four years his songs and music videos have become hits among the roughly 80 million Hausa-speaking Nigerians and broader West Africa.

“I see myself as a superstar who has broken the jinx associated with physical disabilities,” Makaho, 37, told AFP, wearing his trademark sunglasses.

Yahaya Usman, popularly called Yahaya Makaho, a blind singer who rose from being a street beggar to a famously known singer in northern Nigeria, sings while wearing his trademark sunglasses in Kaduna, Nigeria, on September 25, 2019. PHOTO: KOLA SULAIMON / AFP

 

“I have punctured the stereotype people have that once you are blind all you can do is take a bowl and go begging for alms on the streets.”

Life can be tough in northern Nigeria, where poverty rates and unemployment are high — and for blind people the options are usually severely limited.

Makaho — a nickname meaning “blind man” in Hausa under which the singer is widely known — has had to come a long way to record his 370 singles and three albums.

He lost his sight to measles at the age of three and was eventually sent away from his rural village to an Islamic school after doctors failed to heal him.

There he was told that begging was his best chance to make ends meet after he tried his hand at small odd-jobs and petty trading.

Yahaya Usman, popularly called Yahaya Makaho, a blind singer who rose from being a street beggar to a famously known singer in northern Nigeria,spends time with some of his fans while wearing his trademark sunglasses in Kaduna, Nigeria, on September 25, 2019. PHOTO: KOLA SULAIMON / AFP

 

“It hurt me to be always asking people for money. Begging kills the spirit and I decided to become a singer,” he said.

“I didn’t know I had singing talent, I just wanted to do something meaningful with my life and the idea of being a singer just popped up.”

‘Singer with a difference’

It has not been a smooth rise since that decision.

Makaho faced years of discrimination and discouragement before a wealthy fan decided to fund a recording session in 2016.

The singer has carved out a niche by focusing on the pressing problems that confront his fans in their daily lives.

With his soft voice he croons his way through lyrics that tackle ills such as begging, drug abuse and corruption.

“Yahaya Makaho is a singer with a difference,” said Ahmad Bello, a music critic and linguist at Bayero University in the city of Kano.

“People love his songs not just for the beats but primarily for the messages embedded in them which touch on burning social issues.”

Dwelling on sensitive subjects has proved problematic on occasion.

Makaho upset some in northern Nigeria’s blind community after he wrote two singles that criticised the widespread practice of street begging — often the only means of earning an income for the visually impaired.

“They ostracised me for exposing the ills of begging in my two tracks and dubbed me an enemy,” he said.

Makaho managed to resolve the conflict and has now established a foundation that provides school tuition, uniforms and brail books to help disabled youths get an education.

The singer’s fortune has soared and he now provides a comfortable life for his family.

He has made the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and hopes to be able to build a recording studio of his own.

And as he racks up hit after hit, his success is providing an inspiration for blind people in his home region struggling to fulfil their potential.

“I’m fascinated by his songs which I find very pleasing,” said Hamisu Mohammed, who lives at a colony for blind people in Kaduna.

“Whenever I listen to Yahaya’s song being played on the radio I feel a sense of pride that he is one of us, the blind.”

Four Injured, Five Arrested After Clash At Lagos Market

Festac
File photo.

 

 

A clash which broke out at a market in Oke Odo area of Lagos State has left four persons injured.

The fight which occurred on Sunday was said to be a result of a misunderstanding between two young men from the Hausa and Yoruba tribes.

According to the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Bala Elkana, the injured persons have been taken to a hospital for treatment while no death was recorded.

“On 18th August 2019 at about 10.00am, one Alhaji Adekunle Habib ‘m’ of Ilepo Market reported at Oke Ode Police Station that there was a misunderstanding between one Hausa scavenger and an Area Boy from Yoruba ethnic group.

“The area boy was carrying some goods on his head and was pushed by the Hausa boy in error and the goods fell down,” Elkana said in a statement.

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He explained that arguments ensued between the two parties which led to an exchange of blows, adding that friends of the two parties joined in solidarity fight.

The Police Command spokesman, however, said some people took advantage of the moment to steal and loot.

He said the suspect blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, stressing that what started as a fight between two miscreants almost snowballed into ethnic crises but the police quickly intervened.

“Police teams from Oke Odo Division were the initial responders. The Command sent reinforcements from the Operations Department, Rapid Response Squads, Taskforce, Tactical Units and Police Mobile Force.

“Divisions within the Area Command equally send reinforcements. The situation was brought under control and traffic cleared,” Elkana added.

He said five persons – Kabiru Mohammed, Kabiru Adamu, Bashiru Mohammed, Saliu Madu, and Yusuf Amuda – were arrested in connection with the breach of peace.

The command’s spokesman noted that normalcy has been restored with patrols ongoing in the affected areas.

He said the suspects would soon be charged to court.

Plateau Governor Meets With Hausa/Igbo Leaders In Jos

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has met with the Hausa and Igbo leaders in Jos communities to further allay any fears of the breakdown of law and order in the state.

This meeting is coming few hours after Governor Lalong made an announcement of an indefinite curfew in Jos, the state capital.

The meeting also had in attendance the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau.

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Faith With Government, Buhari Urges Nigerians In Sallah Voice Message

A voice recording confirmed to be that of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has emerged for the first time in 48 days.

President Buhari, who spoke in Hausa in the voice message, called on all Nigerians to remain united and shun all forms of divisiveness.

He also extended greetings to all Muslims on the Eid-El-Fitr celebration and urged them to keep the faith while thanking them for their prayers.

The message, as transcribed, reads: “In the name of Allah the beneficent, the merciful. I Muhammadu Buhari would like to use this opportunity to felicitate with Nigerians on the occasion of Sallah celebrations”.

“I pray that Allah will accept our acts of worship during Ramadan and make it easy for us to imbibe and put to use the lessons learned during the period. I thank you very much for including me in your prayers during the month, may Allah give us the wherewithal to fulfill the promises we made and I pray that he intervenes in solving the problems afflicting our nation.

“Finally, I will like to reiterate my call on all Nigerians to avoid comments capable of causing trouble. What we are praying to God for at all times is peaceful coexistence, we pray to Allah for a bumper harvest so we can feed with ease.

“May Allah bless us with peace and peaceful co-existence. I pray you have a peaceful Sallah celebration, I thank you,” the President said.

Niger State Hosts First Ever Christmas Carol Festival In Minna

Niger State Hosts First Ever Christmas Carol Festival In MinnaThe Niger State Government in partnership with its Ministry of Information, has organized the first ever Christmas carol festival with the theme ‘The Dynamics of Praise and Worship’.

The festival witnessed presentations from different choir groups representing various tribes such as: Nupe, Gbagi, Hausa, Igbo, Tiv, Yoruba, Kamokun and Calabar.

The festival which was its maiden edition also witnessed a large turnout of Christians and surprisingly, Muslims in the state.

Asides signifying oneness amongst the two major religions in the state, top dignitaries were also in attendance and they were full of praise for the Governor, Abubakar Bello, who despite not being a Christian, chose to show concern to the Christian community in the state.

Speaking through his representative, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Niger State, Nasara Danmallam, said that the Governor was full of praise to the Christian community and appreciated their level of understanding and peaceful coordination amongst the non-Christians in the state.

While promising the sustenance of the festival, he used the opportunity in wishing all Christians in the state and Nigeria in general a peaceful celebration.

The convener of the Christmas carol festival, Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism, Hon. Jonathan Vatsa could not hide his feelings as he was also full of praise to the Governor.

He also assured the Christian community that the best was yet to come and called on them to come together in unity.

He wished every Christian in the state a happy and peaceful celebration.

PeaceTech Lab Welcomes Channels TV Boss, John Momoh As First International Board Member

John MomohPeaceTech Lab has taken another step towards securing its position as an international leader in the use of technology, media, and data to accelerate local peacebuilding efforts with the addition of the Chairman/CEO of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh, as its newest board member.

“John Momoh has long served as a distinguished voice of Nigeria, with a career spanning 37 years of broadcast media and journalism and numerous accolades reflecting both his journalistic expertise and integrity,” stated Chairman of the Board and former IBM Executive, Nicholas M. Donofrio.

“We are thrilled John has agreed to join the PeaceTech Lab Board and add his voice to the growing PeaceTech movement.”

Board Member and former Undersecretary of State Tara Sonenshine agreed, “The inextricable link between media and conflict is that information is the oxygen with which a civil society breathes. We must have media experts working to ensure that civil society exists and remains free of conflict. It’s wonderful to welcome John to our Board.”

John Momoh is founder and CEO of the Channels Media Group, which operates Channels TV, Nigeria’s leading independent news and information network.

Prior to founding Channels TV in 1995, Mr. Momoh worked variously as a news anchor, senior reporter and senior producer for the Nigerian Television
Authority.

He is a graduate of the University of Lagos with a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy and a B.Sc (with honours) in Mass Communication.

PeaceTech Lab, John Momoh

In August 2016, Mr. Momoh was named Chairman of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, Nigeria’s premier media association, comprising a broad coalition of some 250 public and private radio and TV stations. He is the first private-sector media executive to hold the position.

PeaceTech Lab CEO and President, Sheldon Himelfarb, highlighted the significance of the Lab’s first international board member: “John Momoh brings the perspective of someone quite literally on the frontlines of conflict, who has been innovative in the use of media to increase accountability and foster positive change over the course of his career.”

Critical Need

Mr. Momoh expressed his appreciation, saying, “PeaceTech Lab fills a timely, critical need in efforts to combat violence and extremism around the world by leveraging people, tools, and an understanding of how technology, media, and data can reinforce peacebuilding efforts from the ground up.

“Channels TV is committed to expanding the use of data and technology to better support our journalists in the field, and I am proud to be working together to make that vision a reality.”

In March, PeaceTech Lab and ChannelsTV signed an agreement to develop the first independent Hausa-language news service aimed at strengthening the information environment in Nigeria’s northern Hausa and Fulani regions, where intensified terrorist activity carried out by Boko Haram extremists threatens Nigeria’s political and economic stability.

Ranked as the deadliest terrorist organization in the world by the 2015 Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram has contributed to a 300% increase in Nigerian deaths related to terrorism since 2014.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and largest economy according to the 2015 IMF World Economic Outlook report.

About Channels Television

Called “a network built on trust” by Financial Times, Channels is one of the leading private-sector media outlets on the African continent and has been groundbreaking in the Nigerian media space with many notable firsts including: winning the Best TV Station of the Year a record 10 times, first to stream its news and programmes live on the internet, first to interface with followers via Twitter and first to create mobile apps on various platforms.

About PeaceTech Lab

PeaceTech Lab works for individuals and communities affected by conflict, using technology, media, and data to accelerate local peacebuilding efforts.

An independent non-profit organization, the Lab’s mission is to amplify the power of peacetech to save lives through earlier warnings and smarter responses to violence.

The Lab’s programmes emphasize a data-driven, cross-sector approach, engaging everyone from student engineers and citizen journalists to Fortune 500 companies in scaling the impact of peacetech.

Ayade Reaches Out To Hausa Settlements In Cross River

Cross River, Ayade, HausaThe Cross River State government has reached out to the Hausa communities in the state, to commemorate the Eid-el-Kabir with them.

The residents of Bogobiri community have benefited from different healthcare services such as testing and treatment of malaria and the distribution of over 600 mosquito nets among others.

Some inhabitants from other smaller Hausa settlements were also on ground to be part of this gesture by the government.

The Director General, Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), Dr. Beta Edu, led a medical team to the Hausa settlement in Calabar, the state’s capital in south-south Nigeria.

She started by sensitizing the people about the AyadeCare Health Insurance Bill and the need for them to use the treated mosquito nets as their environment seemed to a breading place for mosquitoes.

The CRSPHCDA boss also urged the women of the community to partner with the government to reduce to its barest minimum maternal and child mortality.

Some of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to the Governor Ben Ayade led government.

They said he has made the history of being the first administration to visit their communities with gifts during a festive period.

Imo Deadly Clash: Normalcy Returns To Akokwa Community

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Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

Normalcy has now returned to Umukegwu Community in Akokwa Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State after a deadly clash between some Hausa residents in the area and some members of the host community that left 6 people dead.

Six people were feared dead after a violent clash erupted in Akokwa community in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State between some Hausa residents and some members of the host community.

Our correspondent, who visited the community, reports that there is heavy presence of security operatives and people are going about their normal duties.

However, the indigenes of the area have called on the government to look into the matter critically and to prevent any future occurrence.

Some of the residents, who narrated the incident, alleged that the Hausa man, who was hired as a security guard in the one of the buildings in the area, had a misunderstanding with a young lady named Ngozi and the misunderstanding became intense that he pursued and murdered the lady in cold blood with a shovel, adding that he also went ahead to kill one Mrs Beatrice Ibe, who was trying to settle the dispute.

Meanwhile, the Imo State Deputy Governor, Mr Eze Madumere, who led security operatives and other top government functionaries to commiserate with affected families condemned the incident in its entirety while assuring the people that the state government is on top of the situation.

He noted that the incident is a clear case of homicide and not related to ethnic clashes.

However, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Taiwo Lakanu, has asked for the cooperation of the people while imploring them to remain calm and desist from any further attacks that might cause a breakdown of law and order in the state.

In the meantime, the corpses of the affected victims have been deposited in a nearby mortuary, while some others who were wounded in the process including a 7-year old boy are still receiving treatment in a hospital.

Six Die In Clash Between Hausa Residents And Indigenes In Imo

clash in Imo stateSix people are feared dead after a violent clash erupted in Akokwa community in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State between some Hausa residents and some members of the host community.

Confirming the incident on Friday, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, said preliminary investigations revealed that the clash was triggered by an alleged murder of a woman by a Hausa man.

Murdered With A Shovel

He told Channels Television that the middle aged Hausa man, who works as a security guard in the area, had a misunderstanding with a young woman which became intense that the man murdered the woman with a shovel.

Mr Lakanu also said that the Hausa allegedly went ahead to kill the woman’s friend who was trying to settle the issue.

“On seeing the level of crime committed, the Hausa man went ahead and committed suicide,” he said.

The commissioner further noted that as the news filtered round the community, there was a reprisal attack by members of the community against northerners in the area which left three other people dead.

However, the Commissioner of Police said the command had deployed adequate policemen in the area to prevent any further breakdown of law and order.

In the meantime, the state government has called on indigenes of the state to remain calm and go about their lawful duties, as the security agents were making efforts to bring the situation under absolute control.

Oyo Police Avert Clashes Between Herdsmen And Farmers

PoliceThe Oyo State Police Command has averted a communal clash that could have turned bloody between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Agbanda village, Ikoyi Ile in Ogbomosho.

The Oyo State Police Commissioner, Adeleye Oyebade, who led the Police to the village appealed to the farmers and Fulani settlers to allow peace reign and warned that any further breach of order would not be tolerated.

The indigenes accused the herdsmen of allegedly destroying their farmland and raping their daughters and wives.

 

Cattle: AIG Blames Alleged Fulani Crimes On Migration

FulaniAn Assistant Inspector- General of Police (AIG) has blamed the crimes allegedly committed by Fulani cattle rearers in some Nigerian states on the migration of Fulani from neighbouring countries.

The AIG in charge of Zone Five, Musa Daura, made the observation on Wednesday during a meeting with the Hausa/Fulani communities and the traditional rulers of their host communities.

The Police officer explained that the influx of Fulani immigrants from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Mali was largely responsible for the current upsurge in crimes allegedly perpetrated by Fulani cattle rearers in Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states.

The meeting which took place at the Police Zonal Headquarters in Benin City, the Edo State capital was held to strengthen the security of the areas and ensure mutual co-existence of the people.

Northern Governors Condemn Onitsha Attack, Move To Avert Spread

Onitsha Governors of Nigeria’s 19 northern states on Thursday said that they have taken security measures to ensure that Wednesday’s violence that included burning of places of worship in the commercial city of Onitsha in Anambra State does not spread to the northern part of the country.

Speaking on behalf of the 19 governors, Borno State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, Kashim Shettima, said that the governors, particularly those of major cities were in touch with one another on Wednesday and had taken some firm measures aimed at averting any spill-over.

A three-week-long pro-Biafra protest turned bloody on Wednesday resulting in the killing of scores with many injured in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State.

The protesters were pressing for the release of detained Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau on Thursday in Maiduguri, Shettima said that the governors took the undisclosed measures, following media reports claiming that worship places were torched during the Wednesday violence in Onitsha.

The statement reads: “We condemn the Wednesday crisis in very strong term. We have been in touch with one another today. The Governors of major cities in the north in particular, have been in critical touch to share thoughts and we have collectively taken firm measures to ensure that the violence doesn’t spread to any part of the 19 northern States and we will also be working with our colleagues in the south to nip the crisis in the bud but we will not disclose the measures we have taken so that those who may want to take advantage of the Onitsha mayhem don’t know our strategies.

“However, it is surprising to the Northern States Governors Forum that any Nigerian at all can even contemplate any kind of violence when we already have serious problems of Boko Haram insurgents that are killing Muslims and Christians, killing northerners and southerners, attacking Mosques, Churches and markets, in an effort to kill all of us that do not subscribe to their interpretation of Islam.

“We have Boko Haram that kill Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, Yoruba, Kanuri, Ijaw and anyone they are able to come across. We thought that the existence of Boko Haram should have been enough to make all Nigerians fuse into one and fight a common enemy.

“It is really sad that any Nigerian can contemplate violence. We are not blaming any individual or group because there are security agencies whose job it is to safeguard lives and property and do investigations where necessary, we will not go into their duties.

“We beg all Nigerians to be calm and go about their duties in peace. We have got more than enough problems to worry about. We can’t afford any distraction that will shift our focus from the bigger problems of Boko Haram that has an ambition of sending the human race into extinction.

“We urge all Nigerians to be calm. We particularly call on all Nigerians living in the northern states not to pay attention to differences in religion and ethnicity but rather, should see each other as Nigerians with equal residential rights and fundamental human rights that include freedom to lawfully reside anywhere in Nigeria, freedom of worship, movement, trade, association, education, healthcare and other rights as provided by the Nigerian constitution.

“We particularly call on our youths not to allow anyone use them for any purpose because youths have suffered more than any other age category from the hands of Boko Haram insurgents and that is more than enough.

“Our focus should be on how to end the Boko Haram insurgency and not to be driven into any other crisis. We have suffered too much, we must say no to any crisis.

“As heads of Government of the 19 northern states, we will by the grace of God, do everything humanly possible to ensure that no resident, regardless of his or her ethno-religious background, is denied any of these rights.

“As Nigerians, we are one, we need one another and we must live as one people,” Shettima said, on behalf of the Northern Governors.