UK Military Says Warplanes In Nigeria Is For Mali operation

Authority in the British military on Sunday said its warplanes recently spotted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja were there to move soldiers to aid the French intervention in Mali, not to rescue foreign hostages kidnapped by an Islamic group.

The extremist group called Ansaru partially blamed the presence of those planes as an excuse for killing seven foreign hostages, including British, Greek, Italian and Lebanese citizens.

The Islamic radicals claimed on Saturday that they had killed the seven hostages. While Nigerian authorities have yet to comment publicly about Ansaru’s claim.

Ansaru said it killed the hostages in part due to media on the arrival of British military aircraft to Bauchi, where the abductions occurred. However, the online statement from Ansaru said the airplanes were spotted at the international airport in Abuja.

The British Ministry of Defence said the planes it flew to Abuja ferried Nigerian troops and equipment to Bamako, Mali. Nigerian soldiers have been sent to Mali to help French forces and Malian troops battle Islamic extremists there. The British military said it also transported Ghanaian soldiers to Mali the same way.

The British ministry declined to offer any other comment regarding Nigerian extremist group’s claims that it killed the seven hostage killings. Ansaru had said it believed the planes were part of a Nigerian and British rescue mission for the abducted hostages.

In its statement Saturday, Ansaru also blamed the killings on a pledge by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to do “everything possible” to free the hostages.

Ansaru previously issued a short statement saying its fighters kidnapped the foreigners Feb. 16 from a construction company’s camp at Jama’are, a town about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state. In the attack gunmen first assaulted a local prison and burned police trucks, authorities said. Then the attackers blew up a back fence at the construction company’s compound and took over, killing a guard in the process, witnesses and police said.

In January 2013, Ansaru declared itself a splinter group independent from Boko Haram.

UK Probes Killing Of Briton In Nigeria

The foreign office of Britain says that it is urgently investigating reports that a British national has died in Nigeria following earlier reports that a group of hostages has been killed.

The foreign office is also appealing against speculations on the matter which it considers to be very sensitive.

Nigerian Born UK Designer Stabbed To Death in London

A Nigerian born UK designer, Shaun Akanbi, was recently stabbed to death in his London apartment.

The police found the 26 year old, dead in his apartment in Cedar Lodge, Exeter Road, Kilburn, on Saturday December 22nd, around 4.45pm following concerns about his welfare.

According to a postmortem, the cause of his death was as a result of multiple stab wounds.

Meanwhile, two young men have been arrested by the Police for allegedly carrying out the murder.

One of them, Achraf Jandara, 19, was charged for murder on the 5th of January while the other suspect, 20 was released on bail.

 

Until his death, Shaun was the founder of Billy Boyce Clothing Line.

Shot Pakistani schoolgirl goes to UK for treatment

Malala Yusufzai, the 14 year-old Pakistani girl that was shot by Taliban gunmen for pushing girls to be educated has been flown to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.

In a statement by the military spokesman says, Malala will require a prolonged care to fully recover physically and psychologically.
He added that, an air ambulance transporting Malala, provided by the United Arab Emirates, had departed from Islamabad and was heading for the United Kingdom.

“The panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted abroad to a UK center which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury,” said the spokesman in a statement.

Malala has become a potent symbol of resistance against the Pakistani Taliban’s efforts to deprive girls of an education.

Pakistanis have held some protests and candlelight vigils but government officials have refrained from publicly criticizing the Taliban by name over the attack, in what critics say is a lack of resolve against extremism.
Opponents of Pakistan’s government and military say the shooting is another reminder of the state’s failure to tackle militancy.

REUTERS

Gay Nigerian in UK fights deportation

Olamilekan Ayelokun

Nearly 2000 people have signed an online petition to support a gay Nigerian asylum seeker, who fears he might be killed if deported.
Olamiekan Ayelokun claimed he fled Nigeria eight-years -ago to escape persecution because of his sexual orientation.

However, a judge at Bradford’s Immigration Court has stated that he is not convinced Mr Ayelokun is gay and ordered for his deportation last week.

The 28-year-old was supposed to have been deported to Nigeria on October 3. However, that decision has been delayed until further notice.

A friend of Mr Ayelokun’s, Jason Feather, who started the petition to prevent him from being deported, said “I have been told that the Nigerian authorities do monitor international news. If he was to be taken to Nigeria now the authorities would know he is a gay man. In the south, he would get up to 14 years in prison and in the north where Sharia law is practised he might be killed.”

More than 1700 people have so far signed the petition asking immigration officials to change their minds.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) said Mr Ayelokun a nursing student who now resides in Bradford had lived in the UK illegally, having overstayed a visitors’ visa that expired in 2003.

He put in an application to stay in the country in 2011; at that point he was then required to sign every week.

Mr Ayelokun was detained on September 25th after a routine appointment at the UK Border Agency’s Waterside Court offices in Leeds.

A UKBA spokesman said “Mr Ayelokun lived in the UK illegally for eight years, having overstayed a visit visa that expired in 2003.

“He did not claim asylum until 2011, after he was arrested by UK Border Agency officers for using false documents to gain employment.

“At no point has he been able to provide sufficient evidence of his sexuality, and our decision not to grant him asylum has been upheld by an independent immigration judge.

“Where people do not have the right to be in the UK we will take steps to remove them.”

However, Mr Ayelokun’s friends and supporters, whose petition is on change.org, have rejected the UKBA’s claims.

They said UK immigration officials are breaching the European Convention on Human Rights by “sending someone to a situation where he or she has a ‘real risk’ of being subjected to ‘torture or an inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’”.

Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is also supporting Ayelokun. He said “Regardless of his past mistakes, Ola should be given asylum on the grounds that if he is returned to Nigeria he will be at serious risk of homophobic persecution. It is outrageous for any judge to suggest that a person who has a number of gay relationships is not gay.

“This case is further evidence of the way Britain asylum system abuses refugees. The system is rigged to fail as many asylum seekers as possible regardless of their individual merit.”

He said: “The coalition government is not living up to its pledge to provide a safe haven for gay Africans who face victimisation. It is a betrayal of (Prime Minister) David Cameron’s pledge.”

UK mobile operators in talks over 4G networks

For most of the mobile networks, the 4G Networks were meant to have been running in the United Kingdom but owing to Ofcom’s action termed as being ‘Sluggish’ towards the introduction and it is seen as frustrating. But prior to the meeting, O2 was optimistic about the chances of a summer 2013 launch.

EE has so far withheld any firm dates of the public release of its 4G service, but today’s discussions could pave the way for an October launch.

The other networks, particularly Vodafone and O2 were enraged by EE’s 4G head start; however, if they decide to set up a legal challenge they would risk further reducing the speed of their own progress.

However, Three might take over a portion of EE’s 4G spectrum next September with the stand of things right now.

O2 and Vodafone will be able to offer 4G services only after gaining control of the other parts of the radio spectrum when they are eventually freed up and sold off and Ofcom could speed things up by bringing the auction, which is expected to happen in January.

This would mean that 4G networks could be launched by May or June, rather than the latter part of next year. This would also confine EE’s period of exclusivity to around half a year.

1,500 Nigerian students face deportation from the UK

The British government on Thursday announced that Over 2,600 foreign students are about to face deportation from Britain, after their university was stripped of its ability to sponsor visas for students beyond the European Union.

The move provoked dismay from students and accusations that the move by the Conservative-led government, which is bent on reducing immigration, could damage Britain’s global reputation.

London Metropolitan University has lost its “highly trusted status” because a survey found significant problems with the qualifications of many of its foreign students, Immigration Minister Damian Green said.

In a “significant proportion” of cases, there was no documentation that students had a good standard of English, Mr Green said, and there was no proof that half of those sampled were attending lectures. He said the sampling of the university’s foreign students indicated that more than a quarter did not have current permission to be in the country.

“Any one of those breaches would be serious,” Mr Green told BBC radio. “We found all three of those breaches at London Metropolitan.”

A degree from a U.K. university is highly prized by many students abroad, and those from outside the European Union often pay higher fees than residents. The British government, which has cracked down on immigration in multiple ways, has pointed to student visas as a category ripe for abuse by those who may instead be looking for work.

London Metropolitan has 30,000 students, and 2,600 are affected by the government’s decision, said university spokesman Nick Hansen. Students from other European Union countries don’t need visas.

The affected students will have 60 days to find new sponsors once they are formally notified by the government, or they could be deported. A task force has been set up to help genuine students who otherwise qualify for visas, Universities Minister David Willetts said, but with the fall term imminent students have little time to find new sponsors and courses.

Olympic Tennis: Williams Sisters into doubles semi finals

They were full of zeal, eagerness as the Williams sisters Venus and Serena powered their way through to the Olympic tennis doubles semi-finals today.

It was a match so tensed that there was collision between the sisters when a shot came for Serena to hit, the shot was taken eventually and they got the point for the shot on their way to securing their much desired win with a 6-1,6-1 score against the Italian duo of No. 2-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

Venus and Serena has been on a jolly ride since the beginning of the London 2012 Olympics as they are yet to lose a set throughout the three rounds of each engagement against any opponent which is why they say they are very sure of a medal in this tournament.

The sisters are seeking their third gold medal in doubles while Venus seeks a record fourth gold medal in tennis.

Serena is also into the semi-finals in singles.

BBA: Davido to perform at Eviction Show

The prolific Nigerian singer, David Adeleke popularly known as Davido has been confirmed for an appearance on the Eviction stage of the Big Brother Africa Stargame.   

Davido a recording artist and music producer from Nigeria started his music profession a year ago.

The star has been performing since age 11, in a short space of time Davido has developed a huge fan base in Nigeria, US, UK as well as throughout Africa.

This young fresh talent’s hit single “Dami Duro is a guaranteed club banger and enjoys massive airplay throughout the continent.

Davido has shared the stage with incredible artistes including Fabulous, Keith Sweat, Cabo Snoop, D’banj, Naeto C amongst others.

Only 34 families have filed claims for compensation – Dana Air

The management of Dana airline on Friday said that only 34 families who lost friends, and loved ones in the crash on June 3rd have submitted their claims forms to receive their insurance payment.

Dana Air is currently under investigation after a faulty aircraft carrying 153 people aboard plummeted into a densely populated area in Lagos, killing everyone on the plane and at least six more on the ground.

In a statement, the airline said “as at the close of business on Monday, June 25, the company had received completed insurance forms for 34 of the victims, two of which are our staff members.

“The company has now made direct contact with 118 families who lost loved ones in the accident and has also made contact with the 9 embassies managing communications with the families of those victims from other countries.

“These families and embassies have been sent letters of condolence and the insurance documentation necessary in order to facilitate compensation payments.”

The documentation is necessary for the right beneficiaries to be paid the compensations, Dana Air said.
The statement further added that “investigations into the cause of the accident are still ongoing and Dana Air continues to offer every form of assistance to the investigating authorities.”

The management of the airline company said the DNA samples of the crash victims have been successfully collected and dispatched to a UK laboratory for testing.

The company said that the media reports that the expatriate working in the company had all left since the accident saying of over 450 staff of the airline, most to whom are Nigerians, not one has left the company’s employment.

UK warns over terror attacks during Easter holiday

The United Kingdom is warning citizens living in or travelling to Nigeria to remain vigilant as “there is a high threat of terrorist attack during religious festivals” such as the upcoming Easter holiday.

In an updated travel advisory published online Thursday, the Foreign Office urged citizens to “exercise particular vigilance and caution” during the religious holiday as radical sect Boko Haram has been known to strike on religious holidays, including the series of attacks on Christmas Day last year that claimed over 40 lives.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including government and security institutions, international organisations as well as public areas such as markets, hotels, shopping centres, places of worship and other areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.”

Major cities in the north, including Kano and Maiduguri have reportedly shored up security measures to protect against possible attacks, even as the Nigerian army issued a warning this week of a possible terrorist attack in Kano.

The warning was released on Wednesday after Army spokesman, Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, confirmed the arrest of three suspected Boko Haram members who had allegedly killed a soldier at a checkpoint in Kano.

Iweha, who paraded the bodies od the dead suspects at the Bukanu Baracks late Wednesday afternoon, said two AK 47 rifles, two pistols and other weapons had been recovered from the suspects’ car.

The JTF spokesman warned Nigerians to be cautious during the holiday, warning a deadly violent strike could be in the horizon in the holiday season.

Amaechi asks US and UK to reconsider travel advisory to Niger Delta

In order to revive the already existing trade relations between the Rivers state government and the United States of America, the Rivers state governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on Monday called for the review of the US travel advisory to the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Governor Amaechi asks US and UK to reconsider travel advisory to Niger Delta

Mr Amaechi was speaking when the deputy commander of civil-military activities of the United States, Africa command (AFRICOM), Sir Anthony Holmes led a delegation on a courtesy visit to him at government house, Port Harcourt.

The governor said the review of the United States’ travel advisory on the Niger Delta would open up huge opportunities of investment and trade for both the rivers state government and the United States of America, at the sub-national level.

Currently, the United States of America and the United Kingdom have travel advisories on the Niger Delta that do not favour the oil-rich region.

Mr Amaechi said that the Niger Delta region have had tremendous improvement in security to warrant the American and UK government to change their position on their travel advisory.

“The American and British travel advisories are currently unfavourable to the Niger Delta, foreign construction firms from Israel, Lebanon, Italy amongst other countries had completed and currently carrying out capital-intensive infrastructural and power projects in Rivers state, without any molestation or security threat to their lives,” he said.

He further said that an American company was bidding to partner with the state government to build a 1000-bed hospital and that during their several visits to the state; the company’s staff did not face any security threat.

The governor therefore urged the United States’ government to reconsider its stance on the nicer Delta so that their citizens can freely come to the region.

Stating the reason for the visit, Mr Holmes said they were in Rivers state as part of the American government efforts to engage with and assist the military in Africa, and to promote and create security for the benefit of all Nigerians, including people in Rivers state and those of other African nations.

He said the significance that Nigeria has on the continent of Africa in terms bilateral relationship and the key role that Rivers state plays in Nigeria in terms of population, resources, and its strategic location has brought them to learn, listen, and to understand the various challenges they face particularly in the area of maritime security

A forth night ago, the United States ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence McCulley was in the state to meet with Mr Amaechi.