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Maiyegun General

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Buhari leaves for Ghana on Monday, to confer with Mahama

Buhari / Photo PT
By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA -To strengthen the regional ties of west Africa countries, President Muhammadu Buhari would undertake a one-day official visit to Accra, the Ghanaian capital on Monday.

The visit would afford President Buhari the opportunity of conferring with his Ghanaian counterpart, President John Dramani Mahama on bilateral relations, regional security, trade and other issues of common interest to Nigeria, Ghana and other members of the Economic Community of West African States.

The President is also expected to meet with members of the Nigerian community in Ghana and entrepreneurs living in the country.

He will be accompanied to Accra by the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.) and the Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice and Industry, Trade and Investment.

President Buhari would return to the country on Monday evening.


After attacks, Tanzanian children with albinism receive prosthetics

NEW YORK -- When you hear Kabula Nkarango Masanja's story, the idea that she could smile seems unimaginable.

"In 2010, I was sleeping with my mom," Kabula said. "To the room, two men came inside."

The 17-year-old girl from Tanzania lost her right arm five years ago. She was hunted in her homeland by human poachers for her albinism - a condition that leaves her with little to no pigment in her skin, eyes and hair.

She said the two men attacked her with a machete, cutting off her entire arm.

"They kept it," she said.

In Tanzania, albino body parts can sell for thousands of dollars on the black market. It's believed - by some - the parts hold supernatural powers and can be used in potions to bring good luck and wealth to the consumer.

Between 2000 and 2014, the United Nations reported that the country had seen more than 150 cases of attacks on people with albinism.

Elissa Montanti runs the Global Medical Relief Fund, a nonprofit she founded in Staten Island 17 years ago to help kids injured by war or natural disasters receive prosthetics. Her organization was featured on "60 Minutes" in 2011.

"I have never, never experienced anything like this before," Montanti said. "I've seen kids that have kicked a can and it exploded, dangled from a tree in Indonesia from the tsunami, the earthquake in Haiti. But this is something unimaginable."

Children with albinism who lost their hands to human poachers in Tanzania learn to use their new prosthetics at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

Earlier this year, Montanti read of an attack on 5-year-old Baraka Cosmas Lusambo. Men broke into his family's home in March while he was asleep.

"They hit my mother twice on her head," Baraka said in Swahili, through a translator. "Then they came to me. They cut off my hand."

Montanti brought Baraka, Kabula and three other children to the United States from Tanzania in June to receive prosthetics. The five children received their prosthetics at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

"I feel good because it is going to help me in many different areas, which I cannot do with one hand," Kabula said.

"They will be able to grasp to pick up a pen, to write, to pick up a fork and eat," Montanti said. "This will definitely make them feel more whole, give them a sense of empowerment."

When they return home, they will be sheltered in safe houses run by Under the Same Sun - a Canadian organization that protects people with albinism in Tanzania.

Montanti plans to bring the children back to the United States as they grow to get their prosthetics refitted.

"There will be lots of tears, but I know I'm going to see them again," Montanti said.

Broadcast associate Matthew Kwiecinski contributed to this report.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Officials say they will follow Kim Davis to prison to oppose gay marriages

Kim Davis, an Apostolic Christian, was sent to prison in Kentucky on Thursday for her stance in refusing to follow court orders

 Jailed county clerk emerges as figurehead to campaigners opposing same-sex weddings as more promise to refuse Supreme Court ruling

The revolt over same-sex marriages is spreading across the Southern states of America after a county clerk was jailed for refusing to issue a wedding licence to a gay couple.

While her deputies began issuing licences on Friday, other officials said they would follow her lead in standing up for their beliefs.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which campaigns against gay marriage, said efforts to make an example of Davis had backfired.

"Courage breeds courage, especially when it comes from unlikely places,” he said. “She may be the example that sparks a firestorm of resistance across this country."

A same sex marriage supporter waves a flag which reads "Born This Way" along West Main Street during a protest in front of the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Kentucky Getty Images

Within 48 hours, Davis was being cited as a figurehead by others with the power to issue marriage licences.

Nick Williams, Alabama Probate Judge, said he had ordered his deputies not to issue any licences at all since the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal across the US in June.

"Absolutely, I feel the same way. This is a cause worth standing up for," he told Reuters.

It means Kentucky may not be the last battleground over same sex marriages.

As many as 12 counties in Alabama are not issuing marriage licences in a state where they law says judges "may" issue licenses – a line interpreted by some as meaning they also “may not”.

And it is not just the South, where many states had bans on gay marriage overturned by the Supreme Court decision, where opposition lingers.

In left-leaning Oregon, a county circuit court judge is facing an ethics review over his refusal to perform same-sex marriages.

100 Days in Office: How Buhari’s anti-corruption war has gone so far

At Chatham House in London February, Muhammadu Buhari declared that if elected president of Nigeria, he would prioritise the fight against corruption, as well as insecurity and unemployment.

“In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning ‎of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration : waste and corruption,” Mr. Buhari said.

“And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way with the force of personal example.”

‎As President Buhari marks his first 100 days in office Sunday, not much seems to be happening to prove the anti-corruption war is on course.

Taofik Gani, a leader of the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, said the anti-corruption efforts of the government have been more of “noise-making than action”.

“And it is our take in Lagos PDP that General Buhari may not be serious about fighting corruption in view of two readily available evidence,” said Mr. Gani, Publicity Secretary, PDP, Lagos State.

“First is that General Buhari himself cannot defend himself as incorruptible ‎for the reason of taking over a democratically elected government in 1983. Two, for being able to contest presidential elections at four different times, it would take only a super-rich person to do that.

“He was president, minister of petroleum, coordinator of Petroleum Trust Fund. In this capacity, he amassed wealth, so he should not over rate himself as being incorruptible.”

Mr. Gani said corrupt officials, including “former governors, ministers, and vice president”, are still associating with the president.

“If he was serious about fighting corruption, some people would have fled this country, but they are comfortable, moving along with the president’s entourage,” said Mr. Gani.

“In his first 100 days, the only area General Buhari has made effort to perform is on anti-corruption. And he has failed.”

While the Buhari government has accused the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan of monumental corruption, ministers who served under the government, have defended their performance and have characterised the new government’s corruption effort as more of media campaign.

According to the ministers, Mr. Jonathan did not only fight corruption vigorously, he supported the institutional development of strong systems and mechanisms to curb corruption in the public service and plug revenue leakages.

However, many Nigerians also believe Mr. Buhari’s presence, or “body language”, alone, has changed the game.

Ever-declining electricity megawatts suddenly climbed to new peaks, nearing 5,000 with the government investing no extra kobo.

The ministry of power said last week that since Mr. Buhari took office May 29, no case of pipeline vandalism had been recorded. Attacks on oil and gas facilities occurred almost weekly just before May, weakening the country’s energy output.

“If you have to compare with those who came before him, he’s doing very well,” said Debo Adeniran, Executive Director, Coalition Against Corrupt Leader.

“He really has not done anything on his own, just his body language is putting everybody under pressure.”

Mr. Buhari rode to election victory on the back of his perceived no-nonsense stance against corruption.

His election campaign speeches were incomplete without a mention of how corruption had debilitated the country and its institutions and how a President Buhari would turn things around.

“We plan to put priority on tackling corruption which has become blatant and widespread,” he said at one rally, vowing to rescue the nation from the “stranglehold” of the PDP.

“The rest of the world looks at Nigeria as the home of corruption. Nigeria is a country where stealing is not corruption.”

‎At his last campaign speech before the presidential election, Mr. Buhari emphasized that his government would have zero tolerance for corruption.

“I will set a personal example and run a government that truly serves the people rather than serve themselves and a privileged few,” the then presidential hopeful told a band of journalists in Abuja two days before the election.

“Like I have repeatedly maintained that if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria,” he warned.

As far as leading by example goes, many Nigerians believed by declaring his assets publicly within his first few weeks in office, Mr. Buhari would have set the tone for his war against corruption.

The president and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo finally did so last week after foot-dragging for over three months.

In August, the president inaugurated a Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption to advise his administration on how to reform Nigeria’s criminal justice system, and steps needed to fight corruption.

Also, in support of the government’s efforts, a US$5 million Anti-Corruption and Criminal Justice Reform Fund was established by the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and Open Society Foundation‎ to assist the work of the committee.

Corrupt-free cabinet

Mr. Buhari has yet to appoint ministers 100 days after taking office, and he has angered even his supporters with his choices for key administration positions. Critics see the appointments as regionally skewed.

The president said in July he was reforming the government before naming his cabinet. Officials also say the president is careful not to appoint corrupt people into offices.

While he has been lambasted for not adhering to the constitutionally stipulated regional balance in his appointments, Mr. Buhari has faced less criticism for over the integrity of those he has appointed so far.

“The president’s distaste for corruption is evident in his selection of people that don’t carry excess baggage,” said Onyekachi Ubani, a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch.

“We want him to sustain the tempo and not be distracted by some of the forces that are actually fighting back.

“And I want to say this with every sense of seriousness, they should not engage in any press war with any person. And no press trial too,” sad Mr. Ubani.‎

Premium Times

Saudi King Salman to visit D.C., books entire hotel

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in the Oval Office of the White House September 4, 2015.

When you're royalty, go big or don't go at all.

That's at least true for Saudi Arabia's King Salman, who touched down on U.S. soil Thursday to the sight of dozens of black luxury cars awaiting his arrival at Joint Base Andrews located just outside Washington in Prince George's County, Md.

Wall Street Journal reporter Carol Lee snapped a photo of his epic entourage. (On a recent trip to France, Salman had a 10-vehicle motorcade, and hired an additional 400 luxury car drivers, the BBC reported.)

The king of the oil-rich nation is here to meet with President Obama at the White House on Friday to talk all things involving the Iran nuclear deal and its wider effect on the Middle East. Their face-to-face happens before the Senate returns next week and takes up the deal, just as Obama has rallied enough support for it from Democrats.

It's the Saudi king's first visit to the United States since ascending to the throne in January after the death of his brother, King Abdullah. He skipped the May summit of Gulf nations held at Camp David.

And his visit is huge — like "renting out the entire Four Seasons hotel and making it gold" huge.

Politico reported that the lavish hotel chain's Georgetown location has been redecorated, rolling out enough red carpet to keep Salman and his family from ever touching the asphalt. Almost everything has a golden touch, regulars observed, from the mirrors to the hat racks — how elegant!

The entire hotel is reportedly booked through Saturday for the king and his entourage, and just in time for Labor Day weekend.

USA Today