We deliver the most recent information on top stories in politics, sports, current affairs, foreign news and more in this column.
Tens of thousands of South Africans were joined by top world leaders for the national memorial service of Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.
The Nigerian Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) finally reached an agreement on terms to end the ongoing strike action by the union.
Ex-President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo writes strong-worded 18-page letter to Goodluck Jonathan.
On Thursday, the Boko Haram sect released a video threatening to attack the United States.
The Rivers State Police Command on Thursday, barricaded the Rivers House of Assembly and dispersed protesters with tear gas.
President Goodluck Jonathan and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo surprisingly met in Kenya on Thursday in the aftermath of the latter’s open letter.
Read the news in full.
World Leaders Attend Nelson Mandela Memorial Service
Tens of thousands of South Africans joined dozens of world leaders for the national memorial service for former President Nelson Mandela which was held at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg.
It was one of the biggest gatherings of international dignitaries in recent years, with more than 100 current or former heads of state or government attending.
Introducing the proceedings, the master of ceremonies, Cyril Ramaphosa, said that Mr Mandela's “long walk is over… and he can finally rest”.
South African President Jacob Zuma made the keynote address. He said Mr Mandela was “one of a kind… a fearless freedom fighter who refused to allow the brutality of the apartheid state to stand in way of the struggle for the liberation of his people”.
Mr Zuma announced he was renaming the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where Mr Mandela will lie in state, as the Mandela Amphitheatre.
Earlier US President, Barack Obama delivered a rousing speech, to huge cheers. He said: “It is hard to eulogise any man… how much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation towards justice.”
He said Nelson Mandela had taught the world the power of action and the power of ideas, and that it had taken a man like Mr Mandela to free not only the prisoner but also the jailer.
Mr Obama said: “We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. While I will always fall short of Madiba (Mr Mandela's clan name), he makes me want to be a better man.”
On his way to the podium, President Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro, an unprecedented gesture between the leaders of two nations that have been at loggerheads for more than half a century.
Other notable figures at the memorial included; UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, fellow Robben Island inmate Andrew Mlangeni, Mr Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband and former British Prime Ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major.
Three former US presidents, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, were also there, as were Francois Hollande of France, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.
Other mourners in attendance were Oprah Winfrey, Bono, Sir Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel.
The ceremony was closed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who asked the crowd to rise to their feet for a final tribute.
Federal Government, ASUU Reach Agreement
The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities have reached an agreement to end the over five month old strike by ASUU. The lecturer’s association has however said that its members may return to work next week.
The Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike told journalists at a meeting with the leadership of ASUU, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Universities Commission and five vice- chancellors of universities that all contending issues between the parties have been resolved.
The parties signed a document to seal the agreement which spells great hope that the over five-month old strike may be called off within one week, although the president of ASUU, Professor Nasir Faggae declined to say what was contained in the document.
ASUU’s demands include the upward review of the retirement age for professors from 65 to 70; adequate funding to revitalise the university system; progressive increase of budgetary allocations to the education sector by 26 per cent; transfer of federal government property to universities; setting up of research and development units by companies; payment of earned allowances; and renegotiation of the signed agreement.
The agreement between the two is reached barely 24 hours after the Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe presented a proof of payment of N200 billion into an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The strike began on July 1st 2013 and lasted for over five months before this resolution was reached.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo writes strong-worded 18-page letter to Goodluck Jonathan
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has written a letter to the President, accusing Nigeria’s number one citizen of performing below par and taking actions calculated at destroying the country.
In an 18-page letter dated December 2nd, 2013 and titled, “Before it is too late,” Obasanjo said, “Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage must be stopped.”
The letter which became public on Wednesday, noted that Jonathan failed to deliver on his promises to the Nigerian people, to stem corruption, promote national unity and strengthen national security.
According to the former head of state, President Jonathan, who is a member of his political party, PDP, betrayed God and the Nigerian people that brought him to power, rather than take steps to advance Nigeria’s interest and up the standards of living of Nigerians.
He added that President Jonathan has been pursuing selfish personal and political interests based on advice he receives from “self-centred aides”.
On the President’s rumoured 2nd term agenda, Obasanjo disclosed that Jonathan had told him before the 2011 election that he would not seek a second term but the president’s refusal to keep that promise cast him as a man without honour, Mr. Obasanjo said.
Although the President is yet to declare his intentions to run in the 2015 elections, such a move would be “fatally morally flawed” for Mr. Jonathan, according to Obasanjo.
Mr. Obasanjo added, “As a leader, two things you must cherish and hold dear among others are trust and honour both of which are important ingredients of character. I will want to see anyone in the Office of the Presidency of Nigeria as a man or woman who can be trusted, a person of honour in his words and character.”
Obasanjo also accused Mr. Jonathan of anti-party conducts – supporting opposition parties’ candidates in governorship elections in Lagos, Ondo, Edo and Anambra states at the detriment of PDP’s own candidates –, and of pitting party members against one another.
Speaking on the on-going PDP crisis, Obasanjo said “whatever may be the feud in PDP and no matter what you or your aides may feel, you as the party leader have the responsibility to find solution, resolve and fix it.”
Boko Haram Threatens To Attack U.S In New Video
A new video allegedly released by the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau and obtained by journalists on Thursday in Maiduguri the Borno state capital has threatened to attack the United States for her desire to join forces with Nigeria to fight terrorism and insurgency.
The United States had in November classified Boko Haram as a terrorist organization that has links with international terrorist group, Al-Qaeda.
Boko Haram in the video, vowed to take its violent campaigns to the U.S for her pledge to partner with Nigeria to fight terrorism.
“After that you said so many things. By Allah, you are lying. Were you truthful, oh America, you would have been truthful inside your country, you bloody liar. May Allah’s curse be on you,” the man believed to be Shekau, said in the video.
“This message is intended as a glad tiding. Allah the Almighty has given us victory in the attack we launched inside Maiduguri on the 2nd of this month.
“We stormed the city and fought them (and) Allah blessed us with lots of booty.
“They call us Boko Haram but we are not Boko Haram. We are Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad whose leader is Abubakar Ash-shakawy, who in the past committed a lot of infractions but when he followed the Quran and the prophet’s teachings, today even Obama fears him, Francois Hollande fears him, Benjamin Netanyahu fears him, the whole world fears him. Why? Because he holds on to Allah the Almighty.
“You are boasting you are going to join forces with Nigeria to crush us, bloody liars. You couldn’t crush us when we were carrying sticks, is it today when we storm your barracks and commandeer your things one after the other, killed you in numbers that you are going to crush us? The man believed to be Shekau continued saying in the video.
“Where were you when your World Trade Centre was bombed, including your Pentagon when you were faced on your turf? Liars! May Allah protect us. This is a message from this small destitute who has become a nightmare to infidels” said Shekau who made the speech on the victory they achieved in Maiduguri.
The message vowed to continue with the attack not just in Maiduguri but the whole world and reminded those who care to listen to repent and turn to Allah.
“By Allah we will never stop. Don’t think we will stop in Maiduguri, tomorrow you will see us in America itself. Our operation is not confined to Nigeria; it is for the whole world”.
Police Barricade Rivers House of Assembly, Disperse Protesters With Tear Gas
The Rivers State Police Command on Thursday dispersed a crowd at the state House Of Assembly with tear gas, after the state lawmakers held their plenary on the streets outside their premises.
Twenty-five out of the 26 members of the house had converged on the assembly to sit in compliance with a High Court order barring the National Assembly from taking over the functions of the assembly.
Trouble began to brew after the police barricaded the entrance to the state House of Assembly, forcing the lawmakers to hold their plenary in the open.
The lawmakers had gone to the House of Assembly with the intention of resuming the business of law-making after a Federal High Court in Abuja voided the resolution of the National Assembly to take over the legislative functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The court faulted the decision on the ground that the National Assembly cannot assume the law making functions of the House of Assembly when there were no facts that the assembly was unable to carry out its functions.
In nullifying the resolution, Justice Abubakar Mohammed restrained the Senate, the Senate President, the House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House of Representatives from assuming the law making functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The court also ruled that “the National Assembly does not have the powers to direct the Inspector-General of Police to re-deploy the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, or any other Police officer in the River State Police Command”.
Channels Television’s Rivers State correspondent reported that while the lawmakers insisted on entering their official place of work, the Police claimed that it had not been served with any authorising letter to permit them to enter into the premises.
The lawmakers resumed plenary on the road, but were chased out of the place by the police with tear gas.
Some persons suspected to be hoodlums resisted the Police’s action, as tear gas and gun shots rented the air.
Obasanjo Meets With Jonathan In Kenya
President Goodluck Jonathan and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday had breakfast together in Nairobi, Kenya.
Both men were among other African leaders that graced the 50th Independence Anniversary celebration of Kenya on Thursday, December 12.
Obasanjo’s visit was said to have taken everybody by surprise as it contradicts the expected nature of the relationship between both men, owing to recent public criticisms of the President by Obasanjo.
The unexpected meeting held prior to the anniversary event which was held at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani, Nairobi with former president, Obasanjo paying a surprise visit to President Jonathan at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi where they had a private breakfast together.
Obasanjo, who had the breakfast with President Jonathan had written a strongly worded letter, which went public earlier this week, accusing him of performing below par and taking actions calculated at destroying the country.
Meanwhile, in his speech, at the event, President Jonathan called on all Kenyans to unite. According to him, there was no alternative to unity if Kenyans must move their nation forward. In building their nation, Jonathan told Kenyans that they must make unity their focal point.
He said that the destiny of Kenya lies with its people and as such, the people must strive hard to take their country to a greater height. President Jonathan said that he was happy that former Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga was present at the event and working with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Nobody can love you more than Kenyans, so you all have to jointly develop your country. All Kenyans should come together to form an inclusive society.
“Since 2007, many African countries like Kenya have been celebrating 50 years of independence and freedom, our founding fathers talked of political freedom to be followed by economic freedom.
“The present generation of African leaders must work hard on science and technology as well as industrialisation, so that there could be economic development and freedom” Jonathan stated.
Obasanjo was said to have sat quietly during the event and was making calls on his mobile phone at intervals while the event lasted.
Credit: BBC News, Channelstv.com
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