Sunday, March 31, 2019

Brazil president visits Israel amid embassy move controversy

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro landed in Israel on Sunday for an official visit, where he was expected to announce whether he will relocate his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Bolsonaro was welcomed at the Ben Gurion Airport with an official ceremony, attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara.
In a statement at the airport, Netanyahu said the visit heralds a "climax" in the relations between the two countries.
"We are making history, together," he said.
During his four-day trip, the far-right Brazilian president will meet with Netanyahu and sign bilateral agreements. The two leaders are scheduled to deliver joint statements in the evening.
The president's itinerary also includes a visit to the Western Wall, known in Islam as the Buraq Wall, a controversial holy site in East Jerusalem's Old City, accompanied by Netanyahu, as well as an array of several military forces.
The visit follows Netanyahu's trip to Brazil last December, during which he attended Bolsonaro's inauguration ceremony and held a personal meeting with the Brazilian president.
Bolsonaro has promised several times he will relocate the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem, a move that is expected to trigger more tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
But Israeli media said Bolsonaro may announce the opening of a foreign trade representation office in Jerusalem rather than the relocations of the embassy during the visit.
Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, and annexed it shortly afterwards, claiming it part of its "indivisible capital," while the Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Most of the international community also view East Jerusalem as an occupied Palestinian territory.
In December 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocated his country's embassy to the city in May of 2018, a move that has sparked waves of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.


Man Kills 7 Family Members in Iran

Iranian media says a man has shot dead seven members of his wife’s family in the southwestern city of Dezful.

The state-owned IRNA news agency said Sunday the shooter wielded a Kalashnikov rifle killing five men and two women, before shooting himself.
The agency reported the shooter survived and is in hospital, but did not release his name.
Gun violence is rare in Iran, where citizens are only allowed to own licensed hunting rifles.
In January 2017, a man gunned down five people in a rampage in the central Iranian city of Arak. A month earlier a man killed 10 relatives in a remote rural area in the country’s south.

Culled from VOA

US military wants to use sea creatures as underwater spies to monitor enemy activity

The American military is turning to fish and other sea life to help them monitor the activity of their enemies in the oceans.

Marine creatures are well adapted to their environment, and scientists want to employ their sensory abilities to pick up signals that might be missed by conventional technology.
This could mean anything from monitoring fluctuations in schools of sea bass to microbes responding to the magnetic signatures emitted by submarines.
The Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) programme will make use of this information to transform these creatures into self-sustaining populations of underwater spies.
“The US Navy’s current approach to detecting and monitoring underwater vehicles is hardware-centric and resource intensive,” said programme manager Dr Lori Adornato as the initiative was launched last year.

Man faces 7 years jail term for starving cows

A Wisconsin man Joshua Litza is likely to serve up to seven and a half years in prison if convicted on animal cruelty charges after police found four dead cows on his farm and other emaciated animals with bones jutting from their flanks.

Litza, 19, is set to appear in court on April 8 after he was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of intentionally failing to provide food to animals and four counts of failing to timely dispose of an animal carcass after officials say he neglected his father’s cattle that he was supposed to be tending to.
According to The Wausau Daily Herald, a Marathon County sheriff’s deputy was responding to a call of cattle blocking a roadway in the town of Norrie.
Once there, the officer reportedly noticed that some of the cows were so thin that their bones were protruding.
He also discovered four carcasses of dead cows.
Authorities eventually found out that the animals belonged to Litza, who was supposed to be caring for them while his father, 57-year-old John Litza, was away.
The complaint stated that Litza told officers he fed the cows but an investigation of the farm did not show “any recent signs of feeding or watering.”
Litza had been charged in September with three counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of exposing a child to harmful materials.


Man Asks To Use Market's Bathroom, And Employee Allegedly Stabs Him

When Harold Williams needed to answer nature’s call on March 16, he asked the employees of a Florida market if he could use their bathroom.

The Bahamian native said he received permission, but then one of the employees of Pines Market stabbed him in the face when he attempted to use the facilities.
Williams says he believes the incident was racially motivated and wants charges against his attacker increased from aggravated battery to attempted manslaughter or attempted murder, according to NBC Miami.
“I don’t know what motivated him to attack me, but I watch the news in the United States and I see how black and brown people are treated, and I can’t help but wonder if he stabbed me in the face because of the color of my skin,” Williams said, according to the station.
There’s a sign posted at Pines Market that reads, “No public restroom. Do not cross beyond this point,” but Williams said he didn’t see the sign and that the two clerks on duty gave him permission to use the bathroom. One employee, 24-year-old Fawaz Hassan, accompanied him to the rear of the market, according to CBS Miami.
On the way to the restroom, Williams says, Hassan reached out toward his face and struck him. Williams said he first thought Hassan had punched him but quickly realized the employee had stabbed him in his left cheek.
He described the weapon as a kitchen knife between 8 and 10 inches long.
“The only thing I asked was to use the restroom, and I was attacked. The man nearly took my life,” Williams said.
Williams’ attorney Jasmine Rand told CBS Miami that surveillance video supports her client’s story. 
“There is video evidence of my client entering the store. The video evidence before he was stabbed and after he was stabbed it is very clear that my client was not committing any crime,” she said. “My client was unarmed, unprovoked, and it’s unjustifiable.” 
Surveillance video showed Williams entering the business and then retreating with his hands up after being stabbed, police said.
“I didn’t say anything to him. I just said, ‘Sorry, I wanted to use the restroom,’” Williams told local station WPLG TV.
Williams made it to a nearby urgent care center, where employees did a CAT scan. Although the knifing didn’t damage any vitals, Williams said his doctor told him he may need surgery to repair the muscle in his jaw.
Police took Hassan into custody and charged him with aggravated battery.
Hassan’s attorney Eric Schwartzreich claims his client felt the need for self-defense when Williams attempted to go to the back of the business, according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“He had to defend himself and stabbed the victim in the face,” Schwartzreich said. “It was not a random attack. He’s not a psychopath. It wasn’t done for any racial animus. It was done because of what [Hassan] perceived to be a need for a legal self-defense.”
There was no evidence that Williams had a weapon or intended to commit a crime in the business, investigators said.

Culled from Yahoo news

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Man shoots teenager for knocking on his door

A Georgia man has been arrested after he fatally shot a 19-year-old man who accidentally knocked on the wrong apartment door.

The shooting victim, Omarian Banks, was dropped off at the Retreat apartment complex in Atlanta around 12:30 a.m. on Friday.
According to police, Banks and his girlfriend recently moved into the building and Banks, still unfamiliar with the area, knocked on what he thought was his apartment door.
Banks had reportedly made an error, approaching the door of 32-year-old Darryl Bynes instead.
According to the police account, the pair had a short conversation before Bynes went inside, grabbed his gun and shot Banks as he tried to get away, WSB-TV reported.
Banks’ girlfriend, who was on FaceTime at the time of the shooting, told the local station that she heard her boyfriend say “sorry, I’m at the wrong house” before Bynes reportedly called him a racial slur adding “you at the right house.” She said she then heard two shots being fired off.
Police said that Bynes first claimed self-defense but evidence suggests the victim was shot from Bynes’ balcony as he tried to get away, WSB-TV reported.
Bynes was arrested and booked at the Fulton County Jail, where he is facing murder charges, inmate records indicated.
He had been arrested three previous times, according to jail records.


Man convicted of raping relative lashes out at judge: ‘You can go f–k yourself’

A Utah man found guilty of raping a relative demanded to be sentenced immediately by a judge — and went on a foul-mouthed rant when he didn’t get his way, saying he didn’t give a “flying f–k” about consequences he may face, courtroom audio reveals.

Jacob Oberg, 26, was convicted by a jury in Fremont County late Wednesday of raping a 24-year-old female relative during a camping trip in Island Park, Utah. He was arrested in September 2017 and his first trial ended in a hung jury, reports.
The 18-month-long case seemingly took its toll on Oberg, who lashed out against District Judge Darren Simpson in a nearly minute-long tirade after the judge refused to grant his request to be sentenced immediately following the guilty verdict.
“Mr. Oberg, having been found guilty of rape and of being a persistent violator, it becomes this court’s duty to sentence you,” Simpson said. “We will schedule sentencing for May 24, 2019, at 9 a.m.”
Oberg then chimed in, saying he had an objection. That prompted Simpson to tell Oberg to take it up with his attorney and to file his grievance that way, according to courtroom audio obtained by the website.
“No, they are no longer my counsel,” Oberg said. “I represent myself at this point. I want to be sentenced now.”
Simpson then told Oberg that he was unable to sentence him at that point, saying a pre-sentencing investigation had not yet been completed.
“Bull f–king s–t,” Oberg replied. “I want to be sentenced now.”

“You’re not going to be sentenced now,” Simpson continued.
“You can go f–k yourself, then,” Oberg said.
Simpson then told Oberg that he planned to hold him in contempt of court if his behavior continued or have him removed from the courtroom, prompting Oberg to audibly mock the judge.
“I don’t care,” Oberg said in an obviously ridiculing tone. “What are you going to do about it, motherf–ker?”
Continuing the flippant banter, Simpson then told Oberg that he was “helping yourself a lot” with the outburst.
“I don’t give a flying f–k,” Oberg said. “What are you going to do about it? Sentence me to prison? Wow. I’m already going for 20 years. That’s persistent violator right there, motherf–ker.”
Oberg then told Simpson that he wouldn’t be attending his sentencing. He faces a minimum of one year and up to life behind bars.
“I ain’t coming,” Oberg said.
“Go ahead … Well, we’ll see,” Simpson replied. “Go ahead and remove him from the courtroom.”
Oberg’s outburst continued in a hallway after he was taken out of the courtroom, reports.

Culled from NYP

Mother-of-three, 25, and drug dealer are jailed after leading police on terrifying 86mph rush-hour chase with her five-year-old child in their car

A drug dealer and a young mother-of-three who were involved in a terrifying high speed chase with the police with her five-year-old child in their car have been jailed.

Stephen Irwin, 32, reached speeds of 86mph on residential roads and veered into the face of oncoming traffic in Cumbria.
Natasha Graham, 25, and her child were passengers in the Saab Irwin was driving at the time of the pursuit. 
A cyclist was forced to jump on to a grass verge to avoid being hit and officers following Irwin had to abandon the pursuit as they were concerned for public safety, Carlisle Crown Court heard. 

Police videoed Irwin as he turned right into oncoming traffic at the M6 Junction 44 roundabout to drive north along the A7 towards Longtown, Cumbria.
The court heard Irwin exceeded 70mph as he swerved between traffic and forced the cyclist to dive out of the way.
The car was later found abandoned in a field having crashed through a fence.
In the days after the chase, Irwin booked into a Carlisle hotel with Graham and together they operated a lucrative drug dealing operation, the court heard.
A third person, Steven Kidd, was also jailed for supplying cocaine. 

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson outlined how Irwin reached up to 86mph as he fled from police during rush-hour.
Judge Peter Davies at Carlisle Crown Court was shown a series of video clips of Irwin's driving as he fled from police at about 5pm on February 1.
The judge said: 'God only knows how a catastrophe was averted.
'It was an appalling piece of driving from someone with two previous convictions for dangerous driving.'
Mr Rogerson said staff at the County Hotel in Carlisle became suspicious of their drug activity after the pair booked two rooms which then began receiving a constant stream of visitors over the following days.

In one of the rooms, police found a 46.6g rock of cocaine which had a potential street value just below £5,000.
Police officers also seized £1,313 in cash from Irwin and £230 from Graham.
Irwin admitted dangerous driving on February 1, as well as possessing cocaine with intent to supply.
Graham admitted two counts of possessing cocaine with intent to supply.
Police also found digital scales and a number of snap bags used by dealers for storing drugs at their home.

Kidd was arrested on December 29 when police saw Graham dropping him off in Botchergate, Carlisle.
When he was searched, police found he was carrying nine snap bags of cocaine, worth between £265 and £360.
He pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine and possessing the class A drug with intent to supply.
He committed both offences in late December 2017. 
Irwin was jailed for seven and a half years and disqualified him from driving for 69 months, stipulating that he must take an extended retest before driving unaccompanied.
Graham was jailed for three years and nine months and Kidd for three and a half years.


Female jogger, 45, who was found dead in a New Jersey lake was 'strangled and dumped in the water and may have been sexually assaulted'

A woman who was found dead in a New Jersey lake over the weekend may have been strangled and dumped in the water, authorities believe. 

Carolina Cano, 45, who was living in Jersey City, was found dead in the lake in Lincoln Park not far from where she lived on Sunday morning at around 7.30 am.
Cano, who was originally from Peru and worked as a nanny, was wearing sneakers when she was found and detectives do not believe that she had been in the water for long.
Her roommate told News 4 that she went out to exercise around 5.30 am, as she did most mornings, and never returned home.
The woman, who did not give her name, said: 'It has affected us so much because it happened so suddenly.
'It didn't happen because she was sick, it happened from one moment to the next. 
She explained that her family lives in Peru and they are absolutely devastated by her death.
'She was like family because I've known her since she was a little girl,' the roommate said. 
'She was a working woman, a good woman. She didn’t bother anyone. She was a woman that was always with God, that’s how she lived. 
'She was really a beautiful woman. She had a very beautiful heart.'
The roommate claimed that Cano did not have a boyfriend and came to the U.S. alone. She worked as a nanny, possibly for a family in Passaic County. 
Police sources told News 4 the medical examiner found marks consistent with strangulation around her neck, but those marks were not obvious when her body was first recovered. 
Police are also looking into the possibility Cano may have been sexually assaulted, sources claim. Her death has now been ruled as a homicide. 
The lake where Cano was found is surrounded by running trails, roads and tennis courts. 
Detectives are looking for security video to see if they can make progress on the case. No arrests have been made yet and further details on the investigation have not been released. 
Her neighbor Frankie Ramos said he knew something was wrong when she didn't show up at church.
'My wife, she call the hospital. everybody was looking for her, you know. Desperately,' he told News 4.

I’m 50, childless and happy that I never froze my eggs

On my 50th birthday earlier this month, I woke up and breathed a sigh of relief. I’m not a mother and will never be a mother, despite my deepest desires and well-meaning people who assured me well into my 40s that there was still a way.

By age 45, I had lost the will. I couldn’t have a baby because I couldn’t find a man with whom I wanted to spend my life. So, as I reached the end of my fertile years, I packed up my fervent hopes for a family and moved on.
If I had been just 10 years younger, I might have been tempted to freeze my eggs as I waited to find love. In the last decade, egg freezing has become an increasingly viable option for women who want to preserve their fertility until they find a mate.
In 2009, the practice was at its nascent stage, with a reported 564 egg-freezing cycles compared with 8,892 cycles in 2016, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.
But, back when I was 40, my eggs were too old and the technology too new to opt in — and for that I am grateful.
I know single women just a few years younger than me who took advantage of the opportunity. Now in their late 40s, many still remain single. And their eggs — and lives — remain frozen as they vacillate in indecision. Should they have a child with a man they don’t love? Should they become single mothers? Should they keep paying the storage fees? (Egg storage can cost about $1,000 a year in New York City after a retrieval fee of approximately $10,000 per cycle, expenses that are rarely covered by insurance.)
“When you freeze your eggs, you lengthen your logistical timeline for fertility, but you also lengthen your emotional timeline,” Lori Gottlieb, a psychoanalyst who offers reproductive counseling, told me. “When you can always think ‘I’ll do it later,’ it is very painful to close off that avenue and deal with the grief” that you can’t.
Women like me, who don’t have eggs-in-waiting, eventually reach a point where we have to accept we’ll never become biological mothers. But women who freeze their eggs always have a choice, leaving them in emotional limbo.
Nine years ago, at age 38, my friend Katie froze 20 eggs in two rounds of retrievals. Now 47 and with no marriage prospects on the horizon, she’s suffering under the weight of her choice.
“I never imagined becoming a single mom, but I also can’t imagine never having a kid,” she told me. “The pain of freezing my eggs and not even trying to be a mom is too great.”
Still, other options like asking a male friend to co-parent or finding a sperm donor don’t feel right for her, either.
Ellie was 37 when she went through four rounds of egg retrievals. Now 46 and still single, she “hopes and prays” she’ll find love soon. And while she says she tries not to “drive herself crazy” with the idea that she may not have the family she yearns for, she also won’t even consider a future where she won’t become a mom.
Egg freezing is no silver bullet — even if a woman does find a mate. More than 20,000 American women have frozen their eggs, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, but most (85 percent or more) have not even had their eggs thawed.
“I know there’s only a 5 to 10 percent chance that I’ll have a baby with my biological eggs,” Katie told me. “But why can’t I be one of the 5-percenters? It has to be someone, right? Why not me?”
I asked that question 10 years ago when I turned 40. Why not me? Why can’t I find love and motherhood?
But not having frozen my eggs, I didn’t have to struggle with these questions for long. Eventually, the opportunity passed and I grieved my loss — then got on with my life.
Now 50, I can honestly say I am happy and fulfilled. I’m on the other side of hope and feel grateful to be here.


Final words of pilot of crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane revealed

One of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302’s pilots told the other “pitch up, pitch-up” moments before the Boeing 737 Max jetliner crashed three weeks ago, a new report has revealed.

According to The Wall Street Journal, that instruction and other information about the plane’s final moments paint a picture of a flight crew that was quickly overwhelmed.
The Ethiopian Airlines jet took off from Addis Ababa on March 10 and ran into trouble almost immediately, the Journal reported.
First Officer Ahmed Nur Mohammed contacted the control tower and in a crackling transmission reported a “flight control problem,” according to the newspaper, which cited people close to the ongoing investigation.
The tower asked for details as Captain Yared Getachew tried to climb and correct the glide path, the paper reported.
Two minutes into the flight oscillation became a wild bounce, then a dive. The flight lasted fewer than six minutes.
The pilot who urged the other to pitch up was not identified, as all 157 people on board the plane were killed.
The newspaper’s report came as Boeing faces mounting pressure to roll out a software update for its 737 Max, its best-selling jet.
A faulty anti-stalling system on the Max is suspected in the disaster, which occurred shortly after takeoff.
The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight-control feature is also suspected in the crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max in Indonesia last October, according to the BBC.
The Lion Air flight went down soon after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board.
Arlines grounded 737 Max jets in their fleets after the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
It is hoped there will be a fix in time for the peak summer travel season, the Associated Press reported.
The Max remains grounded worldwide and airlines are losing money because of canceled flights.


I’m glad I didn’t die of hunger and still graduated with first-class degree – Ojo, OAU law graduate

Ojo Jeremiah, 29, was the only student who graduated with a first-class degree in the Department of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, in the 2015/2016 academic session. He also replicated the feat at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja campus. He speaks about his success in this interview with TUNDE AJAJA

Would you say you are in your dream profession as a lawyer?

Exactly; my dream was to be a lawyer, which I am today by the mercy of God. From childhood, my father used to address each of his children with the title of a profession that he desired for each of us and eventually, we ended up studying the respective courses he had desired for us. That’s why my family is a family of professionals – doctor, lawyer, engineers, accountant and a scientist.

Did he also influence your decision to graduate with a first-class degree?

I thank God for the kind of parents that I have. I made up my mind to graduate with a first-class degree, even before leaving home because my father always emphasised that the only grade acceptable to him was a first-class grade and nothing else. He always emphasised that there is no shortcut to success and that if one reads reflectively, desirable success is attainable. And I thank God I didn’t fall short of that expectation. I won’t say it was easy, it was not easy at all. However, I bless God for His grace and mercy that saw me through. I give God the glory. When I lost my mum on March 13, 2002, I promised myself that I would always give my best to my education, and my siblings are very wonderful people. I have the strongest relationship with them and they all have very brilliant and inspiring academic performances. I truly love them all.

Were there times your parents rewarded you for your excellent results?

I can’t remember if there was any. However, I know that whenever we came home with good results during our primary and secondary school days, my parents would applaud us and still emphasise that we could actually do better.

When you were younger, were there times your parents or siblings had to chastise you to read or were you always committed to reading on your own?

In my primary and secondary school days, there were times I was seriously chastised by my father. Overall, he hated and frowned on bad performances and he was never satisfied with a second position. He always encouraged us to be the best and nothing but the best. I could remember an incident when I was in primary four; I came 12th out of 63 students. I had never performed that poorly before. I usually came 2nd, 3rd or 4th. Immediately I got my report card, I started crying profusely. I went to hide somewhere; I didn’t want to go home. After crying for several hours, a good Samaritan took me home and begged my dad until he agreed not to discipline me. That day has remained vivid in my memory. I ensured that the incident did not repeat itself again.

How easy was it passing your West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination?

It was not that easy because of the secondary school I went to. It was as if the school didn’t have good record in WASSCE performance. However, I only did the examination once. The UTME experience was not too palatable because I took the exam many times before I eventually got the cut-off score to get admitted into the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University. I never failed any of the UTMEs I attempted; it was only that I didn’t meet up with the cut-off score for my course.

Since you took UTMEs many times, what were you doing during that period?

I graduated from senior secondary school in 2006, I gained admission in 2012. It was really a trying period for me. It was a very difficult period for me and I almost hurt myself. Even my younger brother got university admission before me. I lost all my friends because they had all got admission while I was still at home. By the time I was going to university, some of my friends had graduated and some were getting married already. But today, some of them now look up to me. It would interest you to know that it wasn’t that I failed the post-UTME exams; there were times I scored 275 and something close, but it was never up to the cut-off mark. At some point, I taught in a local school and the good part of it is that some of the students I taught are doing well today. Two are studying law, one is in Year six in medical school, among others. The principal really loved me because it was as if I brought something that was missing.

Law students often share their experience about citing cases during exams. Would you say it was that tough or that it was an exaggeration?

To be truthful, it is not an exaggeration, it is that tough and very voluminous. Sometimes, during examinations many times I cited more than 30 cases in just a single examination. You can imagine writing about 32 pages during an examination of just three hours. You just must be smart, brave, fast and very intelligent. Despite these, there were times I had grades that were very discouraging but I never gave up and I thank God for encouragements from my friends. Overall, I am what I am today by the grace of God.

Being the only one who graduated with a first-class degree in your department, what were the things you did differently from others?

I may not know what I did differently from others, but I know that I was very hard-working, consistent, focused, determined, and passionate about graduating with a first-class degree and I was totally dependent on God. And I started from the first semester in my first year. Although my grades dropped along the line, I worked harder to bring them up there again. I believe that academic success is not about reading all the time, I understood myself, I didn’t copy anyone’s reading style and I had confidence in God. I had to read when there was opportunity to do so as I had to engage in some profit-oriented activities to sustain myself.

You graduated with first-class degrees in both institutions, which would you say was easier?

I can’t say one was tougher or easier than the other. However, in the university, you are likely to know if you will end up graduating with a first-class degree because the grades are cumulative. It is also unlikely that a single mistake made in respect of a course would lead to downfall. But in law school, the grades are not cumulative; a single mistake in a course could spell doom for one’s grade, due to the grading system. To graduate with a first-class degree in law school, you must have ‘A’ in all the courses. And your lowest grade is the final grade you finish with. For instance, if someone has four A’s and one C, that is second class lower. You are graded by your lowest grade, it is that serious. So, I cannot really say one was easier or tougher. University requires consistency and persistence from the first year to final year, while law school is just one year but can be very dangerous.

People have expressed worry over the rate of failure at the law school. Would you have an idea of why it’s that bad?

Well, the failure may be due to stress. I don’t think the work is that difficult. However, the workload is too voluminous and very stressful. Apart from the fact that there are five voluminous courses, the examinations come one after the other, meaning you take one exam every day (Monday to Friday). If anything goes wrong with someone writing the examination during these days, it is like a death sentence. Law school is stressful and you have to work hard to be excellent. You just have to be focused. No doubt, there are distractions, but I remained focused and determined to repeat the same feat I had as an undergraduate.

How would you have felt if you had not graduated with a first-class degree in the law school?

I know heaven wouldn’t have fallen, but I would have been disappointed. Thank God it did not happen. God is always faithful.

Would you say your performance has opened doors for you or given you some opportunities?

Graduating with a first-class degree really opened doors and opportunities for me. Before I decided to join Templars, a leading full-service law firm in Nigeria, I had offers from top law firms in Abuja and Lagos, including an oil company.

What have you been doing since you graduated?

I commenced the National Youth Service Corps programme immediately after law school. I’m currently an associate in Templars.

You spoke about having financial challenges, was the situation bad?

Yes, both as an undergraduate and at the law school. During my undergraduate days, my father (Pastor Ojo) provided financial support, which I supplemented through tutorials, especially ICAN tutorials where I taught Business Law as a course. I also engaged in photocopying and printing work. Thank God I had 100 per cent success because all those people I taught during that period passed their examinations. It wasn’t easy combining all those with my education, but I thank God I emerged victorious. The experience I had in law school was different entirely as I had to struggle to survive. The little I was given from home was not sufficient at all. I used to eat once in a day, and I might not have any sometimes. It was tough, but I thank God that in His faithfulness, I didn’t die of hunger and I still graduated with a first-class degree.

Do you like litigation or you have interest in other things?

I don’t really have a preliminary interest in litigation. I would prefer to become a corporate and commercial lawyer and eventually be a professor of law, where I can teach students what I know and use the legal knowledge I have acquired to help solve societal problems.

What part of law would you like to specialise in?

I would like to specialise in corporate, commercial, finance and energy law.

It has all been about your education, were you social at all?

I was not very social, due largely to the circumstances, especially financial challenges I was faced with at that time, which meant I had to dedicate most of my time to engaging in activities that could provide me with money to sustain myself. Beyond academic works, I was an executive member for three consecutive years at the Deeper Life Campus Fellowship, OAU and I must add that the church also contributed to my success, in terms of constant motivation and programmes that truly impact lives. Permit me to add that I look up to my pastor and mentor, Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi. I will love to be like him. He is an erudite scholar and a lover of God, which I believe is the purpose of our existence.  Although, I have not discussed with him before, I’m hopeful that someday I will be privileged to have a discussion with him and tell him that I am his mentee. I keep that hope alive.

Did you win any awards as an undergraduate and at the law school?

I like to mention this first; after my undergraduate studies, when it appeared that I might have delay in proceeding to the Nigeria Law School due to problem of finance, Reginald Aziza Foundation offered me a scholarship that catered for my school fees of #295,000.00. That was very helpful and I’m grateful for it. At the law school, I won the Director General’s award for the first-class students, an award of Outstanding Academic Excellence by the Student Representative Council of the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. But during our convocation in school, I won about seven awards:  Faculty Prize, Justice Kayode Esho Annual Prize, Justice Olu Ayoola Prize, Justice C. O. Madarikan Prize, Justice Mohammed Bello Prize, Chief Gani Fawehinmi Prize and Justice Jaiyeola Abayomi Olowofoyeku Prize for best graduating student in the Faculty of Law.

Culled from punch

17-year-old emerges WAEC’s best candidate with 8 A1s

A 17-year-old former pupil of Nigerian Airforce Secondary School, Ikeja, Lagos, Peter Arotiba, has emerged the best overall candidate in the May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in West Africa.

Arotiba emerged the best candidate in the sub region with eight A1s in the May/June 2018 WASSCE, beating over 1.9million candidates that sat for the examination.
In the May/ June 2018 WASSCE, Arotiba with examination number 4251112045, obtained A1 in eight subjects which are Economics A1, Civic Education A1, Tourism A1, English Language A1, Mathematics A1, Biology A1, Chemistry A1 and Physics A1.
The second and third positions went to two Ghanaian students, Wilhermina Opoku (2nd) and Brago Afrifa, (3rd).
Opoku, 18 years old and former student of Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast and Afrifa, former pupil of Yaa Asantewaa Girls SHS, Kumasi, recorded A1 in all the subjects during the May/June 2018 WASSCE.
The Head, Public Affairs of WAEC Headquarters, Accra, Ghana, Mr. Abiodun Aduloju, said the three candidates were honoured with the WAEC International Excellence Awards for their outstanding performance in the May/June 2018 WASSCE at the 67th Annual Meeting of WAEC in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
According to him, the three winners emerged from 1, 976,537 million candidates who sat for WASSCE in The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Aduloju stressed that the Augustus Bandele Oyediran Best candidate in West Africa was also presented to Master Peter Arotiba.
The image maker said the council appealed to international donor agencies, corporate organisations and philanthropic private individuals to collaborate with WAEC by instituting other awards to encourage more students in the sub region to strive for academic excellence.


‘My unforgettable 8 days in kidnappers’ den'

Daily Trust staff Ahmad Garba was kidnapped on his way from Abuja to Kaduna on March 7, 2019. Here, he shares his harrowing eight-day ordeal in the kidnappers’ den.
Daily Trust: 

How were you kidnapped?

Ahmad Garba: It happened on Thursday March 7, 2019. After we finished production in the office, I got set to travel to Kaduna from Abuja because I had an appointment with my doctor the next day (Friday). I left the office around 2pm and got to Zuba Motor Park around 3pm with a friend who was also travelling.

I was excited that we got to the park on time as I had hoped to be in Kaduna in about an hour and a half. Despite the gridlock on the highway due to ongoing road construction, we arrived Jere without much difficulty.

When we got to Rijana town around 7pm, one of the passengers alighted. We didn’t notice that there were no vehicles plying the road. Less than a kilometer from there, we started hearing gunshots close to a bridge.

There were two vehicles before ours. When the two stopped, we did same but our driver immediately switched off the car headlights. By the time the shooting stopped, everywhere was silent and dark. One of the passengers in our car whispered to our driver to reverse the car and he obliged. But immediately he started the car, they came after.

Unfortunately, the car fell into a ditch and then I knew we were in serious trouble. Our driver tried to engage one of the bandits in a fight to dispossess him of his gun but the rest of the group overpowered and shot him. I tried to run into the bush without knowing that one of them was close by, he ran after me and hit me with a stick. I fell down and he collected my phone.

Amongst us, only one person escaped. When I didn’t see him after we were assembled by the kidnappers, I thought he had been killed but I later heard he escaped. They tried to take our driver who was wounded into the bush but he refused to stand up so they shot him again in our presence and left his body right there in the bush.

We trekked from 8pm to 2am before we got to their camp inside the forest. As we trekked, they kept flogging those who were slow. We had no shoes on as we moved deep into the forest. With the light from their flashlights, we were led to their camp, after crossing several streams.

We were seven males and one female – a lady of about 22 who I understand lives around Sabon Tasha in Kaduna. When we got to one area inside the forest, they called their gang members who came on motorcycles to convey us to their camp.

DT: Were you kept in a house inside the forest?

Garba: No, we were kept in the open because there was no house there. From my estimation, we trekked for about 50 kilometres from the main road to the camp and we didn’t come across any settlement or village. At their camp, they shot in the air to alert their members who awaited their arrival. Those ones also responded to indicate they were around. We were kept close to a big rocky range of hills. The gang leader, nicknamed ‘Commander’, came to us and read out the rules and regulations of the camp.

DT: What were the rules?

Garba: The first is that they brought us there to make money, so anybody that tried to escape would be killed. According to him, no matter how long one stays there, he/she will surely return home safe as long as he is disciplined and obedient.
He reminded us of what happened to our driver and said anyone who misbehaves will face the same consequence.
In the morning, they discovered my identity card which showed I’m a journalist, so they shifted their attention to me.

DT: Do you mean there were educated?

Garba: Yes, some of them can read.

DT: What type of people were they?

Garba: They were Fulani between ages 20 to 25. It’s only their leader and a few others that were up to 30. They were all wearing camouflage uniforms and well-armed. We got used to gunshots while in captivity, because they always shot into the air.

DT: How was life at the detention camp?

Garba: We spent eight days in the forest and slept on leaves. No bath, no new clothes, and they didn’t care about our condition. The moment we lay down to sleep, they would surround us, which means there was no way to escape.
There was an elderly man who always led us in prayer. Although they never prayed, they allowed us to perform ours daily. We sit in the open from morning till night. They served us rice and palm oil on cellophane bags. The lady was served separately. Even at night, her space was away from ours.

In our presence, ‘Commander’ warned his boys not to even attempt to misbehave with her because, according to him, he was in the business to make money and not to rape women.

He warned that any of them that breaks that law would be killed.

In the first three days, we were treated nicely. Then it changed, as the kidnappers started threatening us, saying we were of no value to our families because nobody has called to discuss our release. They said victims only spend three days in their custody and are released or killed. But we’ve been in their custody for almost five days without any strong negotiation with our family members. We pleaded for more time.

They placed N30 million ransom on me because I’m a journalist. They blamed journalists for the nation’s problems, that we were responsible for the raids carried out against them by security agencies. The leader said we write negative reports against them.

I learnt he later reduced the ransom to N15m. The amount was again reduced to N5m. At a point, he realized we couldn’t provide that kind of money, so he assembled us to ask how much we can raise. I told him N500,000. He said he had reduced my ransom to N2m as his final decision.

DT: So, your ransom was higher because of your profession?

Garba: Yes, and he gave Thursday as deadline but unfortunately my family couldn’t meet up. ‘Commander’ later told me the money has been reduced to N1.5m because my aged mother called and pleaded with him.

I spoke with Lawal, a friend of mine who was raising the funds, and he told me they only have a million naira. I told him to bring it since there was no hope of getting additional N500,000 before daybreak.
After the call, I told ‘Commander’ that my family could only raise a million naira. The following day, around 10am, he informed us that we were going home because they have received all the ransom.

They also gave us N1,500 each as transportation fare. About seven of them led us out of the forest with a warning to be fast or else we could be kidnapped again by another group. After a distance, they went back, leaving us to find our way out.

I couldn’t walk fast due to my health condition so I was supported by one of the victims who always carried me on his back. The girl too was released even though she didn’t pay any ransom.  She had no phone and couldn’t produce any phone number off hand, she was just lucky.

We started trekking from 10am, and by 2pm we hadn’t reached Rijana town. Luckily, we came across some Fulani men on a motorcycle and my friends begged them to assist me because of my condition. They took me to the main road where I bought slippers and then boarded a bus back home.

Culled from dailytrust

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