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FG Receives Repatriated 600-year-old Ife Artefact 

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Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs (left), Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture and Harry van Dijk, Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria while receiving the artefact in Abuja on Thursday.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed received the repatriated Ife Terracotta from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in the company of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Harry van Dijk on Thursday in Abuja.
The Minister said the return of the stolen Ife Terracotta marked a milestone in Nigeria’s efforts at pursuing the return of the country ’s antiquities.
Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to Lai Mohammed, quoted the Minister as saying the government’s resolve to seek the repatriation of the nation’s timeless and priceless artifact was strengthened by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s marching order for Nigeria to tap into tourism and other fields, where Nigeria has comparative advantages, in order to generate income for the nation and secure jobs for our youths.
Mohammed said, “ It gives me profound joy to receive this very important antiquity, an Ife Terracotta , which is dated to be at least 600 years old . I am even more delighted that our efforts at pursuing the return of Nigerian antiquities , which we launched last November , have started yielding
fruits .
“ One way of generating income for the country is if our cultural properties are exhibited around the world to a fee -paying audience, on the basis of proper agreement that acknowledges us as owners and confers the right benefits on us. But this is not possible for as long as most of them adorn the museums and private collections of others , who describe them as their properties. ”
While describing the handing over of the artifact as a new beginning, the Minister said apart from the pecuniary benefits , the priceless objects wrought by the nation ’s forebears are unifying factors among the diverse cultures in the country .
He said the Ife Terracotta was smuggled from Nigeria through Ghana to The Netherlands in 2019 with a forged document.
The Minister of Information and Culture said following the interception of the artifact by the Dutch Customs at Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands , Nigeria was invited to prove her case against the suspected smuggler , which the country did successfully , hence the return of the artifact .
“ Let me state here that Nigeria believes in joint international efforts to put a stop to illicit export and import of cultural goods . The issue of cultural property should not be a ground of rancour and discord among nations . That is if nations choose to tow the path which the Kingdom of The Netherlands has chosen by insisting on justice , fairness , and amity . ”
Onyeama thanked The Netherlands for the efficient and expeditious manner in which it deployed resources to identify , retrieve , and repatriate the Ife Terracotta to Nigeria .
Harry van Dijk said the return of the artifact is a fitting gift to mark the 50 th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention on the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Culture Heritage, of which Nigeria and The Netherlands are signatories .
The Director- General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Prof . Abba Isa -Tijjani, has taken custody of the artifact for cleaning and treatment at the Conversation Laboratory before its eventual display to the public.

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WASSCE Now To Hold From August 16

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The West African Examinations Council, WAEC has announced the date for the conduct of 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE which is set to hold between August 16 to September 30.

This was contained in a statement by the Ag. Head, Public Affairs, WAEC, Nigeria, Demianus G. Ojijeogu, on behalf of the council.
According to Ojijeogu, the Head of Nigeria National Office, WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan, was misquoted when he said that WASSCE was postponed during a press briefing on Tuesday to announce the results of 2021- first series WASSCE for private candidates.
Part of the statement read: “The attention of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Nigeria has been drawn to publications in some national dailies and online media, to the effect that WAEC has postponed the May/June 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This information was allegedly given by the Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan, at a Press Briefing to announce the release of results of WASSCE for Private Candidates, 2021 – First Series on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
“We wish to categorically state that the Head of National Office was quoted out of context.
“The Head of National Office had in his address during the Press Briefing stated as follows:
“Let me also use this opportunity to dispel rumours being peddled about by some people regarding the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much felt in the education sector. The academic calendar has been distorted. It will, therefore, not be possible to have the examination in May/June this year. A convenient International Timetable
“for the conduct of the examination will soon be released”.
“The arrangement is in line with the current academic calendar and was done in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education.
“Consequently, the Council wishes to inform schools, candidates and the general public that the examination will hold from August 16, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The International timetable for the conduct of the examination will be released in due course.
“All stakeholders should please be so guided.” WAEC Ag, PRO explained.

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Minister Confirms Deployment Of SWAT Officers To States 

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Muhammad Dingyadi, minister of police affairs, disclosed that the officers of the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team have been deployed to state commands.

Mohammed Adamu, former inspector-general of police, had constituted the SWAT team, following the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad in the wake of the October 2020 EndSARS protests.

Speaking when he featured on a Channels Television programme on Friday, Dingyadi said the SWAT officers have concluded their training, and have been posted to the states they were drafted from.

“They have ended their training, and they have been posted to the state police commands that brought them for training,” he said.

“They are there with them and they are performing these functions of the SWAT.”

The creation of the new tactical team had received mixed reactions, including from the United Nations, which said the police swiftly created SWAT “without first addressing some of the root causes of police violence and putting in place sufficient safeguards to prevent future violations.”

But Frank Mba, force spokesman, had quoted the former IGP as saying SWAT will operate within “high professional and ethical standards, rule of law and dictates of best international policing practices”.

“The IGP reiterates that no personnel of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will be a member the new Tactical Team. He notes that the officers selected for the training are young, smart and energetic officers who have acquired not less than seven years working experience with clean service records – no pending disciplinary matters, no record of violation of rights of citizens or misuse of firearms – and are physically fit to withstand the rigour of SWAT Training and Operations,” he stated.

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PDP Condemns Flogging Of Anti-Buhari Campaigners In Kogi

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is insensitive for two young people who protested against President Muhammadu Buhari in Kogi state to have been subjected to whipping.

The protesters had paraded graffiti and posters reading “Buhari must go” when the thugs accosted them.

The Kogi government, however, had hailed the flogging of the protesters, saying the people of the state remain fanatic followers of the president.

But reacting, the PDP, in a statement on Friday signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, its spokesperson, said the protest by the youths was against the incompetence of the Buhari administration.

“These graffiti by Nigerian youths are a loud demonstration against the impunity, divineness, high level incompetence, massive corruption as well as the insensitivity of the APC and its administration to the sorry situation they have plunged our dear nation,” the statement reads.

“The Nigerian youths, by the graffiti, are demonstrating against the failure of President Buhari and the APC to take decisive steps to address the incessant mass killings, high level unemployment, poverty and economic hardship that their administration has foisted on our country.

“The graffiti is also an open aversion to the looting of over N15 trillion by APC leaders at the time our nation is battling with 33% unemployment rate; at a time over 40 million Nigerian have lost their means of livelihood due to APC misrule and where most families cannot afford the basic necessities of life.

“Moreover, the use of political graffiti by citizens is a global practice to express themselves particularly in democratic setting.

“It is therefore a mark of intolerance, disdain and insensitivity to the plight of the people that instead of accepting and taking steps to address their anxieties, the APC chose to unleash their thugs to flog and dehumanise Nigerian citizens exercising their right to freedom of expression, as witnessed in Kogi state.”

The PDP said it rejected the allegations of trespass as basis for the attack on the protesters, noting that such claims should have been taken up in court.

The party said it recalled how Buhari, as the presidential candidate of the APC in 2014, led other leaders of his party who took to the streets and “disrupted public activities in exercise of such freedom and nobody hired thugs to attack or flog them in public”.

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