A 23-year-old Christian barber, Elijah Ode, from Benue State in Central Nigeria has been arrested for blasphemy in Kano.
Smith Akoko posted some information about the arrest on Facebook. The post states:
YOUNG BENUE (CHRISTIAN) BARBER DETAINED IN KANO FOR ALLEGED BLASPHEMY
By Smith Akoko
Elijah Ode, a resident of Kano from Adum East, Obi LGA of Benue State, who combines barbing with studies and is domiciled in the Sabon Gari town of the state was reported to have been in the net of Islamic religious extremists, who believe he has committed blasphemy in the cause of his work as a barber.
Report says Elijah, who is well patronized by young people for possessing exceptional skills in trendy haircuts, attracted the wrath of the extremists last week Wednesday when two of his customers were tortured to stupor for designs claimed to be blasphemous to the Islamic religion.
Thereupon, Elijah was traced to his barbershop, where he was arrested for complicity and has been in police detention with the two customers since last week.
According to information obtained from his cousin, Mr. Sunday Ukenya, the young (Christian) barber did not design the hairstyles to provoke. He said he was only being innovative doing his work, as usual, to eke a living and pay his fees at his tertiary institution of study in Kano, where he sponsors himself. Ukenya also added that the case is already in the court of law at the wish of the aggrieved Muslims with the first session being yesterday.
He expressed sadness, however, that all efforts by the young barber’s lawyer to bail him proved abortive for the claim that it is a major case and as a result not bailable. At the moment the family has run out of hope, soliciting intercessory prayers as the reality of incarceration stares Elijah in the face. And indeed, jamesibechi.com can confirm that unless prayers are offered or reputable human rights activists from across the globe rise for the defenceless self-sponsored young barber, the reality may be undesirable but inevitable.
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I have spoken with Smith Akoko and Sunday Ukenye and they confirmed the story. Islamic police in Kano arrested and detained Ode last week in connection with a hairstyle which they deemed an insult to Islam. Ode’s barbing shop is located at Aba road by Igbo road at Sabon Gari in Kano. Mr. Ode’s case came up for hearing at a magistrate’s court at Jedi Jedi, along Court Road on Monday, February 1, 2020. But the magistrate refused Mr. Ode and other accused persons bail. The court adjourned the case to Thursday, February 4.
Nobody knows the prison where they are kept at the moment. It is not certain that the accused persons will be granted bail at the end of the hearing tomorrow. If some pressure is not brought to bear on the Kano state government, Elijah Ode and other accused persons would languish in jail. There has been a growing number of allegations of blasphemy in Kano.
The Islamic police, Hisbah are often behind these arrests and the Kano State government turns a blind eye to these abuses. Kano is an Islamic stronghold and Muslims in the state take advantage of their number and political power to oppress, harass and abuse minorities with impunity. When Sharia law was introduced in Kano in 1999, the Muslim establishment stated that the Islamic law would only apply to Muslims.
Incidentally, that has not been the case. As the case of Mubarak Ode, Mubarak Bala and other non-Muslims accused of blasphemy have illustrated, Sharia is being enforced on non-Muslims in Kano and other Muslim majority states in northern Nigeria.
Blasphemy law is incompatible with human rights and civilized values. It is a weapon for religious oppression and persecution. Free Elijah Ode. Free Mubarak. Free all persons accused of blasphemy in Kano! Repeal all blasphemy laws.
Igwe chairs the Board of Trustees for the Humanist Association of Nigeria
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Popular Jara Show Host, Helen Paul, Becomes Professor
By John Michael Ojo
Popular Nigerian comedienne and TV presenter, Helen Paul has been named a professor at the Heart International University in the United States of America.
Helen Paul disclosed this on her verified Instagram page where she also revealed her appointment as the Head of the Department of the Arts, Music and Entertainment in the school.
The Jara show host also used the medium to celebrate her husband, Femi Basimile who attained a doctorate of law in the same institution.
Sharing photos of their newest feat, she wrote, “Congratulations to us my love. Such a great honour for both of us. You graduated as a Doctor of law and I was promoted too.
“Thank you for all the sleepless nights. Thank you for sacrificing for us. #grateful @femi_bams.”
While acknowledging her newest employer she wrote: ”Congratulations to all of us at Heart University. I am now officially Professor Paul Helen. The ceremony was a beautiful one indeed.
“My sincere gratitude to my boss and the Chancellor Dornett Mcintosh Ph.D. Thank you my senior Professor Cox our faculty head and all HBIU staff in general.
“Will never forget to say a big thank you to my Atlanta Dean of programming Yemisi Dunmoye Ph.D @yemidun #honor #grace #new #space #achievement.”
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URS Urges Urhobo Unity To Produce Next Delta Governor
The Urhobo Renaissance Society (URS) has urged the Urhobo to be united in order to produce the next governor of Delta State in 2023.
In a statement, URS said that it recognised the right of Urhobo sons and daughters to aspire to any political office of their choice. But it said that in exercising this right, they should protect the interest of the Urhobo and work in unity with the ultimate objective of producing the next governor in the 2023 election.
The statement signed by URS President, Prof. Hope Eghagha, on behalf of other members reads: “The last few weeks in Delta State and elsewhere in Nigeria have been characterised by a barrage of political commentaries and opinions across socio-political groups, associations and critical stakeholders in the the state. Unfortunately, some of these views seem to divide us more than unite us as a people.
“The URS wishes to join this conversation by propagating the doctrine of unity in diversity for the overall good of the Urhobo nation in particular, and Delta State in general.
We respect the right of the UPU as the apex socio-cultural organisation of the Urhobo nation to make crucial decisions on behalf of the Urhobo Nation.
“By the same token, we respect the right of persons and groups to lend their voices to the subject. However, we caution that such voices should be tactful, objective and devoid of divisive undertones at this crucial moment in Urhobo agenda to produce the Governor of State in 2023.
“After studying the unfolding political planks and consulting critical political stakeholders in Delta State, the URS, in line with its non-partisan and neutral posture, joins the conversation with the following statement:
- “We remind all stakeholders that an Urhobo ‘son’ must emerge as the Governor of Delta State in 2023. In effect, it is our utmost desire that Urhobo sons should emerge as governorship flagbearers of their respective political parties. That way, we are guaranteed that an Urhobo will eventually emerge as governor. To that extent, we appeal to all critical stakeholders in all political parties in the state to work towards handing the ticket to an Urhobo son. In other words, our primary concern is the emergence of an Urhobo son as governor in 2023;
- “We believe that primary elections are within the purview of political parties and therefore have no plans of poking into the activities of political parties in their statutory responsibility of electing flagbearers. But because the eventual choice will directly affect the quality of life and development of Deltans, we must lobby and appeal that the candidate with the best qualification in human and capital development, experience and capacity to provide quality leadership for our dream Delta be handed the tickets of their respective parties. In effect, we are appealing to the delegates to please consider these criteria when they set out to choose the flagbearer of their respective parties. Also, we especially appeal to delegates from Delta central to think URHOBO FIRST when they cast their votes; and that no gratification of whatever kind should influence the choice of the eventual candidate. Therefore, to guide all delegates in their choice of the governorship candidate, we appeal that only the aspirant with a very clear and practical blueprint for the development of Delta state be allowed to lead the state;
- “It is most desirable that the flagbearers of all the political parties in the gubernatorial race are not imposed by any perceived Godfather(s) whether in or out of government. Endorsements are a common feature of political contests in democratic climes and that should not necessitate caustic, insulting and derogatory attacks on perceived enemies. We are perplexed that most of public commentaries in the state are tainted with party loyalty and the attitude of labelling enemies out of those who hold contrary views or differing strategies. We want to re-direct the minds of Urhobo delegates in the parties to issues of competence and allegiance to good corporate governance of the State.
- “We salute the courage of the various Urhobo sons who have indicated their interest and preparedness to run for the primary elections of all the parties, and we also salute their supporters also for their unflinching support. We however believe that the plurality of Urhobo aspirants is not helpful to our cause. We urge the various aspirants to begin a self-internalized process of droping individual ambitions to support a superior candidate of choice in the race. Let’s narrow the options. We must remind one and all of the need to stay healthy with their support, that only one aspirant will eventually emerge as flag-bearer, and that it will be counterproductive to burn all the bridges in the course of their respective support; and, most especially, because we still have a life of nationalism to live after the elections;
- “To preserve the chastity and sacrosanctity of the gentleman’s arrangement of rotating the governorship position among the three senatorial zones of Delta state—a practice that has helped in dismantling mutual distrust, and erected mutual respect in its place, we call on other senatorial zones to support the Urhobo 2023 Governorship Agenda in order to sustain the reciprocity that has characterized the emergence of governors in the state since the present political dispensation;
- “We call on all Urhobo sons and daughters to be even more united at this critical stage of our existence as a nation; because in the long run, we are all pursuing the same goal of a united Delta, and an Urhobo governor with the right mentality, capacity, experience and qualification to lead the industrialization of Delta state.
- “Finally, we call on Governor Okowa to use his capacity as our governor to provide a level playing ground for all political participants in the state, and across political parties to exercise their constitutional rights for the overall good of Delta State.”
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Four-time Minister Graham-Douglas Dies
Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, a four-time minister and one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is dead.
Graham-Douglas was aged 82. He died thirteen days to his 83rd birthday which would have been celebrated on May 8, 2022.
It was learnt that the elder statesman and patriarch of Graham-Douglas family from Abonnema in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State died on Monday, April 25, 2022 in a private hospital in Abuja.
The cause of death remained unknown as of the time of publishing this report, just as an official statement announcing his passing had yet to be released by the family.
Graham-Douglas’ life and times were packed full of great accomplishments, a skim through his story as documented in douglashistory.co.uk has shown below:
Chief Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, a four-time federal minister and one of the founding fathers of the Nigerian Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was born on 8 May 1939 in Abonnema in the Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“The son of a native court judge who settled disputes and altercations in his immediate Abonema, he is of Ijaw origin.”
His brother, Napo Graham-Douglas, was the first indigenous Attorney-General of Nigeria.
He attended secondary schools in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
He studied at Acton Technical School, London (1963 – 1965) and then at the University of Lagos (1965 – 1969). He earned a BSc. in Botany and Zoology.
He started work with the Nigerian Petroleum Refinery Company, Port Harcourt (1969 – 1977).
He became managing director of Togiscani Nigeria, a construction company (1978 – 1985) and CEO of Road Haulage Company and Magroad Enterprises.
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He was also chairman of the Binterteco Nigeria, Pabod Finance and Investment and Waterglass Boat Yard.
In 2000, Graham-Douglas was appointed Provincial Grand Master of the Freemason’s Lodge in Calabar.
Graham-Douglas became Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Culture in 1986 in the Rivers State government.
In this role, he completed the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre, founded the Sports Institute of Isaka and initiated construction of the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt.
He also gained approval to establish the Rivers State College of Science and Technology.
He created, produced and directed the first Rivers Carnival, Carnival ’88 with the theme of Unity in Cultural Diversity.
In 1989 the military government of Ibrahim Babangida appointed him Federal Minister for Social Development, Youths and Sports.
During his tenure, the separate Ministry of Women Affairs was established.
He was moved to the Ministry of Aviation where he oversaw the deregulation of the aviation industry.
He was also a member of the Special Tenders Board, which developed the Abuja FCT.
Several years later, in November 2003, a judicial commission of inquiry into management of Nigeria Airways between 1983 and 1999 issued a report that indicted Graham-Douglas and others for mismanagement and decisions that led to huge losses.
In 1992 Graham-Douglas became chairman of the Southern Minorities Movement, one of the groups that eventually merged into the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
He was a candidate in the PDP primaries for the presidential nomination in 1998, losing to Olusegun Obasanjo, who went on to become president.
President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Graham-Douglas Minister of Employment, Labour and Productivity in June 1999.
In July 2000, Graham-Douglas was re-deployed in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
In November 2000 he headed a delegation that visited China, where he signed the 2000-2002 Executive Plan of Cultural and Educational Exchange between China and Nigeria.
In December 2000 he hosted the Africa Travel Association’s Fourth Ecotourism Symposium in Abuja.
He described ecotourism as responsible tourism, saying “Ecotourism conserves the natural environments and sustains the well-being of local people”.
Graham-Douglas was dropped from Obasanjo’s cabinet in January 2001.
An elder statesman in Rivers State politics, in 1999 Graham Douglas and Marshal Harry, Chairman of the PDP in the State, settled for Dr Peter Odili as a consensus candidate for governor.
By October 2002 Graham-Douglas was engaged in a very public dispute with Odili.
He was strongly opposed to Odili’s reelection. He said of Odili that “he has no respect for good governance and we have a right to call him to order”.
In January 2007, following the PDP primaries in Rivers State in which Riverine candidates performed poorly compared to Uplanders, the Ijaw Consultative Assembly which Graham-Douglas had founded launched an attack on Ijaws who had served in Odili’s government, apparently in a move to reverse the selection of Rotimi Amaechi as PDP candidate for governor.
This was a reversal of his position in 2003 when he had said the Ikwerres from Rivers East should take their turn after Peter Odili. Later he became a supporter of Amaechi.
However, in February 2010 Graham-Douglas disagreed with Amaechi about marginalization of the Kalabari people, claiming problems were due to longstanding government neglect combined with efforts to cut oil-producing areas out of the Kalabari region.
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