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Yemi Osinbajo meets Mike Pence in Washington DC

The U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence received Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the White House in Washington DC to deepen the relationship between the two countries.



Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo might have stirred the hornet’s nest in his last visit to the United States, especially with his take on how Nigerians react to kidnapping across the nation—when he addressed Nigerians in New York.

But the four-day visit was not without its boons.

He arrived Washington DC Wednesday to meet with his U.S counterpart Mike Pence.

The two leaders discussed issues of mutual benefits between the U.S. and Africa’s most populous nation.

According to Osinbajo, Nigeria sought U.S. cooperation in areas including security, economy, and others.

“We discussed the US interests in Nigeria’s oil and gas. We wanted to see more of U.S. investments in Nigeria,” Osinbajo told Being Nigeria.

Before he departed for Nigeria, Osinbajo had a chat with members of his entourage, which included the Nigerian ambassador to the United States Sylvanus Nsofor, Consulate General Ben Okoyen, the Permanent Representative to the UN, and other dignitaries.


UK to returns 122 years old Benin cockerel bronze to Nigeria



Benin cockerel bronze

A bronze statue that was looted from what is now Nigeria more than a century ago will be returned, Cambridge University in Britain says.

The cockerel was taken in 1897 from the Court of Benin and given to the university several years later.

The statue was removed from public view in 2016 after students protested, saying it represented a colonial narrative.

Governments and institutions in the West are under growing pressure to return artifacts taken decades or centuries ago, especially from Africa. Some have begun assessing their collections and discussing next steps to take.

Last year a report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron recommended that French museums give back works taken without consent, if African countries request them.

The experts who presented the report estimated that up to 90% of African art is outside the continent, including statues, thrones and manuscripts.

Thousands of works are held by just one museum, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, opened in 2006 to showcase non-European art — much of it from former French colonies.

Since the French report, Congo, Senegal and Ivory Coast have requested the return of artifacts.

Earlier this month, France restored to Senegal a sword that had belonged to 19th century Islamic scholar Omar Saidou Tall, who led an anti-colonial struggle against the French.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe visited Senegal to hand the sword to President Macky Sall.

Last week The Open Society Foundations, an international grant-making organization founded by billionaire George Soros, announced a four-year, $15 million initiative to help repatriate cultural objects to African nations

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South Africa xenophobic advert against Nigerians and foreigners [VIDEO]



Nando advert

“You know what’s wrong with South Africa?” a voice intones. “All you foreigners.”

This is how an advert for a South African restaurant chain begins. “You must go back to where you came from,” the voice continues. And with that, migrants start to disappear in puffs of smoke.

At first, the ad from chicken restaurant Nando’s seems provocative – if not downright racist – but it’s actually the opposite of a xenophobic rant. At the end a chipper voice proclaims: “Real South Africans love diversity,” before plugging a couple of new dishes on the menu.

Nando’s is a worldwide brand, but it began in South Africa and this ad is suddenly popular again because of recent events in the country – even though it was shunned by TV stations when it was first released.

The video has been watched hundreds of thousands of times this week in the wake of violent anti-immigrant attacks in several South African cities. Several television stations including the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation refused to run it.

“Best advert in SA, considering what’s been happening lately,” said Mcebisi Ngcobo.

“Xhosa people stay right?” said Sipho Mlanjeni. “No sorry Sipho,” came the reply, “we all have to go.”

A few read a less edifying subtext to the pro-diversity message. “Wise up black South Africans. This emphasis of ‘Khoisan’ as the true owners of South Africa is just another ploy to justify white occupation of African lands,” one commenter said.

“Basically what they are telling you is that all those large tribes e.g Xhosa and Zulus do not have claim to that land because after all it was appropriated from the Khoisan.”

But most viewers seemed to think the ad’s message was sorely needed in a country where at least seven people have been killed and 5,000 have been left homeless in the latest bout of anti-immigrant violence. South Africans – and those outside the country – have been involved in a huge online discussion over the attacks, with hashtags such as #SayNoToXenophobia and #XenophobicSA being tweeted hundreds of thousands of times in recent weeks.

“[South African President Jacob] Zuma himself should grant this ad airtime on our national television, never have we needed an ad more!” commented one.

Nando’s specialises in spicy Afro-Portuguese peri-peri chicken. It has more than 1,000 outlets and is a familiar presence across Africa as well as in the UK, Australia and many other countries. The company has a history of controversial advertising in its home market.

The company’s also not shy about making tenuous links between chicken and the politics of its home country – for example on Monday it’s offering South African customers a meal for 19.94 rand to celebrate Freedom Day, which commemorates the country’s first post-apartheid elections in 1994.

Mike Cathie, the chain’s chief marketing officer for southern Africa, says the company has never been afraid of pointed comment.

“When this advert was made three years ago, there was a real sense that people wanted to speak out against xenophobic attacks,” he said. “The vast majority of South Africans are fully aware of the huge contribution that immigrants have made to the country, and most of us were immigrants at one stage or another. That’s a point of view that’s resonating again.”

He said the company’s not too concerned about negative comments or the perils of stepping into politics. “There’s always going to be people who disagree, but we love that. What we love just as much as people giving a voice, is stating a debate,” he said. “We hope this really starts people thinking and maybe understanding a bit more about the issue.”

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NAMSA sets to award Nigerian students in America



NAMSA President, Godwin Nnanna

The 2019 edition of The Nigerian American Multi-Service Association NAMSA Award will be unique, yet in keeping with the tradition of excellence the Nigerian community-based organization has always upheld, Godwin Nnanna, president, revealed.

The Boston-based award celebrates Nigerian students and people that contribute to the enhancement of the Nigerian community across the United States — either in business, politics, academics, or professional lives.

“The whole essence is to elevate the best among us for both the community and that outside to see what we have to offer,” Nnanna told Being Nigerian on September 2.

Among the highlights of this year’s edition are scholarships launching, community dialogues, writing competitions, and the launch of a house organ—a magazine—for NAMSA.

The writing competition, which has been re-branded Writing for Righting Award, is geared towards challenging high school and college kids to take on issues affecting people of color in the city of Boston.

Last year they wrote about racism when President Donald Trump reportedly made a comment referring to African countries as shitholes.

Early 2019, one of the things the organization decided to focus on is the issue of gun violence in America.

That is because of what happened in Boston last year.

“A member of our community, a cab driver, was shot dead in broad daylight,” he said.

So the high school students will be writing letters to their mayor discussing how gun violence could be prevented in the city.

“Remember what happened in El Paso, and other places? There is an account that said there have been 250-something gun violence incidents across America this year. And the year has not ended.”

The college students entering the competition will also take on a related issue—the Second Amendment.

“A lot of people have called for the Second Amendment to be repealed. Others say, ‘No. It’s untouchable’. So we task the college students to engage with their leaders on that—and the preponderance of guns in our system,” said Nnanna.

More of that will also come up for discussion during the community dialogue session.

The organizers said they have extended invitation to the Mayor of Boston City, Marty Walsh, and are hoping some other city’s officials will also attend the event to talk.

“We want to know what these people are doing to ensure that what happened in El Paso doesn’t happen in Boston,” he said.

Entries for the scholarships and competitions are already pouring in—from many high schools and universities, thrice the number of entries for the 2018 editions.

“A lot of students from Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and others. The award is growing in popularity with the students. The judges are already having a tough time deciding winners.”

Community members, too, are upbeat about the award. Members have been endowing funds and scholarships.

For example, Mrs. Claudia Owumi, in honor of her late husband Joseph Owumi, has endowed one of the scholarships—for health studies. The late Owumi was passionate about scholarship and public health studies.

“So she has endowed $1000 every year as a scholarship for any college students interested in studying medicine, nursing or any discipline in health care.’

The Owumi Scholarship will be launched in addition to the three others already available.

The organization said it is also working on an annual magazine, and efforts are going on to get out the maiden edition telling the stories of the community.

“We have done a lot of that online. But we want to do something in print which we can show others,” said Nnanna.

The event comes up October 5.

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