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Foremost Nigerian broadcast equipment supplier, Lucky Omoluwa is dead3 minutes read

Omoluwa’s astuteness in the business of broadcast engineering and communications has been accorded recognition by credible organisations across Africa and globally.

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Foremost African broadcast equipment supplier and Digital Switch Over (DSO) tycoon, Sir Lucky Omoluwa in an undated photo./Google

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Communications Ltd, Sir Lucky Omoluwa is dead. The company is one of the foremost broadcast equipment suppliers across Nigeria and Africa, specialising in the Digital Switch Over business of transforming television and radio signals from analogue to digital.

“I’ve just received news of the sudden passing of a big brother and friend! Lucky Omoluwa Chairman Pinnacle Communications,” an associate of the top broadcast equipment supplier told News Central on Tuesday.

The associate was so much in shock and could not disclose the circumstances of the death of Omoluwa whose company is credited to have helped set up hundreds of broadcast companies in Nigeria and across Africa through the supply of radio and TV transmitters in partnership with global broadcast equipment manufacturers.

Another news source in the northwestern state of Kaduna where the late broadcast equipment supplier did alot of his business said Omoluwa took ill and was admitted on Saturday at a hospital, and was eventually discharged.

He was said to have resumed work at the office Monday and was even with a couple of his friends but that the sickness relapsed early in the morning and he was again rushed to the hospital before he passed away on Tuesday, a Nigerian daily reported.

Top associates of late Omoluwa including Chief Operating Officer, Dipo Onifade, Tunde Idowu and Lorenzo Omo-Aligbe, family and staff of the organisation are currently mourning his demise.

Omoluwa was a devout Christian who was knighted by the Pope as a Knight of Saint Sylvester (KSS).

He was sometimes ago also honoured by Harris Corporation, USA and the United State Department of Commerce respectively in relation to the excellent work of Pinnacle Communications Limited in providing digital radio and television transmitters and support/maintenance as well as all allied equipment in the broadcast engineering communications business within Nigeria and across Africa.

– Pinnacle and broadcast equipment business –

His company, Pinnacle Communications Limited is a telecommunications solutions provider that specializes in analog to digital broadcasting in Nigeria and across the continent.

The company, which commenced business in 1998, has consistently installed television and FM radio systems across Nigeria and other countries.

Omoluwa’s astuteness in the business of broadcast engineering communications has been accorded recognition by credible organisations across Africa.

Pinnacle Broadcasts, run by the late Omoluwa is the only licensed private signal distributor for the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in Nigeria and has boosted public optimism on the successful implementation of the project by the Federal Government.

Pinnacle Broadcasts powered the national launch of the DSO in Nigeria in December 2016 from its state-of-the-art digital signal distribution complex in Abuja.

It also established the Kaduna Broadcast Centre commissioned in 2017 and was at an advanced stage in the Gombe Centre, in northeastern Nigeria.

– Omoluwa’s battle with Nigerian authorities –

The late Omoluwa had recently been having a running battle with Nigerian authorities over the DSO deal which also led to the suspension of the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu last week.

The case led to him being sued in court alongside his company. He was arraigned before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), alongside Pinnacle’s COO, Dipo Onifade, and Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu.

The trio of Omoluwa, Onifade and Kawu were charged over alleged complicity in the misapplication of the N2.5 billion seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) programme.

They all pleaded not guilty and have described the charges as politically motivated by interest groups that were unsuccessful during the licensing rounds of the DSO process since the payment was as a result of an out of court settlement reached between the NBC and the company after a previous court case filed by Pinnacle against the Nigerian government.

Until his death on Tuesday, Omoluwa strongly denied the corruption allegations, and even counter-sued the ICPC for defamation, seeking N1 billion in damages against the Nigerian government.

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Crackdown on rebels trigger outcry against Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed

Community leaders contend ordinary civilians are bearing the brunt of the operations, which include mass detentions, an internet blackout and restrictions on political activity.

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Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed to avoid questions at Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed./AFP photo

Desta Garuma, a 27-year-old rickshaw driver, never showed much interest in politics, so his family has no idea how soldiers concluded he was involved in a rebel movement active in Ethiopia’s Oromia region.

But one day in January, five truckloads of soldiers followed him home, shouting that they had identified a shifta, or bandit — a euphemism for rebel, an AFP report said.

As his mother and younger sister cowered inside, the soldiers fatally shot Desta three times in the back, according to witnesses.

“When I heard the shots I said, ‘Oh my God, they killed my son,'” Desta’s mother, Likitu Merdasa, told AFP.

“My son was not a troublemaker. We hoped he would be able to improve his life as well as mine. But now he has been taken from me before his time.”

The killing is one of an array of abuses that residents, opposition politicians and rights groups accuse soldiers of committing in and around Nekemte, a market town in Oromia, as part of a crackdown on rebels that has intensified this year.

Community leaders contend ordinary civilians are bearing the brunt of the operations, which include mass detentions, an internet blackout and restrictions on political activity.

The Ethiopian military rejects claims that its activities endanger civilians.

Yet Nekemte residents say the soldiers’ presence recalls life under past authoritarian regimes in Ethiopia, tarnishing the image of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Nobel Peace laureate trying to steer the country toward landmark elections in August.

This is especially disheartening for the Oromo ethnic group, who had hoped they would benefit from the appointment of Abiy, himself an Oromo, as prime minister in 2018.

“When the reform came, we all hoped this kind of thing would not happen to Oromo people,” Likitu said.

“But now they’re coming to the doors of our houses and killing our children in front of us.”

– Escalating operations-The military is ostensibly targeting the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), blamed for a spate of assassinations, bombings, bank robberies and kidnappings in Oromia.

The OLA, believed to number in the low thousands, broke off from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an opposition party that spent years in exile but was allowed to return to Ethiopia after Abiy took office.

The government has offered little specific information about military operations in Nekemte and the broader region that surrounds it, known as Wollega.

But there are signs that counterinsurgency efforts have escalated since January, said William Davison, Ethiopia analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), a conflict-prevention organisation.

“It appears the government decided to make a renewed effort to entirely remove the threat of armed groups from the area,” Davison said.

Brigadier General Tilahun Ashenafi, foreign relations director of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces, defended the military’s actions, saying he had “no idea” about civilian casualties.

Soldiers are acting in a “very good way in that region in order to clear anti-peace elements”, he told AFP.

– Beatings, detentions-But many residents of Nekemte see the military, not the rebels, as the main source of instability.

Asfaw Kebede, a 60-year-old community leader, told AFP he grew alarmed last year at the jailing without charge of young men in Kumsa Moroda Palace, a one-time tourist attraction that residents said had been turned into a makeshift detention facility.

When Asfaw started bringing the men food, soldiers locked him up too, holding him in a dark cell for six weeks with roughly 100 other detainees.

All the men were deprived of proper food and medical care, Asfaw said.

The palace teemed with snakes and mice, and when they entered the cells inmates who scrambled to get away were beaten with batons, he said.

Opposition political parties have also been affected by the military presence.

Representatives of both the OLF and the Oromo Federalist Congress said their offices had been closed multiple times and their members detained.

Such tactics are fuelling sympathy for the OLA, said Tamirat Biranu, head of an evangelical church in Nekemte.

“Young people are very sad about this and also they are angry at the government,” he said. “Because of this, some of the youth are joining the rebels.”

-‘A heavy toll’-As bad as things might be in Nekemte, they are likely worse in rural areas farther west, where phone service has been cut for months, said Asebe Regassa, a lecturer at Wollega University. 

“Killings are occurring on a daily basis in rural areas,” Asebe said, adding that farmers are afraid of harvesting their crops, fearing soldiers will accuse them of growing food for the OLA.

The military operations are “clearly taking a heavy toll,” said Laetitia Bader of Human Rights Watch (HRW). 

“Ahead of the 2020 national elections the government should be working to build trust with communities,” she said.

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Italian diagnosed with coronavirus in Nigeria, health condition ‘stable’

“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” a Nigerian health official in Lagos said.

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Nigeria's Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, being addressed by the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu (middle) and the laboratory team during his visit to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja on Jan. 12./The Guardian Nigeria

Nigerian health authorities have announced the country’s first case of the dreaded Corona virus or COVID-19 after a visiting Italian businessman got diagnosed and was isolated for treatment and currently “stable with no serious symptoms”.

The COVID-19 patient was detected in the commercial city of Lagos and is the first case recorded in sub-Saharan Africa so ce the disease broke out in China in January.
  
“The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on the 25th of Feburary from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit. He fell ill on the 26th February and was transfered to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing,” Akin Abayomi, Lagos health commissioner said in a statement early Friday.

Abayomi, a Professor of Medicine, said the COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” the Nigerian health official said.
 
Health authorities in the West African country have been strengthening measures to ensure that any outbreak in major cities like Lagos or elsewhere is controlled and contained quickly through the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group, led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“We have immediately activated the State Emergency Operations Centre to respond to this case and implement firm control measures,” Lagos city authorities said.
  
Officials announced that they were “working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he arrived in Nigeria” for diagnosis and isolation, if the need arises.

“Everywhere is vulnerable to Coronavirus. Nigeria is even more prepared than some countries. We are doing our best. There is no change in what we are doing to contain a possible outbreak of Coronavirus in the country,” Health minister, Dr. Emmanuel Ehanire had said in a previous media briefing.

“The Chinese have given us clinical criteria. We suspect and address anything that looks like Coronavirus because the cost of testing is very high.” The Nigerian health minister concluded.

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Guinea referendum, legislative polls must be ‘transparent’: UN rights chief

Months of protests against the referendum have resulted in “dozens of deaths,” Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.

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Guinean President Alpha Conde on a campaign. The referendum on constitutional changes is seen by critics as a ploy by President Conde, 81, to stay in power for a third term, after a decade in power./AFP

The United Nations on Thursday called on Guinean authorities to ensure that this weekend’s referendum and legislative votes are transparent and inclusive, warning that any escalation in the country’s crisis would be “profoundly harmful”.

Guinea, a country with a long tradition of political turmoil, is to vote on Sunday in a referendum and in a legislative election.

The referendum on constitutional changes is seen by critics as a ploy by President Alpha Conde, 81, to stay in power for a third term, after a decade in power, an AFP report said.

Months of protests against the referendum have resulted in “dozens of deaths,” Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.

“Reports also indicate that ethnic divisions are deepening, with increasing incitement to hatred and violence on social media and at political rallies,” she said.

“Any further escalation of this crisis could be profoundly harmful.”

Bachelet highlighted a warning about  “serious irregularities in the voters’ register” from the international association of French-speaking countries, OIF, earlier this week.

“I urge the authorities to avert greater turmoil and ensure that the electoral process is transparent and inclusive,” she said.

Guinea has suffered serious unrest over the plans for constitutional reform. At least 30 people and a gendarme, have lost their lives, according to an AFP tally.

Jailed under previous hardline regimes, Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010.

He was returned to office by voters in 2015 for his second and final five-year term under the current constitution, but critics say he has become authoritarian.

Earlier this month he left the door open to running for a third term, saying there was “nothing more democratic” than the referendum on constitutional change.

The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) has called for a boycott of the vote.

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