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Nigerian Poet, John Pepper Clark, Dies At 851 minute read



One of Nigeria’s foremost poet and critic of the West African country, John Pepper Clark, is dead.

Clark, whose poem – Casualties – illustrate the horrendous events of the Nigeria-Biafra war, died at the age of 85.

The family to the Nigerian poet and playwright said the literary icon died on Tuesday in a hospital in Lagos where he had been receiving treatment.

Clark was known for his captivating poems which included Abiku and Night Rain. The two were compulsory reading for students of English literature across Africa at different points.

An English graduate from Nigeria’s revered University of Ibadan, where he graduated in 1960, he began his career as a journalist. He worked as a Nigerian government information officer before moving to the defunct Daily Express as a features and editorial writer, according to his biography.

The deceased was born in Kiagbodo, in the then Bendel State now Delta, to an Ijaw father and Urhobo mother.

He received his early education at the Native Authority School, Okrika, Ofinibenya-Ama, in Burutu LGA and the prestigious Government College in Ughelli, and his BA degree in English at the University of Ibadan.

After graduation from Ibadan in 1960, he worked as an information officer in the Ministry of Information, in the old Western Region of Nigeria, as features editor of the Daily Express, and as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. He served for several years as a professor of English at the University of Lagos, a position from which he retired in 1980. While at the University of Lagos he was co-editor of the literary magazine Black Orpheus.

Clark held visiting professorial appointments at several institutions of higher learning, including Yale and Wesleyan University in the United States.


Namibian President Urges Vigilance Against Second Wave of COVID-19



Namibia warns against second wave of covid 19

Namibian President Hage Geingob has called for vigilance against the possible emergence of a second wave of COVID-19 infections in the southern African country.

He attributed the drop in positive cases in Namibia over the past four weeks to collective efforts against COVID-19.

Namibia will gradually re-open its borders on the basis of reciprocity, resume social activities, including contact sports activities and re-open face-to-face instruction for schools and colleges where social distancing is feasible.

Namibia has so far reported 12,367 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of these, 10,528, or 85% have recovered, while 1,707, or 14% remain active.

The number of deaths related to the pandemic stands at 132.

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#EndSARS: Hoodlums Set TVC, NPA HQ On Fire



Suspected hoodlums on Wednesday set ablaze Television Continental (TVC), a television station allegedly owned by a stalwart of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) – Bola Tinubu – in the Ketu area of Lagos State.

The hoodlums also razed the headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at Marina, Lagos.

The perpetrators were said to be angry over the Tuesday shootings of youths, who were protesting at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, by armed security operatives.

No fewer than 12 people were said to have died in the shootings.

Consequent upon the attack the television station has gone off the air.

It was not clear at the time of this report whether anybody has been arrested in connection with the attack.

Meanwhile, hoodlums invaded the NPA premises, chased out the workers, and set the expansive building on fire.

NPA firefighters were said to have run for their dear lives when they were unable to arrest the inferno.

The fire touched over five floors of the nine-story building.

The hoodlums also attacked the NPA facility in Dockyard, Apapa, and carted away valuable items.

All vehicles on the premises were also set on fire by some unidentified hoodlums.

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#EndSARS: UN Calls For ‘Root And Branch’ Reform Of Nigeria’s Security Agencies



The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on Wednesday, strongly condemned the use of excessive and disproportionate force by Nigerian armed forces in Lagos on Tuesday evening. She called on the Nigerian authorities to take urgent steps to deal decisively with the underlying problem of persistent violations committed by the security forces, and make a far stronger effort to bring police and army personnel guilty of crimes against civilians to justice.

“While the number of casualties of yesterday’s shooting at the Lekki toll plaza in Lagos is still not clear, there is little doubt that this was a case of excessive use of force, resulting in unlawful killings with live ammunition, by Nigerian armed forces,” Bachelet said. “Reports that CCTV cameras and lighting were deliberately disabled prior to the shooting are even more disturbing as, if confirmed, they suggest this deplorable attack on peaceful protestors was premeditated, planned and coordinated.”

“Nigeria was already at boiling point before this shooting because of the revelations about years of unchecked violence, including alleged killings, rape, extortion and other violations, by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS),” the UN Human Rights Chief continued. “While the authorities have now dissolved SARS and announced a series of inquiries at both Federal and State levels, there have still been few if any charges levelled against its members despite abundant evidence against various members of the squad, as well as members of other security forces and the army.”

Many Nigerians appear not to trust the inquiries and other measures that have been announced by the authorities, and have continued to take to the streets in several cities to protest. “I appreciate that the Government has taken a number of measures to address the protestors’ demands,” Bachelet said. “However, the immediate creation of another elite police SWAT team to replace the SARS — without first addressing some of the root causes of police violence and putting in place sufficient safeguards to prevent future violations — has eroded the public’s trust even further. This latest terrible event in Lagos is like wantonly adding fuel to a fire that was already starting to rage out of control.”

Bachelet said the way to restore trust and bring back peace to the streets of Nigeria is for the authorities to take immediate concrete steps to show they are genuinely committed to tackling impunity, after years of inaction.

“There need to be immediate, independent, transparent and thorough investigations, not just into last night’s killings, but also into all the previous violations committed by security forces,” Bachelet said. “Those appointed to carry out such investigations must not only be independent and impartial but must be widely perceived as such. And, where sufficient evidence already exists to warrant charges, immediate suspension of officers – including senior officers — suspected of committing serious crimes, should take place long before the conclusion of such investigations.”

Bachelet also called for immediate investigations into reports of violent and provocative attacks on peaceful protestors by unidentified groups armed with cudgels, cutlasses, sticks or guns, in some cases apparently with the overt backing of police or other security forces.

“Nigerians, like everyone else, have a fundamental right to peaceful assembly and protest,” Bachelet said. “The Government has a responsibility to take positive measures to ensure the realization of this right, including deterring others who intend to prevent them from protesting peacefully. The world’s attention is now focused sharply on how Nigeria’s Government and security forces react over the coming days and weeks.”

The High Commissioner urged the authorities to grant reparations to the victims and to open extensive dialogue with youth leaders, students and other groups who have been prominent among the protestors.

“In a population with such a young median age, it is important to listen to the grievances of the younger generation and make an effort to address the multiple problems they face, which include — but are far from confined to — police brutality and violations.”

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