29 January, 2009

FG flays killing of Nigerian in Ukraine

FG flays killing of Nigerian in Ukraine

Published: Wednesday, 28 Jan 2009

The Federal Government has reacted to the recent killing of a Nigerian in Ukraine, saying that the country will no longer condone such attacks on its citizens abroad.

As a result, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Oleg Skoropad, was summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday to answer questions on the matter.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Jubril Maigari, who made the government's position known, expressed his sadness over the death of a Nigerian identified simply as Saludeen, killed in Ukraine, even though he had been residing in the country since 2001 and married to a Ukrainian woman.

In a statement made available to our correspondent on Tuesday, Maigari noted that in spite of the summons which was officially made since January 18, the Ukrainian authorities were yet to give satisfactory explanations for the death of the Nigerian.

The minister expressed the hope that Ukraine would put urgent measures to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians in that country.

The minister urged the Ambassador to convey his message to the home government, expecting that the culprits would be brought to book.

In his reaction, Skoropad lamented the incident and said his home government would fish out the culprits and punish them appropriately.

Skoropad suggested to the minister that both countries should have a Consular Framework, to help Nigeria and Ukraine strengthen their bilateral relations.

He reassured the minister that the unfortunate incident would not mar both countries' relations, pointing out that he was planning to send 1,000 student-visa to Nigerians this year.


28 January, 2009

15 Nigerian Soccer Players Die In Bus Accident

15 Nigerian Soccer Players Die In Bus Accident
The team from northeast Nigeria`s Adamawa state died while travelling through Plateau state.
15 Nigerian Soccer Players Die In Bus Accident

Published: January 25, 2009 20:20h
Fifteen members of a local Nigerian soccer team were killed in a bus accident as they were travelling to play a match in the country's capital Abuja, a source with the Nigerian Football Federation said on Sunday.
The team from northeast Nigeria's Adamawa state died while travelling through Plateau state, the same area where nine female soccer players and their two coaches died in a similar accident last month. Nigerian roads are among the deadliest in the world because of large potholes, poorly maintained vehicles and dangerous driving.
At least 5,000 people die on Nigerian roads every year, according to the police.
Most motorists in Africa's most populous country have never taken driving lessons since a licence can easily be obtained by paying around $50.

26 January, 2009


Nigerian director's home attacked

Iyan Tama
Iyan Tama's film included banned singing and dancing

A mob has attacked the house of a jailed film director who defied Islamic censors in northern Nigeria.

Dozens of men broke into the house of Hausa movie mogul Hamisu Lamido, family friends said on Monday.

Mr Lamido, known in the Kano film world as Iyan Tama, is currently serving a 15-month sentence for releasing an uncensored film.

The intruders threatened to "deal with" his wife and "teach them the lesson of their lives", according to reports.

His wife was forced to beg for the lives of her children before the men left the house, friends told local media.

No-one was injured in the attack.


Mr Lamido was jailed in December.

He was charged with releasing a film without approval by the Kano State Censor's Board and operating an unlicensed film production company - charges he denies.

His lawyers are challenging the court's decision.

A website dedicated to getting him released has posted scans of documents they say prove the producer had permission to make the film.

The film, Tsintsiya (The Broom in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria), was finished during a six-month ban on film-making declared by the Kano State Islamic authorities.

He says the film, a Hausa version of West Side Story, was exempt from the ban because it was funded by the US embassy in Nigeria.

It was filmed outside Kano state and wasn't released there either, Mr Lamido says.

The film features singing and dancing, also banned by the censors.

Election fall-out?

"This harassment of Iyan Tama and his family is political," said director of photography on the film Emma James.

"Iyan Tama contested for the governor's position in the last election and they want to deal with him."

The ban on filming was introduced after a mobile phone clip of a well-known actress having sex with her married boyfriend was circulated.

After the ban was lifted the censors announced tough new restrictions.

Islamic authorities say that the ban on singing and dancing on screen was necessary to protect Hausa culture against the influence of Indian Bollywood films, hugely popular in northern Nigeria.


24 January, 2009


2009-01-23 16:06
Expulsion centre opens on Lampedusa
Island strikes over 'Mediterranean Alcatraz' for immigrants
(ANSA) - Lampedusa, January 23 - The tiny southern Italian island of Lampedusa went on strike Friday to protest against a new identification and expulsion centre (CIE) for illegal immigrants that has opened on the island.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the creation of the centre, at a disused military base in an isolated area of the island, was ''necessary'' in light of his commitment to repatriate all illegal immigrants who arrive by boat on Lampedusa's shores.

In the past, immigrants have been transferred to the Italian mainland when the island's 850-bed migrant centre (CPA) has reached its capacity, but earlier this week the number of immigrants in the centre reached 1,850 - many of whom were sleeping in makeshift tents.

The chronic overcrowding has drawn criticism from United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR, who on Friday reiterated its ''growing concerns'' over the situation.

But Maroni said he was sticking to his December pledge to keep immigrants on the island until they could be identified and repatriated, explaining that the new CIE centre would speed up the process.

''The aim is to complete the repatriation plan within a few weeks,'' Maroni said.

''Since January 1 we have repatriated around 150 people (Egyptians and Nigerians) directly from Lampedusa. Next week I will visit several countries where cooperation accords for repatriation exist in order to reinforce these agreements and accelerate the process,'' he added.

No agreements exist with conflict-hit states such as Somalia, but immigrants recognised as asylum-seekers are exempt from Maroni's repatriation plans. The minister said 800 immigrants in the centre had applied for refugee status, of whom 377 had been recognised and would be transferred to other centres in Italy.

Around 250 immigrants were being transferred from the centre on Friday, but with 1,300 remaining it is still facing collapse, its director Cono Galipo' said.


Islanders angry that the new CIE has been opened without their consent meanwhile shut down shops on Lampedusa Friday to join a protest led by Mayor Bernardino De Rubeis.

Organisers claimed that 4,000 out of Lampedusa's 6,000-strong population had turned up at the protest, although police estimated that 2,500 was a more realistic number.

De Rubeis said Maroni's decision to open the CIE was ''inhumane'' and risked turning Lampedusa into ''the Mediterranean Alcatraz''.

''The inhabitants of the island are not racist and we are not angry with the immigrants but we don't want a structure on the island that would end up as a sort of prison, seeing that the policy of forced repatriations is not practical for a thousand reasons,'' De Rubeis said.

''Around 100 immigrants who have escaped from the CPA are currently protesting alongside us,'' he added.

Maroni hit back at the islanders, saying they ''were used to welcoming immigrants and then passing the problem on to other people in the rest of Italy''.

''The decision to stick to the fight against illegal immigration is in the interests of Lampedusa residents because it will work as a deterrent for those arriving on the island's shores,'' he said.

Maroni was backed by Lampedusa's deputy mayor and fellow devolutionist Northern League member, Angela Maraventano, who De Rubeis said earlier this week he was planning to sack.

''The only thing that's not right on Lampedusa is the mayor. Maroni's project is the only possibility. The islanders have not understood how things are and they are just being exploited,'' she said.

According to United Nations Refugee Agency figures, some 36,000 people landed on Italian coasts last year - a 75% increase compared to 2007 figures.

The statistics reveal that Italy took more than half of the 67,000 immigrants who arrived by sea in Europe last year.

The majority of Italy's illegal immigrants - around 31,000 - arrived on the island of Lampedusa, which is closer to the north African coast than the Italian mainland.

11 January, 2009


He, a Croatian and she is from Nigeria both Pozzuoli and Secondiagliano (Italy) prisons respectively. They came to know each other through mails. Today Darko 38 years and Sandra 28 years are husband and wife .The ceremony was celebrated by Ref Fernando the chaplain of Pozzuoli prison on the 15th October 2008; before then Darko and Sandra never met each other .

A love story that looks like an 18th century story and was able to open the bars of the prison for the couple. Two years ago the Nigerian received a 'good wish' letter from an unknown person and from then both started to exchange letters talking of their life experiences.

Sandra on arrival to the ‘promised land’ from Africa got into a lot of problems that landed her in (Italian)jail. Darko had a worse past; an ex officer in the Croatian army, captured and tortured by the Serbian army, In 2001 he entered Italy , committed some offences and ended up in jail.

They have very few things in common like both being Catholics.

On the great day 15 th October Darko arrived Pozzouli prison for the ceremony on board a police car; Sandra very beautiful on her white gown was there waiting for him : both looked at each other for the first time…an infinit emotion.

They walked to the garden of the prison for the ceremony. The ceremony was brief. The witnesses were four voluntary workers and prison educationists. Now Darko and Sandra are husband and wife and would like to live far from Italy. This year 2009 when they must have finished their sentences in Italy then may start to dream.

Translated/summarized by chukbyke
Lui croato, lei nigeriana si sono conosciuti per via epistolare durante la detenzione nelle carceri di Pozzuoli e Secondigliano. Oggi Darko 38 anni e Sandra (28) sono marito e moglie. Il loro matrimonio è stato celebrato dal cappellano della casa circondariale di Pozzuoli, don Fernando Carannante il 15 ottobre del 2008: Sandra e Darko non si erano mai visti prima di allora. Una storia che sembra uscita dai romanzi dell'Ottocento, un amore che ha saputo piegare le sbarre delle prigioni dove entrambi sono ancora detenuti. Due anni fa la giovane riceve una lettera di auguri da uno sconosciuto detenuto. Comincia così una fitta corrispondenza dove ciascuno racconta la propria vita. Lei parte dall'Africa Nera per raggiungere la "terra promessa". Ma una volta giunta in Italia, incontra soltanto violenza e disperazione. Scelte sbagliate la portano quasi subito a varcare la soglia dell'Istituto di pena. Darko ha un passato ancora peggiore. Militare di professione nell'esercito croato, ha partecipato alla guerra fratricida dell'ex Jugoslavia. Catturato dall'esercito serbo viene fatto prigioniero e torturato. Nel 2001 arriva in Italia. Ma a Trieste, Darko compie un reato e viene arrestato.Nelle lettere Sandra e Darko riversano sé stessi. Hanno poche cose in comune, tra cui il fatto di essere cattolici. Per questa ragione decidono di sposarsi. Ma l'iter per il matrimonio concordatario è difficile così i giovani optano per il matrimonio civile. Il 15 ottobre è il gran giorno. Darko arriva nel carcere di Pozzuoli a bordo di un mezzo della polizia penitenziaria. Ad attenderlo c'è Sandra, bellissima nel suo vestito bianco. I due si guardano negli occhi per la prima volta. E' un'emozione infinita. Entrambi raggiungono il giardino del carcere per la cerimonia. Quattro i testimoni scelti tra i volontari e gli educatori del carcere. Il rito è breve. Darko e Sandra sono marito e moglie. Vogliono vivere felici, lontano dall'Italia. Giurano che il 2009 sarà il loro anno. Finiranno di scontare la pena con la giustizia italiana e allora potranno cominciare a sognare. (Matilde Andolfo)

04 January, 2009

Buon 2009