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    2019 elections: NMA president challenges members

    Prof. Mike Ogirima, the President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday called on the members of the association to join active politics ahead of 2019 general elections.

    Ogirima made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

    He said the need for them to engage in active politics became necessary to enable them make enhanced contribution to the health sector.

    We have found out that we have few medical workers in politics and bills concerning the health welfare are not receiving adequate attention, he said.

    The president, who noted that not many health workers were involved in active politics, said the development was disturbing and raised serious concern for the association and the health sector.

    If you dont blow your trumpet, nobody will do it for you and if you dont look for your welfare, nobody will do it for you.

    That is why we are encouraging our members to participate in partisan politics.

    The president said that there was need for advice and guidance before certain bills regarding the health sectors are being passed.

    Ogirima said though not all members might be interested to be active politics, but a sizable part of NMA members should get involve in partisan politics.(NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Ahiara Diocese: Pope calls for Ecclesiastical cleansing
    By Edith ike-Eboh

    Pope Francis has called for Ecclesiastical Cleansing of the Ahiara Catholic Diocese to intercede for Gods love and mercies for all the faithful in the diocese.

    Popes directive was conveyed in a letter read at the 2018 Chrism Mass on Wednesday in Abuja.

    Chrism Mass is an annual Mass celebrated in every Catholic Diocese by the Bishop, at the Mass, the priests renew their vows and the three oils used in the church are also blessed by the Bishop.

    The Chrism Mass ushers in the Easter Tridum (last supper, Good Friday and Holy Saturday).

    The letter, which was read by Rev Fr Rowland Nwakpuda at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, said that the Pope called for spiritual rebirth of the Ahiara Diocese.

    John Cardinal Oniayekan, the Catholic Arch Bishop of Abuja said that he received the papal Letter and was asked that it should be read to all the Catholic faithful in Nigeria.

    He said that certain decisions had been taken by the Pope concerning the diocese and the Church of Nigeria would continue to wait and would respect the orders of the pope.

    Oniayekan said that the Holy Father condemned the irresponsible and unfortunate act of the Ahiara priests and noted that the whole church had been affected by it.

    Onaiyekan said that Pope commended the humility of Bishop Peter Okparaeke who resigned his appointment as the Bishop of the Diocese.

    He added that the Pope called on all Catholic Bishops of Nigeria to ensure spiritual rebirth of the church in Ahiara.

    Oniayekan quoted the Pope as saying that the priest of Ahiara Diocese should renew their priestly vows with commitment and show honest solidarity to the church.

    The bishop said that that the Holy Father, in the letter, noted that he received 200 letters of apology from the Ahiara priests and had responded to each person individually.

    Every priest should renew their vows publicly, also the lay faithful, Pope said.

    The Pope also urged the Laity to ensure that they helped their priests to do the right thing as he still had special interest in the diocese.

    The Clergy and the Laity of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara-Mbaise in Imo State had refused to accept Bishop Okpalaekes appointment as their local ordinary on grounds that he is an Mbaise indigene.

    The stalemate lingered as the priests of Ahiara insisted that one of the priests of the Mbaise origin should be chosen as the bishop of Ahiara.

    Okpalaeke,had on February 14, 2018 written to the Vatican, asking that he be relieved of the diocese headship and be posted to any other area of assignment, where God and the Holy Father may deem fit, to enable him continue in service.

    His resignation was accepted and Most Rev Lucius Ugorji, Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, was appointed as the new apostolic administrator of the Diocese.(NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Dino Melaye: Kogi police commissioner removed over suspects escape
    The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, has removed Ali Janga, the commissioner of police in Kogi over the disappearance from detention of six suspects, two of whom had claimed they were hired and armed by Senator Dino Melaye.

    The Commander FSARS in the State, the Divisional Police Officer A Division, Lokoja and other Police officers implicated in the escape have also been transferred out of the state and are at the moment facing disciplinary action.

    In addition, 13 police officers have also been detained and are facing investigation, the Police PRO, Jimoh Moshood said.

    Moshood said Idris was dissatisfied with the circumstances surrounding the escape of the suspects.

    Two of the suspects that broke their detention were KabiruSeidu a.k.a Osama, Nuhu Salisu, a.k.a Small). They were to serve as principal witnesses in the case against Senator Dino Melaye and Mohammed Audu.

    The case of conspiracy and unlawful possession of Prohibited Firearms filed filed at the Federal High Court, Lokoja came up in court today, 28th March, 2018.

    According to Moshood, IGP Idris has ordered Esa Sunday Ogbu, a police commissioner with Federal Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja to proceed and take over as the new Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Police Command.

    Furthermore, on the order of the IGP, the IGPs Intelligence Response Team and Special Tactical Squad, Personnel of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department have already arrived in Kogi State to work with the Police personnel in the State for immediate re-arrest of the escaped suspects. They are to also carry out detail investigation into the escape and bring all those involved to justice.

    The Force wishes to implore the good people of Kogi State to remain calm and assist with useful information to the Joint Police Investigation Team. They can report any information they have on the escaped suspects to the nearest Police Station in the State or any other State in the country.

    Earlier today, CP Janga had shocked journalists when he announced the escape of the two principal suspects in the Melaye case, along with four others.

    He said that 13 policemen on duty at the A Division, Lokoja, have been detained over the incident.

    He named the four other suspects as Aliyu Isa, Adams Suleiman, Emmanuel Audu and Musa Mohammed.

    The escape of the suspects came, even when the police were foot-dragging in arresting Melaye, who was declared wanted, but appeared at the Senate Plenary on Tuesday.

    Janga said the suspects, along withMelaye and Mohammed Audu have now been put on a watch-list and red notice by the INTERPOL for immediate arrest anywhere we see them.

    Source: NAN

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    Music mogul, Michael Collins Ajereh a.k.a Don Don Jazzy, who has not hidden his crush on famous blogger Linda Ikeji, `weeps over the news of her engagement.

    According to some online reports on Wednesday, Lindas ex-boyfriend recently relocated to Nigeria and they the lovebirds decided to rekindle their affair and got engaged.

    Don Jazzy, whose hidden crush on the famous blogger excited fans, posted a picture on his instagram @donjazzy as he was being consoled by some friends over his dashed dreams of making Linda his `wife.

    He also wrote with a crying emojis: Kai Linda is engaged. It is finished.

    Don Jazzy made several moves that he proposed to her on social media and frequently made various posts on his instagram handle; one of such was a recent photo of Linda with the caption When you re fine you re fine abeg.

    Peter Okoye of the defunct PSquare, offered to sponsor his wedding with Linda if Don J made good his promise.

    Meanwhile Sandra, Lindas sister confirmed the good news on her instagram handle on Wednesday.

    Sandra wrote @sandra_Ikeji: congratulations @officiallindaikeji So habby sweet sis! This tells me that sometimes the wait is worth it.

    Cant wait to plan your special day @eventsbysi are you readyyyy #itsagetaway.

    The news was also confirmed by another sister Laura, @lauraikeji who wrote, Congrats Linlin @officiallindaikeji.

    The 37 year old blogger and entrepreneur, is yet to confirm the news. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    WikiLeaks founder Assange now incommunicado
    Ecuador has cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assanges outside communication in its London embassy, an official has said.

    The official said the wanted hacker will be denied access to communications inside the Ecuador embassy in London as Ecuadorian authorities said his messages are interfering with other states matters and hurting relations with the UK.

    According to reports, Ecuador government also said it could take additional measures against Assange for this alleged interference with other States, an indirect reference to UK or Spain.

    According to some sources, the denial of communication privileges, may be a precursor to Ecuadors expulsion of the Australian from its Embassy, which could lead to his arrest in UK

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    Hollywood, Nollywood plan annual show in US of Nigerian films

    A collaboration between Nollywood and Hollywood to showcase Nigerias best films, is now to become an annual event.

    The organisers of the event revealed this as two Nollywood films THE BRIDGE and ISOKEN were showcased in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on Saturday night at The Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre Complex in Los Angeles.

    The screening of the two films brought to three the Nollywood films showcased in Hollywood, with the screening earlier on Friday of 93 DAYS, a film on Nigerias resilience during the Ebola virus outbreak in the country.

    The film 93 DAYS is a compelling drama of dedication, sacrifice, resilience and survival based on the true story of the people who risked their lives to stop the spread a catastrophic virus in Nigeria.

    The screening of the three Nollywood films, which started on Friday and continued on Saturday, was the first collaboration between Nollywood and Hollywood.

    This is also the first time that national film series, the foremost film programme in the world and the most historic of all of Hollywoods cinema houses, are teaming up to bring a film series from Africa to Hollywood.

    Nigeria joined a select list of seven countries from around the world to be part of the prestigious national screening series, according to the organisers.

    THE BRIDGE was a film about inter-tribal marriage in Nigeria and the challenges associated with it, as it seeks to end the inter-tribal prejudices and strengthen marriages among Nigerias diverse ethnic nationalities

    Obadare, a Yoruba prince, and Stella, a young lady from a distinguished Igbo family, are a couple whose relationship is threatened by tribal prejudice and parental plans for their lives.

    When the couple secretly weds against their parents wishes, the consequence shakes the very foundation and sustenance of both families.

    Similarly, ISOKEN is a romantic comedy that explores cultural expectations, racial stereotypes and the bonds that unite families in touching, dramatic and comedic ways.

    Everyone in the Osayande family worries about Isoken, although she has what appears to be a perfect life beautiful, successful and surrounded by great family and friends.

    However, she is unmarried at the age of 34, which, in a culture obsessed with marriage, is serious cause for concern.

    Things come to a head at her youngest sisters wedding when her overbearing mother thrusts her into an orchestrated matchmaking with the ultimate Edo man, Osaze.

    Osaze is handsome, successful and from a good family, making him a perfect Nigerian husband material.

    However, in an unexpected turn of events, Isoken meets Kevin who she finds herself falling in love with and he just might be what she truly wants in a partner.

    The only problem is, not only is he not an Edo man, he is Caucasian.

    The screening was a question and answer series moderated by the Chairman of the African-American wing of the Directors Guild of America and an open air, post-screening Nigerian party on the historic Hollywood Boulevard.

    The film was co-presented by the American Cinematheques Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California and O2A Media Inc., the production company of Nigerian-American filmmaker, Ose Oyamendan.

    Source: NAN

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    15 musicians close Francophone Week with performance

    It was a night of trumpets, saxophones, conga, piano, drums and guitars at a concert to close the Francophone Week in Abuja on Saturday.

    Fourteen musicians displayed their talents as they perform to entertain guests at the event organised by the embassies of France and Belgium in Nigeria.

    The event held at the Institut Francais du Nigeria, attracted the popular Bitter Cola Afrobeat band from Lagos, one of the star attractions.

    The band using the saxophone, played some of the classical Fela Anikulapo Kutis tunes.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports week-long event began with the Chefs Taste Challenge under the Good France Programme at the French Embassy.

    It was aimed at strengthening the cultural relationship between Nigeria and France through gastronomy.

    The Chefs challenge was to celebrate the cuisines of both countries, and also to promote both local and European chefs.

    There were also school performances, which involved drama, singing, dancing and a special quiz, all in French.

    The event was organised by the Institut Francais, in partnership with Nigerian schools.

    Also, a tasting event called Come and Taste different traditional meals from Francophone countries was held in different restaurants in the city.

    The participating restaurants were Relais Cafe Restaurants and Catering Services, Zuma Grill at Transcorp Hilton, Helenes Food Co and Le Petit Square, at the Grand Square restaurants.

    A student of the institute told NAN that the festival was an interesting experience which has created a platform for the students to interact with French speaking people.

    She added that the night allowed them to unwind and to get to know each other, using French to communicate.

    NAN reports that Attieke Republic Restaurant was all night for guests to experience the cultural cuisines of France. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    The Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood, made a historic outing to showcase some of Nigerias best films 93 DAYS, THE BRIDGE AND ISOKEN at Hollywood, Los Angeles.

    Thousands of Hollywood tourists from all over the world were held spellbound over the weekend by the spectacular Nollywood In Hollywood event.

    The event started on Friday at Egyptian Theatre with a star-studded red carpet highlighted by the filmmakers and actors in the films on showcase 93 DAYS, THE BRIDGE AND ISOKEN.

    The inaugural Nollywood In Hollywood event was the biggest cultural showcase for Nigeria outside the country in decades, the organisers said.

    Nollywood artistes also used the platform to promote Nigeria talents and call for co-productions and technical cooperation between Nollywood and Hollywood.

    Mr Jeff Byrd, moderator for the opening night film and Chairman of the African-American Steering Committee of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), praised the ingenuity of Nollywood.

    Nollywood seems so far away but there is some curiosity. This is a great event for Hollywood to know more about the Nigerian cinema.

    The film tonight (93 DAYS) is an excellent film, a really good piece.

    There are conversations to be had, for example how can we make it possible for people like Steve Gukas and good Nollywood filmmakers to be a part of the DGA, Byrd said.

    Saturdays screening was at the reputable Eileen Norris Theatre inside the University of Southern California (USC).

    The Theatre, which had hosted films by reputable USC alumni including Ryan Coogler of the Black Panther, George Lucas, John Singleton, Bryan Singer, and Shonda Rhimes among others, was now playing host to Nigerian films.

    A late-arriving crowd saw the matinee screening of THE BRIDGE on Saturday, after which its Director, Kunle Afolayan, held the packed audience to an engaging Question and Answer session.

    As dusk approached, a standing room only crowd saw the final film on the showcase, ISOKEN, whose theme and subject matter engaged the crowd.

    Actress Dakore Akande had a very colourful and stimulating Questions and Answer session with Nigerian-American filmmaker, Ose Oyamendan, after the screening.

    In a panel on Nollywood, the Nigerian filmmakers made a point of letting the Hollywood audience and decision makers know that Nollywood grew without government support.

    The Nollywood artistes also regretted the lack of Nigerian Governments presence at the biggest cultural showcase for Nigeria outside the country in decades.

    Gwen Deglisse, Director of Programming for The American Cinematheque, operators of The Egyptian Theater, described the Nollywood in Hollywood as a huge success.

    As first events goes, this was a success. We were worried because it is a new territory but Ose was very passionate about giving a platform to Nollywood films.

    Now, we will see how we can make it better. We obviously need more sponsors and hopefully, the Nigerian government can be involved from the next one, Deglisse said.

    Source: NAN

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    Vettel snatches victory from Lewis Hamilton
    Sebastian Vettel made full use of the virtual safety car to sneak in front of Lewis Hamilton and hold off the frustrated champion to win Formula Ones season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

    The Mercedes engines infamous party mode that delivered Hamilton a blistering pole lap on Saturday could do little once Ferraris Vettel nosed ahead when re-entering from pit-lane midway through the race at Albert Park.

    Pole-sitter Hamilton had appeared set to coast to victory with a clear pace advantage but the race turned on its head with the safety car, which was called after Romain Grosjeans Haas failed and rolled to a stop at turn two.

    In another bonus for Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen finished third, fending off Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo and leaving the unlucky Australian still searching for a first podium in his home race.

    Four-times world champion Vettel claimed a 48th overall win and his third in Melbourne following his victories at Albert Park last year and in 2011.

    It was needless to say we got a bit lucky with the timing of the safety car, the German, who had started from third place and inherited the lead when Hamilton and Raikkonen had pitted earlier in the race, told reporters.

    Its not the easiest track to pass.

    For Hamilton, the result was a bitter pill to swallow and had echoes of last years race.

    Vettel also managed to re-enter in front of him from pit-lane in 2017 before burning away to victory while the pole-sitting Briton was blocked by traffic.

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his team had miscalculated the margin between the cars during the safety car period.

    Formula One F1 Australian Grand Prix Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia March 25, 2018 Ferraris Sebastian Vettel in action at the start of the race REUTERS/Brandon Malone
    We thought we had enough margin, he told the BBC. It must have been a software bug in the system that caused us to get it wrong. We are digging deep now to understand where we had a problem.

    Hamilton, who cockily spoke of wiping the smile off Vettels face with his pole lap on Saturday, battled to keep positive.

    Even now I dont understand whats happened, the 33-year-old told reporters. I did everything I believe I was supposed to do.

    After the pit-lane setback, Hamilton drove hard to reel in Vettel and battled back after taking a slide at a corner that blew out the lead to nearly three seconds.

    But he finally waved the white flag in the closing laps to preserve the car for future races.

    Twice world champion Fernando Alonso finished fifth for McLaren in the teams first race with Renault power, equaling their best result in three dreary years with previous engine suppliers Honda.

    Source: NAN

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    MFM fight back to beat Katsina United

    Lagos-based MFM Football Club on Sunday came from a goal down to defeat visiting Katsina United FC 2-1 in a 2017/2018 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 14 fixture.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the match played at the Agege Stadium saw the hosts fighting back to claim a win through a brace by substitute Chijioke Akuneto.

    MFM FC Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu made two changes to the team which defeated Heartland FC of Owerri 3-0, with goalkeeper Ospino Egbe replacing Folarin Abayomi.

    Also, Ayinde Abiodun also led the attack in place of Flying Eagles call-up Jesse Akila.The visitors however drew the first blood through Garba Yashua in the 37th minute.

    At the restart, Akuneto came in for Akinyemi while Abiodun made way for Waheed Akanni.The substitution brought almost instant result as Akuneto struck in the 49th minute with a well-taken free-kick to draw MFM FC level.

    He made it a brace in the 67th minute, after utilising a deft pass from Chukwuka Onuwa.

    Speaking later, Akuneto said the win was a sweet victory for his teams hard labour.

    We struggled at first, but it was a sweet victory for the team from hard labour. We are happy to take the three points and that is what is most important for us, he said.

    MFM, with two games in hand are 7th on the League table, seven points adrift from leaders Lobi Stars of Makurdi.

    The League table after MatchDay 14:

    Heartland 2-1 Nasarawa Utd
    Lobi 3-2 Rivers Utd
    Akwa Utd 1-1 Abia Warriors
    Wikki 3-0 El-Kanemi
    FCIU 3-0 Plateau Utd
    Kwara Utd 2-1 Kano Pillars
    Tornadoes 1-0 Sunshine Stars
    Yobe DS 1-1 Enyimba
    Go Round 2-2 Rangers
    MFM 2-1 Katsina Utd

    Source: NAN

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