I am proud to be Nigerian — Hollywood actor, Chinwetel Ejiofor

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Read Time:1 Minute, 24 Second

A London-born Nigerian Hollywood star, Chinwetel Ejiofor, on Friday said he was proud to be identified as a Nigerian.

Ejiofor said this in Lagos at the premiere of a movie “Half of a Yellow Sun’’ based on a novel written by a Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Adichie.

He said that there was a wrong impression that he claimed not to be a Nigerian.

“During the period of publicising “Twelve Years a Slave”, I was asked where I was originally from.

“I suppose I was trying to give an honest answer about where I was born, and so, I said London, which is where I was born.

“And to me, it was a surprising reaction that people then concluded that I didn’t identify as Nigerian.

“Of course, I am Nigerian-British, but if they ask me where I was born, I can’t say Enugu, because I wasn’t born in Enugu, but, it doesn’t mean that I don’t identify as Nigerian.

“I am proud of being Nigerian that I am extraordinarily happy to be here to make this film.

“We wanted to make a film in Nigeria for several years, maybe 20 years.

“Several years we talked about making a film in Nigeria, internationalise the market, we know there is so much, there’s a handful of energy and ability in Nigeria.

“And, for those of us that were born overseas, we want to get back into all of that and try to work together and make films and internationalise what is a wonderful market community.”

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Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Jonathan Fleming Freed After 24 Years in Prison; Authorities in Brooklyn Hid Evidence

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Read Time:4 Minute, 7 Second

Jonathan Fleming is now a free man.

In an outrageous injustice, Fleming, now 51, spent 24 years in prison for a murder he said all along he didn’t commit—and it turns out prosecutors and police in New York withheld the evidence that would have proved that Fleming was telling the truth.

“Where the hell was this evidence all these years, and why wasn’t it turned over until 25 years later?” attorney Taylor Koss asked as Fleming was released from Washington Correctional Facility in Comstock, N.Y.

After a judge dismissed the case, an emotional Fleming tearfully hugged his lawyers while his family members cheered him on.

“After 25 years, come hug your mother,” Patricia Fleming said to her only child, as he walked over and enfolded her in his arms.

“I feel wonderful,” he said afterward. “I’ve always had faith. I knew that this day would come someday.”

But the questions are now swirling around New York law enforcement, who surely will be facing legal action initiated by the newly freed man.

For the past year, attorneys Koss and Anthony Mayol joined a team from the private investigative firm Management Resources to collect evidence proving Fleming’s innocence—and it turns out there was plenty.

Fleming had been saying for 25 years that he was on vacation at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., on Aug. 15, 1989, when his friend Darryl Rush was gunned down outside a Brooklyn housing project.

“He told his attorney he had in his pocket at the time of his arrest a phone receipt from paying a phone bill at [a Florida] hotel late in the evening of Aug. 14, 1989,” Koss told reporters. ”The receipt was pretty strong alibi evidence. His attorney went to the district attorney’s office and asked for the receipt, and they said they did not have it. The police detectives also denied ever recovering the phone receipt. Fast-forward 25 years and the case file is opened again, and there is the phone receipt.”

Koss said that the receipt shows Fleming paid a phone bill at an Orlando hotel at 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 14, 1989—about four hours before Rush’s slaying.

In addition, Koss said Orlando police did their own investigating.

“[Orlando police], investigating it in Florida on behalf of New York investigators, said they found multiple employees at the hotel who saw Mr. Fleming. That was another great piece of evidence showing him in Florida on August 16.”

While those two pieces of evidence would have likely persuaded a jury not to convict Fleming of second-degree murder, a key witness also recanted.

The woman initially claimed she was sitting next to a window in her house that night and saw Fleming shoot Rush—testimony that led to Fleming’s conviction of second-degree murder and a sentence of life in prison. But in the months after Fleming’s trial, the woman recanted her testimony, saying she had identified Fleming as the shooter in exchange for dismissal of an unrelated felony charge that she was facing.

”I was scared, nervous and on probation … so I lied,” the woman wrote in a signed affidavit.

Even more egregious, the woman alleged that she told investigators the truth prior to testifying at trial, but was threatened with arrest for perjury if she backed down. The recantation came out during Fleming’s appeal hearing, but the judge let the jury verdict stand.

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson said in a press release Tuesday that his office was dismissing murder charges against Fleming following a re-examination of the case by the DA’s Conviction Review Unit.

“Today’s actions follow a careful and thorough review of this case, and based on key alibi facts that place Fleming in Florida at the time of the murder, I have decided to dismiss all charges against him in the interest of justice,” Thompson said.

Koss said they now believe they know who is responsible for the shooting.

“There are two new witnesses, one of which admits to being the getaway driver from the shooting,” Koss said. “He has come forward and given a sworn statement. He said Mr. Fleming was not a part of this in any way, shape or form, and he has identified who he claims is the actual shooter.”

As for Fleming, ”he is very happy that this day has finally come, but it’s an emotional day that’s tempered by the realization that he had to suffer in a jail cell the last 24 years, knowing he was an innocent man,” Koss said.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Can Only Christians Write About Jesus?

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Read Time:4 Minute, 49 Second

When I teach news writing, I talk to my students about the art of interviewing, how to get themselves out of the way and let a story unfold—lead by smart, focused questions that allow readers/listeners/viewers to make up their own minds about the information presented.

Fox Network religion correspondent Lauren Green recently provided a perfect illustration of how not to do that. Her interview with a scholar was so cringe-worthy that many of my colleagues in the academy want to use the clip of Green’s interview to teach students about avoiding bias, not leading sources to say what you want or generate a particular outcome.

Aslan, who has four degrees, including a master’s in theological studies and a PhD in the sociology of religion, was on Fox’s “Spirited Debate” to promote his latest book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.”

By way of background, the Iranian-born Aslan fled the Islamic Revolution in 1979 with his family and relocated to the U.S. As a teenager, he converted to Christianity, but later returned to Islam. He said he is married to a Christian and his brother-in-law is an evangelical minister.

While he has written about other religions, Aslan said he has spent 20 years studying the New Testament and has written four books about that section of the Bible.

Green asked Aslan why he, a Muslim, would write a historical book about Jesus—the implication being that as a Muslim this was somehow unusual and that some might suspect an ulterior motive in his choice of subjects.

Fair enough. There may be some who are unfamiliar with Aslan’s scholarship and who might wonder that very thing. Once his credentials were established, however, Green kept pounding the theme and then said that Aslan’s book differed from a number of Christian scholars.

“I am a historian with a PhD in the history of religion,” Aslan said, noting that “my job as a scholar is to write about religions.”

He said that his book contained 100 pages of notes and referenced 1,000 books written by scholars who both agreed and disagreed with Aslan.

The author tried to get into the meat of the book, which he said looked at Jesus, in part, as the leader of a movement that was so threatening to the political authorities of his state that he was arrested, condemned and crucified.

Jesus, he said, was treated as an enemy of the state and executed like a traitor.

Each time Aslan tried to discuss his findings and conclusions, Green took him back to the question of whether he could be a fair and unbiased judge of Jesus by quoting writers and pundits who attacked the book.

From an instructional point of view, however, Green pressed too hard on one angle and lost the opportunity to make her interview richer and more complete. Further, she drew a conclusion that the facts did not support. She treated a question from a viewer as if it were a challenge from a scholar, asking if Aslan could be objective about the “founder” of Christianity because the author was a Muslim.

To be sure, non-Muslim scholars have written about Islam, just as white reporters covered the Civil Rights Movement, as straight people have written about gay issues and the physically healthy about the physically challenged.

Should journalism rethink that?

We won’t even get into the argument of whether Jesus founded Christianity or St. Paul – who took Jesus’ message which aimed to prepare Jews for a Messianic Kingdom, and expanded it for all who believed in the Christ spirit.

“As a journalist who’s covered books and publishing for more than 25 years, I’ve always refrained from commenting on books that I haven’t read myself,” said author, editor and scholar Jabari Asim, associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College in Boston.

“Unlike the Fox interviewer, I’ve actually read Aslan’s book. I found it to be provocative, persuasive and calmly reasoned. While some may find his conclusions challenging, few should find them offensive or merely arguments for the sake of argument,” Asim said. “As he states in the interview, his book is less a takedown of Christian tenets than an investigation of the historical Jesus, whom Aslan clearly admires.”

It wasn’t unfair for Green to raise the question initially about Aslan’s interest in Christianity. It was unfair that it was basically the only question she asked, in several different ways.

“The philosophical backbone of [Green's] question is that it would be impossible for someone to write about Jesus without some kind of faith-based prejudice,” said Aslan, who told Talking Points Memo that he wrote the book as an academic, not from the perspective of his faith.

“It’s weird to all of a sudden talk about it as though only practitioners of a faith can write about the prophets of that faith,” he said. “If that were true, there would be a lot fewer Islam books out there.”

The interview went viral, perhaps propelling Aslan’s book to No. 2 on Amazon.

There may be no such thing as bad publicity, but there is nothing good to be said for bad journalism.

Jackie Jones, a journalist and journalism educator, is director of the career transformation firm Jones Coaching LLC and author of “Taking Care of the Business of You: 7 Days to Getting Your Career on Track.”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Ekiti 2014: Ajayi emerges as Accord Party candidate

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THE Accord Party yesterday, at its primaries, picked Mr Kole Ajayi as its candidate for the June 21 governorship elections.
Mr Ajayi, who was the sole aspirant of the party, emerged through voice affirmation.

Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, were present to witness the primaries.
Four executives from each of the 16 local government areas of the state participated in the gubernatorial primaries at the party’s secretariat located at Km 4 Ikere road in Ado Ekiti.

The national executives of the party, including the national youth leader, Mallam Muhammed Abdulrahman, national women leader, Hajia Mariam Sali, the National Treasurer, Mr Leramo and the National chairman (South west), Mr Kayode Ojo, conducted the election.

In his remarks, Mr Ajayi vowed not to disappoint the party at the polls. “I want to assure you that I will not disappoint you. There is no going back because with God, all things are possible. We all know the state Ekiti State is, we have to carry out the struggle. Ekiti people deserve a home-based leader. Ekiti wants good, transparent and purposeful government and that is what is forming the core value of our administration, if voted into power. “

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Over 30 killed in fresh Borno Boko Haram attacks

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Read Time:45 Second

MAIDUGURI – Suspected Boko  Haram members launched attacks on troubled Borno villages and on highways, killing more than 30 people including residents, motorists and commuters.

The sect, in the latest attacks, Thursday evening and Friday morning, invaded three towns – Dikwa (in the central), Gwoza and Kalabalge council area and on Maiduguri-Biu road.

In the attack on Government Secondary school in Dikwa located along Gulumba road, some residents of the town who fled to Maiduguri revealed to journalists that the hoodlums came to the town in the middle of the night and slaughtered eight teachers.

One of them who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “We could not sleep at night as all we were hearing was gunshots as we fled to Maiduguri.”

“Our fear was heightened by the fact that we heard that they attacked a boarding school and had killed eight teachers.”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Gunmen kill 2, abduct pregnant woman, burn houses in Taraba

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Gunmen on Friday attacked Kashimbilla community in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba, killing two persons and kidnapping two women, including a pregnant lady.

A member of the Taraba House of Assembly, Mr Mark Useni, who represents Takum II Constituency, confirmed the attack to newsmen in Jalingo.

Useni said two women, including a pregnant lady, were taken hostage by the attackers.

He said efforts to trace the whereabouts of those taken hostage did not yield any result.

The Public Relations Officer of the Taraba Police Command, Mr Joseph Kwaji, who also confirmed the incident, however, said only one person was killed.

Kwali, who is an assistant superintendent of police, said many houses were burnt, alleging that the gunmen were from Benue.

He also said that the gunmen attacked the Jukun, Tiv and Fulani residents in the area.

The spokesman assured the residents of the area that the command was on top of the situation.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigerian Child Bride Kills Man She Was Forced To Marry, Along With Three Of His Friends

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Read Time:1 Minute, 8 Second

A child bride forced into marriage killed her husband and three of his friends by lacing a meal with rat poison, police said.

The 14-year-old girl in the northern Nigerian state of Kano has confessed to killing the man, who was more than twice her age.

Wasilu Umar said she fed her husband poison after he invited a dozen friends to celebrate their marriage at his Ungwar Yansoro village.

"The suspect confessed to committing the crime and said she did it because she was forced to marry a man she did not love," police superintendent Musa Magaji Majia told the Associated Press.

Three other people also died and 10 were taken to hospital apparently after eating the same food.

Child marriage is common in Nigeria, especially in the mainly Muslim impoverished north.

Early and forced marriage is classified as modern-day slavery by the UN labour organisation, and Nigeria's Child Rights Act prohibits marriage before 18. But that federal law competes with Islamic Shariah law that holds in most northern states.

The girl's father had forced her to marry the 35-year-old man, police said.

The teenager is likely to be tried in a juvenile court, the BBC reported. The teenager is co-operating with police and likely will be charged with culpable homicide, according to Majia.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Deadly crash cuts short hopeful college trip

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Read Time:3 Minute, 5 Second

A group of low-income and first-generation prospective college students were the victims of a fiery freeway crash that killed 10, including five youths.

It was a trip to open doors and possibilities for the students, but it was cut short by a horrific crash.

Three buses — two from the Los Angeles area and one from the Fresno area — were en route Thursday evening to Humboldt State University in Arcata when a FedEx truck crossed a median and slammed head-on into one of the buses.

The collision killed both drivers, five students and three chaperones, said Lt. Bruce Carpenter with the California Highway Patrol.

The crash resulted in a fire that engulfed the truck and bus, spewing black smoke.

"I went outside, and everything was in flames already," a local resident, Luis Lopez, told CNN affiliate KXTV. "There were a couple of explosions after that."

The reason the FedEx truck crossed the median remains under investigation, the Highway Patrol said. The investigation could take months.

At least 34 people were taken to local hospitals, authorities said.

The collision occurred in Orland, about 100 miles north of Sacramento.

One of the survivors chronicled his experience through Twitter.

"i was asleep and next thing you know i was jumping out for my life," Jonathan Gutierrez wrote, saying he couldn't believe what just happened.

He wrote that he suffered a bruised leg, cut eyebrow and scratches. Later, he said his left leg was injured to the point that he couldn't walk.

"All my stuff that I packed is burned. I'm beyond thankful that I'm still here," Gutierrez tweeted.

He called the experience traumatizing.

"Seeing everyone hurt was not how (I) expected my day to go," he said.

The other two buses made it to the university, and those students were placed in dorms, Humboldt officials said.

The university is offering counseling to those students.

An annual university program brings low-income and first-generation college prospects to campus each year for a two-day visit.

The students stay in residence halls, attend events and visit with staff and students from a program that helps historically underrepresented students, the university said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District confirmed that there were 19 students from the district on the trip but that many other districts had students on board as well. District officials could not confirm whether any LAUSD students were among those killed or the conditions of their students.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic accident on I-5 in California. We are cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate," FedEx spokeswoman Bonnie Kourvelas said.

The truck sideswiped another car before crashing into the bus. The two occupants of that vehicle were not seriously injured but were sent to a hospital for treatment.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Friday that it is sending a team to California to investigate as well.

"One, we're going to be investigating the human, the machine and the environment, and what's critical for us especially in highway accidents if for us to collect perishable information, the kind of information that goes away very quickly," NTSB Member Mark Rosekind said.

The NTSB's role will be to determine whether anything from the accident could have a national impact.

The agency seeks to determine not just what happened but why it happened, Rosekind said.

"And then the most important thing we can do is issue recommendations so that these kinds of accidents don't happen again," he said.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Anambra State: Obiano swears in 19 commissioners, 9 special advisers

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Read Time:1 Minute, 6 Second

Awka – Governor Willie Obiano, Friday, sworn-in 19 commissioners cleared by the State House of Assembly. Also sworn-in were nine special advisers .
 
He also signed into law the 2014 appropriation bill recently passed by the House of Asembly.

The commissioners are Mr. Anali Chude, attorney general and commissioner for Justice; Mr. Anthony Onyima (Information),Mr. Callistus Ilozumba (Works), Mrs. Azuka Enemuo (Local government and chieftaincy affairs), Greg Obi (Finance), Lawrence Chinwuba (Housing), Professor Solomon Chukwu (Economic planning and Budget), Ifeatu Onyejeme (Trade and Commerce), Dr. Victoria Chukwuelu (Women Affairs), Dr. Chinedu Emeka (Public Utilities, Water Resources) and Chukwuma Mbonu (Transport).
 
Others are Evaristus Ubah (Environment), Stella Onuorah (Lands, Survey and Urban Development), Professor Kate Omenugha of the Mass Communication department of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, (Education), Tony Nnachetam, who was a former vice chairman of NFA (Youth and Sports), Norbert Obi (Special Duties), Dr. Josephat Akabuike (Health), Nnamdi Mekoh (Agriculture) and Obi Nwankwo (Science and Technology).
 
The special advisers are Alex Ejesieme (legal), Anthonia Tabansi (special duties), Vivian Nwandu (MDG), Amaka Ilobi (public utilities), Ngozi Okonkwo (IGR),  Chikaodi Anara (security), Chidi Ibezim (youth empowerment) and Amaechi O (town planning).
 
Obiano urged the appointees to abide by their oath of office, warning that he would not hesitate to remove any of them found wanting.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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2014 budget already too late – Experts

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Read Time:1 Minute, 42 Second

Lagos – Some financial experts on Friday expressed concern that the late passage of 2014 budget would impact negatively on the ongoing development of capital projects across the nation.

They in Lagos said that another major impediment of the budget would be poor implementation.

Prof. Sheriffadeen Tella of the Department of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, said the budget was

Tella said that the late passage would affect budget implementation, especially in the area of capital projects.

According to him, budget delays contrary to other opinions have a multiplier effect on sectoral expansion and employment generation.

Mr Harrison Owoh, the Managing Director, H J Trust & Investment Ltd., said the budget would promote corruption.

Owoh said that many ministries would engage in fraudulent spending to avoid return of unspent funds to government coffers by December 2014.

Mr Bayo Adeleke, National Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, also commended the National Assembly for passing the budget in spite the high level of politicking.

Adeleke said that politicking delayed the budget passage which was contrary to the National Assembly’s earlier pledge that it would be passed before the end of 2013.

“The implementation of the budget and its eventual impact on the living standard of Nigerians are the real issues,”Adeleke said.

The Senate and House of Representatives recently passed the 2014 budget totaling N4.695 trillion.

It was N52.2bn higher than the N4.642trn submitted by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Breakdown of the approved budget showed that N408.69 billion was earmarked for statutory transfers, N712 billion for debt service while recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure stood at N2.45 trillion and N1.12 trillion respectively.

The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Dec. 19, presented N4.6 trillion proposal for 2014 fiscal year.

A breakdown of the proposed budget showed that N3.7 trillion, representing 72 per cent, covers recurrent expenditure, while N1.1 trillion was earmarked for capital projects.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the budget would focus on job creation and inclusive growth.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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