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Uzodinma Rewards Imo’s Best SSCE Student With Scholarship 



Uzodinma with best Imo SSCE student

Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, has rewarded the best Senior Secondary Certification of Education (SSCE) in the state, Confidence Chinaza Nwozuzu, with a scholarship.

Uzodinma said Nwozuzu, who made nine distinctions, is an epitome of excellence.

According to him, Nwozuzu’s scholarship will cover the sponsorship of her academic studies to her desired level.

He said: “We shall continue to recognize and encourage Imolites that bring honour to the State by distinguishing themselves in most remarkable ways. Confidence Chinaza Nwozuzu from Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State has indeed brought honour to the state with her outstanding performance of 9As from the 2020 Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE).

“In acknowledgement of this meritorious performance, I have directed the Honourable Commissioner for Education to forthwith ensure Imo State sponsorship of Miss Chinaza through her educational career to the desired level.”

The governor subsequently charged sons and daughters of Imo State to dedicate themselves towards achieving academic excellence.

“I, therefore, encourage other sons and daughters of Imo State to apply dedication and resilience in their academic pursuit for education remains the greatest empowerment for future development.

“Once again, Congratulations to Miss Confidence Chinaza Nwozuzu!” he said.


Don’t Be Political Spectators, Let Your Numbers Count, Yahaya Bello Tells Nigerian Youths



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Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has called on Nigerian youths to make their numbers count and not be political spectators in the country’s 2023 general elections and democratic processes.

Mr Onogwu Muhammed, Chief Press Secretary to Bello in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja said the governor made this known while speaking at the National Youth Summit/Book Launch in Abuja.

Muhammed said Bello was represented by his Chief of Staff, Jamiu Asuku, at the event titled, “It’s Youth O’clock In Nigeria”.

Bello in his address told the youths that in spite of them representing the largest demography of the nation’s population, their numbers would not count if they refused to participate actively in politics and the 2023 general elections.

“Nigerian youths no longer have any excuse not to take over the nation’s leadership considering the exploits of some young Nigerians in every sector of the nation’s economy.

“Nigeria is waiting for young people to steer the country towards the dreams of its founding fathers because those who gave their lives for the formation of this nation did so at their youthful age.

“Youth no longer have any excuse not to take the lead. We are not just youthful, we are useful and purposeful. This is the time for you to mobilize yourselves and begin an advocacy for youths involvement in governance.

“Most of you sitting down here are above 30 years of age. At 32, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) was already Head of State. He fought the civil war just for Nigeria survival as an indivisible and united entity.

“General Murtala was also pretty young when he became the Head of State and he also made meaningful contributions to the development of our dear state.

“The youth must begin to see themselves as critical stakeholders whose time has come to take over the leadership of this country.

“Achieving this will remain a tall order if the new song of ‘Youth O’clock’ ends on your lips without concerted effort and commitment to participate in politics and electioneering processes in this country”, Bello said.

Bello said that his political life had been a chronicle of doing what people said could not be done, when he threw his hat into the ring as a young Nigerian to run for governorship of Kogi in 2015.

“A lot of people saw me as a joker and a lot of people thought it was impossible; some called me an outsider because I had no godfather,” he added.

He said his legacies and achievements in office should not be difficult for anyone to search.

According to him, the clamour for youth takeover of leadership will be encouraged and boosted by the sterling performance of those already in the corridors of power.

He urged young Nigerians already leading to promote themselves, advertise their work, record of performance and achievements.

“In like manner, as we think of 2023 – the question of the next leadership of Nigeria, may I challenge you to deploy your considerable resources of office and influence toward crafting the Nigeria of our dreams.

“The youth O’clock song must be heard in every nook and cranny of this country, it is an advocacy that the youth must take to every corner of this great nation,” he said.

He said political leadership was by the virtue of organisation and alliance and commended the Youth Council of Nigeria for realising that the ‘Youth O’clock’ was actually time for the youths in this country to prepare for leadership.

Bello said it is however not enough to be a member of a political party, urging the youth to make themselves visible by having structures all over the country.


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Biden warns Russia against invading Ukraine



US president Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden

Joe Biden has warned that he will not accept “red lines” set by Moscow as fears mount that Russia is planning an imminent invasion of Ukraine.

The US president said he will make it “very, very difficult” for Russia to invade its neighbour.

Meanwhile, US media has reported that intelligence officials fear an invasion could begin in early 2022.

It comes as Ukraine says Russia has boosted its military at the border and amassed some 94,000 troops there.

A video call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mr Biden to ease tensions is expected this week. The US President told reporters he is expecting to have a long discussion with the Russian leader, and warned that he will not “accept anybody’s red lines”.

Russian President Vladmir Putin

“What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he’s going to do,” Mr Biden said as he left for the presidential retreat at Camp David.

While Mr Biden did not set out what precise actions the US plans to take, American and Ukrainian officials warned again this week that severe economic sanctions are on the table against Russia.

On Thursday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the US had threatened fresh sanctions after his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Mr Biden’s comments come as the Washington Post reported that US intelligence officials fear the Kremlin is planning a multi-front offensive as soon as early next year involving up to 175,000 troops.

Officials have also reportedly seen an increase in propaganda efforts through the use of proxies and media outlets to denigrate Ukraine and Nato ahead of a potential invasion.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has said that he believes the most likely timing of any Russian escalation “will be the end of January”.

This week Britain’s most senior military officer said “we have to be on our guard” about the potential for conflict in the region.

Gen Sir Nick Carter told the BBC that he “distinctly hoped” there would not be a war with Russia, but added that Nato would have to be ready for that eventuality.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are nothing new. In 2014 Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and soon after started to back a separatist insurgency in Ukraine’s east that has seen some 14,000 people killed in periodic fighting.

More recently, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has moved against Russian interests, slapping sanctions on a powerful friend of President Putin and banning broadcasts by three pro-Russian TV stations.

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Omicron variant highly transmissible, detected in 40 countries – WHO



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“We need to be prepared and cautious, not panic,” the WHO’s top scientist Soumya Swaminathan said

The world should not panic about the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 but it should prepare, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

Speaking at a conference on Friday, top WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the situation now was very different to a year ago.

Reports suggest Omicron has been found in close to 40 countries.

It is still unclear if the highly mutated variant is more transmissible or better able to evade vaccines.

Early data reported by scientists in South Africa – where the variant was first detected – suggests Omicron may evade some immunity to Covid-19, although experts caution the analysis is not definitive.

Dr Swaminathan told the Reuters NEXT conference that the variant was “highly transmissible”, citing data from South Africa, and said it could possibly become the dominant strain worldwide – although this is hard to predict. Delta currently accounts for 99% of cases globally, she added.

“How worried should we be? We need to be prepared and cautious, not panic, because we’re in a different situation to a year ago,” she said.

WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan meanwhile said the world currently had “highly effective vaccines” against Covid-19, and the focus should be on distributing them more widely. He said there was no evidence to back changing these jabs to tailor them to the new Omicron variant.

COVID-19 variant Omicron
Omicron is the most heavily mutated version of coronavirus

Countries around the world have announced travel bans against southern African countries in the wake of Omicron’s first detection.

US officials have made it compulsory for all international travellers to the US to take a Covid test no more than one day before travel. It comes after authorities tightened US travel rules in light of the variant.

Omicron has now been detected in at least six US states including Hawaii, where officials said the case had no recent travel history.

India has also reported its first two cases of the Omicron variant. Officials said one of them – a 66-year-old South African national – had travelled from the country and had already left India, while the second – a 46-year-old doctor in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru – had no travel history.

The second wave of Covid infections brought the country’s healthcare system to its knees in April and May this year, with hospitals running out of beds, oxygen and medicines.

The emergence of the new variant comes as European countries are already grappling with a surge in infections.

On Thursday Germany announced major restrictions on the unvaccinated, declaring that only those inoculated or who had recently recovered from the virus will be allowed in restaurants, cinemas and many shops.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also said vaccinations could be mandatory by February. Neighbouring Austria announced compulsory jabs for residents from 1 February, while countries including Belgium and the Netherlands have brought back or tightened measures aimed at tackling the spread of cases.

Health officials in the UK are working on accelerating the rollout of booster jabs. The government has bought 114 million more doses of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs and has announced that all adults will be offered a booster by the end of January.

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