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Ahmaud Arbery killers get life in prison

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Ahmoud Arbery was shot while jogging by a man and his son1
Ahmaud Arbery was shot while jogging by a man and his son

A white father and son convicted of killing a black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In November, a jury found Travis and Gregory McMichael and their neighbour, William Bryan, guilty of murdering Arbery in February 2020.

Bryan also received the maximum penalty of life, but was offered the possibility of parole in 30 years.

The judge held a minute of silence to commemorate Arbery’s “callous” killing.

Ahead of his verdict, the Arbery family called for the harshest possible punishments for the three men as a means of bringing “closure to a difficult chapter” in their lives.

The case has raised questions about racial justice in the US South.

The men convicted for Ahmaud Arbery's murder
The men convicted for Ahmaud Arbery’s murder

Arbery, 25, a resident of Brunswick, Georgia, was out jogging in an adjacent, predominantly white neighbourhood when the trio chased and cornered him in pick-up trucks before the younger McMichael shot him during a struggle.

The defendants argued they acted in self-defence while attempting to make a citizen’s arrest of a suspected burglar, but prosecutors argued race was a factor.

Gregory McMichael, 66, his son Travis, 35, and Bryan, 52, were found guilty of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.

On Friday, Judge Timothy Walmsley said: “Taking the law into your own hands is a dangerous endeavour.”

Holding a minute of silence to mark “a fraction of the time Ahmaud Arbery was running in Satilla Shores”, the judge said he “kept coming back to the terror that must have been in [his] mind”.

“Remorse isn’t simply a statement of regret. Remorse is something that’s felt and demonstrated,” he said. “After Ahmaud Arbery fell, the McMichaels turned their backs.”

But he concluded Bryan – who joined the ambush and filmed it – should have an opportunity for parole because he “demonstrated grave concerns that what had occurred should not have occurred” soon after.

Travis McMichael, masked on the left left, speaks with his attorney
Travis McMichael, left, received a life sentence on Friday

In court, members of the Arbery family delivered powerful victim impact statements as they called for the three men to be “fully committed for the consequences” of their actions.

Wanda Cooper Jones, who sat in the courtroom throughout the trial, spoke directly to her late son.

“This verdict doesn’t bring you back, but it does help bring closure to this very difficult chapter of my life,” she said.

“I made a promise to you the day I laid you to rest: I told you I love you and someday, somehow, I would get you justice.”

Jasmine Arbery recalled her younger brother’s love of the outdoors, his athletic build and “dark skin that glistened in the sunlight like gold”.

“These are the qualities that made these men assume Ahmaud was a dangerous criminal and chase him with guns drawn,” she said.

“To me those qualities reflected a young man with life and energy who looked like me and the people I love.”

Arbery’s father Marcus lamented how he would never spend another day with a child who changed his life.

Defence attorneys had argued for some leniency for the men, with attorneys Bob Rubin and Laura Hogue saying their clients were good men devoted to family, community and country who committed “one bad act”.

“As thoughtless or reckless as these actions may have been, they are not evidence of a soul so blackened as to deserve life with no parole,” said Mr Rubin.

But lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski fiercely rebuffed the argument: “Travis McMichael said this was the worst day of his life. Well how did that work out for Ahmaud Arbery?”

Attorney Kevin Gough however argued that declining to provide his client, William Bryan, no possibility of parole would be “unconstitutionally cruel and disproportionate”.

All three defence lawyers have indicated they will appeal the verdicts.

The defendants also face a federal hate crimes trial next month, alleging that they targeted Arbery because he was black.

Arbery’s mother told US media on Friday she has rejected the offer of a plea deal that would see them spend 30 years in federal prison on top of the prison time handed down in state court.

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How Osinbajo transformed my life – Former Secretary

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Alhaji Abdul Gafar Bakare
Alhaji Abdul Gafar Bakare says Prof. Yemi Osinbajo impacted his life and that of many others

Alhaji Abdul Gafar Bakare, former confidential secretary to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo while he was the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State has narrated his experience when he worked with him for eight years.

A devoted Muslim, Bakare had been a secretary at the Lagos State Ministry of Justice prior to the appointment of Osinbajo in 1999. But the appointment changed his life forever.

Prior working with the Vice President he was a trained secretary with no university education.

“Prof. (Osinbajo) not only encouraged me to further my education even at my relatively old age, he personally sponsored my BSc Accounting programme and even sponsored my pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.”

Bakare recalled that he was not the only beneficiary of Osinbajo’s large heart.

“He also sponsored some of our colleagues who became lawyers while others are into other professions”.

He added that, “Prof. is a distinctive person that one needs to emulate. He is a contented man who accommodates any serious minded individual. Even with his present position he still gives recognition to those he knows before becoming Vice President.

“I am most grateful to Allah for the opportunity of working with this kind and generous boss. I also count it as a privilege to express my views about my boss,” he said.

Bakare says he has since retired from the state civil service.

While in office as Hon. Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Osinbajo undertook far-reaching judicial reform in Lagos State, addressing critical areas as judges’ recruitment, remuneration, training and discipline.

The emoluments of Lagos judges witnessed and increase of more than 300 per cent, a situation that made the judges to earn more than Supreme Court Justices.

The Federal and State governments soon followed the good example he laid to gibe better packages to judicial officers.

He also addressed access to justice for the poor by the establishment of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and the Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC), the first of its kind in Nigeria.

These offices have now been replicated in all states across the Federation. He transformed the office as well as his immediate staff.

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‘Attention I Get These Days Is Overwhelming’ – Eniola Badmus

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Janice Tyo

Nollywood actress Eniola Badmus has revealed that the attention she gets recently is overwhelming.

Recall that the actress went on a weight loss journey, that has now left her looking all gorgeously trimmed.

The actress in a post via her Instagram page on Tuesday revealed that she gets a lot of attention these days, which makes her feel like she is a new baby. She further stated that this is a new journey for her.

She wrote: ‘’The attention I get now is quite overwhelming feels like I’m a newborn baby, it’s  a new life for me and a new journey so walk with me on this and be a partaker don’t dull.’’

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Fuel Subsidy: NLC Suspends National Protest

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NLC President Mr. Ayuba Wabba

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has suspended planned national protest against fuel subsidy removal scheduled for 27th January 2022.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba made the announcement on Tuesday, a few hours after the Federal Government indicated that petroleum subsidy would continue for another 18months time frame.

Wabba said the decision to suspend the protest followed a virtual National Executive Council meeting held at noon on Tuesday.

Wabba said: “at the peak of very rigorous mobilization of Nigerians by the Nigeria Labour Congress and a host of her Civil Society allies, the government through the Minister of Finance yesterday, 24″ January 2022 made a public announcement reversing the plans to increase petrol pump price.

” The position of the government was also officially communicated to the Congress with calls for further engagement. Following the reversal and reapproach by the government, the National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress met this morning virtually to consider the new position of the government. The NEC after vigorous debates decided to suspend the planned nationwide protest scheduled for 27″ January 2022 and the national protest scheduled for 2″ February 2022.

“The leadership of the Congress has communicated this decision to our civil society allies who have stood stoically behind Nigerian workers in our quest for social and economic justice for workers and the downtrodden people of our country.

“Going forward, we will continue to engage with the government on the very critical issues of ensuring local refining of petroleum, creation of sustainable jobs and affordable price of petrol for Nigerian workers and people”.

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