Protesters defied a curfew in New York City on Tuesday night to keep protesting the death of African American George Floyd, but the night was largely peaceful with only sporadic reports of looting and violence citywide.
Tuesday’s curfew, the second since 1943, started earlier than Monday at 8 p.m. local time and ended at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, during which vehicle traffic below 96th street in Manhattan was limited.
Hundreds of protesters refused to leave after 8 p.m. on Tuesday and kept marching across the Manhattan Bridge. Police tried to block them but failed.
However, it was still a relief for city officials and police as the night was much more peaceful and quieter than previous ones. Around 200 people were arrested, mostly for minor violations. Very few incidents of looting, violence or vandalism were reported, according to the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
“Last night we took a step forward in moving out of this difficult period we’ve had the last few days and moving to a better time,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily briefing, adding that the measures were effective.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday that officers across the country are facing orchestrated attacks from criminals.
“We are seeing it, unfortunately, alive and well in New York City,” said Shea, who joined the mayor’s briefing through phone, adding that some bottles thrown to the police during the turmoils in previous days were filled with cement rather than water.
He also retweeted a video on Wednesday showing officers confiscating boxes of pre-staged bricks left on a street corner in Brooklyn.
“This is what our cops are up against: Organized looters, strategically placing caches of bricks & rocks at locations throughout NYC,” he said.
On the first night of curfew in New York City, dozens of shops were looted hours before the curfew began at 11 p.m. and over 700 people arrested.
Wednesday’s protests in New York City are scheduled to start around 4 p.m., according to organizers.
2023: NYC urges Gov. Umahi to consider running for Presidency
The Nigerian Youth Council (NYC), a socio-political organisation has urged Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi to consider running for Presidency in 2023 due to his developmental strides in the state.
The group made the call on Saturday in Abakaliki during the inauguration of the state’s chapter of the congress.
Mr Nasiru Adhama, the SSA to the President on Youth and Students Affairs said at the occasion that the group was impressed with the governor’s transformational strides and would be “favoured” to do so at the national level.
Adhama, represented by his Aide, Mr Aminu Isyaku, said the delegation inspected projects executed by the governor on Friday and got tired at a point during the tour.
He said: “We told the tour guide, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Information and Orientation to tell the governor that he has executed so many projects.
“We visited projects such as the modern rice mills across the state, the fertiliser plants which meet the need of the South-East zone and country, the ultra modern shopping mall that is a replica of the Dubai mall, among others.”
The president’s aide said with the realities on ground in Ebonyi, the state would be chosen to represent the south-east in the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme that would be launched soon.
“The NYC is an emerging youth group aimed at propagating and driving a ‘new youth agenda’ for the country to ensure that the present legacies of our leaders are sustained.
“Today’s inauguration is a milestone for the state as we will offer the state chapter, the necessary support to succeed and meet its aspirations,” he said.
Mr Blessing Akinlosotu, the National President of the council, thanked the Ebonyi Government for welcoming the group and declared that the delegation was impressed with its performance.
“We are trying to tell the world that the Nigerian youths have the zeal and capabilities to turn things around in the country and solve several political problems such as god-fatherism and mal-administration.
“Gov. David Umahi has proven to be a youth friendly governor with his cabinet dominated by youths thus emulating the influential countries of the world ruled by youths,” he said.
Dr Yakubu Shendam, Chairman, Governing Board NYC, said that President Buhari had always supported the youths to excel and Umahi was needed at the national level to replicate the feat.
Gov. Umahi represented by Dr Kenneth Ugbala, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), thanked the council for visiting the state.
“You should be planning to stay in the state for about two weeks when next you visit, to enable you to see the good work which is domesticated in all the 13 Local Government Areas of the state.
Chief Enekwachi Akpa, the Special Assistant to the Governor on State and Local Government Affairs, pledged that the council would be inaugurated in all the wards and local government areas of the state.
Mr Raymond Okoro, the newly inaugurated Chairman of the state chapter of the congress, pledged on behalf of the executive council to work assiduously to achieve the objective of the council in Ebonyi.
Edited By: Benson Iziama/Ejike Obeta
StudyFree to help 8 Nigerian students continue studies abroad
An Edtech startup, StudyFree, says it has finalised plans to assist eight scholars of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) who were denied scholarship funding to continue their studies abroad.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of StudyFree, Dasha Kroshkina, made this known in a statement signed by Mr Raymond Osheku, Country Manager of StudyFree, in Lagos on Thursday.
“StudyFree is an international Edtech startup founded in 2018 to help students to study abroad for free with the help of grants and scholarships through an online platform,’’ Kroshkina said
She said that the platform had established an initiative that would assist Nigerian students to find programmes with scholarships.
“StudyFree has established an initiative to help eight NDDC scholars to continue their path abroad.
“For those successful students who did not receive the funding from NDDC, StudyFree has provided them access to its platform to help them find programmes with scholarships abroad.
“It also facilitates their access to relevant information that will assist to prepare them for the application processes,” the founder said.
Kroshkina also said that there was a huge gap between ambitious African students who were ready for success and what the continent could offer.
The founder said her experience growing up in Russia was similar to the average Nigerian student, who hoped for a better education, but was restrained from studying abroad due to limited finances.
“Thus, I founded my startup ‘StudyFree’ to assist ambitious and goal-seeking students to realise their dreams- study abroad for free with the help of grants and scholarships.
Kroshkina said she combined her international expertise and entrepreneurial thinking to launch the platform that offered programmes from Bachelor’s Degree to PhD around the globe.
“When StudyFree became the Seedstar winner, our team focussed on the developing markets.
“However, among other developing regions, our choice fell on Nigeria as we found out that this country is rich with talented youths.
“Our goal is to help students who don’t have opportunities to study abroad, but who possess strong motivation and aspiration,” she said.
Kroshkina said that StudyFree had been holding interviews for over 150 Nigerian students who had zeal to study unlike other countries where students considered studying abroad as an opportunity to move.
The founder said: “In recent months, we held more than 150 interviews with Nigerian students. Our team was inspired by their sincere motivation to study.
“It’s worth mentioning that in other countries, students consider education abroad as an opportunity to move.
“Whereas in African regions, students want to accumulate state-of-the-art knowledge and come back to their home country to drive change, develop their regions, and give their experience back to the community.
“When our team hears such inspiring stories of African students, we’re especially glad to make the Nigerian market our major focus.’’
Kroshkina said explained that another great reason why we choose to focus on Nigerian market was the fact that Africa is a fast-developing continent.
“If China and India surprised people with their economic breakthrough, African market holds much potential.
“That is why if we give Nigerian students a chance to gain good education abroad, they will come back to their country with high-quality education and will expand business opportunities in Nigeria, developing the market,” she said.
Kroshkina said that 25 local ambassadors from Nigeria and South Africa were part of the StudyFree team to promote the values of equal, quality and free education and open doors to the world of opportunities for every Nigerian who were eager to fulfill their education dreams.
She said that under the initiative, students’ success rate was 98 per cent.
“Currently, StudyFree has over 25,000 active users and operates in developing markets, such as Russia, Ukraine, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
“StudyFree was accepted for accelerator programmes by Berkeley SkyDeck and TechStars NYC.
“We’re focussed on diverse opportunities, not only for students, but also for the team. Our team is 80 per cent female and operates throughout the world, from Europe to Asia,” she added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoye
King hails Osaka as sport’s latest torchbearer for change
At the end of a week when Naomi Osaka brought the fight for racial justice to sport’s front door, it seemed fitting that another great tennis pioneer Billie Jean King should hail her quiet successor for her “compassion, strength and leadership.”
King was far from alone in being deeply impressed by the actions of the quiet young champion who announced she would forgo her semifinal match in the Western & Southern Open in protest at police brutality and racial injustice in the United States
The 76-year-old King, so remarkable in her own lifelong fight for women’s equality, recognised a kindred spirit as she told Reuters how she felt the fiercely determined 22-year-old was now following in an honourable sporting tradition.
“It has been more than 50 years since athletes like Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith and the Original 9 of women’s tennis all stood up and used their sport, their voices and their actions to change humanity,” King said via email.
“The baton has been passed and Naomi has accepted it with open arms and that shows compassion, strength and leadership.”
On Twitter, Osaka had grasped that baton with her declaration that “watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.”
Her semi-final withdrawal, virtually unheard of in tennis’s modern era, prompted organisers to postpone Thursday’s matches, days after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man in front of three of his children in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Her actions this week were a catalyst for change,” King said. “She is putting people first, being authentic, and she is leading. I love what Naomi and her generation of athletes are doing today.”
The stand of Osaka, who eventually won her semifinal Friday but had to drop out of the final with a hamstring injury on Saturday, prompted huge support throughout tennis and far beyond.
It all underscored the enormous influence that Osaka now wields, as a Black woman who competes for Japan, where she was born, but who spent most of her formative years in the United States
In May, she overtook her idol, Serena Williams, as the world’s highest-earning female athlete, according to Forbes, all the while advocating against police brutality in the United States
“I don’t know what would have happened if Naomi Osaka wasn’t in the semi-finals,” former United States Open finalist Pam Shriver told Reuters.
“She’s led the way either with her racket or with her statements into a position of really good, modern-day leadership.”
Osaka told reporters this week she wasn’t sure “if it’s a light bulb or if there was any particular moment” that prompted her to act, but said it has “been building” for some time.
“I do believe she is going to be a future leader, I believe she is a present leader,” James Blake, a former world number four who is now Tournament Director of the Miami Open, told Reuters.
In 2015 Blake, who is Black, was tackled without provocation or warning by a New York Police Department officer while on his way to the United States Open, in what the NYPD said was a case of mistaken identity.
“Tennis now knows why Osaka was sitting out,” he said. “I respect her so much.”
Osaka, who will play her first-round match at the United States Open on Monday against Japan’s Misaki Doi, first rocketed to fame two years ago at Flushing Meadows, where she defeated 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams, herself a great sporting trailblazer.
Two years after her maiden Grand Slam title, Osaka now leads a new generation of activists in the sport which includes 16-year-old Coco Gauff.
“Players are using their voice more, especially Coco,” Osaka told reporters this week.
“I feel like maybe this generation of tennis players won’t be too scared of the consequences of (saying) things that are on their mind.”
Osaka showed a profound sense of self at an early age, her former coach Patrick Tauma told Reuters.
“(She had) a very strong character and she could solve any problem – it could be physically, technically or mentally,” said Tauma, who worked with her for a year when she was 15.
“She was strong, not scared by anybody.”
Such qualities will serve the new trailblazer well.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
Youth Day: NYC appoints global youth ambassadors
Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC), a youth organisation under the supervision of Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, has appointed some Nigerians in the Diaspora as its Global Youth Ambassadors.
The President of NYC, Mr Blessing Akinlosotu, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, said the appointments were to mark the 2020 International Youth Day which focused on the Global Engagement of Youths.
He stressed the need for Nigerian Youths in the Diaspora to maintain lifestyles that would glorify the country’s image and uphold the country’s cultural values and dignity.
“They are appointed to help coordinate and ensure Nigerians in each of the countries uphold the integrity and values of our dear country Nigeria in high esteem.
“In fact, it was the theme of the International Youth Day `Youth Engagement for Global Action’ that gave birth to the award.
“It was centred on engagement at the local/community and national levels which will entail the formulation of laws, policies and their implementation,” he said.
The president, while congratulating the ambassadors said that the body strictly based its appointment on merit.
He urged them to see the office as an opportunity to do more and work tenaciously to showcase more integrity of the Nigerian youths in their sundry countries.
Dr Yakubu Shendam, the Chairman of the Governing Board of NYC, while confirming the appointments, congratulated the appointees and urged them to be the image of Nigerian youths overseas.
Shendam also called on youths at home to be more proactive in their dealings and disassociate self from criminal activities and acts such as Internet fraud, banditry, kidnapping, stealing, armed robbery, political thuggery, rape and other related crimes in the society.
He said that the theme for the IYD was to highlight ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels would enrich the nation.
“It will also help multilateral institutions and processes as well as draw lessons on how representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some of the recipients of the awards include Mr Saleh Osude, Youth Global Ambassador, Western Asia, Mr Bode Majekodunmi, Youth Global Ambassador, UK and Dr Raymond Edoh, Youth Global Ambassador, United States of America amongst others.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Grace Yussuf (NAN)