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Owei Lakemfa

Thai Boys: Again, collective human spirit triumphs

Some of the Thai boys trapped inside the cave

A DOZEN  boys, members of a youth football club with the intimidating name, The Wild Boars, ventured into the six-mile Tham Luang Cave. The cave is  in the 1,275-kilometre long Doi Non Mountain Range in North Thailand. 

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Not too young to run, or run away

ALMOST all  foundations floated by First Ladies are political gimmickry. They  die as soon as their spouses leave office. But the staying power of the Leadership Empowerment And Resource Network, LEARN,  its deepening  commitment to the youths and assisting to solve the myriad of challenges we face as a people, attests to the  selflessness and commitment of its founder,  Dame Abimbola Emmanuella Fashola,  former First Lady of Lagos State.

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Time to end the needless war in Afghanistan

AFGHANISTAN, a country that has been at war with the Soviets, internally and with the Americans for thirty eight years is desperately in search of peace. A three-day Eid  festival  truce between the Taliban fighters and the President Ashraf Ghani-led Afghan government, was unilaterally extended by the latter. Ghani said his government is ready to discuss all demands and issues raised by the Taliban. This is a serious matter  for the Americans because a minimum demand by the Taliban is for all foreign troops and fighters to leave Afghanistan.

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A world, too dangerous for children

AUSTRALIA, Israel and the United States, US, are countries of migrants, but they are also places that are dangerous for children, especially if they are not White. I am not referring to the  common-place massacre of children in US schools by the clearly deranged, or the routine murder of Blacks in ‘God’s Own Country’.

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Nnimmo Bassey: Guard of our collective existence

WE take nature for granted, extract our living from it, abuse, pollute and exploit it to the extent that we have changed the climate thereby endangering our very existence. However, there is a Nigerian Reverend, architect, poet and environmentalist, Nnimmo Adolf Bassey who has made it his duty to defend our environment, reverse climate change and guard our collective existence on earth. Not unexpectedly, in the last three decades,  he has also had to guard his own life against those who find him a dangerous human species standing between them and profit.

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When the American fox and the Korean tortoise met in Singapore

WHEN United States, US, President Donald Trump arrived the Sentosa Island of Singapore, he appeared psychologically unprepared for  his June 12, historic summit with the Democratic   Peoples’ Republic of Korean, North Korean President  Kim Jong- un. Two days before the summit, he had a verbal brawl at the G7 Summit with some of America’s closest allies; the trusting  but miffed Germans, the  exasperated French and traditional ally,  Canada.

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One Day in ‘June 12’

TOMMORROW, the 25th Commemoration of the annulled June 12 Presidential Elections, is to be recognised as ‘Democracy Day’ in Nigeria. That quasi recognition of the injustice meted out to the people by a conscienceless, kleptocratic  and brutal military dictatorship should not be just  about the elections, but the sustained, sometimes bloody struggles to force a historical and conservative state to recognise the electoral wish of  the people and bring murderers to book, even if it has to be done, a quarter of a century later.

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Living with fake people

ARKADY Babchenko, a veteran of the Chechen wars in Russia became a  Defence Correspondent working mainly for the Novaya Gazeta. For over a decade, he covered wars like those against Georgia and the on-going separatist conflict in Southeast Ukraine. He incurred public displeasure in December, 2016, when, following the crash of an airline carrying a 64-member military choir and other passengers to war-torn Syria, he wrote: “I have no sympathy, no pity.” He said death threats followed.

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Nigeria vs England

A bright future for Nigeria and how to get there

KUNLE  Ajibade who turned 60 on May 28 titled his prison memoirs: Jailed for Life. He was indeed sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995 by General Sani Abacha and his henchmen for alleged coup-plotting when all the weaponry he ever wielded was the pen. A number of our colleagues in the media; Mrs. Chris Anyanwu, Ben Charles-Obi and  George  Mbah received a similar treatment. Some, like Dapo Olorunyomi went abroad. One day, his wife, Ladi Olorunyomi, also a journalist, came to see me, all shaken. She informed that Gbolahan  Olalemi had just been seized from his home by Military Intelligence. She reasoned that if the very quiet Lemi who is virtually unknown having spent the last few years living in London, could be picked, I was in imminent danger and advised I go into exile. I told her I will think about it, and we went to the naming ceremony of Babafemi Ojudu’s child, just a street away. The next morning, I was woken with the news that soldiers had at 1.00 am  broken into the Olorunyomi’s home and taken Ladi to an undisclosed location. She was detained without trial a few more times, before she too fled the country with her children. Bayo Onanuga was also in exile.

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We’re first, human beings

MAMOUDOU Gassama, 22, left Mali, to seek a better life in Europe. For this, he was willing to stake his life. He undertook the perilous journey of travelling by road, boarding an unsafe boat across the Mediterranean Sea into Italy and arriving in France where he had an uncertain future. He was one of the tens of thousands who leave Africa on  the  suicidal journey to Europe, and was of course, just a number.

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Bang on, Justice Abang, bang on!

MY favourite judge, is 57-year old Justice Okon Effreti Abang of the Federal High Court. He is as tough a judge as they can come. He is a product of the University of Calabar, an institution reputed to produce tough persons, hence they are called Malabites (after the tough city of Malabo in Equitorial Guinea) while the ladies are called Malabress. Like me, he is from the Niger Delta; we are said to be tough people.

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Our Big Brother, who hath in Washington

THE United States, US,  on May 21, rolled out sanctions against Iran, a move that may  return the world to the nuclear race. On May 8, 2018, against pleadings from its European allies, peace ambassadors and people of goodwill across the globe, President Donald Trump had unilaterally abrogated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal.

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