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Kogi Beauty Queen Facilitates 200 Scholarships for Youths

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From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

Queen Khadijat Jimoh Onayi, winner of “Miss Kogi Beauty Pageant 2021/2022 has facilitated 200 units of NCE scholarships at N146,000 (One Hundred and Forty Six Thousand Naira) grant per annum, to be sponsored by Grand Plus College of Education in Ilorin, Kwara State, effective from 2022-2024 academic sessions for 50 beneficiaries from each of the three Senatorial Districts in the state and 50 non-indigenes.

The Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Wemi Jones, praised the beauty queen for the uncommon effort, noting that the gesture would change the lives of the beneficiary 200 youths in the state.

The organisers of the event, Triple A Events and Entertainment Group led Queen Khadijat to hand over the 200 forms for the award of the scholarships to the management of the State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Lokoja on Thursday for issuance to beneficiaries to be determined by the Ministry.

Reacting to the novel and laudable initiative of Queen Khadijat who hails from Okehi LGA of the State, the Commissioner for Education, commended her outstanding performance with positive impact on the lives of the youths, describing her as unique among equals.

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He praised her for laying down her laurels for even distribution among the youths, while further encouraging her to draw more gains to the state.

Mr. Jones promised that the principles of equity, justice and fairness which had been the resolute stand of Governor Yahaya Bello and in turn; the present administration would be implored in issuing out the scholarships.

“Governor Yahaya Bello believes in equity, justice and fairness. He has eradicated the era of a few cornering it all in the state. We will use the same principles to issue out the scholarships”, he averred.

 He congratulated the organisers of Miss Kogi Beauty Pageant for creating the right values and preventing talents harvest from the state to other places, admonishing them to continue in the same spirit and not to lose focus by distractions from pecuniary gains of the moment.

He said the state government would always uplift the entertainment industry being an area that could draw huge funds to the state, and by direct and indirect employment, increase the Internally Generated Revenue.

The CEO of Triple A Events and Entertainment, Mr. Abdulsalam Abdulkareem commended the state government for creating an enabling environment for the success achieved by the organisation and thanked the Ministry for her support.

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Queen Khadijat said she had fought for the scholarships to help alleviate the suffering of young people like her who presently find sponsorship difficult at colleges of education.

Triple A Events and Entertainment started organising the Kogi State Beauty Peagant in 2012 with the latest competition making the tenth in the series.

Triple A was in 2021 recognised as the best organisers of beauty peagant.

Foreign News

First Foreign Planes Arrive in Stricken Tonga

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The first foreign aid planes have arrived in Tonga, bearing much-needed supplies for the Pacific nation which was left devastated by a volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami on Saturday.

New Zealand said its military plane landed at Tonga’s main airport after workers cleared ash from the runway.

Australia also confirmed the first of its relief planes had arrived.

Aid efforts had initially been hampered by ash from the volcano.

At least three people have died and communications have been crippled, and Tonga has only just begun to re-establish global contact after five days cut off from the rest of the world.

Yesterday, New Zealand’s Defence Force confirmed its C-130 Hercules plane touched down in Tonga just after 16:00 local time (03:00 GMT). It was loaded with water containers, temporary shelter kits, electricity generators, hygiene and family kits and communications equipment.

Hours afterwards, Australian defence minister Peter Dutton tweeted the first plane dispatched by the Australia Defence Forces had landed, carrying “humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies.”

Australia said the first of its two Boeing C-17 Globemaster relief planes also had a “sweeping” device on board to help keep the runway clear.

Rescue teams and hundreds of volunteers had for days desperately worked to clear the thick layer of ash at the airport runway in the capital Nuku’alofa that had prevented planes from landing.

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Volunteers used wheelbarrows and shovels, in what New Zealand’s commander of joint forces Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour called a “mammoth effort”.

“After the eruption, all of Tonga just turned grey,” Tongan journalist Marian Kupu told the BBC from the capital Nuku’alofa. “We’re talking about dogs and cars and buildings, they were all covered in ashes.”

Ms Kupu said the thickness of the ashfall made clearing the runway “difficult”, and posed a possible health threat to those engaged with the task, who were “mainly young boys”.

Both Australian and New Zealand authorities have confirmed that the aid drops will be contactless, to prevent the risk of Covid spreading to the island which has seen just one case of the virus so far in the pandemic.

“The aircraft is expected to be on the ground for up to 90 minutes before returning to New Zealand,” said New Zealand’s Defence Minister Peeni Henare.

Rear Adm Gilmour said no-contact Covid protocols were “being adhered to rigorously”, adding that relief procedures would include making sure the airplane crew would have no contact with anyone on the ground, and that everyone would be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We are very respectful that the last thing that Tonga would need now is a Covid outbreak on top of this disaster,” he added.

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Australia has also said no personnel would disembark from their planes.

A New Zealand naval ship was also due to arrive in Tonga yesterday, ahead of other supply ships.

Mr Henare earlier told the BBC the supply ships would bring more than 250,000 litres of fresh water and desalination equipment, used to separate salt from water.

People clean debris following volcanic eruption and tsunami, in Nuku’alofa, Tonga in this picture obtained from social media on January 20, 2022.

Tongans have been clearing away the thick layer of ash that has blanketed the Pacific Island nation since the eruption

“The most pressing matter that’s come through from the Tongan government is the need for fresh water,” he said.

Ms Kupu echoed similar fears that water supplies on the Pacific island nation would run out, saying they were “praying for water, for heavy rain … we do not have enough water.”

Meanwhile, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the heavily Mormon nation sad it has been providing significant shelter and clean water supplies to locals in the past days.

telecommunications provider Digicel but the line is being overwhelmed by the demand.

The main severed undersea cable connecting the remote island nation to the outside world may also take weeks to fix.

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Recently released pictures from Tonga’s consulate in the European Union, have shown the extent of the damage including cars, roads and buildings in Nuku’alofa coated in a film of ash.

Aerial images taken by the New Zealand Air Force, meanwhile, indicate that several villages have been wiped out on islands that have yet to be reached.

The explosion of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano was felt as far away as the US. In Peru, two people drowned in abnormally high waves while beaches near the capital Lima were closed off following an oil spill.

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Foreign News

Burkina Faso Shuts Facebook over Security Concerns

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The authorities in Burkina Faso have said they disrupted access to Facebook due to security fears.

Government spokesperson Alkassoum Maiga said the authorities did not have to explain themselves on the shutdown first reported on 10 January and which appears to have continued.

“I think that if we have a choice between letting insecurity spread and taking measures that allow us to maintain a minimum control over the situation, then the choice seems clear to us that the national interest must take precedence,” Maiga said, according to the popular Radio Omega.

The government announced on 11 January that eight soldiers were arrested over a “plan to destabilise the institutions of the republic”, a development that local media said was a coup plot.

The internet freedom monitoring group, NetBlocks, reported significant disruptions to internet services on 11 January.

The killing of 53 people by suspected jihadists last November heightened public outrage against the government for failing to end the insurgency. The unrest has heightened fears of a military coup.

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Foreign News

Church Stampede Kills Liberian Worshippers

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At least 29 people, including 11 children and a pregnant woman, have died in a stampede at an open-air Pentecostal church service in Liberia.

The gathering – known as a crusade – was being held in a densely populated beachside area of the capital.

Police said members of a street gang entered the prayer ground on Wednesday night after a collection had been done as the event was ending, causing panic.

Some of them were armed with knives and one person has been arrested.

Hundreds of people were at the gathering in Monrovia’s New Kru Town suburb, organised by an influential pastor known as Apostle Abraham Kromah.

He runs a church called the Word of Life Outreach International, along with a radio station. His followers believe that he is able to heal and aid people through his prayers.

Police spokesman Moses Carter told the BBC the preacher was being questioned to help officers with their inquiries.

The bodies of those who had died in the crush had been taken to the morgue at Redemption Hospital, he said.

President George Weah is expected to visit the crusade ground, which is also used as a football pitch, on Thursday, local media report.

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Christian crusade prayer services are held most evenings across the West African nation – often starting at about 18:00, when people finish work, and ending at about 22:00.

They are very popular, often with hundreds of people in attendance, many seeking help and comfort in a country where around half the population lives on less than $2 (£1.50) a day.

Liberia is still dealing with the legacy of a civil war that officially ended in 2003 in which thousands of child soldiers were forced to fight.

In recent years attacks by street gangs have become increasingly common in Liberian cities.

Other crises such as the Ebola epidemic and the impact of coronavirus lockdowns have also affected unemployment.

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