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Cambridge University to return ancient statue to Nigeria

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A Cambridge University college said on Thursday it would return an antique statue of a cockerel to Benin City in Nigeria, more than 120 years after it was looted by British colonial forces.

The move by Jesus College will likely step up pressure on other institutions holding plunder from the historic Kingdom of Benin and other objects from other cultures taken by colonialists during the 19th century.

Nigeria said it was delighted by the announcement and launched a broad appeal for museums across the world to return its heritage.

“Considering the hundreds of Benin Bronzes looted during that occupation, the decision to return the cockerel is like a drop in the ocean, but it is an important drop and we welcome it,” the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said.

Jesus College staff said research had shown there was no doubt the cockerel had been looted from the Court of Benin, the seat of the once-mighty West African kingdom.

“This royal ancestral heirloom belongs with the current Oba at the Court of Benin,” the college said on its website, referring to the traditional and still influential ruler of what is now part of modern-day Nigeria.

British museums have long resisted campaigns for the return of Nigeria’s Benin Bronzes, Greece’s Elgin Marbles, Ethiopia’s Magdala treasures and other loot, often citing legislation that bans them from disposing of their collections.

But the debate has heated up in recent years, particularly in Britain’s universities, where students and campaigners have called for greater recognition of how the colleges benefited from colonial-era riches and funding.

Jesus College said on Thursday that from now on it would “acknowledge and contextualize” the role in its history of Tobias Rustat, a major 17th century benefactor who benefited from the transatlantic slave trade.

Rustat, an investor in the Royal African Company which was one of the major slave-trading institutions, is buried in the college chapel. A portrait of him hangs in the postgraduate common room, and scholarships in his name are still awarded to some students.

Source Reuters

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria: Court sentenced Orji kalu to 12 years in prision

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President Muhammadu Buhari regime has so far tackle corruption as promised to Nigerians before affirming the Nigerian president.

Though, one can not say whether his efforts are being recognize by Nigerian citizens after coming under criticism with his reform plans.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday sentenced a former Governor of Abia, Orji Kalu, to 12 years’ imprisonment for N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.

Orji Kalu is a business tycoon who served as the governor of Abia State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007. Prior to his election, he served as the chairman of the Borno Water Board and the chairman of the Cooperative and Commerce Bank Limited.

Kalu was also a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and the chairman of the PPA Board of Trustees.

He was the party’s presidential candidate in the April 2007 general election. He is currently a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) after he officially announced his resignation as a PPA BOT.

The court convicted Kalu, now a senator, on all the 39 counts preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charge.

Kalu was charged alongside a former Commissioner for Finance, in the state Jones Udeogo, and his company, Slok Nig. Ltd.

While Kalu and his company were found guilty of all the 39 counts, Udeogo was convicted on 34 counts and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The court ordered that the Slok Nig. Ltd. be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government

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24 Hours Across Africa

Unions unhappy President Emmanuel Macron’s reform

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Choas in france as angry workers stage a nationwide strike over government role on pension policy.

Schools and public transport across France has been paralysed due to the neglects of Macron’s promises pensioners.

Workers are angry at being forced to retire later or face reduced pensions.

Police, lawyers and hospital and airport staff are joining school and transport workers for a general walkout that could include millions of people.

France’s largest nationwide strike in years was agreed by unions unhappy with President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for a universal points-based pension system.

Authorities have been trying to put in place plans to mediate the disruption.

French newspaper Le Monde described Thursday as “the moment of truth for Macron”, writing: “The next days are a decisive test for the head of state.”

Public transport will be seriously tested, with 90% of high-speed TGV and intercity trains cancelled. In Paris, just five of the city’s 16 metro lines are running.

Low-cost carrier EasyJet has cancelled 223 domestic and short-haul international flights, and warned passengers to expect delays.

Nurses and hospital staff, lawyers and police officers, refuse collectors, energy staff and postal workers are among others participating in industrial action.

France’s health minister said it was not yet clear how badly hospitals would be affected, but preparations had been made to deal with the strike.

The union representing secondary or high schools expects 60% of teachers to go on strike but schools are due to stay open.

Farmers, whose pensions are among the lowest in the country, have said they will not join Thursday’s strikes.

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