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Namibia pulls down statue of controversial German colonial master

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Namibia authorities, on Wednesday, took down the statue of a controversial German colonial master from its location in the capital, Windhoek, and relocated to the Windhoek City Museum, following pressure from local activists.

The monument which had commemorated the colonial officer, Curt von Francois, a German army commissioner who has been credited with founding Windhoek, has been a subject of dispute and agitation from local campaigners and historians who have refused to attribute the honour to him.

The statue which had stood on a high pedestal outside municipal buildings, depicted von Francois in a military uniform with a moustache, a large hat, and holding a sword, which activists said was a symbol of his perceived cruelty.

The removal of the statue of von Francois’ comes two years after the statue of a British colonialist, Cecil Rhodes, was beheaded by activists at the University of Cape Town in neighbouring South Africa during protests sparked by the death of black American George Floyd.

A jubilant activist, Hildegard Titus, said the “moment is a recollection of dignity, our city has been white-washed.”

“There is an emotional tie to the statue being taken down but it also has to do with historical accuracy. It was a reminder of genocide,” Titus added.

Germany colonised Namibia from 1884 to 1915 and between 1904 and 1908, German settlers reportedly killed tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people in massacres historians have called the 20th century’s first genocide.

In 2021, Germany acknowledged the genocide after lengthy, bitter negotiations and promised more than $1 billion in financial support to descendants of the victims, whom many Namibians argue were not sufficiently involved in the negotiations.

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Nigerian music star, D’Banj, arrested, detained by anti-corruption agency

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Top Nigerian music star, songwriter and singer, Oladapo Oyebanji, popularly known worldwide as D’banj, has been arrested by an anti-corruption agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC).

The music icon who held sway in the early 2000s was reportedly arrested and detained on Tuesday by operatives of the agency after he honoured an invitation to visit the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

According to an exclusive report by an authoritative Nigerian newspaper, Premium Times, the ICPC had placed D’banj on their watch list after he had dodged summons for weeks, claiming to be outside the country for scheduled concerts each time he was invited to appear for interrogation over fraud allegations.

According to sources in the agency, D’Banj’s travails started after he was accused of fraudulently diverting millions of naira earmarked by the Nigerian government for an empowerment programme set up by the government in 2016 to address youth unemployment and increase social development.

The ICPC had alleged that D’banj colluded with some compromised government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme known as N-Power project.

According to the allegations, the pop star and the corrupt officials ended up diverting stipends paid to the phantom beneficiaries into accounts linked to him.

It was learnt that after the musician failed to show up for interrogation despite multiple invitations, the ICPC moved to arrest him anywhere in Nigeria and abroad, forcing him to show up at the commission’s office on Tuesday.

On arrival, he was said to have been subjected to a prolonged interrogation session after which he was detained while his plea for administrative bail was rejected by officials who said he could not be trusted to attend a trial if released on bail.

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Eight years after, abducted Nigerian schoolgirls recaptured by French artist in art exhibition

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Eight years after their abduction while preparing for the West African School Certificate examination in a school in Chibok town in the Nigerian state of Borno, an exhibition of sculptures representing the school girls was displayed by a French artist, Prune Nourry, at the an exhibition in Lagos on Tuesday.

The emotional exhibition which held at the Art Twenty-One at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites in Nigeria’s commercial capital, showed sculptures of the heads of the famous ‘Chibok Girls’ who were kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.

According to Nourry, the exhibition which is billed to travel round the world to raise awareness on the plight of some of the girls who are still in captivity, is a collaborative effort between of the Obafemi Awolowo University where he is a professor, and the families of the over 250 Chibok girls who were kidnapped by the terrorists.

On display at the exhibition titled “Statutes Also Breathe,” were 108 sculpture heads by Nourry and art students of the OAU Fine and Applied Arts department, inspired by the ancient Ife terracotta heads.

“The heads so much evoke memory of the narrative/works on the Igbo Landing in Georgia, where Igbo slaves decided to drown with their masters rather than live as slaves in US,” Nourry said at the unveiling of the exhibition.

According to Nourry, the exhibition is to remember the Chibok girls as the works are “symbols of their agony which also signify love for the girls.”

“The idea is to travel the world with the army and to show all the heads that personify the Chibok missing girls. It is also an opportunity to talk about girls’ education around the world.”

“When I heard about the Chibok girls for the first time, I was travelling with a work, an “Army of girls” called the “Terracotta daughters” in China, and I heard about the Ife heads.

“As a sculptor, it was my dream to go someday to Ife and work with the clay,” she explained.

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