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World’s oldest pupil dies at 99 in Kenya

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A Kenyan great-grandmother, Priscilla Sitieni, who was celebrated as the world’s oldest pupil in 2019 when she registered at a primary school at the age of 94 has died aged 99, local media reports on Saturday.

Sitieni whose resolve to acquire an education in her 90s, had inspired an award wining French film and won praise from UNESCO and other international organisations.

Her grandson, Sammy Chepsiror, who announced the demise of Sitieni, told journalists that “Gogo Priscilla (Granny Priscilla), as she was fondly known, died at home on Wednesday after developing a chest complication.”

“Gogo has been in good health and attending her classes until three days to her demise when she developed chest pains, which forced her out of school.

“We are thankful for the 100 years of her life. She made all of us proud,” Chepsiror said.

According to UNESCO, Sitieni was 94 when she persuaded the headmaster of the local school in her village in Kenya’s Rift Valley to admit her, an act that drew worldwide praise for her with the United Nations hailing her as “a role model for her community and beyond”.

In an interview with the UN agency last year, she said her aim was to motivate young mothers in Kenya to return to school after having children, instead of dropping out due to shame or fear of social stigma.

“I wanted to show an example not only to them but to other girls around the world who are not in school.

“Without education, there will be no difference between you and a chicken. Education is your future. Education remains in your head forever and you cannot lose it once you have it,” she had said.

Her resilience and efforts were documented in a French film titled “Gogo”, which led her to take a plane for the first time last year to visit France and meet first lady Brigitte Macron.

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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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