Lagos State Opens First DNA Forensic Lab in Nigeria [2017]

The Lagos State Government has completed the construction of the first ever high-powered Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Forensic Laboratory in Nigeria. This has been announced by the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem.

The State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode had last year approved the construction of the DNA forensic lab as part of the criminal justice sector reforms designed to solve crime through technology and fulfill an unmet need for DNA profiling which is a unique forensic technique that is now being used all over the world.

Speaking at a press briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Ikeja to announce activities lined up by the State Government to commemorate the 2017 United Nations International Day of Peace, Mr. Kazeem said skeletal work had already commenced in the lab known as the Lagos State DNA Forensics Centre (LSDFC), and that it would be formerly commissioned in coming weeks.
Kazeem, who was represented at the briefing by the State’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Funlola Odunlami said the lab, among other initiatives of the State Government, was part of efforts geared toward enhancing peace in the State.
“The DNA forensic centre just opened this month. We are yet to commission it but it has been opened and it is a DNA crime forensic lab and at the same time, it is going to deal with other DNA matters like paternity issue. What we are doing now is skeletal work which we started this month.”
Since 2007, the State Government through the Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC), an agency under the Ministry of Justice, commenced collaborations with the United Nations Information Office to mark the International Day of Peace as an annual event to propagate the ethos of peaceful co-existence among residents in the State, thereby educating and sensitizing the public on the need for peaceful co-existence and respect for human dignity to engender socio-economic growth.
According to Mr. Adeniji Kazeem [represented] on activities to mark the 2017 edition of the day tagged Together For Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity For All:
“The Lagos State Government recognizes the fact that the State is the commercial nerve centre of the sub-Saharan Africa where all races converge for various purposes such as business, hospitality, tourism among others, and has put in place mechanisms that will foster development and promote economic activities in the State by instituting agencies that will attend to matters relating to Land Grabbers, Special Task Force, donation of police vehicles for security, introduction of DNA Forensic laboratory to archive blood samples of criminals, among others.
All these actions are geared toward enhancing peace in Lagos State.”
Furthermore, Mr. Kazeem said on September 18, there would be a Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic on Ikorodu Road precisely from Funsho Williams Avenue through Ojuelegba to Yaba, while on September 19, a second Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic will hold at Jubilee Under-bridge in Ajah through Ibeju Lekki Expressway and back to the bridge. On the same day, Mr. Kazeem said the CMC will hold a Legal Clinic at both venues where free legal services and mediation services will be rendered to residents of the State, while on September 21, the 18th Stakeholders’ Conference and Book Launch will hold at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa to mark the day.

Amina Yuguda Wins 2017 BBC World News Komla Dumor Award

Amina Yuguda, a Nigerian journalist has won the third BBC World News Komla Dumor Award [2017].

Amina Yuguda is a news presenter on local network Gotel Television, from north-eastern Nigeria where she has reported on high-profile news stories, including the Boko Haram insurgency.

She will commence a three-month placement at the BBC in London in September [2017].

The BBC World News Komla Dumor award was created to honour Komla Dumor, a presenter for BBC World News, who died suddenly aged 41 in 2014.

Ms Amina Yuguda said her win was a “huge honour”. According to her:

“I was overwhelmed with joy. Storytellers have always had an important role in Africa… this is what defines us. Today journalists are taking on that responsibility.

With little or no formal education, my countrymen can hold their own in a variety of topics, including the Trump presidency in America, North Korea’s defiance, Russia’s foreign relations under Putin, and more.”

She impressed the panel with her story-telling and her ability to convey complex ideas in a way that resonates with a wide audience.

BBC World Service Group Director Francesca Unsworth said Ms Yuguda was a worthy winner:

“To find someone who possesses many of Komla’s qualities is something for us to celebrate, and we are very excited about working with Amina.”

Previous winners of the Komla Dumor Award were Ugandan news anchor Nancy Kacungira and Nigerian business journalist Didi Akinyelure.

Zannah Mustapha Wins 2017 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award

Zannah Mustapha, a Nigerian lawyer and advocate for the rights of displaced children growing up amid violence in north-eastern Nigeria to get a quality education, is the 2017 winner of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Nansen Refugee Award.

Zannah Mustapha helped to secure the release of dozens of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.

The Nansen Refugee Award, which is bestowed by the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), has been won in the past by Eleanor Roosevelt and Luciano Pavarotti, and the winner receives $150,000 to fund a project complementing their existing work.

In the words of Zannah Mustapha, the 2017 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award Winner:

“I am exceedingly happy and motivated to do more … I will scale up my efforts.

Some of the students that started in my school have graduated, and they are now going into university – I can use this money to help them complete the cycle.”

Zannah Mustapha is the founder of two schools which offer free education, meals, uniforms and healthcare to its pupils, and even enrol children born to Boko Haram fighters to learn alongside those orphaned by the Islamist group’s eight-year insurgency. Those orphaned by the conflict on both sides are welcomed into Mustapha’s classrooms as a sign of the reconciliation he hopes to achieve in the region.

His first venture, Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School, opened a decade ago and was the only school in Borno state in northeast Nigeria to remain open when Boko Haram in 2009 began their brutal campaign to carve out an Islamic state. Future Prowess has grown from 36 students to 540. Desperate for an education, thousands more children have added their names to its waiting list. In 2016, his second school opened just a few kilometres away from the first. Eighty-eight children, all of whom have fled conflict in the region, walk through its classroom doors each day.

The Islamist militants have killed hundreds of teachers and forced more than 1,000 schools to shut, leaving tens of thousands of children without an education, aid agencies say.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi hailed Mustapha for helping to foster peace and rebuild communities devastated by violence. According to Grandi:

“Education is one of the most powerful tools for helping refugee children overcome the horrors of violence and forced displacement.”

Mustapha’s work also includes helping to negotiate the release of more than 100 of the 220-odd girls snatched from their school in Chibok in April 2014 in the biggest publicity coup of Boko Haram’s insurgency that prompted global outrage and the international campaign #bringbackourgirls.

The return of 82 of the girls in May marked the second group release of the Chibok girls by the militants – with both deals brokered by Switzerland and the Red Cross and mediated by Mustapha – after a group of 21 were freed in October last year.

A few others have escaped or been rescued but about 113 of the girls are believed to be still held captive by Boko Haram.

The Islamist group has killed at least 20,000 people and uprooted more than 2.7 million across the Lake Chad region and sparked one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, according to aid agencies.

Despite being driven back from much of the territory it held, Boko Haram has ramped up attacks this year, targeting civilians and camps for the displaced with suicide bombings.

More recently, Mustapha donated acres of his own land to 800 displaced families. Building a water irrigation pump and shelter, these families are now able to support themselves and sell their produce at local markets.

The UNHCR Nansen Refugees award was established in 1954 and awarded annually to an individual, group or organization in recognition of outstanding service to the cause of refugees, displaced and stateless persons.

The award includes a Commonwealth medal and monetary prize of $100,000 donated by the governments of Norway and Switzerland to begin a project in consultation with UNHCR, to complement the laureate’s existing work.

OAU Faculty of Law Wins Spirit of the Competition Award [2017]

Three students from the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in Osun State, have won the Spirit of the Competition Award at the 4th International Negotiation Competition in New Delhi, India.

The trio were Oyewole Faith Bamise, Oyiki Great, Ayansola Oluwaseun Joshua, all 500 Level students of the faculty of law (OAU). Mr M. A. Latest, lecturer in the same faculty was their team coach.

It was the first time a Nigerian team participated in the competition.

The Competition was organized by U.K. based firm of Herbert Smith Freehills, HSF, in collaboration with and hosted by the National Law University, New Delhi, India.

According to Oyewole Faith Bamise:

“It is the best experience ever. Competing with different schools from all over the world including the likes of Oxford University, UK, University of Queenland, Australia, Melbourne University, Australia, University of Technology, Sydney and so on, was quite a memory sticking experience and a lot was learnt from it. Apart from the competition, we got more exposed and connected with people who are vast in this area of law from HSF.”

Oyiki Great also praised his teammates, stating that the trio’s prior friendship earned them their ground breaking performance. According to Oyiki:

“Awesome guys. I think this was all possible because we have a common drive. In addition, their intelligence is matchless.

For our team coach Mr M. A. Lateef, his words of advice have brought us this far. He treated us like his mates. His sacrifice to our success can’t be downplayed. If I’m to do this again, I would do it with the same set of people.”

Speaking on getting sponsorship for the competition, Ayansola explained:

“It was extremely difficult. It’s always been. For those who know me I started the #VENT Campaign on Instagram to address this same issue of funding and the de-emphasizing of scholarship in our society.

It took family and friends and the significant intervention of Mr Adesegun Akin-Olugbade (OON), Mr Gbenga Oyebode (MFR) chairman of Aluko & Oyebode and the firm of Banwo & Ighodalo for us to make the trip at the last moment. We will forever be indebted to the aforementioned sponsors.

We wish the University will invest more in ventures of this nature which can certainly attract foreign partners to Obafemi Awolowo University and increase the School’s reputation internationally.”

However, their team coach M. A. Lateef ESQ, expressed his excitement with the extraordinary performance of the team members.

The competition was commenced on the 8th of September and ended on the 10th of September, 2017.

Adetayo Adetunji Wins 2017 ITF U-18 Junior Circuit Title

Adetayo Adetunji has been crowned  champion of the girls’ singles at ITF U-18 Junior Circuit in Benin Republic following a 6-4, 6-1 win over Linda Elounde of Cameroun.
17-year-old Adetayo Adetunji, who is based in South Africa, was also a quarter-finalist at this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas in July.
The Nigerian team have now moved to Lome, Togo for the second and third legs of the point-earning tournament featuring over 80 players from 24 countries across the world.
Assistant National Junior coach Abel Ubiebi, who is leading the delegation, expressed satisfaction with the overall performance of the team promising that the lapses noticed in their performance will be fixed.
He declared: