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Equalities Minister Under Fire For Writing She Does Not ‘Care About Colonialism’

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Equalities minister under fire for writing she does not ‘care about colonialism’

The equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch, has been criticised after leaked messages revealed she claimed not to “care about colonialism”, amid warnings that Conservatives could haemorrhage support from the black community.

Badenoch, whose brief was recently expanded to include a junior ministerial position in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, reportedly wrote: “I don’t care about colonialism because [I] know what we were doing before colonialism got there. They came in and just made a different bunch of winners and losers.

“There was never any concept of ‘rights’, so [the] people who lost out were old elites not everyday people.”

The leaked WhatsApp messages were revealed by VICE World News this week, and were posted on a group chat called Conservative Friends of Nigeria.

Funmi Adebayo, a former member of the WhatsApp group, said she leaked the messages following Badenoch’s promotion, which includes an additional portfolio in the Foreign Office.

Adebayo, the founder and chief executive of Olorun, which produces the Black Monologues podcasts, warned that “dangerous” comments such as Badenoch’s would drive black supporters away from the party and government.

“What’s going to happen is what happened with me, and I left,” she said. “When I looked across the political spectrum at the time, there were very few young Nigerian outspoken politicians, and I emailed all of them and Kemi was the only one who was willing to actually meet me.”

She said she was drawn to the party because she wanted to bring about change and it was the party that was in government. She added the party was also making a concentrated effort to include people from different backgrounds in positions of power.

But she left after disagreements with the equalities minister. “I told her that I couldn’t be associated with her any more, which is why at the time I left … If this is what it takes to actually have a seat at the table then I don’t need to be there, because I’d rather be able to sleep at night knowing that I’m not selling my soul for the sake of anything.”

She added: “I’m no stranger to sitting opposite people who have completely different opinions to me … But we can connect as Nigerians, and be honest about the fact that colonialism had an impact on Nigeria and that it was awful. It wasn’t as simple as winners and losers; I think it’s such a crass way to respond. Those losers are people who died, and were murdered and raped.”

Adebayo said that divisive comments like these are forcing people who “genuinely wanted to create change, which is why they actually engaged at all, to completely walk away from the years of work that they’ve done”.

She pointed to Samuel Kasumu, No 10’s former race adviser, who resigned and accused members of the government of waging a culture war that is endangering the country. “It’s not easy to become the adviser to No 10, to walk away from that role. It’s untenable.”

She added: “Surely we can all come around the fact that we’re all black and we all want to see life better for black people. We can have different opinions about how we get, but let’s at least agree there’s a problem and we need to address it.”

Simukai Chigudu, a professor of African politics at the University of Oxford, described the minister’s comments as ahistorical. “At its most fundamental level, it doesn’t make any sense. How are we understanding and interpreting rights? Does she have sufficient knowledge of the culture and the languages, and the diverse social and political formations in different regions and groups throughout the continent?

“The other thing is that it’s just not true. An awful lot of work by historians and anthropologists has shown different iterations, forms and concepts of what rights looked like going deep into the African past.”

Hakim Adi, professor of the history of Africa and the African diaspora at the University of Chichester, said: “The orientation of all governments has been to support the interests of the rich and powerful, now and in the past. To them the empire was a ‘remarkable achievement’ to be celebrated just as they celebrate human traffickers.

“The minister has a Eurocentric view of Africa. She imagines Africans had no conception of rights and the removal of the right to determine their own affairs was of no importance. On the contrary, Africans formulated the first modern conception of human rights. They gave their lives to rid Africa of colonial rule and today still struggle to remove all the vestiges of colonialism and foreign intervention, which remain a blight on the continent.”

A government spokesperson said: “The government does not comment on leaked private correspondence.”

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2023: NBC Tasks Broadcasters On Professionalism

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has tasked broadcasters to handle political campaigns with professionalism.

The director-general of NBC, Balarabe Ilelah said this on Monday at a multi-stakeholders dialogue held in Abuja.

As campaigns for the 2023 elections are set to begin on September 28, Ilelah asked broadcasters to ensure not to allow hate speech or fake news on their platforms.

“This is in addition to ensuring equity in airtime allocation and coverage of political parties’ activities, particularly during prime times,” he said.

“It is also the time for you to make money from political adverts and campaigns, but ensure that this is done within the ambit of law.

“Broadcasters are also required to handle live political rallies with care and due professionalism. This is in addition to studio-based live political interviews/broadcasts. Because of the sensitivities of such programmes, broadcasters are advised to install delay mechanisms.

“Remember that broadcast stations are held responsible for any breach. The stations shall, therefore, assume and accept editorial responsibility”, he added.

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IPOB Accuses Police Of Blackmail

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has reacted to a statement credited to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, linking ESN and IPOB to a planned attack on political campaigns and the forthcoming 2023 elections.

Director of Media and Public Relations of the group, Comrade Emma Powerful, in a statement on Monday, said the IG of Police should “leave IPOB volunteers and ESN Operatives alone to focus on things that matter instead of trying to get them involved in Nigeria Government and its fraudulent political processes.”

He also added that Nigeria’s security agencies were fond of blackmailing the organization with allegations of sundry crimes.

The statement read: “If Nigeria Police have concluded their plans to commit crimes during political campaigns and tag it on IPOB and ESN they will fail as usual.

“Any time Nigeria Security Agencies raise a false alarm, know that they have planned attacks to blackmail IPOB and ESN Operatives but we cannot allow them to continue their business of blackmail.

“These Security agencies have allegedly killed innocent people in an effort to blackmail IPOB but Chukwu Okike Abiama (God) has always vindicated us,” they said.

“We have always maintained that we are not interested in anything that has to do with Nigeria let alone taking any side in their fraudulent political process. IPOB are not Zoo politicians. The only political process that IPOB will participate in is an UN-supervised Biafra Referendum that will usher in Biafra Sovereignty and Independence”, he added.

 

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ASUU: F.G Makes U-turn, Withdraws Circular Ordering Resumption

The Federal Government on Monday withdrew its earlier circular which directed vice chancellors, pro-chancellors and governing councils to re-open federal universities.

This is coming hours after the government, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), directed the opening of varsities in compliance with National Industrial Court order.

A circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 was addressed to all vice chancellors, pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities ordering them to re-open universities.

Hours after, in another circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136, which was also signed by the Director, Finance and Account of the NUC, Sam Onazi, the commission withdrew the order.

The letter tagged, “withdrawal of circular NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 dated September 23, 2022” partly read, “I have been directed to withdraw the NUC Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, and dated September 23, 2022 on the above subject.

“Consequently, the said circular stands withdrawn. All pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils, as well as vice-chancellors of federal universities are to please note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.

“Please accept the assurances of the Executive Secretary’s warmest regards.”

The university teachers began a one-month warning strike on February 14, 2022, and extended it thrice after the Federal Government failed to meet up with its demands.

 

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