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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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Osun Transport Masterplan to Be Ready Soon-Governor Adeleke

Governor Ademola Adeleke has announced his administration’s plan to release to the public the Osun State Transport Master Plan to facilitate integrated connectivity for the Osun economy.

The Governor made the announcement on Thursday while commissioning the Osun State Computerised Vehicle Inspection Testing Center at Osogbo.

The Governor who narrated a series of ongoing reforms being delivered by his government said “The test center right here is the first of its kind among other interventions of our administration to reposition the State’s Transportation sector

According to the State Governor, “Our government is pursuing reforms across the transport sector. We ensure that Commercial Motorcycle operators across the State are registered under a database with a rider’s jacket and identification card for safety purposes. Mini-buses, popularly known as (Korope) have also been registered and numbered for easy identification and security.

“We have introduced single ticketing to all commercial drivers in the State through the Osun State Transport Management System (OSTMS) to guide against leakage of revenue.

“It is equally my pleasure to inform the public that our administration is working on a Transportation Master plan for Osun state. We are focused on a multimodal plan that will integrate all modes of transportation within the state. It will lay our objectives and strategic agenda for land, air, and water transportation.

“The plan is to regulate, plan, and develop an efficient and well-integrated transport system that will serve the public interest, enhance mobility, and deliver a secure and environmentally friendly Public Transportation System in different areas across Osun.

“The plan is central to our five-point agenda as it focuses on connectivity within and outside the state. Osun is centrally located in the heart of Yorubaland.

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Adeleke speaks on collapse of OAU amphitheatre

Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun has promised to pay the medical bills of students injured in the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile-Ife, Amphitheatre roof collapse.

The affected students are receiving treatment at the University Health Centre and the Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife.

Adeleke, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Dipo Eluwole, sympathised with the management of the University and parents of the affected students on the unfortunate incident.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, in Ile-Ife on Saturday.

The commissioner was conducted round the scene of the incident by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Simeon Bamire, and other principal officers of the University, and visited the two health facilities where the students are receiving treatment.

He expressed happiness that the affected students are responding to the treatment.

Eluwole lauded the university management for its quick response to the emergency and prompt medical attention given to the students.

Speaking to the four students being treated at the University Health and Medical Centre, the commissioner commended their bravery and wished them quick recovery.

At the Neurological ward of the University Teaching Hospital where two other students are being treated, Eluwole pleaded with their parents to see what happened as a natural occurrence.

He, thereafter, informed the vice chancellor that the Gov. Adeleke pledged to bankroll all medical expenses that may be incurred in the course of the treatment of the students.

Responding, the vice-chancellor thanked the governor for being so kind and loving, stressing that his fatherly role to the students and the good people of Osun is commendable.

A torrential rain on Thursday morning, accompanied with a whirlwind affected a part of the ceiling of the Amphitheatre as it fell off and injured some students.

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Woman burns stepchildren’s hands for eating rice prepared for their father

The Adamawa State Police Command has arrested one Rachel Geoffrey, a 23-year-old woman and resident of Federal Housing Estate, Girei, for allegedly setting fire to the hands of her stepchildren.

The children, Genesis Geoffrey, seven years old: and Idadai Geoffrey, three years old, now have their affected hands bandaged.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Suleiman Nguroje, said in a statement that Rachel intentionally inflicted severe physical injuries on her stepchildren.

In the statement released Saturday, the police image maker said the incident occurred on Tuesday, May 14.

He said the children suffered several calculated acts of cruelty and human rights violations from their stepmother.

He explained that the children faced the wrath of the woman over a plate of rice she cooked and kept for her husband.

“The kids, because of hunger, ate their father’s food and that angered her. She then tied their hands with a handkerchief and set fire to them, resulting in the severe injuries they sustained,” Nguroje explained.

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