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Oxford college installs plaque calling Cecil Rhodes a ‘committed colonialist’

Cecil Rhodes

Oxford college installs plaque calling Cecil Rhodes a ‘committed colonialist’

A college at the University of Oxford has installed a plaque next to a statue of the mining magnate and politician Cecil Rhodes, describing him as “committed British colonialist” who exploited the “peoples of southern Africa”.

The explanatory panel about the former prime minister of the Cape Colony has been placed outside Oriel College, where he had studied and left £100,000 – about £12.5m in today’s money – through his will in 1902.

The Oxford statue was the target of the Rhodes Must Fall protest movement, which originated in Cape Town and argues Rhodes is a symbol of colonialism and the violence that accompanies it.

The broader row over statues of controversial historical figures has become emblematic of the so-called culture wars in both the UK and the US with monuments to figures such as the slave trader Edward Colston and the Confederate general Robert E Lee being subject to similar heated debate.

The University of Oxford angered campaigners in May for backtracking on its previous decision to remove the statue and ignore the views of an independent commission.

The explanatory plaque describes Rhodes as a “committed British colonialist” who “obtained his fortune through exploitation of minerals, land and peoples of southern Africa. Some of his activities led to great loss of life and attracted criticism in his day and ever since”.

It adds: “In recent years, the statue has become a focus for public debate on racism and the legacy of colonialism. In June 2020, Oriel College declared its wish to remove the statue but is not doing so following legal and regulatory advice.”

The Daily Telegraph spoke to two academics who expressed concerns about the content of the plaque.

David Abulafia, emeritus professor of Mediterranean history at Cambridge and member of the History Reclaimed campaign, told the newspaper the sign should be “balanced and measured”, adding: “It should look at the whole of Rhodes’ career, explaining properly who he was and what he was trying to do. One needs to explain where he stands in the context of the attitudes of his day.

“He believed he was bringing benefits to Africa. We might now argue that he did more harm than good but one has to understand what his intentions were. He is portrayed here as some sort of devil incarnate.”

Dr Zareer Masani, a historian specialising in the British empire, said: “We are pressing for a balanced plaque to be put up, possibly with fairly minimal information but presenting both his flaws and his virtues.”

A commission was set up in June 2020 after the governing body of Oriel voted in favour of removing the statue. The commission was asked to look into the issue after a statue of Edward Colston was torn down in Bristol at the height of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests in the UK.

A majority of the commission’s members supported the expressed wish of the governing body to remove the statue.

However, in May the college said it would not move the statue, stating that its removal would be subject to difficult legal and planning processes.

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TCN Restores National Grid

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has announced the restoration of the national grid after its partial collapse on Monday.

This was made known by Mrs Ndidi Mbah, TCN’s General Manager, Public Affairs in a statement in Abuja.

Mbah said that the national grid experienced partial system disturbance at about 10.51 am, as a result of a sudden drop in system frequency, which created system instability.

She said that the restoration of the affected grid commenced immediately at 11.55 am with Osogbo/Ihovbor, followed by Jebba/Osogbo, Kainji/Jebba, Benin/Onitsha, Shiroro/Kaduna, Shiroro/Katampe and Alaoji/Ikot-Ekpene.

Others are Lokoja/Gwagwalada, Odukpani/Ikot Ekpene, Benin/Omotosho, Oke-Aro/Ikeja west, Egbin/Oke-Aro and Kaduna/Kano.

She said the grid restoration has almost been completed, adding that the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) regrets any inconveniences caused.

Mbah said NESI appreciated the understanding of electricity customers within and outside the country.

According to her, NESI is committed to leveraging the concerted interventions instituted so far to enhance power supply reliability so that the issue of system disturbance will soon become outdated.

She said the National Control Centre would launch a full-scale investigation “to establish and ascertain the cause of the partial disturbance as this unwholesome event has resulted in aggregated generation loss.

 

 

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Chukwudi Ajaegbu, 35, Arraigned For $11,000 Fraud

A 35-year-old importer, Chukwudi Ajaegbu, has been arraigned before the Ogba Magistrate’s Court for allegedly obtaining $11,000 fraudulently from one Austine Ukaoha in the Ikeja area of Lagos State.

Ajaegbu appeared before Magistrate F.M. Onamusi on a three count charge.

The defendant, with others at large, were said to have conspired to commit felony, to wit stealing, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2015.

According to the police, sometime in 2010 on Bread Fraint Street, in the Balogun area of Lagos, the defendant, with others at large, conspired among themselves to obtain the sum under false pretences.

The charges read in part, “That you, Chukwudi Ajaegbu, on the same date, time and place, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did fraudulently obtain the sum of $11,000 from one Austine Ukaoha, under the pretence of importing goods from China, the presentation known to be false, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 314 (3) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2015.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Magistrate Onamusi adjourned the matter till December 7, 2022.

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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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