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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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Woman who masterminded self-kidnap, two others nabbed in Benin

A Benin, Edo State-based woman, Blessing Ogunu, who allegedly masterminded her own kidnap has been arrested by police operatives in the State.

The woman who is now cooling her feet with two other suspects in police custody, was arrested on 23 March, 2024.

The Command’s spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, in a statement on Monday in Benin, said the suspect was arrested with two other accomplices, Esther Anthony and Ukpebor Joel.

According to him, “The Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber Crime Unit received a complaint from one Samuel Prince Omomuzo, of No 102 Ihama Road, GRA, Benin City who reported that one Blessing Ogunu, a staff of Bliss Legacy Limited, Benin City was kidnapped in Benin and the kidnappers demanded for four million, eight hundred thousand naira (N4,800,000.00) ransom.

“The operatives, using technical intelligence, arrested the supposed victim of the kidnap, one Blessing Ogunu, Esther Anthony and Ukpebor Joel.

“During interrogation, the supposed Blessing Ogunu confessed that she masterminded her self-kidnap because her company refused to allocate land to a customer whom they have received money from.”

Nwanbuzor disclosed that the suspects would soon be charged to court.

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NAF airstrikes eliminate 30 terrorist kingpins, fighters in Borno

The Air component of the Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), has executed a precision airstrike on the hideouts of ISWAP terrorists, killing over 30 of their fighters within Kolleram village along the shores of Lake Chad.

This is contained in a statement by AVM Edward Gabkwet, the Director, Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on Tuesday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the airstrikes conducted on April 13, were a decisive blow against terrorism in the North-East.

He said the operation yielded significant success as the Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) post-strike conducted revealed the neutralisation of over 30 terrorists.

Gabkwet said that among those neutralised were some senior commanders of the insurgents including Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah, and Mallam Ari.

“Additionally, numerous vehicles, motorcycles, and logistical assets were destroyed, severely hampering the terrorists’ operational capabilities.

“Intelligence gathered after the air strike further indicated that the aerial bombardment effectively obliterated a key facility within the Kolleram enclave, which served as a hub for the terrorists’ food processing activities, including grinding machines.

“The success of these airstrikes underscores NAF’s commitment to eradicating terrorism and ensuring the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.

“By neutralising key terrorist figures and destroying their logistical infrastructure, the operation has significantly degraded the capabilities of the ISWAP group in the region.

“These airstrikes complement the ongoing efforts of ground forces in the Lake Chad flank and represent a crucial step forward in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria,” he said.

(NAN)

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Francis Okoye arrested in Anambra bound commercial bus with firearms, POS machine

A 22-year-old man, Francis Obinna Okoye, has been arrested by operatives of Edo State Police Command’s Monitoring Unit for alleged possession of firearm.
Also recovered from him was a blue-coloured pos machine.
Okoye who resides at No 26, Jatto Street, Okolo, Lagos State, was arrested on 7 April, 2024.
A statement by the Command’s spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the suspect was apprehended by the  operatives while on stop and search duty along Lagos-Benin expressway, by Ovia river axis.
He was intercepted in a commercial bus loaded with passengers from Lagos state heading to Anambra state.
The suspect allegedly confessed in his statement that one Emma whose surname is unknown, gave him the gun to threaten his uncle, Mr. Paul Okoye, who was alleged to have killed his father with chams.
However, when operatives of the Command took him to Lagos on Monday, 8 April, 2024, to arrest Mr. Paul Okoye, they found out that the suspect lied to the operatives.
“The suspect will soon be process to
court,” the Edo Police Command spokesperson said.
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