Actress Genevieve Nnaji’s says the success of her movie ”Lion Heart” is vindication for Nollywood

The acquisition of Genevieve Nnaji’s movie, ”Lion Heart” by Netflix is a sign that something good and positive can come out of Nollywood, according to the actress.

Genevieve Nnaji has stated that the recent acquisition of her directorial debut, ”Lion Heart” by American film sharing site, Netflix is a vindication for the local movie industry, Nollywood.

Speaking on BBC’s Newsday programme, the actress shared her excitement following the successful premiere of Lion heart at the recent TIFF festival and its purchase by Netflix, making it the first original film from Nigeria to be on the platform.

”To be honest, I was happy for the country,” she says, ”I was happy for the industry, I forgot about me because I really didn’t set out to do a movie about Genevieve, it wasn’t a selfish endeavor, I really wanted something good and positive to come out of the industry finally, that was fulfilling and vindicating at the same time.”

On the message she is trying to pass across in the movie, she explains

See Genevieve Nnaji at 'Lion Heart's premiere at TIFF 2018Genevieve at the premiere of her movie ‘Lion Heart’ at the 2018 TIFF festival in Toronto

”It is just an inspiring story about family values, succession, wanted to touch on women and the role they play in the society, especially in the work place, especially in an industry dominated by men and their challenges.

But most importantly, we wanted to put across the values that we actually share as Africans, and as Nollywood and everything that we embody as an industry in just one story and I think Lion Heart provided us with that environment.”

She says it was important to get the message across, ”Today, in the world that we live in, we seem to be losing our identity as Africans and as filmmakers and I just wanted to kind of go back and revamp and put forward what I know I have been able to learn in my 20 years of being in the industry as an actor.

Just things that I thought, with probably places that I felt we haven’t put our messages across, and so I just went with my gut feelings and tried to be as true and authentic to myself as possible.”

Genevieve also speaks on drawing on personal experience

”Yes, just being a woman trying to do business in Nigeria, especially even with ”Lion Heart”, we tried to partner with a few people, that didn’t work out, we pretty much just channeled all our frustrations into the film, it’s easier to draw inspiration from experience,” she concludes.

‘Lion Heart’ is her full debut as a film director, and it captures the story of a young lady who steps up to the challenge when her father is forced to take a step back from his company due to health issues.


Joyful tears as Mrs Okowa pays N5.1m for 25 needy patients

It was an emotional day for many indigent patients at the Federal Medical Centre, Delta State as the wife of the state Governor, Dame Edith Okowa facilitated the payment of bills of 25 patients who were set for discharge but could not pay.

At a ceremony in Asaba, tagged “International Day of Charity”, Mrs Okowa raised a total of five million, one hundred thousand naira (N5.1 million) from good spirited Nigerians in Delta to pay the bills of the poor patients.

Some of the beneficiaries of the kind gesture could not hold back tears as they danced and jumped upon hearing their names on the list of those whose bills had been paid.

A number of the patients had been in the hospital for several moths receiving treatments and have remained in the hospital for more months after being discharged due to their inability to pay their bills.

Some of the patients were owing almost five hundred thousand Naira.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Promise Lazarus was a victim of domestic violence: she was attacked by her husband with a machete in February and was admitted to the Hospital for six months.

Upon being discharged, she was unable to pay her bill of N492,000 and had to remain in the hospital until the State First Lady came to her rescue with the charity programme.

Another beneficiary who wept uncontrollable, not only had her bill of N346, 800 paid but was handed to an associate of Dame Okowa as she had nowhere to go from the hospital.

Speaking at the event, Mrs Okowa told the patients and management of the hospital that all the money came from good spirited Nigerians and not from the state government.

She said that the gesture is part of the Charity Day which is commomerated on September 5th to reach out to the poor.

For her, the reach out to indigent patients in the hospital was a way to increase solidarity, social responsibility, volunteerism and public support.

Mr Okowa stressed that the event was also aimed at raising public awareness on the need for charity work, noting that being alive does not necessarily mean ‘we are the best but what we do today is what we will reap tomorrow.’

“It is not only the rich that should give help but every Nigerian should give because giving is a spirit that should be imbibed by all human beings.

The Delta First Lady said that she derived her passion to give from a passage in the Holy Bible: Matthew Chapter 25: 35 – 36 which said ‘I was hungry and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me drink, I was a stranger and ye took me in, naked and ye clothed me, I was in prison and ye came to me.”

She commended the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, for treating patients first without demanding monies.

For the Hospital’s Medical Director, Dr. Victor Osiatuma, he commended Dame Okowa for her charity works across the state, and affecting the lives of many.

He recalled that Mrs Okowa had initiated many programmes to help the poor, including building sickle centres, free health programmes and her charity works.

“Last year, specifically, September 5, 2017, the governor’s wife also, through the pet project, 05 initiative, spent over N2.3million to bail out 13 patients who also could not pay their medical bills at the same hospital,” he said.

Some of the beneficiaries include: Chukwunyem Esther, N310, 850; Chukwudi Joshua, N135, 700; Okolie Ifeanyi, N439, 200; Ubong Kingsley, N307, 050 and Onwugbolu Sunday, N221, 000.

Others are; Oki John, 422, 000; Obi Jerry, N216, 350; Obianke Onyisi-Ken, N171; 850; Okoh Patrick, N597, 700 and Edhu Ejiro, N160, 850.

Responding, a beneficiaries Mrs. Promise Lazarus, expressed happiness over the gesture.

She thanked the governor’s wife, the people of Delta state and the management of the Federal Medical Centre for their magnanimity to her and other patients.

Libyan PM Serraj blames ‘foreign powers’ for instability

Foreign powers are actively working against the stabilisation of Libya, the country’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj said Wednesday.

Libya remains riven by violence seven years after the NATO-backed ouster of its former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

A UN envoy brokered a ceasefire last week after deadly militia clashes in Tripoli.

The country is not pacified because “serious and long-term solutions have not been found to solve very deep internal divisions,” Serraj told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

`But there are also foreign powers working against us for their own interests.

“We know that some militias are surreptitiously armed from abroad,” he said.

When asked to name the countries, Serraj said: “They know well [who they are]. And they do not want a sovereign Libya.”

The country has two rival governments: Serraj’s administration, based in Tripoli, and another in the eastern city of Tobruk.

There are also dozens of militia groups vying for power.

With Libya being is a major port of departure for Europe-bound migrants, Serraj said “every extra day of guerrilla warfare works in favour of migrant smugglers and criminal activities across the country.”

He called on a key political rival from eastern Libya, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, “to work together for common objectives and against unilateral initiatives,” and warned against a military takeover of Tripoli.

Serraj also said Libya cannot hold elections until security is restored.

He said: “you cannot vote with instability in the streets.

“It is also necessary that everybody accepts the result from the ballot box.”

Gov. Lalong’s Director of Press dies in India

Mr Emmanuel Nanle, Director of Press and Public Affairs to Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, is dead.

Nanle died on Tuesday night in an Indian hospital, according to family sources.

The sources said Nanle was flown to India last Thursday when his situation could not be handled locally.

Mr Mark Longyen, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Gov. Lalong on Media and Publicity, confirmed the death to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Wednesday.

Longyen said the state government received the news of Nanle’s death with shock.

The SSA could not, however, disclose what Nanle died of but a source told NAN that he died of colon cancer.

According to the source, the late director was treated of the disease in January in India.

Jailed Pakistani ex-PM released for wife’s funeral

Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been temporarily released from jail so that he can attend his wife’s funeral, officials and family members said Wednesday.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband were also released overnight Tuesday to accompany the former leader to the eastern city of Lahore for the funeral, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said.

Sharif’s wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz died at a clinic in London on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.

She was 68.

Sharif’s political secretary Asif Kirmani said that her body was scheduled to reach Pakistan for burial on Friday.

The three-time prime minister and his daughter are currently serving jail terms in Pakistan following their conviction by a court on corruption charges.

A jail official told dpa that Sharif was released for 12 hours, according to Pakistan’s prison rules, but the duration was likely to be extended until all the rituals are performed.

Sharif was not allowed to return to Pakistan from exile in Saudi Arabia to attend his father’s funeral in 2004.

Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and his fellow generals were at the time criticised for the decision.

NAN reports that on Pakistani court sentenced Sharif to 10 years in prison for corrupt practices linked to his family’s purchase of upscale London flats, in a major blow to his party ahead of general elections on July 25.

The guilty verdict in absentia against Sharif, ended the career of one of Pakistan’s most high-profile politicians of the last four decades, a political survivor who was prime minister three times.

Sharif’s daughter, Maryam, widely seen as his chosen political heir, was sentenced to seven years in prison and is disqualified from contesting the elections. Maryam’s husband and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Muhammad Safdar was handed a year in jail.

Russia identifies 2 suspects in Skripal poisoning case – Putin

Russian authorities have identified the two people suspected by London of poisoning Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

“We know who they are, we have found them,” Putin told the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok.

The Russian president noted that the “suspects” were civilians.

“I hope that they will show up and tell everything themselves. There is nothing particularly criminal there, I assure you,” he said.

Putin also urged the two individuals to talk to media.

NAN reports that on Sept. 6, the UK charged two Russian men for the Novichok nerve agent attack on the former spy and his daughter in the English city of Salsibury, accusing them of being Russian military intelligence officers.

British prosecutors issued arrest warrants for Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, charging them with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

Both were poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent – developed by the former Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s – in March but survived after spending weeks in hospital.

The failed attack sparked an international diplomactic crisis with Russia being accused by several countries – allegations Moscow has repeatedly denied.

Britain said it will present its evidence at a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday.

British officials demanded at a meeting with Russia’s charge d’affaires that those responsible for the poisoning of the Skripals were brought to justice.

Nigeria, China in $2b cotton deal

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on first-ever cotton value chain industry, worth two billion US dollars.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, unveiled the deal in Abuja where he said the agreement was signed with Shandong Ruyi International Fashion Industry.

The minister explained that the agreement would involve cotton growing to ginning, spinning, textile manufacture and garment in Katsina, Kano, Abia and Lagos States.

“Their investments will comprise aggregation and off take of cotton from farmers for ginning, spinning and weaving and manufacturing at least 300 million metres of African print, which will meet 20 per cent of West Africa’s demand.

“Others are producing cotton and denim garments for export and local consumption by Ruyi Group in Abia, Lagos and Kano states,” Enelamah said.

He added that in China, President Xi Jinping promised to open China’s market for agricultural products from Nigeria, based on trade negotiating engagements by Nigeria’s Trade Negotiators.

Enelamah said for industrialisation, the government was aggressively implementing the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) by establishing the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council.

He said the focus would be on five high priority areas: policy and regulation, trade and markets, critical infrastructure , skills , capacity building and lastly financing.

Enelamah said that the government had begun the establishment and upgrading of some existing industrial parks to world-class special economic zones (SEZs), across the six geo-political zones in the country.

According to him, for the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), there is a serious ongoing technical work to strengthen Nigeria’s Trade Policy Infrastructure.

Fayose softens EFCC, to submit self

With less than 35 days to vacate the government house, Ekiti governor Ayodele Fayose, has prepared to submit self to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

Fearing he could be arrested for financial mismanagement, Fayose who has been facing allegations of financial crime, is reported to have written a letter to the anti-graft agency notifying it that he would make himself available to it on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

The letter was personally signed by Fayose with the title: “Notification of my decision to make myself available in your office to clarify issue(s) or answer questions on issues within my knowledge”.

According to the Tribune, Fayose’s letter was addressed to the chairman of the EFCC.

The newspaper quoted the governor as saying that his desire to submit the letter to the commission was hinged on several and serial actions of the commission.

“…. for some time now, including but not limited to freezing of my accounts and attempts to secure temporary forfeiture of my properties.”

He said these were “indicative of the commission’s desire to have me clarify some issues or answer some questions but for the immunity I enjoy under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution as the sitting governor of Ekiti State.”

Ibrahim Magu
Ibrahim Magu, Acting EFFC Chairman

Fayose stated in the letter: “I wish to inform you that my term of office pursuant to which I enjoy immunity against investigation and prosecution under the above provision shall lapse by effluxion of time on Monday, 15th October, 2018.

“As a responsible citizen of our great country, who believes in the rule of law, I wish to inform you of my decision to make myself available in your office on Tuesday, 16th October 2018 at 1pm to clarify issues or answer questions within my knowledge.

“Kindly confirm the suitability of the above date or indicate by return, the commission’s convenient date.”
Tribune reported that a stamp on a copy of the letter indicated that it was received in the office of the EFCC chairman on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

Read more: Tribune

Fire razes Funtua market

An early morning fire outbreak has destroyed 10 shops and goods worth over N20 million at a motor spare parts market in Jabiri area of Funtua, Katsina State.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Funtua, some of the affected shop owners said they were informed about the fire outbreak through phone call at about 4 a.m.

Mr Krifoda Kegobe, one of the affected person whose four shops were burnt, said he has lost not less than N8 million worth of goods in his shops.

He said: “Some of the people passing through the area said that the fire started from a restaurant near our shops.

”Immediately they saw the fire, the people called and informed me, but before I got to the market from my house the fire has finished all my goods. I was not able to remove anything”.

He added that despite efforts by the people around the area and the fire fighters, they were not able to salvage anything from the shops.

Mr Johnson Ugochukwu, another victim of the inferno, disclosed to NAN that he lost over N10 million from one of his three shops in the area.

According to Ugochukwu, “just of recent I traveled to Kano and Lagos where I spent a lot to buy goods and everything is gone now”.

Also speaking, Alhaji Nasir Saleh, a tyre seller said he lost about N2 million worth of goods in his three shops.

The victims called on government to come to their aid in order to recoup the losses.

An officer of the Fire Service, Funtua, Malam Muhammad Sani, said the unit worked in conjunction with the the fire service of the School of Basic and Remedial Studies to contain the fire.

Sani advised residents to be cautious in handling flammable materials to avert fire outbreaks and its consequences.

$2.9bn Paris Club refund: FG bars states owing salaries

The Federal Government said states must clear backlog of salaries and other related staff arrears before they would be able to access the remaining 2.69 billion dollar Paris Club Refund.

The Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr Hassan Dodo, on Tuesday, said the Federal Government would commence phased payments of the refund to the states once the condition and several others were met.

“The DMO led the reconciliation process under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Finance. The final approval of 2.69 billion dollars is subject to some conditions.

“Salary and staff related arrears must be paid as a priority. Also commitment to the commencement of the repayment of Budget Support Loans granted in 2016 must be made by all States.

“Furthermore, they must clear amounts due to the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative and make commitment to clear matching grants from UBEC.

“This is in cases where some states have available funds which could be used to improve primary education and learning outcomes,” Dodo said in a statement.

It will be recalled that the issue of Paris Club loan over-deduction had been a long standing dispute between the Federal Government and the state governments, dating back to 1995.

In response to the dispute, President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the claims of over-deduction should be formally and individually reconciled by the Debt Management Office (DMO).

This reconciliation commenced in November 2016.

As an interim measure to alleviate the financial challenges of the states during the 2016 recession, the President had approved that 50 per cent of the amounts claimed by States be paid to enable them clear salary and pension arrears.

This approved sum was released to the states between Dec. 1, 2016 and Sept. 29, 2017.