Nigerian Court grants journalist Jones Abiri bail


June 24, 2019Halimah Yahaya

Jones Abiri

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday granted bail to a journalist, Jones Abiri.

The Nigerian government on May 24 arraigned Mr Abiri for alleged economic sabotage and terrorism.

Federal prosecutors filed three counts of terrorism, economic sabotage, and fraud against Mr Abiri.

According to the charge sheet seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Abiri sent text messages from his phone number to Shell and Agip officials, threatening to blow their oil installations if his demands were not met.

The Bayelsa-based journalist was also accused of leading a gang of activists to blow up pipelines in Bayelsa.

All the offences allegedly took place between June and July 2016.

The charges came nine months after Mr Abiri was freed from the custody of the State Security Service, after spending two years there without trial.

The journalist strongly denied all allegations, saying he was being targeted for his media work that put a spotlight on the controversial conducts of oil companies and the Nigerian government in the Niger Delta.

His ordeal has been a major topic of discussion amongst media rights advocates, with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalist asking for all charges to be dropped.

Ruling on the bail application on Monday, the judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, said the crime for which the defendant is charged “is bailable”, under special circumstance, as provided under section 161 of the Administrative of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

Section 161 read thus:

1) A suspect arrested, detained or charged with an offence punishable with death shall only be admitted to bail by a judge of the High Court, under exceptional circumstances.

2) For the purpose of exercise of discretion in subsection (1) of this section, “exceptional circumstances” includes:

(a) ill health of the applicant which shall be confirmed and certified by a medical practitioner employed in a Government hospital, provided that the suspect is able to prove that there are no medical facilities to take care of his illness by the authority detaining him;

(b) extraordinary delay in the investigation, arraignment and prosecution for a period exceeding one year; or

(c) Any other circumstances that the judge may, in the particular facts of the case, consider exceptional.

As part of the bail conditions, the judge ordered that the defendants pay N100 million with one surety in like sum.

“The surety must be the owner of landed property in Abuja.

“Applicant must remain in jail until he fulfils the bail condition,” Mrs Ojukwu added.

The judge adjourned to June 28 for the commencement of trial.

Islamic cleric charged with raping five-year-old inside mosque in Lagos, Nigeria


A mosque used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Encyclopedia Britannic

An Islamic Cleric, Abdulsalam Salaudeen, was on Monday remanded by an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl in a mosque.

Justice Abiola Soladoye, who obliged the prosecutor’s request for the remand, adjourned the case until October 14 for trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Salaudeen, 43, is being tried for allegedly defiling the child, who was under his tutelage.

The prosecutor, T. Olanrewaju-Dawodu, told the court that Mr Salaudeen committed the offence on December 22, 2018, at the premises of Olorunbabe Mosque at No. 15, Palace Road, Igando, near Lagos.

Ms Olanrewaju-Dawodu said that Mr Salaudeen, popularly called Alfa, was caught raping the child via the footage of a hidden camera which was installed within the premises of the mosque by suspicious individuals.

The defendant, residing at No. 16, Awoyemi St., Ikotun, Lagos, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecutor said the offence contravened Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Brave Ogun security officer seriously wounded while confronting armed robbers


June 24, 2019 Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji

The So-Safe Corps officer that was shot by armed robbers

Armed Robbers, on Sunday night, shot an official of So-Safe Corps, a security arm of Ogun State Government, during a robbery operation at Olorunsogo community located in Oke-Lantoro area of Abeokuta, the state’s capital.

The operation team of So-Safe Corps raced to the scene of the robbery to rescue the community from the marauders who were fully armed. In the process, the officer, Kehinde Aigbe, was shot in the stomach by the bandits.

The armed robbers immediately fled the scene, while the 48-year-old Mr Aigbe was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Idi-Aba, Abeokuta.

As at the time of filing this report preparations were on to transfer him to the theatre for an operation.

The Director of Information and Public Relations of the Corps, Moruf Yusuf, confirmed the incident. He explained that the officer was shot in the stomach, resulting in serious injuries and that the robbers escaped from the scene of the crime.

Similarly, the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, Adewale Musa -Olomu, also confirmed admission of the victim, expressing optimism that the management was prepared to do its best in saving the life of the victim.

When our correspondent visited the hospital on Monday morning, the officer was seen being attended to by the medical team in the Emergency Treatment Room of the hospital.

The Commander of the Corps, Soji Ganzallo, was also seen running around to provide needed materials for the hospital, to ensure that the officer was revived.

Social Media for Better Leadership and Learning


By Tanmay Vora

Leadership in a connected world is a complex sport. Leaders risk relevance quite fast if they continue to operate in an isolated box within a tight hierarchy.

When the complexity around us increases, we need more connected leadership that is constantly making sense of evolving patterns, thinking and mindset.

Leadership that is social in approach when it comes to building communities, enabling engagement and participating in knowledge flows across the network (both inside the organization through corporate social tools as well as external social media).

I was fortunate that when I started leading teams in 2006, I started my blog to document my lessons and share them along. Little did I know then that I was stepping into something that would totally transform how I think about leadership and learning. Fellow bloggers, people who commented on this blog, authors and later communities of learning on Twitter groomed me as a leader and shaped a lot of my thinking.

Thanks to social engagement, I am able to stay in touch with current thinking, participate in conversations/tweet chats around topics of my interest and become a part of an empowering network. I could learn, absorb patterns, prepare for the waves of changes likely to come, put some of those lessons into practice at work, and share my reflections back with community. In my case, social media made me a clearer thinker, better leader and a curious learner.

In the spirit of learning from community, I recently followed Twitter backchannel of #SocialNow conference in Lisbon to absorb key insights.

In one of the talks, Celine Schillinger referred to her Forbes article titled “Three Ways Social Media Make You A Better Leader” where she writes,

“In times of deep social and technological change, social media enables leaders to take advantage of the radical cognitive and relational transformations that are taking place everywhere. Social media creates within leaders and through them more capacity to metabolize the complexity of our modern world and turn it into a strategic advantage.”

A lot of insights she presents in the article resonated with me and my own journey as a leader so far. In the article, Celine outlines three ways social media can enable sensemaking for better leadership and engagement.

You can read the full article here and here is a #sketchnote summary of key insights from the article.

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Tongue-Twisting: Resveratrol Shows Beneficial Effects in Ulcerative Colitis


June 12th 2019 By: Dr. Michael Murray

Introduction:

Resveratrol is a plant compound similar to flavonoids. It is found in the low levels of the skin of red grapes, red wine, cocoa powder, baking chocolate, dark chocolate, peanuts and mulberry skin. Red wine is perhaps the most recognized source of resveratrol, however, red wine contains only one milligram per glass. Most resveratrol supplements use Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) as the source.

There has been a great deal of hype regarding resveratrol as a dietary supplement and recent human clinical studies are showing tremendous promise in a variety of applications. A study published in the May, 2015 issue of the Archives of Medical Research indicates that it can help patients with ulcerative colitis.

Background Data:

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a general term for a group of chronic inflammatory disorders of the intestines. It is divided into two major categories: Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Clinically, IBD is characterized by recurrent inflammation of specific intestinal segments resulting in diverse symptoms. In the United States, about 1.4 million people have IBD with the number equally split between CD and UC. IBD may occur at any age, but it most often occurs between the ages of 15 and 35 years. Females are affected slightly more frequently than males. Caucasians have the disease two to five times more often than African or Asian Americans, and those with a Jewish heritage have a three-fold to six-fold higher incidence than non-Jewish people.

One of the thoughts is that UC develops by a defect in the regulation of the immune response to intestinal flora in genetically susceptible individuals. Of course, the gut flora and intestinal environment is greatly influenced by dietary factors including low-fiber intake, reduced intake of dietary anti-inflammatory compounds such as flavonoids and omega-3 fatty acids, and increased intake of refined carbohydrates. Several studies that analyzed the pre-illness diet of patients with IBD have found that they habitually ate more refined sugar, chemically modified fats, processed and fast foods, and meat, while consuming less raw fruit, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber than healthy people.

The main drug approach in UC is the use of anti-inflammatory agents, corticosteroids like Prednisone, immune system modulators and antibiotics. These drugs are only palliative and offer no real path to complete resolution.

Resveratrol exerts a wide range of anti-inflammatory effects indicating a possible benefit in UC. In animal models of UC, resveratrol improved the disease activity index and decreased oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers.

New Data:

In a study sponsored by the National Nutrition and Food Technology of Iran, researchers sought to evaluate the effects of supplementation with resveratrol on inflammation and quality of life in patients with active UC in a double-blind, placebo-controlled format. The 50 eligible patients with active mild to moderate UC were given either 500 mg of resveratrol or a placebo capsule for 6 weeks. Serum inflammatory markers and quality of life assessments were conducted at baseline and at the end of the study.

Results showed that resveratrol supplementation led to a significant reduction in plasma levels of key inflammatory markers. Specifically, in the resveratrol group, the level of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) all showed statistically significant reductions. In contrast, no change was seen in the placebo group. Clinical evaluation also indicated a significant drop in the Clinical Colitis Activity Index Score decreased significantly in the resveratrol group, when compared with the placebo group.

The researchers concluded, “6 weeks supplementation with 500 mg resveratrol can improve quality of life and disease clinical colitis activity at least partially through inflammation reduction in patients with UC.”

Commentary:

Based upon the use of resveratrol for other applications, I question if a higher dosage (e.g., 500 mg two to three times daily) might have brought about even better results.

In addition to general measures to improve inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), I think the first step is an allergy elimination diet to address possible food allergies. In regards to nutritional supplementation, a broad-based nutritional supplementation plan is necessary for all patients with IBD. Particularly important are the nutrients zinc, folic acid, vitamin B12, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Nutritional supplements are used as appropriate to correct deficiencies, normalize the inflammatory process, and promote healing of the damaged mucosa. Botanical medicines, including flavonoid-rich extracts or resveratrol, can be used to promote healing and normalize the intestinal flora.

A Leader’s Guide to Creating an Enduring Brand


Guest post by Lindsay Pedersen:


Show me a valuable business, and I’ll show you a leader who has had to make hard choices. They’ve had to look at 100 good ideas and take 99 of them off the table in favor of the excellent one.

That means they’ve also become proficient in prioritizing. Ruthless prioritization serves you—the CEO, the general manager, the team owner, the person on the hook for the P&L of your business. It buoys you from paralyzing overwhelm to empowerment.

Then you are truly leading your team, and your employees return in kind, with their own understanding, demonstration, and embodiment of the business.

Easy to grok. But how do you do this?

Everything you decide to do in and for your business—all those hard choices and prioritizing—either reinforces or erodes your brand. So you need to pay attention to it. Brand should be the North Star to guide you. Your brand—the thing you want to stand for in the mind of your customer—is the best way to filter your decision-making. From day-to-day decisions (Should I attend this conference? Should I reevaluate this idea?) to monumental ones (Should I partner with this company? Should I quadruple my spending on this promising investment?), brand shines so brightly that it makes visible the right decision without you needing to spend precious time and cognitive energy weighing choices.

Because brand is the lynchpin for a business with pricing power, loyalty, employee meaning, and enduring value creation, you making decisions that reinforce your brand meaning enables your business not only to survive but to thrive.

You still might not think brand is your area of expertise. In the past, you may have felt tempted to delegate brand to marketing or even to an outside agency. But to do so is to miss brand’s power. It’s to mistake brand for a single-pronged marketing angle, when it is really the North Star of your business. If you are delegating the brand strategy, then I’d suggest that it is not a brand strategy. It might be a neat marketing campaign, but if it doesn’t force hard choices across departments and over time, it’s not a brand strategy.

And here’s the thing: You, the leader, must be the one to choose the focus of the business. You, the leader, need to be the one to select a single brand promise for your customers.

In shining that light on one thing, you inherently cast all other things in shadow. You deselect bad but also good ideas so that there can be single-minded focus on one excellent idea. That focus is the very thing that makes brand strategy powerful.

For a brand to create value for a business, customers, and employees, it needs to be genuine and bracingly clear. That is the only way it will empower the leader and employees to make tough choices that amplify the brand. Value-creating brands are ones that force tough choices.

The truth is, it can be difficult, sometimes scary, to choose a focus, to make tough choices to choose a brand North Star. It takes courage and conviction to develop and follow one. Yet you cannot delegate courage and conviction.

Think of a brand that you love. What are the tough choices that this business makes to inspire that love? In order to offer what you appreciate from them, what can they not offer? 

In order to appeal to you, who might they not resonate with, and therefore not have a relationship with? Now, think how much leadership courage and conviction it takes to make those tough choices. How does a leader cultivate that courage and conviction? By creating a brand with intention, infusing the brand throughout the business, and modeling the importance of the brand.

When I hear a leader talking about the importance of brand, I am also watching to see whether this leader really means it. Has this person said no to something attractive in service of the brand? Behind closed doors, does the leader look to the brand as a guide in the same way the leader does publicly?

When employees see you owning brand, using brand to filter and to make trade-offs, demonstrating that you feel it in your bones, the employees will too. Employees need to see you believing in and modeling the brand when it’s easy but especially when it is hard—or there is zero percent chance that the employees will stick their necks out to follow that guiding star.

It matters to employees if you’re giving them air cover or not. Because that’s a leader’s ultimate job, to do that hard, strategic heavy-lifting—the heaviest lifting one might ever do. It takes moxie to create a brand strategy. The reward is pricing power, loyalty, and enduring pride among employees. The reward is a brand—and a business—that creates value and endures.