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Gunmen have kidnapped two entertainers, Ugo Stevenson and Izunna Obiakor, in Owerri, Imo State and demanded millions of naira as ransom for their release.

Stevenson, a 2008 winner of Nigeria Music Awards, is a popular high life musician, writer and public commentator, while Obiakor is the Chief Executive Officer of Twinstar Lightening and Stage House in Owerri.

The 2008 award winner was reportedly kidnapped around the World Bank area, while he was going home.

His wife, who confirmed his abduction in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, said the kidnappers had established contact with her, demanding N5m as ransom for his release.

Distressed Stevenson’s, who said she spoke with her husband, stated that the kidnappers contacted her two days after kidnapping her husband.

She said, “The kidnappers have contacted me. They are demanding N5m as ransom for his release. They allowed my husband to speak with me.

“I told them how it is with my husband and family currently. I told them that we didn’t even have N10,000. They asked me to contact his friends.

“I am, therefore, calling on his friends to help secure my husband’s freedom. They should not allow him suffer and die. He is just an entertainer, who has spent all his life making people happy. He has offended no one. His friends and the general public should come to my husband’s rescue.”

Meanwhile, Obiakor was reportedly abducted in his jeep. He was kidnapped in Owerri while returning home after the day’s programme.

One of his friends, who does not want his name mentioned, confirmed Obiakor’s abduction.

The abduction of the two entertainers has generated spontaneous outcry as his friends and fans have taken to the social media, especially Facebook to condemn their abductions and demand their immediate release, unconditionally.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, who confirmed the abduction of Stevenson, said the process of rescuing the victim had commenced.

“Stevenson was kidnapped somewhere in Owerri West Local Government Area. The commissioner of police has ordered the processes that would necessitate his release. We are working to ensure that the kidnap victim is rescued alive, unhurt and the kidnappers arrested without delay,” he said.

The abductions of the duo came few days after a popular activist, Paulcy Iwuala, was released after the payment of N7m as ransom.

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Strike Continues As ASUU, FG Meeting Ends In Deadlock

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The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Thursday ended in a deadlock.

The meeting, held at the Ministry of Labour and Employment office in Abuja over the universities lecturers’ strike since November 5, lasted for about six hours.

It had to be adjourned till next week when there was no headway.

The ASUU delegation to the meeting was led by its National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, while the government side had the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono; and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.

Ngige, before the meeting, went into a closed-door session, told newsmen that “talks with the academic union are coming a bit late because we have been having negotiations on the new minimum wage.

“The government appeals to ASUU to put the interest of the students first because they are at the receiving end of the consideration.”

But Ogunyemi, after the meeting, which lasted from 3 pm to 9 pm, said the union had put forward its demands and the meeting had been adjourned till next week.

He said: “No date has been fixed for next week but we will communicate the date to you tomorrow (Friday).

“The union was forced to go on strike because our plea for the implementation of the 2017 Memorandum of Action fell on deaf ears.

“Our meeting with the Minister of Education (Adamu Adamu) in May and September 2018 to remind him of the Federal Government’s promises to implement the agreement yielded no result.”

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NEWS

Oyo Begins Reconstruction Of Yinka Ayefele’s Music House

Peter Okunoren

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Oyo State Government has begun the reconstruction of Yinka Ayefele’s Music House, which is partly demolished on August 19, 2018.

The reconstruction followed a peace meeting between Ayefele and the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, a few days after the agents of the government destroyed the house for not meeting town planning requirements.

A report by Television Continental has it that construction workers are already on site.

They are said to have a December deadline for the completion of the work.

The Head of News, Fresh FM, Samson Akindele, was quoted as having said: “A lot has happened since the demolition in August.

“We’ve had a lull in the activities going on here.

“Just about two weeks ago, after all the meetings and agreements, the ministry of works in Oyo state through the office of the permanent secretary and the commissioner came in to start fulfilling the promise the governor made that indeed the partial demolition was an activity done in error,” Akindele said.

He also confirmed that the Radio station will be ready before December to host its annual Christmas events.

Ajimobi had during the 90th birthday celebration of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, pledged to reconstruct the partially demolished building and also provide necessary logistics.

“I want to say that the imbroglio between the state government and Yinka Ayefele over the demolition of his Music House has been resolved. And I pledge the government’s commitment to assist him,” Ajimobi said.

The demolition attracted a lot of media outcry and the condemnation from the masses.

While Radio station alleged that the demolition was politically motivated, the state government said the building was demolished because the staff canteen, a spiral staircase, the mast and the fence were not in the approved plan.

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NEWS

Entertainment Industry Practitioners Endorse Sanwo-Olu For Lagos Governor [PHOTOS]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Leading practitioners in the entertainment industry including the veterans, A-listers and the up and coming in movies, music and comedy genres have endorsed the All Progressives Congress Candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat in the coming general election as the next Governor of Lagos State.

The practitioners who include Prince Jide Kosoko during a solidarity visit to the APC candidate and his deputy at their campaign Ikoyi office promised to mobilize their fan base and the general populace to vote for Sanwo-Olu because of his capability and experience.

The creative industry professionals used their visit to present some of the challenges the sector is facing to the APC candidate, imploring him to solve for the growth of the sector that has been a major contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

They identified security, access to public buildings such as hospitals, schools, airport, Police Station, Military Barracks and other permits as some of the operational issues they struggle with while shooting their movies and music videos in Lagos.

They urged Mr. Sanwo-Olu to also look at how payment of tax can be made friendlier in Lagos for them adding that the Lagos Internal Revenue Service often charges them arbitrary taxes because of their celebrity status using best of judgment.

Prince Kosoko specifically pleaded with Mr. Sanwo-Olu to appoint one of them into senior position in his government.

“We have very highly educated people among us and I want to charge you to appoint one of us into your government when you win the election by the grace of God. If we had one of us in your government he or she will represent us and our interests well. We are for you and APC in Lagos and we will support you to win this election.”

In his response, Mr. Sanwo-Olu appreciated the endorsement of the entertainment practitioners and promised to work with the industry to boost its capacity as a major contributor to the growth of the economy of Lagos and Nigeria as a whole.

“I am very happy to see many of you here in flesh and blood especially our veterans like Oga Jide Kosoko and Oga Bello. Those days before the age of the internet when we see you on television we look forward to meeting you. You inspired us and entertained us.

“The purpose of this interaction is to know the issues that are important to you that you want the government to address. We want your input so we can plan for. I appreciate your endorsement and support. It means much to me and my deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat. Let me assure you that by the grace of God when we get to the office I will appoint one of you into senior position as requested by Prince Kosoko and beyond appointment, we will through policies and necessary structure provide enabling environment for you to thrive and do your job well.”

While speaking at the event, Dr. Hamzat also reiterated the significance of the creative economy and Lagos as the center of entertainment in Africa.

“It is actually a stupid government that will ignore the sector as yours that is contributing to the GDP like our in-coming Governor, by the grace of God has said. We will provide the leadership that will make the industry to grow.”

Other members of the delegation from the film industry include Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello), Ebun Oloyede (Olaiya Igwe), Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo), Rachael Oniga), Yinka Quadri, Mrs. Lanre Hassan (Mama Awero), Chico Ejiro, Fred Amata, Muka Ray Sola Kosoko, Ik Ogbonna, Alex Ekubo, Femi Branch, Iyabo Ojo, Ayo Badmus, Lilian Bach among others.

Musicians among them include Wasiu Alabi (Pasuma), Daddy Showky, Owen G., Sound Sultan, Ozy Bosco (kid musical sensation), Muma Gee, Olisa Adibua and MC Lively.

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