Nigeria’s Women’s Bobsled Team Qualifies for 2018 Olympics, Country’s 1st Ever Winter Olympians

Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team (photo via nytimes.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to ESPN, Nigeria will be represented in the Winter Olympics by the African nation’s women’s bobsled team, which qualified for the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Driver Seun Adigun and breakpersons Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga completed the fifth out of the five required qualifying races and became the first African team ever to qualify in the bobsled category.

The squad, led by Adigun, a former African 100-meter hurdles champion and 2012 summer Olympian, completed the qualifying races in Utah and Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday. “This is a huge milestone for sports in Nigeria,” driver Adigun told ESPN. “Nothing makes me prouder than to know that I can play a small role in creating opportunities for winter sports to take place in Nigeria. Our objective now is to be the best representation of Africa that the Winter Olympics have ever witnessed.”

As blavity.com reported, it comes as a shock to many fans of the team and athletes individually, that they have been able to accomplish such a feat, considering they are in fact representing a warm climate country and the sport, for lack of better words, is designed for anything but that. In a recent interview with ABC News, shared to one of the women’s Instagram account, the ladies discuss how they do in fact host the majority of their training in the warm climate.

To read and learn more about this story, go to: http://www.newsweek.com/women-bobsled-team-first-nigeria-qualify-winter-olympics-713962 or http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-17/nigerias-bobsled-team-off-to-winter-olympics/9163162

Washington State University Scholar Cornelius Adewlale to be Awarded $100,000 Bullitt Environmental Prize

Cornelius Adewale (photo via seattletimes.com)

via jbhe.com

Cornelius Adewale, a doctoral student in the School of the Environment at Washington State University, has been selected to received the Bullitt Environmental Prize from the Bullitt Foundation. The prize, which comes with a $100,000 grant for continued research, is awarded to individuals who have “extraordinary potential to come powerful and effective leaders in the environmental movement.”

A native of Nigeria, Adewale’s research focuses on improving the environmental impact of agriculture. He hopes to develop methods to reduce chemical fertilizers but produce more food.

“Without food in their bellies, people have no time for anything else,” said Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation. “Cornelius is working at the leading edge of research to find ways to produce more food, even as we fight climate change and dramatically reduce the use of pesticides.”

“I am trying to change the way we farm,” said Adewale.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2017/11/washington-state-university-scholar-to-be-awarded-the-bullitt-environmental-prize/

Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu, Two Escaped Boko Haram Abductees, Graduate From High School in VA, Head to Southeastern University

(photo via instagram.com)

by Taryn Finley via huffpost.com

Two of the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 are telling their story. Joy Bishara, 20, and Lydia Pogu, 19, are among the 57 girls who were able to escape from the terrorist group. The duo gave People Magazine a detailed account of horrors they faced when the gunmen invaded their school in Chibok, Nigeria, and the events that followed.

The girls were sleeping when the invasion occurred. They woke to the sounds of gunshots and bombs. Pogu told People that men in uniforms stormed into their dorm and told them they were officers who were there to protect them. But the girls said they knew they weren’t real officers based on the way they described themselves.

“We were all crying and screaming. They told us to keep quiet or they’re going to kill us. So they start to shoot their guns up on top of us, making us quiet. All of us were scared. We were just holding each other,” Bishara said. “They asked us to follow them, we should go with them. When we tried going with them, some of us start running … then they went and put us all back together and said, ‘OK, you all have to cooperate or else we are going to just shoot any girl who just followed a different direction that we didn’t point.”

She said they gave the girls an ultimatum: run away and die or get on a truck and leave with them. Once the truck drove away with the girls on it, it created clouds of dust, making it difficult to see behind the truck. Girls began jumping from the truck and running away in different directions. Bishara and two other girls found each other in the bush and were able to stop a motorcyclist, who brought them back to Chibok.

Bishara and Pogu were able to return back to their families. In August of the same year, the duo and several other girls who escaped moved to the United States to complete school. With the help of a Christian nonprofit and a Nigerian activist group, they were able to attend boarding school in Virginia. Bishara and Pogu transferred their senior year and recently graduated from Canyonville Christian Academy. Both gave speeches at the ceremony. They will be attending Southeastern University in Florida in the fall and have started a GoFundMe to help with their expenses.

In April 2014, Boko Haram abducted as many as 276 schoolgirls from Chibok. The girls were subjected to rape, torture, starvation and forced marriages. They were also forced to join the group’s army. This sparked the #BringBackOurGirls campaign online and caught the attention of notable figures, including former first lady Michelle Obama.

To read more, go to: 2 Escaped Boko Haram Victims Graduate From High School | HuffPost

Nigerian Government Negotiates Release of 82 Chibok Girls From Boko Haram

(photo via cnn.com)

Lagos, Nigeria – Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls have been released after successful negotiations between the terrorist group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government, the Nigerian President’s office said.

A government official close to the negotiations told CNN the freed girls are in military custody in Banki, a town in northeast Nigeria. They will be transferred to the capital, Abuja, where they will have medical checks and be reunited with their families. They are believed to be among the 276 girls, ages 16 to 18, forced from their beds by Boko Haram militants in the middle of the night in April 2014.

The kidnapping from a boarding school in the town of Chibok sparked global outrage and the social media movement #BringBackOurGirls.”I am very, very excited with this development. I cannot even sleep tonight,” said Yana Galang, whose daughter, Rifkatu, was among the girls kidnapped. Galang said they don’t yet know who has been released, “but we’re very happy that many have been freed.” “I hope and pray that my daughter is among these released girls,” she added.

Some Boko Haram suspects being held by the Nigerian government were released as part of the negotiations, President Muhammadu Buhari‘s office said Saturday. “The President has repeatedly expressed his total commitment towards ensuring the safe return of the #ChibokGirls, and all other Boko Haram captives,” Buhari’s office said in a statement.Buhari will meet with the girls in Abuja on Sunday, his office said.

To read full article, go to: 82 Chibok girls released – CNN.com

Tomi Adeyemi, 23, Lands Big Publishing and Film Deals from Macmillan and Fox 2000 for Debut YA Novel ‘Children Of Blood And Bone’

Author Tomi Adeyemi (photo via deadline.com)

article by Michael Fleming Jr. via deadline.com

In a remarkable pair of deals for a debut author who is just 23, Fox 2000 has just made a preemptive acquisition of Children of Blood and Bone, the first installment of a fantasy novel trilogy by Tomi Adeyemi that will spawn a trilogy.

Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey are producing with Karen Rosenfelt. Word is this deal landed at or near seven-figures, and so did a whopping publishing deal that just closed at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

The novel is unusual in that the fantasy trilogies studios usually buy for big bucks are built around white characters. This one weaves in African culture and characters and mixes it with magic to create an intriguing mythology that is otherworldly but somehow familiar. It is being called a Black Lives Matter-inspired fantasy.

The protagonist is Zélie, who at six years old watched the king’s guards hang her mother on a tree outside her home. She never forgot it. In the beginning, every Orïshan was a magi: born with dark skin, stark white hair and the blessing of the god’s magic once they reached adulthood. Yet over time, their population dwindled and they became Orïsha’s minority. Magic became a thing to loathe, dark skin transformed into a thing to hate. Ten years after the raid that killed her mother and took away magic forever, Zélie Adebola has one chance to bring magic back. Through a fortuitous encounter with the Princess Amari, Zélie comes into possession of a sacred scroll necessary to restore a connection to the gods and secure magic for another hundred years. This sets the young women on a quest to end the senseless violence and oppression by the lighter-skinned royal class.

Danger lurks in this west-African inspired world, where lionnaires and cheetanaires roam, and the beautiful villages built over oceans, out of sand or forged in iron hide a dark underbelly of slavery and corruption. They find themselves pitted against a crown prince bent on wiping out magic for good.

Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, who graduated from Harvard before receiving a fellowship to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil.

To read full article, go to: Fox 2000 Lands ‘Children Of Blood And Bone’ In Splashy Book Deal | Deadline

26 Year-Old GM Engineer Mukhtar Onifade Starts Fashion Line Celebrating African Culture (VIDEO)

Detroit-based engineer and fashion designer Muktar Onifade (photo via atlantablackstar.com)

article by Ricky Riley via atlantablackstar.com

Detroit-based engineer Muktar Onifade is using his skills working as an engineer to create a fashion line that celebrates West African culture.

The 26-year-old native Nigerian and General Motors calibration specialist said he was inspired to launch his line, VIZUVLGVDS (Visual Gods), after going to a fashion show featuring beautiful African styles. “To be Black now, you have to be fearless really,” Onifade says in a Thursday, Feb. 9 NBC Black profile. “There has to be this certain level of self-belief in what you can accomplish.”

Onifade saw an opportunity to make a line that could be worn anywhere and any time outside of special occasions and events. To put his plan into action, he took his first paycheck from working at GM and brought a sewing machine.

Since 2015, his VIZUVLGVDS line has featured two collections that showcase his meticulous engineering talents and his African cultural heritage.

To read more, go to: Engineer Uses First Paycheck to Start Fashion Line Celebrating African Culture – Atlanta Black Star

African-American Billionaire Robert Smith Offers Full Scholarships for Education of Chibok Girls Who Escaped Boko Haram

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) poses on October 19, 2016 with the 21 Chibok girls who were released by Boko Haram last week, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria. Speaking at the presidential villa in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, Buhari addressed the girls and their families saying ‘we shall redouble efforts to ensure that we fulfil our pledge of bringing the remaining girls back home’. (AFP/Philip OJISUA)

article by Mfonobong Nsehe via forbes.com

American billionaire Robert Smith has offered to sponsor the education of 24 girls from the Chibok community, including the 21 girls who escaped from Boko Haram captivity in October this year.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Nigeria’s President, announced this on Tuesday during a media briefing with journalists at the State House in Abuja, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. Shehu said that the girls will be admitted through negotiation at the prestigious American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, with the American billionaire footing the entire bill of the girls’ tuition, accommodation, feeding and other related expenses.

It costs anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000 a year to educate a student at the school which is owned by wealthy frontline Nigerian politician and businessman Atiku Abubakar. Smith has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free,’’ Shehu added.

Shehu revealed that the Nigerian government is treating the recently released 21 Chibok girls as adoptees of the Federal Government. “But there is a lot of local and international interest in the future plans of the girls,’’ he added.

To read more: African-American Billionaire Robert Smith Offers Scholarship To Chibok Girls