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Nigerian athletes convicted for fraud after FBI investigation

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Nigeria’s athletics federation says last week’s conviction of two of its athletes for their part in a fraud scheme uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is “sad and damaging” for the country.

On 10 November, Emmanuel Ineh and Toluwani Adebakin were convicted for transferring tens of thousands of dollars to the West African country as part of what the American justice department called “a complex fraud scheme”.

Prosecutors said the scheme involved athletes from multiple higher-learning institutions in the USA, with African Under-18 triple jump record holder Ineh, 23, and sprinter Adebakin, 25, operating part of the conspiracy while team-mates at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

“It’s really sad and damaging, not just to the image of the sport or federation, but Nigeria as a country,” Dare Esan, a board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), told reporters.

Two Nigerian athletes, Toluwani Adebakin and Emmanuel Ineh, convicted for  fraud in the U.S., to serve 10yrs imprisonment

Emmanuel Ineh and Toluwani Adebakin were convicted for transferring tens of thousands of dollars to the West African country as part of what the American justice department called “a complex fraud scheme”.

“This kind of action could potentially affect other young athletes seeking scholarships to American schools. It dents the incredible achievements other honest athletes have created in the world.

“But we know America is a country with justice and fairness, so whoever is found guilty will be punished and made to pay the price for their own actions.”

Following the FBI’s investigation, the pair pleaded guilty to violations of the United States code, having engaged in unlawful activities and having ‘sent tens of thousands of illicitly obtained proceeds to fraudsters in Nigeria as part of a larger mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy’.

Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on 15 February next year in Hattiesburg, and face a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

“Sadly, wire fraud and other criminal activities are not limited to athletics but have become a national problem that must be fixed,” said Esan.

“Imagine someone like Ineh, who’s won an African [Youth] Games medal, to be caught up in this? You allow yourself and bank details to be used for fraud and decide to derail your career – for what?

“It’s sad and disappointing to see young athletes with great potential go this route in life.”

Sentencing set for February

A federal district judge will determine any sentence for Ineh, who finished in eighth place at the 2018 African Athletics Championships, and Adebakin, whose career has not shown such promise, after considering sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Ineh is one of Nigeria’s fast-rising long jump and triple jump talents, having moved to the University of Alabama earlier this year.

An African Youth Games silver medallist and continental age champion in the triple jump in 2018, his 8.16 metre long jump mark set last year remains the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) record.

Adebakin graduated from the University of South Florida in May with a dual degrees, a master’s degree in sports entertainment and an master’s in business administration (MBA).

He spent two years at William Carey University and won a national championship in the 4x400m relay.

♦ Culled from the BBC

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At least 162 killed and 700 hurt as earthquake hits Indonesia’s Java island

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Hundreds of homes were damaged, in addition to a boarding school, a hospital and several government buildings, the national disaster agency chief said.

An earthquake shook Indonesia‘s main Java island Monday afternoon, killing at least 162 people, local officials said.

Around 700 people were injured, National Disaster Mitigation Agency chief Suharyanto said.

“Many were hurt because they were hit by collapsed buildings,” he added.

The death toll reached 162 Monday night, local media reported citing West Java Gov. Ridwan Kamil.

More than 5,300 people had been displaced, the Indonesian disaster mitigation agency said in a statement. It added that at least 25 people were still trapped under collapsed buildings.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck West Java at 1:21 p.m. local time (1:21 a.m. ET). It was centered in the Cianjur region at a depth of 6.2 miles — about 47 miles southeast of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

At least 25 aftershocks were recorded by the country’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency.

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WAP’S Prof. Chris Ulasi Leads Election Reporting Project in Nigeria

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The co-founder of The West African Pilot News, Professor Chris Ulasi, led a United States-sponsored Election Reporting Project (ERP) in Nigeria.

ERP was a two-day workshop to equip, train and support Nigerian journalists, videographers and photojournalists to adequately cover the 2023 elections in an accurate, objective, balanced and safe way.

The workshop was organised by the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA) and the Enugu Literary Society (ELS) in partnership with the US consulate-general in Lagos, Will Stevens.

At the opening of the two-day workshop, Stevens said the US government allocated $50 million for the training as a way to ensure that the 2023 general elections are peaceful and credible.

“We are supporting more than 100 journalists with this workshop in Ibadan, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Lagos as part of U.S. efforts to support Nigeria’s elections,” the consul-general said.

“Over the last three years and into the next year too, the US government has allocated more than 50 million dollars for technical assistance, support, training, for INEC, and for civil society, among others.

“We are committed to initiatives here in Nigeria to build needed capacity. We have funded training for hundreds of journalists on topics ranging from fact-checking, health reporting, defence and national security reporting, investigative journalism, election reporting and media ethics.

“These training, together with other programmes we offer virtually to demonstrate our commitment to this partnership that we have long enjoyed here in Nigeria.”

The lead facilitator for the workshop was the co-founder, The West African Pilot News, Dean, School of Communication and Chair, Department of Radio, Television and Films, Texas Southern University Houston, USA., Prof. Chris Ulasi.

Some other facilitators include Prof. Lai Oso, fmr. Dean of Communications, Lagos State University; and Miss Grace Ekpu, an investigative reporter with the Associated Press (AP).

According to the lead facilitator, the project was in three phases. Phase one was the workshops which included training held in several zones.

Phase two was the content stage. In phase two, trained journalists were plugged into an election reporting website and online community for support and fact-checking of content pre-during-and-after elections coverage season. Phase three is the awards stage when outstanding participating journalists would be given awards after the elections season.

The two-day intensive training, which was held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on 14 and 15 November was attended by journalists from different states in the southwest. The training included practical skills in fact-checking, digital security, and interaction among journalists from different backgrounds among others.

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Elon Musk fired Twitter’s head of sales after she refused to sack more employees

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He had previously begged her not to resign

  • Elon Musk sacked Twitter exec Robin Wheeler after she refused to fire more staff, sources said.
  • Wheeler was sacked despite Musk persuading her to stay after she tried to resign, per Bloomberg.
  • Some Twitter sales staff found out over the weekend and on Monday they were fired, per Platformer.

Elon Musk fired a top Twitter executive after she refused to sack more employees in the ad sales team, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to Insider.

Robin Wheeler, Twitter’s global head of advertising sales, handed in her resignation on Thursday 10, but Musk persuaded her to stay in the job, the sources told Insider’s Lara O’Reilly, and as Bloomberg earlier reported.

One week later, the billionaire changed his mind. Two sources said Wheeler was fired on Friday after she refused to cut the headcount of Twitter’s ad sales team — a department that was already depleted.

Wheeler, whose Twitter bio now says “proud Ex-Twitter Sales Exec,” tweeted on Friday in the past tense, saying: “To the team and my clients….you were always my first and only priority.” She concluded the tweet with a salute emoji, a sign that has recently become symbolic for Twitter employees leaving the company amid layoffs and firings.

Platformer’s Casey Newton reported that some Twitter staff in the sales team found out over the weekend and on Monday that they had been sacked after they couldn’t access Twitter’s systems.

This came after Musk sent an email to employees about his expectations for building “Twitter 2.0.” If staff didn’t sign up for “the new Twitter” by Thursday 5 p.m., they would receive three months of severance, Musk wrote in the email.

Twitter and Wheeler didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment made outside of normal US operating hours on Tuesday.

Wheeler joined Twitter in 2012 as a senior director of sales, which involved managing relationships with some of the company’s biggest clients such as Coca-Cola, Google, and Microsoft, according to her LinkedIn page. She became the head of ad sales in April this year.

Chris Riedy, Twitter’s former vice president of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, replaced Wheeler at the weekend, per multiple Insider sources.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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