As we wrap up the week, here are the top stories from Africa. Joseph Boakai has been sworn in as the new president of Liberia, marking a significant political transition.
The Africa Cup of Nations has announced the top 16 teams, stirring excitement and anticipation for the upcoming matches. In diplomatic developments, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Tinubu, pledging $45 million for security in West Africa.
Lagos takes an eco-friendly stance by banning styrofoam takeaway plates. Nigerian police, prompted by public outrage, rescue five kidnapped sisters. Meanwhile, a Kenyan cult leader faces murder charges for allegedly starving over 200 people to death, underscoring a tragic incident that has shocked the nation.
Check out all the top stories below:
GHANA TO PLAY ARGENTINA IN INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY MATCH
In March, Ghana’s Black Stars are set to play FIFA World Cup champions Argentina in an international friendly, as reported by myjoyonline.com.
According to the report, Argentina will play two friendly matches in the first quarter of the season, facing China and then Ghana., and the match is scheduled to be played in Beijing.
This will be the second time Argentina and Ghana clash, following Argentina’s 1-0 win in 2009.
BOAKAI SWORN IN AS NEW PRESIDENT FOR LIBERIA
Starting off in a new way, Joseph Boakai took the oath to become Liberia’s president on Monday. He won the election by a small margin against George Weah, the former football star.
Boakai took the oath for a six-year term in a lavish ceremony in Monrovia, Liberia.
In the runoff poll held in November 2023, Boakai secured 50.64 percent of the votes, while Weah had 49.36 percent. Now, as the president, Boakai faces the challenge of addressing issues like poverty and corruption in the country.
Boakai previously served as vice president from 2006 to 2018 under Liberia’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, until defeated by Weah in the 2017 election.
NIGERIAN POLICE RESCUE 5 KIDNAPPED SISTERS AFTER PUBLIC OUTRAGE
Police announced earlier this week that they rescued five kidnapped Nigerian sisters following public outcry over the abduction and the death of another sister, NPR reports.
Per the report, Nigerian police and armed forces successfully freed five sisters, along with their father, who were abducted earlier this month. Unfortunately, the sixth sister and their uncle were tragically murdered by the kidnappers.
The kidnapping of six sisters, which has been in the headlines in Nigeria for weeks, stirred outrage over the increasing abduction trend in the country. Tragically, 21-year-old Nabeeha was killed by the kidnappers who demanded almost $70,000.
The police and army from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) successfully rescued the girls last night in the Kajuru forest in nearby Kaduna State.
WHO HAS QUALIFIED FOR AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS LAST 16? WHO HAS BEEN KNOCKED OUT?
As the exhilarating Africa Cup of Nations group stage concludes, here’s an update on the teams that have secured a spot in the top 16.
Teams that qualified for the top 16:
|A (1st place)
|A (2nd place)
|A (3rd place)
|B (1st place)
|B (2nd place)
|C (1st place)
|C (2nd place)
|C (3rd place
|D (1st place)
|D (2nd place)
|D (3rd place)
|E (1st place)
|E (2nd place)
|E (3rd place)
|F (1st place)
|F (2nd place)
GHANA FIRES COACH CHRIS HUGHTON AFTER AFCON ELIMINATION
Amidst the ongoing AFCON games, Ghana has fired coach Chris Hughton as they failed to progress to the top 16 group stage in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Black Stars concluded their run in Group B with a mere two points, securing draws of 2-2 against both Egypt and Mozambique, following a disappointing 2-1 defeat by Cape Verde in their opening match.
On Monday, after the match in Abidjan, the Ghanaian media confronted the Black Stars, hurling insults and trying to block the team bus as it left the Alassane Outtara Stadium.
Prompt action from authorities, employing security measures and barricades, prevented potential confrontations between the teams after a journalist directed an insult, stating, “You, you are not a good coach. Stupid man!” seemingly at coach Chris Hughton.
“The Ghana Football Association wishes to announce that Chris Hughton has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the senior national team with immediate effect. The Executive Council has also taken a decision to dissolve the technical team of the Black Stars,” per the Ghana Football Association statement.
BLINKEN PLEDGES $45 MILLION MILLION FOR SECURITY IN WEST AFRICA
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared an extra $45 million in aid for West African nations in an ongoing push against instability, bringing the total funding for the year-old program to almost $300 million, as reported by Reuters.
Blinken is touring four Atlantic Coast democracies—Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Angola—to engage in discussions about US-African partnerships spanning trade, climate, infrastructure, health, security, and other critical issues.
Blinken held separate meetings with Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.
During discussions with key leaders, Blinken emphasized the need for progress in addressing coups and extremism in West Africa, highlighting Ivory Coast as a positive model.
KENYAN CULT LEADER FACING MURDER CHARGES FOR STARVING OVER 200 TO DEATH
Self-proclaimed Kenyan pastor Paul Mackenzie has been charged with manslaughter alongside his wife and 93 other accomplices at the Mombasa law court on Tuesday (Jan. 23).
However, Mackenzie, along with his wife and accomplices, pleaded not guilty to the 238 counts of manslaughter allegedly committed between January 2021 and February 2023.
The suspects, including Mackenzie, appeared before Mombasa Chief Magistrate Alex Ithuku on Tuesday. The state read out all 238 counts, representing the victims who perished in the Shakahola forest.
429 members, including children, from Mackenzie’s church died, with bodies found in shallow graves on an 800-acre ranch in the remote Shakahola Forest in Kilifi.
Mackenzie was arrested in April 2023 after the bodies began being discovered.
The graves were unearthed after police rescued 15 emaciated church members who revealed that Mackenzie had instructed them to fast until death before the world’s end, and autopsies on some bodies found in the graves showed causes of death as starvation, strangulation, or suffocation.
The suspects are set to appear in court again on February 13, where the judge will deliver his decision on bail and bond terms.
LAGOS BANS STYROFOAM ‘TAKE AWAY PLATES’
The Lagos State government made an announcement this week, declaring an immediate ban on the use and distribution of styrofoam and other single-use plastics.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, personally signed a statement announcing a decision to ban single-use plastics, especially non-biodegradable Styrofoam, due to the harm they cause to the environment.
Wahab declared in a statement, “Following the menace which single-use plastics especially non-biodegradable Styrofoam are causing on the environment, the Lagos State government ( @followlasg ) through the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources ( @LasgMOE ) is hereby announcing a ban on the usage and distribution of Styrofoam and other single-use plastics in the State with immediate effect”.
He mentioned that despite regular cleaning efforts, most drainage channels in the state are often clogged by styrofoam due to widespread and careless distribution, constituting a significant portion of litter on major roads and markets that Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) deals with daily.
ENTRIES ARE NOW OPEN FOR NIGERIAN IDOL SEASON NINE
MultiChoice Nigeria, the organizers of the ‘Nigerian Idol’ show, has recently announced the opening of entries for the ninth edition of the show.
Participants must be between the ages of 16 and 28 .
Interested participants are required to record a 30-second clip of themselves singing any song of their choice and upload it to africamagic.tv/nigerianidol.
The online entry submission will close at midnight on Monday, 29 January 2024.
Last season’s winner, Victory Gbakara, walked away with a total grand prize worth N100 million, which included a N35 million cash prize, a car, and a recording contract.
GEN Z’s ARE USING TIKTOK AS SEARCH ENGINE OVER GOOGLE
The popular video-sharing platform TikTok is quickly rising to take over the spot that Google has traditionally enjoyed as a search tool, as new data indicates a shift toward it becoming the new search engine among the younger generation.
According to a new report published by the global computer software firm Adobe, 64% of Gen Zers and 49% of millennials say they’ve used TikTok as a search engine. Additionally, more than half of business owners (54%) have used TikTok to promote their business, posting an average of nine times per month.
The data shows Gen Zers are 29% more likely than millennials to search for new recipes on TikTok, and surprisingly, almost 1 in 10 Gen Zers prefer using TikTok over traditional platforms like Google for their searches.
Surveyed users find TikTok attractive for its short, informative videos and personalized content. Two in five Gen Zers favor tailored content, and one in four baby boomers enjoy narrative-driven videos, while preferences include video tutorials (62%), product reviews (39%), and personal stories (38%), contributing to high ratings for expertise and experience.