Chevron Nigeria Protest
ASSOCIATED PRESS/Jeff Chiu

5 Things You Should Know About Nigerian Political Activist Omoyele Sowore

The 48-year-old was detained on Aug. 3 for allegations of "threatening public safety, peaceful co-existence and social peace."

Political activist Omoyele Sowore's supporters have called for the Nigerian government's release of the vocal figure. The 48-year-old was detained on Aug. 3 for allegations of "threatening public safety, peaceful co-existence and social peace" on the heels of his "Revolution Now" protest (Aug. 5), BBC reports. The call to action was fueled by opposition to the regime of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and a need to revamp government policies that'll better reflect the desires of the country's people.

Here are five things to know about Sowore and his call to action.

1. Sowore Launched Investigative Publication Sahara Reporters In 2006
Sowore began the online publication with the sole purpose of pinning a spotlight on corruption and holding politicians accountable for wayward actions. Since it was founded in New York City, a number of Nigerian officials have filed lawsuits in U.S. courts against the website for defamation. The Daily Beast nicknamed the outlet as "Africa's Wikileaks" for its unabashed coverage of corruption in Nigeria.

The site "is providing information to Nigerians in a way they've never had it before," Sowore said. Its content is fueled by anonymous Nigerians "who want to see a different country."

2. He Announced His Presidential Campaign In 2018
In an interview with Amsterdam News, Sowore unveiled a "10-point plan" to help Nigeria become a global force through economic, social, and technological changes. He also likened his desire to create a better lifestyle for Nigerians to the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti's messages. "I am such a Fela disciple. He was one single activist who took on the system all by himself using music," he said. "I didn’t have a good voice so I couldn’t sing, but I am using media, I am using my body, my skills, and I am using the internet to fight the government.”

Sowore has remained critical of the government since 1989 when he was a student at the University of Lagos. He also obtained a Master's Degree from Columbia University in public administration.

3. Protests From New York City To Italy Call For His Release
Earlier this month, Facebook user Osuya Vivian called for Sowore's supporters to organize a peaceful protest in Italy that demands his release. "As concern Nigerians, we all have a responsibility to speak out and secure the release of our own because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and whatever affects one directly, affects all directly," Vivian's statement reads.

On Thursday afternoon (Sept. 19), supporters appeared outside of the Nigerian embassy in New York City to bring awareness to Sowore's detainment. The African Renaissance Organization previously issued a petition to the United States Department of State that claims the Nigerian government is placing the limelight on "increasing threats to democratic freedom," according to the group's convener Onyinye Chuks.

4. According To His Wife, Opeyemi Sowore, There Are No Formal Charges
Opeyemi Sowore said her husband has yet to face any charges despite an investigation being spearheaded by the country's government or the Department of State Services (DSS), per Democracy Now. His time in jail without bail has surpassed the court-ordered 45-day mark that the government has to bring charges against a detainee. On Twitter, #FreeSoworeNow mobilized the global community to demand his release.

Opeyemi Sowore also notes that her husband’s detainment might stem from his meeting with Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). In 2015, he was arrested for treason. Kanu has called upon the United Nations to support the movement's mission of Biafra's secession from Nigeria, according to Sahara Reporters. In that same statement, he also demanded Sowore's release.

5. Nigeria And Freedom Of The Press
Under section 39 (1) of Nigeria's constitution, freedom of expression including freedom of the press is protected but past and current instances of censorship have placed a strain on the gather and dissemination of information. "There have been numerous arrests, also in the context of the 5 August demonstration, that actually did take place, where numerous people were arrested, including a number of reporters that work for Sahara Reporters," Nani Jansen Reventlow, a lawyer representing Sowore said to Democracy Now. "But various other human rights defenders in the country have been arrested over the past months."

Earlier this year, a Premium Times reporter was arrested for "refusing to reveal a source," CPJ reports. Office raids have reportedly occurred within the last four years, another journalist at Daily Trust stated.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

French Montana Sued For Sexual Assault, Battery And Emotional Distress

French Montana is being accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman, according to a lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior Court on Thursday (March 26). The accuser claims that she was sexually assaulted at the rapper's home two years ago.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, is suing for assault and battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and more. Montana, his Coke Boys Records imprint, and employee, Mansour Bennounare, are named in the suit, which alleges that on or around March 28, 2018, the woman was invited to a recording studio where Montana and Bennouna were “working.” The documents allege that Montana and Bennouna were “drinking and using drugs” in the studio and offered her drinks, before inviting her back to Montana’s home in Hidden Hills, Calif.

The woman allegedly arrived at the home at around 6 a.m. Thirty minutes later, the woman claims that she stepped outside to phone a friend but was “lucid” and “unable to carry a conversation.” The woman went back inside Montana’s kitchen and although she “wanted to leave” she was urged to “take a shot,” the documents assert.

After being given a drink, the woman says that she blacked out and was therefore unable to give consent to “engage in any sexual activity” but remembers “several men” coming in out of the bedroom. She believes that Montana was one of the men.

The accuser says she woke up on a couch in a room “filled with curtains” at around 1 p.m. She was “confused” and “intoxicated” and felt pain in her pelvic area, vagina, and lower back, the suit states. The lawsuit also alleges that Bennouna was laying behind her in a “spooning manner,” groping her, and rubbing his genitals against her back.

The woman began “crying hysterically” because she believed that she had been drugged and raped. She grabbed her things and left the home. According to the suit, the woman went to a local hospital where a rape kit was administered. She also reported the alleged incident to police, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that the defendants earn money from “promoting drinking, taking drugs and having sex with women,” and use their business as a front to “lure” women to their homes where they provide them with drugs and alcohol to have sex, with or without consent.

“Defendants had a longstanding practice of inviting women to their recording sessions, or choosing women at bars, and inviting them back to the Hidden Hills house which is also a hub of EMPLOYER DEFENDANTS business enterprises,” the lawsuit reads. “There Defendants would supply the women with drinks and drugs, with the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with them, without any regard to whether or not they consented, or were able to consent.”

The alleged assault caused the woman to have anxiety, “extreme emotional distress,” flashbacks, depression, and prevented her from continuing to pursue a career in modeling and acting. The suit is asking for a jury trial.

Montana, whose birth name is Karim Kharbouch, hasn’t publicly responded to the allegations.

Continue Reading
Getty

Prince’s Siblings Reportedly File Petition To Get Money From His Estate

The heirs to Prince’s fortune want his estate to pay up. According to The Blast, the music legend’s siblings, Norine, Sharon and John, filed legal documents in hopes of green lighting “payment for service and efforts provided to the Estate.”

The trio claims that while “others” have been compensated, they have yet to be paid after putting time and energy into “business matters” related to the estate, which is being run by Comerica Bank.

“As this Court is aware, the Estate has now been on-going for over three years,” the documents reportedly state. “In this time, millions have been paid to the Personal Representatives, their accountants, attorneys, and legal advisors.”

The heirs accused Comerica of making money decisions without notifying them, which the bank has denied. Last year, a Minnesota judge denied the siblings’ request to limit the bank’s power over the estate.

Prince’s brothers and sisters want a judge to force Comerica to compensate them so that they can get out of financial ruin, including paying legal bills.

The Purple One’s estate is worth an estimated $200 million (down from $300 million) since his death in 2016. Prince died without a will but a judge ruled that his estate would be split between his six half-siblings. His brother, Alfred Jackson, who was 1/6 of the estate heirs died in 2019. Last December, Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, sold off a chunk of her percentage of the estate to cover legal bills.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Here’s How New Orleans Is Being Affected By Coronavirus

New Orleans has twice as many COVID-19 cases per capita than any other county or parish in the country. This time last month, the Big Easy welcomed over a million visitors for Mardi Gras, which likely contributed to the diseases spreading rapidly around the city.

New Orleans registered its first case of COVID-19 on March 9. As of Friday (March 27), the city reported more than 20 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 119. The death tole increased by 19% in one day, according to the Times-Picayune. That said, the number of those who have contracted the disease could vary due to a lack of testing in Louisiana, and around the country. The state reported 441 new cases as of Friday.

Male patients account for 43% of the COVID-19 cases in the state, while women make up 57%. The largest number of cases by age group are adults between the ages of 50-59. Orleans Parish, which is Louisiana’s third most populous parish behind East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, reported 57 of the 87 coronavirus-related deaths.

At least 24% percent of New Orleans residents are living below the poverty line, and 1 in 5 households are without a vehicle, further limiting access to testing and treatment, USA Today reports. The poverty stats, compounded with lack of access to proper health care and those with underlying medical conditions, contribute to the spike in cases.

“New Orleans is preparing to mobilize in a way we hope we will never see again in our lifetimes,” New Orleans Homeland Security Director Collin Arnold said, per USA Today. “This disaster will define us for generations.”

The city is running out of hospital beds, and ventilators could be next on the list. Of the more the 773 reported patients hospitalized over COVID-19, 270 of them require ventilators. Louisiana has close to 2,800 ventilators statewide. While the city works to gain access to necessary medical supplies, others are stepping forward to help feed NOLA residents.

Earlier in the week, New Orleans Saints player Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, announced that they are donating $5 million to various charities including Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health, Jimmy Johns, and Waitr, to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana.

View this post on Instagram

Brittany and I are committing $5,000,000 to the State of Louisiana in 2020. The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time. After considerable research and conversations with local organizations, we will be mobilizing our partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health Systems, Walk-Ons, Jimmy Johns, Smalls Sliders and Waitr to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need. Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:31am PDT

In neighboring Mississippi, there are 570 confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight deaths out of 3,139 tests administered. Mississippi also has more women battling the disease (59%) than men (41%).

According to the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and other “hot spots” will have a worse week next week than they had this week.

In Milwaukee, the city’s Black community is being hit harder than any other group in the state. All of the eight deaths (five men and three women) in Milwaukee County were Black people, and seven of the eight were Milwaukee residents.

Philadelphia has at least 475 cases of the disease with over 2,200 confirmed cases statewide. On a positive note, more than 21,000 people  have tested negative for coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

With over 42,246 people testing positive for the disease, New York tops the list of coronavirus cases around the country and has been receiving the brunt of nationwide press around the pandemic, while states like Michigan, which falls fifth on the nationwide list, aren't generating the same amount of national headlines. The Midwestern state has been considered an epicenter  for the disease, and cities such as Detroit and Flint, where residents have been without clean water for years, are among the most vulnerable.

As of Thursday (March 28), the U.S. confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. Over 100,000 people tested positive for the disease and while hospitals are still in need of critical supplies and testing kits, there is one small glimmer of hope: the fatality rate in the U.S. remains at less than 10% (1607 confirmed deaths), and over 2,000 people in the country have been reported as recovered from COVID-19.

Continue Reading

Top Stories