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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.

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21 Savage Unveils Free Online Financial Literacy Program For Young People

In continuing his efforts to help young people access financial literacy, 21 Savage announced  the launch of his Bank Account at Home Financial Literary Project on Wednesday (July 1). The campaign includes a partnership with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms to offer free Wi-Fi and tablets to those in need.

“I felt like it’s important more than ever to give our next generation the tools to succeed in life,” the rapper said in a statement to the Associated Press.

 

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I’m making financial literacy available to kids and families across the country this summer with #BankAccount At Home- a free online program to give you the tools you need to learn to save and make money. @chime @everfi @keishabottoms

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on Jul 1, 2020 at 12:21pm PDT

21 Savage and his charity, Leading by Example, partnered with mobile banking service Chime, Juma Ventures and EverFi to “connect our youth with financial education and work opportunities to teach them how to manage and earn money.”

The Grammy winner launched the Bank Account Program in 2018.

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California, Arizona And More States Tighten Lockdown Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Coronavirus cases are surging around the country with several states changing quarantine guidelines as 4th of July weekend approaches. The U.S. reached a grim milestone of more than 80,000 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Tuesday (June 30).

In total, at least 2.7 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 since March. Over 1.1 million people have recovered, while more than 100,000 have died.

California, Texas, Arizona, and several other states announced new restrictions this week including the temporary closure of bars, beaches, gyms and other business in hopes of flattening the curve after easing lockdown restrictions in May.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that travelers from over a dozen states with surging cases including Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Utah, must self-quarantine for 14 days.

If you're traveling to New York from the following states you must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The states are: AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, IA, ID, LA, MS, NC, NV, SC, TN, TX, UT.

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 30, 2020

The traveling restriction don't just apply to the states. The European Union has closed its bordered to U.S. travelers until further notice.As of Wednesday (July 1), Florida reported an additional 6,500 new cases, pushing the state total above 100,000. But despite the surge in cases, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to reinstate social distancing restrictions.

Meanwhile, Texas reported over 8,000 cases in just 24 hours, the highest one-day total for the state since the pandemic began. California saw record-breaking numbers as well, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to order the closure of beaches, bars, restaurants, and other businesses. The Golden State has surpassed 233,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, many of which are centered in Los Angeles County.

Arizona added 4,682 cases to its total of nearly 85,000 confirmed cases on Tuesday. North Carolina also hit a record high of 1,843 cases, bringing the state’s total of 66,513 following slight dip in the number of infections last weekend.

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50 Cent Offers To Help Virgil Abloh Amid Backlash Over Pop Smoke Album Cover

50 Cent wants to assist Virgil Abloh with the cover of Pop Smoke’s debut studio album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon. The fashion designer caught criticism after the album artwork hit the web earlier in the week, and fans felt the creation was disrespectful to the late rapper.

Fif initially criticized the creation on Instagram writing, “f**k Virgil he’s [out] of here,” after he learned that Abloh was behind the cover.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday (June 30), the G-Unit honcho offered Abloh a helping hand. “Hey Virgil we need new album art. They ain’t going for that bulls**t. Love ya work let’s get to it.”

Hey Virgil we need new album art, they ain’t going for this bullshit. Love ya work let’s get to it. 🤔Steven i told you this shit was 😡eww let’s get it right! #bransoncognac #lecheminduroi pic.twitter.com/mE24CtErto

— 50cent (@50cent) June 30, 2020

Abloh later explained that the cover was inspired by his final conversation with Pop Smoke. “This album cover was one of like 5 things we talked about,” Virgil wrote in a deleted Instagram post. “He mentioned his story felt like the metaphor of a rose & thorns growing from the concrete of his hood in Canarsie, Brooklyn. In your memory, I just finished it yesterday.” Pop Smoke's manager reportedly decided to change the cover of the album, which is slated for release on Friday (July 3).

UPDATE: Pop Smoke’s manager says they will change the album cover after listening to the fans. https://t.co/eGPQ9DXa1t

— Hot Freestyle (@HotFreestyle) June 30, 2020

In March, Fif announced that he was working on Pop Smoke’s posthumous LP. “I’m on the move listening to Pop Smoke. I deduced I’m gonna executive produce and finish his album for him,” he revealed on Instagram.

Pop Smoke was shot and killed inside his Southern California rental home in February. His murder remains unsolved.

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