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White House press secretary, Sean Spicer resigns

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Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, resigns

By Jeremy Diamond, Kaitlan Collins, Jeff Zeleny and Dana Bash, CNN

Story highlights

  • Sean Spicer ended one of the most tumultuous White House press secretary tenures
  • He for a time handled the responsibilities of both press secretary and communications director

White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday morning after President Donald Trump named a new White House communications director, capping off a rollercoaster six-month tenure as the chief spokesman for an administration besieged by a steady drumbeat of controversy.

Newly-minted communications director Anthony Scaramucci, taking to the White House briefing room for the first time early Friday afternoon, announced that principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will take over as press secretary.

Spicer’s resignation came after Scaramucci, a New York financier and former Trump campaign fundraiser, accepted the new job, a move Spicer adamantly opposed, multiple sources said. His resignation came in spite of Trump’s request that he remain in this position, a White House official and top GOP advisers said.

“I am grateful for Sean’s work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities — just look at his great television ratings,” Trump said in a statement Sanders delivered from the White House podium.

Trump also called Scaramucci “an important addition to this administration” in the statement read by Sanders.

The resignation marked the end of one of the most tumultuous tenures for a White House press secretary, one that saw Spicer repeatedly undermined in his role as the White House’s public-facing spokesman by the President’s own public statements and tweets.

“It’s been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August,” Spicer tweeted.

He told CNN on Friday that he resigned out of a desire “to give the President and the new team a clean slate.”

Still, Spicer’s resignation once again put a spotlight on discord inside the West Wing, with the President’s top aides divided over Scaramucci’s hire — palace intrigue that Scaramucci sought to put to rest during his first briefing.

Spicer handled the responsibilities of both press secretary and communications director for much of his tenure, overseeing the White House’s response to a near non-stop deluge of controversy, particularly concerning the widening federal investigation into potential ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus introduced Scaramucci as the new communications director to a round of applause, according to a source in the room.

The source told CNN that Spicer said Scaramucci was going to do a great job and will help with transition. He thanked the team, who gave him a round of applause. The source added that Spicer was really upset but handled the introduction for Scaramucci well.

White House staffers were “shocked” by Spicer’s sudden resignation, two administration officials told CNN.

Trump wanted Scaramucci in the White House

Scaramucci’s hiring began to come together Thursday night, but as news of the hire began to leak, Spicer, Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon found themselves largely in the dark — unaware of the President’s already firm intention to tap Scaramucci for the top communications post, largely at the urging of his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump.

Priebus, whose fraught relationship with Scaramucci is well-known, said Friday that he supports the new communications director “100%.”

“We go back a long way and are very good friends,” Priebus said. “All good here.”

But Scaramucci’s appointment rocked a West Wing that was deeply divided over Scaramucci’s hire, with sources telling CNN that both Priebus and Bannon fiercely opposed Scaramucci’s hire while the President’s son-in-law and daughter, who are both top advisers, encouraged the move.

Trump has been pushing for Scaramucci to come in for a while, according to a source familiar with the decision.

That source told CNN that since the communications director job was open, Trump realized he would install Scaramucci in that role. This source added that Spicer worried Scaramucci wouldn’t know Washington and that it would fall to Spicer to do both jobs, which he considered to be untenable.

Scaramucci pushed back on reports of any discord inside the West Wing, especially on reports that his relationship with Priebus has been frought.

“Reince and I have been personal friends for six years,” Scaramucci said. “We are a little bit like brothers where we rough each other up once in a while. But he’s a dear friend.”

Scaramucci said he “would have loved” for Spicer to stay on in the administration, but said he respected Spicer’s decision to “clear the slate” for him. He also called Bannon “one of the smartest people I know.”

“I don’t have any friction with Sean, I don’t have any friction with Reince,” Scaramucci said.

Still, Scaramucci said he would report “directly” to the President, and that he and Priebus would work together. Sanders declined to say whether she would report directly to Priebus or Scaramucci, instead promising she and Scaramucci would work together as a “team” and noting that they both serve “at the pleasure of the president.”

Spicer’s job tough since Day 1

Spicer was repeatedly thrust into a combative role, ordered by the President to take to the briefing room on his first full day in office to lambast the media for coverage of the size of the crowd that attended Trump’s inauguration.

The moment quickly defined Spicer’s public-facing relationship with the press and his daily White House briefing quickly became must-watch TV — including for the president of the United States, who was sometimes critical of Spicer’s performance.

One White House official said he believes a “fresh start will inject some energy” in a communications operation that has been besieged for weeks by the deluge of Russia-related reports and a sense of disarray.

After being pulled away from the daily televised briefing, which had vaulted a one-time Washington hand into infamous status, Spicer told reporters he would move to an elevated role in the West Wing overseeing the communications department and press shop and said he was helping to choose his successor as press secretary.

That didn’t happen, a point finally made clear Friday when Trump offered the chief communications job to Scaramucci. Not long after, Spicer resigned.

It was the latest snub for Spicer, who was repeatedly undermined by the President. But Spicer also suffered more personal jabs, like when he was kept off the small list of White House staffers who joined the President in meeting the Pope in May. Spicer, a devout Catholic, believed he would be joining the group and was excited to check the meeting off his bucket list.

Scaramucci was hired in large part because the President raved about his former fundraiser’s performance as a surrogate on television, but Trump expected Spicer would continue to oversee many of the broader responsibilities of a communications director, a source close to the White House told CNN.

“Trump wanted Scaramucci on television as a surrogate for the White House and wanted to give him more of a formal title. There was simply no understanding by the President that the communications director title comes with lots of responsibilities, not just going on television,” the source said.

Spicer has slowly receded from the public-facing aspects of his role, turning over the majority of daily White House briefings to principal Sanders in the last month. At the same time, the White House has cut down its on-camera briefings, cutting back on the tradition of regular on-camera briefings from the White House podium.

Spicer’s tenure was defined by his struggle to beat back the cascade of controversy overwhelming the administration and how he handled the difficult task of defending a president lacking any interest in sticking to a broader communications strategy other than his own.

He was repeatedly called out for issuing statements that were later proven to be false or misleading, often as a result of the President’s own public pronouncements that wound up contradicting his chief spokesman.

And Spicer also served on the front line of the administration’s frequent crusades against the media, often seeking to match the president’s combative and confrontational tone in answering reporters’ questions during White House briefings.

That knee-jerk combativeness earned him national fame and often ridicule as he was parodied on “Saturday Night Live” by actress Melissa McCarthy as a short-tempered spokesman yearning for the President’s affection.

He was also defined by his own missteps.

In April, he attracted a storm of condemnation after he incorrectly argued that even Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons during World War II in an over-the-top attempt to demonize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after the Syrian dictator used sarin gas against civilians. Spicer later apologized for those comments.



O.J. Simpson granted parole

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O.J. Simpson granted parole after 9 years in prison

By Eric Levenson, CNN

A Nevada parole board granted O.J. Simpson parole on Thursday after the former NFL star apologized for his role in a 2007 armed robbery, said he’d been a model prisoner, and promised that he’d have no conflicts if released.

“I’ve done my time,” he said. “I’ve done it as well and as respectfully as I think anyone can.”

Simpson has served nine years of a nine-to-33-year sentence for an armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas. He is expected to be released as early as October, and said he plans to move to his home in Florida.

Now 70, Simpson’s energy and charm seemed little affected by his time behind bars. He was alert, engaged, and quick to smile at the parole hearing, even letting out a hearty laugh when parole board Chairman Connie Bisbee accidentally said he was aged 90.

“I feel like it,” he said, laughing.


Parole board vote unanimous

At the same time, he repeatedly deflected taking full responsibility for that Vegas crime and avoided any mention of his infamous 1995 acquittal for the slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

“Juice,” as he was known in his heyday, said associates misled him during the Vegas robbery and then turned on him in court.

“Unfortunately, they got a get-out-of-jail-free card when they said ‘O.J. told me (to do it),'” Simpson said. “Nothing I can do about that.”

The four parole board members voted unanimously to grant him parole, and board member Tony Corda said he was graded a “low risk to reoffend.” Simpson smiled, said “thank you,” and then put his head down for a few moments silently.


Thursday’s parole hearing follows renewed interest in Simpson’s story, which was explored last year in the award-winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America” and the FX true-crime drama “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

Just as that “trial of the century” riveted the nation for months, the parole hearing garnered wall-to-wall coverage on cable news shows, if only just for a day.

Though it’s been 22 years since the not guilty verdict, the murder trial’s themes of criminal justice and race, trust in police, celebrity and domestic violence remain remarkably resonant in modern culture.

“We talk about O.J. as though the story is O.J.,” journalist Celia Farber says toward the end of the “Made in America” documentary. “The story is O.J. and us.”

‘My best friend’

O.J. Simpson is expected to be released from prison in October.

Simpson qualified for a number of mitigating factors that supported his early parole and has been discipline free during imprisonment, Bisbee said Thursday.

Among the mitigating factors, she said, was that Simpson appears to have a stable post-release plan. An aggravating factor, she said, was that at the time of his offense, his victims said they were in fear for their safety.

Simpson said in closing remarks that he had been a peacemaker in the prison and had been a model prisoner.

“I’ve spent nine years making no excuses about anything. I am sorry that things turned out the way they did. I had no intent to commit a crime.”

The parole hearing featured testimony from Arnelle Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s oldest daughter, who said her father was “my best friend and my rock.”

Simpson also said he has taken two “Alternative to Violence” classes, which he said was “the most important course any person in this prison can take.”

In addition, robbery victim Bruce Fromong testified that he had forgiven Simpson for the crime at that Las Vegas hotel room, and advocated for his release.

The former NFL great and movie star had also been described by authorities as a model prisoner at Lovelock Correctional Center, a medium-security prison in the Nevada desert.

The robbery

Simpson and an associate were convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon for attempting to steal pieces of Simpson sports memorabilia at gunpoint.

At his 2008 sentencing, the Hall of Fame running back said he went to the room in the Palace Station Hotel & Cacin0 in Las Vegas to reclaim family heirlooms and other personal items that had been taken from him. He also claimed he didn’t know his associates were armed.

“I wasn’t there to hurt anybody,” Simpson said. “I just wanted my personal things, and I realize now that was stupid of me. I am sorry.”

The case, which featured a colorful cast of seedy characters, secret recordings and a Las Vegas heist, read like a low-budget parody of “Ocean’s Eleven.”

Simpson’s legal team argued that the nine-to-33-year sentence did not match the crime and that it was.  In fact, a form of payback for his controversial acquittal in the deaths of Brown and Goldman. Even Bruce Fromong, a victim in the robbery, agreed.

“It wasn’t about justice,” Fromong said in “O.J.: Made in America.” “They wanted the guy that got away with murder in 1994.”

Simpson has always denied he killed Brown and Goldman. Their families won a wrongful death civil judgment against him in 1997.

At a parole hearing in 2013, Simpson said he regretted the Las Vegas kidnapping and robbery.

“I just wish I had never gone to that room. I wish I had just said, ‘Keep it,’ and not worry about it,” he said. “All I can do about it since I’ve been here is be as respectful and as straightforward as I could be.”

CNN’s Paul Vercammen, Susannah Cullinane, Paul LeBlanc and Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report.


JAMB creates new admission criteria


JAMB creates new admission criteria

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has announced the establishment of new methods of admission.

In a statement signed by its Head of Public Relations, Mr Fabian Benjamin, in Abuja on Sunday, JAMB explained that it would ensure fairness irrespective of tribe and religion, that it was determined to meet the expectations of Nigerians.

Mr. Benjamin revealed that the Board had held consultations with universities across the country to enable candidates meet the requirements and secure admission without the assistance of anybody.

He, however, made it clear that cut-off marks will be decided at a policy meeting.

“Do not allow yourselves to be defrauded by internet fraudsters; the policy meeting would commence the 2017 admission with all mode, process and acceptable conditions for admission.

“The Prof. Oloyede led management is working to ensure transparent, acceptable and fair admission process.

“We have designed software known as Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS), where human interference will be completely removed, to promote credibility.

“The admission criteria would be keyed into the software and it will select candidates blindly according to the institutions requirement without any primordial consideration,” Benjamin concluded.


Full text Of Senator Dino Melaye’s statement to his Senate colleagues on the recall issue

The full text Senator Dino Melaye’s statement to his Senate colleagues on the recall issue.

Mr. President, my colleagues, the election that brought me to office, the total score of both valid and invalid votes for nine candidates, Mr. President, is 118,000; but my governor and his appointees in four days claimed they got a signature of over 188,000. Nowhere in my constituency did they see to receive people’s signature. They got INEC data base for registered voters and copied in one writing into a report register to forge all the signatures.

Mr. President, as I speak to you, I have over 120 dead certificates issued by the National Population Commission and these people’s relations and families have sworn to affidavit and these certificates have been deposited and as I speak to you, the names of all these dead people has been submitted in the recall register sent to INEC.

Mr President, a 116 of my colleagues, my constituents I meant to say, also have sworn to affidavit that their names and signatures appeared in the recall register and they were not the ones that signed it.

Mr. President, 86 of my constituents have also sworn to affidavit to state that they were approached that the government want to carry out a fertilizer empowerment program and requested for their PVCs and thereby deceived into putting their names on the recall register. All these affidavits sworn to by these people have been submitted to INEC and the court.

Mr. President, I am alerting this chamber on a situation that whereby a senator or a legislator will call for collective and enumerative measure in their state. My only sin is that I asked my governor to pay 17 months salary and pension to workers because the holy books says a labourer is worthy of wage. I am not going to belabour us, but they have been spending our money on pages of newspapers, spending money that they want to recall Dino Melaye.

The reason for recall is clearly stated is either… (pause) Mr. President it’s either you have been absent or you have underperformed or you are a sleeping senator, so for that reason you may initiate a recall. But this recall is not initiated by my constituents, it is by my state government and I want to bring the attention of my colleagues that this orchestration and injustice and lies of malicious manifestation of my governor should not be entertained in any democratic setting.

I want to call on this Senate that this should not be allowed anywhere and not because it is Dino Melaye, it can be any member of the House of Assembly tomorrow and House of Representative. It can be any senator where his governor will just come up and cook names, signatures, including those of dead bodies and initiate a recall process because he has our common patrimonial resources within his disposal. I thank you for listening.


Buhari must address the nation on Thursday, A Pro-democracy group demands

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Buhari must address the nation on Thursday, 60 days after his departure, The full text.

Today – July 4th, 2017 marks 58 days of President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence from his office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and from the country as a whole on a medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

During this period, he has not made any public appearances either in London or in Nigeria and has only clandestinely “communicated” with very few people and an infamous voice note spoken in Hausa wishing Nigerians happy Eid.

Furthermore, details of President Buhari’s health status have been kept away from the generality of Nigerians while his media team and other members of his cabinet/party make conflicting comments regarding his health. As at the time of this statement, no one including members of his party as admitted by Bolaji Abdullahi a spokesperson of his party knows the true medical condition of the President’s health. Is it cancer as speculated? Is it dementia or Alzheimers as reported by different Nigerian media? No answers have been given by the Presidency.

We acknowledge that during this period, President Buhari has satisfied constitutional requirements by transmitting letters to the National Assembly handing power over to his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on an acting capacity.

The acting President has not been able to exert his will and is being continuously subdued by the antics of the cabal, the same cabal that has kept the President away from the country without any explanation.

We also recognise the failure of the Leadership of the National Assembly Senator Bukola Saraki in launching an investigation or setting up a panel to look into the true status of the President’s health as we believe that they have been compromised and working with the cabal against the Nigerian people. The Leadership of the National Assembly must chose between the Nigerian people and the cabal. 60 days is too long for a commander in chief to be away from his country without any explanation to the people that voted him

We hereby demand that the Senate President invokes section 144 sub section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution and direct the setting up of a medical panel in conjunction with the Acting President, professor Yemi Osinbajo to ascertain whether the President is incapacitated.

This medical panel will be a team of 5 doctors from which one of them will be the personal physician of the President while the other four will be appointed by the Senate President.

If the President is found with any infirmity that renders him incapable of discharging his duties, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall officially declare him incapable of discharging his duties and declare his office vacant as prescribed in subsection 2 of section 143.

To this end, we urge President Buhari to address the nation via a live video on or before the 60th day (2 days from today) of his absence. We demand that AIT, Channels, Vanguard and Punch Correspondents should be present, online media correspondents from two platforms Sahara and Premium Times should also be present. In failng to do so, we will begin a series of peaceful processions and mass action across the country such as Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kaduna and also outside the country in London and New York aimed at sensitizing the public as to the legal & constitutional crisis created by President Buhari’s continued absence from office and the insistence of the cabal to shield him away from his constituents, the Nigerian people.


Deji Adeyanju        Dr. John Danfulani

Convener                Secretary

FOR: Concerned Nigerians, a pro-democracy group committed to accountability, rule of law, good governance and the fight against corruption.


CNN accuses Trump of ‘encouraging violence against reporters’

CNN accuses Trump of ‘encouraging violence against reporters’

US president Donald Trump has tweeted a mock video of himself body-slamming a man with the CNN logo covering his face.

CNN has accused Donald Trump of “encouraging violence against reporters”, after the President tweeted a video of him wrestling a man with the TV network’s logo over his face.

On Sunday, the US President shared edited footage of him slamming WWE owner Vince McMahon to the ground and striking his head, with the CNN logo covering the man’s face.

The short video has the words “Fraud News Network”, in what appears to be an adulteration of the network’s logo.

In response, CNN issued a statement accusing the President of “juvenile behaviour” and “encouraging violence”.

“It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters,” the network said.

“Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so,” it added, referencing the White House deputy press secretary’s assurance last June that “the president is not a liar”.

The statement also criticises Mr Trump for failing to “prepare for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill”.

“He is instead involved in juvenile behaviour far below the dignity of his office,” it added.

“We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”

The original footage dates back from 2007, but it was unclear who added the CNN logo.

A version of the video appeared on the website Reddit several days ago.

The US President has been stepping up verbal attacks on the media and CNN in particular, accusing them of releasing what he calls “fake news”.

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert also told ABC news that he thinks Mr Trump is “beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to”, and “no one would perceive that as a threat”.

The President has recently defended his use of social media, which he says “is modern day Presidential”.

“The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media,” he tweeted.

“But remember I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media.”



South African Church bars blacks

A South African Church has barred blacks from attending service.

The church on Sunday disallowed two black journalists from entering.

The Afrikaanse Protestante Kerk church in Orania, told the journalists “the church is only for whites”.

Orania is an Afrikaans-only South African town located along the banks of the Orange River, in the arid Karoo region of the Northern Cape Province.

The journalists were on an assignment and decided to attend a Sunday service before returning to Pretoria but they were intercepted by a church leader, identified as Mr. Theunis Oukamp, at the door.

According to Africa Review, Oukamp said allowing black people into an all-white church would be violating the “rights of Afrikaans people”.

“I am now in a difficult situation. You know that Orania, is only for white people, this is why we are here.

“You must understand I know you want to serve God and everything but I have to protect the rights of Afrikaans people. So I cannot let you in, you guys can go to any other church, but this one is only for white people,” Mr. Oukamp told the journalists.

Mr. Langton Ndlovu, a Christian, described the move as ‘diabolical’.

“This is demonic, in this day and age, I never thought this was real. That’s unacceptable. I wonder how they read the scripture that says “there is neither Greek nor Jew” but we’re one in Christ,” said Mr. Ndlovu.

The president of the South Africa Union Council of Independent Churches, Archbishop Modiri Patrick Shole, expressed shock that there was still segregation in the body of Christ, 23 years after apartheid ended.

“We don’t discriminate in church because before God we are one – whether white or black. I find it weird that we still have discrimination in the church,” he said.



Senator Dino Melaye Panics – Sahara Reporters

Senator Dino Melaye Panics, Hires Mike Ozekhome To Stop His Recall In Court

Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West Senatorial district has filed a lawsuit at the Federal high Court in Abuja seeking a court injunction to halt his recall from the Senate.

According to SaharaReporters sources, a panic-stricken Melaye had been shopping for a judge in the last 48 hours that could grant an injunction to halt the process after word reached him that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was meeting to decide on an appropriate response to the submission of more 188,000 signatures to their headquarters on Wednesday from his constituents who wanted him recalled from the Nigerian Senate.

On Thursday INEC issued a statement notifying the public that it will be verifying the signatures on July 3rd 2017. The commission also wrote to Melaye notifying him of the official commencement of the recall exercise.

His lawyers today filed a 33-page legal argument seeking to obtain injunctive reliefs from the court. The application was accompanied by an affidavit of urgency filed by a staff of Mr. Ozekhome’s law firm.


We are going to arrest Arewa Youths no matter how long it takes – Malam Nasir El-Rufai

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We are going to arrest Arewa Youths no matter how long it takes – El-Rufai
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has strongly stated that the group behind the quit notice given to the Igbos in the North will be arrested.
The governor had earlier ordered their arrest, but the group continued with their threats and comments.
While receiving Igbo Delegate Assembly and Northern Igbo Chiefs on Tuesday at the Kaduna Government House, El-Rufai said the culprits will be brought to book no matter how long it takes.
“We are going to arrest the Arewa Youth and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes. Since the press conference was done in Kaduna.
“If they had done it in any other place, we would have just condemned them but since it’s in Kaduna, we are going to arrest them,” the Governor stated.


Andy Uba vows to defeat Obiano

Andy Uba vows to defeat Obiano
Senator Andy Uba (Anambra West) has vowed to defeat incumbent governor Willie Obiano in the November 2017 governorship election in the state.

Uba, a gubernatorial aspirant in the All Progressives Congress (APC) told his supporters during a sensitization tour of the local government areas that Obiano’s time in Government House is fast coming to an end.

Uba expressed confidence that he will clinch the party’s ticket in the primaries.
“Anambra state needs someone like me who has resources and connection to turn things around and bring federal presence, employment and infrastructure to the state”, he said.

He assured the leadership of the party in the state of his maximum support and assistance that will enable them carry out their various duties.

He said that he had exemplified his commitment to the state with the donation of 24 vehicles to all the local government areas in the state, party chairmen and bags of rice with cash support to party faithfuls.

At the Onitsha North local government a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Linda Ikpeazu, asked the people to give maximum support to Senator Uba.
She described the senator as determined and generous representative, recalling how he attracted employment to Anambra indigenes during the Obasanjo administration.

At Ogidi, Idemili North Local government area and Ojoto Idemili South local government area, the governorship aspirant pledged that his administration will be all inclusive, devoid of discrimination and marginalization for the benefit of all.

In his vote of thanks, the zonal leader of the party in Anambra North senatorial zone assured Uba of maximum support during the primary election.
He expressed confidence that the senator would emerge at the primary election and go on to win the governorship election.

The local governments visited are, Anambra West, Anambra East, Oyi and Anaocha local government areas. Other local governments visited are Idemili North and South local governments and Onitsha North and South.