Naira Marley soaring amidst controversies

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Naira Marley
Naira Marley

…Why he’s dominating Nigeria’s music scene

By BENJAMIN NJOKU

The Nigerian music scene in recent times has been saturated with lots of talented music stars, who are redefining the space and creating their own buzz. One of such wave-making stars is Azeez Adeshina Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley.

Marley burst onto the country’s music space like ‘a colossus’ and suddenly stole the hearts and minds of many lovers of music in this part of the world. It still seems like the pop sensation dropped out of nowhere unto our collective music ears.

Before last year, not much was heard of the Agege-born rapper. Even after the release of his 2017 hit “Issa Goal”, which featured Olamide and Lil Kesh, Naira Marley was still not a name to be reckoned with in the Nigerian music scene. But it was after releasing his hit song, “Am I a Yahoo Boy” featuring popular musician Zlatan Ibile, where he alleged to have declared public support for internet fraud. Naira Marley became the name on everyone’s lips.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC had arrested him alongside Zlatan and three other persons. They slammed an 11- count charge bordering on credit card fraud, car theft and Cybercrime against Naira Marley. Thus started a legal battle that culminated in his detention for 35 days. Many believe the EFCC arrested him because of his alleged support for internet fraud and his claim that cybercrime is a form of reparation of the wealth stolen from Africa. That was the beginning of his journey to stardom.

While the trial lasted, the controversial singer was busy creating buzz on social media. His fans were not deterred from protesting against his arrest outside the EFCC headquarters in Lagos.

READ ALSO: Davido is the king of African music – Miraboi

Marley was quoted to have said in an interview that their rage was understandable. “Because they know the system. They knew what [the EFCC was] trying to do and they followed what happened. They knew I shouldn’t be getting arrested for what I’m saying. Freedom of speech! I should be allowed to be saying what I’m saying. But the EFCC said I was supporting fraud, because I said I have no problem with these people.”

Today, Marley remains one of the hottest artistes that have dominated the mainstream music chart in Nigeria and diaspora. His fan base has continued to increase on daily basis, just as he’s not free from troubles. Recall that in November, Marley set social media agog when he tweeted that a lady with a big butt was better than one with a Master’s degree. Few days later, the lewd singer alongside his siblings and cousins landed into another trouble after they were accused of stealing a car. But unfortunately, the court early this year dismissed the theft case and the singer walked away a free man.

Marley is a phenomenal singer who has a lot going for him. His journey from prince of Peckham to cult figure in Lagos, represents his evolution into a bonafide intercontinental rock star: selling out shows across Africa, and trailed intently both online and off by his mass of obsessive followers, called the ‘Marlians’.

Named after the Nigerian currency and known for his anti-establishment spirit and viral dance crazes, Marley’s wave connects the West African diaspora to their roots as he delivers his lines in a syrupy mixture of Yoruba and English.

Like Eedris Abdulkareem, Terry G and Bobrisky before him, Marley has been able to traverse between public hatred and adoration. On social media, he’s the most talked about Nigerian singer at the moment. While he’s yet to break into the international scene, Marley is currently enjoying the buzz he’s creating with his music back home. He’s in a lane of his own that politely ignores the commercialism of Afro-pop. To many, Marley is using his music to promote immorality and a generation of valueless youths, while to others, his music is awesome.

RnB singer, Asa described Marley’s music as “awesome.” Just as some twitter users once called out the ‘Puta’ hit maker after he declared that his songs can cure depression. They complained that his songs are noisy and senseless and “the only thing his songs can do is that it can cause depression rather than cure it.”

Since he burst onto the UK music scene in 2014, with Marry Juana, a song he wrote with his friend Ma Twigz, the Agege-born, Marley has been banging out hit after hit. In November 2019, the controversial singer sold out the almost 5000 capacity 02 Arena for Marlian Fest in three minutes. Tickets for the Marlian Fest which held on 30 December 2019 at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels, Lagos also sold out. There was chaos at the venue as fans tried to gain entrance into the concert.

But believe it or not, Marley is a singer you will hate to love. At present, the rapper is not just the rave of the moment, he is arguably the most popular artiste in Nigeria today. But the negative influence of Marley’s songs on the youths is unimaginable. This Marlian fever, like the era of Makossa has taken over the streets of Lagos and everywhere you go, men, women, the young and the old, the affluent and the poor are quick to claim they are Marlians with glee; and the buzz word “I am a Marlian” hits you like an unforgettable dream.

The lewd singer currently has a huge fan base. They call themselves Marlians. His songs and dance steps are inspiring a new generation of morally debased youths, who follow him around. It seems the youth would be his followers for a long time, except something serious is done. They revel in being “outsiders’, and as a trademark, they are disrespectful of rules and agents of law enforcement.

From the dance step, ‘Soapy,’ that has popularised the habit of masturbation to his off and on life inside prison to his recent dance step called ‘Tesumole,’ Naira Marley has continuously been a source of controversy and confusion in the Nigerian music scene.

It’s not for nothing that a clergyman, Chris Omashola, early this year took to his Twitter page, where he shared a series of prophecies concerning Nigeria. He warned that Marley is a demon and his music is inspired by demons, to destroy the youths in Nigeria.

“In 2020, God told me, Naira Marley is A Demon, He is Satanic and should repent before it’s too late. His songs are demonically inspired to destroy the Destiny of The Youths of this generation, Nigerian youths should desist from calling themselves Marlians. #ACOProphecies2020,” he tweeted.

Marley’s fans have since dismissed the clergyman’s warning, as they sent him threat messages; while he himself reacted by sharing screenshots of the pastor’s leaked sex tapes with an interesting caption. “To all Naira Marley’s fans aka Marlian. Please what’s your final judgment on this #NairaMarley and Apostle Chris Omashola case.” . Then on another occasion he tweeted: “Jesus never went to church.”

That’s not all, a certain mother reportedly cried out on social media after her teenage daughter was suspended from school for being part of a Marlian cult. According to the woman, the school caught over 25 girls who were members of the cult, including her daughter.

The teacher had found underwear in one of the girls’ bags and when she was questioned, she revealed that she was part of a cult whose members do not wear underwear to school on certain days.

It was, however, ascertained that the girls don’t wear pants, while the Marlian boys don’t wear belts.

However, it’s said that being a marlian has its ups and downs, from the rumoured beltless trousers for boys and underwear free girls who all believe in the marlian philosophy. You suddenly behold a boy next door who identifies himself as a Marlian, and ready to dance his Marley’s latest dance steps , ‘ Shaku shaku and Soapy (a demonstration of someone pleasuring him or herself through dance) and you are taken aback.

Despite the legal battle and the backlash against him, Marley’s fan base continues to rise., just as the singer is not relenting on his resolve to rule his world. On December 30, 2019, Marlians thronged the Eko hotel venue of the maiden edition of his headlining show, ‘Marlian Fest’ to keep a date with their music idol. While performing at the show, the singer announced his new record label, Marlian Records and resident presented the four artistes who are signed to his music imprint. He equally won his first major award at the 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards, held at the Eko Convention Center, Lagos Nigeria.

The Marlian President beat Tiwa Savage (49-99), Chinko Ekun (Able God), Prince Kaybee (Banomoya), Shatta Wale (My Level), Burna Boy (On The Low), Rayvanny (Tetema), Zlatan (Zanku – Legwork) to clinch the award for Viewers’ Choice for his viral song Soapy. And it was a major boost to his music career. But one wonders how far Naira Marley can go in this journey?

The post Naira Marley soaring amidst controversies appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Nigerians drag EFCC for arresting “89 youths” at Ibadan nightclub. – YabaLeftOnline

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today, announced that they arrested about 89 yahoo boys at a Club in Ibadan.

The commission on Saturday took to their social media pages to share photos of the youths arrested at the club, as well as vehicles that were seized in the process.

The Commission further alleged that the 89 youths arrested were alleged internet fraudsters, otherwise known as ‘Yahoo Boys’.

“The Ibadan zonal office of EFCC has arrested 89 suspected internet fraudsters at the popular Club 360 located on the Akala Expressway, Oluyole Extension in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

“In preparation for the late-night operation which took place over the weekend, officers of the commission had carried out series of discreet surveillance on the nature of activities going on in the nightclub which according to intelligence gathered, the said club was notorious for harbouring yahoo-yahoo boys.”, EFCC wrote on their social media pages, as captions to the photos shared.

Several blogs re-posted the story, and it has since garnered negative comments on Social media.

Right now, ‘Yahoo’ and ‘EFCC’ are number 2 and 3 trending topics on Twitter, as at about 2:10PM, Monday 20th January. YabaLeftOnline Reports.

Most folks on social media questioned how it was possible to tell that the 89 youths arrested at the club were all fraudsters.

Here are some comments below;

@OgbeniDipo: “Less than 6 months ago, the FBI arrested 80 Diaspora Yahoo Yahoo Boys. They already had evidence to nail every single one of them before making any arrest. EFCC can do better. You just can’t go around raiding club houses and arresting every single person in sight. It is wrong!”

@gimbakakanda: “Please, who knows how this works? When EFCC operatives raid a nightclub based on intel that it harbors fraudsters, how do they tell Yahoo boys from innocent partiers there? It’s not fair to arrest anyone for merely being in a club, and then release them later. That’s harassment.”

@RealOlaudah: “My dear EFCC, Leave Yahoo Boys for a while & go after thieving politicians. They’re the greater evil. One under your investigation just got appointed governor by Supreme Court. The other that parked Bullion Van on election Eve in his house is yet to write statement. DO BETTER!!!”

@tawah89: “This is a shakedown. You could be in a bar tomorrow drinking and screaming at Lacazette for missing a tap in and EFCC will rush in a grab you.”

@Animasaun_a: “Anytime I’m in Ibadan, I always go to this spot to hang out because it is very close to my parents’ house. Had it been that I was in Ibadan over the weekend, I would have been part of these guys and I’m not a Yahoo boy. You have also killed someone’s business. EFCC, this is wrong.”

@Ditoman2 also tweeted, “I do go there as well. Assuming I was there, they’ll tag me a Yahoo boy by now. Nigeria is a zoo.”

@Olikoko61: “It is very wrong. I was at that place last week with a friend and his girlfriend from the United States. This habit of busting public places is barbaric. Gather your Intel and go for the exact person.”

Some comments on Facebook;

D’wiseboy Stardom Kenflow: “The painful thing is that one of them.might have just started doing so call yahoo that day, and that night efcc catch him… such a painful story..the devil is at work”

Balooniankitme Elisha: “How this can be possible arresting some people that went to club to enjoy there weekend after work and hustle efcc went to arrest innocent people”

Simon Kilex: “This is how you people go around harassing innocent people in this country. Nigerian security agencies are still living in the past. Imagine security personnel just arresting someone simply because he or she goes for a party. Complete nonsense.”

Read Also: 👇🏾

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Twitter bans animated PNG files after online attackers targeted users with epilepsy

Twitter is banning animated PNG image files (APNGs) from its platform, after an attack on the Epilepsy Foundation’s Twitter account sent out similar animated images that could potentially cause seizures in photosensitive people.

Twitter discovered a bug that allowed users to bypass its autoplay settings, and allow several animated images in a single tweet using the APNG file format.

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“We want everyone to have a safe experience on Twitter,” the company says in a tweet from the Twitter Accessibility handle. “APNGs were fun, but they don’t respect autoplay settings, so we’re removing the ability to add them to Tweets. This is for the safety of people with sensitivity to motion and flashing imagery, including those with epilepsy.”

Tweets with existing APNG images won’t be deleted from the platform, but only GIFs will be able to animate images moving forward. According to Yahoo, Twitter has further clarified that APNG files were not used to target the Epilepsy Foundation, but the bug meant such files could have been used to do so in the future had Twitter not moved to squash it.

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The attacks on the Epilepsy Foundation’s Twitter handle occurred last month — National Epilepsy Awareness Month — with trolls using its hashtags and Twitter handle to post animated images with strobing light effects. It’s not clear how many people may have been affected by the attack, but the foundation said it’s cooperating with law enforcement officials and has filed criminal complaints against accounts believed to have been involved.

An animated image can be considered a deadly weapon, a Texas jury found in 2016, after a man sent a flashing GIF to journalist Kurt Eichenwald, who has epilepsy. The image did indeed cause Eichenwald to have a seizure.

Twitter said Monday it will “look into building a similar feature that’s better for you and your Twitter experience” in lieu of APNGs.

Source: The Verge

The post Twitter bans animated PNG files after online attackers targeted users with epilepsy appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Teenager Set His Girlfriend Ablaze Over Infidelity; Says He Prefers Death To Imprisonment

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Victor Orji, 18, who allegedly murdered his girlfriend, Mariam Alabi, 24, opened up to Simon Utebor about what transpired and how he landed in police custody.

Victor Orji
Eighteen year old internet fraudster, Victor Orji

Read his full interview below:

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Victor Orji, I am 18 years old. I was born on July 9, 2001. I am from Benue State. My mother is from Enugu State while my father is from Benue State Olatagba Abadi Local Government. I attended Al-Barka Primary School and I moved to Oduduwa Junior High School and I moved down to Gbagada Senior Grammar School, Lagos. I completed my secondary education in 2016.

2. The lady you set ablaze, who is now deceased, was said to be your girlfriend, when did you start dating?

We had been dating since February 28, 2019. I met her through a friend.

3. What was she doing when both of you met and became friends?

She was a sex worker. I was aware of that. Initially, our intention was not to date each other. I only wanted to have sex with her and pay her off.

4. How did you get yourself into this situation?

It started on a Monday. I gave her some money to make her hair. She went to Badagry for the hairdo because I did not have enough on me. On a normal day, if she wanted to make her hair, she used to go to Lagos Island to get it done. She left around 7:15am and returned around 8:30pm.

I tried to find out why she came back at that time. I told her the following day (Tuesday) to take her bag and leave. She immediately took her bag and she left. She came back on Wednesday with a female friend. I wasn’t at home at that time. When I got back and saw her and her friend, Olamide, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to cause a scene while her friend was there. So, we settled our quarrel.

On Thursday, she said she wanted to see her sister who had just delivered a baby at Sango Ota in Ogun State. She also said she would use the opportunity to see her family. So, she left. But I wasn’t convinced she was going to see her family. So I called her mum and asked if she knew where her daughter was and her mother said no. But I told her what her daughter told me.

Her mum, unsure of what to say, gave flimsy excuses to cover up for her. I knew her mum always asked me to forgive her. I felt it was becoming the usual situation.

So, on Friday (of the same week), she returned in the night but before then, in the morning, I had called her. I had already blocked her number. I called to ask when she would return home but her phone was switched off. After calling her for about three hours without success, I blocked her line.

Then suddenly, she started calling me, but it indicated a private number. After calling several times, I picked up. She said, “Victor, I am at home now.”

At home, she said everything was fine. I told her her mother had said she did not know where she was. She responded by asking if her mother would know everywhere she went. Then I got angry again and told her to pack her bag and leave. She called someone; I suspected that the person said he was not around so there was no way she could go there that night. So, she begged me to forgive her and I left her alone but I was sure she called someone because I saw the name (Kunle).

I asked who Kunle was and she said it was one doctor that used to give her medicine. After her explanation, I forgave her and allowed her to stay but she slept in the sitting room and I slept in the bedroom. In the morning, I checked her phone after trying different passwords. I saw the number she called. I checked Snapchat and saw videos of her. She was in a hotel taking hard drugs and having fun. So I took the phone to the sitting room to confront her. I slapped her across the face and she woke up. She already knew what she did. She ran to the kitchen and locked the kitchen door.

I asked her why she closed the door and if I didn’t look like someone that could scold her. She didn’t respond. Then I went to the backyard and tried to come in through the door leading out. When I got in, she pointed a knife at me. I ran to the bedroom to pick up a mop. When she saw me with it, she threw the knife away and ran to the backyard where I kept my generator. There was a keg of petrol there; she brought out the petrol.

5. Are you saying she was the one who brought out the petrol?

Yes. She was saying, “Victor, if you want to kill me, kill me”. I was able to overpower her. I put the keg of petrol down and went inside to get a lighter. I snapped the lighter.

6. Are you denying that you doused her with petrol?

It not like I doused her with the fuel. She was with the fuel but in the process of trying to take the keg of petrol from her, the fire started. I was the one that picked up the lighter and used it.

7. Were you not aware of the implication of such an action?

When I was in school I read a lot about fire, gas and lot of that, I was not thinking properly at that moment.

I wasn’t even angry or happy. I don’t know what really happened.

8. Did you actually weigh the consequences of your action?

I wasn’t thinking. When she was on fire, I ran outside to pick up a fire extinguisher but I didn’t know it was beside me because I wasn’t thinking. I even opted for water but I once heard that water would worsen something like.

I ran to the bedroom to get a duvet which I used to cover her immediately to put out the fire. It wasn’t even up to a minute, let me just say it all happened in about 59 seconds because everything happened really fast.

9. What did you do after that?

I called her mother and told her I had burnt her daughter and she hung up. I was confused and began to shout for help. Instead, people tied me up.

10. Now that the law has caught up with you, how prepared are you to face the consequences?

I won’t lie, I am not prepared. If I had taken a second to think about it, I would not be in this mess. I am still young; I have dreams and goals to accomplish in my life.

Within the little time we spent together, I understood her. She did things that she was not proud of and I was the only one that understood that. She said she had a five-year-old child and had to go through a lot of things. She had to leave her father’s house and that led her into prostitution. She said some friends introduced her to prostitution. She also told me she was going to stop and that she needed someone to take care of her, so I promised to take care of her.

11. How old was she?

She told me she was going to be 24 years old on December 28, 2019.

12. That means she was about six years older than you?

When I was in school, I never had a girlfriend. And when I was looking for a girlfriend, I met her and felt she was more experienced in life and would be able to guide me. Also, I felt that because of the things she had gone through, she wouldn’t behave like other girls out there. I felt I wouldn’t have to worry that she was going to cheat on me, especially since she also had a child.

13. What were you doing for a living?

I was into Internet fraud. I had been doing since 2016.

14. How much did you make from fraud?

What I used to get was not so much. At times, I got $1,500, at times $1,000. I’m really good at saving. I don’t like going out. I might just stay at home for like three months and save.

15. How were you operating your ‘Yahoo’ business?

I always used Instagram. I would go to some pages and follow people. Once they accepted, I would send them a message. From there, relationship would develop. If I realised that the person was interested, other things would follow. I could make demands, etc. You can’t get anything from some people.

16. The law has already caught up with you. What do you have to say about this incident?

There’s always consequence for every action. This is the consequence of my own action.

17. Are you prepared to face the consequences?

I’m scared but I know that between going to jail and facing death, I prefer death.

18. You mean you prefer death to serving jail term?

Yes; I prefer death. I cannot go to jail for two months. If I go to jail, my life will be messed up.

19. So you prefer to be killed for killing your girlfriend?

Yes, because that’s what everybody is saying now. They are saying something like “I’m not supposed to be human – that I must be an animal to have killed someone”. I didn’t even do intentionally. But it has happened.

The post Teenager Set His Girlfriend Ablaze Over Infidelity; Says He Prefers Death To Imprisonment appeared first on Information Nigeria.

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Lady shares her near-death experience with alleged ritual killers in Edo

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A Nigerian model identified as Okojie Lydia took to social media  to share her terrifying near-death experience with alleged ritualists in Edo state.

Posting her story via Instastories, Lydia, a final year student of the University of Benin UNIBEN, said many would have insinuated she was killed by a ”Yahoo Yahoo” boy if she had died during the incident.

Read her story below;

I wanna give a concise testimony of what happened to me lately.
Read and pay keen interest.
God’s Grace is big enough

25/10/2019
The above date happened to be d of my jean carnival for my final year week, same day UNIBEN got her new VC, same day UNIBEN got her new VC, same day I planned traveling for Miss Nigeria audition, date for the audition was 26/10/2019, 8am, @owerri

After my jean carnival, I took off to the park to get a bus, heading for Owerri, my Audition venue.

Before I left school, my body kept giving me signs to go back to my hostel, but I insisted on traveling, i got to maingate there was no bus, finally I got a bus, went to the pack but unfortunately no bus at the park, i kept resisting my body sign bcs Miss Nigeria audition is slated for the next day 26/10/2019, 8 am. I didn’t want to miss out

Finally I saw a bus already filled but with one space left @agbor park, I boarded the bus (18 seater) I told dm I wanted to stop at onisha, since it was getting late, some passengers were highlighting, while some were entering, I was focused on where I was going, little did i know, I enter a wrong bus… the bus kept driving.. we got to agbor, most of the passengers came down left with few of them.

The conductors came to meet me and said, go to the front seat, we wanna load new passenger, so he will pick on the way, it’s was passed 8:00pm…. later the driver said to me (Lydia Okojie) the vehicle light is bad and he would want me to pass the night in the hotel, I told him I don’t want to he should take me to Onitsha, where I told them I was going.

Not up to 5 seconds the vehicle light returned to normal, ds time he was driving on speed, it down on me that i just entered RITUALIST VEHICLE he lefy the high way and turned right ward, he kept driving on speed, I could jump down cos it was dark, might not know if there’s a vehicle ahead of me, I messaged a frnd and told him (Hassan) my current location immediately and dropped my phone back in my bag they knew i wrote someone. The got to a lonely place and packed the vehicle, asked me to come down, in the middle of NOWHERE I CRIED FOR MY LIFE.

Just few weeks to be a graduate… there I was fighting for life, I reminded God of my service in His House, and all the alms I give, d conductor was distracted with my bad, the call distracted the driver, that was my escape moment, I removed my hand from the driver and began to run inside the bush, i didnt even know if where I was running to was where dey where slaughtering.. i kept running and praying my cheeks as i kept running.. the driver couldn’t pursue me again cos he wasn’t with toech and bfr the conductor could turn I ran it was 10:44 pm

I hid in the bush, d driver told d conductor dey have to leave, dt where dey are was a bad spot, i was listening where i was hiding they threw all my things away and drove off.

That lady and her sister-in-law fed me, cloth me, sheltered me and gave me comfiot I came to Benin the next day… didn’t even get to half of my journey… when i got to Benin I remembered my hostel mate told me of the dream she got about me.. i prayed as my strength could carry me.. the result of what happened would have been DEATH, but God reveals to Redeem, His mercies are new every morning.

that’s where I came out but wore my clothes and ran to the high way where i met my Guardian angel, A traveler with her baby, she was scared when she saw me but was bold enough to render help, she didn;t know if i was a Ghost, she was heeding for her sister-in-law house to pass the night to continue her journey the next day

The story would have been an unidentified body found dead in the bush, she followed a yahoo boy, only farmers or hunters could have found LYDIA OKOJIE, how would my parent take it, how would my siblings feel, not to talk about you reading but the story now is different.

Am forever grateful to God

We all underestimate the air we breath, waking up to see the day is a blessing no man can pay for. Life is a gift. I owe all to God.

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Profiles: 4 Twitter executives that visited Nigeria with CEO, Jack Dorsey

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On Thursday, 7th of November 2019, co-founder and CEO of social media service, Twitter, and mobile payments company, Square, Jack Dorsey, came to Lagos, Nigeria on the first leg of an African tour that will span Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

The next day in Lagos, Jack met with entrepreneurs at the the Bosun Tijan-led Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) and afterwards headed to the University of Lagos (Unilag).

He also visited Andela and ended the day with a well-attended town hall meeting at the Techpoint Africa headquarters in Lagos.

The 14-man Twitter entourage included four executive members asides Jack Dorsey.

Kayvon Beykpour

Kayvon Beykpour is the co-founder and CEO of Twitter’s video streaming application, Periscope.

Beykpour started Periscope with Joe Bernstein in early 2014. Less than a year later, in January 2015, and before it publicly launched, the app was acquired by Twitter.

In 2017, Beykpour started overseeing all the video initiatives at Twitter as a product lead.

During the town hall meeting, Techpoint invited a Nigerian engineer, Dara Oladosu, to present the solution to Jack Dorsey. Oladosu had built a Twitter bot, called Quoted Replies, that allows users see quoted replies on their tweets.

Suggested Read: Quoted Replies: The viral Twitter bot built by a Nigerian

After the presentation, Beykpour called Oladosu back and offered him a job on the spot.

“I would love for you to maybe consider come joining the company [Twitter],” Beykpour said.

“Things went way better than I expected”. @dara_tobi, creator of @QuotedReplies, reacts to getting a job offer from Twitter. He also discusses the fate of his viral Twitter bot in this interview https://t.co/ZVQKwH6mc3 pic.twitter.com/1wgYOxjHv5

— Techpoint Africa (@Techpointdotng) November 9, 2019

Parag Agrawal

Parag Agrawal is the chief technical officer (CTO) at Twitter.

As an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, as well as having a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University, Parag was chosen in 2018 to lead the technology team of the micro-blogging site after working for Twitter as a distinguished software engineer for over six years.

According to Parag’s LinkedIn profile, he assumed the CTO position in October 2017, after six years of being in his previous role.

Before that, he focused on research in Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AT&T labs up until October 2011 when he joined Twitter.

According to Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), Parag’s contributions included “leading efforts to increase the relevance of tweets on Twitter users’ timelines using artificial intelligence.”

Parag is one of the people responsible for Twitter’s foray into the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) space, and may have played a major part in utilising the technology to automate campaigns on the platform. Something that Jack Dorsey has cited as perhaps the single biggest improvement around elections since he became CEO of the company he co-founded.

During their visit to Techpoint Africa’s HQ, Parag made it clear that Twitter is looking outside the Bay Area for engineering talent.

“We’re looking to have half of our engineers out of San Francisco,” said the CTO.

TJ Adeshola

TJ Adeshola is the head of US Sports Partnerships at Twitter. He assumed the role after three years as the head of Sports League Partnerships.

In 2012, Adeshola left sports channel ESPN to join Twitter as a senior account officer. Before his current role, Adeshola managed Twitter’s partnerships with major US sports leagues, including the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and Major League Baseball (MLB).

He is also the executive sponsor of Blackbirds, Twitter’s business resource group that celebrates and encourages diverse perspectives.

Adeshola is Nigerian by origin, but he is not the only Nigerian working at Twitter.

Michael Montano studied electrical engineering at The University of Toronto, graduating in 2008.

After his first startup, IPartee, which he co-founded with a roommate back in high school, Mike went on to participate in the 2008 Y Combinator (YC) summer programme to start BackType, a service that lets people find, follow, and share comments from across the web.

At YC, Mike learned how important it is to build something that people want and that building something that’s useful right away is a huge advantage.

He joined Twitter in 2011 as an engineer, and after a major reorganisation by Jack on June 28, 2018, Mike was tasked with leading the company’s engineering team.

Even as Twitter’s lead engineer, Mike admits to working from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He claims he is more productive on those days and able to spend more time on deeper, more strategic work. Tweeting under the hashtag #WhyIWorkFromHome last month, Mike explained that his journey into remote work was initially restricted to afternoons before he made it an all-day affair.

Before IPartee, Mike started a design and development company called, UrbanTwelve, but he doesn’t consider that to be a startup.

New Report: Nigerian startups raised a combined $38.01m in Q3 2019, just 7% higher than Q3 2018. Download the report.

Attend Techpoint Startup School, a 5-day intensive training for budding African tech founders and CEOs. Classes start 2nd of December. Enrol now.

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The Music in Pivotal Joker Scene Is by Notorious British Pedophile Gary Glitter

Does anyone at the Warner Bros. music department have access to Google?

The question arises after it emerged that a key scene in the studios hit new movie Joker, which opened Thursday for a record weekend, uses a famous track by Gary Glitter, a British pedophile currently rotting in jail, where he is serving a 16-year prison sentence for abusing three young girls.

Its not even Glitters first jail term; he served time in 2006 for molesting girls in Vietnam and was first jailed in 1999 after he was caught with images of child abuse.

While Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, may not be a household name in the U.S., he is one of the Britains most notorious hate-figures. The idea that his 1972 track Rock and Roll II could have been been included for a pivotal scene (in which Joaquin Phoenix descends an outdoor staircase as he completes his transformation into Batmans iconic foe) has shocked U.K. audiences.

With Joker grossing an estimated $93.5 million in ticket sales from 4,374 screens in North America this weekend, breaking the record for an October opening, Glitters royalty payment could leave him nicely set up for his release, which could come as soon as 2021 under British law.

Artists are usually paid a one-off synchronization fee when their songs are used on movie soundtracks, Ray Bush, managing director ofThe Music Royalty Co., told Yahoo News, It can range from 500 for smaller acts, up to 250,000-500,000, depending on the artist and the importance to the narrative of the film.

Some allegations against Glitter came to light 40 years after they occurred.

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Men in California oversaw a romance scam that targeted women worldwide, feds say

feds say - CNN

(CNN)In March 2016, a man claiming to be a US Army captain stationed in Syria reached out to a Japanese woman on an international site for digital pen pals.

But in reality, Garcia did not exist. It was all an international online scam ran by two Nigerian men in the Los Angeles area with the help of associates in their home country and other nations, federal officials say.
And Thursday, US prosecutors charged 80 people — mostly Nigerians — in the widespread conspiracy that defrauded at least $6 million from businesses and vulnerable elderly women.
    Of those, 17 people have been arrested in the US so far and federal investigators are trying to track down the rest in Nigeria and other nations.
    “We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in US history,” US Attorney Nick Hanna said.

    A plan to smuggle diamonds

    The whirlwind online romance between FK and Garcia was all conducted on a Yahoo email address with no phone calls. Garcia told FK he wasn’t allowed to use a phone in Syria, according to federal authorities.
    Demands for money started after he told her he’d found a bag of diamonds in Syria and needed her help to smuggle it out of the war-torn nation. He said he was injured and could not do it himself — and introduced her to associates he said would help facilitate the transfer, court documents allege. One said he was a Red Cross diplomat who could get the diamonds shipped to FK, court documents show.
    Shortly after, another man who claimed to work for a shipping company asked FK for money to ensure the package was not inspected at customs, the complaint alleges. Requests for additional money kept coming, with the fraudsters citing different reasons each time on why the package was stuck at customs.
    “FK estimates that she made 35 to 40 payments over the 10 months that she had a relationship with Garcia. During that time, the fraudster(s) emailed her as many as 10 to 15 times each day, and Garcia was asking her to make the payments, so she kept paying to accounts in Turkey, the UK and the US,” the federal criminal complaint says.
    The loss of money has left FK angry and depressed, authorities said. “She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her,” the criminal complaint says.

    17 arrested and dozens on the run

    The scams were not just limited to romance, Hanna said. They included business schemes where fraudsters hack escrow company email systems, impersonate employees and direct payments that funnel money back to themselves.
    “In some cases, the victims thought they were communicating with US servicemen stationed overseas, when in fact, they were emailing with con men,” Hanna said. “Some of the victims in this case lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in this way.”
    Of the 80 people charged, federal authorities arrested 14 people mostly in Los Angeles, the local US Attorney’s Office said Thursday. At least three other defendants were already in custody. The remaining suspects live in other countries, mainly in Nigeria, and investigators said they’ll work with the respective governments to extradite them.

    How the scam worked

    Investigators detailed an intricate scam traced to two key suspects who oversaw the fraudulent transfer of at least $6 million and the attempted theft of an additional $40 million.
    Once co-conspirators based in Nigeria, the United States and other countries persuaded victims to send money under false pretenses, the two Nigerian men who lived in Southern California coordinated the receipt of funds, the indictment says.
    The two men provided bank and money-service accounts that received funds obtained from victims and also ran the extensive money-laundering network, the complaint alleges.
    The two men were arrested Thursday. All defendants will face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft. Some also will face fraud and money laundering charges.
      Paul Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles warned people to be careful as romance scams escalate nationwide. The Federal Trade Commission has said scams that prey on vulnerable people cost Americans more money than any other fraud reported to the agency last year. More than 21,000 people were conned into sending $143 million in such schemes in 2018 alone, it reported.
      “Billions of dollars are lost annually, and we urge citizens to be aware of these sophisticated financial schemes to protect themselves or their businesses from becoming unsuspecting victims,” Delacourt said.

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      Journalists Under Attack

      In May 2019, WIRED joined the One Free Press Coalition, a united group of preeminent editors and publishers using their global reach and social platforms to spotlight journalists under attack worldwide. Today, the coalition is issuing its sixth monthly “10 Most Urgent” list of journalists whose press freedoms are being suppressed or whose cases demand justice.

      Paul Chouta, the Cameroon Web reporter who was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison. Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, was arrested on “anti-state” charges and will have been imprisoned for one year on August 27. He has been repeatedly interrogated by police, demanding that he reveal his sources.

      Here is the August list, ranked in order of urgency:

      1. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia): Stonewalling continues after new UN report implicates Saudi prince for journalist’s murder.

      Months after his brazen killing, and despite findings from the UN and the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent criminal investigation. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act.

      2. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania): Tanzanian official claims missing journalist is dead—then backtracks.

      Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017, and the government has failed to conduct an investigation or disclose what it knows. On July 10, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said in an interview that Gwanda had “disappeared and died,” but backtracked amid requests for clarification.

      3. Juan Pardinas (Mexico): Mexican newspaper editor targeted with death threats for criticizing new president.

      Mexican media organizations and journalists have recently reported a sharp increase in threats and online harassment over critical reporting of the López Obrador administration. Juan Pardinas, the editor-in-chief of Mexican newspaper Reforma, received a barrage of online harassment and threats after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the newspaper in April. López Obrador acknowledged the threats against Pardinas and said that his government had offered protective measures to the journalist.

      4. Paul Chouta (Cameroon): Journalist in maximum security prison blocked from seeing family.

      Cameroon Web reporter Paul Chouta was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. Chouta’s editor said he suspects the case was in retaliation for critical reporting. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison.

      5. Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan): Kyrgyz court upholds life sentence for documenting human rights abuses.

      Award-winning journalist Azimjon Askarov, who is an ethnic Uzbek, has spent nine years in prison on trumped-up charges for his reporting on human rights violations. Despite persistent international condemnation and calls for his release, a Kyrgyz court that had reviewed his case in light of new legislation ruled to uphold his life sentence on July 30.

      6. Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak (Turkey): Turkish journalist faces 30 years in solitary confinement.

      A commentator for opposition newspaper Özgür Düşünce and Can Erzincan TV, Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak was arrested in 2016 and sentenced in February 2018 to life without parole for trying to overturn the constitution through her journalism. In a separate trial in January, she was sentenced to an additional five years for revealing state secrets. In Turkey, which has been the top jailer of journalists three years in a row, life sentences without parole equate to 30 years in solitary confinement, with limited visits.

      7. Marzieh Amiri (Iran): Imprisoned journalist denied healthcare after for covering May Day demonstrations.

      Iranian authorities arrested Marzieh Amiri, an economics reporter at Tehran-based newspaper Shargh Daily, as she covered May Day demonstrations, and her family has had limited contact with her since. Authorities have accused Amiri of committing crimes against national security without giving further details.

      8. Jones Abiri (Nigeria): Journalist re-arrested on terrorism and cybercrime charges.

      Jones Abiri, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weekly Source, is behind bars on charges under Nigeria’s cybercrimes act, anti-sabotage act, and terrorism prevention act for crimes allegedly carried out in 2016. The charges are the same ones that a court threw out after he was held without access to his family or a lawyer from 2016 to 2018.

      9. Aasif Sultan (India): Journalist imprisoned one year without due process for covering conflict.

      Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, will have been imprisoned one year on August 27, arrested in 2018 and months later charged with “complicity” in “harboring known terrorists.” He has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal his sources by police. Sultan continues to be denied due process, with ongoing delays in his hearings.

      10. Truong Duy Nhat (Vietnam): Blogger who disappeared in Thailand imprisoned in Vietnam.

      Truong Duy Nhat, a Vietnamese reporter with Radio Free Asia, went missing in January in Bangkok, Thailand, where he had applied for refugee status. In March, his daughter learned he was jailed without charge in a Hanoi detention center. Nhat was previously sentenced to two years in prison in 2013 in connection to his critical reporting on the government.

      According to CPJ research, the killers go unpunished in nine out of every 10 journalists murdered.

      The One Free Press Coalition contains 33 prominent international members including: AméricaEconomía; The Associated Press; Bloomberg News; The Boston Globe; BuzzFeed; CNN Money Switzerland; Corriere Della Sera; De Standaard; Deutsche Welle; Estadão; EURACTIV; The Financial Times; Forbes; Fortune; HuffPost; India Today; Insider Inc.; Le Temps; Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Office of Cuba Broadcasting; Quartz; Radio Free Asia; Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; Republik; Reuters; The Straits Times; Süddeutsche Zeitung; TIME; TV Azteca; Voice of America; The Washington Post; WIRED; and Yahoo News.

      One Free Press Coalition partners with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) to identify the most-urgent cases for the list, which is updated and published on the first day of every month. News organizations throughout the world can join the Coalition by emailing info@onefreepresscoalition.com.


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