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Rep. Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson

Rep. Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson was born in Epetedo, Lagos Island to the Family of Mr Mustapha Ola Johnson and Madam Silifat Balogun of Lagos Island.

He had his Basic  Educational Career at Municipal Council School Port Harcourt, where he bagged his First Leaving Certificate. He returned to Lagos State for his Secondary Education at St. Gregory’s College, Lagos,(Great Gregorian) and Ansar-Ud-Deen College, Isolo before leaving for the United State of America.

In his quest for knowledge and exposure  Hon.  Ganiyu Johnson left the shore of the Country to the Western World where He bagged a degree in Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Civil/Structural Engineering from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, United State of America.

On completion of his education in the USA, He worked at Bechtel Power Corporation, Norwalk as Structural Engineer in 1980.

On returning to Nigeria, He did his mandatory  National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)with Nigeria Port Authority (NPA).

After serving his fatherland, He joined the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as Engineer Grade1 in 1984 and later transferred his service to Lagos State Civil Service in 1985 as 

 a Principal Engineer and later as Assistant Chief Engineer from 1990-1993. 

He became Chief Engineer (Head Construction) 1993-1996 where 

He later rose to the post of Director and was subsequently appointed as the General Manager of the New Town Development Authority (NTDA).

Thereafter, He became the General Manager of, Lagos State Public Works Bureau (LSPWB) which is now Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC). Due to his dedication to work, he was appointed as the Permanent Secretary of that Agency and later as Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Work and Infrastructures.

 Hon. Ganiyu Johnson demonstrated a high level of professionalism in carrying out numerous Constructions and Rehabilitations of Road networks in the State which afford him the privilege to be appointed as Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure in Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola cabinet.

This appointment conferred on him the responsibility of all Road and Bridge Works, Road Maintenance/Rehabilitation, Construction and Rehabilitation of all Public Buildings, Private Sector Participation in the execution of Projects, Mechanical and Electrical Services, Consultants to all Non-Technical Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Supervision of Pedestrian Bridges, Supervision of Expansion Joints and Completion, High and Magistrate Courts, sharing Stakeholders’ meeting amongst others.

Some of the projects initiated by Hon. Ganiyu Abiodun John is: 

Okota-Itire Road and Bridge Works,

 Isheri-Olofin-Iba-Ojo (LASU) Road

Ago Palace Way Extension Phases I &II

 Ajao Estate/Ejigbo link Road

JAKANDE Estate/ISHERI/Ijegun Road

 Ejigbo/IDIMU Road

  Apapa CBD Phases I & II

 Infrastructure Improvement of Yaba to Iddo & its Environs Phases I &II

 Bourdillon, Alexandria, Gerrard. Osborne Road

 Eric Moore Road Surulere

 Rehabilitation of City Hall

 AdeniranOgunsanya Street, Surulere

 Lagos-Badagry Expressway 

Lot I

Admiralty – Alexandria (Lekki-Ikoyi) Link Bridge

Construction of Jetty and Terminal Building at Osborne and many others.

He also served briefly as a Commissioner for Works and Infrastructures under  Governor Akinwunmi Ambode Administration before he retired voluntarily to pursue his political ambition.

Engr. Ganiyu Johnson was a board member of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA)

Board Member, Lagos State Roads, Bridges and Highway Infrastructure (PSP)

Chairman Technical Committee, Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory and Member of Lagos State Tender Board.

He has several Professional, Humanitarian, and Religious awards/Honours conferred on him. Some of which are listed below:

Professional Award/Honour

Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE) 

Distinguished Service Award

Nigerian Society of Engineers (Lagos State Zone) 

Professional Excellence Award 

Nigerian Society of Engineers (Environmental Division) 

Guest of Honour Award 

Nigerian Society of Engineers (Civil Engineering Division) 

Merit Award 

Nigerian Society of Engineers 

2008 Presidential Merit Award 

Nigerian Society of Engineers 

Merit of Honour

Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen 

Patron Award 

National Association of Block Moulders 

Distinguish Leaders and Excellence Award 

Member Board of Trustee 

Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers

 Humanitarians Awards: 

Lafiaji Boys and Girls Fanti Association 

Merit Award 

Nigerian Youth for Change 

Exemplary Role Award

West African Polytechnic Students (WAPS) 

Award of Excellent Service 

Icon of Hope Award 

Rotary Club of Falomo

Teslim "Thunder" Balogun Family

Thank You Award 


 Action Congress of Nigeria Elders Council 

Appreciation Award 

LOC, Governor’s Cup, Lagos Tennis 

Sponsor Award 

Amanator-Ihiteowerri Dev. Union, Imo State (Lagos Branch) 

2008 Achievers Award 

National Union of Lagos State Students 

Award of Excellence 

1st Alimosho Day Celebration 

Excellence Award

The philanthropist of the year 2021 by Igbo Speaking Community in Lagos State.

He has a Foundation that caters to the Widows, Students in Tertiary institutions, and the less privileged in the society.

He has built a career in wide-ranging Areas of Specialization both in the Private and Public sectors.

Hon. Johnson is a Genuine and Patriotic Politician par excellence! A tested Manager of Human and Material Resources. A Philanthropist, Grass root person, and lover of the youths. 

He is the incumbent House of Representatives Member, representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II.

Within two years as  Representative of this great Constituency, Hon. Johnson has succeeded in writing the name of Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency 2 in gold. His performance within the short period at the green chamber is unprecedented and surpasses the achievements of all his predecessors put together. 

He is married and blessed with children.

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Myrtle Corbin

The inspiring story of Myrtle Corbin with conjoined twinning.

Myrtle Corbin was born in Lincoln County, TN, in 1868 with a medical condition known as dipygus, resulting in having two pelvis and four legs.

Doctors concluded her extra legs were supposed to be her twin’s separate legs, who only fully developed down from the waist. The rare conjoined twinning called made her have two different bodies from the core.

Corbin could control her sister’s leg, but they were weak and could not be used for walking — interestingly, her twin sister’s legs had only three toes on each foot. The clubbed foot lady had an overall difficult time walking as she owned only one usable leg.

What Caused Corbin to Develop Such a Rare Medical Condition?

Doctors couldn’t explain. She was simply a miracle. Analyzing her birth conditions, doctors found no abnormalities — there was nothing peculiar about her delivery, except that she was initially a breech presentation that later orientated normally. Corbin already had healthy four brothers and sisters, proving the abnormality was not genetic.

Myrtle Corbin owned sound health and natural beauty. In the 1889 British Medical Journal, Lewis Whaley describes her as a five feet high girl with fair skin, curly hair, and blue eyes.

Corbin’s Rise to Fame at 13

At the age of thirteen, the world became her runway. Her popularity reached heights when she worked with P.T Barnum, followed by Ringling bros and Coney Island.

Often dressing the extra limbs with socks and her one’s with shoes, Corbin used to appear surreal. Her mounting popularity rewarded her with a lucrative package of that era — $450 a week.

What interesting followed were the rival strategies. By using a trick chair and hiding another person to give an illusion of multiple lower limbs — the rivals advertised a fake “four-legged woman.” But people knew Myrtle Corbin was the only Four-Legged Woman who existed.

Marriage & Corbin’s Bizarre Anatomy

At the age of 19, she married James Clinton Bicknell, who insisted on her retiring from the sideshow to start a new life in farms — a true love proving he wasn’t into her for money.

After marriage, the other aspect of Corbin’s bizarre anatomy surfaced — her twin sister was sexually formed, making Myrtle own two vaginas. Her existence revealed more mysteries, strange and interesting oddities when she became pregnant the following year of her marriage.

Dr. Lewis Whaley examined her. She accounted for the pain on the left side, naming worrying symptoms. The doctor revealed she had two uteri, and she was pregnant with her left one.

Myrtle surprise was recorded as follows: reacted with surprise:

“I think you are mistaken; if it had been on my right side, I would come nearer believing it”; The doctor’s session and her comments hinted that Myrtle used her right genitals for coitus.

Sadly, Corbin’s pregnancy offered her significant discomfort, resulting in an abortion in the fourth month. But she recovered soon and gave birth to eight children; later, only four survived. Medical texts claim that she underwent labor from each womb — the strong woman gave birth from both sides.

The 1910 census revealed four surviving children’s names as Nancy Estelle, Francis Clinton, Ruby, and Lillian J.

Strong Woman’s Admiring Comeback in 1909

History doesn’t know much about the specifications of the Bicknell family’s financial circumstances. Still, without a doubt, they severely deteriorated with time such that Myrtle seized her retirement and hopped back into the sideshows.

The girl who left the work was back in the business as a woman at 41. She was seen in Huber’s Museum in New York in 1909.

What was deemed as a temporary struggle seemed to become a permanent event. For five years, Myrtle continued to entertain thousands sometimes in Dreamland Circus Sideshow and other Coney Island times. Soon 1910 enveloped 1915, leaving her with enough money to stop exhibiting.

Luck didn’t spare her for long, as the other time destiny’s attack was not financial but medical. She developed a skin infection in 1928, which simply failed to heal.

Erysipelas, a streptococcal skin infection, was diagnosed of which no cure existed back then — today, the healing is a matter of consuming just a few antibiotics.

After a week of diagnoses, on May 6, 1928, Josephine Myrtle Corbin-Bicknell was pronounced dead in

Cleburne, Texas. There has never been another four-legged woman.

Her family members kept a close eye on her concrete-covered casket to prevent grave robbers from stealing away the corpse.

The private collectors, researchers, and other medical practitioners offered a decent financial compensation of the corpse, upon which the family simply refused and got more careful in their close watch.

Josephine Myrtle Corbin’s story is incredibly inspiring, for she never allowed her circumstance to rule her life. Restricting the deformity to hinder her life view, Myrtle soared ambitiously high and lived every happiness with pride.

Several reports get the taste of Corbin’s personality through her father’s description in the promotional pamphlet that describes Corbin as “gentle of disposition as the summer sunshine and as happy as the day is long.”

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British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp

A 1933 Double Eagle gold coin sold for a record-setting $18.9 million at auction in New York on Tuesday, and the world’s rarest stamp went for $8.3 million.

The coin, the only 1933 Double Eagle ever allowed to be privately owned, was expected to sell for between $10 million and $15 million at the Sotheby’s auction.

It was sold by shoe designer and collector Stuart Weitzman, who acquired it in 2002 for what was then a world record price of $7.6 million.

The coin, with a face value of $20 and distinctive design of an American eagle in flight one side and Liberty striding forward on the other, was the last gold coin struck for circulation in the United States.

But it was never issued after President Franklin Roosevelt took the United States off the gold standard and all copies were ordered destroyed.

Weitzman on Tuesday also sold a British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp, issued in 1856, for $8.3 million, confirming its place as the most valuable stamp in history.

The stamp is the only surviving one from a series that was printed by the South American nation because of a shortage of stamps sent over by its then British colonial rulers.

The designer had bought it in 2014 for $9.5 million and continued a tradition started by previous owners by adding his own flourish – a line drawing of a stiletto shoe and his initials – to the back of the stamp.

The buyers of the two items wished to remain anonymous, Sotheby’s said.

In addition, a plate block of the 24 cent Inverted Jenny stamp, which was issued in 1918 for the first U.S. air mail letters, sold for $4.9 million. It is the most valuable U.S. stamp.

The Inverted Jenny, which was last sold at auction some 26 years ago for $2.9 million, is a collector’s item because of a printing error in which its biplane design appears upside down.

Sotheby’s said the stamp block, which sold below its pre-auction estimate, was bought by David Rubenstein, a co-founder of private equity company The Carlyle Group.

Weitzman, who has been collecting stamps and coins since boyhood, has said he will use the money from Tuesday’s sale to fund his charitable ventures including medical research, his design school, and a Jewish museum in Madrid.

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The new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya was born on 5 January 1966 in Sifawa, Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto state. 

Maj Gen Yahaya who is a member of the 37 Regular Course of the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), started his cadet training on 27 September 1985 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps on 22 September 1990. Maj Gen Yahaya has held several appointments including Staff, Instructional and Command.

Notable among the appointments held by the new COAS are Garrison Commander Headquarters Guards Brigade, Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Deputy Director Army Headquarters Department of Military Secretary,  Deputy Director Army Research and Development and the Chief of Staff, Headquarters Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield.

He also served as the Principal General Staff Officer (PGSO) to the Honourable Minister of Defence, the Commander, Headquarters 4 Brigade and 29 Task Force Brigade (Operation Zaman Lafiya). He was also Director Manpower at the Army Headquarters, Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army.

Until his appointment as the COAS, Maj Gen Faruk Yahaya was the Theatre Commander Operation HADIN KAI, responsible for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations in North East Nigeria.

The new COAS is a proud holder of several honours and awards, some of which include, Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguished Service Star, Grand Service Star, Passed staff course (Dagger), National DefenceCourse (Chile), Economic Community of West Africa State Monitoring Group Medal, Command Medal, Field Command Medal, General Operations Medal, Silver Jubilee Medal and Golden Jubilee Medal. He is happily married and blessed with children.

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The late Attahiru was born on August 10, 1966 in Doka, Kaduna Local Government Area of Kaduna State. He commenced cadets training in January 1984 and was commissioned into the rank of Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer.

He held a master’s degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy. He also had other degrees such as: Masters of Science in Human Resources Management and Development from Salford University in the United Kingdom, and a Graduates Diploma in International Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

He was appointed Nigerian Army Lieutenant General serving as the 21st Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Army on January 26, 2021 and served in that capacity until his death.

Prior to his appointment as the Chief of Staff, he had held several other appointments on the staff, instructional and command. He had a tour of duty with the United Nations in Sierra Leone as a Military Observer, where he facilitated United Kingdom military engagement, Operation BARASS in September 2000.

He was an Operation Officer and later Company Commander in NIBATT 19 ECOMOG Operations in Liberia. He also had the privilege of having commanded with distinction all through the chain of command in the Nigerian Army. Prominent among these appointments are Commanding Officer, 146 Battalion Nigerian Army (Operation HARMONY IV) in the Bakassi Peninsula; Commander, 13 Brigade Nigerian Army (Operation PULO SHIELD); General Officer Commanding, 82 Division Nigerian Army. He was one-time Theatre Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE (the Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency Outfit in North-Eastern Nigeria). It is on record that he brought relative stability to the region with the surrender of several Boko Haram combatants.

He was an instructor at the Depot Nigerian Army, Nigerian Defence Academy and the Nigerian Army School of Infantry. He was later a Directing Staff and Chief Instructor at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji – Kaduna.

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Chief Remi Fani-Kayode

Who is Chief Remi Fani-Kayode?

Chief Remi Fani-Kayode (1921-1995) was the man who successfully moved the motion for Independence on August 2, 1958.

Anthony Enahoro moved the motion in 1953 which proposed Nigeria's independence in 1956 but was rejected by Parliament and it therefore failed.

It also resulted in a walk-out by the northern parliamentarians who were of the view that Nigeria was not yet ready for independence.

The tensions and acrimony that came from all these resulted in the infamous Kano riots of 1953.

In 1957, Samuel Ladoke Akintola moved a second motion for independence to be granted in 1959 and it was passed by the Federal House but the British authorities refused to assent to it and consequently it failed.

In 1958, Remi Fani-Kayode moved the third motion for Nigeria’s independence in the Federal Parliament and asked that Nigeria should be given her independence on April 2nd 1960.

The motion was not only passed by Parliament but it was also accepted by the British and was therefore successful.

However in 1959, the British Colonial authorities needed a few months to put everything in place before leaving Nigeria and Prime Minister, Tafawa-Balewa moved a motion for a slight amendment to be made to the original 1958 motion that had been passed and approved to the effect that the date of independence should be shifted from April 2, 1960 to October 1, 1960.

Tafawa-Balewa’s motion for amendment was seconded by Chief Raymond Njoku, the Minister of Transport, and it was agreed to by the British. That is how this date (October 1, 1960) has become Nigeria's Independence Day for the past 59 years.

Let's check out some interesting facts on Fani-Kayode:

* Born December 22, 1921.

* He was called to bar in 1945.

* Appointed Queens Counsel (Q.C.) in 1960.

* He was the third and youngest Nigerian ever to be made Q.C.

* He was made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1977.

* He was the third Nigerian to be made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

* He set up the first indigenous Nigerian law firm in 1948 with Chief Frederick Rotimi Williams and Chief Bode Thomas.

* In August 1958, he successfully moved the motion for Nigeria's independence in the Federal House of Assembly.

* He died in October 1995.

* He was the father to Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation.
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Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, a gigantic mammalian carnivore that lived 22 million years ago in Africa and was larger than a polar bear, is seen in this artist's illustration released in Athens, Ohio

When Ohio University integrative biologist Nancy Stevens peered into a drawer in the wooden cabinets on the top floor of a Nairobi museum in 2010, she saw a chunk of rock containing massive teeth and knew she had come across something important.

The overlooked fossils stored at the National Museums of Kenya belonged to one of the largest meat-eating mammals ever to walk the Earth, a beast called Simbakubwa kutokaafrika that stalked Africa 22 million years ago, according to research by Stevens and co-author Matthew Borths published on Thursday.

Bigger than any carnivorous land mammal alive today – even a polar bear – Simbakubwa’s skull was the size of a rhino’s, its eight-inch (20-cm) canine teeth as large as bananas. It weighed about a ton and was 8 feet long (2-1/2 meters) snout to rump.

According to the research published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the fossils were excavated around 1980 in western Kenya and never closely examined.

“Most of the specimens that I study are quite small, so you can imagine my surprise when I opened a drawer that I hadn’t examined yet, and saw the enormous teeth glinting up at me. The specimen had been collected decades before, and the team that discovered this fossil was more focused on other parts of the fauna, particularly primates,” Stevens said.

Simbakubwa was a member of a group called hyaenodonts that appeared 62 million years ago, 4 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs paved the way for mammalian dominance, and went extinct 9 million years ago.

Hyaenodonts preceded carnivore groups like cats, bears, hyenas and wolves, and were closely related to none of them.

“At first glance, it would have looked like a gigantic hyena or long-tailed wolf with a head that was a little too big for its body. I imagine something like the ‘wargs’ from ‘Lord of the Rings,'” said Borths, a Duke Lemur Center paleontologist, referring to fictional monstrous wolves.

Simbakubwa’s name means “big lion” in Swahili though it was not a cat. It was the largest predator in its ecosystem, a fragmented forest inhabited by early apes, hippo relatives and elephant relatives, and was probably the largest carnivorous land mammal in Africa up to that time.

“It was not an animal built for long efficient runs across open ground. Instead, its foot was flexed. Carnivores with this posture tend to be ambush hunters like tigers rather than pursuit hunters like wolves,” Borths said

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Callao Cave on Luzon Island, in the Philippines, where the fossils of newly identified hominin species Homo luzonensis were discovered

Thirteen fossil bones and teeth excavated in a cave in the Philippines represent an enigmatic previously unknown human species, probably small in stature and possessing an unexpected mix of archaic and modern traits, scientists said on Wednesday.

The discovery of remains of at least three individuals from this species, named Homo luzonensis, in Callao Cave on the northern part of the island of Luzon marked the second time in the 21st century that a bygone member of the human family has been found on southeast Asian islands.

The researchers were unable to extract DNA but did determine that one of the individuals lived 67,000 years ago and the other 50,000 years ago.

In 2003, fossils of another island-dwelling species – Homo floresiensis, dubbed the “Hobbit” due to its diminutive size – were unearthed in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, some 1,800 miles (3,000 km) from the Luzon site. There is no indication the two species interacted or were closely related.

Homo luzonensis was a contemporary not only of the Hobbit but of our own species, Homo sapiens, which emerged in Africa roughly 300,000 years ago.

The scientists said they could not rule out the possibility that the arrival of our species in the region contributed to the demise of Homo luzonensis. The Hobbit also disappeared about 50,000 years ago at the same time Homo sapiens was spreading through the region.

The Luzon and Flores discoveries demonstrate that the story of human evolution is more complicated than previously understood, with Asia offering up surprises, potentially with more to come, the researchers said.


The researchers were circumspect in describing the physical appearance and lifestyle of Homo luzonensis, known only from a sparse assemblage of hand and foot bones, and teeth from two adults and one juvenile, with no skull fossils. Based on tooth size in particular, it appears it might have been much smaller than Homo sapiens, but it is unclear whether it was as little as the Hobbit, which was roughly 3-1/2 feet (1 meter) tall.

“We have to stay cautious about it, especially because people will immediately have Homo floresiensis in mind as a ‘model’ for the physical appearance of Homo luzonensis, which was certainly not the case,” said paleoanthropologist Florent Détroit of the Musée de l’Homme-Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.

“We can only speculate but it might be only in the range of a pygmy Homo sapiens,” added archaeologist Armand Mijares, leader of the Callao Archaeological Project.
Right upper teeth of an individual of the newly identified species Homo luzonensis, found in Callao Cave 

The research was published in the journal Nature.

Based on animal bones with butchering marks found at the site, it appears these people ate meat and may have used stone tools, Détroit said.

The fossils from the seven-chamber cave, situated in the foothills of Luzon’s northern Sierra Madre mountains, boasted a combination of anatomical features setting it apart from other human species.

Some characteristics were similar to Homo sapiens as well as the Hobbit. Other traits were so archaic that they resembled Australopithecus, an earlier member of the human evolutionary lineage that died out roughly 2 million years ago, as well as the ancient human species Homo habilis and Homo erectus.

“For years – and until less than 20 years ago – human evolution in Asia was seen as very simple, with Homo erectus going out of Africa, settling in east and southeast Asia, and then nothing happened until the arrival of Homo sapiens at around 40,000 to 50,000 years ago and its ‘conquest’ of every region on Earth,” Détroit said.

“With the discoveries made on the field – fossils – and in the lab, for instance genetics, we now know that it was a much more complex evolutionary history, with several distinct species contemporaneous with Homo sapiens, interbreeding events, extinctions, et cetera,” Détroit added. “Homo sapiens was definitely not alone on Earth.”
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Former Second Republic President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari died yesterday, 28 December, aged 93.

He was taken to the hospital on Christmas Day and placed on admission.

Alhaji Shagari died at about 6.30 at the National Hospital, Abuja, according to his grandson, Bello Shagari.

“I regret announcing the death of my grandfather, H.E Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died right now after a brief illness at the National Hospital, Abuja,” the younger Shagari said on his Twitter handle.

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Shagari’s home state, also confirmed the death of the elder statesman on his Twitter handle.

He said: “I regret to announce the death of former President Shehu Shagari who just passed away at National Hospital Abuja. May his soul rest in peace.”

His Sama Road, Sokoto residence was in a sober mood as family members received condolences from sympathisers.

Brief History

He was born in 1925 in Shagari village

Shagari was sent to a Quranic school before attending Yabo elementary school between 1931 and 1935.

Thereafter, he attended the Sokoto Middle School between 1936 and 1940 and Kaduna College from 1941 to 1944.

He later trained as a teacher at the Teachers Training College, in Zaria, Kaduna, Nigeria.

From 1953-1958, Shagari was a visiting teacher in Sokoto Province.

He joined politics in 1951 and became the secretary of the Northern People’s Congress in Sokoto, Nigeria.

In 1954, he was elected into the House of Representative for Sokoto West and in 1958, he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

He was at various times member of the Federal Scholarship Board (1954-1958), Federal Minister of Commerce and Industries, Federal Minister of Pensions, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Works, Federal Commissioner for Economic Development, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (1970-71) and Federal Commissioner for Finance (1971-75).

The late former president assumed office on October 1, 1979 after winning that year’s election on the platform of the now defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).

He took over from Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo who stepped down in fulfilment of the pledge of the military government that overthrew Gen. Yakubu Gowon in 1975.

Shagari who contested on a joint ticket with the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, was re-elected for a second term in 1983, but his tenure lasted a few months as he was sacked following a military coup on December 31 the same year.

He was detained for several months after he was ousted, and once released, he relocated to Sokoto to live a quiet life.
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Two newly discovered early amphibians Tutusius and Umzantsia that lived about 360 million years ago during the Devonian Period whose partial remains were unearthed at the Waterloo Farm site in South Africa are shown in this artist’s illustration, released June 7, 2018. Courtesy Maggie Newman/Handout via REUTERS
Fossils of two amphibians that lived within the Antarctic circle 360 million years ago are forcing scientists to rethink the origins of land vertebrates, including where these pioneers first appeared and the climatic conditions that spawned them.

Scientists said on Thursday they have unearthed partial remains of primitive Devonian Period amphibians named Tutusius umlambo and Umzantsia amazana at a site called Waterloo Farm near Grahamstown, South Africa.

While the fossils are fragmentary, the researchers said Tutusius and Umzantsia most likely shared the four-legged, alligator-crossed-with-a-fish body plan of the earliest amphibians, eating small fish while in the water and perhaps small invertebrates while on land.

Umzantsia was about 28 inches long (70 cm) with a long, slender lower jaw, apparently armed with small pointed teeth. Tutusius, known from a single shoulder girdle bone, was about a yard (meter) long. It was named in honor of South African Anglican cleric and human rights activist Desmond Tutu.

They were among the early wave of tetrapods, a group including all land-living vertebrates. The first tetrapods evolved from fish during the Devonian. Until now, it had been thought that this evolution revolution occurred in warm climes because the fossils of all the earliest-known amphibians, as well as their fish forerunners, had been found in places that were tropical or subtropical at the time.

Africa during the Devonian was part of a super-continent called Gondwana that also encompassed South America, India, Australia and Antarctica. The Waterloo Farm site was within the Arctic circle.

“So we now know that tetrapods, by the end of the Devonian, lived all over the world, from the tropics to the Antarctic circle,” said paleontologist Robert Gess, based at the Albany Museum in Grahamstown as part of the South African Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences, centered at the University of the Witwatersrand.

“So it’s possible that they originated anywhere and that they could have moved onto land anywhere. It really broadens the scope of possibilities,” Gess added.

The Waterloo Farm site was a river-mouth environment, a tidal estuary opening onto the sea, and likely had a cold climate akin to northern Norway’s Atlantic coast, said paleontologist Per Ahlberg of the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

“There would certainly have been several months of winter darkness, as well as midnight sun in the summer,” Ahlberg said, adding that it probably snowed in wintertime.

The research was published in the journal Science.
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An infrared image of the male mummy known as 'Gebelein Man' can be seen in this photograph issued by The British Museum in London, Britain

Researchers have discovered the oldest figurative tattoos in the world on the upper arms of two ancient Egyptian mummies, the British Museum said on Thursday.

A male mummy was found to have tattoos depicting a wild bull and a Barbary sheep on its upper arm, while a female has linear and S-shaped motifs on its upper arm and shoulder.

The artworks appeared as dark smudges in natural light but researchers at the British Museum and Oxford University’s Faculty of Oriental Studies found the tattoos in 2017 with infrared photography.

“It’s actually providing completely new insights into the use of tattooing,” Daniel Antoine, curator of physical anthropology at the British Museum, told Reuters.

“The location of these tattoos suggests they were designed to be highly visible on the upper arm and the shoulder,” he said, adding that the discoveries push back by 1,000 years evidence for tattooing in Africa.

The mummies were unearthed 100 years ago in the Egyptian town of Gebelein, around 40 km (24 miles) south of modern-day Luxor. They date to 3351 to 3017 BC, which is the Predynatic period before Egypt was unified by the first Pharaoh.

Researchers said the female tattoos may have denoted status, bravery or magical knowledge, while the male’s were likely symbols of virility and strength.

Prior to the discovery, archaeologists believed tattooing in Egypt was only performed on women, as tattoos were only depicted on female figurines of the period.

The oldest surviving tattoos are geometric designs on a mummified corpse known as Otzi, who lived around 5,300 years ago and was discovered preserved in the Italian Alps in 1991.

The research, lead by Antoine and Oxford University’s Renee Friedman, was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on March 1
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The oldest known message in a bottle was found on an Australian beach 132 years after being thrown from a German ship in the Indian Ocean as part of an experiment to track currents, experts said.

The Dutch gin bottle, with no cork or top, was spotted by Tonya Illman in January in remote sand dunes 180km north of Perth, the capital of Western Australia state.

Inside, her family discovered a note tightly rolled up and tied with string, carrying the date June 12, 1886, and the name of the ship, Paula.

“We took it home and dried it out, and when we opened it, we saw it was a printed form, in German, with very faint German handwriting,” Illman said.

Her husband searched online to find that, in an experiment run from 1864 to 1933 by the Deutsche Seewarte, or German Naval Observatory, ship captains would throw bottles overboard, each with a message giving the date, the ship’s name, its location coordinates, home port and destination.

“It was clearly very exciting, but we needed a lot more information,” said Illman’s husband, Kym. “We wanted to know if what we had found was historically significant or a very inventive hoax.”

The family took their find to the Western Australian Museum, which got experts in Germany and the Netherlands to confirm the bottle was made in Holland in the 19th century, the paper matched the era and the vessel Paula had sailed from Cardiff to Makassar in 1886, as themessage stated.

German experts turned up the ship’s journal, with a captain’s entry from June 12, 1886 showing that a drift bottle was thrown overboard. The coordinates, 950km from Australia’s west coast, matched those on the note.

The handwriting in both journal and note also matched. The find has been authenticated by the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) and Germany’s National Meteorological Service (DWD).

“The forms have changed a lot over the years, but in the 1860 period, the form is exactly what you have,” the BSH said in a report.

Researchers think the bottle probably washed up on the coast within a year of being thrown overboard, to be buried in sand until a storm uncovered it.

The message and the bottle will be on display for two years at the museum in the Australian port city of Fremantle.

“It’s quite stunning, I’ve never experienced anything that corroborates so fully as this,” said Ross Anderson, a specialist in maritime archaeology at the museum.
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Remains of a mask in the Sac Actun underwater cave in Mexico's Quintana Roo state

Archaeologists exploring the word’s biggest flooded cave in Mexico have discovered ancient human remains at least 9,000 years old and the bones of animals who roamed the earth during the last Ice Age.

A group of divers recently connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet, a discovery that could help shed new light on the ancient Maya civilisation.

The Yucatan peninsula is studded with monumental relics of the Maya people, whose cities drew upon an extensive network of sinkholes linked to subterranean waters known as cenotes.

Researchers say they found 248 cenotes at the 347-km cave system known as Sac Actun, near the beach resort of Tulum. Of the 200 archaeological sites they have discovered there, around 140 are Mayan.

Some cenotes acquired particular religious significance to the Maya, whose descendants continue to inhabit the region.

Apart from human remains, they also found bones of giant sloths, ancient elephants and extinct bears from the Pleistocene period, Mexico’s Culture Ministry said in a statement.

The cave’s discovery has rocked the archaeological world.

“I think it’s overwhelming. Without a doubt it’s the most important underwater archaeological site in the world,” said Guillermo de Anda, researcher at Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute (Inah).

De Anda is also director of the Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula.

According to the Inah, water levels rose 100 meters at the end of the Ice Age, flooding the cave system and leading to “ideal conditions for the preservation of the remains of extinct megafauna from the Pleistocene.” The Pleistocene geological epoch, the most recent Ice Age, began 2.6 million years ago and ended around 11,700 years ago.
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A partial jawbone bearing seven teeth unearthed in a cave in Israel represents what scientists are calling the oldest-known Homo sapiens remains outside Africa

A partial jawbone bearing seven teeth unearthed in a cave in Israel represents what scientists are calling the oldest-known Homo sapiens remains outside Africa, showing that our species trekked out of that continent far earlier than previously known.

Researchers on Thursday announced the discovery of the fossil estimated as 177,000 to 194,000 years old, and said the teeth bore telltale traits of Homo sapiens not present in close human relatives alive at the time including Neanderthals.

The fossil of the left part of the upper jaw of a young adult — the person’s sex remains unclear — came from Misliya Cave on Mount Carmel’s western slopes about 12km south of Haifa. Also found inside the large collapsed cave, once inhabited by humans, were blades and other stone tools that were sophisticated for the time, several hearths and burned animal bones.

Homo sapiens first appeared in Africa, with the earliest-known fossils roughly 300,000 years old. A key milestone was when our species first ventured out of Africa en route to populating the far corners of the globe.

Until now, the oldest Homo sapiens fossils outside Africa had come from two other cave sites in Israel, including one also on Mount Carmel, about 90,000 to 120,000 years old.

The new discovery supports the idea that humans migrated out of Africa through a northern route, the Nile valley and the eastern Mediterranean coast, and not a southern route across the Bab al-Mandeb strait, the southern coast of Saudi Arabia, the Indian subcontinent and East Asia, said Tel Aviv University paleoanthropologist Israel Hershkovitz, who led the study.

“This is an exciting discovery that confirms other suggestions of an earlier migration out of Africa,” added paleoanthropologist Rolf Quam of Binghamton University in New York, a co-author of the study published in the journal Science.

“Now we finally have fossil evidence of this migration, in addition to inferences drawn from ancient DNA studies and archaeological sites,” Quam said, referring to genetic research suggesting a migration from Africa at least 220,000 years ago and probably earlier.

Hershkovitz said he believes Homo sapiens may have originated some 500,000 years ago.

The Misliya humans were likely nomadic, moving around the landscape following the movements of prey species or according to the seasons of the year, Quam said.

“They were capable hunters of large-game species including wild cattle, deer and gazelles. They also made extensive use of plant materials, including perhaps for bedding,” Quam added.
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Scientists using an imaging method based on cosmic rays have detected a large and enigmatic internal structure in the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, the massive Great Pyramid of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo.

Researchers announced the discovery on Thursday but said they did not know the purpose, contents or precise dimensions of what they are calling a “void” or “cavity” inside the pyramid, built as a monumental tomb around 2560 BC.

To peer inside the pyramid, the scientists used an imaging technique called muon tomography that tracks particles that bombard Earth at close to the speed of light and penetrate deeply into solid objects.

They said the newly discovered internal structure was at least 100 feet (30 metres) long, and located above a hallway measuring about 155 feet long (47 metres) called the Grand Gallery, one of a series of passageways and chambers inside the immense pyramid. The researchers said it constitutes the first major inner structure found in the Great Pyramid since the 19th century.

“What we are sure about is that this big void is there, that it is impressive, that it was not expected by, as far as I know, any kind of theory,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, president and co-founder of the HIP Institute in France, one of the leaders of the study published in the journal Nature.

“We open the question to Egyptologists and archaeologists: what could it be?” added Hany Helal of Cairo University.

The Great Pyramid, looming alongside other large pyramids, is a towering achievement, remarkable for its simple beauty and colossal grandeur. The emblem of one of the great civilizations of antiquity, it soars to a height of 479 feet (146 metres), the tallest structure built by humankind until the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1889, and boasts a base measuring 754 feet (230 metres).

It was constructed during the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu, or Cheops.

The findings come from a project called Scan Pyramids that relies on non-invasive scanning methods to probe the internal structure of the pyramids of ancient Egypt‘s glorious Old Kingdom period and understand how they were built.

“We are not doing this mission in order to find hidden cavaties,” Helal said.

Muon particles originate from interactions between cosmic rays from space and atoms of Earth’s upper atmosphere. The particles can penetrate hundreds of yards (meters) into stone before being absorbed. Placing detectors inside a pyramid can discern cavities within a solid structure.
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The world’s oldest person Violet Brown has died in Jamaica at the age of 117 years and 189 days old.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has expressed his condolences in a Facebook post, calling her “an inspiring woman.”

The woman known as “Aunt V” died Friday at a local hospital, where she had been treated for heart arrhythmia and dehydration.

With her death, the Gerontology Research Group lists Nabi Tajima of Japan was the oldest surviving person. She was born on Aug. 4, 1900.

Brown spent much of her life cutting sugar cane. She remained active in her church until recently and credited her longevity to hard work and her Christian faith.

She had four sons and two daughters. Her eldest son died in April at age 97.
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Archaeologists work on mummies found in the New Kingdom tomb that belongs to a royal goldsmith in Luxor CREDIT: NARIMAN EL-MOFTY/AP
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a tomb of a prominent goldsmith who lived more than 3,000 years ago, unearthing statues, mummies and jewellery in the latest major find near the Nile city of Luxor.

Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani said on Saturday the tomb dated back to Egypt’s 18th dynasty New Kingdom era -- around 15th century B.C.

“The work did not finish yet and we’re continuing and working to find more objects and more tombs,” he told Reuters at the site.

The site includes a courtyard and niche where a statue of the goldsmith Amenemhat and his wife and one of his sons, as well as two burial shafts, the ministry said in a statement.
An Egyptian antiquities worker in the recently discovered tomb of Amenemhat CREDIT: MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS
Earlier this year, authorities announced they had discovered another New Kingdom tomb in Luxor belonging to a judge, and Swedish archaeologists discovered 12 ancient cemeteries near the southern city of Aswan that date back almost 3,500 years.

Egypt’s ancient relics are a draw for tourists and authorities hope new finds can also help attract more visitors.

Tourism in Egypt suffered in the aftermath of the mass protests that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Militant bomb attacks have also deterred foreign visitors.

Egypt’s tourism revenues jumped by 170 percent in the first seven months of 2017, reaching $3.5 billion, authorities said, in welcome news for an economy heavily reliant on the sector for foreign currency and jobs.
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Belgian archaeologists inspect a 16th century fortification unearthed after tram works in Antwerp

Archaeologists in Antwerp have spent the last two weeks excavating parts of a six-metre-high fortified wall that was built around the Belgian city 500 years ago.

The ruins were exposed during preparations for a massive infrastructure project on a major boulevard, including tunnels and a new tram line.

“When we compare to other cities, it was really a monumental and impressive masterpiece already at that time, and still,” archaeologist Femke Martens told Reuters, while standing between two unearthed pillars of what was a bridge to the Red Gate.

That medieval gate was not only a way in and out of the city in its day, but also channelled freshwater to breweries inside the city where beer makers had complained of sour water damaging their product.

Parts of the bridge and city wall will be integrated into the design of the tram way, visible to passengers and pedestrians as part of a new plaza, the Operaplein. But much of the site will be buried in a way designed to keep it intact before a new road is built above.

“In the next decades, we will not see this again,” said Martens. “This is also the reason why we find it so important to document it so well.”
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A composite reconstruction of the earliest known Homo sapiens fossils from Jebel Irhoud in Morocco, based on micro computed tomographic scans of multiple original fossils.

The understanding of human origins was turned on its head on Wednesday with the announcement of the discovery of fossils unearthed on a Moroccan hillside that are about 100,000 years older than any other known remains of our species, Homo sapiens.

Scientists determined that skulls, limb bones and teeth representing at least five individuals were about 300,000 years old, a blockbuster discovery in the field of anthropology.

The antiquity of the fossils was startling – a “big wow”, as one of the researchers called it. But their discovery in North Africa, not East or even sub-Saharan Africa, also defied expectations. And the skulls, with faces and teeth matching people today but with archaic and elongated braincases, showed our brain needed more time to evolve its current form.

“This material represents the very root of our species,” said paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, who helped lead the research published in the journal Nature.

Before the discovery at the site called Jebel Irhoud, located between Marrakech and Morocco’s Atlantic coast, the oldest Homo sapiens fossils were known from an Ethiopian site called Omo Kibish, dated to 195,000 years ago.

“The message we would like to convey is that our species is much older than we thought and that it did not emerge in an Adamic way in a small ‘Garden of Eden’ somewhere in East Africa. It is a pan-African process and more complex scenario than what has been envisioned so far,” Hublin said.

The Moroccan fossils, found in what was a cave setting, represented three adults, one adolescent and one child roughly age 8, thought to have lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

These were found alongside bones of animals including gazelles and zebras that they hunted, stone tools perhaps used as spearheads and knives, and evidence of extensive fire use.

An analysis of stone flints heated up in the ancient fires let the scientists calculate the age of the adjacent human fossils, Max Planck Institute archaeologist Shannon McPherron said.
Dr Jean-Jacques Hublin points out the new finds at Jebel Irhoud in Morocco

There is broad agreement among scientists that Homo sapiens originated in Africa. These findings suggest a complex evolutionary history probably involving the entire continent, with Homo sapiens by 300,000 years ago dispersed all over Africa.

Morocco was an unexpected place for such old fossils considering the location of other early human remains. Based on the shape and age of the Moroccan fossils, the researchers concluded that a mysterious, previously discovered 260,000-year-old partial cranium from Florisbad, South Africa also represented Homo sapiens.

The Jebel Irhoud people had large braincases that lacked the globular shape of those today. Max Planck Institute paleoanthropologist Philipp Gunz said the findings indicate the shape of the face was established early in the history of Homo sapiens, but brain shape, and perhaps brain function, evolved later.

But given their modern-looking face and teeth, Hublin said, these people may have blended in today if they simply wore a hat.

Homo sapiens is now the only human species, but 300,000 years ago it would have shared the planet with several now-extinct cousins in Eurasia – Neanderthals in the west and Denisovans in the east – and others in Africa.

Hublin did not hazard a guess as to how long ago the very first members of our species appeared, but said it could not have been more than 650,000 years ago, when the evolutionary lineage that led to Homo sapiens split from the one that led to the Neanderthals
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An artist's depiction shows the possible surface of TRAPPIST-1f, on one of seven newly discovered planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system
Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, raising the prospect of life, research published on Wednesday showed.

The star, known as TRAPPIST-1, is a small, dim celestial body in the constellation Aquarius. It is located about 40 light years away from Earth. Researchers said the proximity of the system, combined with the proportionally large size of its planets compared to the small star, make it a good target for follow-up studies. They hope to scan the planets’ atmospheres for possible chemical fingerprints of life.

“I think that we’ve made a crucial step towards finding if there is life out there,” University of Cambridge astronomer Amaury Triaud told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday.

The discovery, published in this week’s issue of the journal Nature, builds on previous research showing three planets circling TRAPPIST-1. They are among more than 3,500 planets discovered beyond the solar system, or exoplanets.

Researchers have focused on finding Earth-sized rocky planets with the right temperatures so that water, if any exists, would be liquid, a condition believed to be necessary for life.

The diameter of TRAPPIST-1 is about 8 percent of the sun’s size. That makes its Earth-sized planets appear large as they parade past.

From the vantage point of telescopes on Earth, the planets’ motions regularly block out bits of the star’s light. Scientists determined the system’s architecture by studying these dips.

“The data is really clear and unambiguous,” Triaud wrote in an email to Reuters.

Because TRAPPIST-1 is so small and cool, its so-called “habitable zone” is very close to the star. Three planets are properly positioned for liquid water, said lead researcher Michael Gillon, with the University of Liege in Belgium.

“They form a very compact system,” Gillon said on a conference call. “They could have some liquid water and maybe life.”

Even if the planets do not have life now, it could evolve. TRAPPIST-1 is at least 500 million years old, but has an estimated lifespan of 10 trillion years. The sun, by comparison, is about halfway through its estimated 10-billion-year life.

In a few billion years, when the sun has run out of fuel and the solar system has ceased to exist, TRAPPIST-1 will still be an infant star, astronomer Ignas Snellen, with the Netherlands’ Leiden Observatory, wrote in a related essay in Nature.

“It burns hydrogen so slowly that it will live for another 10 trillion years,” he wrote, “which is arguably enough time for life to evolve.”