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CNN meets Nigerian footwear designer Kene Rapu

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On this week’s episode of African Voices, CNN International meets Nigerian footwear designer, Kene Rapu to learn more about how she grew her business and became the successful entrepreneur she is today.

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Rapu explains how her interest in fashion began at an early age: “I was always, it sounds a little bit cliché, but I was always stylish because I was passionate, people would ask me for advice. Modelling got me into the fashion world [and I] made a lot of connections from working with Lagos Fashion and Design Week over the years… I did some beauty competitions, I was interested in fashion and beauty, but I wouldn’t say that I knew I was going to get into fashion as a business.”

She explains how a career in fashion wasn’t her first choice and that she originally studied law: “As a Nigerian, you always go for something safe and lawyers are safe… I figured out during my law school year that I didn’t want to practice law… I decided I wanted to go into fashion. I went back to the London College of Fashion and got a master’s degree in fashion entrepreneurship.”

Rapu began designing shoes after experiencing limited shoe options. She tells CNN: “I don’t wear heels, so I am very limited in my choice of footwear, and that’s how it really started… Sometimes you would order abroad and having someone [who is] travelling bring it in, or you would have to go and search for something cute. It wasn’t at your door step… I found there was that need, which I didn’t find anyone filling at the time.”

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Speaking about how her company started, she explains: “I started from home. I worked with local cobblers [and] we made the slippers. And I remember, everyone was like, ‘Oh, we love your slippers, where did you get them from?’ And people started placing orders. That’s really how [we] started…. We opened our first store three years ago.”

Rapu explains to the programme how her designs are influenced by her identity and why she’s proud to support ‘made in Nigeria’: “Our styles are also very much a reflection of myself. The brand is my name, so it is intertwined. We work a lot with Ankara print, which is sort of linked to Nigeria, and so that has influenced us… You see a lot of Nigerian women wearing this print, so they’re excited when they see the print in slippers, as well… The Nigerian fashion industry is growing… There was a point where no one really used to buy things made in Nigeria. We would either buy things that were imported from abroad or we would shop abroad … We weren’t really buying Nigerian. Overall, I would say the past ten years, there’s almost been a wave to buy Nigerian [products].”

Since starting her business in 2011, Rapu has continued to grow her company and was chosen to participate in the prestigious Tony Elumelu Foundation Program. Moreover, Kene Rapu was named one of Forbes Africa’s top 30 game-changers under 30. About the honour, Rapu tells CNN: “[It] was exciting, which was a great honour. I was very humbled… When I look back, I think, ‘How did this thing even? You know, this is insane. This is ridiculous. How did you get to this level?’”

In addition to running her footwear company, the young designer also helps inspire others and give back to the community. She tells the programme: “I started a workshop series at the end of last year… And by the time we were done they were so happy. They couldn’t even believe it. They were like, ‘There must be a catch. Why would you tell us all this information?’… I feel like because I have been blessed to have exposure, to have a good education, to have access to fantastic mentors, I think it’s only nice to pay it forward.”

On being a woman in business, Rapu simply says: “I’m a woman, obviously, but I see myself as what am I good at? How can I fulfil my purpose? How can I work my hardest? How can I do what I need to do? I feel like we all really just need to work together, to be the best we can be.”

CNN

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Sahara weekly online is published by First Sahara weekly international. contact saharaweekly@yahoo.com

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An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro’s Leadership Legacy

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An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro's Leadership Legacy

An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro’s Leadership Legacy

 

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In the intricate mosaic of Nigeria’s societal fabric, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro stands as a beacon of commitment, resilience, and service.

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Born on March 6th, 1973, in Lagos, he draws from a lineage steeped in political legacy, being the grandson of the late Premier of Western Region, Alhaji Daudu Sooroye Adegbenro. Raised in a family that values service to the community, Otunba Adegbenro has carved his path as a distinguished figure in Nigerian society.

The culmination of his familial heritage and dedication to community service was marked by his installation as the first Otunba Laje of Owu Kingdom in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.

This historic event, which took place on January 20th, 2018, under the auspices of His Royal Majesty Oba Olusanya Dosunmu II, traditional ruler of Owu kingdom, reinforced Otunba Adegbenro’s deep-rooted ties to his cultural heritage and commitment to uplifting his people.

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Beyond his traditional titles, his influence extends globally, with his appointment as High Commissioner by the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC), where he spearheads foreign special missions aimed at preventing illegal migration and human trafficking. This appointment is a testament of his reputation as a renowned security expert and industrialist, whose expertise transcends national borders.

In his role as the acting Director-General of the National Commission against the Proliferation of Arms, Light Weapons, and Pipeline Vandalism (NATCOM), Otunba Adegbenro has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to combating threats to national security. His vast experience in security consultancy and supply of security gadgets has positioned him as a pivotal figure in Nigeria’s security landscape.

However, Otunba Laje of Owu Kingdom’s contributions extend beyond the realm of security.

Through his foundation, the Otunba Adejare Adegbenro Foundation (OAAF), he channels his resources towards uplifting the less privileged in society. With initiatives ranging from the provision of boreholes to communities lacking access to clean water, to scholarships for deserving students, he exemplifies the spirit of philanthropy and communal solidarity.

Reflecting on his journey, Otunba Adegbenro once acknowledged the challenges he has faced, from navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship to confronting societal stereotypes.

Yet, through it all, he remains resolute in his commitment to service and upliftment. His philosophy, rooted in faith and compassion, drives him to make a tangible difference in the lives of others, regardless of obstacles encountered along the way.

Otunba Adejare Adegbenro stands as a testament to the power of leadership, resilience, and unwavering dedication to the common good. In him, Nigerians find not only a visionary leader but a compassionate steward of progress, whose impact reverberates far beyond the shores of his homeland.

 

An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro's Leadership Legacy

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Bullying: Victim may sue As Abuja School Shut

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Bullying: Victim may sue As Abuja School Shut

Bullying: Victim may sue As Abuja School Shut

 

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Lead British International School Abuja, which has been in the eye of the storm over viral videos of bullying involving some of its students, has been shut for three days.

The shutdown order was issued on Tuesday by the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye.

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The Public Relations Officer of the FCT Education Secretariat, Kabiru Musa,  confirmed that the school had been shut down by the minister.

“Yes, it was shut down by the honourable Minister of Women  Affairs for 3 days,” Musa in response to a Whatsapp message by one of our correspondents.

 

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staff member of the school, whose name could not be ascertained as of press time, had earlier announced the shutdown of the school by the minister.

The PUNCH reports that an X user, @moooyeeeee, had on Monday night posted two videos of a female student of the school being repeatedly slapped by another female classmate.

The user called for justice for the victim. Since they were posted, the videos have drawn the wrath of many users of the microblogging platform, who condemned the incident and called for the school authorities to investigate and punish the culprits.

 

A third video depicting a separate case of bullying at the Lead British International School, Abuja emerged on Tuesday.

In the new video posted on Tuesday, some male students in the school’s uniform are seen surrounding another boy who appears to be in casual attire.

A student slapped the boy, who was on his knees, and then some of the other boys who were gathered appealed to stop the ‘bully’ from further harming the boy, who was later whisked away in the nine-second video.

An X user, @PopoolaJoke4, who posted the video wrote, “No be the same school?”, in response to the first viral video of bullying in the same school that was released earlier.

In one of the videos of the minister’s visit, the  representative of the school was heard saying, “By the request of the Minister of Women Affairs, we are Nigerians who respect rules and regulations and we are under the law because our school is actually recognised and our school is under the Federal Capital Territory, and we are registered and based on that, Lead British International School, Abuja is hereby shut  for three days.”

As of the time of filing this report, our correspondent could not ascertain whether the FCTA would use the occasion to investigate other private schools in which alleged cases of bullying take place in the FCT.

Victim threatens lawsuit

 

Namtira Bwala, the student assaulted by her fellow students at Lead British International School, has written the school management, demanding a thorough investigation and heavy sanctions for the 11 students who bullied her.

Two of the bullies were identified tobe Maryam Hassan and a certain Faliya.

Bwala, in a letter addressed to the management of her school through her lawyers at the Deji Adeyanju and Partners Law Firm, gave the school an ultimatum of 48 hours after which she will seek legal redress.

 

A copy of the letter obtained by The PUNCH read, “Our client and several other parents in Lead British International School have informed us and we verily believe them that this act of bullying is a reoccurring issue in the school, and despite several attempts to draw the school’s attention to it, the issue has persisted, leaving our client traumatised from the emotional and physical effect of the oppressive acts by these daredevil bullies.

“Our client completely dissociates herself from the statement issued by the school on April 22, 2024, wherein a case of battery was unconscionably referred to as an ‘incident between minors’.

“Sequel to the foregoing, we have our client’s instruction to demand an immediate investigation and the pronouncement of the stiffest possible sanctions in the student’s rule book on Ms. Maryam Hassan, Miss Faliya and nine other students who have formed a cult of bullies in Lead British International School, Gwarimpa, Abuja.

“Please note that if the school fails to sanction the student bullies within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, we have our client’s further instruction to seek an immediate and severe legal redress against Lead British International School, Gwarimpa, without further recourse to you.”

 

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Yahaya Bello: Appeal Court fails to hear EFCC’s suit against order restraining ex-Gov’s arrest

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Kogi AG Vs. AGF: Supreme Court cautions against continued harassment of Kogi officials

Yahaya Bello: Appeal Court fails to hear EFCC’s suit against order restraining ex-Gov’s arrest

 

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Hearing on the appeal instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against an interim order of the Kogi State High Court restraining the Commission from arresting, detaining, harassing or prosecuting Yahaya Bello, pending the determination of the substantive originating motion for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights, suffered a setback on Monday, as the Court of Appeal failed to sit.

 

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Governor Yahaya Bello Reveals His Preferred Successor

 

The appropriateness of the siege on Bello’s residence by operatives of the Commission last Wednesday had elicited a heated debate across the country, particularly with the realisation that there had been a restraining order against such action, which had not been vacated as of the time of such action.

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The EFCC had appealed the order on March 11, 2024 and sought for a stay of execution in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission v. Alhaji Yahaya Bello. The Court of Appeal did not grant the stay of execution but fixed Monday, April 22 for hearing.

However, the Kogi High Court, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, had delivered its substantive judgment in the matter and directed the commission to seek the leave of a superior court before taking further step against Bello. The judgment was read at about 12pm.

As at about 8am, when EFCC laid siege on Bello’s Abuja residence, the interim injunction, which restrained them from arresting or harassing him, among others, was still subsisting.

Justice Isa Abdullahi had, in his latest verdict, held: “Looking at the Orders sought by the applicant (Yahaya Bello), I am inclined to grant them subject to some alterations which in my view will meet the justice of this case, in the following terms;
1. An Order is hereby granted enforcing the Fundamental Rights of the applicant to liberty and freedom of movement and fair hearing, by restraining the Respondent (EFCC) by themselves, their agents, servants or privies from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain or in any manner whatsoever arresting, detaining or prosecuting the Applicant on the basis of the criminal Charges now pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja to wit; Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022 between FRN v. Ali Bello & Anor, without prejudice to the power of the said Federal High Court, to make any Order as it may deem just in the determination of the rights of the Applicant and the Respondent as may be submitted to her for consideration and determination.

2. An Order is hereby granted directing the Respondent to bring before the said Federal High Court, or any such appropriate Court, such criminal Charge, allegation or Complaint in respect whereof the Applicant is reasonably believed by the Respondent to have committed any offence subject of its jurisdiction, provided that the Respondent shall not invite, arrest or detain the Applicant on account of a reasonable belief that the Applicant has committed any financial crime, without first obtaining the leave of a superior Court of Record, especially haven regard to the antecedents of the Respondent in the manner it has managed its engagements with the Applicant.”

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