A total of 500 Islamic scholars from 14 districts of the northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara have prayed for ailing Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the country.

This was disclosed by an official of the state who said the scholars recited the Holy Quran 100 times from Sunday night to Monday morning as part of the Nigerian public holiday Democracy Day which falls on May 29.

“If the President, as the leader of Nigeria, is not well, then it becomes the concern of all Nigerians to know that his recovery is highly important to us as a people and as a nation,” local news portal Vanguard quotes Alhaji Lawal Liman, the state’s Commissioner for Rural and Community Development.

“We have organised different prayer sessions throughout the state and we believe as Hafeez (memorizers of the Holy Qur’an) their prayers will be of immense benefit for our state, its leaders and people and the nation, especially the President, who is now on medical treatment in London,” Liman added.

Muhammadu Buhari left the country for London early this month to “seek further medical checkups” two months after he returned from a medical leave.

“The length of the President’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. Government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice President,” a statement from the presidency said.

Before his departure, Buhari missed three consecutive cabinet meetings deepening fears about his capacity to rule Africa’s most populous country.

Osinbajo, a lawyer who is seen as more business-friendly than Buhari, has played an active role in driving policy changes, chairing cabinet meetings during the president’s medical leave.

Officials have sought to avoid a scenario seen in 2010 when political infighting broke out when then-President Umaru Yar’Adua was sick for months.

Osinbajo was already given full powers to act during Buhari’s previous absence, in contrast to his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan who only took over after Yar’Adua’s death in 2010 ended a power vacuum.




Source: africanews

US President Donald Trump has met Pope Francis at the Vatican for a short private audience on the third leg of his overseas trip.

He arrived for the meeting along with his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The meeting was keenly awaited as the two men have already clashed at a distance on issues including migration and climate change.

Mr Trump will later meet Italy's president and prime minister.

He will then fly to Brussels for a Nato summit.

He earlier vowed to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace, as he ended the Middle East leg of his tour.

The US leader began his foreign trip with a two-day stop in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, urging Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalisation.

Mr Trump and his entourage arrived at the Vatican just before 06:30 GMT.

They were led by the Swiss Guard from the Vatican courtyard to the offices of Pope Francis.

Donald Trump at the Vatican

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were part of the entourage, which also included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser HR McMaster.

The two men spoke privately for about 20 minutes before joining the rest of the entourage and posing for photographs.

Later, Mr Trump will hold talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

This is Mr Trump's first visit to Europe since he took office in January.

Security has been stepped up across Rome, with the areas around the Vatican City, the Italian presidential palace and the American ambassador's residence, where Mr Trump is staying, temporarily closed to traffic.

Despite the heavy police presence, about 100 anti-Trump protesters held a rally in one of Rome's squares on Tuesday evening.

Later on Wednesday, Mr Trump will fly to Brussels, where significant protests are expected.

For the EU and for Nato, this visit is about damage limitation with the fervent hope of establishing some kind of transatlantic chemistry, the BBC's Europe editor Katya Adler says.

She adds that the tone in Brussels has gone from off-the-record sneering when the erratic and unpredictable Mr Trump first won the November elections, to outright concern now that the implications of his presidency have begun to sink in.

Mr Trump will end his tour on the Italian island of Sicily at the G7 summit on Friday.




Source: BBC

An Ivy League student will be graduating with one of the highest accolades after submitting a 10-track rap album for his final thesis, the first to do so in the history of the university.

Obasi Shaw wrote the album, titled Liminal Minds in a year. It was awarded the second highest grade in the department - summa cum laude minus.

Each song is told from a different character’s perspective, a format inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s seminal 14th-century piece, The Canterbury Tales, and focuses on black identity in America.

The 20-year-old, originally from Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta said he "never thought it would be accepted by Harvard".

Undergraduates at the university do not need to submit senior theses, but for those wishing to graduate with honours, it is a requirement.

Rather than write an essay, collection of poems or a piece of prose, Shaw decided to try something different.

It was Shaw’s mother who sparked the initial idea, after noticing her son write raps and perform them at open mic nights on campus.

Changing perceptions of rap, pioneered by artists like Kendrick Lamar, have catapulted the genre into literary acclaim.

The rapper’s album To Pimp A Butterfly, as well as Nas’ Illmatic were both added to the Harvard Library in acknowledgement of their cultural significance.

In Shaw’s first track, Declaration of Independence, he writes: "Behold, what we hold is three-fold—Body and spirit to be thrones for free souls. Self is the evidence, please close the freak shows, And depose the evils, our peoples are equals".

Shaw also uses the writings of James Baldwin to talk about slavery and police violence.

Harvard English lecturer and Shaw’s thesis adviser Josh Bell, was highly impressed with his student’s creation, praising the album for its fluidity – both as an academic piece and an artistic creation.

The album is available online for free. After graduation, Shaw will work as a software engineer at Google.

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