Day: February 1, 2018

Meet The South London Church Where 55% Of The Members Are Former Gangsters And Knives Are Left At The Altar

A church in south London says it is saving people from a life of crime by using former gang members to show others a different way of life. How does it work?

It is not a scene you would expect to find in a church.

Lead pastor Tobi Adegboyega asks members of the congregation to make their way to the front with any weapons they may have in their pockets.

It is a system based on trust but such amnesties have proved successful.

“We’ve had times where people are coming to the altar and dropping their knives and drugs,” explains fellow minister Connor Callaghan.

“Last week I was praying for a 23-year-old who was recently released from prison and he was crying.”

Connor Callaghan
Connor Callaghan has served time in prison for robbery

This is Spac Nation Ministries, a “young dynamic church” in Southwark.

Its preaching is tailored to a different kind of congregation – former armed robbers, drug dealers, gang members and one man who spent time in prison for attempted murder.

By its own figures, 55% of those that attend have previously been involved in a life of crime.

Connor himself has served time in prison.

“I went to jail for some robberies, possession of a bladed article. I was charged with money laundering of £30,000.

“But I feel like if I had come here before, I would have been shown the right mentorship and guidance.”

Tobi Adegboyega
Tobi Adegboyega is the church’s lead pastor

Connor says he has turned his back on his former way of life, something the church hopes to replicate with others.

Lead pastor Tobi says his success in helping to reform ex-criminals lies in his ability to connect with them and offer them a level of support the official routes cannot.

He currently has 14 ex-criminals living in his house, and has been known to pick people up from the prison gates to ensure they do not fall back into trouble.

Tobi's home
Fourteen ex-criminals live with Tobi

He also takes a different approach to many ministers in the way he dresses, wearing ripped jeans while preaching – something he jokes he never would have previously envisaged.

“I understand our approach is different from a traditional church. I’ve got to look like them [the congregation]. I’ve got to connect with them.

“I’ve got access and I’m speaking to the worst of the worst – people who have done the most despicable things. And I sit down with them and we talk.”


It is an approach approved by the authorities, given that Tobi’s position allows him to build a level of trust with people who may not have the same faith in the police.

Chief Supt Sean Yates, who heads up the Metropolitan Police’s knife crime unit, told the BBC he wanted churches “to be seen as safe spaces for young people, places they can go and talk to someone”.

The force says it is “committed to targeting knife crime through enforcement and education, but… we need the help of the community to tackle what is a very complex issue”.


Spac Nation’s methods, however, are not without their critics.

The church has been described as a “cult”, its pastors do not have to undergo formal training and members are encouraged to flaunt their wealth in order to make the church look glamorous to the gang members it wants to attract.

But Tobi rejects such criticism: “I show them what they’ve always wanted to be, and that they were looking for it in the wrong place.”

One of the ways the church does this is to actively take to the streets and seek out gang members it believes it can show a new way of life.

Ex-gang members who are respected in such circles lead the way.

In Croydon, south London, preacher David Adjaye – a former leader of DSN, one of Croydon’s largest criminal gangs – is keen to pray with people on the streets.

David Adjaye
David Adjaye is a former gang member

London has just had its worst year for knife crime for some time, with 26 teenagers stabbed to death.

“We don’t care who we approach,” says David. “We’re coming as peacemakers to offer these people help.

“It is a dangerous thing to do but with a good heart we know all is well.”

Having been in a similar situation to those he talks to, he hopes his experience gives him the trust and authority that others in the community may not have.


Minister Daniel Ogoloma explains: “An elderly person who has never been on the streets of Brixton can’t tell a gang leader why they can’t carry a knife.

“What the [gang member] needs is to build partnerships with community leaders who have been in that position.”

It is an ethos that is at the heart of the church.

“If knives and guns take human lives, it is the role of the church to save lives,” says Tobi.

The story was featured on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme


Register To Vote In The Right Candidates – Ibori Urges Voters

Former Delta State Governor Chief James Ibori has urged Nigerians to take the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration seriously to enable them vote in the right candidates during elections.

Ibori, who is also the publisher of The Independent Newspapers Ltd., said this on Thursday at the company’s Annual Thanksgiving service held at its premises in Lagos.

He said that massive participation of the electorate in the exercise as well as voting their choice of leaders was the only way they could effect good leadership.

“You should hold your leaders accountable by going to register, and vote in the right leaders.

“You should know that your vote counts; times are changing, your voter card is your strength,” he said.

The former Governor urged his staff to speak the truth at all times and to be hardworking.

“The business model for publishing a newspaper has changed; we need to change with it. You as journalists should be fearless because it is your duty to speak the truth to those in power,” he said.

Also speaking at the event , the Lagos Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola who urged Nigerians to always give thanks to God, no matter their situation.

“We must give thanks to God, our creator, no matter our situation; it is the only way to obtain God’s blessings and favour.

“In thanking God, we are making our requests known to him; we will get more blessing and God will surely come to the aid of the people and the country at large, if we continue to thank him” he said.

Bamgbola urged Nigerians to live holy and exemplary lives by shunning negative tendencies, saying that it was only righteousness that could exalt an individual and a nation.

The thanksgiving service was to appreciate God for preserving the lives of staff members of the Independent Newspapers in 2017 and seeing them through to 2018.

Trump Writes To African Leaders. Denies Making “Shithole” Slur

African leaders decided to refrain from issuing a resolution to criticise Donald Trump’s alleged reference to their nations as “shithole countries” because the U.S. president sent them a letter expressing respect for the continent.

The leaders who met at an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital were initially set to demand an apology from Trump over the remark reported by sources at a meeting on immigration with him this month.

Trump denies making the comment.

Reports of the comment touched a nerve because they come on top of decisions by the Trump administration, particularly on visa restrictions, that many Africans say unfairly penalise the continent.

As the summit was being held at ministerial level, the gathering drafted a resolution calling on Trump to “publicly apologise to all Africans”.

Anything short of that would force them to suspend a cooperation deal signed between Washington and the bloc, a draft seen by Reuters showed.

African leaders are “dismayed and shocked by the increasingly consistent trend by the Trump Administration to denigrate (people) of African descent … thereby promoting racism, xenophobia and bigotry,” the draft read.

A January 25 letter sent by Trump prompted a change of tack at presidential level.

One summit official said the final resolution that is yet to be released contains no reference to the issue after the leaders concluded the meeting late on Monday.

“I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships with African states as sovereign states is firm,” Trump said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would “travel to Africa for an extended visit,” he said.

The AU Commission had “taken due note” of the letter, which wished the summit success, Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said during the closing press conference.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who met Trump last week on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said Trump’s reported comment had no impact on the AU summit.

“When Americans decided to give us Trump as their president we deal with that president of the United States.

“It is not an issue of whether you appreciate him for this or for that, it is a job that he is doing for his country,” added Kagame, who assumed the African Union’s chairmanship this year.



By Olajumoke Ariyo

One of our major problems stem from the fact that when our leaders are performing blatantly woefully, their supporters refuse to call them out or point their wrongs out to them.

They pat them on the back, sing their praises to everyone who is daft enough to listen and viciously attack anyone who dares to say a single word of criticism against their “fake” hero.

Until we start to tell each other – and our leaders the truth without fear of reprisals, intimidation or the cutting off of our small small handouts, I’m afraid Nigeria will continue to sink down the great abyss of self destruction it is currently sliding.

I have always openly said I am a supporter of President Buhari and even openly pleaded on ALL my platforms that he be given a chance to show his worth. This however will not stop me from pointing out areas where I feel he is simply not performing up to expectation and letting us down.

Needless to say I have faced some attack for that – even on my social media wall. But I strongly believe the truth must be told. YES he is our man. But we must not close our eyes and pretend we don’t know his administration is failing Nigerians. And by that, I mean – not the rich, connected and privileged who seem to be doing much better even under the nose of a President who came in under the auspices of ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION. I’m talking about the ordinary Nigerian on the street. Those who have no access to the corridors of government or big businesses. Those Nigerians who have to rely on bribery in the work place simply because their legitimate pay packet can only stretch so far – and that is when they are actually paid.
I’m talking about pensioners like my MUM who even though left active service over 10 years ago – is still having to beg for her legitimate and constitutional gratuities and allowances.
I’m talking about small businesses who have no choice than to sell the bulk of their goods on credit to clients that rely on salaries that are never paid.

I’m talking about frustrated students who are prevented from attending lectures because their tuition fees have not been paid – even though their parents are being owed several months salaries.
We are talking about Nigerians driven half mad by toxic fumes and incessant noise from electricity generators that are as common as the air we breathe in Nigeria.
I’m talking about Nigerians who have to bury their loved ones HAVEN being slaughtered while innocently going about their daily lives, by insane attackers or fulani herdsmem.

I’m talking about farmers who have had their farms unreasonably set on fire or crops eaten up by herds of cattle reared by herdsmen who have shown that they have no respect whatsoever for authority or indeed the lives and property of others.

I’m talking about Nigerians in a rich oil producing country who cannot get petrol for their tanks and even when it is available, the costs are almost unaffordable for the average citizen.
Yet many of the President’s sycophantic mouthpieces will not want him to see these, but chose to threaten those of us that dare to point them out.

But with false feedback, just how can our leaders know exactly how they are faring….or the true opinion of their people. When leaders who rely on aides and others surrounding them, cannot be be given the real picture of things by these so called advisers, then they are doing him a great disservice rather than favour. A leader that is constantly been fed lies and falsities will also not have the real picture of how exactly they are performing or how people truly feel about them or indeed of how bad things truly are so that necessary steps of action can be taken to ameliorate the ailing situation.

It is about time that our leaders surround themselves with bold, courageous and truly honourable men with integrity who will not just tell them what they feel they want to hear, but the real truth no matter how ugly or unpalatable it is. Not “Yes-men” and fearful little men with no liver who feel telling the bitter truth will be seen as a grievous offense that could be severely punished.

And while we are at it, I am still baffled by the fact that there are many out there who still “wail” and harass others about their corruption-encouraging, yam eaters- supporting, strong-drink guzzling, back-seat President GEJ? How anyone still thinks that fellow was anything but a mediocre leader is sincerely beyond my understanding!




Many Do Not Love You. They Love The Idea Of You. RMD Advises Fans Ahead Of Valentine’s Day

Veteran actor Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD) on Thursday advised people searching for true love on social media to be cautious so as not to fall into the snare lies of `I love you`.

RMD in his Instagram page on the social media said this advice was necessary as the Valentine Season usually celebrated on Feb.14 on an annual basis draws closer.

The former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Delta said that he wanted to share his intellectual, motivational and thoughtful insights to guide appropriately those finding love on the internet to guide them against being jilted.

He said on his Instagram page, “ If I wasn’t the six foot, successful, famous, good-looking RMD, will you still love me?
“If not for the level of fame I have achieved and the success tied to my brand; will you still scream my name?
“If I was a middle-aged, grey-bearded, emaciated applicant hoping to be your driver, will you give me a second look?

Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD)

“If I was a half-literate Warri boy who said ‘Nyam’ instead of Yam, “Shorsh” instead of Church and “I chock” instead of “I was shocked”, will you not mock and laugh at my speech?

“If I, as RMD, fell on hard times, lost my fame and fortune, became helpless and hopeless, will you show any sympathy?
“I asked, not because I do not know the answers but so that he that has ears will hear and hopefully learn a thing or maybe, two, “he said.

He continued by saying, “In your desire to be loved and accepted, it is important to ask yourselves how much of the love and admiration are thrown at you are genuine.

“Know that many do not love you; they love the idea of you.

Long Queues As Cape Town Runs Out Of Water. Taps To be Turned Off By April 16

Cape Town,  a city once at the forefront of Africa’s green movement — implemented new emergency water restrictions Thursday as the sprawling metropolis prepares for the day its taps run dry.


CNN reports that residents are now being asked to curb the amount of municipal water they use each day to just 50 liters (a little over 13 gallons). Only a month ago, level six restrictions had placed residents on a daily allowance of 87 liters (about 23 gallons), illustrating the severity of the looming crisis.
Officials estimate that if water levels continue to fall as expected, South Africa’s second most populous city will run out of water by April 16, which is known as “Day Zero.”
Experts are keeping a close eye on daily consumption in a desperate bid to avoid the disaster, warning residents tempted to ignore measures that they face fines and the installation of water-management meters if they do not comply.

It may seem unthinkable that a developed city of four million could run out of water but it’s been a slow-burning catastrophe exacerbated by some uncontrollable factors.
Cape Town been enduring the worst drought in a century for the past three years. A changing climate and rapidly growing population have made matters worse.
And as the crisis has taken hold, Capetonians have not been doing enough to curb their water use, further aggravating the scarcity. Only an estimated 55% of the city’s residents are actually sticking to their allotted water per day, according to last week’s figures issued by authorities.

A team prepares a site where the Cape Town city council has ordered drilling into the aquifer to tap water, in Mitchells Plains, Cape Town.

The city is now working to upgrade its water systems and help stretch the current supply, but officials say residents need to step up, too.
“It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero,” the mayor’s office said in January. “We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water. We must force them.”

Residents already feeling impact

A man carries water at a source for natural spring water in Cape Town on Thursday.

Capetonians immediately felt the latest measures take effect Thursday. Uyanda Precious Purple Mchunu lives in Long Street in the heart of Cape Town. She told CNN she woke up with no water in her apartment and was late to work.
“We got no update about not having water at all. I woke up at 5:00 a.m (10:00 p.m. ET Wednesday) to shower and (not a) drop came out. I am very upset about the situation,” she said.
“I feel like I need to get 20 liters so I can store water. But guess what: we don’t even have a schedule in terms of when will water come and when will it be off so we can be prepared. Nothing.”

The drought-hit city of Cape Town introduced further water restrictions on Thursday in an attempt to avoid what it calls "Day Zero," the day in mid-April when it might have to turn off most taps.

Mchunu, who works for Intellicell, a telecommunications company in Cape Town’s CBD Central, added that she couldn’t cook yesterday and but today it’s worse.
“We can’t flush the toilet and (we’re) running out of water to drink. Buying water is very expensive, I must say,” she added.

Apprehension at unknown grows

As the countdown inches closer, residents have been growing increasingly anxious, with many stockpiling water and installing tanks at their properties.
Amanda Stergianos, a blogger who lives in Cape Town’s southern suburb of Meadowridge, documented how this latest round of restrictions has affected residents while she was out and about on Thursday.
“I decide to go to the local spring at 6:00 a.m (11:00 p.m. ET Wednesday) to hopefully avoid the queues, and it was just so surreal,” Stergianos told CNN. “It was humming with activity.”
Stergianos witnessed elderly people who said they were struggling to carry the water tanks, adding there’s been a “total lack of forward planning for those who can’t collect water.”
“I am strong and healthy, but also a single parent. Carrying 25 liters (about 6.6 gallons) of water is nearly impossible for me for more than five meters without setting it down — let alone for long walks from the springs to the cars,” she said.
“At collection points, no portage is available, no shade — what about all the elderly? At some points, you may not fill more than one container, meaning if I collect for my household, then collect for my elderly father, I must go back to the back of the queue for another few hours again,” she continued.

Residents have been asked to use no more than 50 liters (around 13 gallons) of water daily, down from the previous limit of 87 liters (about 23 gallons).

Another Capetonian, Adele van der Spuy, relayed the daily struggle of so many in a video filmed outside a Makro wholesale warehouse in Cape Town last Friday.
“People were already rushing in and out of the shop to buy water,” van der Spuy told CNN. “Some actually went in several times as we were only allowed to buy five boxes at a time.”
Van der Spuy, a casino worker, described the scene as something she had “never witnessed before.”
“It is eye opening and an indication of the panic and also what lies ahead,” she continued.
Her video is just one of several clips doing the rounds on social media that show water selling “like hotcakes,” van der Spuy said.
“People are queuing in long lines to buy water. Some shops have been sold out for a few days now. It seems like you have to be at the shop as soon as they open in order to get water,” van der Spuy added.