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Costa Rica Becomes First Country in Central to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

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Costa Rica legalised same-sex marriage on Tuesday, becoming the first Central American country to do so, as a court ruling came into force at midnight.

Planned celebrations did not take place because of the coronavirus pandemic, but a special program about LGBT rights was broadcast on public television and online as the first weddings were held.

“This change will bring about a significant social and cultural transformation, allowing thousands of people to marry,” said President Carlos Alvarado in the program.

Costa Rica is the eighth country in the Americas to recognise same-sex marriage — a group that includes Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, as well as Canada and the US.

The move was triggered by a 2018 ruling of the Supreme Court which declared the part of the law banning gay marriage was unconstitutional.

That ruling gave parliament 18 months to legislate on the matter — but it did not, so the provision was automatically annulled.

“Costa Rica is celebrating today: marriage equality has become a reality in the country — the first one in Central America,” said the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) in a tweet.

“We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!”

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN’s Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, called it “an extraordinary moment of celebration” in a tweet posted hours before midnight.

He expressed “gratitude to the work of so many activists, and of quiet reflection of the lives of those who lived without seeing this moment”.

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I’ve Given My Life to Christ, Metuh Says After EFCC Ordeal

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In a brief speech, former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Olisa Metuh, has said that he has given his life to Christ, and to the service of God for the rest of his life, following his survival after his months of incarceration by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The former National Publicity Secretary spoke when some PDP faithful received him at the party secretariat in Awka on Wednesday.

He said:

“Since I returned from EFCC custody, I have given my life to Christ

“I have been to the lowest, deepest end of the valley. I have wrestled with the demons.

“I wrestled with the devils. The Almighty God has saved me. For that, I commit the rest of my life to the service of God and the people.

“It is not easy. It is just like being in your house and an armed robber comes to your house, takes away all your earnings, beats you up, violates your wife, deals with your children and you can’t do anything because he has the gun.

“When we have power, we should know how to use it because there is God in heaven. At the end of the day, all of us will die.”

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Again, Bandits Invade Zamfara Secondary School, Abduct 300 Girls

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Armed bandits have attacked a girls secondary school in Zamfara State, kidnapping many female students, the BBC is reporting.

The attack reportedly occurred at the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State Friday morning.

A teacher in the school confirmed the attack to BBC Hausa with the number of kidnapped students said to be close to 300.

PREMIUM TIMES will provide more details of the incident in subsequent reports. The state government and the police were yet to speak on the incident at the time of this report.

Zamfara in Northwest Nigeria is one of the states most affected by bandits’ attacks. The attacks have continued despite negotiations initiated by the state government with the bandits.

The latest attack on the Zamara school occurs about two weeks after over 20 students were abducted by armed bandits from a school in Niger State. The students in Niger were yet to be released at the time of this report.

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Tears As Victims of Air Force Plane Crash Are Buried in Abuja

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The remains of the seven Nigerian Air Force officers, who died in Sunday’s plane crash, were committed to mother earth at the National Cemetery, Lugbe, Airport Road, Abuja, on Thursday amid outpour of emotions and uncontrolled tears.

The personnel died in the Beechcraft King Air B350i aircraft, which crashed a short distance from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after reporting engine failure.

The deceased are the Captain, Fl. Lt. Haruna Gadzama; Fl. Lt. Henry Piyo (co-pilot); Flying Officer Michael Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System specialist); Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS specialist); Fl. Sgt. Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS specialist); Sgt. Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS specialist); and Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (onboard technician).

At the funeral service were the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Salihi Magashi (retd.); the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen Lucky Irabor; the Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, and the family members of the deceased as well as members of the National Assembly.

The CAS, who got emotional and broke down several times during his address, described the deceased as some of the finest officers in the service and prayed God to console their immediate families.

He said, “I must confess that even at this moment, the Nigerian Air Force is still in palpable shock and grieving very deeply upon this loss of our gallant and courageous heroes, in whom we had so much confidence, with our expectations now suddenly and painfully cut short.”

Amao saluted the supreme sacrifice of the young men, whom he said gave their lives in the defence of the peace “which we all enjoy and often take for granted.”

He explained that the airmen flew their quota of ongoing surveillance missions in the North-East, North-West and more recently in the North-Central over Niger State and its environs in connection with the efforts to secure the release of the staff and students abducted from the Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State.

Olawunmi was recalled from leave – Sister

Mrs Sola Oluwasola, the elder sister of Airman Olawunmi, said the deceased was on leave when he was recalled by his superiors for an operation.

She said the victim left behind three children, including a one-year-old son.

According to Oluwasola, the deceased had been taking care of the entire family members, particularly their aged mother.

She recalled that only two persons were shortlisted by the Nigerian Air Force in the entire Ekiti State when Olawunmi joined the military in 2001.

The Punch

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