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Spirit of Naija: One, award winner, others desperate emigrants



A Nigerian woman who has campaigned against Islamist extremists Boko Haram was on Tuesday awarded a Japanese peace prize worth $170,000.

Esther Ibanga, a pastor and activist in Nigeria, has kept up a vocal protest against the kidnappings that Boko Haram has made almost routine, the Niwano Peace Foundation said.

The foundation said it had awarded Ibanga its 20 million yen annual prize because of the way she has tirelessly pressured central and local governing officials in her efforts to fight back against extremists.

“Esther has worked extensively to foster and facilitate reconciliation between conflicting religious and tribal groups,” setting up an organisation that has all tribal women leaders on its membership, the Buddhist group-backed foundation said.

Meanwhile, about forty illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Nigeria and Syria were injured, five seriously, when their van overturned Tuesday on a Serbian highway.

The accident occurred near Leskovac, some 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Belgrade, when the van flipped and crashed into a field.

The immigrants entered Serbia from Macedonia and were headed towards EU territory, the report said. Serbia has land borders with three EU countries: Croatia, Hungary and Romania.

The country lies on the so-called Balkans route used by criminals to smuggle people, drugs and weapons towards Western Europe.

–          Ripples


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