“foreign gods, inc.”

This heart warming book review caught my attention as I trolled the net for stories this afternoon. It’s a book  will look for and buy in hopes that my appetite for reading, once voracious, will be restored.

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BY SHAY HOWELL

Bitter, sweet, pulpy, and rich in flavor, Okey Ndibe’s second novel “foreign gods, inc.” reads like the uncracked innards of a strange fruit. Each sentence a carefully crafted, holistic expression of Ndibe’s eloquence, smacks of a master at work.

Here, he gives us Ike (pronounced ee-kay): a Nigerian cabdriver living in New York City. By a bitter twist of Manhattan irony, Ike ekes out a meager salary driving cabs despite his university training in economics. With sweetness, Ike returns home to Utonki, Nigeria, where his family has felt his struggles in New York even more bitterly, subsiding and starving from the intermittent money he sends. His family embraces him as a leader returned, but Ike knows better.

More a prodigal son than a true leader, Ikechukwu Uzondi– “Ike” for short– struggles between worlds, grasping at a tenable solution for himself, his family, and his struggling hometown. Thinking like a true economist, his solution to poverty lies in finding the quickest path to the most money. An economic solution to economic problems.

Okey Ndibe tells Ike’s story with fiery clairvoyance, breaking apart Ike’s conundrum piecemeal. Ike came to America to build a career, make money, and help him solve his home’s larger problems. Finding himself stuck driving a cab instead, Ike becomes obsessed with finding another way. As if flailing in quicksand, the more he tries to solve his own problems, the more he sinks lower into his morass. He drinks to escape his failures and gambles to assuage the notion he is not trying hard enough. Fueled by alcohol, he becomes obsessed with gambling, trying to leverage what little he has towards a promising pay-off, only to ever worsening outcomes.

Desperate for money after two failed marriage arrangements, Ike chases a dream to Nigeria that he hopes will pay off big–for once. He will return to Utonki and smuggle a priceless statue of the war god Ngene out of the country, which his uncle watches over as head priest in Nigeria. In the international art market, he is sure he can get top dollar for this carved deity at the upscale New York gallery called foreign gods, incorporated (stylishly left uncapitalized to hint at the chic trend of capitalizing on deity sales).

Like all that he does, this plan is risky business, most of all for Ike. As a smuggler, he toys with losing all the rest of his money, the respect of his family, even his freedom if the Nigerian police catch him and decide his bribes are insufficient. Ike takes no lessons from the Reverend Walter Stanton, a British colonial missionary who came to Utonki a hundred years previous to displace the war god Ngene. Stanton sought spiritual pay-off in his mission to supplant Ngene with Jesus and ended up losing his mind, and ultimately his life.

Ike cannot resist recognizing the stakes of his own mission, “Death seized his thoughts,” upon returning to Utonki. “Death presented its awful face in the charred bark of trees. It loomed in the scalding rage of the very air. Its scent laced the air, giving it the reek of turned earth and dead, rotted leaves.”

With foreboding tone, every action Ike takes leaves a bad taste in the reader’s mouth. Death looms near in a beautiful silence, waiting its turn in patient, watchful stance. This is the pit at the center of the fruit: toxic, and hard enough to break the crowns In your teeth.

Shay Howell’s home and heart is in Alabama where she was born, but she currently lives, works, and writes in San Francisco. She earned a degree in Africana Studies and French from Bard College after living in Mali.

Culled from nydailynews.com

Dino Melaye releases statement regarding his divorce

Why do scandals always dog this dude? His well televised fight during a committee function in the House of Representatives some years back is clear proof the guy has no qualms throwing a punch or two and yet he merrily denies ever hitting his wife? People get divorced everyday, why na Dino Melaye own we suppose hear?

Was it not just last year that the media was agog with tales of a lady who alleged he was her baby daddy? His wife had to face the ignominy of having to support him thru that mess to keep up the illusion of a united front. Whoever it was who wrote the so called press statement below just made the man look far worse.

The entire piece lacks substance. Why are we being told about her plastic surgery? Is that the reason for the divorce? What if even 9 ribs were removed to restructure her nose? How does that affect the price of sliced bread?Proceeding to tell us the marriage was only customary and never formalised in a court of law makes it far worse. So he had plans of ditching the babe soon and in the easiest way possible ba? Why else did he not formalise it?

I really hope the lady completely ignores him so she can walk away from the mess with her head held high.

Kai Honourable! Don’t you think it’s time to grow up? Scandal scandal scandal every day. Na wetin?

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The former House of Reps member and his wife of 10 years Tokunbo Melaye are currently going through a public divorce with accusations and counter accusations. Melaye has released a statement via his lawyer denying some allegations levied against him by his wife while throwing in accusations of his own. See the statement below…

It is with great sadness that this sordid situation has been brought into public domain. In an attempt to shield “the mother” of his children, Dino decided to “quietly” file for divorce and end this turbulent union. Unfortunately “this woman” has gone all out with wicked lies even to her detriment, to try to disorganize and tarnish Dino’s image. Continue…

Do we start with:

1) Violence:
I challenge her to produce the so called record of abuse in any police station in Nigeria where Dino was invited and his statement taken. Nothing ever took place so nothing to report.
2) Gun to the head:
Dino has no ammunition. The gun incident was the police search and report. Her intention (after accepting money from Dino’s political enemies) was to have him imprisoned under possession of illegal arms. Any reason to pin Dino down and have him jailed. This woman collected bribe to frame the father of her children. The police search in her presence revealed no possession of guns and interpreted her complaints as trivial and cleared Dino of possessing any weapon or incriminating material. The report was signed by the ACP CID, FCT command. She claimed gun was pointed at her in September but only reported a gun threat on 30th of October. Over 1month after a gun threat, laughable. This took place months ago when she no longer resided in his house. She is now presently even facing legal charges based on defamation of character and false criminal accusation.
3) Custody of kids:
Dino has always been in support of the empowerment of women both as mothers and even as entrepreneurs. He has never wanted or requested for full custody. He has always believed  young kids should be with their mothers. He is content though PAINED to see his kids only at visits fully controlled by her (Tokunbo Fabiyi). Strange as it is, this is a woman who abandoned her then ill child to go to India for cosmetic surgery on her nose, stomach and other parts. She told Dino she was on an official assignment, only to do surgery, fall into coma and fail to pay her bills. It was Dino that her family contacted and he rushed to her financial and medical aid. All these while she left her kids unattended to. Dino sent her packing after this Indian sacrilege only for her parents to run to Dino’s parents in the village begging for forgiveness. Dino’s father had to bring her to Abuja to beg his son who took her back. Is it her infidelity, having affairs with Dino’s friends, her ex’s and God knows who else? Is it the occasions she was caught by Dino giving his  possessions (watches, jewelry, etc) to her lovers?
Dino saw an ex actually wearing his watch that she claimed was stolen by the maid that led to say he was having an affair. Dino knew that Tokunbo had taken his possession to give as gifts to her boyfriends and that it was not the house girl/girls who stole. In his adamant defense of the maid/maids, Tokunbo concluded he must be having an affair. Tokunbo confessed it was only once
Dino caught her, she stole his possession to give her lovers. She even gave a brand new car Dino bought for her to her younger lover. Over the years, Dino severally removed her from their matrimonial home only for her to beg his family who insisted he forgive and taken her back especially for the kids sake.
It is public knowledge that in the recent past, she has spoken proudly and loudly of her husband’s loyalty and faithfulness, now she sings a different tune all because Dino quietly decided to file for divorce after her final display of loyalty to her young lovers and inability to stop engaging in meetings with his political opposition in government. Many times even collecting gifts in exchange of info from Dino, who was then still her husband. Three months ago she was still in Ghana for a corrective surgery of her collapsed nose, where her stomach was opened and one rib taken to construct a new bridge on her nose (Dee says: this is quite an education. I always thought ribs were found in the chest cavity)
We have evidence. These are all ramblings of a woman who is in apparent shock by Dino’s final decision to dissolve their customary marriage. Which was never done in the Registry. Thereby legalized only by the Nigerian views of traditional and white wedding. He never took her to court to marry to her!
Toyin Akande (Esq),

Family Friend/Lawyer

(What a load of utter rubbish! Some women dey suffer o!)
Culled from Linda Ikeji’s blog.

Dame Patience Jonathan in Paris, Calls for Strict Penalties Against Rape

The National Assembly and some state government’s have also spoken loudly against this vile act so Nigeria‘s First Lady adding her voice to the chorus is a welcome development.

Now if only we could see things swing into action.

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The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has called for stiff penalties, backed by effective laws for perpetrators of sexual violence against women.

Mrs. Jonathan made this statement in her speech in Paris, France, on December 6, 2013, during the advocacy meeting on sexual violence against women.

The meeting was hosted by the First Lady of France, Ms. Valerie Trierweiler, on the sideline of the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa holding in Paris.

Mrs. Jonathan urged the First Ladies from over 50 counties present to use their positions to mobilise support against sexual violence and other abuses against women.

She said conflict-related sexual abuse should not be regarded as unavoidable or acceptable consequences of war because of their devastating consequences.

Dame Patience further urged leaders and policy makers to continue to promote girl child education, women empowerment and gender equality as critical steps to stop sexual violence against women.

The First Lady called on UN member states, especially African leaders, to reassert their commitment to the effective implementation of UN resolutions on women.

She specifically advocated commitment to the implementation of Resolution 1325, which calls for greater protection of women from gender-based violence.

She emphasised the need for strategic collaboration and the inclusion of men in the global response to the problem of rape, saying “behind every rape, there is a man.”

A film on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo was screened for the participants, as well as speeches from the eyewitnesses of situations in Libya and the Central African Republic.

The special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Bangura and some of the first ladies in attendance also spoke at the meeting.

They specifically lend a voice to the global call to end sexual violence against women.

It would be noted that President Goodluck Jonathan is participating in the peace and security summit attended by world leaders also in Paris.

Culled from news.naij

Bogus bride caught out when she ‘flinched’ as fake Nigerian husband touched her knee during wedding ceremony

This story attracted me cos I thot dude looked like a brother and lo and behold…he is! I know it aint quite Nirvana back home but this is pretty desperate not so? Anywho, if you have been trying to get in touch with no luck, you now have an idea what been going on in his life (as in, e dey prison).

On a more serious note, had he hired a porn star this would never have happened.

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  • Emilia Ginova jailed for posing as  bride
  • Eagle-eyed registrar noticed couple were  uncomfortable with each other
  • Marriage in Pontypridd, South Wales, was  stopped

By  Emma Thomas

A bogus bride was caught out because she  ‘flinched’ when her phoney husband-to-be touched her knee in a register  office.

Emilia Ginova, 22, was jailed today for  posing as a blushing bride ready to walk up the aisle with her  groom.

But a court heard Ginova had only first seen  Nigerian student Louis Esene on the day of the service – and was being paid  £3,000 to take part in the sham marriage.

Emilia Ginova (left), 22, was jailed today for posing as a blushing bride ready to walk up the aisle with her groom Louis Esene (right) in Pontypridd, South Wales.
Emilia Ginova (left), 22, was jailed today for posing as a blushing bride ready to walk up the aisle with her groom Louis Esene (right) in Pontypridd, South Wales.

Emilia Ginova (above), 22, was jailed today for posing as  a blushing bride ready to walk up the aisle with her groom Louis Esene (below)  in Pontypridd, South Wales

She was caught out by an eagle-eyed registrar  who spotted her shocked reaction when Esene, 28, reached out to touch her  leg.

Registration officer Donna Davies said: ‘The  groom tried to touch the bride’s knee but she looked very  uncomfortable.

‘She flinched and there was no interaction at  all. I knew it was a scam.’

The marriage was stopped – and the pair were  both arrested at the register office in Pontypridd, South Wales.

It was later revealed that Esene wanted to  stay in Britain because his visa had run out.

The court was told a friend recruited Ginova  – who is a Slovakian-born Roma – and was four months pregnant by another man at  the time of the wedding.

Esene and Ginova pleaded guilty to conspiracy  to facilitate a breach of immigration law.

Pontypridd: The couple tried to get married in the Welsh town but an eagle-eyed registrar stopped themPontypridd: The couple tried to get married in the Welsh  town but an eagle-eyed registrar stopped them

Prosecutor Rachel Knight said: ‘The registrar  was suspicious of Esene and Ginova when they had notified their intent to wed as  they could not communicate with each other.

‘She did not find it convincing in any  way.

‘It was part and parcel of a plan to  circumvent immigration rules, which would allow him to work, access to the NHS,  social security and housing benefit.’

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard the bogus  bride and groom met first on November 22 last year – and spent the morning  shopping for rings and a wedding dress.

But the court heard Esene lost his temper  when Ginova failed to ‘learn her lines properly’ – and threatened he could put  ‘anyone in a dress’.

Both were jailed – Ginova, of Chatham, for 18  months and Esene, of Pontypridd, for 21 months. Esene  will be deported to Nigeria at the end of his sentence

Judge Richard Twomlow said: ‘It strikes at  the integrity of the importance of marriage.’

Culled from dailymail.co.uk

Governor Chime’s Security Ops Remove Unwanted Wife From Enugu Government House

Well, the deed is now done and Mrs. Chime has been force-fed her freedom in the most humiliating manner possible.

When things like this happen all manner of things go through my mind. At what point do a man and his wife become so estranged that the hired help have to be called in to help kick the woman they call “madam” out?

All kinds of wild rumours have been circulating the internet regarding what has turned out to be a rather tragic marriage. The most prominent one has it that the dear governor involved himself in an unwholesome relationship with his wife’s sister which made the wife lose her mind temporarily (who wouldn’t?).

Of course it remains a rumour as very few people ever have the true insight into what goes on in a marriage and no mention of it has been made by the lady herself in any of the news articles I have seen so far.

As for the governor, I think he could have handled the entire matter with a little more finesse, but perhaps that is asking too much. After all, he has the money and the power no?

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 Clara Chime finally ejected from Enugu State Government Lodge
                    By SaharaReporters, New York

Governor Sullivan Chime has finally evicted his official wife from the government house in Enugu after several days of wrangling.  The first lady of state was packed up and moved with her 4-year old son to her mother’s house in Enugu. Security agents were posted outside the house for several hours to ensure she did not return to the government house.

SaharaReporters broke the news about the illegal detention of Mrs. Clara Chime on orders of the governor, who claimed she had mental health issues. Mrs. Chime has since refuted the charge, maintaining that she was being held in the government house under duress and was heavily medicated by a team of doctors in connivance with the governor.

Speaking to reporters at her mother’s place, Mrs. Chime described how her marriage to the governor had broken down, with four years passing without any intimacy between them.

She said she continued to stay in the government house hoping that the governor might change his ways after receiving treatment for cancer in the United Kingdom; she also charged that several members of her family would not allow her to leave the governor because they were benefiting from the governor directly.

Mrs. Chime insisted she was not mentally ill as portrayed by the governor and his aides. She said the marriage was so bad that she frequently had nervous breakdowns, which led the governor to confine her to a section of the government house until she managed to smuggle out an email crying for help. A copy of the email published by SaharaReporters led to an inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission and the intervention of one of Nigeria’s foremost, human rights attorneys, Femi Falana.

Mrs. Chime’s community is reportedly outraged at her treatment by the Governor.  The traditional ruler of Ozuluobu Community, Umunneoche, Abia State, His Royal Highness, Eze Bob I. A. Ogbenna, said the family had formerly informed him of the marriage breakdown and her eviction from the governor’s house. Obgenna, who said he handed over Clara to Chime when he came for her marriage some years ago, said in a press interview:  “That is not how to return somebody’s daughter whose dowry was paid in Igboland. She was never a slave.”

After an interview with Mrs. Chime, the NHRC’s Executive Secretary, Professor Bem Angwe, downplayed the Governor’s assertion that his wife was mentally ill. Angwe said the ousted wife spoke to them fluently and coherently, adding, “She answered all the questions we raised in her presence as a person who is aware of the circumstances of her environment and the consequence of her action.”

However, he said Mrs Chime had admitted to suffering from depression and “hallucinations” which she has since denied.

 

Culled from Sahara Reporters

INTERIM REPORT ON THE INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED INCARCERATION OF HER EXCELLENCY MRS CHIME

A few weeks back a story broke about Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu. Allegations by his wife suggested she was being held against her will. Indeed the dear lady had written to the National Human Rights Commission and secured the services of renowned Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Femi Falana, to intervene and come to her aid. Well apparently, the Human Rights Commission took the matter seriously and have since commenced investigations.

Below is a press statement released by the Chairman of the Governing Council in relation to the matter.

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PUBLIC STATEMENT BY CHIDI ANSELM ODINKALU, PH.D (LSE); CHAIRMAN, GOVERNING COUNCIL, NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.

I have been inundated by inquiries about the on going processes of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in relation to a recent complaint initiated by Mrs. Clara Chime.

As the complainant in this case is the spouse of a senior political office holder, this complaint has naturally elicited somewhat fevered public interest.

In connection with this matter and in the past 72 Hours, the Commission deployed a high level investigation team to Enugu. Professor Bem Angwe, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, led the team.

Upon returning from Enugu, the Executive Secretary, reflecting the public interest in this case, exercised judgement in authorizing and issuing on 8 November 2013 a public statement on the visit to Enugu. The full text of this statement is below.

As a practice, cases and complaints received by the Commission are processed in accordance with the National Human Rights Commission Act, (as amended) and with the Standing Orders and Rules of Procedure of the Commission.

Having carefully reviewed the work so far undertaken by the staff of the Commission, I find no bases in them for the claims or speculation, widely circulated in the media, that the Commission has pronounced on the state of health, physical or mental, of the complainant or indeed of any other party in this case.

The Commission takes seriously its responsibility to fully respect the confidentiality of parties before it and to reach its decisions only on the bases of law and evidence.

 I should clarify that the team that the Commission sent to Enugu did not include any medical personnel. It had neither a mandate nor the expertise to pronounce on such matters and has clearly not done so. This is evident on the face of the Statement by the Executive Secretary.

Allegations also that the Commission may have been compromised in the conduct of the case are both factually inaccurate and manifestly unfounded.

While we remain grateful for the growing interest from the public in the work of the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria and support for this work, I wish to please appeal to the public to respect the rights and dignity of the parties to pending cases and respect the integrity of the processes of the Commission, guaranteed by its Governing Council.
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The National Human Rights Commission received a complaint from the wife of the Governor of Enugu State Her Excellency Mrs. Clara Chime, in which she alleged to have been incarcerated and subjected to horrific and intolerable conditions that curtailed her fundamental freedoms and threatened the enjoyment of her human rights.

The Commission wrote to the Governor and demanded for access to the complainant in order to obtain more details and to carry out a thorough investigation of the issues raised in the complaint.
Yesterday, I led a team of investigators to the Government House Enugu and we were granted unhindered access to both Mrs. Chime and her apartment in the Government House.
The investigating team held a five hour meeting with Governor Chime, Mrs. Clara Chime, Dr. Jide Chime (the Governor’s sibling) Dr. Aham Agumoh (who has been treating Mrs. Chime) and Tony Igwe, the complainant’s elder brother during which the complainant had an opportunity to state her case and also respond to the issues raised by her husband.
Dr. Uzegu A – a London based consultant psychiatrist and forensic examiner who is the doctor the complainant prefers, also joined the meeting through teleconference.

The team further held private sessions with Her Excellency Mrs. Clara Chime in her apartment, her husband, His Excellency Sullivan Chime,   Mrs. Patience Igwe (Complainant’s mother), and Edwin Igwe her brother.  All the parties spoke freely and expressed their positions clearly.

We have confirmed that for the last two weeks Mrs. Chime had been confined to her apartment on medical advice for purposes of medical maintenance and security.   But she confirmed having possession and control of keys to her apartment, which the team also inspected.  We further confirmed that access to her son is not denied after his school and lesson hours.
Both parties have agreed that Mrs. Clara has medical challenges but have disagreement over how to handle her medical condition.  The complainant told the Commission that she has lost confidence in the Physician presently handling her condition and no longer wants him to treat her.  She further requested to have medical opinion of other medical doctors acceptable to her.
Both parties have agreed that the Commission assemble a team of independent medical experts to review her medical condition and advise on further steps to be taken in respect of her treatment.
We want to thank His Excellency Governor Chime, and Her Excellency, Mrs.  Clara Chime his wife and all the persons that we interacted with during our visit for their cooperation with the Commissions team of investigators.
We also want to assure all the parties and Nigerians that the Commission will continue with the investigation of this matter and take appropriate decision that will be in the interest of all the parties and the Commission will not hesitate to invoke its further mandate to mediate between the parties with a view to reconciling them.
Finally we wish to reassure all Nigerians that this Commission is determined to be the instrument that will represent their dreams and aspirations.  We wish to make it very clear that in the realm of human rights protection, there is no immunity against impunity.
Prof. Bem Angwe
Executive Secretary

Nigerian human rights lawyer profiled in International Day to End Impunity campaign

The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) today launched the start of its 2013 anti-impunity campaign ahead of the third annual International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) during which it will profile the case of Nigerian human rights lawyer, Mr. Rommy Mom, who had to flee his home state of Benue following threats to his life.
Mr. Mom, who is President of the Makurdi-based non-governmental organization, Lawyers Alert, is being threatened because he is asking questions, using the Freedom of Information Act,  about how much Benue state received from the Federal Government and other sources as support to flood victims in 2012 and how a N500 million federal assistance was spent, since no victim of the floods in the state had been paid.

Rommy Mom is being threatened for asking questions about how much Benue State received from the Federal Government as support to flood victims in 2012.
Rommy Mom is being threatened for asking questions about how much Benue State received from the Federal Government as support to flood victims in 2012.
Media Rights Agenda

 For the first time ever, Nigeria entered the Impunity Index of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ), released on May 3, this year, in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day.  The Impunity Index is an annual ranking of countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free.
Nigeria is one of five countries around the world to be highlighted in this year’s global campaign to end impunity. The other countries are Cambodia, Egypt, Turkey and Ecuador.
In launching the IDEI campaign, IFEX is asking its members around the globe, as well as other individuals and organizations, to participate in its “23 Actions in 23 Days” by taking actions hosted on the website; www.daytoendimpunity.org, which will serve as the campaign hub from November 1 to 23.
Observing that something new will be featured on the website every day between November 1 and 23, IFEX said:  “We’ve created multimedia resources to help people understand the problem and find ways to add their voices to a global network of activists working together. Through infographics, videos, online interactive experiences, articles, country profiles and interviews, we hope to engage more people than ever in this campaign that strikes at the very roots of the injustice and insecurity that silence expression.”
IFEX explained that it especially hopes the campaign will help draw attention to and encourage action in support of five individuals who will be profiled on specific days during the campaign, and then again on 23 November, the International Day to End Impunity.
Those to be profiled ahead of the IDEI are: Yorm Bopha, a Cambodian human rights activist and protester, on November 4; Eren Keskin, a Women’s rights activist and lawyer in Turkey, on November 7; Doaa Eladl, an Egyptian cartoonist on November 12; Martin Pallares, an Ecuadorian journalist on November 14; and Rommy Mom, a Nigerian human rights lawyer, on November 18.
IFEX is working with its Nigerian member, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), to draw national and international attention to the plight of Mr. Mom. MRA will be coordinating activities in Nigeria in the lead up to the IDEI, particularly on November 18 and 23, including providing details of Mr. Mom’s case and calling for public support on his behalf to ensure his safety and enable him return to his home state to continue his work.
The IFEX impunity campaign website also features an interactive map that will plot all campaign events and actions planned or undertaken by IFEX members.   The hashtags for tweets are: #IDEI, #endimpunity and #23Nov