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Meet Nigeria’s ‘Baby Francesca’ Who Is New Symbol Of Hope For Migrants Globally (Photos)

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Aw! Dubbed “the princess of migrants”, a Nigerian baby born on the Italian ship that rescued her mother in the Mediterranean has become a symbol of hope for those braving the perilous crossing in search of a new life.

In early May, when the international press was cooing over the birth of Princess Charlotte into the British royal family, the photograph of another baby also landed in the headlines
Tiny Francesca Marina was shown sleeping, nestled in pink gauze, a closed fist resting against her face.
Her mother Stephanie, a 25-year-old hair stylist, had fled Nigeria two years earlier. After falling in love with a compatriot in Libya, she stayed there for a while. But when their relationship fell apart she headed to Italy alone.

“I was nine months pregnant. I had to take the boat, I had no choice, I couldn’t deliver (the baby) in Libya,” she told AFP.
Once the dinghy had set off across the Mediterranean, her contractions began.
“It was really difficult, I was sitting inside with the pain. There were a lot of people in the boat, we were just sitting really tight. The pain was too much.”

The migrants were rescued at night after around eight hours at sea by the patrol boat Bettica and it was there that Francesca Marina, named in honour of Pope Francis and her Italian rescuers, was born.
Stephanie does not really remember it: she fell unconscious and did not come to until she was at the hospital where she had been transported by helicopter.
The Italian authorities were also unaware of what had happened

.Although the captain of the Bettica recorded the birth in the ship’s logbook, neither the port authorities who review the logbook, nor the medical services passed on the information to the authorities, setting off a bureaucratic odyssey.

When Stephanie and her baby arrived at their current reception centre in Sicily — from where they would make their asylum request — their file was almost empty, said the centre’s director Antonio La Monica.

It took months of phone calls and several newspaper articles on the subject for any progress to be made, but finally Francesca was given her tax identification number — without which all doors remain closed in Italy.

Officially, aboard the Bettica is considered Italian territory, but as Italian law does not allow birthright citizenship, Francesca is Nigerian like her mother.

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Celebrities

How UAE visa ban almost ruined my wedding – Rita Dominic

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Rita Dominic, the ace Nollywood actress, has recounted how the visa ban by United Arab Emirates (UAE) almost ruined her wedding.

The UAE immigration authorities had in October banned visa applications to 20 African countries including Nigeria.

In an appreciation post on Instagram on Tuesday, the movie star narrated how the distance between herself and her cloth designer almost affected the event.

It is believed that the fashion designer resides in Dubai.

Dominic also appreciated the gown designer for “going above and beyond” to get the dress to her despite the ban.

“Thank God for a beautiful weekend full of love and joy. Thank you to @michael5inco for making my dream wedding gown. It was a lot of hard work and patience since we were in two different countries,” she wrote.

“The UAE ban almost ruined it all but designer @michael_nardi_ who you see in this video came to the rescue by going and above and beyond to make the necessary alterations and final fittings. So huge hugs to both.

“Thank you to my dream team who worked hard to get me looking good in this gown. Love you all from the bottom of my heart.”

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Kiekie and husband welcome first child

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Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori, the Nigerian comedian and skit maker better known as Kiekie, and her husband have welcomed their first child together.

The excited mother announced the birth of her baby girl via a post on her Instagram page on Tuesday.

She also shared a picture of the baby, who they had named Nola, alongside a clip from the Cocomelon, a popular children’s cartoon.

“Look who’s here! Our baby! NOLA. E ILORI @shonaola_ilori,” she captioned the post.

Colleagues and fans have since then taken to the comment section to congratulate the parents on the birth of their child.

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Gospel Singer, Sammie Okposo dies at 51

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Gospel singer and Welu Welu crooner, Sammie Okposo is reportedly dead.

According to a report making the rounds, the music producer slumped on Friday morning and died. He was aged 51.

Okposo made headlines early in the year after he publicly apologized to his wife, Ozioma for cheating on her with another lady in the United States.

In the apology which was shared on his Instagram page, the singer lamented over the incident which he noted happened in 2021.

The singer further stated that the development has seen him step aside from ministerial work until “full restoration.”

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