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OMG: Uber driver charged with zip-tying, sexually assaulting female passenger in back of vehicle

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A Cook County judge on Sunday ordered an Uber driver from Logan Square to pay a full $250,000 cash bail on claims that he restrained and sexually assaulted a young woman who lost consciousness after an evening out earlier this summer.

Christopher Molina, of the 1700 block of North Spaulding Avenue, faces aggravated criminal sexual assault, kidnapping and unlawful restraint charges.

After a night at Clark Street bars on the evening of June 2, she awoke early the next morning zip-tied by the wrists in the rear of a car parked in a well-lit garage, Assistant State’s attorney Jacqueline Simon told the court.

Molina allegedly unbound her wrist restraints, fondled, then sexually assaulted her for about 15 minutes, during which she repeated that she “did not want to do this,” Simon said. After the assault, Molina allegedly allowed the woman out of the vehicle to use the bathroom then drove her home.

During the drive, Molina allegedly told the woman that he was sorry, that the attack was his “bad side,” and that his girlfriend was mean to him, Simon said.

The victim returned home to the West Loop and asked a stranger to use his phone after no one answered the door at her home, prosecutors said.

The victim was taken to an area hospital where a sex assault kit was performed. Prosecutors said Uber app information led to the owner of the car, a businessman who had contract showing that Molina rented the vehicle the day of the attack.

“What’s been described is deeply disturbing and something nobody should ever experience,” an Uber spokesman said in a statement released Sunday evening. The statement provided no further details on the incident, but said Molina had been banned from the app.

Troubled by Molina’s alleged possession and use of zip ties to restrain a helpless victim, Judge Kelly Marie McCarthy said he was a potential risk to the community before ordering the cash bail.

The judge also ordered him not to have any contact with the victim and scheduled him to return to court Aug. 29.

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Africa

Prominent LGBTQ Activist Edwin Chiloba Found Dead in Metal Box

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Police in Kenya are investigating whether the LGBTQ rights activist and fashion designer Edwin Chiloba was murdered in a hate crime.

The decomposing body of Chiloba, who had spoken of being attacked in the past, was found in a metal box by the side of road near the town of Eldoret on Wednesday and identified a day later. A moto-taxi driver reported seeing the metal box being dumped by men in a car with no license plates, according to the BBC.

Chiloba has spoken out for gay rights in Kenya, where sex between men is illegal and punishable by 14 years’ prison time. The country’s LGBTQ community, largely suppressed, spoke out against the murder. “Words cannot even explain how we as a community are feeling right now,” the organization Galck+ posted on Twitter. “Another soul lost due to hate. You will be missed.”

Police have not revealed how Chiloba was murdered or how long his body had been in the box before the grim discovery. He last posted on his verified Instagram account on Dec. 29, when he wished his supporters happy holidays.

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Education

Houston mourns the loss of academic and community leader, Dr. David Egbo Ugwu

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Greater Houston and Houston African community suffered an unexpected end-of-year loss when the death of Dr. David Ugwu (Ochi na wata) was recently announced. Academic and community leader Dr. Ugwu died on December 23, 2022, in Houston, leaving behind, his lovely wife, Dr. Patricia Ugwu, and four Children; Chiugo, Adaeze, Oguejiofor (Reggie), Brady Ugwu, (daughter in-law) and Chidiebere (of the blessed memory).

Until his stroke in 2010, he was the Coordinator, Systems Workforce Research Projects, at the Houston Community College (HCC) District – a position he held since 2004. At the HCC, Dr. Ugwu also served as the Assistant to the Chancellor for Institutional Effectiveness and Special Projects, Director of the Office of Institutional Research, and Assistant to the President for Institutional Research, Planning, Institutional Effectiveness, and Grant, Galveston College.

He holds a Ph.D in Higher Education, from the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, majoring in Higher Educational Administration; an M.B.A from the Governors State University, University Park, Illinois; an M.S.: Mechanical Engineering, from the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; and a B.S.: in Chemical Engineering, from the Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan.

A Seasoned administrator with over 17 years of effective leadership in four community college districts in three states including Texas, Dr. Ugwu paraded a strong engineering background, a record of accomplishment in resource development, and an extensive background in economic workforce intelligence.

For instance, he was the Plant and Project Engineer, at Union Carbide Corporation, Linde Division, at East Chicago Indiana; Research Assistant, Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes, Coal Research Center, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; Director of Institutional Research and Grants at the Arizona Western College; and the Director, Institutional Planning and Research, at the Lorain County Community College, Elyria, Ohio.

In his years of service, Dr. Ugwu won several academic awards, facilitated several professional organizations, published several outstanding research papers, and championed selected publications and presentations.

Dr. Ugwu was born in Akegbe Ugwu to the family of Enyidiuru Ugwunwamba in Umuatugbuoma, Akegbe Ugwu, Enugu, Nigeria. He was strongly involved in his community organizations and devoted much time to community empowerment and humanitarian causes. Some of the groups are:

  • Founding President, Nkanu Association, Houston Texas
  • Past President, Houston Enugu State Association (HESO),
  • Board Chairman Emeritus, Igbo People’s Congress (IPC)
  • Member, Uzoakoli Methodist College Old Boys Association, USA
  • Member, Black Affairs Council, Southern Illinois Association
  • President, Umunna Association, Chicago, Illinois

Furthermore, he was a member of Nigerian Student Association, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Illinois, and the Otu Umunna Association, Gary Indiana where he received a Distinguished Service Award in recognition of Exceptional Leadership and Devoted Service to the organization and its community.

According to a release made available by the Ugwu Family, a funeral arrangement is as follows. A church service will be held in his honor on January 7, 2023, at the Hope Church 770 Pineloch Drive Houston, TX 77062 at noon prompt. Viewing starts at 10:00 am -12:00 pm. Burial service will be held at Forest Park East: 21620 Gulf Freeway, Webster, TX 77598 at 1:30 pm. Reception and Tribute to follow at Hope Church.

For condolence messages or information regarding the funeral, please contact: patricia.ugwu@gmail.com

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Books

New Book: A Shred of Fear—A Memoir

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A Shred of Fear is Uche Nwokedi’s memoir of childhood capturing the experiences of a child living through the Biafran War. “It is written in a fluid and wonderfully evocative prose and reads as though one were literally listening to the narration from an eight-year old boy, accompanied by his much older self. This gives the story a certain sincerity that allows it to transcend time and remain relevant.”

  • Book Title: A Shred of Fear
  • Author: Uche Nwokedi
  • Publisher: ‎ Narrative Landscape Press (October 15, 2022)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Hardcover: ‎ 236 pages

The Book

Fifty years after the Biafran War ended in 1970, and as memories of the war fade and cultural, religious and tribal divisions rear their heads, Uche Nwokedi’s childhood memories of that time are presented in this memoir. Aged seven when the war began, he and his family would spend the next three years as refugees in their own country. A Shred of Fear brings dramatic events vividly to life. Moments of fear, sadness, tragedy, and family solidarity are told with pathos and humour. More than a war story, this compelling narrative shines a fearless light on a dark period.

 

The Author

Nwokedi is also the creator and producer of the successful and nominated M-Net Africa Magic legal TV drama series, “E.V.E: Audi Alteram Partem”. He contributes opinion on a number of socio-political issues to some of the national dailies in Nigeria. With a keen interest in sports and sports development, he is a third-degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate and was President of the Karate Federation of Nigeria from 2001 -2005.

  • Order this book from Nigeria: >>>
  • Order this book from Amazon: >>>

In his day job, Uche Nwokedi is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and one of Nigeria’s leading commercial lawyers, who specializes in commercial litigation and international commercial arbitration. He has been described as a ‘calm and extremely persuasive advocate’ (Legal 500, Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s leading Energy and Natural Resources Lawyers). He is the Editor-In Chief and Publisher of Nigerian Oil and Gas Cases, a compendium of oil and gas case laws in Nigeria.

A Shred of Fear is Nwokedi’s memoir of a period in his childhood that captures the experiences of a child living through a war – the Biafran War. It is written in a fluid and wonderfully evocative prose and reads as though one were literally listening to the narration from an eight-year old boy, accompanied by his much older self. This gives the story a certain sincerity that allows it to transcend time and remain relevant. It also strikes a fine balance between heartwarming and utterly tragic in a way that allows the reader to imagine the privations of life during the time of a war, and the struggle to reconcile when the war is over.

Uche Nwokedi is married with three children. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria, where he carries on his legal practice under the name and style of Uche Nwokedi & Co.

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