Women Who Cut Umbilical Cord With Broken Bottle

By Mercy Abang

After losing her fourth child during delivery at the house of her regular traditional birth attendant (TBA), 42 year–old Kemi Ariyo contracted spiritualists to get to the root of her problems. “I was widely accused to be a witch as a result of the demise of my babies,” Kemi said. “So I approached the spiritualists who pray for pregnant women and see to the delivery of their babies”.

The delivery of the fourth happened in a thatched roof house with three spiritualists around her in her native Ode Ugbo, a riverine community of Ondo State. But in spite of their weekly prayers and their presence during the delivery,  the baby was lost to still birth .

Ariyo’s case may be extreme but generally indicative of the problems that women in rural Nigeria face. Almost on a daily basis, women in her situation consult spiritualists who charge between 15000 naira and 25000 ($48 -$79 ) per delivery – who claim to be praying and fasting and would consistently administer local herbal concoctions (Agbo) to these women between the period of pregnancy and delivery.

According to the National Demographic Health Survey, 2008, Ondo state had a maternal mortality ratio of 742 per 100,000 live births with worse indices at the facility level. Nigeria records one of the world’s highest rates of maternal deaths, with the country being the largest contributor of maternal deaths globally and second largest of under – five deaths with India being the first.

Most families especially those in rural communities – characteristically uneducated and economically disadvantaged – are at the mercies of spiritualists, and unskilled traditional birth attendants that they consult to deliver their babies. “We trust the outcome will be divine, we never trusted government hospitals” explains 60 year- old Taye Idowu in Yoruba.

One day however, Madam Taye, a former traditional birth attendant now maternal health evangelist approached Mrs Ariyo and appealed to her to stop patronizing spiritualists, “I told her that the unskilled birth attendants are the reasons she has been childless” she said.

Taye is part of a corp of maternal health evangelists, mostly reformed traditional birth healers under the Ondo state government’s ‘Agbebiye’ programme – an incentive based referral programme. The TBAs are encouraged to refer their ‘patients’ to the orthodox clinics and earn money. She and others in the 18 local governments of Ondo State are part of the Agbebiye Initiative – a community – based approach and a primary health care model aimed to further improve community ownership to reduce maternal health to zero.

When questioned how she succeeded in persuading the health care providers to stop tending to Ariyo, she explains that she simply reiterated the birth techniques and the dangers she was now aware of. “We were all together in the same community, and I was part of the trade – we use broken bottles to cut the umbilical cord immediately the women deliver their babies, some get home and die from infection. We did not know it was bad.”

I paid a visit to a Comprehensive Health facility Centre in Oba’ile – Ondo South where a 34 year- old trader, Aderoju Fumilayo strapped her new-born baby who was obviously dazed with the heat and noise to her back. As she waited within the premises while women gathered for antenatal care to be attended to, she narrated her experience birthing three of her four kids. She compared those births by the traditional birth attendants to what is obtainable at the health Centre.

“I was normally asked to give them kerosene, Omo, Dettol, Detergent, and 10,000 naira as payment and conduct my babies naming ceremony there before they deliver my babies – I lie on a bench (typically made of wood) sometimes on the bare floor to deliver my babies”, she said.

Standing beside Funmilayo at the health Centre is a 65 – year –old, Olayiwola Fagoroyo, observing as a middle age nurse attends to Funmi. I am told she’s an “Agbabiye Vanguard” – she moves around with the women she refers to this health Centre’ making sure they go for antenatal, deliver the babies at the referred health Centre’s, and ensure the children are properly immunized to prevent mortality.

Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, the state Health Commissioner explained that ‘Abiye’ (safe motherhood program is a prelude to “Agbebiye” a word in Yoruba that means “Safe Birth Attendant” which could also mean “Safe Pregnancy Delivery”, and conducted in partnership with Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).

“The Programme strives to ensure Universal Health Coverage for comprehensive sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health care” he said. “The traditional birth attendants refer their clients to the health facilities for a cash reward and training on vocational skills acquisition (soap making, hat and bead making, catering services and tie and dye making”.

For the commissioner, the incentive provided by government was the major driver in a country like Nigeria that ranks amongst the 10 worst countries in sub-Saharan Africa to birth a child – according to Save the Children Mothers’ index.

But for Madam Kikelomo, a former traditional midwife now registered with government in downtown Akure, “we’ve seen that traditional birth attendant methods are harmful to our women which is why we had to enroll in the “Agbebiye program” – reducing the number of women and children dying during child birth”.

With two dedicated Mother and Child Hospitals, the Ondo State Government has been able to reduce Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) by 84.9 per cent. From 745 per 1000,000 live births in 2009 the indices have drastically reduced to 112 per 100,000 live births in 2016 – a feat which made the state a recipient of a 400 million dollars grant from the World Bank.

“The women are treated free, from natural births and those that undergo caesarian operation, it is also done at no cost – that has helped us to scale – up the numbers”, the Chief Medical Director, Dr Adesina Akintan of the Referral centre (mother and child hospital) Oke’ Aro in Akure tells me. “Our objective is to make sure no woman dies during pregnancy or trying to birth a child”.

Another expectant mother, Mrs Oluwakemi Fagbe at the referral centre in Oba’ile, within Akure Municipality, tells me, “- They have specialists in this place and that is why I am here, Pregnant women from neighboring states also visit this place to deliver because it is free, they even provide free blood donation for our children from age zero to 5 years.”

Outgoing governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, a medical doctor, boasts of meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets “between 2010 and 2016, we were able to crash maternal mortality by over 75% since we came on board and of course that can be linked to the Abiye and Agbebiye scheme we introduced”.

“We created an incentive scheme, with every referral by the Traditional birth attendants to access healthcare by expectant women, they are given a coupon, which is N2000 each per referral – with that method, they convinced most of their clients to orthodox hospitals for proper care” said the governor.

For Mrs Ariyo and Mrs Fagbe the knowledge gained by attending antenatal will be passed on to their children as they were all birthed at home through the risky and life threatening traditional birth attendants methods.

A state government document explaining the concept of Agbebiye initiative claims that among those referred by traditional birth attendants, there was no single maternal death with 99% neonatal survival – and facility utilization increased by 20.4% in the primary health care facilities and there was a reduction in the facility utilization of the apex tertiary hospital.

Whether the Abiye programme can be sustained, as fiscal allocations to states continue to decline is a question that time will answer.

***
Mercy Abang is a Freelance Journalist – Media Fixer with Sunday Times of London, BBC, Aljazeera and a former Stringer with the Associated Press – She tweets at @abangmercy..

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Meet Kenneth Bitrus Yakubu, The Man Who Kept Custody Of Andrew Yakubu’s Billions

Kenneth Bitrus Yakubu, the younger brother to the embattled former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was whisked away on February 3 when EFCC raided his house in Sabuwan Tasha slum of Kaduna.

According to neighbours, neither Kenneth nor Andrew lives in the house but a house keeper.

“It is their old family house. Bitrus too lives in a bigger house in the city. Only the housekeeper lives in the house.

Kenneth, who is in his 50s, is a 1989 graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Aside the alleged ill-gotten wealth found under his custody, friends describe Kenneth as a good-natured person with good Christian upbringing.
“Bitrus is very religious person. You know their father was a pastor. All I know is that Bitrus is a business man and runs a private school with his wife.
“Even Andrew is a good man. He built a vocational centre named after his parents, Maryamu and Yakubu, in our village. A lot of our youths are trained in the centre,” said Jonathan Ayuba, a resident of Ma Mazah village in Kaduna State.
Security sources said Kenneth will be arraigned alongside his brother, Andrew next week.
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Whoever Plans To Arrest Me After My Tenure Won’t Be In Office By Then – Fayoe

Some people have said that your fingers and those of some other PDP governors got burnt after bringing in Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff to head the party and how things turned out. Such people believe you are one of those responsible for decapitating the PDP. How would you react to that?

People are entitled to their views. I’m one Nigerian that  is blunt and will tell you things the way they are. Even, if I made a mistake, I will admit. There is nobody in Rome today  that is holier than the Pope. And there is nobody who can tell you the Pope is a Muslim. There is nobody who would call me Ayo Fayose a mole or an agent of destabilisation in the Peoples Democratic Party. There is no way I could be linked to any political party apart from the PDP. I have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that I’m a committed party member. I’m consistent and have not been found wanting. It is true I was part of those who brought Ali Modu Sheriff as the PDP National Chairman. But like I told Nigerians, I did it in good faith. In our opinion, we wanted somebody from the North and settled for him because we felt he would be a good material after considering certain parameters that we judged to be right. But I retreated when I realised he would not be able to fulfil the purposes and I’m entitled to my views. It is good for a man to admit when he made a mistake and take steps to correct it. When I realised that he would not be able to serve the purpose we chose him for, I announced publicly that I was turning my back and withdrawing my support for him, for facts best known to me which I have addressed several times. As you know, I’m now the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, I would rather say things that would unite members rather than divide us. Even after the court cases, it is still the best for the leaders to be reconciliatory. Bringing Sheriff to be the chairman was done in good faith and I have no apology. It was not done to bring down the party. We learn at every stage in life. There are lessons to learn in this one: Don’t stand as a guarantor for people you don’t know too well. Well, everything works for good. This could still end as a blessing in disguise for the party.

Senator Buruji Kashamu faulted your emergence as the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum. Do you think he was right?

I don’t want to take issues with Buruji Kashamu. I can’t say somebody is my friend and later say he is no longer my friend. No matter the statement he is making, I will restrain myself from saying things that would further cause troubles within the party. I want to show maturity. In this circumstance, I want to be tolerant. Secondly, he is not in a position to criticise my emergence. He is not a governor and if he wants to criticise me, he should wait for his time and contest. I don’t know what is going on in the National Assembly. I don’t want to go to the senate, so when they are talking in the senate, Buruji Kashamu should pay attention to it and not issues of governors. It is in the wisdom of governors. Governors are leaders of the party but they can’t take decision for the National Assembly. We can’t even criticise their decisions. It is part of leadership traits to know you don’t overstep your bounds. For me, I didn’t beg for the leadership of the forum but my colleagues found me competent and worthy of that position. I didn’t struggle for it. They realised that I fit the position and they unanimously took the decision. There was no dissenting voice. Everybody said it must be me. I won’t take issues with anybody over that and if Senator Buruji Kashamu has anything against that, he should go to court. He knows how to go to court. If he is not too comfortable, I can’t stop him. He has his style. So it is up to him.

Some people say that you have been very careful not to openly criticise Senator Kashamu because of the financial support he has given to you in the past. Is it not a case of being careful not to bite the finger that once fed you?

He has come out several times in the public to say he did not give me money for my election. And if at all you supported people for elections, it does not warrant you to talk to them anyhow. If you are going to support anyone for election, that person must be popular enough. I was governor before I met Kashamu. I was governor in 2003. At that time, Kashamu was not in politics. I was governor for close to four years. Would it be right to say I didn’t have goodwill at that period that it was when he came that he now bankrolled me? It is silly and petty. For whatever I do for people in life, I do it for God. I’m not criticising Kashamu, not for anything,  I’m demonstrating my maturity over and above him. For Kashamu to be praising opposition figures and denigrating members of his party, it shows the character that he represents. For me, I’m not ready to take him on because if you must take anyone on, it must worth it. I want to say clearly there is no basis to take him on. We are not vying for the same position. I’m not from his state, so why do I have to take issues with him? Of what benefit would that be? If Kashamu wants to be president of Nigeria, he would need me. I didn’t say I want to be president of Nigeria. I don’t need him for that. After this mandate, whatever mandate God has for me is in his wisdom, not in my wisdom. So, to put it succinctly,  Kashamu and I are two parallel lines politically. I’m the governor, he is in the senate. We are from two different states. So, clearly, taking issues with him is making him important for no reason.

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There were allegations that you once sent spies to monitor President Buhari in London, did you send your spies this time around too?

I never sent spies to monitor anybody, not even the president. Of what benefit would that be for me? Even if you don’t want Buhari to be president, he is already president. I have been criticising President Buhari objectively and sincerely for what I know him to be and represents. I did not start criticising him when he became the president. Everything I have said has come to pass. Initially, Nigerians were seeing me as somebody who didn’t see anything good in President Buhari, but today the economy has been run aground. I have said it several times that you cannot give what you don’t have. The economic situation of the country at present is as a result of the body language of the president. If you recall what happened during the first administration of Buhari, you will discover it is not different from the situation at present. An orange will not fall far away from its tree. With utmost respect to his office, President Buhari does not have what it takes to run this country. We need a dynamic leader who is exposed. Governance is about carrot and stick. When you look at the activities of a man, you can tell who a man is. By the appointment of Buhari, you will see nepotism, sectionalism, etc. The president is the father of the nation. When a president, as the father, goes out of the country to say my people are thieves, who will relate with them? When you go to the port now, nothing is happening there. When a government does not make the people the cornerstone of its policies, there would be trouble. When the president takes a decision and the National Assembly dominated by his people says otherwise, it shows that person is a dictator. We are in crisis. During the President Jonathan era, the price of petroleum was N86.50 per litre which was the maximum. But during this government, the price has been increased beyond the reach of the common man. This is the worst ever increase and they would still increase more. Prices of commodities would go up because they are trading in dollars. The president does not have an economic team and does not listen to advice. Whatever they decide in his clique, they foist it on the nation. At present, there is nothing sustaining the economy; the economy is sick because the managers of this economy are under the palpable fear to do what the President wants and not what is right. So there is no need spying on the president. That is why I have been very careful since people have been carrying the rumour of his death. I have not made any comment lest people say Fayose has said this. My prayer is that he should return hail and hearty. My prayer is with him. Yoruba would say even if we are fighting, it is not to wish ourselves dead. I pray he returns to the country hail and hearty.

Some Nigerians say you have been  busier criticising the Federal Government than focusing on governance in your state. What would you say to that?

They must say something about me because I have refused to eat fat on the riches of the king. When you don’t align yourselves with the power that be; they would look for a way to blackmail you. Many have been silent now for the fear of the unknown. I’m the longest serving governor; I served under former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo; Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari. So I’m an experienced governor. This is why when I say things, they happen like that. Most of the things I say happen. I have advised the president to take members of the opposition into his advisory team. My criticising Buhari is for the good of the nation. The killings in Kaduna by the herdsmen and the extra judicial killing over the country are worrisome. More people have died within 18 months of President Buhari than at any other time since independence. If the bombing of the IDPs camp had occurred under the PDP, they would have killed the president with criticism. It is unfortunate that those in APC are hypocrites. When you join their party today, you become a saint. Any leader that wants to rule this country must be equitable. They have made a mess of the anti-corruption crusade. Look at the case of the EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu; some judges are being prosecuted based on the report by the Department of State Services. The same DSS wrote a report indicting Magu but the president jettisoned it and cleared him.

What good can you see in the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari? Or is everything about him bad?

Let me put it this way, there is no man that is entirely bad. But when you consider the leadership style of Buhari, his administration is not good. When you look at his appointment, it would tell you who the president is. When you see someone trying to justify the killing of human beings or who pretends nothing is happening; when you see a nation that is in total hunger, do we continue to praise the president? Do we continue to praise the president for exchange rate of the dollar that has gone from N200 to N500? Do we praise him for the killing of Agatu people in Benue? Do we praise him for the killings in Kaduna? Do we praise him for disobedience of court order and human rights abuses? Where are the three million jobs they promised to create yearly? Where is the promise they made that food will be everywhere? Where is their promise that Naira will appreciate against the dollar? They are still running a government based on propaganda. Are we saying if they organised an election today, President Buhari would win? We are fooling ourselves. People are tired. They are not happy. I have not seen anything good in this government. They claimed success in the fight against Boko Haram; if they say they have recorded victory today, the next day, worse attack would take place. There would be multiple bombings. If they tell us something, the next day, worse scenario happens. For me as a person, I have not seen anything tangible. What is the state of our roads? Workers can hardly get their salaries. They have not kept their promises at all.

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Some people believe that this government is eagerly waiting for your tenure to end to arrest you for some of the offences you have been accused of. Are you going to sneak out of the country before the date you would be due to leave office?

May I tell you that anybody that waits for me negatively to complete my tenure would not be in the office at the time. Anybody waiting for my downfall would be swimming in more troubles that time. My name is Peter ‘The Rock’. The man God promised he would build Ekiti and Nigeria on his shoulder. Watch the turn of events. Some people say it is because I enjoy immunity. Don’t other governors enjoy immunity? It is dependent on who you are. They plotted to manipulate the judiciary against me, it didn’t work. The House of Assembly dominated by the All Progressives Congress members attempted to remove me, it didn’t work. The God that put me here does not sleep nor slumber. The God would not allow me to fall into the traps of my enemies. Many things would happen in this country that would amaze Nigerians.

Some of your critics say you have been talking too much as an opposition member and sitting governor of a state. They say that a state governor is supposed to comport himself better. How would you react to that?

That is their funeral. Sometimes they call me Amala governor, what is their business? Those who voted for me know who I am. The Ekiti people love me for who I am and they are happy with me. They (APC) must be worried about me because I am a man of myself. Where in the constitution are they referring to as their type of governor? Who wants to be their type of governor? Those they are using as their standard only exist on the pages of newspapers. They only rely on rigging to win elections. I’m not their mate when it comes to politics: I’m a professor of politics. I’m an authority. They are worried about me because what they call big man does not exist here. Every state is unique. Every one in their own right understand sthe kind of leader they want. What difference has their leadership made? I have no apologies about what they say about me inasmuch as I satisfy my conscience and make my people happy. Look at President Donald Trump of the United States, you may not like him but he is the president today. You may not like the way he talks but the real Americans like him. Where were those people during elections that they did not go to vote? They are crying over spilled milk. By the grace of God. I will defeat APC again. Let them come with every machinery that they have, they will go back in disgrace.

For instance, you also recently indicated interest in joining a protest against the Federal Government initiated by Tuface Idibia. You are a governor, why should you be interested in joining a protest instead of governing your state?

I never said I would join the protest. I only said I support the protest. The planned protest is not against any political party; it is an advocacy for good governance. They only want to talk about things that have affected every facet of our economy. I have never met Tuface (Innocent Idibia) in my life. I read online and I took to my twitter handle to tweet that I support it. How is it their headache that I’m supporting it? Why are they not supporting the call for good governance? In 2011 when they called for Operation Occupy Nigeria, they all occupied. Now that I’m saying we should support the rally, why are they worried? They should go and sit down and allow me to lead my life. I have said what I wanted to say, so I have no apologies. Anybody who is not happy can go and do whatever he likes. I have never seen a place where the police will say you can’t organise a rally. The Court of Appeal has said it expressly. Look at the way they are protesting against Trump, did he use the police to clamp down on them? For you to organise a rally, you don’t need a police permit. You only notify the police to secure the environment if you want them around. Anybody that commits crime during the rally should be arrested.  When they are holding pro-government rally, nobody stops them. It is unbecoming of government agencies to become partisan. We should grow; they should stop dragging us back. We have gone beyond ballot snatching but what we are witnessing now is unpleasant.

You are sometimes seen buying beans on the streets, but some Nigerians have been saying that only a state governor that is not busy will be engaging in such. How would you react to that?

Let them go and contest and become governors too. It is amazing when you see people who cannot win elections in their household criticising a sitting governor. If there is equal opportunity, they can’t get there. If they get there, they can’t perform. That is why it is easy for them to blow grammar and they can’t win elections. I’m not in the calibre of those persons, I don’t listen to them and I don’t want to join them. When you see the likes of former US President Barrack Obama in Mcdonalds and we would be here fooling ourselves; when the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, came to Nigeria in a T-shirt, people were praising him that he is a simple man. People like us when we wear T-Shirts, they say we are touts. That is double standard; they should keep quiet.

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Last week, you shielded operatives of the Department of State Services from arresting Apostle Johnson Suleman in Ado-Ekiti. Some people described your action as an act of hooliganism…

Apostle Suleman is frequent in Abuja, he lives in Abuja. If you want to invite him, why not come in day time? They are beginning to violate the rights of Nigerians. That is an overzealousness of the executive and an oppression of the people. There are so many things I have gone through in life. At this point in time, you need a man of courage. At the end of the day, they invited him. Is that not decent enough? Our country is becoming a police state. I’m not sorry about my action. I have no apologies for going to rescue a man of God. When you rescue a man of God, you have blessings. Saving that man of God has earned me respect. It has represented me as a fighter for the voiceless. Whatever they like, they should say. Why should they visit the man of God at 1am? What kind of wickedness is that? Do they want to kill him? Let them come if they want to invade the Ekiti State Government House. They should come and take away their police and DSS if they want to. I don’t care.

Some people say you are as guilty of some of the sins you accuse Buhari of like oppression and bullying opposition, how do you react to this?

No reaction. Whatever they say I do, they should wait for me to finish my tenure. But let me point out this, nobody can point to any politically motivated violence, killing or harassment since I came into office. Nobody is deliberately put in jail. Some of these people in jail were charged to court during the former administration. The chairman of APC now on the run was charged by the police from Abuja in 2013. I have not charged anybody in the opposition to court and I have not ordered their arrest. Even when they come into town, I tell my supporters to allow them to enjoy because they have right to life. I have not asked any security agency for favour to arrest anybody. You can learn from the opposition and correct yourselves. Intolerance of the opposition cannot help anybody.

Some people believe that you portray yourself as a ‘vibrant’ opposition to the APC-led government but that you are not always being constructive in your criticisms. Would you like to change your style?

No. Everybody is unique in his own way. What I’m doing is in good faith. I’m saying it the way it is. The question is: are Nigerians hungry? Are people being oppressed? Are court orders disobeyed? Are people not being killed? Are the appointments fair to all geopolitical zones? Is the APC not shielding its members from trial? If the answers are yes, then criticising them is the right thing to do. Somebody must be representing the masses and the poor people. Some people in the APC are praising me for saying the truth always. They can’t talk. Courage is a virtue from God. Fearlessness is a virtue from God. If you don’t want to die, why are you a governor? People only want the benefits of the office, not the pains of office. I have nothing personal against anybody: I speak my mind and let the devil be ashamed. I have been criticising Buhari even when I didn’t know he would become the president. Nigerians have now seen they made a mistake in electing him. They voted for massive killing, nepotism and disobedience of court order. Look at what happened in the Rivers rerun elections where they used state power to oppress the people. What goes round comes around. People who are oppressing today could be oppressed tomorrow.

The other time, you said you were praying so as to select the next governor of the state. Has God shown you the person?

Not yet. When it is revealed, I will let the people know.

Several of your colleagues who used to speak out have since kept quiet. Some people say the reason why you are still able to criticise the government is because of the immunity you enjoy as governor. Is that the case?

There are other governors enjoying immunity, why are they not talking? It is about being courageous and speaking for the masses. There are good examples of courageous people in the bible. God commanded Joshua to be courageous and fearless. I’m simply obeying the command of God. Daniel was courageous to weather the storms of life. Joseph was courageous even when they lied against him that he slept with the wife of his principal. So was Moses when he confronted Pharaoh. Despite signs and wonders, Pharaoh wanted Moses dead but God said no. As Pharaoh and his soldiers perished in the Red Sea, so my enemies would perish in the Red Sea.

If you were offered an opportunity to work for President Buhari, would you stop attacking him?

I will never work with him; there is no basis for that. If this assignment is based on principles, we are opposites. Those working with him are strange bed fellows.

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How MMM Nigeria ‘Crashed’ – Brian Jonah Dennis

“My Name Is MMM, I Am A Ponzi Scheme” – Brian Jonah Dennis 
I created a website where I promise to double the income of participants by 30%.
The first participant joins with N20k. I need him to be convinced that my website pays So I use my own money to make up for the 30% and he goes home happy. I tell him he gets extra bonuses if he brings a friend and he does exactly that. Two of his friends sign up with N20k each and I return their investment with my own money and give my first client a special bonus for bringing them.

His friends are aware their colleague got a bonus for bringing them in. They get greedy, they bring more people. At this point, everyone wants bonuses as my system is verified and working.

More people join in, so I’m not using my money to pay them anymore, I’m using their money to pay them and waiting for more members to join so there’ll always be money in the system. I see a huge investment of N1m from a greedy participant, I run the website with money and I’ve spent my own money to build the trust in the system so I pair the provider of N1m with myself. Then get about 30 people providing N50k to pay him back in 30 days, he has N1.3m. My system is working, he tells his colleagues in his social class and they’re all excited.

My first members who started with N20k have gotten greedy, they’ve created multiply accounts to cash out but I don’t care. The big fishes are in the game. The big monies are being paired with me, I’m no longer providing money but I’m getting money. Whenever I see a large amount to be donated, I immediately pair the account to mine. Effortlessly a millionaire.

The system continues to thrive because new members keep coming in. There is a wild recession in the country, my scheme is the escape route. People have paid rents, school fees, bought cars and funded their ceremonies with my scheme. I am suddenly an employer of labour.

But all good things must come to an end, I have successfully built a network of participants running into millions but there is a serious cash deficit. It is almost Christmas and almost everyone needs 30% of their investment back. Because I’ve been collecting millions as an admin without donating, and because there are not enough new members to match the financial demands of the existing members, my system has collapsed but I am not done getting my millions from gullible people.

I announce a freeze on the website for technical reasons. I’ve done a lot for them so they believe me that I’m just protecting the system from crash even when it was not the wise thing to believe.
I told them they couldn’t receive money this period but they could still donate.

The one month freeze was an attempt to see if I could pay the existing members from the donations of new members. Sadly, some people had lost faith in the system, the new and existing members were afraid to make donations during the freeze because they were unsure of getting their 30% returns back. Plus there were a lot of evil people on social media spreading propaganda that my scheme was a Ponzi that had ended.

I needed that trust back, so I relaunched my website a day before the scheduled return. You needed to see the excitement. It was Christmas on January 13, I told existing people that had provided donations that they could now get help. I also added some attractive incentives for new members. I still faced the same problem that made me shut down temporarily, even worse.

The people that provided help during the shut down all requested help, plus there had already been a long list of people before then. So I decided to pair those that needed less than N30k first to check the rotation of money. Still there was not enough money to go round. The people that were paired to pay others refused to pay, the trust was gone. People had suddenly realised that it was not possible for 30% to be added to your money unless someone lost their own money.

Several other schemes took over my place when I was frozen. All will eventually meet their ends. Greed always comes to an end.
People still live in delusions of grandeur that I have not crashed. Perhaps they expect me to put a memo in my website that it is over. Lol. I really don’t blame their naivety, I did do a lot for them to trust me.

I would advise that people make more intelligent financial decisions next time. People lost millions to me because of greed. Do I feel guilty? No. I did warn them to use their SPARE money.
My name is MMM and I am a Ponzi Scheme.

Brian Jonah Dennis

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REVEALED: How Accidental Airstrike On Rann IDP Camp Happened

Details have began to emerge on how the accidental bombing of an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Rann, Borno State happened.

According to report, the Air Force bombing of the camp on Tuesday was based on an intelligence alert by a foreign country.

The report added that the Air Force was not aware of the existence of the IDPs camp due to lack of synergy among the military, the Emergency Management bodies and the Borno State Government.

According to a source, who gave technical  insights into how the error occurred,  the incident was due to “failure of intelligence”.

The source said: “What happened was that a foreign nation, which had been assisting in the counter-insurgency, provided an intelligence alert on the regrouping of some insurgents in Rann.

“The foreign country based its alert on what its surveillance radar picked. The alert indicated that the insurgents must be smoked out as early as possible. It was on this basis that the Air Force deployed its jet.

“The error occurred because the IDPs camp was not among the list of camps made available to the Air Force. There is a strong suspicion that the camp was recently set up by emergency bodies and Borno State without updating the list given to the military.”

The source pleaded that the country’s name should not be revealed. He stressed that there was no coordination between the military and the emergency bodies on the camp in Rann.

“Yet, we cannot blame the foreign country because it had always given credible intelligence to the military, especially on Operation Lafiya Dole,” the source said.

Another source, who pleaded not to be named, spoke of a technical investigation of how the incident happened. The probe involves the military and security agencies. “It is going to be a comprehensive audit of the information available to the Tactical Air Command, the directives given to the pilot and his crew, how the flight took off, why the plane could not distinguish a settlement from  insurgents’ clusters and why the bombing was done,” the source said, adding:

“It is going to be a classified investigation because a lot of international and national forces/ intelligence agencies are collaborating in the Northeast.”

The pilot and his crew have been grounded for interrogation as part of the preliminary investigation.

“I think we will all come out stronger after this investigation. This is an Air Force that has recorded 6,000 hours of counter-insurgency missions without hurting any civilian. Everyone is actually sad here,” the source said.

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Analysis: Sokoto’s 2017 agric allocation supercedes that of every other State

By Abayomi Fidelis

With allocation of N14.6 billion to agriculture in the 2017 budget, Sokoto State has allocated more funds to the sector than all states in the federation, an analysis of this year’s budget estimates from across the country has shown.

Sokoto’s 2017 allocation followed a pattern from last year when Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal allocated over N14 billion to the sector.

Being the mainstay of the state’s economy, experts have commended the government for its consistency and practical efforts to develop the sector, which employs more persons than any other sector in the state.

Available data indicate that over 85% of the state’s estimated five million inhabitants engage in one form of agricultural activity or another.

Analysis published Monday by Abuja-based Daily Trust newspaper indicated that after Sokoto, only Ogun State allocated two-digit figure to agriculture in the 2017 budget estimates. For this year, Ogun allocated N11.6 billion, while it voted the sum of N10.2 billion to the sector in 2016.

Kebbi State, which voted N12.5 billion for the sector last year, hasn’t yet presented its 2017 budget.

The report added: “States with above N5 billion budgets for agric are Kogi (N8 billion), Katsina (N8 billion), Akwa Ibom (N7.4 billion), Borno (N7 billion), Bauchi (N6.7 billion), Kano (N6.6 billion), Jigawa (N6.1 billion), Yobe (N5.7 billion), Anambra (N5.4billion) and Plateau (N5.1 billion).”

In a section it termed “unfriendly agric states,” the report said states with the least budgets for agric include Enugu (N465 million), Bayelsa (N535million), Edo (N1.1 billion), Kwara (N1.13 billion), Nasarawa (N3 billion), Imo (N3.2 billion), Zamfara (N3.5 billion), Bayelsa (N4 billion), Taraba (N4.4 billion), Kaduna (N4.6 billion), Oyo (N4.6 billion) and Lagos (N4.7 billion).

Presenting this year’s budget of N204.3 to the state assembly recently, Tambuwal said the policy thrust of the budget was to ensure sustainable economic development through substantial investment in critical sectors.

They include: education, agriculture, healthcare delivery, exploration of mineral resources, investment in renewable energy and infrastructure, he said.

“We will prioritise effective resources management and seek intervention in areas with high potentialities to create job opportunities, generate income and improve revenue generation,” the governor said.

Tambuwal added that though the financial state of affairs in the country was facing huge challenges, the state’s 2017 budget would address key policy issues.

These will include the promotion of peaceful coexistence and protection of lives and properties.

“We will work to strengthen capacity building of scheduled ministries to ensure they perform better in their tasks.

“Of great importance to us will be the promotion of partnership with the private sector in areas of strategic importance to our development objective.

“We will promote value chain through agro-processing and diversification by way of giving incentives to farmers and producers.

“We will also create backward and forward linkages between and among institutions, partners and other stakeholders to accelerate economic growth,” he said.

 

*Abayomi wrote from Ijora, Lagos

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What Many Don’t Know About Major Chukwuma ‘Kaduna’ Nzeogwu

It was a startling discovery for many to find that Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu was not from the Igbo ethnic group from Southern-Eastern Nigeria, but an Anioma or derogatorily referred to as “Bendel Igbo” from Middle-Western Nigeria.

Augustine Esogbue is  an Emeritus Professor who studied and taught in America until when he recently  retired .He was a family friend of the Nzeogwus .According to him  “I cannot remember the house number and road where Chukwuma was born in Doka or Gari meaning metropolis ,because it happened a long time ago . But I was born in House number F11, Ibadan Street, Kaduna on December 25th, 1940. My father hails from Isieke Umuekea Village in Ibusa Town of Oshimili North of Asaba-now in Delta State.When he died, my uncle adopted me, I left Kaduna, my mother and family friend Chukwuma in Kaduna. But I later fled from the custody of my uncle due to the hard labour of farming, because I was the only male in the midst of his female children. My uncle wanted to send me to a Teachers Training College, but I fled the hardship of farming from Asaba, crossed the River Niger on a boat to Onitsha, boarded  a train from Enugu to Kaduna and then to Birnin Yero village railway station along the Kaduna Zaria Road, where my elder brother Peter Esogbue worked in the Post and Telecommunication (P and T), as the officer in charge of the Morse Code of the Railway. The train officials allowed me to have a free ride because they knew my uncle in Birnin Yero. I enjoyed my stay there because there was steady supply of cow hump meat, otherwise known in Hausa language as tozo. I later wrote the entrance examination to Saint John’s -now Rimi College- Kaduna. I met Chukwuma in form two while I was his junior in form one. Up to when I finished secondary school, my mother was in Kaduna, and they were family friends with the Nzeogwus because they come from the same area, and have the same language, even though they understand and speak the Igbo language.”

Professor Augustine said because his class was made up of gifted students, the school Principal, a Reverend father said we are recommended to be the first set of students to register and write the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) in form five instead of in form six  in 1956 alongside the  senior students in form six. My senior, that is, late Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and his class went on strike to protest the promotion, asking why should we be allowed to take the examination with them. They protested and when they were ordered to go back to school, they refused, and they were later expelled. The church community came and begged the reverend father, and he said they would not let them come back until they apologized. Everybody did except Nzeogwu and one of his friends. They left school without writing the WASCE.

Before then, he was a leader of the Man O’ War Youth Wing. His mother and mine were very close friends. Nzeogwu hails from Okpanam Town where the Asaba Airport was built between Asaba, Ibuzo, and Okpaba in Anioma. He is Anioma just like me or what others call Bendel-Igbo. Many people say Nzeogwu is Igbo. No, he is not Igbo, but Anioma. Some of his classmates can testify to this. They are: George Iweche, President of Back Benchers, late James Bawa from Minna, Professor Peter Oseidebe in Nsukka and many others.

Professor said when they were in college, they loved and revered Sardauna, Azikiwe and Awolowo, and they loved him most when he hosted the Queen during her visit to Kaduna in 1956.

However, somebody who knew Major Nzeogwu as a teenager is Alhaji Abubakar Musa Abubakar who is a community leader in Abakwa in Kaduna metropolis. “I knew Chukwuma since when he was a teenager.He was born in Kazaure Road in Kaduna metropolis and he used to come and stay with his uncle -his father’s elder brother- in Abakpa during the school holidays. The uncle is called Anthony, he is the leader of Igbos in the community, and the house is about one hundred meters to the Abakpa Primary school. But the house has since been sold and its original shape distorted by the new occupants. Nzeogwu used to spend his holidays here.He was known to all then as Chukwuma and he used to assist his uncle with errands and he regularly accompanied him when he went hunting for birds and games around the area now known as the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA Kaduna. Chukwuma attended primary School in Kaduna, but I don’t know whether he attended Secondary school before he joined the Army and did his training in the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria as a recruit before he was later upgraded to an officer cadre, because he could read and write in the English Language. But he was very fluent in Hausa language.”

Similarly, Alhaji Abdullahi Dan Mata said after Sardauna was killed, some people started saying “Dan Abakpa” meaning he was from Abakpa area of Kaduna metropolis.

He said the people of Abakpa were not happy with the insinuation that the late Nzeogwu was associated with Abakpa, while he was not born or bred there, but  he used to visit his uncle named Anthony.”

On his account of the 1966 coup, Alhaji Abubakar said he was in his tailoring shop when he heard about the coup. He said they later summoned courage to go and see what happened in the late Sardauna’s house, because they heard that the house was burnt and that the Premier had been killed.

He went to the House of Sardauna and then to the house of Alhaji Isa Kaita and joined Alhaji Saidu Barda and Hajiya Ta-Funtua in evacuating the goods of the Minister of Education from the Minister’s quarters to his personal house in Dutse Close, Unguwan Shanu.

According to him, nobody attacked or arrested Anthony, even though he was the leader of Igbos in the community. On the eve of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967, Igbos gathered in the house of Anthony and later proceeded to the South-Eastern Nigeria through the rail station in Abakpa. And after the civil war, they came back and claimed their house, until recently when they sold it and left the area.

Similarly, the chief Driver to the late Premier of the Northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ali Sarkin Mota said, “Sardauna loves children, that is why when he wanted to enlist youths into the army, he did not discriminate between Hausa, Fulani or youths from western and eastern parts of Nigeria to fill the quota of the North.  He just assisted whoever came to him. Chukwuma Nzeogwu added the name Kaduna when he wanted to join the military. He used to visit Sardauna even when he was a military officer.

Alhaji Ali Kwarbai, Sarkin Motan Sardauna said he worked that day till late in the night after taking the late Premier of the  Western Region, Chief Ladoke Akintola to the airport to return to Ibadan.After he informed the Sardauna about an impending coup and some errands, because it was late in the night, and he had a busy  schedule in the morning, he did not go home, but slept in the staff quarters of Sardauna on the day of the coup when Nzeogwu killed Sardauna .He said he survived the ordeal because he lay  down under the bed during the sporadic shooting in the residence. The betrayal and killing of Sardauna by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu made him sick for almost six months before he later regained his consciousness.

Meanwhile, it is confirmed that late Major Chukwuma “Kaduna” Nzeogwu was buried in Kaduna. His grave is in the Commonwealth War-military-Cemetery located at Kashim Ibrahim Road, with the signboard Major C K Chukwuma Nzeogwu, grave number 9.

This reporter contacted the residence and office of the late Premier which was renamed Arewa House, which is also the center for historical documentation and research of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, where a senior officer said they were not aware where Nzeogwu was buried.But they later found out and confirmed after two days that Nzeogwu was indeed buried in the military cemetery in Kaduna.

Daily Trust

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How ‘Mammy Market’ Found Around Every Military Barracks Nationwide Got Its Name

Mammy Market is synonymous with military barracks spread across the country. It is a place filled with so much life especially in the night.

Many Nigerians throng these place point and kill fish, smoked fish, bubbling music and assorted drinks and many more, but not many of them know how the market came about.

Here, we present you a brief story of mammy market as told by someone who knows its origin. Enjoy!

It was in 1959. Mammy Ode, a young girl from Jericho-Ugboju in the present Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State was married to Anthony Aboki Ochefu, a young Non-Commissioned military officer who had just been posted to Enugu from Abeokuta. They were quartered at the Army Barracks, Abakpa, Enugu. To beat idleness and perhaps earn some money to support her young family, Mrs. Mammy Ochefu established a soft drinks business. She prepared gruel, which is called umu or enyi in Idoma, or kunu in Hausa, for sale to soldiers. She soon became popular with her stuff as soldiers trooped to her house to buy enyi. Some of her best customers were officers, who always sent their batmen to buy some of the gruel for them, Monday through Friday.

Somehow, one of the Non-Commissioned Officers, the RSM, did not flow with the enthusiasm, which Mammy’s gruel generated among other military men in the barracks. He complained that the stuff was attracting flies into the barracks and ordered Mrs. Mammy Ochefu to stop its production and sale. Though surprised and disappointed at the order of the RSM, she stopped the production and sale of enyi. Her husband, not being an officer at the time, could not challenge the order of the RSM.

For weeks, Mrs. Mammy Ochefu agonized over the fate of her business, just as officers and men of the Nigerian Army who enjoyed her enyi because of its freshness and nutritional value lamented the situation. From several quarters, pressure mounted on the RSM for a reversal of the order. After a while, he succumbed to the pressures and directed that a section of the barracks be reserved for Mrs. Mammy Ochefu to produce and sell her enyi. Her joy knew no bounds.

Few days after, a section of the barracks was given to her. She built a small shop and soon, her business began to boom. Most of her customers booked for their shares in advance. Before noon, she would have finished selling the available enyi for the day. Soon, other women in the barracks tapped into her fortune and started selling other items. It was not long before that portion of the barracks became known as Mammy Market. It also became a policy to establish markets inside or near military barracks in the country, initially for the exclusive use of officers and men.

Today, no visit to Abuja, the Federal Capital City, is complete without a taste of fresh fish in one of the Mammy Markets, especially the one attached to Abacha Barracks. Similar markets attached to paramilitary barracks are also called Mammy Markets.

After the coup that overthrew General Yakubu Gowon, Anthony Aboki Ochefu, then a Colonel, was posted to East Central State as Military Governor. So Mrs. Mammy Ochefu and her husband returned to Enugu as the First Family; she sometimes visited the site where Mammy Market started about sixteen years earlier.

It must be stressed too that in retirement, Colonel Anthony Aboki Ochefu and his wife incorporated a company, Mammy Markets, which was into haulage and trading. Mrs. Mammy Ochefu is alive and lives at Otukpo as one of the prized legends of our time.”

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Diezani’s N35bn And The Banks’ Connection

By Leadership

A Lagos High Court has ordered Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke to, temporarily, forfeit an amount put at N35 billion to the federal government. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had alleged that the money was stolen from the coffers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and stashed in banks in Nigeria. On the basis of this, the commission took the matter to court and got this judgment.

Recently, on this page, we said that Nigerian public officials steal what they don’t need. This mind-blowing revelation in the court is another proof of it. Those behind it were out to save for their generations yet unborn. Otherwise, why take out that huge sum?  How many ministries, departments and agencies of government have that volume of cash as their annual budget? But that is just a bit of what some individuals, who had decided to shut down their consciences, made away with in one haul.

We are sure that when the EFCC probes even deeper, something more outlandish will probably be unearthed. Before now, there was the $2billion armsgate. Who knows what is likely to be found in other departments of government about how public servants in positions of trust and responsibility made a fool of the nation as a whole.

One significant revelation from that judgment is that it is not enough to crucify only the public officer who may be the target person in situations of graft. That judgment made it evident that such high profile looting often always involves a syndicate arrangement. It is a further affirmation that stealing of public money of that magnitude is possible only with the active connivance of like-minded thieves in strategic institutions, in this case, the banks. The description of how the money moved is a classic example of the devious capabilities of the minds of those the rest of us regard as notable Nigerians.

It is obvious, in our view, that the government is anxious to get the nation out of its present economic quagmire and would, therefore, cherish access to any money it believes can be used in that rebuilding process. In that mental state, it may be in a hurry to lose interest in the case as soon as the money is returned to the public kitty. This might entail that these thieves could be allowed to walk away free with their reputation intact. That, in our opinion, will be an improper approach to it. The authorities must punish the act of stealing for the lesson it tends to teach. The recovered item, in this instance, the money, will serve as exhibit during trial to be used to implicate, prosecute and jail them. There must be a price to be paid for the betrayal of public trust, for getting involved in an odious manipulation of officialdom for one’s pecuniary gains.

The pains the act inflicted on the psyche of the people who were also denied the benefits derivable from the prudent deployment of that resource must be assuaged by making the perpetrators have their day in court. Anything short of that will stymie, if not jeopardise, the course of justice and even give the impression that malfeasance can be rewarding. It will be a misrepresentation of the inherent and noble intentions of the anti-corruption campaign.

To imagine that, in some instances, this huge sum was carried around in cash. It points a finger in the direction of the security agencies who may have given the needed security cover for such illicit transaction to have been carried out without hitches. They, too, must be held to account. This deal, as they term it, also calls to question the integrity of the bank(s) and, in particular, their executives for whom that was a good business move which enhanced their deposit profile and profitability. The board and management of the banks have a vicarious responsibility in this unholy transaction.

We suggest that government ought to summon the courage to put the whole of them behind bars and, relying on extant laws, go ahead and withdraw their operating licences. That, we are certain, will send out the right signal that the Diezani deal, and others like it, will not be condoned.

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The Story Of Obasanjo, Mike Adenuga, Ribadu’s EFCC, By Awujale Of Ijebuland

The EFCC in Lagos had come calling brusquely on Mike Adenuga (Jnr), Chairman Globacom on 9 July 2006. They broke his gate, swarmed into his house and kept him under ‘arrest’. When I heard about the arrest, I called the legal firms, of Ayanlaja SAN & Adesanya SAN as well as Professor Biodun Adesanya SAN to take up the matter and secure Mike’s release. They swung into action and gave indication that they would take the matter to court.

By evening, it was no longer necessary to go to court as Mike, following his statement to EFCC, had been released with instructions to report regularly to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja. Mike proceeded to Abuja, accompanied by his lawyer, Prof. Biodun Adesanya SAN. Indirectly related to this case, the EFCC had quizzed and released Mohammed Babangida, Ibrahim Babangida’s son. The EFCC purportedly were on the trail of some money belonging to the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), but there was really more beneath the veneer.

While Mike was in Abuja, he was counseled to see Obasanjo to extricate himself. For four days, he made attempts to see Obasanjo but was unsuccessful. After a few days in Abuja with no case pressed against him by EFCC, he returned to Lagos. Not long afterward, and in the heat of this mess, Obasanjo did two things that puzzled me. He called Mike to meet him at a social event in Lagos –Engr. Olapade’s birthday celebration. Mike and Obasanjo were both captured by press photographers in the newspapers at the event. Following the celebration, Obasanjo asked Mike to accompany him to Ota. It was in Ota that he solicited for the construction of the Administration Block of his university, Bells University in Ota. Mike agreed, and Carchez Turnkey Projects Ltd handled the project for him. It appeared the whole matter, the EFCC hunt, simmered and Mike continued about his business. On a trip to Ghana, he ran through his Nigerian daily newspapers and discovered that the situation was unfolding in a more revealing version. The EFCC had arrested Mohammed Babangida. Mike read between the lines and proceeded to the UK on exile. When I visited the UK, Mike came to see me and wanted me to facilitate a meeting with Obasanjo so that he could present his side of the case. The allegations against him were as follows:

a. That Abubakar Atiku, the Vice-President, gave Mike Adenuga money from the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) which were invested in Mike’s bank, Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB), and that the funds were used in paying for the Globacom license.

b. That as a result of the connection in (a) Atiku was a major shareholder in Globacom. And Atiku used his clout to ensure that PTDF money got into ETB.

c. That General Ibrahim Babangida, the former Head of State, was also a major shareholder in Globacom.

It was not enough for Mike to merely present his case to EFCC, for it seemed the EFCC was under some remote control. The Presidency was after Atiku. Atiku at some point was the Chairman of the PTDF; an attempt was being made to indict him for alleged illegal and unauthorized channeling of PTDF money into Globacom. All sorts of rumors were flying around, and the Presidency wanted to pin down the case against Atiku. If Ibrahim Babangida also fell into the trap, so much the better.

A wide opening presented itself, and EFCC seized it.

G.Subair is Mike’s second cousin. His father died young, and he grew up, just as I did in my early life, living with Mike’s mother. He worked for Mike and was seconded, amongst other things, to open the Kaduna office for Globacom. In need of accommodation or office space, he leased, on behalf of Globacom, a house, at 2-3 Dawaki Road in Kaduna belonging to Mohammed Badamasi Babangida and used that address in official correspondence and memoranda. Mohammed is the first son of President Ibrahim Babangida. This was Babangida connection to which EFCC hung on when they were rummaging through Globacom documents. This was, according to them, irrefutable evidence that Babangida was a major shareholder in Globacom and that his son, Mohammed Babangida, or G.Subair or Mike was fronting for Babangida in this venture.

Mike told me how he had raised money through the BNP Paribas Bank in France and how he paid to New York for the Globacom licensing fees. All the money involved could be traced with supporting documents to France and New York in the form of a huge loan. The Bank BNP Paribas on its part had a letter stating clearly their involvement in the transaction and Mike wanted to present this among other documents to President Obasanjo. I called Obasanjo and relayed the facts as I had them from Mike to him. I requested for his fax number so that I could fax Mike’s letter explaining all the transactions and the Bank of Paribas letter to him. As soon as he gave me the fax number, I faxed the documents to him. Still, Obasanjo was not satisfied. It seemed that it was all a ruse because they were really after Atiku and Babangida and wanted Mike to implicate them. Mike refused to cooperate. If he were not going to cooperate, they thought, harassment would do it. On 19 August 2006, I made a statement to the press asking Obasanjo to caution Nuhu Ribadu, the head of the EFCC, about his mode of operations. I denounced the harassment of citizens by EFCC and urged them to go to court if they had anything concrete against anyone.

While Mike was in exile, we shared a moment of relaxation together. We took a holiday together in the south of France with some members of our families. I had with me my wife Olori Kemi, my daughter, Ronke and Oba Adekoya, the Dagburewe of Idowa. Mike came along with his two daughters and his niece.

While on this holiday, the President of France, Jacques Chirac, was going to be holding a conference with African Heads of State in Nice. Coincidentally, we got to know that Obasanjo was booked to stay in the same hotel where we were staying. Later, we learned he had changed his mind and would not be attending the conference. Then not long afterward, we were told he had decided to attend after all. By the time he finally decided to attend, all the rooms in the hotel were fully booked, and he was now booked into another, Embassy Hotel, which was a stone’s throw from when we were. I got to know that he would check in at 8.00am on the day of the conference. At 8.330am, I went to his hotel and took Mike along with me. From the reception, I spoke to him on the phone. When he asked from where I was speaking, I told him I was downstairs in the lobby of his hotel! He said he would send someone down immediately to lead me up to his suite, and he did so. I left Mike behind in the hotel lobby. When I got to his suite, there were already a number of people in the corridor, in his living room and the dining room waiting to see him. His ADC took me straight to see him in his bedroom. I had hardly settled down when he started talking to me about his deputy, Abubakar Atiku. He was at daggers drawn with Atiku. When he exhausted all he had to say about Atiku, he jumped on Theophilus Danjuma, his estranged friend. They fell out after Danjuma had served him as Minister of Defence. I sat there just listening. He needed to get a lot off his chest. He told me how would leave the Chirac conference immediately after the opening because he wanted to attend a PDP campaign in Gombe at 5.00pm that same day. He was a lead campaigner for the PDP and Umaru Yar’adua for President.

He reeled off a number of events where he was going to be engaged in the coming months, including the opening of the Obajana Cement Factory. Wait a minute! Something struck me at the mention of Obajana Cement Factory.I told him that I had heard that he and Aliko Dangote jointly owned the cement factory. I told him that I heard Dangote was fronting for him in the venture. His reply was to query whether I believed what I heard. I countered by saying whether I believed it or not was irrelevant to the question that I had asked him. He said nothing further on this. Before we left his room, I pointed out to him that now that he was approaching the end of his term in office, there were some people to whom he owed apologies: Chief S.O. Bakare (Oluwalogbon) was one. Chief Bakare gave everything to support Obasanjo when he was down. In spite of Obasanjo’s condemnation by the populace, Bakare still stood by him. I had forewarned Bakare that Obasanjo would eventually dump him. Notwithstanding, he stood by Obasanjo. In the end Obasanjo walked away. A few months in office they separated as friends.

I told Obasanjo that Mike Adenuga was in Cannes and that I had brought him with me. He was waiting in the foyer downstairs. I told him that the reason I brought Mike along was that it was not unlikely that Obasanjo would hear that Mike was in Cannes while he was in town and would deem it discourteous if Mike did not show up to pay his respect. Now that I had told him, that Mike was downstairs, it was now up to him, if he wanted to see Mike, to send someone to bring him up. Obasanjo objected to Mike coming to see him in his suite. Instead, he said he would see Mike downstairs on his way to the conference. At this point, I volunteered to go downstairs and wait with Mike. Obasanjo again objected, insisting that he and I should go down together. Soon after, his ADC came into the room to remind him about the time. He went into his bathroom, got ready, and we went to the lift with his Foreign Minister.

When we got down, Mike came forward to greet him. ‘I have nothing against you, it is a matter of principle’ Obasanjo told Mike. Mike, in turn, said, ‘Your Excellency, I understand. Thank you.’ That was all the exchange they had.

When Obasanjo left office in 2007, we met at the 90th birthday ceremony for Chief T.O.S Benson in Lagos on 23 July 2007. As a matter of fact, we sat side by side. In the course of our conversation, I told him I was going to be in Abeokuta the following day. He said he would be in Ota when I was there, but that he would specifically come to Abeokuta to host me for lunch. He kept his word. So much so that he called me on the phone when lunch was ready! I assured him that I would not miss lunch and I would be with him as soon as I was through with my meeting.

I went as promised for lunch with Oba Adekoya, the Dagburewa of Idowa. When we got there, Obasanjo also had Alhaji Ola Yusuf from Owu, Abeokuta, who had come to see him and he too joined us for lunch. We were four at the table. It was sumptuous lunch, and I had never been treated to anything like it in our long relationship.

Mike Adenuga was still in exile abroad, and Obasanjo steered the lunch talk in his direction. He asked me to ask my son meaning Mike Adenuga, to return home. I requested that he should leave the matter until after lunch and it would be tackled on a one-to-one basis between us. He agreed.

After lunch, we went into his private sitting room. I declared that what Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman of EFCC, was doing in respect of Mike Adenuga was wrong and he was doing it at Obasanjo’s behest. I told him that I refrained from interfering because I wanted to see how the law would pan out on the issue. The kernel of the matter really, as I told him, was his disagreement with Abubakar Atiku, his deputy, and they had taken the matter almost life-and –death level. Mike Adenuga was a pawn in the crisis, and he should be given the right to defend himself.

I reminded Obasanjo that he was no longer in office and he should back off in his pursuit of Mike. I went further to let him know that if Nuhu Ribadu did not desist from molesting Mike, I would go into the ring with them. Here I made clear that I would take him and Ribadu to unnecessarily and unjustifiably pursue Mike. Obasanjo promised to see Ribadu and to ask him to back off. He further promised to give me feedback on this.

When I did not get his feedback, I called him a number of times, but the phone would ring and not be answered. Eventually, I called his aide, Bodunde Adeyanju, who on picking my call passed the phone to Obasanjo to speak to me. Obasanjo told me Ribadu was out of the country and he would get back again to me on Ribadu’s return. I told Obasanjo how difficult it had been to reach him on the phone. I offered a solution. I would ask Mike to send him a phone which he would give his aide, Bodunde, as an intermediary. This way, all I had to do was call that number, and Bodunde would pass it to him if he wanted to speak to me. He agreed, and Mike sent the phone down the next day. But still, Obasanjo did not come back to me on the issue.

Mike remained in exile in London, and nothing much was heard again or raised by the EFCC about him. Later in 2007, I called Mike in London and told him I wanted to know why he had refused to return home. Since he had no skeleton in his cupboard, then he should return home. I explained to him that the purpose of the wealth with which he had been divinely endowed was to care for his needs, and his interests. It was also for use to defend his honor and integrity. For these reasons, I urged him to return home.

Thereafter, Mike returned home. Nobody touched him, and no institution has prosecuted him because there was no genuine reason from the onset for anybody to touch him. However, the construction project at Bells University slowed considerably while Mike was in exile and a few solicitous calls from Obasanjo to Mike while he was in exile did not change the pace of work. On his return from exile, the school Bells University had the temerity to write to him seeking for a meeting to discuss the continuation of the project. When I got to know, I offered to be in attendance at the meeting and sent word round that I would be in attendance. I had the intention to lambast all of them. They must have sensed it because up till now, the meeting has not been held!

All the enormous goodwill which Obasanjo carried into office was squandered with a performance that left him with a second term short of tangible achievements. Eight years in office was ample time to put electricity on a very strong footing. Eight years was enough to put down a strong foot against corruption and make a clear difference. Eight years was adequate for orderliness and the rule of law to triumph in every facet of our society. These were the basis upon which I gave him my support for the office. Some new State Governors have shown how much good can be achieved in a shorter time.

‘Awujale: The Autobiography of Alaiyeluwa Oba S.K Adetona, Ogbagba II’

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Meet The American Billionaire Sponsoring Chibok Girls Education

An African American billionaire, Robert Smith, is sponsoring the education of 24 Chibok schoolgirls in American University, Yola, in Adamawa State.

His identity was revealed today by Garba Shehu, senior special assistant on media to President Muhammadu Buhari, at an interaction with journalists in Abuja.

The billionaire, Mr. Shehu also revealed, is offering to take responsibility for the 21 girls freed in October and all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free.

WHO IS ROBERT SMITH?

He is a 54-year-old businessman, who attended good American colleges such as Cornell and Columbia universities. At Cornell, he picked a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and an MBA at Columbia. He lives in Austin, Texas.

According to a short bio written on him by Forbes, he was the son of PhD holders and was bussed across town to his school in the early days of desegregation.

“He later convinced Bell Labs when he was in high school to give him an internship typically only available to college upperclassman by calling them weekly for five months.

“Smith quit Goldman Sachs to open his own private equity shop, Vista Equity Partners, in 2000.

The company is said to be worth over $26 billion.

“Neuberger Berman bought a stake in the $16.9 billion (assets) Austin, Texas firm, best known for fixing up enterprise software outfits, in July 2015,” Forbes reported.

“That same month, Smith married 2010 Playboy Playmate of the Year Hope Dworaczyk in Italy

Forbes listed him as the 274th richest man in the United States as at December 27, with a net worth of $2.5 billion. He is ranked 688th in the world. Some other reports put his net worth at $3billion.

He is a self-made man, who made his money in private equity investments.

And before then, he struggled early to get what he wanted.

According to his story, as a junior at Denver’s East High School in the 1970s, he showed a fascination for the geekiest subject there: Computer science.

“The transistor held particular wonder for him. This small device, a crucial valve controlling the flow of electrons within a computer, had been invented at Bell Labs. Bell had a nearby office. Maybe he should work at Bell, too.

“After securing the number, Smith phoned and inquired about a summer internship. Yes, Bell did have one, he learned, but only college upperclassmen could apply. Smith had straight A’s in math and computer science. Would that count? No, Bell said, it would not. Undaunted by this initial rejection, Smith called back every day for two weeks—HR stopped answering after Day 2—and then cut back on how often he called …to every Monday for five months. Eventually, he was rewarded for his doggedness. After an MIT student didn’t show up in June, Bell called Smith. Could he come in for an interview?

“I ran my own race. I knew what I wanted, and my persistence paid off, and I came in and interviewed. They liked me, and I got the internship,” Smith said in a commencement address at American University in 2015.

“In fact, I worked there for the next four years during summer and winter breaks.”

After leaving Cornell, he worked at Kraft General Foods, where he earned two United States and two European patents.

He then attended Columbia Business School, where he graduated with honours. From 1994-2000, he joined Goldman Sachs in tech investment banking, first in New York and then in Silicon Valley.

“As Co-Head of Enterprise Systems and Storage, he executed and advised on over $50 billion in merger and acquisition activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay and Yahoo. He was the first person at Goldman Sachs to focus solely on Tech M&A and foreign countries.

In 2000, he set up his own company, Vista Equity Partners.

Vista is said to have exclusively focused on the enterprise software, data and technology enabled solutions sectors. Among Vista’s portfolio companies are Misys, TIBCO, Solera, Active Network, Bullhorn, Omnitracs, and Newscyle.

In January 2015, based on its performance over the last 10 years, Vista Equity Partners was named the world’s Number One performing private equity firm, according to the HEC-Dow Jones annual ranking conducted by Professor Oliver Gottschalg.

Preqin, a consulting firm that tracks the industry, reported that Vista’s third fund returned $2.46 for every dollar invested, better than every other big fund raised between 2006 and 2010, the boom years for private equity.

In October 2014, Vista closed its Fund V at $5.8 billion, its largest fund to date.

As a successful African-American, Smith has been generous hearted.

In January this year, he announced a $50 million gift to his alma mater Cornell University, which renamed its school of chemical and bio-engineering after him. In June he was named chairman of Carnegie Hall.

In September, he donated $20 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. His private gift, as reported by Washington Post, was the second largest behind Opral Winfrey, the richest African-American, who gave $21 million.

Smith has received the Reginald F. Lewis Achievement Award, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Robert Toigo Foundation, and the Ripple of Hope Award from Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

Smith was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service. He founded Project Realize– termed “Free Market Philanthropy”– in order to combine the best elements of the American free enterprise system with the core American ideals of giving back and lifting others up.

No wonder, he is willing to lift the Chibok schoolgirls out of their predicament and give them a dream education.

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Wike’s Audio Tape Povides Useful Link, INEC Chairman Speaks To The Interview

We paid tribute to the memory of DSP Alkali Mohammed, but we shall pay a condolence visit to the Inspector General of Police next week and also send staff from our Niger State office to do the same to the family of the late DSP. We did the same to the NYSC and the family of the late Okonta Samuel, the corps member killed during the first rerun in Rivers on March 19.

What is your response to the recorded conversation between Governor Wike and your staff, leaked to Saharareporters?

We have no immediate comment on the Wike tape. It is part of the comprehensive investigation we’re carrying out. It is, however, curious that Etche was mentioned in the tape.

What do you mean by Etche?

It is the Local Government that witnessed such massive disruption that we couldn’t declare winners in the 1Federal Constituency (Etche/Omuma) and 1 State Constituency (Etche II) for which reason we’re going back to the LGA early next year. The tape provides a useful clue to what transpired there.

What lessons have you learnt from Rivers?

After the 2015 general elections and the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal virtually nullifying elections in the three senatorial districts, we returned for the rerun on March 16, 2015. Again the rerun was marred by violence. When we returned on December 10 we took extensive precaution and involved a broad range of groups and community leaders, to help keep the peace.

But once again violence reared its head. There were no less than 70 incidents of deliberate obstruction of the electoral process. Election duty personnel were harassed, abducted and physically assaulted. On election eve, thugs disrupted the delivery of election materials to the Registration Area Centres (RACs), a situation that prevented early deployment to the Polling Units on Election Day. Indeed, in many instances, we had to deploy directly from the Local Government Areas to the Polling Units (PUs), contrary to our plans. Amidst heavy shooting by political thugs, vehicles transporting materials and personnel to PUs were hijacked. Voter registers, ballot papers, result sheets and Smart Card Readers were brazenly snatched at gunpoint. The Commission has documented all these instances of violence and wishes to assure Nigerians that we shall carefully scrutinize them and take appropriate action under the Law as well as our guidelines and regulations.

READ: [AUDIO]: Governor Wike Caught On Tape Threatening To Kill INEC Officials

We welcome the ongoing effort by especially the Nigeria Police, as the lead agency in election security, to investigate the circumstances leading to the gruesome murder of DSP Alkali Mohammed and his Orderly for which we understand that some arrests have already been made. Our sympathy goes to his family, as well as the families of all those who lost their lives, in the violence that has unfortunately become synonymous with electioneering and elections in Rivers State. We are confident that the security agencies will investigate all violations of the nation’s laws before, during and after the last re-run elections in Rivers State, including the alleged unsavory roles played by actors in uniform. INEC will work with the security agencies to uncover and punish those who disrupted the distribution of election materials in Okrika and Gokana, the heavy shooting reported in Biata and Bodo, the hijacking of material in Andoni, Oyibo and Ogu-Bolu, the hostage-taking in Akoku Toru, the physical attack and kidnapping of election personnel resulting in the loss of ballot paper consignment for Ward 16 in Khana LGA and the unmasking of the identity of the thugs that threatened to burn down our personnel inside the vehicles conveying them to PUs in Etche resulting in the massive disruption that made it impossible for elections to be conducted in a substantial part of the Federal and State Constituencies in the LGA. We are also in contact with the security agencies to secure the release of 3 of our collation Officers whom we are reliably informed have been detained in a security facility in Port Harcourt for almost a week.

READ: Wike Allegedly Offers Telecom Officials $400,000 To Wipe Off Record Of Leaked Audio

Working under extremely difficult and often life-threatening conditions, our electoral officials, both ad hoc and regular, discharged their duties dispassionately. We want to particularly recognize Professor Oji Onu Ekumankama, the Returning Officer for Rivers East Senatorial District, who was assaulted by unknown persons in uniform who also threatened to arrest him.

Election materials, including results sheets and his personal belongings, were taken away from him at gunpoint. Yet, he stood his ground, supported by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for the area, who offered to be arrested along with Professor Ekumankama. In the end, the defiance of the Professor and the DPO, as well as the arrival of the State Commissioner of Police, discouraged the assailants. Similarly, despite the head injury he sustained following an attack by political thugs, Mr. Chukwudi Curtis Odepke, an INEC staff, dutifully discharged his assigned responsibilities as the substitute Collation/Returning Officer for Emuoha/Ikwere before he proceeded for treatment in a hospital in Port Harcourt. In the same vein, one of our Electoral Officers, Ms. Mary Tunkuyo and two Corps members Mr. Agona Isaac (RV/16/A/0012) and Mr. Ademola Oluwalore Toba (RV/16A/2396), were physically assaulted and sustained serious injuries. We salute the courage of officers like Professor Ekumankama, the DPO, Mr. Odekpe, Ms. Tunkuyo, the young Corps members and many others like them who stood up to harassment and assault and discharged their responsibilities creditably. These are shining examples in our assessment of the events of 10th December so far.

READ: Another Chilling Audio Of Wike’s Conversation Plotting To Rig Election, Kill INEC Officials Leaks

However, the Commission is also aware of reports of infractions by some of INEC staff ranging from absence from their duty posts to partisanship in the discharge of their duties. We also acknowledge that in Ahoada East and West, a Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) unsuccessfully tried to abscond with ballot papers and result sheets. We are also investigating the allegation of bribery involving other staff, particularly those deployed to Etche and Ikwerre. We wish to assure all Nigerians that the Commission is instituting an administrative inquiry as part of a comprehensive review of the Rivers re-run elections. Needless to say that any INEC staff that is found to have disobeyed clear rules and regulations will be appropriately sanctioned.

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