Friday , 22 November 2019
Latest
Home » Uncategorized

Uncategorized

Shell Nigeria is best company to work for – Jobberman survey

Shell companies in Nigeria have emerged winner in the best 100 companies to work for in the latest Jobberman 2019 Report released in Lagos on Thursday.

Shell led the pack of top 100 companies that respondents admire, respect and desire to work for the most.

Jobberman Chief Executive Officer, Hilda Kabushenga Kragha, said: “Shell won the most votes among majority of respondents aged between 25-35 and 18-24 while data analysed from 3,148 valid responses focused on the general public and employees working at numerous companies in Nigeria.”

Shell Nigeria Human Resources Director, Olukayode Ogunleye, said: “The award confirms that working at Shell enables talents to innovate and fulfil their aspirations while supporting Shell to meet its obligations to its stakeholders – government, investors and people of our host communities across the country.”

Ogunleye, represented by Shell Employee Relations & Industrial Relations Lead, Esohe Adetola, said, “Shell companies would be further challenged by the recognition to be relentless in making significant contributions to the industry and the Nigerian economy.

He said, “We are pleased that this Award is a recognition of Shell’s deliberate strategy to grow sustainable Nigerian companies where employees thrive and are happy to contribute their quota. Our journey to excellence as a leading energy company is hinged on the tremendous dedication and contributions of our staff, the majority of whom are Nigerians; and the strong support of our partners led by the NNPC.”

“We recognise that being an industry leader puts on us enormous responsibility and we have continued to rethink and reshape our employee value proposition in a manner that our delivery brings optimal value to Nigeria, our partners and the local service industry”, he said.

Ogunleye noted that apart from the energy produced by Shell companies and the revenue they generated for the government, the companies remained at the forefront of indigenising industry skills and capabilities while growing Nigerian companies to provide key services in-country.”

The Jobberman 2019 Report stated, “It is vital for employers to understand that employee satisfaction is a major factor that can help determine the organisation’s overall wellbeing; thus rigorous strategies to ensure , measure, track and improve employee satisfaction should always be held in high regards.”

Earlier in the year, Shell companies in Nigeria also emerged the international oil company with the most impactful local content initiatives in the upstream category at the 2019 edition of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair organised by the country’s local content regulator, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board. The companies were also named the Local Content Operator of the Year at the 2019 Annual Oil Industry Achievement Awards by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN).

N140m official car lands federal agency’s MD in trouble

The Managing Director of an agency of the Federal Government is running from pillar to post, having drawn the ire of the Presidency for acquiring a N140 million bullet proof Toyota SUV as his official car.

The Presidency is said to be miffed that the head of a federal agency would spend that amount of money on official car in a regime that is waging war against corruption and striving to arrest the culture of official profligacy.

It was gathered that many heads may roll over the matter as investigation was already being conducted into how approval was secured for the said sum in spite of the serious scrutiny of financial requests by ministries and agencies.

The MD in question is running helter-skelter for an audience with those that matter in President Muhammadu Buhari’s kitchen cabinet as petitions are flying in from the agency.

210 bandits surrender in Sokoto, release captives

About 210 bandits have laid down their arms in Sokoto state.

Garba Moyi, commissioner for careers and security matters in the state, made this known while commenting on the recent recovery of 102 arms from the bandits.

Aminu Tambuwal, governor of the state, on Friday, handed over 102 arms and ammunition recovered from the bandits to the state police command.

Moyi said this was as a result of the peace and reconciliation initiative embarked upon by the state government. He said seven groups of bandits, with about 30 members each, have surrendered.

He said the repentant bandits have released their victims, and that nobody has been kidnapped in the past three months in the state.

“They have released more than 30 captives, including Nigeriens and those from other states like Zamfara and Kebbi,” he said.

“We have been dialoguing with them for a very long time and we have entered into an agreement with them. The agreement was to release all captives with them and they have done that.

“For the past three months or more, nobody was kidnapped by the bandit and no village was attacked by the bandits as it used to happen.

“The senseless killings without any reason, all that has stopped. That is part of the agreement.”

The CP also said they were at the stage of disarmament.

 

How scammers use my office to defraud Nigerians —Boss Mustapha

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has said that job scammers are directing unsuspecting Nigerians seeking government appointments to submit their curriculum vitae to a non-existing desk in his office, while also charging a fee for the fraudulent activity.

A statement signed by the Director of Information at Mustapha’s office, Willie Bassey, noted on Thursday.

The SGF also noted that he was aware of forged introductory letters purportedly issued from his office to secure favours from individuals and corporate entities.

The statement reads, “The attention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has been drawn to unrelenting activities of faceless persons using the social media and other platforms to lure unsuspecting members of the public to submit their curriculum vitae at a fee, to a non-existing desk at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, for Federal Government appointments.

“The Office is similarly aware of inaccurate information being peddled around regarding constituency projects being executed under its supervision.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation neither executes nor supervises constituency projects.

“Also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has become aware of numerous forged introductory letters purportedly issued from his office, seeking diverse favours from individuals and corporate entities for personal gains.”

The statement further warned the public not to engage the services of such individuals; while adding that efforts were on to apprehend those behind the trend.

It also directed the public to contact the SGF office through the appropriate channel.

“The general public is by this notice advised to beware of the clandestine activities of these dubious and fraudulent persons and their cohorts going about to fleece unsuspecting members of the public.

“Assuredly, the government has evolved measures to track these unpatriotic and faceless persons and will bring to justice anyone found engaging in these unwholesome activities,” the statement added.

Independence Anniversary: Saraki congratulates Nigerians, preaches unity

 

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s 59th Independence Anniversary and called on them to further work for the unity of the nation.

Saraki in a statement from his Media Office in Abuja noted that the country has come a long way since 1960 and that the citizenry have many reasons to celebrate while praying for more positive developments across the various sphere of life.

He added that every Nigerian should continue to pray and work for the progress and development of the country because “we are leaders in our respective rights and our collective efforts have sustained our country and will further take her to greater heights”.

The former Senate President also urged Nigerians to use the occasion of the Independence Anniversary to remember “our heroes past” and pray that the unity, progress and peace” of the country that they strived to entrench continue to be sustained and nurtured.

Ivanka Trump’s bra-less outfit grabs world attention at UNGA

The arrival of Ivanka Trump at the ongoing 74th UNGA momentarily shifted attention from long speeches and contentious issues as the American First Daughter’s thin blue blouse got scrutinizing looks.

The 37-year-old mother of three probably offered more than she intended to, as the outline of her nipples could be seen through her blue shirt.

Twitter has since taken over the discussion, as people from all over the globe discuss the phenomenal appearance.

See the reactions:

See the reactions:

See Tarafını Seç’s other Tweets

Tom Arnold

@TomArnold

Remember Melania’s 4th of July White Nipple Dress? Meet Ivanka Trump’s United Nations Denim Nipple Shirt. Your move Don Jr. https://twitter.com/Acyn/status/1176188859513573377 

Acyn Torabi@Acyn

This was taken at the UN…. I’m not going to say anything else

View image on Twitter
2,391 people are talking about this

Calumet Dundee@Chet_Kincaid

Ivanka Trump Nominated For Nipple Piece Prize

View image on Twitter
See Calumet Dundee’s other Tweets

Joe Negan@mynameisNegan

Ivanka Trump vs Barney Frank. Who wore it best?

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
45 people are talking about this

Sane Conservative RG@ConservativeRG

I guess I’m in the camp that doesn’t care about Ivanka Trump’s hard nipples and enormous breasts.

I’m in the camp wondering what Ivanka Trump, nipples and all, was doing at the cold UN meeting in the first place. 🤔

Embedded video

75 people are talking about this

Grant Stern

@grantstern

Ivanka Trump’s dignified appearance at the as a representative of America to the world.

View image on Twitter
845 people are talking about this

James Morrison

@JamesPMorrison

Don’t fall prey to Ivanka’s devious Thumb-Sized U.N. Nipple Strategy. Trumps are experts at distraction and diversion. The “nipple trick” is classic bait and switch. Cunning and powerful. In fact, one nipple is named Bait and the other Switch. Beware, stay alert, stay focused.

See James Morrison’s other Tweets

Buffy’s Blog@BuffyBlogs

[In the Oval Office with the WH Comms Director]

Comms Dir: “Sir, we’ve got to come up with some distraction from the Ukraine news.”

Trump: “I know, let’s bring Ivanka on the UN trip and have her wear that really tight blouse and no bra!

“For once she’ll earn her pay!”

View image on Twitter
See Buffy’s Blog’s other Tweets

Grant Stern

@grantstern

Ivanka Trump’s dignified appearance at the as a representative of America to the world.

View image on Twitter
845 people are talking about this

NoelCaslerComedy@CaslerNoel

In honor of the UN Climate Summit Ivanka has switched to new energy efficient halogen headlights. @IvankaTrump

View image on Twitter
613 people are talking about this

SeriouslyUS?@USseriously

“White House advisor” Ivanka Trump at the United Nations headquarters today.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
50 people are talking about this

Mike Sington@MikeSington

What the hell is she doing at the UN?

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
See Mike Sington’s other Tweets

Alex Kaseberg@AlexKaseberg

Ivanka Trump showed up at the UN wearing a blue blouse that revealed her nipples.

That seems about right. Both her brothers, Eric and Donald, are boobs.

View image on Twitter
See Alex Kaseberg’s other Tweets

 

 

 

Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament unlawful, says UK supreme court

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that the decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend parliament for five weeks is unlawful.

The prime minister had asked Queen Elizabeth II for permission to suspend parliament for five weeks in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline.

According to him, the current parliamentary session had been running for too long “and needs to be brought to a close”.

The Queen approved the request leading to the suspension of the parliament.

But in a unanimous ruling by 11 judges on Tuesday, the supreme court held that the prime minister should not have asked the Queen to suspend parliament until 14 October.

The judges unanimously agreed that the advice was justiciable.

Brenda Hale, head of the court, said the prorogation was “void and of no effect”, adding that “Parliament has not been prorogued”.

“The court is bound to conclude… that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament was unlawful,” Hale said in the ruling.

“It is for parliament, and in particular the Speaker and the Lord Speaker, to decide what to do next. Unless there is some parliamentary rule of which we are unaware, they can take immediate steps to enable each House to meet.”

Reacting to the ruling in a statement, John Bercow, speaker of the house of commons, said: ”I welcome the Supreme Court’s judgement that the prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.”

“The judges have rejected the Government’s claim that closing down parliament for five weeks was merely standard practice to allow for a new Queen’s speech.

“In reaching their conclusion, they have vindicated the right and duty of parliament to meet at this crucial time to scrutinise the executive and hold Ministers to account.

“As the embodiment of our Parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons must convene without delay.

“To this end, I will now consult the party leaders as a matter of urgency.”

Sanwo-Olu mourns with Oniru Royal Family

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday expressed his condolence to the Oniru Royal Family and the people of Lagos over the passing of Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abiodun Idowu Oniru.

The revered monarch passed on today at the age of 82 after a brief illness.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, the Governor commiserated with the Oniru Royal Family and people of the State, while describing the late monarch as “a very important Lagosian and a patriotic Nigerian” who passionately channeled his energy and traditional leadership towards building a prosperous State.

His death, the Governor said, is a huge loss to Lagos and the nation in general.

The statement reads: “On behalf of the Government and the people of Lagos State, I commiserate with the Oniru Royal Family on the transition of His Royal Highness, Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru who joined his forebears. His service to the state and country at large will remain his enduring legacy.

“While we hoped the late monarch would be with us as we roll out our strategy towards a ‘Greater Lagos’, Oba Oniru today breathed his last and left legacies that will remain valuable in our effort to build the Lagos of our dream.

“We take solace in his esteemed advice and regular admonition from which our government drew strength to lift our people and improve their welfare. I pray that Almighty God repose the soul of the late monarch and grant the Oniru Royal Family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

SEPTEMBER 23, 2019

BREAKING: Buhari suspends Head of Service, Oyo-Ita

Press Release

STABILIZATION OF THE FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICE

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Dr. Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan as the Acting Head of the Civil Service of the Federation with immediate effect.

Dr. Mrs. Yemi-Esan, who is the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources takes over from Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, who has been directed to proceed on an indefinite leave to allow conclusion of the investigation being carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The President has also approved the extension of the tenure of seven (7) retiring Permanent Secretaries for a period of one calendar year with effect from 1st October, 2019 to ensure stability in the Federal Civil Service and effective delivery on the nine priority areas of the administration as well as the mandates given to the new Ministers.

The affected Permanent Secretaries are:

i. Mrs. Georgina Ehuriah – Ministry of Interior

ii. Mrs. Ifeoma I. Anagbogu – Federal Ministry of Women Affairs

iii. Mrs. Grace Gekpe – Federal Ministry of Information & Culture

iv. Dr. Umar M. Bello – Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural

Development

v. Suleiman Mustapha Lawal – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

vi. Mrs. Comfort C. Ekaro – Federal Ministry of Water Resources

vii. Mr. Olusegun A. Adekunle – General Services Office (Office of the

Secretary to the Government of the Federation)

Similarly, Mr. President has directed the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to commence the process for the selection of new Permanent Secretaries to replace all retiring Permanent Secretaries.

The decision of Government to extend the tenure of these Permanent Secretaries is premised on the need to ensure that the new Ministers are properly guided, briefed about their sectors and to ensure that a solid foundation is laid for the delivery on the Presidential Mandate which they jointly signed.

The Permanent Secretaries will also help the Ministers to manage the process for the preparation of the 2020 Budget in line with the commitment of Government to return to the January-December budget circle and help develop various policies and programmes aimed at lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

The action of Mr. President is in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 171 (2) d of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

*Willie Bassey*

Director Information

Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation

18th September, 2019

 

Two Nigerian entrepreneurs shortlisted for Shell Global Innovation prize

Two Nigerian entrepreneurs have been shortlisted among 21 finalists for theShell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Awards, a global competition which highlights and rewards businesses that demonstrate excellence in innovation as well as giving entrepreneurs a chance to shine on a global platform.

The businesses are” FarmToJuice and Foods Nig. Ltd which produces juices, processing any waste into livestock feed and using a biogas digester to provide energy; and Basiled Energy Ventures, a business that provides solar lamps, solar installation maintenance and repair, and solar battery recycling services.

“The two Nigerians have come up with creative ideas on energy efficiency, food and agriculture and join19 entrepreneurs from other countries to vie for the prestigious prize,” said the Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor.

A public vote of the shortlisted businesses takes place September 9 – 18, 2019 on the Shell LiveWIRE website, with the results helping to determine the winners.

“We are happy that young Nigerians keep deploying the skills and funding assistance in our LiveWIRE training schemes. Last year, two Nigerian companies were among the Top Ten Innovators from among 21 entries in a contest which attracted over 11,000 voters from 102 countries. We hope to come out successful again this year,” said Igo Weli, SPDC’s General Manager, External Relations. 

LiveWIRE is Shell’s flagship youth enterprise development programme that provides training and finance to young people to start or expand their own businesses. Launched in Nigeria in 2003, the programme enables young entrepreneurs to convert their bright ideas into sustainable businesses creating wider employment and income generation opportunities. “LiveWIRE ambassadors have benefitted from this support to make their mark and we call on Nigerians to encourage them by voting for their ideas,” Weli added.

Winners and two runners up will be named in the categories of Food & Agriculture, Energy & Mobility, and Sustainable Future, with the winners receiving $20,000 USD and runners up receiving $10,000 USD. In addition, Shell LiveWIRE will name an Outstanding Achievement Award winner who will receive $10,000 USD. All Top Ten Innovators will win direct mentoring from Shell staff and the opportunity to integrate and benefit from vast linkages within Shell’s global network.

Executive Vice President of Shell Global Commercial Huibert Vigeveno said, “We’re inspired to see these 21 finalists from around the world whose businesses work towards providing circular solutions that help to achieve zero waste. Transitioning to a circular economy can help protect the environment and deliver positive change to society. Working with innovators like these esteemed finalists, will allow businesses, communities and society to move faster towards achieving these goals.”

Since its introduction in Nigeria in 2003, the LiveWIRE programme has trained 7,072 Niger Delta youths in enterprise development and provided business start-up grants to 3,817.

Sanwo-Olu and I plan to toll Lagos/Ota/Abeokuta, two other roads —Abiodun

The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has disclosed that the Lagos and Ogun State Governments are planning to commercialise three federal roads: Ikorodu-Ogijo-Sagamu, Epe-Ijebu- Ode and the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta roads.

Abiodun said his government in collaboration with Lagos State government is planning to engage in Public-Private Partnership in the construction and rehabilitation of the three roads.

The governor said this while speaking with members of Abeokuta Club during his investiture as honorary patron by the club.

 

Abiodun said the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and himself had met and agreed to commercialise the roads by allowing the private investors fund and toll the roads so as to ease transportation of people from Lagos to Abeokuta.

Abiodun, however, said N26 billion debt is hanging on the state government’s neck over the construction of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway since the contract was signed in 2001.

Abiodun explained that the government is expected to pay over N1 billion every year to service the debt incurred on the road.

He said, “I met with my counterpart, Sanwo-Olu and we decided that as a matter of urgency we need to take over some roads which include; Epe-Ijebu road, Ikorodu-Sagamu road and Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road so as to reduce the population of the people passing the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

“I and Sanwo-Olu met with the president to hand over those three roads to us, we sat down with the President and explained things to him.

“He told us to put it in writing, we wrote a joint letter which has our two logos on it, we both signed it and I personally handed it over to Mr President, and a few weeks ago, the president handed over the road to us.”

He added, “What we intend to do is to commercialise these roads and turn it to a private-public-partnership and we have people that are waiting to enter a PPP with us so that they will fund the road, they will toll it and this would allow the people to move from Lagos to Abeokuta with ease.”

Founder of P&ID Had History of Projects that Ended in Lawsuits, Corruption Allegations, Bloomberg Report

Michael “Mick” Quinn, founder of Process and Industrial Developments Ltd – an Irish firm which secured a $9.6 billion judgement debt against Nigeria, had a history of projects that ended in disappointment, lawsuits, and corruption allegations, a Bloomberg report has revealed.

The Bloomberg report titled ‘Is One of the World’s Biggest Lawsuits Built on a Sham?’ published on Wednesday, September 4, said the case involving Nigeria “was just the largest—the one that was supposed to provide his biggest payday.”

The report which was based on a close examination of his career, drawn from public records, leaked documents, and interviews with friends and former associates, showed that Quinn who died of cancer in 2015 had a record of projects that ended in in disappointment, lawsuits, and corruption allegations.

A commercial court in the UK had ruled that Nigeria must pay an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID), a sum of $9.6 billion or have its assets to the tune of that amount forfeited.

The judgment arose from a 2010 contract Nigeria signed with P&ID, to the intent that the Irish company would build a gas processing plant to refine natural gas (wet gas) into lean gas that Nigeria would receive free of charge to power its national grid.

The agreement however suffered a setback in 2013 and P&ID won a $6.6bn arbitration case against Nigeria.

Last week, a UK court ruled that Nigeria must pay the firm $9.6bn or have its assets to the tune of that amount seized by the firm. The federal government has said it would appeal the UK court judgment.

Suggesting that the project was a sham ab initio, a quote in the Bloomberg report said: “A dying Irishman went for one last big score in Nigeria. The project failed, but a London tribunal says his company’s owed $9 billion and counting.”is

Moghalu: Why Nigeria Remains Poor
Detailing the genesis of the failed project, the report said:

“In 2008 the Nigerian government said it would end flaring by using oilfield gas to generate electricity. The minister of petroleum resources acknowledged that the challenge would be “enormous.” Converting gas requires it to be captured, transported, refined, and piped back to power plants and onto the grid.

“Officials struggled to persuade big multinationals to invest in the required infrastructure, so concessions were granted to 13 smaller companies, some virtually unknown. One was Process and Industrial Developments Ltd., or P&ID, which was registered in the British Virgin Islands but had no website or track record. Its chairman was Michael “Mick” Quinn, a 68-year-old Irishman with a rakish mustache and decades of experience in Nigeria, mostly as a military contractor.

“Quinn knew powerful people, including the petroleum minister, who guaranteed P&ID a 20-year supply of “wet,” or unrefined, gas for a plant the company would build. The raw material would be supplied for free, to be treated and returned at no cost. P&ID would instead profit from the byproducts, butane and propane. Everyone stood to benefit, not least the villagers whose homes would be lit by electricity rather than the wan glow of flaming methane.

“Then the plan fell apart. The government failed to secure any waste gas from oil companies, let alone link up the necessary pipeline, and the plant was never built. In 2012, P&ID notified the oil ministry that it was suing for breach of contract in a London arbitration forum. After a set of closed legal proceedings, judges awarded P&ID $6.6 billion, one of the biggest amounts a company has won from a sovereign state. When Nigeria dragged its feet on payment, P&ID teamed up with a hedge fund and moved the case to public courts, where it could ask judges to seize state assets, including bank accounts and cargo ships.”

It also revealed that in the summer of 2018, a man who had worked for Quinn contacted Joseph Pizzurro, a veteran New York lawyer hired by Nigeria to lead its defence in United States, seeking to talk about the P&ID case.

The caller was said to have told Pizzurro that Quinn had conspired with officials to profit from government projects that were doomed from the start and that P&ID was one of at least three such lawsuits involving Quinn.

“The caller couldn’t provide enough evidence to substantiate his claims, though, and he didn’t contact Pizzurro again,” the Bloomberg report said.

According to the report, Quinn who grew up in Drimnagh, a tough neighborhood in Dublin, trained as a mechanic after leaving school as a teenager in the 1950s. He later joined a show band, Royal Olympics, formed by one of his neighbours, as manager, and even arranged an Irish tour by Diana Ross and the Supremes.

In search of greener pastures where quick money could be made, the report said “At some point in the ’70s he started working in Nigeria, either as an oil trader or a financier of cement deals, depending on which of the scattered accounts of his life you believe. “He began profiting from a construction boom taking place in Lagos, which was then expanding with such chaotic abandon that hundreds of cement-bearing cargo ships were lined up at port waiting to dock.”

He however kept in touch with his roots in Ireland.

Detailing how Quinn’s life had been enmeshed in controversies bordering on less than transparent business dealings and corruption allegations, the report said: “In 1979 he and a partner, Brendan Cahill, formed an umbrella company with the resolutely dull name Industrial Consultants (International) to oversee their interests. They began working with the government, for example getting a public grant worth $450,000 to start a videocassette factory near Dublin. The project went bust within two years.

“Quinn’s business drew on some powerful allies dating to his show band days. One of the closest was Albert Reynolds, a former music hall impresario who was elected to Parliament in 1977 and became prime minister in 1992. Two years after being elected PM, Reynolds was promoting Kent Steel, one of Quinn’s companies, as a potential savior of Irish industry. Kent had recently won 3 million Irish pounds (about $4.3 million at the time) from the European Union to explore cleaner technology for making steel—potentially a huge boon. Instead, the project produced nothing but some sketches and a bunch of debris.

”Joe McCartin, then a member of the European Parliament, says he raised concerns with an EU official that the deal was a scam and was told, ‘Don’t worry. Your prime minister, Albert Reynolds, knows all about the project.’ The EU did eventually start a probe into the grant, and McCartin, who’s now retired, says its investigators showed him a letter from Irish prosecutors relaying that a fraud had been committed but that they couldn’t identify the perpetrators. The probe was eventually closed without penalty; the EU refused to fulfill a freedom of information request about the case, citing privacy rules. Reynolds passed away in 2014.

“Quinn’s name came up again during a nationwide corruption inquiry in Ireland. The Mahon Tribunal, as it was eventually known, lasted for 14 years, compiling evidence of graft on an epic scale. Quinn was called as a witness in June 2007, one of the few times he ever spoke on the record. The tribunal wanted to know more about relationships Industrial Consultants had with Frank Dunlop, a shady lobbyist, and Liam Lawlor, a corrupt Republican MP who’d resigned in disgrace before being killed in a 2005 car crash outside Moscow.

“Quinn denied knowledge of invoices that bore his company’s name—payments for golf fundraisers, he guessed—and said he thought his signature had been forged on checks. He had no recollection of many of his dealings with Dunlop. ‘You are a singularly unhelpful witness,’ Alan Mahon, the presiding judge, told him. ‘What you are telling us is nothing, absolutely nothing.’ “The tribunal later found that tens of thousands of pounds had flowed from Quinn’s companies to Lawlor, but Quinn wasn’t recalled to the stand, and neither he nor Industrial Consultants faced any action.

”By then, Quinn had developed a fearsome reputation. Several former associates told Businessweek they were scared to speak on the record about him, because they believed he had ties to Irish paramilitaries; one said Quinn told him his father had been in the original Irish Republican Army in the 1920s. Employees introduced him as “the chairman,” and he employed a man with a pugilist’s squashed nose to drive guests around Dublin, apparently without great regard for red lights,” the report said.

According to Bloomberg, throughout the 2000s, Quinn lived a kind of double life, divided between Nigeria and a comfortable suburban house near Dublin.

The report said Quinn befriended people in the corridors of power to put him in good stead in the country’s freewheeling capitalism.

“At home he was Mick from Drimnagh, living with his wife, Anita, who’d been his childhood sweetheart, and their two Doberman pinschers. On Tuesday nights he’d drop Anita off at bingo, then pick up fish and chips for dinner.

“Life in Nigeria was very different. The country’s freewheeling capitalism was fraught with risk and opportunity. The writer Chinua Achebe detailed the climate in his 1983 polemic The Trouble With Nigeria. “Contracts with the military government were currency, doled out by senior politicians to allies and friends as the public bore the burden of hidden kickbacks, inflated prices, and stolen materials. Military rule ended in 1999, but democratic Nigeria was proving just as restive and complex. There were tribal uprisings in the Niger Delta and kidnappings and religious conflict elsewhere.

“Quinn nevertheless thrived, befriending presidents and civil servants alike. He and Cahill used a company called Marshpearl to bid for lucrative military contracts, initially registering the name in Ireland, then in 1999 using the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co. to create Marshpearl Ltd. in the British Virgin Islands. To the outside world, the BVI company was practically untraceable. Mossack Fonseca documents leaked to the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and made available to Businessweek by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists show that Marshpearl Ltd.’s directors were nominees, paper executives whose sole job was to sign documents. (Reached by phone, one of them, Nigel John Carter, a Geneva-based trusts specialist who was also a director of another Quinn BVI vehicle called Kristholm Ltd., said, “I’ve never heard of those two companies.”)

“Marshpearl sponsored a local polo team, giving Quinn an excuse to mix with the Nigerian ruling classes. His sons attended elite private schools with the sons of politicians and generals, who asked Quinn to help them acquire helicopters, Japanese motorcycles, and more. On the golf course back in Ireland, friends recall, Quinn would pick up the phone to talk to various officials or military leaders. “Did you get them guns?” one friend remembers him asking in his distinctive Drimnagh drawl. His golf buddies were never sure if he was joking. “His contacts included Theophilus Danjuma, who’d risen to prominence in the ’60s by leading a bloody coup against Nigeria’s military ruler. Danjuma went on to become a general, then entered business and eventually politics, ascending to defense minister in 1999. He later sold a stake in a Nigerian oil field to a Chinese state company, helping make him a billionaire.

“One of the few people who would speak on the record about Quinn’s life in Nigeria is Neil Murray, a friend of 30 years who was involved in several Quinn projects there. Sitting one night at the Abuja Hilton piano bar, a favorite haunt, Murray wasn’t hard to spot: a gray-haired figure so hunched over he was bent almost double, puffing cigarettes and chatting with businessmen and prostitutes, who called him Papa. After initially accusing a Businessweek reporter of being a spy for the Nigerian government, he agreed to talk. “Mick knew Obasanjo. He knew Yar’Adua,” Murray said, referring to former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. “He knew everyone.”

“Among the projects Murray was involved in was a contract to repair and upgrade 36 British-made Scorpion tanks at an abandoned plant at Bauchi, in the dusty heart of Nigeria. It had all the hallmarks of Quinn’s deals in the country: complexity, misdirection, and a substantial payday for the middleman. “There was a subsequent contract, and a subsequent contract, and a subsequent contract,” Murray said. “It was an ongoing process.” Quinn personally recruited military experts to manage the work and find replacement parts. At one point, Danjuma visited the site.

“Several people involved in the venture described each vehicle as an opportunity for profit. Petrol engines were replaced with diesel engines. New radios were installed. When faulty valves needed replacing, one former employee said, he found a British supplier for a few pounds a unit. “Too cheap,” he remembered Quinn telling him. They found costlier valves elsewhere. The more expensive the new part, the bigger Marshpearl’s cut.

“A memo viewed by Businessweek that circulated among Quinn’s team noted that Marshpearl had charged the Nigerian army for undelivered tank parts, making his organization “vulnerable.” But the company kept winning contracts, in spite of this hitch and others. It’s not clear how many millions of dollars Nigeria spent on the Bauchi project, but the relationship likely made Quinn a fortune.

“For one contract, a spinoff from the main deal, his company sought to supply about 4,000 rounds of tank ammunition made by Belgian defense company Mecar SA. A January 2005 memo outlining Marshpearl’s plan says Quinn’s staff told Mecar they would handle bidding, contracts, and billing. Mecar’s managers “do not want to know the details as they would be embarrassed with Belgian authorities and U.S. owners,” the memo said.

“The blueprint called for Marshpearl to establish a company called Mecar SA, register it in Cyprus, and open a bank account for the new offshore entity to avoid Nigerian taxes on the income. The original Mecar would write up a bid for the contract and send it to Marshpearl, where the document would be scanned and altered to increase its value by 20%—commission for Quinn and his friends. Payment to the original Mecar would be routed through the offshore one. All documentation was to be delivered by hand.

“The “paper trail” was Marshpearl’s greatest area of concern, the memo’s author wrote, without explaining why. Broadly speaking, while offshore companies have legitimate purposes, they’re also favored by those trying to avoid tax or government scrutiny or hide illicit income. In some jurisdictions, secrecy laws make it virtually impossible to find out who owns them. Registering a company with a virtually identical name to a separate, legitimate business would have the effect of further obscuring the real beneficiaries.

“To a watchdog or another outside observer, the Mecar arrangement would look like a simple transaction between a respected manufacturer and the army, with the middleman getting its cut. A tender bid document sent by the offshore Mecar to the Ministry of Defense a few months after the memo’s date placed the contract’s ultimate value at €4.9 million ($5.6 million), meaning Marshpearl would have made almost a million euros.

“Shown the memo at the Hilton bar, Murray said, “Very clever.” He didn’t see anything improper in the deal’s structure but added, “I wasn’t directly involved.” A spokesman for Mecar’s currenacquiredt owner, Nexter Group, said the Marshpearl deal took place before it  the company in 2014 and that it complies with rules and regulations.”

The report also revealed that Quinn was charged with espionage in October 2006 but the charge was dropped within a year.

“It’s said that in Nigeria you can go from pauper to millionaire overnight and back again just as quickly. Even old hands could be caught out by a sudden shift in the political climate, as Quinn was in October 2006. That month, he was charged with espionage and handling secret military materials, alongside his son Adam, a close associate from Ireland named James Nolan, three Nigerian officials, and three individuals from Israel, Romania, and Russia. Details are sketchy, but one of the Nigerian officials submitted an affidavit saying the indictment was over a “large scale of contract scam which involves very senior officers of the Ministry.” Nolan and Adam Quinn didn’t respond to requests from Businessweek for comment, but they denied the charges at the time. The prosecution appears to have been dropped within a year. A defense lawyer involved with the case recalls that the government intervened.”

“That same year, Quinn formed P&ID and began exploring opportunities in gas power. He also branched out into medical technology. In 2006, more people were living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria than in any country but South Africa or India. The Nigerian health ministry’s efforts to tackle the crisis included a multimillion-dollar partnership with Dublin-based Trinity Biotech Plc to supply HIV testing kits and help set up a factory at the Sheda Science & Technology Complex, which was being constructed outside Abuja. The contract for the factory went to an entity called Trinitron, which local media assumed was a subsidiary of the similarly named Irish company. In fact, it had no formal connection to Trinity Biotech of Dublin and was jointly owned by the health ministry and a group of Irish and Nigerian businessmen. Trinitron’s Irish directors included Adam Quinn and James Nolan, according to three people familiar with the deal. Quinn’s firm Industrial Consultants became a shareholder.

“A few years into the contract, Trinity discovered that Trinitron had registered a company called Trinity Biotech Nigeria domestically and another called Trinity Biotech Joint Venture in the British Virgin Islands. Executives from the original Trinity were furious when they learned of the clones. In 2008 and 2009, they pulled out of the project entirely.

“Trinity Biotech had no ownership stake in Trinitron or the Sheda project or in any entity or assets within Nigeria,” the Dublin company said in a statement to Businessweek. “Our role in the project was the provision of HIV test kits, which we did, although we were left with a significant unpaid debt when the project ended.” Eventually, government funding dried up, and, according to two sources, Trinitron was reported to local police for allegedly misspending state funds, though no one was charged.

“Gerry Nash, Trinitron’s former project director, said in a statement that test kit production at the factory in Nigeria hadn’t progressed because the health ministry wouldn’t buy the kits locally. ‘People in the Nigerian Ministries were more interested in picking up commissions on imported products,’ he wrote. He said that Trinitron had succeeded in developing an IT system and in training HIV specialists, and he denied that the venture was a failure overall, even though the Sheda factory wound down after a few years.

“Today, the Sheda site outside Abuja is overgrown with weeds. A pockmarked sign outside the front gate attests that Trinitron once operated there, but none of the buildings look functional. Gravel piles dot the parking lots. The handful of bored security guards and administrative staff on-site say only that Trinitron is no longer there.

“When it wasn’t possible to squeeze profit directly from a floundering project, Quinn could enlist the law for the purpose. In 2010, Industrial Consultants brokered a $5 million deal with the Nigerian Air Force to repair ejector seats in six Alpha Jets, small fighter craft often used to train pilots. A British company called North Wales Military Aviation Services Ltd. would do the fixing.

A few months into the contract, the air force terminated it for no apparent reason. The ensuing dispute ended up before a Nigerian arbitration panel, which found that the military had pulled out for ‘flimsy, untenable, and unacceptable reasons.’ It awarded NWMAS about $2.3 million for work allegedly done, plus interest, according to a copy of the private judgment seen by Businessweek.

“The case was straightforward enough, apart from one detail: NWMAS didn’t know about any of it. In a statement, the company said its executives had hosted Nigerian officials but never got word it had won the job. Instead, a few months after the visit, it received a letter saying the air force was suing for nonperformance. NWMAS managers forwarded the letter to Quinn’s team and heard nothing further on the matter until being contacted by Businessweek earlier this year.

“If NWMAS didn’t participate in the lawsuit, who did? Individuals from the Quinn organization. Long before the ejector seat contract was finalized, unbeknownst to the original company, Quinn’s team had registered a local entity called NWMAS Nigeria Ltd.—another clone.

Murray testified at the arbitration on behalf of NWMAS. “They never f—king paid,” he told Businessweek, referring to the Nigerian air force. He said the British NWMAS had been fully aware of the case and that NWMAS Nigeria had been created to comply with local regulations.

“Quinn’s organization apparently had trouble collecting the award. In 2013, Cahill sent a message to colleagues about the struggle to enforce the judgment in Nigeria’s chaotic courts. “The moral of the story is that ideally the ‘seat’ of arbitration should be outside of Nigeria and preferably in London,” he wrote.

“Quinn and Cahill already had a stake in at least two lawsuits against Nigeria before the British courts. One of the cases relates to IPCO (Nigeria) Ltd., formerly part of Singapore-based construction group IPCO International Ltd. The parent company sold most of its stake in 2003, leaving behind a shell company whose sole activity seems to have been to engage in lawsuits—notably a $150 million case against the Nigerian petroleum ministry over delays to the construction of an oil terminal. There were familiar allegations of overcharging, and the suit went all the way to the U.K. Supreme Court before being settled on confidential terms last year. How much IPCO Nigeria’s owners received and who benefited remains a mystery. You won’t find Quinn’s or Cahill’s name in the countless claims, counterclaims, and rulings produced since the case began more than a decade ago, but according to three people familiar with Cahill’s role, he helped manage the U.K. lawsuit for IPCO Nigeria in return for a share of the proceeds. The company’s director, Olu Adewunmi, declined to comment on whether Cahill was involved in the lawsuit.”

Emir Sanusi welcomes fourth wife

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has received his fourth wife four years after the wedding took place.

HRH Sa’adatu Barkindo Mustapha was brought to the Emir’s palace on Saturday while the traditional Budar Kai ceremony takes place on Sunday.

The Emir’s bride has just graduated from a University in the United Kingdom where she went to study immediately after the marriage.

It could be recalled that emir Sanusi II married the daughter of the Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Barkindo-Mustafa, in a low-key ceremony held in Yola on September 25, 2015

The 4th Mrs Sanusi II was an 18-yr-old secondary school leaver when the wedding was contracted.

Kano state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, represented the emir at the event while then Adamawa state Governor, Jibrilla Bindow, played the role of the bride’s guardian, who gave her hand out in marriage.

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II was at that time away in Saudi Arabia, as leader of Nigeria’s delegation to the Hajj.

The Emir has three other wives, which are the first wife Sadiya, daughter of the late emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, Maryam and Rakiya.

Why we can’t jump to conclusions about rape allegations against Fatoyinbo —CAN

The Christian Association of Nigeria has explained why it has refused to ‘jump to conclusions’ about the rape allegations against the Senior Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Mr. Biodun Fatoyinbo

It however stated that, no matter who is involved, rape is ungodly and reprehensible.

CAN, in a statement by its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, on Sunday expressed displeasure that Christendom has been subjected to ridicule on account of the allegations leveled against Fatoyinbo, who the apex Christian body in the country described as “one of the nation’s leading pastors.”

It said, “The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria is seriously concerned about the disturbing situation concerning Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, the General Overseer of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, one of our leading pastors in the country, on whom an allegation of rape has been leveled by one of our daughters, Mrs. Busola Dakolo.

“It is disheartening how some commentators and columnists have been insulting the Body of Christ in Nigeria as a result of this incident. Like we have earlier stated, it doesn’t matter who is involved, rape is ungodly and reprehensible.

“But we have resisted the temptation to jump into any conclusion since a body like ours will be expected to have uncovered the truth about any matter before making public statements and not base its position merely upon media reports.”

According to CAN, its stance that Fatoyinbo’s church has not been an active member of CAN does not put COZA outside the spiritual watch-care of the apex Christian organisation.

It said, “CAN is the umbrella body for every Christian and church in Nigeria. Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, does not turn back anyone that comes to him and CAN also does not.

“The ministry of the Church, according to Jesus Christ, is the ministry of reconciliation, which is centred on true love and forgiveness of those who repent.

“The Bible states it clearly that ‘God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8, 11). Having reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, God has committed to us the ministry of reconciling the world unto Himself and to one another (2 Corinthians 5:19-21).

“Since both Pastor Fatoyinbo and Mrs. Dakolo are Christians, the leadership of CAN is already seeking ways to address the issues in order to heal every wound already inflicted on the parties concerned and the body of Christ in general.”

CAN stated that its hope was that steps, which would exacerbate the current damages already done, would be avoided.

“As we seek the help of CAN elders and the Holy Spirit in resolving the current problem, it is our prayer that both parties will sheathe their swords and stop the media war in the interest of the Church and for the greater glory of God,” it added.

Buhari finally signs Africa free trade deal

President Muhammad Buhari has finally signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

AfCFTA is a trade agreement between AU member states with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union.

The president signed it at the 12th extraordinary session of the assembly of the union on AfCFTA and the first mid-year coordination meeting of the African Union (AU) and the regional economic communities (RECs) in Niamey, Niger Republic.

The president signed the agreement at exactly 10:48am, making Nigeria the 53rd country on the continent to append its signature to the document.

Buhari had said he delayed signing the agreement “to give room for extensive consultations with stakeholders”.

He had set up a committee to assess impact of Nigeria joining the free trade area. In June, the committee submitted its report to the president, recommending that Nigeria sign the treaty.

Twenty four countries have already ratified the AfCFTA which is expected to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. It has a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55 member states of the AU.

The extraordinary session of the assembly of the union also launched the operational instruments of the agreement establishing AfCFTA.

The instruments are AfCFTA rules of origin, tariff concession portals, portal on monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers, digital payments and clearing systems and African Trade and Observatory Dashboard.

Buhari signed the deal one week after members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to launch ECO, proposed single currency in the region.

The heads of the 15-member countries reached this decision at the 55th ordinary session of ECOWAS in Abuja.

 

Sowore, Nnamdi Kanu meet in US … discuss how to fight Nigerian oppressors

Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 elections, met with Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in New York on Tuesday.

In a Facebook video, Sowore said the meeting, which is one of many to come would send “shock waves down the spine of the oppressors in Nigeria”.

“They know that the moment all the oppressed people get together, they are in trouble. We are calling on all our brothers and sisters, wherever you may be,” Sowore said.

“The colour of injustice is the same, whether it is affecting you in Biafra land, it’s affecting you in Yoruba land, it’s affecting you in Idoma land, or even in Zamfara, or even in Niger Republic and other places on the continent of Africa.

“It doesn’t matter where oppression is ruining your life, what you need is freedom and what we are determined to give you is that freedom.”

He said they talked about things they have both been passionate about but on a different plane and both respect those boundaries.

“Those of you out there who think we have big differences and that we can’t talk, know that when people have revolutionary minds, these minds meet and bodies eventually meet,” he said.

On his part, Kanu described Sowore, as his friend, saying their eventual meeting was a confirmation that people can come together.

“I met with my good friend Sowore and it has yielded today a confirmation that people can come together,” he said.

“There isn’t much of a difference for what we are fighting for because we are fighting for justice. We know and hope that the people that found themselves today trapped in that contraption called Nigeria will one day be free and it takes people to do it.

“I doubt it comes from heaven and we have to do it, we have decided to do it and it must be done.”

In a telephone conversation with TheCable, Sowore said they had three separate meetings, and the first was to hear him out on the matters of concern to his constituency.

The second was to discuss a possible collaboration and synergy, and the third was how to bring more young Nigerians desirous of total change.

“This was my plan had I become president, one of my duties would have been to bring all warring factions together and rewrite the constitution that is agreeable to all,” he said.

Kanu, who is facing trial alongside other Biafran activists for alleged treason, had gone into hiding months after his bail only to reappear in Israel after one year.

In April, he had described a warrant of arrest issued against him as “merely academic.”

Investigation: Corruption ruins FG’s N7bn Unity Schools’ security project— Part 1

In this report, Chinwe AGBEZE, uncovers massive corruption by education ministry officials in the implementation of the Federal Government’s multi-billion naira project to secure unity schools.

In November 2018, the immediate past Education Minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu, disclosed that the federal government reserved over N7billion between 2017 and 2018, to provide basic security facilities in 104 unity schools across the country.

According to the Minister, the decision to provide security infrastructure in the schools arose as a result of the “insecurity in the northeast, occasioned by Boko Haram as well as incidents of kidnapping in parts of the country.”

Adamu explained that the funds were being used “to provide perimeter fences for the schools that have none, CCTV cameras, solar-powered streetlights, and modern security gates.”

In the 2017 budget, N5bn was proposed for the security gadgets. Also, in the 2018 appropriation bill, N2bn was set aside to provide “perimeter fencing, solar streetlights, solar-powered motorized borehole and CCTV in 104 colleges.”

Investigations in nine unity schools in four Southeast states of the federation, however, reveal that the colleges grossly lack the basic security apparatus listed.

 

FGGC Lejja

Enugu State

On Monday, May 6, 2019, this reporter arrived at Federal Government Girls College, Lejja in Nsukka area of Enugu State. The time was around 8.29am.

By the school gate was a signboard indicating that the security infrastructure project is awarded to IQ International Services Ltd, and supervised by the controller, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in Enugu.

Lifting her eyes off the signpost, it rested on the fence. The reporter observed that the walls of the fence were weak, and some blocks were gradually falling off giving room for lizards to play hide-and-seek in the partitioned walls. Sitting on the weak fence were newly installed barbed wires.

“When the contractor arrived, I told him that we are not sure of our fence, and asked what would happen if the fence collapse after the wires were installed,” explains Jude Ezeogwu, vice principal, special duties at the school. “The contractor admitted that the fence is weak, but he said the job is to install wires not to build a fence.”

So, the wires were installed, but the coping was poorly done. A touch and the wires fell off.

“I mentioned that to Daniel, the contractor. I also told him about the opening the villagers created on the wall,” says the project officer at the school, who identified himself simply as Mr. Umahi.

Continuing, he says: “The worker requested for five bags of cement. Daniel promised to send the money for the cement and planks to me, but he hasn’t sent it. The worker is supposed to resume work today, but he hasn’t and I cannot reach Daniel.”

Ezeogwu refused to disclose the contents of the bill or how much was awarded for the project.

“What the contractor executed is almost in line with what he was asked to do. If he was asked to knock down the fence and erect new one before putting the spiral wires, he would have done that,” he says.

He adds: “So, I pass the blame back to those that awarded the contract without coming to investigate, to check out the state of the fence first. The contractor has done something, but let them come and see.”

Going round the school, this reporter counted on the total, twenty-five solar streetlights. The streetlight by the SS3 classroom block is tilted, probably indicating a weak tightening at the base. Some of the lights which were installed in March are not functional.

“I went around in the night and spotted nine that were not lighting,” Umahi says. “The streetlight at the gate is not working, but it worked when it was installed. At a point, the light became faint and was not giving out the proper illumination. Then, it stopped lighting.”

Corroborating, Abui Audu, vice principal administration at the school, says: “The light close to the gate is no longer working. That’s the one I’m sure of.”

Also, four CCTV cameras were installed around the administration block, dining hall, gate and computer room.

“There are still some areas we want the contractor to address, like the fencing. Also, a portion of land outside the gate needs to be fenced, but it’s still under controversy,” says Ezeogwu.

He adds: “I called the contractor on Friday (May 3), and he promised to be here this week. We have not seen him, but we are still expecting him.”

Daily Sun reached out to Daniel Asekhamen, the contractor in charge of the project.

He says: “We finished the work about a month ago. We did all we were supposed to do, and the school can attest to that. We installed 11 cameras, 25 solar streetlights and put barb wires around the fence. That is what we have on the bill.”

When asked how much was awarded for the project and how much has been paid to them, Daniel said he would confirm and get back to the reporter.

“I can’t recall now until I check the account,” he said on May 17. “I can’t really give you the figure now until I get to the office.”

Daniel never got back to the reporter, and he failed to pick frequent calls made to his line.

Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC search on IQ International Limited, shows that the company which was incorporated on August 20, 2013, is owned by Adedeji Adesola Oluwastosin and Olatubosun Olanrewaju.

The company removed the relatives—Akinola Martins, Akinola Adesola Dorcas, Akinola Oluwafemi Samuel, Akinola Folakemi from its board on January 12, 2017, and on January 26, 2017, it re-appointed Adedeji Adesola Oluwastosin and Olatubosun Olanrewaju, as directors.

An analysis of the company’s registration details showed that the company has no business in building and construction.

The company was set up to “carry on the business as assemblers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, suppliers and dealers in automobile vehicles whether classified as cars, lorries, buses, vans, motorcycles, or otherwise, to import and export cars of all descriptions,” details filed with the CAC stated.

Snakes, scorpions on the prowl

Leaving Lejja, this reporter shifted her attention to Federal Government College, Enugu.

But, arriving at this school, the reporter observed that no security facility was provided. There was neither a project signpost nor workers on the site.

There are quite a number of solar streetlights in this school, but none is functional.

“When I was admitted to this school in JSS1, the lights close to the gate were the only ones working,” says Godwin Okeke (not real name), a JSS3 student at the school. “Before the end of my JSS1, it stopped working. Now, the school is dark at nights.”

The perpetual darkness in this school is putting the lives of the students in danger.

“We suffer from snakes and scorpion bites especially at nights,” he says.

According to Okeke, two students almost lost their lives recently to snake bites.

“Senior students usually wake junior students up to run errands or punish them at nights. So, we stay outside the hostel until the seniors go to bed. One night, we did not see the snake coming because it was dark and the birds were chirping,” he narrates.

Continuing, Okeke says: “Two students were bitten, and immediately rushed to the school clinic where they were given first-aid. The next day, their parents were called to pick them up and give them proper treatment.”

The school was fumigated and students were mandated to move around with torchlights.

“Torchlight is compulsory and any student not seen with one is thoroughly punished,” Okeke adds.

Apart from the faulty streetlights, the fence is another major source of concern. Right at the back of the staff quarters, and on the wall of the fence, is a huge opening, big enough for a chubby adult to comfortably pass through.

“Students sneak out at night through the hole,” says Chijioke Nwankwo (not real name), an SS1 student. “When students are late for school, they enter the school through the hole to avoid punishment.”

This is not the only avenue to gain access inside the school unnoticed. The fence close to the kitchen is another route.

“Some time ago, fight broke out between our school and Command Secondary School. The students tried to come in through the gate, but when they were denied access, they jumped in through the fence and attacked us,” Nwankwo says.

This reporter spotted CCTV cameras on the administration block, which the students said were installed over three years ago. But, the cameras are broken.

“It’s no longer working,” says Okeke, when he found the reporter looking at the cameras. “From my JS1, our principal kept telling us they would install CCTV cameras round the school, and rebuild the fence to prevent students from going out. He said that until he left our school.”

The school principal was not on seat when Daily Sun stopped by his office.

“The principal is busy somewhere around the school. You know we just resumed today,” says a staff of the school, who this reporter met around the principal’s office.

After a long wait, this reporter took her leave, but returned to the school around 8.45pm to ascertain if indeed all the streetlights were faulty as claimed.

On getting to the school, the entire premises was enveloped in darkness. There were two poorly lit bulbs in front of the gate. The light notwithstanding, one could not make out the faces of people walking briskly in and out of the school. Some had torchlights, but many didn’t.

“They are used to the environment,” says Jude, the security guard at the school. “The streetlights have been bad in more than two years.”

Inside the school was covered in darkness. Not a single streetlight was functional.

“If not for the chemical the school often applies to drive away snakes, you would have seen snakes,” Jude says.

He adds: “Snake bit my colleague one night, and we rushed him to ParkLane Hospital. After that, snake bit a student. If the streetlights were working, that wouldn’t have happened.”

Opening on the wall of the fence at FGC Enugu..
Opening on the wall of the fence at FGC Enugu..

Supervisor reacts, defends contractor

To obtain more information about the security projects investigated, Daily Suncontacted the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in Enugu.

In a meeting with the controller of Housing, Godwin Emesue, he says: “The contractor came here with a contract document that directed the school authority to liaise with us for supervision. We deployed our men to supervise.

“The project was supervised to the satisfaction of the school. When they finished, the school authority confirmed that the jobs have been done and the school signed the document.”

He, however, said one item on the bill was not done.

“The contractor wanted to fence a building, but, the community said the land belongs to them. We said, instead of waiting, cut that one off,” Emesue says.

“I’m sure the contractor has not been paid because before payment is done, they will send audit supervisors to the site to check everything using the contract document. But, if they have paid him, I’m not aware,” he says.

About FGC Enugu, he said, “We don’t work there. If we receive any information that there is a contract, and that a job has been awarded in FGC Enugu, and that we should come and supervise, we will go and supervise.”

FSTC, Awka
FSTC, Awka

ANAMBRA STATE

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, this reporter journeyed to Anambra State. The plan was to check out the security infrastructure projects in three Unity Schools — Federal Science and Technical College, Awka; Federal Government College, Nise; and Federal Government Girls’ College, Onitsha.

 

Director of finance implicated

Competent sources allege that Nwokoye Edwin, the Director of Finance and Accounts at the Federal Ministry of Education owns the company that secured the contract at Federal Science and Technical College, Awka.

According to insiders, the director has made frequent visits to Awka in connection with the job.

“He has been trying to get the project supervisor and school to certify that the work has been completed so he can access the fund for the project since he is retiring soon. He succeeded and was in Awka on Friday, May 17 to pick up the signed document,” one source disclosed.

On arriving Federal Science and Technical College, Awka in Anambra State on May 10, 2019, at 7.32am, this reporter noticed that some security work had commenced.

At the site, the perimeter fencing was abandoned midway, creating an avenue for people to walk in and out of the school unchecked. But, no worker or signpost was seen on site.

This reporter learnt that the workers resumed work on the fence in January 2019 and disappeared only to reappear briefly on April 14.

“The principal kept calling them to come and finish the fence they abandoned since January. The workers resumed work on April 14, the day we went on holiday. When we resumed on May 6, we met the fence in a similar state,” said Sharon, a staff of the school.

Speaking about the fence, Mrs. Nyah Margaret, the school principal says: “The school had fence before, but it was weak and falling off. So, the workers are fixing the parts that fell off. Nevertheless, they are not fast. Since we resumed school, they have not come to work.”

Daily Sun gathered that N59 million was awarded for 1,000 square meters perimeter fencing, 25 solar streetlights and 10 CCTV cameras in the school.

Touring the school, the reporter counted on the total twenty-five solar streetlights which was mounted in February, and the school confirmed that the lights are working perfectly.

The cameras were installed at the gate, administration block and hostel. But, the principal is not pleased with the work done.

“The cameras are concentrated in the administration block. Apart from the two cameras at the gate, the other locations are not useful to us. I complained to the man that installed the cameras, but he said the money does not cover cables,” says Mrs. Nyah.

“I need the camera installed at the fence so I can see when the students are breaking bounds, and another in the dining. Now, they captured the conference room and bursary. What am I doing in the bursary? They are paying to TSA or are they going to steal money?” she queries.

In his defense, Kelechi Ibe, who installed the CCTV cameras, when contacted says: “We were instructed to meet the bursar for locations to fix the cameras. It was the bursar that picked the locations, not me.”

Daily Sun obtained the phone number of Frank Ezeh, the engineer-in-charge of the project, and he was contacted to get the name of the company that secured the contract and also finds out why the fence was abandoned halfway.

“We have done the main fencing. We are plastering now. By the end of May, we will be through with the painting, and in June, we will finish the fence,” said Ezeh on May 20. “The name of the company is AE & E Nigeria Limited.”

Shortly after, Ezeh hung up and, Christian Chinweuba called and introduced himself as the general manager of AE&E Nigeria Limited.

He says: “We are handling the fencing now. What is remaining is plastering and the barbwire. In two days, we will complete the fence.”

When asked the name of the company that obtained the contract, Chinweuba, says: “AE & E Nigeria Limited.”

When the school was contacted on May 27, 2019, this reporter was told that the workers were yet to resume work since they were last seen on April 14, 2019.

A CAC search on AE & E Nigeria Limited shows that the company is not registered.

 

Abandoned fence at FSTC, Awka
Abandoned fence at FSTC, Awka

Director denies involvement

Daily Sun reached out to Nwokoye Edwin Ementa, Director of Finance and Accounts at the Federal Ministry of Education, via telephone to know why he has not completed the security project at Federal Science and Technical College, Awka.

“You said you are calling from the Sun?” Nwokoye said after a pause, and this reporter replied in the affirmative.

Then he blurted out, “What do you mean? Am I the contractor? Who told you I’m the contractor? Abi I’m the one who is facilitating it?”

“Your engineer,” this reporter responds, and asks again, “Why have you not completed the project?”

“Who is my engineer?” he asks but got no reply. “My friend, I’m the Director of Finance, Federal Ministry of Education. I cannot be a contractor. I’m not the contractor. So, why are you saying ‘why have I not completed the project?’

Nwokoye continues: “Because I’m facilitating it because that project is around my side. I want to make sure that they do it. So, I’m forcing them to do it, and they are doing it. They will complete it,” he pauses and says, ‘according to their promise’.

Unsure if he has convinced the reporter, he says persuasively: “They will complete it. The guy said he is on the ground there, he will complete it. So, please I’m not the contractor. Maybe the person gave you my number as the person who has been making sure that that project is completed. Okay?”

“Alright, sir,” the reporter replies.

The director adds: “Maybe when you come next, you can check and you will discover that they must have completed it.”

Two minutes after the telephone conversation, Christian Chinweuba, the general manager, rang this reporter.

“Please, somebody gave me your number. Are you Chinwe?” he asks.

In response, this reporter requested to know who he is referring to.

Rather than give the name, he tries to describe.

He says: “Eh? Someone you called and you were asking him eh…if he is the engineer handling the project at FSTC Awka.”

In reply, the reporter says: “Someone I called? I’ve called a lot of people. Who are you talking about?”

“Eh? Okay,” Chinweuba says. Hesitantly, he stammers: “You called em em, Nwokoye, and addressed him as the contractor handling the project at Awka. He told you that he is not the one, and he called me. He asked me if I’m the one that gave you his number, and I said, no. I am the engineer handling the project”

“Who is the contractor?” the reporter queries, and he replies: “I am the one.”

“You won the contract?” the reporter asks. In response he says: “Yes”

Without being asked, Chinweuba went ahead to explain why the project is yet to be completed.

He says: “I started work in February because I had em em a health challenge. You know, yes, I have heart problem. I had to stop my project in Bayelsa, and other places because of my health challenge. The project is going on. We are just completing the fence. Just about 5 or 2 percent near completion.”

On how much has been released out of the N59million allotted for the project, he says: “They have never released any money. We have been using our money to do the project.”

 

Weak wall at FGGC Lejja 2

Procurement laws violated

The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Act specifies that every contracting firm must be registered and must have been in existence and paying tax for the last three years before being offered a job by the Federal Government.

However, AE&E Nigeria Limited, obtained the contract at Federal Science and Technical College, Awka, and it is not registered.

Also, section 25(2)(ii) of the Public Procurement Act (2007) demands that requests for bids must be advertised in at least two widely circulated national newspapers, official websites of the procuring entity and the Bureau as well as the Tenders Journal.

The law states: “the invitation for bids shall be advertised on the notice board of the procuring entity, any official web sites of the procuring entity, at least two national newspapers, and in the procurement journal not less than six weeks before the deadline for submission of the bids for the goods and works.”

Then again, the Public Procurement Act was flouted as no invitation to tender was published for the projects.

To uphold the principles of honesty, accountability, transparency, fairness and equity in procurement processes, sections 57 and 58 of the Public Procurement Act prohibits public officers from partaking in contracts.

According to Section 57(9), “Every public officer involved directly or indirectly in matters of public procurement and disposal of assets shall not engage or participate in any commercial transaction involving the federal government, its ministries, extra-ministerial departments, corporations where his capacity as public officer is likely to confer any unfair advantage – pecuniary or otherwise on him or any person directly related to him.”

But, Nwokoye Edwin Ementa, Director of Finance and Accounts at the Federal Ministry of Education, allegedly secured the contract at Federal Science and Technical College, Awka. In his defense, he said he is “facilitating and forcing” the workers to complete the project.

But then, Subsection 12, disallows public officers from possessing “direct or indirect interest in or relationship with a bidder, supplier, contractor or service provider.”

 

No security project

Still in Anambra State, on Friday May 10, 2019, this reporter made a stopover at Federal Government College, Nise.

She observed that no security project was in place. The school fence is in dire need of attention.

According to Comrade Onyekwere, vice principal special duties, the Federal Ministry of Education proposed to repair the fence, but the school is yet to see the contractor.

He says: “The Ministry sent a quantity surveyor over a month ago to measure our fence. He came and went back to prepare the BOQ (bill of quantity), but we have not seen the contractor. We have fallen fences that has exposed the school to security dangers.”

From the gate to the dormitories and round the school, no CCTV cameras or newly installed solar streetlights was sighted.

“Nothing has been done here,” says Mrs. Ijeoma Ekumankama, the school principal.

 

FGGC, Onitsha

The story is the same at Federal Government Girls’ College, Onitsha. A tour round the premises showed that the school is yet to benefit from the security infrastructure project.

Like previous school visited, the fence here is weak and begging for attention.

“The fence has been falling down. Before we went on holiday in April, rain fell part of the fence. I fixed it, and yesterday (May 9), it fell again. Now, the fence near the hostel is down too,” Aghedo Osamudiame, the school principal, told this reporter on May 10.

The old solar streetlights are not working perfectly well.

“Everywhere is dark, the electrician just left here now. I told him that when I was coming from church, everywhere was so dark,” the principal says. “Some of the lights are working, but I just told him to get some bulbs. Everywhere from the gate is just dark.”

Aghedo said she notified the procurement director at the Federal Ministry of Education of the security challenges, but there has been no response.

She adds: “I even called the procurement director that there is no intervention here, and I sent my bursar to him. I wrote a letter saying they are not doing anything here. There is no security work here.”

Culled from Daily Sun

 This investigation was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR.

Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo vrs Busola Dakolo: Need for caution

 

There has been understandable uproar and hoopla on social media especially, since Friday morning when Busola, the wife of a popular singer, Timi Dakolo, alleged in a pernicious interview conducted by a media cum public relations practitioner, Chude Jideonwo, that she was raped by Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, COZA.

According to her, the purported rape occurred about 20years ago when she was about 17 and a new convert in Fatoyinbo’s then non-denominational ‘youth club’ which embraced all kinds of people and focused on worship and fellowship in a modern way. It was the youth club, based then in Ilorin, Kwara State that transmuted into what is today known globally as COZA.

While the interview has become a hot-button issue online and offline, among adherents and activists and Nigerians across the world, it bears putting it in proper perspective. Busola, who was then a secondary school student in Suleja, Niger State, said that while home on one of her holidays in Ilorin where she lived with her mother and siblings, she was prevailed upon by her sisters to attend Fatoyinbo’s Divine Delight Club where she claimed she caught the then young pastor’s attention because of her boldness and bluntness.

A pastor-adherent relationship began with the pastor becoming a regular face in their house. One day, very early in the morning, while her mother was away and her sisters were in their rooms in the duplex the family maintained, Busola said Pastor Biodun came to the house.

She was still in her nightgown when she went to open the door and the pastor purportedly pushed her to a chair, speaking only to command her to do as he said. In the interview, Busola did not say that she raised an objection or that she screamed for help despite the fact that her sisters were home. She recalled that after they had sex, he went to his car, returned with a bottle of Krest and forced her to drink it, probably as some crude contraceptive. She recalled that Pastor Biodun told her, “You should be happy that a man of God did this to you.”

Until the interviewer, Jideonwo, interjected and mentioned the word ‘rape’, Busola did not use the word. A few days later, she was in the pastor’s house (her alleged rapist) to visit his wife who had just put to bed. When it was time for her to leave, Busola recalled that Modele, Pastor Biodun’s wife, insisted the pastor drop her off at home against her will. On their way, she said the pastor veered off the main road to a deserted corner and had a go at her again. This time, she said that he pulled her out of the passenger seat, forced his way into her and later moved her to the bonnet for ease of access. Still, she did not cry for help. And she did not report to the police or to her family. Busola reportedly kept the incident to herself for so long until one of her sisters had a dream and forced the story out of her. How convenient.

When the story blew open, she said that her family was begged not to make an issue out of it and she remained a member of the church until she started dating Pastor Biodun’s cousin. Indeed, rape is a very sensitive issue in Nigeria and everywhere else across the world. Rape is not acceptable no matter the victim, the sicko who did it and the religion of the debaser. It is a crime against the individual so debased, a crime against the state and a crime against God irrespective of your religion. Rape is a scourge that has brought down many powerful men. It brought down Mike Tyson from his Olympian heights as a heavyweight boxing champion when he was accused by a beauty queen,

Desiree Washington in the early 90s. Tyson was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. Popular American comic actor, Bill Cosby, is currently serving a three to ten year jail term for a catalogue of rape cases dating back several decades. So, rape is as heinous a crime as it is reprehensible. Perhaps the most influential rape allegation of contemporary Nigeria, Busola’s allegations have sparked many conversations in the media and around the country about rape culture and pastoral privilege. But beneath the sound and fury of the viral allegation; beyond Nigerians’ fixation with sensationalism, there is a need for circumspection.

Pastor Biodun is not just any other man in the street. One of the most successful new generation pastors of his time, he is blessed with enviable oratorical prowess and smouldering good looks that can set off fire alarms, neither of which is his making. Add to the fact that he is wealthy too; many have described as an Adonis, a dandy and a very suave pastor who spares no cost to look good. Indeed, he will conveniently give Denzel Washington or Will Smith a run for their women fandom.

Perhaps that is why his church has grown exponentially in the last couple of years we would not know. What we do know is that he is happily married and there has never been any case of a crisis in his marriage unlike many equally popular and prosperous pastors (Pastors Chris Okotie and Chris Oyakhilome readily come to mind). While Pastor Biodun cannot claim to be perfect or even infallible, there is need to sieve through the excitable and laughable cacophony of voices asking him to step down as pastor.

There is a trending hashtag to that effect; #PastorStepDown. Thankfully, not all Nigerians are gullible or wilfully follow the bandwagon to sound or look cool or for social correctness. One of the most discerning responses to the allegation is that made by Reno Omokri, a former aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan. In a flurry of tweets, Omokri stated that although he never liked Fatoyinbo for personal reasons, “However, I am mature enough to divorce my emotions and be led by logic. And I counsel those now condemning him to do the same,” he wrote, adding, “Think. Don’t emote. A pastor comes to your house early in the morning. He does not know who will open when he knocks, or who is at home. He knocks and immediately you open he pushed you to a chair and raped you in your pyjamas. Do people think? He went on; “Even the most useless movie director won’t accept such a plot in a B-rated Hollywood/Nollywood/Bollywood movie.

A movie has to have PLAUSIBILITY (emphasis his). I don’t like Pastor Fatoyinbo, but I won’t suspend my intellect because of my dislike of the fellow. After he allegedly raped her, she kept quiet for enough time for him to go to his car and get a soda drink for her? It does not ADD UP. My dislike for Biofun Fatoyinbo won’t make me become a SLANDERER by default. This story rings very FALSE.” Also a pastor and author, Omokri wrote further, “I am an advocate of morality. For years, I publicly preach against premarital and extramarital sex. I pastored a congregation in Abuja for years. I will NEVER, EVER, support RAPE. But Satan is going about like a roaring lion seeking whom to consume! Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo is sleek. Too sleek for my liking. What type of sleek man will rape an underage girl in her parents’ house while her siblings are at home? And then leave her to go get a drink from his car. Is this mass HYPNOSIS?

Omokri, who has a Masters in Law from England, added, “The story cannot stand up in court. The story cannot stand up in the light of cross-examination. I give you my word that if you gave Satan 10 minutes to manipulate the minds of Nigerians, he will get a sizeable number of Nigerians to believe that Jesus is evil and the Satan is good. We are too gullible, excitable and emotional.” He concluded his posts with the hashtag, #ForTheBodyOfChristNotForFatoyinbo. It is instructive to note that prior to the outbreak of the allegation, a popular pastor had reportedly sworn that even if at the cost of his life, he would ensure that no soul remained in COZA, a declaration borne out of a deep-seated envy for Pastor Biodun. Was that why the interview was conducted in a church? And by a young man who has become infamous for being a professional mercenary and willing tool for organisations or governments? Again, it bears reiterating, why is everybody clamouring for him to step down from his role because of rape allegations brought against him? Is this about emotions or the law? Is the ongoing media trial of Pastor Biodun even godly?

Let the Dakolos file a formal complaint of rape and let us see how Fatoyinbo will defend himself. If found guilty, let the law take its full course otherwise, he will prove to the world that the trees that remain standing are those that bend best in the storm.

Soyinka’s son hits ‘social media warriors’ over seat saga


Olaokun, eldest son of Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate and literary icon, says his father mistakenly sat on the flight seat belonging to another passenger.

Soyinka took centre stage on social media  after a passenger asked him to vacate his (passenger’s) window seat.

Tonye Cole, entrepreneur and politician, who was aboard the aircraft, shared the experience via his Instagram page.

Cole’s narrative had sparked a controversy and generated heated arguments. Some tagged the young man as “disrespectful” while other defended the man’s action, arguing that he was within his right.

One of those who defended the young man, nicknamed “Bobo Fine” by Cole, was Tosin Odunfa, who wrote a satirechronicling what could have transpired between Wole Soyinka and the other passenger.

Reacting via an appreciation letter to Cole, Olaokun Soyinka said even if his father sat in the young man’s seat deliberately, he did so to avoid causing”‘go-slow” as people would stop to shake hands with him if he were seated close to the aisle.

“My dad travels a lot and at his age, we, his offspring, have been advising him to cut down. I hope if l get to his ripe old age I will still be as independent as he is, though he does have the occasional mishap, I’m sure this is not the first time he’s occupied the wrong seat,” Olaokun Soyinka wrote.

“It’s not a big deal and most frequent flyers have done it. I’ve not asked him yet, but if it was deliberate then, as my wife points out, he was probably trying to keep away from the aisle to avoid the inevitable ‘go-slow’ as people stopped to shake his hand. Most likely it was mere preoccupation with other matters.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Olaokun Soyinka@olaokun_s

So my elderly father mistakenly sat in the wrong airplane seat, & moved when asked.
It was a non-event until Mr Tonye Cole did an Instagram post about respect.
I thought I’d write to Mr Cole & share a memory about WS & an airline drama when he was shown great respect indeed.4,0863:11 PM – Jun 26, 20192,759 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

He said while the man was right to have demanded his seat, he (Olaokun Soyinka) was irritated by the comments of “social media warriors”.

Olaokun said “our garrulous online youths however, should not take freedom of expression for granted”.

He added that his father had served his country well and deserved to be respected.

“Do our online youths these days see it as a badge of honour to avoid the courtesies that we traditionally extended to our elders? Why do they insist on jumping to the most uncharitabie conclusion? (‘It was deliberate. WS commandeered the seat’.),” he asked.

“Why did people insist on misinterpreting the events? Can’t an elderly man make a mistake? I have not commented on the fact that beyond being an elderly man, WS has served his country in a way that many would do well to emulate. I will leave that for others to go into. Our garrulous online youths however, should not take freedom of expression for granted.”

Below is his full letter to Cole

Dear Mr Cole,

I am writing to thank you for standing up for my father, and for respect. You ignited a social media storm that appears to have had even more impact on aviation matters than Iran’s recent downing of the USA drone. Prof Soyinka’s inadvertent trespass into someone else’s ‘seatspace’ has triggered numerous unguided missiles which are flying all over social media.

My dad travels a lot and at his age we, his offspring, have been advising him to cut down. I hope if l get to his ripe old age I will still be as independent as he is, though he does have the occasional mishap I’m sure this is not the first time he’s occupied the wrong seat. It’s not a big deal and most frequent flyers have done it. I’ve not asked him yet, but if it was deliberate then, as my wife points out, he was probably trying to keep away from the aisle to avoid the inevitable ‘go-slow’ as people stopped to shake his hand. Most likely it was mere preoccupation with other matters.

The young man whose seat it was may have had a specific reason to insist on having his seat. He was within his rights, and WS would be last person to make an issue of it. My irritation, however, is reserved for the social media warriors.

Some vehemently defended the right of the young man to claim his seat. They hailed him for bravely standing up to oppression and divined how a young WS himself might have reacted in a similar situation. (He is an activist but a gentleman, so it is most likely he would have graciously given way to an elder who mistakenly sat in his seat). Some criticised WS  for attempting to callously deprive a youth of the fruits of his hard-earned money. One wag even suggested he might as well have insisted on having the pilot’s seat.

Others castigated your good self for mentioning the t-shirt and tattoo. They poured venom on the passengers who dared to suggest that Prof should have been allowed to stay where he was. Thus, online, the non-drama transformed into a tragicomic metaphor for the problem of Nigeria. Soyinka representing, to some lazy thinkers, the oppressive ruling class that has laid waste to the country, now trying to deprive the young of their dues even in the confines of an airplane cabin. The deprived seat-owner meanwhile representing our virile but dispossessed young Nigerians, angry and determined to grab and hold on to whatever they can. Not prepared to give an inch, or deference, to any venerable agent of the wasted generation. The cabin controversy had gone from local to international.

Do our online youths these days see it as a badge of honour to avoid the courtesies that we traditionally extended to our elders? Why do they insist on jumping to the most uncharitabie conclusion? (‘It was deliberate. WS commandeered the seat’.) Why did people insist on misinterpreting the events? Can’t an elderly man make a mistake?

I believe the learning point of this controversy lies in understanding the difference between right and entitlement. The seat owner had a right that is enforceable. But the elder though he or she is entitled to some deference and respect, can only hope for it. In this case it was not given and WS, unhesitatingly moved seat.
To the online outraged, I would point out that those who like to see an elder given his due deference are entirely within their rights to judge the young man. And if they decide to add some profiling (the t-shirt, tattoo, face cap), please just ‘chop it’ He passed up a small opportunity to bestow an act of kindness, and commentators happily pointed out his emblems of youthful disregard for convention. Afterall, he had just disregarded a convention that many hold dear.

Extending courtesies based upon age such as offering your seat in a crowded bus or lifting a heavy bag is not just a matter of convention or kindness but common sense. We will all become that person: a bit more frail every passing year, a little unsteady, occasionally absent minded, frustratingly blurred of vision. We will inevitably need to rely on considerate fellow passengers or observant bystanders. We hope they will anticipate and help. The future seems far away for youths, but soon enough it will be today’s young ones who are the elders. They may one day have to struggle to their feet to make way for youths bent on claiming their rights.

I have not commented on the fact that beyond being an elderly man, WS has served his country in a way that many would do well to emulate. I will leave that for others to go into. Our garrulous online youths however, should not take freedom of expression for granted. In his day, the dictator Abacha tightly controlled the then novelty called the internet. People spent decades in jail, being tortured for merely hinting at criticism of the military ruler. Our freedom to hold our leaders accountable is a precious right bought by the heroism of many; some died, some are still living. 50, as you fight your battles of today, please do so with a sense of history.

On that historical note I will finish with an anecdote about Wole Soyinka and another airline seat. He returned from exile to Nigeria in 1998 for the very first time after Abacha’s demise. Although he had departed in secret four years earlier on the back of a motorcycle along a forest path, he returned home more publicly by plane. His first-class seat was given to him, free, by KLM. I know this because l arranged it. After explaining the situation to a senior manager, the airline did not hesitate to offer to fly him back on that momentous occasion. I accompanied him on the flight and proudly watched as grateful and admiring compatriots made their way up the aisle to get a glimpse of him or to thank him for his steadfast years-long role in opposing the military junta at great personal cost. Not all the cabin crew were aware of the intricacies of Nigerian politics and the historic nature of the occasion. The commotion soon got the message through and then even l got the VIP treatment (i.e. endless Champagne). I’m sure if WS had insisted on sitting in the pilot’s seat they would have obliged. Wole

Soyinka was given respect freely he had not demanded it, he earned it. On landing, the joyous, singing throng that met him at the airport arrivals hall was a sight that I will never forget. Now he was seated shoulder high.

I recount this not as a boast. Rather, as a reminder to our young online activists that respect for our senior citizens is also about history you just don’t know the story behind the seats your elders have occupied, even before you were born.

CAN President tasks Nigerians on productive, profitable living

Rev Samson Ayokunle, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Monday urged Nigerians to live productive and profitable lives.

Ayokunle gave the charge at a service of songs for late Evangelist Helen Okoye at the All Christian Fellowship Mission (ACFM) Maitama, Abuja.

According to him, living a godly life impacts on the lives of others, irrespective of their creed and calling either as politicians, business people, civil servants; or even the unemployed citizen.

“According to the book of Acts, Chapter 13 Verse 36, when David had served God’s purpose in his generation, he fell asleep; Evangelist Helen Okoye has served her purpose on earth.

“Until you impact positively on the lives of others, you are living small,” he said.

Ayokunle said that late Okoye left a big vacuum not at home alone, but in the ministry and the entire country.

“We are sure that on the resurrection morning, we shall meet again to part no more,” he said.

A Former Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Jerry Gana, said that people like the evangelist should be celebrated nationally.

Gana said that God had been so gracious to Nigeria and gifted the country with talented people, and so all must strive to change the narrative that every Nigerian was a crook.

“People like late Evangelist Helen Okoye should be celebrated, but we do not celebrate, take care or take note of them.”

He stressed the need for elders to live a life that would impact positively on the younger generation.

According to him, values are much more important than chasing money, not for the moment, but for eternity.

He, however, prayed that the lives of the Nigerian youth would be filled with the kind of life late Evangelist Helen Okoye lived.

“A life of the holy spirit, love, joy, peace, Kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control,” he said.

Husband of the deceased, Rev. William Okoye, a former Aso Rock Chaplain, to two former Nigerian presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, said that from the human stand point, it is so painful losing a soul mate.

“As Christians, we take solace knowing that life does not end here on earth and we must live it with eternity in view,’’ Okoye said.

He said one of the greatest desires and passion of his beloved wife was doing everything that will bring honour and glory to God.

“I am pleased that we are able to praise and worship in this service of songs.

“One of the reasons for this service is to promote some of the values that she lived for so that everybody can be challenged to embrace these values.

“Because when we think of national transformation and national development, it is values that shape human progress, any nation that transformed like Singapore, their values made them what they are today,” he added.

Victor Okoye, Son of the late Evangelist and a NAN staff, described his mother as a prayer warrior, a giver, one who could fast from morning till night without getting weary.

Victor said his mother was beautiful, in and out; and had left a vacuum in their lives that could not be filled forever.

“Like the testimony of someone who was dying of cancer and called my Mother for help and prayers, unknown to her, my Mum was also dying of cancer.

“But she prayed for her and reached out to the woman, she pleaded with my Dad to also buy the drugs that she was taking for the woman.

“My Dad had to look for extra N300, 000 to buy the drugs for the woman; she survived, Mummy did not make it, but they both took the same drugs.

“She did store up treasures for herself in heaven, but left a legacy that will live on through her children and every life that she touched,” Victor said. (NAN)

“Up to her dying days she was giving, she left nothing in her bank account, she was preparing for a better life after death like the Bible says: “Store up treasures for yourself in heaven where caterpillars cannot destroy.