Saturday 24 June 2017

Let's Talk About Evans!

News about the recent arrest of kidnap kingpin identified as  Chukwudumeje Onwuamadike, popularly known as 'Evans', at his home, in Fred Shoboyejo street, Magodo Phase 2 GRA, Lagos - Nigeria; and his cohorts, has set the Nigerian Media, as well as International mainstream agog. This owes to how news of his exploits overshadowed other stories.

Since his arrest, Evans reportedly revealed information about his gang's heinous activities- from their kidnap dens, how he selects his victims, trailed and kidnapped them, and what ransoms to demand from each victim. Interestingly, some of these victims have stepped forward to identify the kidnapper, even recounted their ordeal while in his den. Evans Father, Step-mother, mother, sister, wife, mistresses and some other family members, equally gave their statements and granted interviews. No week passed by without a new turn to the 'Evans-kidnap story'. The media, staying true to its responsibility, keeps the public informed as events unfolds. 

A Nigerian based Daily newspaper, Vanguard, reports: "Evans might be flown to Force Headquarters, Abuja, to meet with the Police hierarchy for thorough interrogation over his criminal activities. Already, efforts were been made to prepare him for the meeting, which sources said could include meeting with the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. Detectives attached to the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, of the IGP’s special squad, are still taking the kidnap kingpin to places in Lagos, and environs with a view of identifying all the houses he used as cells, during his escapades". 

The arrested 'Kidnap Kingpin's story is highly celebrated. Media organizations make a field-day, trying to beat each other to publications of the latest turn of events. Security operatives seems more interested in being identified with Evans arrest. Everyone wants a piece of the action. Evans, the man in the middle of it all, seems to relish this situation.

That being said, there abound questions that need answers. For instance, at the initial stage, news made rounds about Evans disclosing members of his network, and how the Police planned to make more shocking arrests. The public anxiously awaits these arrests. Also, one of the kidnap victims, narrated that a doctor was called to treat his 'gun-shot' wounds whiles in the kidnap den. Has this doctor being identified, if not what is keeping the Police from revealing his identity and making arrests.

Of more importance would be the big question: when will Evans and his gang be charged to court, convicted and sentenced for their crimes? The chances of this story going cold, while the accused is detained for a very long time, is high; a development that can further risk the lives of victims who already testified, and raised alarm for the security of well meaning citizens.  

The Evans kidnap case will to a large extent determine the level of Nigeria's Criminal Justice System, as it continues to generate interests from stake holders within and outside the country. 

Monday 19 June 2017

Individual/ Media Responsibility In The Fight Against Terrorism!

Monday, June 19, 2017 early hours terrorist attack on Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, near North London Mosque, left one person dead and about ten others injured. 

Reports said: a van rammed into Muslim worshippers, near the Mosque, as they attended the Ramadan night prayers at about 12:30am. 

According to London Police authorities, a 48-year-old man was arrested and the case is being treated as  "terrorist attack". 

The attacker was reported to have screamed "I am going to kill all Muslims", while others reported him to have said "at least I did my bit". 

The Muslim community in London believes the attack is "Islamophobic"  targeted at the weak and vulnerable in the community. 

Terrorism is a plague that is daily eating deed into the fabrics that binds the Human Race. It is heinous crime against Humanity, and a causeless fight, hence is condemn-able. Terrorism is an act that knows no Religion, Ethnicity and Race. It's single goal is "Havoc" and it single enemy is the Human Race. 

Terrorism comes in different forms and strategies. Aside senseless attacks on the feeble and unguarded, there is also what can be termed subtle ethnic, religious and racial attacks. These attacks are often in forms of "hate comments" by individuals, some of whom occupy significant positions in our societies, at gatherings and on Social Media platforms. 

Government, the Main-stream and Social media (bloggers), and individuals owe it as a responsibility to come together in the fight against terrorism. 

Through unbiased coverage and reportage of incidents, discouraging perceived "hate-comments" against any ethnic group(s), religion, race, on individual platforms, and encouraging Oneness, are some of the ways we can counter terrorism.

What binds us together is greater that what is tearing us apart. 

Thursday 15 June 2017

Time To Yan Again!

When was the last time we took time off our schedules to contemplate on what really defines us? What defines our criteria for success and achievements in Life? What do we understand by the saying "Living a fulfilled life”?

Things we have seen and heard almost all our lives often inform the decisions we make. We want to be like, or at best out-do all those Social Media slay queens and kings, we set goals with target, need to hold a Bachelors or Masters at certain age; the need to be CEO of “ekusie-Okwu” company Int. Married with beautiful family…etc. There is a default urge to be highly successful and recognised as an 'achiever' in life. There is nothing wrong with this urge; actually, I think it is 'God-given'. However, how we go about attaining these goals and what we define as "success" is what should bother us.

Events in the last couple of years made me stop for a while to reminisce. I ask myself, "what do I really want out of life”. Like most of us, I had set goals and priorities...and pursued these studiously...with every right intentions to peharps change the world around me with what I was able to achieve. I thought since my intentions were 'good' God should endorse it...Lol. Sometimes we get so carried away with life...trying to live...that we forget to understand that it is not about us. Not how we want to get it done, but all about what God has designed for us.

We get broken in our life hustles, loose support of things and people we thought were divine steps towards achieving our goals. At first, we run, then we walk and then…we crawl to the Place where we realise the Truth. Where we understand that it is time to let God have His way. This is the place where we truly begin to live.

It is a place where we lose ourselves, where we get tired of meeting up with standards and expectations set by people around us and the society. The place David described as "still waters". Where like little children (that we all are before God) we learn to lean absolutely on God. We start seeking what God wants, instead of "what we want". At this place, we start aligning and pursuing our dreams according to God's will, not bothered about living to please people, to proof 'haters' wrong, to 'pepper them', or being afraid of Jesus’ second coming or even death, because we know we are right in the centre of God's purpose for our lives.

This is a call to look inwards and start learning to appreciate the blessings of God in our lives, which comes in the strangest packages.
  • When was the last time we looked with warm smiles into the eyes of our children, spouses, parents, ailing friends or relatives, held their hands or hugged them tight...not necessarily saying a word?.
  • When was the last time we made people that mattered most to us understand that we really care for them...through our acts?
  • When was the last time we thought about helping someone we don't even know, but whose paths crossed with ours...without putting it on Social Media for aggrandisement?
  • When was the last time we sacrificially and truly cared?

 Our purpose and work in life is most times wrapped in these often-neglected parcels. The things we take for granted can be the very key that unlocks our destinies. Selah.

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Grenfell Tower Fire: Casualty Bureau Opened For Genuine Reports!

Fire swamped a 24 storey Tower block, Grenfell Towers, North Kensington, Latimer Road, West London, a residential building consisting about 120 flats and four bedrooms in each flat. 

A lot of people living in the block were inside when the fire broke before 4am, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. According to report, first reports of the incident was reported before 1am. Residents were seen jumping from the windows of their apartments while trying to save their lives from the inferno. 

Fire Fighters Authority said there have been a number of brutalities, and over 50 people are receiving treatments in various hospitals across London. 

Representatives of Emergency services present at the scene said they are doing their best to put out the fire and rescue any survivors inside the building which is still lit.. 

As at the time of filling this report, the actual number of casualties is not yet ascertained. Fire fighters are still at the rescue stage of the operation. 

A missing people casualty bureau  was set up, people are advised to call 999 to report any genuine reports of missing person(s). 

The incident has been described as "unprecedented", and one of the worse that London has witnessed in many decades. 

Monday 12 June 2017

Nationalism/ Chauvinism: A Threat To Nigerian Nationhood!

The campaign for the recognition of the Biafran nation recently marked its 50th Anniversary on 30th of May. Articles expressing individual and group opinions, floods the dailies. Each article succinctly pointed out factors they thought stunted the Biafran attempt and if there are hopes of its actualization in the future. A remarkable factor noted in our previous publication was that of "nationalism or chauvinism". 

Biafra protesters

The struggle for an exit might sometimes seems easy, especially when underlying factors like- ethnic, economic, religious and cultural factors, which cuts across Nigeria as a whole and which
 threatens the existence of the unity of the larger group appears not thoroughly examined.

Fifty years on, the above listed remain major challenges that threaten the Unity and Peace of not just the country as a whole but ethnic groups. An instance is the on-going friction withing the Catholic Church in Imo state, eastern Nigeria, where Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke, from Anambra state; who was appointed Bishop of Ahiara, by the the Pope Benedict XVI, in 2012. According to reports, Bishop Okpaleke was rejected by the Clergy on the grounds that he is not from the Mbaise ethnic group in Imo state. A ridiculous and rather mischievous stand as both states (Anambra and Imo) are in the eastern region of Nigeria, part of the supposed Biafran territory

This development prompted Pope Francis to give objecting Priests a 30-day ultimatum to either accept Bishop Okpaleke or face suspension; but not after much fuss had been generated. Nationalism, which bothers on the long neglect of the need to recognize and respect the diversity that characterized Nigeria as a multi-ethnic nation. Like the saying goes: our strength, lies in our diversity.

Calling for destruction at the slightest provocation by mischievous groups and individuals, instead of dialogue; or tout-arming to kill and destroy has never been a solution to any challenge therefore unacceptable. If an Imo state man cannot accept an Anambra man as Bishop in his community, to the extent that it took Rome's intervention to remind us of "respect and acceptance" of ourselves as brothers in a common struggle, then perhaps the journey is farther than it was thought to be. 

Like the Animal Farm novella, the seemingly underlying questionable attitude which masks the agitation for the Biafran agenda, if, and when it does happen, pose a menace. For it wouldn't be long thereafter before there arise yet again, a demand for further segregation by ethnic groups who would've feel cheated of the Power/ Resource-control sharing formulae. 

Obianuju Mbanusi writes

Thursday 8 June 2017

In The Campaign For The Constitutions Of Lekki-Peninsula Alternative Routes!

The recent commissioning of the Lekki/ Ajah Flyover Bridge, "Jubilee Bridge", is laudable, however there is need to ensure that attention is not diverted from the Ikota By-Pass, constructed to ease traffic along the VGC/Ajah end of the Lekki Peninsula express way, during the Fly-over construction.

Jubile Bridge ascent
From the look of things, currently Jubilee Fly-over seems to have solved about 60% of the challenge as traffic continued in-wards Ajah, while the Ikota By-Pass from its current state appeared abandoned.

Ikota By-Pass road before the rain

The Ikota by-pass is a sort of 'make-shift' route that helped ease the traffic menace on the express way, between Ikota - Abraham Adesanya areas, a focus on sustainability requires that this route be constructed into one of the 'long over-due' Lekki-Peninsula major alternative roads, if the traffic problem is to be completely solved.

Ikota By-Pass Road

Lekki Scheme 2 area, by Ogombo road

We applaud the efforts of the Lagos state Government geared towards making the Lagos metropolis a comfortable and safe place for its citizens and enterprises.  

From the construction and rehabilitation of roads across the state, lifting of Lekki Roundabouts to decongest traffic, construction of Fly-Over foot and motor bridges where none existed, the state is indeed much better. We however continue to use this medium, among others to canvass for provision and sustainability of basic infrastructures across Nigeria, to make life easy and better for the citizens. 

Links previous stories on the canvass for Lekki-Peninsula Alternative Routes:

Flood/ Traffic Induces Transportation Hike, Labour Union/ Government Needs To Sit Up!

Its the rainy season and like precursory years, most parts of Nigerian cities experience flood. Lagos -state metropolis is not exempted, Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 rain which started in the early hours of the day and continued all through left its infamous signature behind. 

Mobile Road, off Ilaje bus-stop
 Major roads, residential and business districts was flooded. The drainage where the water was supposed to flow through was not spared; Left, Right Centre all you see is Flood. 

Mobile Road, off Ilaje bus-stop

 Commuters were stranded as transportation fare increased. Reason given by bus (danfo), Motorbikes (okada) and tricycle (Keke) drivers were: Traffic and Flood. 

Mobile Road, off Ilaje bus-stop
 Since there are obviously no 'Governmental/Labour' organisations to protect citizens from gratuitous developments as these, passengers are left with no options than to either 'grudgingly' pay or risk trekking the distance to their destinations the rain. 

Mobile Road, off Ilaje bus-stop
For how long will this continue?

What is the Nigerian Labour Union doing to address baseless increase in transportation fare imposed on helpless Nigerians?

What is the Government, whom the people trustfully voted into 'Power' doing to address flood and exploitation in the form of inexplicable increase in transportation fares when ever it rains?

Thursday 1 June 2017

Evil: Health Worker Abused Special-Need Toddler In Her Care!

A recent story and video published on Bellanaija blogspot, left readers astonished. Why would an individual identified to be Bisola Anthonia Abayomi Ojo,physiotherapist, believed to have taken the medical oath to treat diseases, injury or deformity by physical methods like massage, exercise and heat treatments, simply decide to instead use her esteemed office to perpetrate heinous crime against a helpless toddler? 

The story below, as narrated on Bellanaija blog, by the victim's mother identified as Bukola Ayinde, Founder of  P4:13 Foundation and Author of Diary of a Special Needs Mum, whose daughter was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy leaves one wondering what has come over us...

The Narrative: 

"I’m Bukola Ayinde, Founder of P4:13 Foundation and author of Diary of a Special Needs Mum.

Getting a diagnosis which says your child has Cerebral Palsy is a parent’s worst nightmare. I had my period of living in denial; wishing the problem would go away, like it was all a dream, but the reality stared me in the face.

My husband and I decided to face the challenge before us squarely.

We engaged different specialists; Neurologist, Paediatrician, Physiotherapist, Speech therapist, Occupational therapist, Special Needs Care Givers. At one point we were scouting for a very good physiotherapist.

A parent of a special needs child recommended a young lady to me. I mentioned her name to one of my daughter’s therapist who confirmed that the lady was very good at her job. However, she also confirmed that the lady could be arrogant. I spoke with another therapist on the field who also confirmed that the recommended Physiotherapist was good at what she does but she could be rude.

Well, at that point of my life, I didn’t mind if she was going to be rude to me or arrogant as far as she was as good as everyone had said, I was fine with that. All I wanted was to see was my child’s improvement, I could take any sh*t in between.

She came on board as my daughter’s physiotherapist. She was very professional and dedicated, but she didn’t come cheap. She didn’t come cheap at all.
My daughter attended a mainstream school that allowed her to use the sickbay as her pullout room for her physiotherapy session.

In June 2016, my daughter’s school proprietress requested that my husband and I should make out time to see her. When we eventually did a week later, she told us that the physiotherapist had manhandled our daughter and she was going to show us a CCTV recording to prove it.

At the back of my mind I felt the woman was exaggerating because therapy could be demanding at times. My child may cry, if she didn’t like the exercise or if the exercise was tasking.
However, when I watched the video, I was shocked beyond words that someone I trusted with my daughter could treat her worse than an animal. I believe that even an animal shouldn’t be treated that way.

I mean, she came highly recommended; she is a Masters degree holder. She is not an illiterate.
Apparently she didn’t remember that there was a CCTV in the room or she felt nobody would be checking the TV at that particular time.

It was heartbreaking to see my daughter treated by a health worker in such a barbaric act.
I watched my daughter as she fell down several times hitting her head on the tiles. There were times she hit her head on the edge of the wooden bed before falling to the ground.

Her Physiotherapist slapped her three times; the third time with her cell phone. She left her head hanging upside for 5 minutes. She twisted my daughter’s hands several times; at a point she sat on her hands, at another point she tied her hands behind her head. I watched as my daughter fell from her chair while her neck was stuck in between the space at the vertical back rest and the flat wood used for sitting down. I watched on as this lady typed on her phone 90% of the time only taking some time off to torture my daughter. Did I mention that she took out time to take her selfie? Up to five times.

After we watched the recording, my husband could not control his tears. My heart bled.
My daughter’s Neurologist said we cannot ascertain the level of damage to her brain because we did not bring her immediately it happened. He said an MRI would have been done to ascertain any damage.
I got her arrested.
She said she was sorry
She claimed depression and ill health
I didn’t believe her then, I don’t believe her now.

I had to make a decision, to leave my daughter in the hands of her nannies at home (which may be another source of abuse) and follow through to ensure the physiotherapist was duly punished. (Bearing in mind the justice system in Nigeria) or drop the charges lodged at the police station and allow Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board at Yaba to handle the matter.

I dropped the police charges. I decided to stay with my traumatized daughter.
I handed the Physiotherapist over to the Registrar at Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board at Yaba.

Her punishment:
• Three months withdrawal of her practicing license.
• Three months work in a general hospital under supervision without pay
• She was to undergo a psychiatric test
Like seriously? Are you kidding me?
She had been practicing for a year without renewing her license and all you could do was to withdraw her license officially for a mere three months?

She went back to the Registrar at Medical Rehabilitation Therapists to ask for permission to travel to USA to get treatment.

I called to check on the case, and I was told she had travelled for treatment
I was told not to worry as she cannot practice anywhere else in the world without a letter from the board.
Some months later, I was told by a reliable source that she was not taking any major treatments but attending a Masters programme in US.

So she got away with child abuse, assault, battery, in fact attempted murder.
This is only possible in Nigeria right?

I went back to Medical Rehabilitation Center, I was shocked to find out that the case had gone cold.
What stops her from coming back into the country and working with other children?
How many Nigerians ask for practicing license before employing a professional?

I strongly believe that the least the board should have done was to declare her unfit to work with children.
In respect to my daughter, the signs were there: She had been withdrawn for a while in fact she had stop smiling, interacting with anybody in the house or attempting to answer questions in school. I kept asking the care giver that followed her to school about the sudden change. The caregiver said she had no idea. I came up with my own theory and I brushed it aside.

How would I have known that a health worker, someone I trusted with my child could be so cruel? The Physiotherapist had been with us for over two years. I can only imagine….

Well, I pulled my daughter out of school and started her own mini school at home. I let go of my current caregivers for good reasons and got new ones. With care and love, she added weight, came out of her shell and got better. Right now she attends a school three times a week and we are making progress.

Child abuse is real…from the people you least expect. Protect your children."
Bukola Ayinde wrote.

This is absolutely unacceptable and should not be condoned in any way. 

This lady (health-worker) should be identified and brought to book as soon as possible.