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Monday, August 22, 2016

Racketeering at Nigerian Airports and Border Checkpoints

Mohammed Babandede,
The Comptroller General of NIS
The new Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service,Mohammed Babandede, MFR, who was appointed into office on the 26th of May by President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the press at a media conference at the headquarters in Abuja on the 31st of May 2016 where he outlined his vision and agenda for the para-military organization.
One of the points of the agenda that he spoke about during the press conference was efforts to stop racketeering at the Nigerian border posts.
According to him, he was conscious of racketeering occurring among NIS officers preying on international passport applicants and travelers at various borders/checkpoints in the country and would set up an anti-corruption squad to check-mate these activities. “All zonal coordinators and state comptrollers must put an end to this act of gross misconduct by the operatives,” Babandede said.
I made some findings and discovered that the checkpoints have been turned into a cash center by the officers of the service that forcefully extort people of their hard earned money while leaving the country through the airport especially which is assumed to be the exclusive reserve of the nouveau riche.



Steve Temitope, a Telecommunications Executive stated that the officers are not interested in other documents aside from a passport. Then, they begin to extort travelers one after the other.
He continued, “my last international trip was very frustrating. I was not handling cash but I was shown the way to the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) so that I can give them money. One of my colleagues coughed out as much as 100 dollars before he could proceed. After this ordeal, I have made a resolution to always keep some funds handy while travelling.”
In a chat with Abosede Taiwo, a legislative aide to a former member of the National Assembly, she corroborated Temitope’s personal account by saying that if the passport holder is entering or leaving the coutry as a first time visa holder; the person is usually seriously extorted.
She said sadly, “despite our nationality as a Nigerians, they treat us like foreigners in our country either in outbound or inbound [flights] while they treat the foreigners like kings and queens.”
Ola Bolaji, PR Manager for a Satellite Television Network explained that his first international trip was crazy. He said he was wearing attire that looked like that of a clergy. He insisted Jesus would be upset if he were to offer bribes.
He said the Immigration officers tried to delay him but let him off the hook when he told them his flight was 3 hours away. In despair, he ended, “every trip is always something else with those grey hounds at the airport.”
Iyes Dan, an On Air Personality in Port Harcourt, Rivers State put his experience at the airport in a few words. He said “I taught them a lesson and they also dealt with me before they realized I worked with the fourth estate of the realm.” The fourth estate (or fourth power) is a societal or political force or institution whose influence is not consistently or officially recognized. “Fourth Estate” most commonly refers to the news media, especially print journalism or “the press”.
An officer of the organization who spoke anonymously said, “I cannot deny such don’t happen but courteous officers will ask and collect with decency. However, this is not peculiar to us [Nigeria] only. It happens in every country.”
According to him, “I witnessed an occurrence at the Benin Republic border where a couple and host of others were being delayed despite having their passports by officials when they could not part with their hard-earned money. The same happened at the borders from Nigeria and Ghana where the officers were more interested in money than the documents.”

First published on Nigerian Reporter
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Idúpé ỌDÚN kan ti Yorùbá Lákọ̀tun bere



The journey of  Yorùbá Lákọ̀tun would not be complete without the great support of our partners, special guests, audience, all volunteers at the back end and well-wishers who have helped to enhance each event.

According to the host of the quarterly programme, Olutayo Irantiola, said, "I appreciate everyone who have contributed to the success of Yorùbá Lákọ̀tun thus far. We have thrived on the support by various people and organizations. I remain undeterred in my commitment to the elevation of our Yorùbá literature, culture, crafts and skills that have been relegated."

Speaking on the behalf of Ethnic Heritage Centre, Charles Obioha, mentioned that Yorùbá Lákọ̀tun has become a flagship programme of the centre. The centre is proud of the growth of the programme from inception till date; all her attainment and wished her the best.

The next edition of the programme will be coming up on September 4 2016 at Ethnic Heritage Centre, 35A,Raymond Njoku Street off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi by 4pm where the 1st year anniversary will be marked.

--END--


NOTE TO THE PRESS:

ABOUT YORUBA LAKOTUN:
It is a quarterly live audience participatory programme where different creative arts are done and an interview session with a writer. The host is Olutayo Irantiola

ABOUT ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTRE:
Ethnic Heritage Centre is located at 35A, Raymond Njoku Street off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. The centre is a foremost learning centre for the learning of Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and French thereby exposing them to the cultural elements surrounding those languages thereby promoting and preserving our cultural heritage. This is achieved through a modern, creative and innovative method of learning.
Their programmes are flexible enough to accommodate Nigerian residents and those who are on short visits to Nigeria that may want to have a better understanding of the Nigerian people and their cultures. The centre also has a library stocked with books in all the languages for everyone. The centre also has a gift shop called ‘Kasuwa’ which means Market in Hausa where different creative works can be purchased.

FOR PRESS ENQUIRIES-
Send an e-mail to yorubalakotun@gmail.com


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Thursday, August 18, 2016

THE HYPER-REALISM OF OLUMIDE ORESEGUN

Photo courtesy: Olumide Oresegun
by Olutayo IRANTIOLA

Since the weeks of his emergence on the social media scene, Olumide Oresegun has been called the Leonardo Da Vinci of Africa. He has changed the narrative of Nigerian artists by pushing the frontiers painting to the extremely tedious aspect of the art.

Olumide Oresegun started out as an Impressionist, he transitioned to being a realist and he is now a hyper-realist. He has done all within his reach to push the frontiers of Nigerian painting to the global level, especially throu social media.

It is assumed that creativity of this nature runs in the family. Ironically, there is nobody in Oresegun's family that ever was a painter, as far as he himself knows. He hails from Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state of Nigeria. Interestingly, Ogun State has produced many remarkable people such as Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, Former Premier of the Western Region that introduced free education; Professor Wole Soyinka, First African Noble Laureate in Literature; Fela Anikulapo - Kuti, the Afrobeat legend and many more.

Oresegun has stayed in Lagos largely in the last thirty five years of his life. He was educated Ijebutedo Primary School in Palmgroove, Lagos and the Immaculate Heart Comprehensive High School in Maryland, Lagos before proceeding to the Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech) in Yaba, Lagos where he graduated with distinction.

Oresegun was could be considered to be very lucky, because he had no challenge with his parents redirecting his course of life from painting to other careers. He started drawing at the age of 4 and starting painting at the age of 14. His mother gave him the utmost support and he is reaping largely from this investment today.

Oresegun has exhibited his works in Nigeria, France, Germany and Brazil. With the global acceptance of his works, he has received various requests to exhibit his works in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. As an aspiring artist, Oresegun looks forward to becoming a maestro like Kolade Osinowo and like Howard Terpning.

According to Oresegun, the water effect is a very challenging aspect of painting because paint and water is being used at the same time. Children form the core of his paintings, because he greatly enjoys their company. For him, his interaction with his immediate environment and his country home, has helped him to develop a keen eye for rare occurrences which might not strike others. He explained further that this artwork is done on a 2 dimensional surface in which 3-dimensional effect is employed.

Oresegun is currently working on setting up an art academy where he can develop the next generation of painters. He said another career that he might have considered outside being a professional painter is a broadcaster. Whenever he drops his paintbrush, he can mostly be found either reading or watching television.

Olumide Oresegun's works are in three major galleries in Lagos namely Nike Art Gallery, Lekki; Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi and Signature, Ikoyi. He is likely to  feature in the World Art Record based on his exceptionally distinct artistry.

First published on Hellion Magazine
August 9 2016


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Friday, August 05, 2016

Kick Against Indiscipline & their Extremist Officers

The Ikorodu Road violence after the death of the hawker

Nigerians are very lawless people from age immemorial. In order to correct this lawlessness, Kick Against Indiscipline  (KIA) was set up as a government agency to enforce attitudinal change. This agency has checkmated people who  act wrongly in the public which will endanger their individual lives; the lives of others and the environment.

Historically, during the military leadership of General Muhammadu Buhari and General Tunde Idiagbon, the War Against Indiscipline was set up to perform the same role. However, there were a lot of complaints about the extreme use of force.

The Lagos State Government is strategic in fighting the battle of Indiscipline to a standstill. Along major roads in Lagos where people typically cross the road; barbed wires have been fixed to the footsteps of pedestrian bridges and all illegal bus stops are also been phased out using barbed wires too. Ironically, some of these barbed wires and baricades have been destroyed at places like Ojota and Mile 12 along the Ikorodu road corridor.

All around Lagos, officers of KAI curb the menace of street hawking; arresting pedestrians who do not want to use the pedestrian bridge; arresting these who defecate or urinate along the roadside amongst other petty misdemeanours.

Van used to arrest street traders and hawkers
Unfortunately, all these erring members of the society have become cash cows for the officers of KAI. People are not properly fined or charged by the agency, as a whole, but by the officers who effect the arrest.
Many a times, people who want to evade arrest get manhandled. The saddening part is that street urchins commit the same crime with other pedestrians but they prefer the well dressed ones because they would not be  violent.  Recently, a hawker at Maryland, Ikorodu road, Lagos was killed while trying to evade arrest and this resulted into violence by other hawkers who saw it as an act of injustice and burnt down BRT buses belonging to the state government.

The economic situation has turned everyone into a "hustler". Women that supports their husbands  must  be commended. These women usually display series of goods for sale on prominent streets close to a major bus terminal to serve the blue-collar and white - collar workers on their way from work. Sadly, the clampdown has direct impact on them and this has heightened the poverty level of the masses.

However, it must also be said that these enforcement officers are overzealous in the dispensation of their duties. The rate of destruction is on the high side.  Many of the goods that they come across are wasted in the course of discharging their lawful duties. This shows that Lagos needs a model of converting these waste into something that can be used for other purposes.

The drivers and officers attached to KAI are uncivil while going about their lawful business. They drive recklessly; they chase people needlessly thereby resulting to waste of lives. The government needs to put some punitive measures in place for the officers so that they can responsibly discharge their duties.

Just like Governor Akinwunmi Ambode noted upon resumption of office that traffic gridlock gets heightened by the way LASTMA officers stop traffic violators; he instructed them to be civic by taking pictures of the vehicle, the number plate and possibly the driver. Such model needs to be put in place for KAI officers too.

It is obvious that Lagos State is on a journey towards becoming a mega city. However, the attitudes of KAI officers should rather complement the efforts of the government and not distract the government in her efforts of making Lagos the tourism hub for West Africa.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

TEN YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF ENGR FUNSHO WILLIAMS




Nigeria has witnessed the gruesome murder of many people associated with politics within the democratic and military administration. Funsho Anthony Williams belonged to the class of those murdered during the 4th republic in Lagos State.

Williams was referred to as the ‘Omoluabi Eko’ meaning the Gentleman of Lagos. He was born, May 9, 1948. He he attended the St. Paul's Catholic school, Ebute-Meta; St. Gregory College, Ikoyi before proceeding to the University of Lagos for his Bachelors’ degree in Civil Engineering. Upon completion, he went to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, United States of America for his Masters’ degree.
He returned to work for the Lagos State Government and he retired willing after 17 years as a Permanent Secretary to join politics. He became a Commissioner for Works under Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s military administration.

As typical of Nigerian politicians, he started out with the United Nigeria Congress Party in the mid-1990s; he joined Alliance for Democracy at the death of General Sani Abacha; he stepped down for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to become the Governor of Lagos; thereafter he joined the People’s Democratic Party in 2003 after President Olusegun Obasanjo won the President election on the platform of the party before he met his untimely death on July 27, 2006 at his Ikoyi residence.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) at the time of his death was Sunday Ehindero while the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) was Adebayo Adeoye. Adeoye in a statement after inspecting his residence said his body was lying face down, hands tied, blindfolded and blood was on the floor. The four policemen at his residence and six other suspects namely Bulama Kolo; Musa Maina; David Cassidy; Tunani Sonani; Mustapha Kayode and Okponwasa Imariabie were arrested.

The investigation of the death of Williams was not handled by the Nigerian Police Force alone, British detectives were involved to unravel his assassins. However, Prof John Obafunwa, the Chief Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State testified before the court that his death resulted from asphyxia (lack of oxygen) due to manual strangulation.

He was buried at Victoria Court Cemetery in August 2006 with mammoth crowd  that can be akin to that of Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe; Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo; Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola. Seven months after his death, the Lagos State Government immortalized him by naming the former Western Avenue after him in February 2007. Although the political class cannot be vindicated entirely from his death, political bigwigs were mentioned at different points in connection with his death.
The late Funsho Williams
The death of Funsho Williams remained one of the many deaths that had not been resolved over the years. Lagos State had witnessed high profile politicians; some of them include Pa Alfred Rewane; Alhaja Kudirat Abiola; Engr Adesoji Dina and many other people. Nigerians want a thoroughly developed forensic unit of the police force that can unravel murder cases and an effective judicial system

First published onNigerian Reporter
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