Sunday, 21 January 2018
News & Stories

News & Stories (1603)

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja will be closed on March 8 for repairs, the Ministry of Transportation said yesterday.

The nation’s capital’s airport’s runway is to be reactivated after closure. It will last for six weeks

The announcement of the date, which was previously fixed for next month, was after a meeting between Minister of State (Aviation) Hadi Sirika and stakeholders in the sector. No reason was given for the date change.

Ministry spokesman James Odaudu said the meeting enabled the minister to brief the stakeholders on efforts being made to ensure that the use of Kaduna’s airport is “seamless and hitch-free”.

According to the plan, flights to the Abuja airport will be diverted to the Kaduna Airport, about 160kilonmetres to Abuja and passengers travelling to Abuja will travel in bus shuttles, guarded by security provided by the government, to the capital.

Posted On Wednesday, 04 January 2017 03:16 Written by

The Association of Turkish People in Nigeria (ATPEN) felicitates with the kind and loving people of Nigeria this yuletide season.  It is our earnest desire that Nigeria witnesses’ sustainable growth and peace in the year 2017. 

We pray for tolerance and peaceful coexistence between all the religious and ethnic groups in the country. We also wish to felicitate with President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and wish him more grace and strength as he pilots the affairs of this great nation in 2017. 

The Association of Turkish People in Nigeria is proud of Nigeria and its people. May the gift of peace, love, happiness and warmth envelop Nigeria in the New Year.  Happy New Year! 


Cemal Yigit


Posted On Monday, 02 January 2017 14:53 Written by

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Abuja commended the troops of the Nigerian Army for crushing Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest.

In a goodwill message to troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole on the successful capture of the Boko Haram enclave in Sambisa forest, Buhari expressed delight, saying he was proud of the troops.

He said: “I am delighted at, and most proud of the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army, on receipt of the long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest.

“I want to use this opportunity to commend the determination, courage and resilience of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole at finally entering and crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at Camp Zero, which is located deep within the heart of Sambisa forest.

“I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the Camp fell at about 1:35 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide. I urge you to maintain the tempo by pursuing them and bringing them to justice.’’

The president, therefore, called on all Nigerians to cooperate and support the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies by providing useful information that would expose all the terrorists hiding among the populace.

He, however, urged the troops to further intensify their efforts toward liberating the remaining Chibok girls still in captivity.

Buhari also congratulated and commended “the able leadership of the Nigerian Army in particular and indeed, that of the Armed Forces in general, for making this possible.

“This, no doubt, will go a long way in improving the security situation not only in the North East and the country in general. But we must not let our guards down.

“Once more, congratulations to our troops and all who, in one way or the other, contributed to this most commendable and momentous effort. May the Almighty continue to be with you.

“I wish you a merry Christmas and a most rewarding, peaceful 2017.’’

Posted On Saturday, 24 December 2016 14:46 Written by

*As staff demand payment of salary arrears

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: After owing staff salaries ranging from 10 to 17 months, THISDAY Newspapers Limited has sacked 76 workers.

The workers were sacked on Monday in a bid by the troubled newspaper outfit to navigate through the biting economic recession in the country.

THISDAY staff are being owed months of salaries even while the company is making billions of naira through advertising, special projects and others annually.

The newspaper outfit is owned by Nduka Obaigbena, a shrewd business man who was fingered in the $2.1 billion arms scandal, but had to return some millions before being left off the hook.

The sacked staff have not been paid their arrears of salaries and had been laid off with nothing to fall back on.
Some staff said they were being owed 11 months, others 17 months. Some claimed that they only received salary only once this year.

Some editors of the newspaper are being owed between 15 and 17 months unpaid salary arrears.

THISDAY sources said staff of the company were suffering seriously in the midst of plenty as a result of bad management.

Series of protests and strikes in the company had sometimes forced the management to pay one month or few months of outstanding salaries after which the status quo remains.

On some few occasions this year, staff had shutdown the company due to months of unpaid salaries while the company had gone to call the police from Area ‘B’ Command, Apapa to disrupt the protests.

Journalists under the employ of the company have lamented that the management has always deducted from source their Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS and never remit such deduction to the Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs.

Since 2009, workers’ CPS have not been remitted to the PFAs, painting a bleak future for the journalists under THISDAY employ.

Last year, Obaigbena ordered the sack 13 key staff in the Abuja office for demanding the payment of their arrears of salaries being owed them.

The staff had to threaten the management of the company to pay them their arrears and CPS or they would take legal action and exposed the ills of the company to the outside world. The threat forced the management to recall the affected staff for peace to reign.

It was also gathered that THISDAY is planning to convert all editorial staff to freelance journalists beginning from January 2017, a move that is likely to create turbulence in the company.

In the midst of unpaid salary arrears, Obaigbena was said to have purchased a brand new Rolls-Royce car worth N120 million this year, a decision that got staff angry and fed up with the unwholesome system.

Posted On Thursday, 08 December 2016 02:04 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: There is a stock reply in Nigeria when a man is asked to spend money. He, in most cases, would say: “I am not another da-Rocha!” It is an expression that has to do with stupendous wealth or display of it or generosity or a combination of all. However, while many use the statement with ease, not all of them know anything about the man called Candido da-Rocha. We offer you his story this week and, later, other narratives of the lives and times of prominent Nigerians who were trail blazers in their own rights in the 20th century. Below is the story of da-Rocha and what made him ‘tick’:

The life of Candido da Rocha is a complex read. He was an entrepreneur whose activities did not follow the trend of popular economic theories. He was a celebrated capitalist, with property and estates running into billions of naira. He was a businessman with old-fashioned-idiosyncrasies, yet he accumulated properties in every nook and cranny of Lagos. He had no apologies for being rich, and enjoyed showing off. One of his habits, according to one of his grand-daughters, Chief (Mrs) Yewande Oyediran, was throwing coins to children from the balcony of his one-storey building – christened ‘Casa d’Agua’ in English ‘Water House’ – at Kakawa street.

Candido da Rocha was arrogant and ostentatious; at the same time he was not one who played to the popular masses. He was rarely seen in public. When he was nominated as a candidate for an election by his bosom friend Herbert Macaulay, he began his address to the party faithful thus: “I am Candido da Rocha, your candidate into the House, vote for me if you like, and if you don’t, all well and good.” Immediately after the ‘speech’ he vanished. He did not need their votes and therefore he did not get them. The people of Lagos ‘dashed’ him some 20 votes.

Eko Samba community in Brazilian quarters, Lagos.

Eko Samba community in Brazilian quarters, Lagos.

While some analysts believe that Da Rocha’s attitude at the rally was audacious, Mrs Oyediran disagreed: “No, papa was jot a very proud fellow. He surely did not mean it the way people had interpreted it. He was only saying that judging from his background as a serviceman, a man who had shown so much interest in the welfare of the people, the people should vote for him. Papa was a very modest man.”

Indeed, Da Rocha was a very modest and generous capitalist. During the Second World War, when the authorities of Kings College were looking for a place to relocate the students in the boarding house – among whom were Tiamiyu Bello Osagie, who would become one of Nigeria’s most celebrated gynecologists; Adenekan Ademola, son of Nigeria’s first indigenous Chief justice, Adetokunmbo Ademola; Dapo Aderemi, son of Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the legendary Onni of Ife – da Rocha volunteered his Bonanza Hotel on Customs Street, Lagos, and did not collect a dime for the period it was used. Even after the war, when government asked influential Nigerians to contribute to the rehabilitations fund, he made substantial donations and he instructed that the amount should not be disclosed to the public.

Because of his wealth, a lot of people assumed that he built the ‘Water House’ where he lived most of his life. The house, which even by the standards of modern architecture stands out as a formidable edifice, was built by his father, Esan. The structure is fortified by massive pillars, and it can compete favourably with ancient temples and synagogues. It is a masterpiece with some figurative decorations symbolic of the hardwork of the past; the honesty of ancient man; the affordability of things, the vision of a peaceful man, the quality of things of old, the opulence of a blessed man, a lesson for the modern man and a monument of virtue.

A reconstruction of Da Rocha’s history shows that his family was originally from Ilesha. His father John Esan adopted his name da Rocha while in captivity in Brazil. The adoption was to demonstrate his emotional attachment to his master and possibly a way of expressing his desire to identify with the name that had brought him some fame and luck. Although Candido was born in Brazil in 1869, his father never stopped dreaming of taking him and all his children back to their homeland in West Africa. However by the time John Esan found his way back to ‘Nigeria’, he did not go back to Ilesha. He decided to integrate his family into the new settlement that was taking shape in Lagos.

Lagos in the early days

Lagos in the early days

Together with other settlers and returnees from Brazil, they led a delegation to the representative of the Queen of England who was the symbolic head of the colonial administration. They requested for parcels of land on which they could settle so that they, too, could start to contribute their own quota to the economic growth of Lagos colony. Their request was granted. They were given an expanse of land in present day Lagos which stretched from the Central Bank to Moloney street. The area was christened Popo Aguda (Brazilian Quarters) and it became the settlement for the returnees and their families. Some names of other notable returnees include Agusto, Rodrigues, Vaughan, da Rocaha, Salvador, the Pereiras, Pedro da Silva and Gomez.

On the two plots allocated to Esan da Rocha on Kakawa street he built the ‘Water House’. On his death, Candido the eldest son, moved into the house. It was said that he paid off his other siblings before taking over the entire complex.

The first borehole in Lagos fitted with an imported iron mechanism to pump up water was installed in the da Rocha house. People in the neighbourghood came to fetch water. He sold water to some, to others he gave free. From the commercialization of this essential commodity, da Rocha made a considerable percentage of his wealth. Apart from selling water, Candido da Rocha operated a small shop at 12 Kakawa street where he traded in general merchandise which included gold brass, gold dust, imported shoes, brass fittings, textiles and jewelry. He exported kolanuts, alligator pepper, bitter kola and adire tye and dye to Brazil. With the profit from his trade he embarked on a number of capital projects. He also saw the value of owning property and reportedly acquired large tracts of land in Lagos especially on Broad Street, the Marina, Customs Street and Agege. The Agege land alone was over 55 acres on which stands a historic one storey building, the first of its kind. He built it as a relaxation hide out whenever he went to farm and to possibly make himself elusive to the throng of humanity loading around his Kakawa residence.

Candido da Rocha did his banking in style. Stories with respect to his banking activities are woven in myths. What is real, however, is that he operated some accounts with the then Standard Bank of Nigeria, Marina and Barclays Bank. He was reputed to be the most affluent depositor in both banks. It was popularly believed then that da Rocha’s accounts formed up to 80 per cent of the total deposits in the banks of all customers. His massive fortune earned him a large measure of respect and fear. One popular story which indicates the awe in which da Rocha was held goes thus on a certain day, da Rocha went to the bank and joined other people on the queue. All of a sudden, one Chief J.A Ajao emerged from nowhere and dashed to the front of the line. The cashier was about to attend to him when da Rocha flared up and threatened to close his account with the bank – National Bank Marina. It was Ajao himself who tendered effusive apologies to da Rocha for his misdemeanor with the excuse that he never knew that ‘a whole da Rocha was on the queue.’

Mrs Oyediran, his daughter, believes that this story was invented by the British, although she was too young at the time the incident was to have occurred to confirm its veracity. She, however stated that either this particular episode or another similar incident caused the British to scamper to ‘Water House’ to tender an apology to da Rocha. This action was enough to send a signal to the public that da Rocha was annoyed with the bank and had threatened to withdraw his money.

Another account has it that da Rocha was in the habit of taking a stroll to Standard Bank (now first bank) every evening. On such occasions he would go into the banking hall and have a short rest before returning to his house. Such outings kept the gossip mills rolling with the tales of da Rocha going to the bank to threaten them with the withdrawal of his huge deposits which would have led to a monetary crisis in the bank.

Despite all the myths about his invincibility, da Rocha remained a very modest man. He once reacted to the claim that he was a millionaire in an unassuming tone: “Don’t mind these Lagos people. They are a poor people. When you have 2,000 pounds in Lagos, you are called a millionaire. When you have a few shillings, they say you a rich man… I can tell you that I am not a millionaire but God had only blessed me because I know that only a very few people in my class have the money that I have.”

Da Rocha’s flamboyance and material wealth seemed to overshadow the religious qualities of the man. This does not suggest however that he was not religious. He was a Roman Catholic, his parents were Roman Catholics. Most of his friends were Catholics. The Rodrigues, the Pereiras, the Gomezs and the Sapara Williams. Indeed he was active in the church. He practically financed the construction of about three prominent churches in Lagos.

Posted On Monday, 05 December 2016 02:03 Written by

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: Mr Bagudu Hirse, former Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), who was abducted by gunmen in Kaduna on Sunday, Nov. 20, has regained his freedom, his brother, Mr John Hirse, has confirmed.

“Bagudu was released in the early hours of Saturday,” John, retired permanent secretary in the federal civil service and currently District Head of Mangu, in Plateau, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Jos on Saturday.

He said that the former minister  was“hale and hearty”, and thanked Nigerians for the prayers and words of encouragement “during the tỳing period”.

“May God reward everyone who stood by us during the tough period,” he said.

John, however, did not give further details, and also refused to comment over whether a ransom was paid to the abductors.

Bagudu was abducted by gunmen at the Kaduna residence of Ambassador Mamman Daura, where he had gone to condole the family over the death of the former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji ibrahim Dasuki.


Posted On Saturday, 26 November 2016 21:03 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: Human rights lawyer, Mr. Fred Agbaje, is dead. He died on Saturday after an undisclosed ailment in London.

His friend and colleague, Richard Akinnola confirmed his death.

Gbenga Demola-Ojo, a laywer in a Facebook post, described his death as, ‘another great loss.’
He wrote, “Fred Agbaje, constitutional lawyer, gentleman, media personality and patriot! May your great soul find rest!”

Posted On Saturday, 26 November 2016 17:56 Written by

The 2016 Abuja Carnival will hold from Dec. 3 to 6, the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on Wednesday.

Grace Gekpe, Director, Entertainment and Creative Services in the ministry, said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that the annual event would commence with a street carnival from Eagles Square to Area 1.

She said that the event would also be followed by the traditional circus and an opening ceremony on the first day, while Durbar, children fiesta and a cultural night would hold on Dec. 4.

According to her, a masquerade fiesta, boat regatta and various exhibition of Nigeria’s artifacts would also feature during the annual carnival.

Posted On Thursday, 24 November 2016 01:41 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, dragged the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, Jide Omokore, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, over alleged criminal diversion of over $1.6 billion belonging to the Federal Government under the guise of oil swap. Diezani Alison-Madueke According to court papers, Mr. Omokore and the others claimed they had the expertise and the wherewithal to procure crude oil from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and process same and deliver the monetary equivalent of 5,652,227 barrels of crude oil to them by the corporation.

However, the prosecution is set to prove to the defendants that they intentionally defrauded the government by taking the crude and not delivering the money or the crude back to the government. Omokore was arraigned along with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, David Mbanefo, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited. They were re-arraigned on a nine-count amended charge of criminal diversion of about $1.6 billion alleged to be proceeds of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government. They pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to them. In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), urged the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial, and to allow the defendants to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by Justice Binta Nyako.

Counsel to the defendants did not object to the request of Jacobs, urging the court to accede to his request. Justice Dimgba, thereafter, fixed December 8 for hearing in the case, adding, “I, hereby, adopt the bail terms as mine.” It would be recalled that Omokore and his co-defendants were first arraigned before Justice Nyako, on July 4, but the case file was afterwards transferred to Justice Dimgba by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

Count one reads: “That you Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko (now at large) between May and October 2013, within the jurisdiction of this court, by false pretence and with intent to defraud, induced the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Federal Government of Nigeria to deliver to you 5,652,227 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) amounting to the sum of US$616,013,615.27 through the medium of contract, which delivery was induced by the false pretence.”

Posted On Tuesday, 22 November 2016 01:31 Written by

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: Fatima Askira is the founder of Borno Women Development Initiative; a Maiduguri-based NGO working with women victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in Internally Displaced Persons camps and host communities in Borno state. In a chat with with Women of Rubies , the 26 year old graduate of Botany speaks about her efforts of alleviating the sufferings of the women, most of whom have lost their husbands 

Growing up with a passion
Actually no. I grew up with an ambition to be a medical doctor, unfortunately, growing up, I find things changing and I start to develop passion through looking at how people live, from their day to day activities especially from the poor perspectives. I really do not have an idea of how or what I want to do with that, but I feel I should do something.

Meet Fatima
Fatima Askira was born and brought up in Maiduguri, I attended my primary education in Maiduguri, Secondary school at F.G.G.C Potiskum, Yobe state and University of Maiduguri, where i studied Biological science, Botany. She single living with her family in Maiduguri. From this little background, you will understand that my childhood didn’t in anyway prepare for the work I am currently doing now. But growing up, life changes its faces and then, one has to make a choice of being who is.

Inspiration behind Borno Women Development Initiative
Borno Women Development Initiative was inspired by my passion to protect/support women and make them independent. As a result of insurgency, people from surrounding towns and villages of Maiduguri found themselves fleeing from their homes, into the state capital (maiduguri). My observation at the time was, the majority of the people coming in were women and children, and they come in half covered, because they had to run for their lives. This situation made posed for a second to think of a way I can be of help to these vulnerable women. Then, IDPs mostly lived in an under-resourced camp, before the camps become official. I started to collect clothes from family and friends to donate to some of the displaced women and their children. With the help of a social media campaign, my charity drive took a turn from a small-scale local collection into a national volunteer network which brought about many people reaching out to me to donate clothes, toiletries and food to the internally displaced persons from across Nigeria. As a result of the network I was building, I felt the need to formalize the process, so that people will feel safe, and through the process access wider network of support. Then I started an organization “Borno Women Development Initiative’ (BOWDI).

Rehabilitating the women
Rehabilitation and Reintegration is quite a difficult program to run, especially looking at it critically from challenges of stigmatization and fear in our communities today, but if you hold to your mission, gradually you get to a point where you convince people to accept reality. In some cases, it has been successful as some of the women were reintegrated into camps, and those who are successfully returned back to their communities. But in other cases, some of these women are still being kept safe in isolation, until further arrangements are made for reintegration.

Activities of BOWDI

 BOWDI is currently running many projects like; 1. mitigating and preventing Sexual and Gender Based Violence(SGBV) within camps and communities around MMC, Jere, Konduga and Mafa Local Government Areas of Borno State. The consequences of every war has its negative effects on the society, as a result, young girls, boys and women are vulnerable to all acts of violence . Child labour, rape, exploitation, domestic violence and many more are few to mention among many other effects. Therefore, BOWDI felt the need to protect the vulnerable groups through sensitization and educating these groups by conducting interactive sessions focusing on effects and ways to protect themselves from falling victims of abuses, we also provide them with the referral pathways to report all cases and get medical and all forms of support for victims. After every Session, we provide them with basic materials for their immediate needs. 2. BOWDI is running 24 non-formal learning centers in Konduga Local Government Area, under education intervention, providing access to education for children, Adolescent girls and youth. From this particular project, I believe that it is not the people who do not want to go to school, but it is lack of access, or necessary teaching and learning facilities. 3. BOWDI is also economically empowering 833 women with business startups as Small Loan Associations across Mafa LGA.

Like every organization, BOWDI apply for funds through call for proposals and expression of interest by donor agencies, Previously, when the capacity of the organization was very low, we solicit for donations from individuals, philanthropists, etc. through fund raising activities and distribution of fliers in various communities, within and outside Maiduguri, and with my personal income to sustain the organization.

Award and Recognition
Over the years, the smile on the faces of those I helped had been my greatest reward. Until recently when I was awarded a peace award by the 2face foundation together with couple of other peace workers across Nigeria.

Being a young woman from the Northeast
Some of the challenges I have faced through this work was how to start and moving forward, especially being a young woman from the Northeast, it was very difficult for me trying to get people support the process, as most people initially thought it will not work out. I had to prove that determination leads to success by trying and trying harder until I was successful. Another Challenge is in trying to finance some of the organization’s activities at the beginning.

If I have an audience with the President
If I have an opportunity to ask the President one thing on behalf of these women, I will request on their behalf for a social investment platform created specifically for their benefits, a project that is sustainable which would exist from gov’t to gov’t. Some of these women are young girls that happened to be victims of early marriage, some of them have a bright future, some can be enrolled back to schools, some are business oriented, they can be supported with startups, some have already existing skills, they can be supported with basic equipment for support. Such platform I am requesting on their behalf will serve both as empowerment and a method to prevent violent extremism in our communities, especially now that we have thousands of unaccompanied children, roaming on our streets because their female parents cannot afford to cater for all their needs.

Support from Nigerians
To be honest, Nigerians have been supportive to our people, but to be precise about the women, there haven’t been specificity in looking at their situation. I can say this may have happened because of the overwhelming situation of insurgency in the region, which left everyone in need of support. But, for these women, i personally feel there is need for a special intervention and support from everyone, especially our women representatives both in government and private entities. I was hoping to see a movement from women all over the country standing out to bring smiles and hope to the faces of these broken women. I am still yearning to see such and optimistic that women all over the world would realize the need to assist.

I am a Woman of Rubies inside out
I grew up looking at successful women and hoping to be like them somedays, but in a way I define my success as the ability to touch the lives of the less privileged in a way no matter how little, put a smile on a woman’s face. Even though, I am not only inclined to women, BUT I give them a priority because I see them as a backbone of development that are always neglected or sidelined, and therefore, the society suffered from the consequences of leaving them idle. My work to inspire women and build them into independent/resourceful women, and also a role model to most young women makes me a ‘woman of rubies’.

Advice to women
I would love to close by telling all women around the world that, we all are responsible for our growth, We are responsible in making our societies prosperous and violent free by empowering and supporting each other through our little different ways. Also, we have to form a bond of sharing our innovations and ideas which i believe will help us transform each other and build more on our individual work in our various fields and communities. And lastly, for our elderly women to consider young girl’s contributions and carry them along as we may have great ideas to share.


Posted On Sunday, 20 November 2016 00:04 Written by
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