Sunday, 21 January 2018
Items filtered by date: June 2017

Folasade Olashore is the Human Resources Director Sub-Sahara Africa Region for Procter & Gamble. She talks about the challenges women face in making career choice, how she was able to balance everything and receive support to rise to the top.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background at Procter&Gamble
I was born and bred in Ibadan, I graduated from the University of Ibadan with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. I joined P&G about 20 years ago. I started as an intern and later became a full-time hire. My first role was as the Quality Control Manager in the plant. I later moved to the Lagos office as Assistant Brand Manager for Pampers and Vicks after which I progressed to become the Brand Manager for the baby care category.

In the meantime, when I got married and became pregnant with my first child, I started to consider how I was going to handle this phase of life and was unsure of how I was going to balance work with a growing family. My role at that moment required frequent travels while I wanted less mobility to enable me balance my work and family life. I considered being a stay-at-home mom and decided to take an extended leave of absence to test the waters on what life would be like staying at home before resigning.

My Vice-President in the company back then heard that I was considering leaving the company and offered me a role in Human Resources Division with less travel. I was excited to return back to work and I accepted the offer to move into HR. Moving into HR with no prior experience was a challenge on its own coupled with the fact that I had just returned from maternity leave and had a newborn baby to take care of. Between the sleepless nights at home and trying to understand the challenges of my new role, it was not an easy task. But I was able to manage it all with the support of the company and that of my manager who provided me with regular coaching despite her being remotely located in South Africa.

Over the years I progressed in the company and was transferred to South Africa in 2010. I currently lead the HR Function for the Sub-Sahara African region, which comes with its challenges of multiple markets and balancing family life. Procter&Gamble is a top employer for recruiting and promoting women and I am a great example of such practice. Diversity and Inclusion is in the company’s DNA and we aim to promote equality with a good representation of our consumers working in the company which makes it highly diverse. At the different stages of my life since I joined the company, I have received support on coaching, mentorship, development and flexibility which is why I look forward to coming to work everyday, but also go home daily with high energy to spend time with my family and enjoy the things that I am passionate about.

Why do you feel that Nigerian women cannot make the call to move cross-country?
A lot of it has to do with the society, even when I made the decision to move to South Africa, there was a bit of pressure. Some people told me that I shouldn’t go as I will be jeopardizing my family with the move, but the fact that I had the support of my immediate family gave me the confidence to accept the opportunity. Still, I felt judged, people even questioned both my husband and myself but one cannot make life-changing decisions based on how others feel.

The historical culture in Nigeria is that the woman should stay at home while the husband works. I want to believe that we are gradually phasing out that belief and things are changing. However, the idea of a woman relocating to another country for work is still frowned upon and is a hard sell culturally whilst for men it is a no brainer, that is, the woman follows irrespective of her career situation.

What would have happened if your husband had said no?
That’s an easy one. I probably would not have gone. My husband gave me the confidence to accept the offer, I was more worried about the implication of the move and he kept on assuring me that we would make it work. I am blessed to be in a relationship in which there is mutual respect. The relationship that I have with my husband is one where if he was asked to go somewhere and I said no, he would not go either. If it meant jeopardizing the family, then I would not have accepted the offer. My husband and I have a partnership that works for us; we both prioritize our family unit and make it work otherwise what is the point?

Was it challenging rising through the ranks as a woman?
P&G is definitely an enabling environment, was it challenging for me as a woman? Yes, there were times for example, when I was a member of the plant leadership team, I felt the need to act like a man. Interestingly, I was the only woman on that team and I consequently made more effort to act like others on the team so that I would not be different. I have to say though, I’m incredibly grateful for P&G because I’ve heard stories from other establishments on how matters of gender diversity are poorly managed. P&G is a great enabler when it comes to gender diversity and there is a lot of respect for women within the company. I also believe that a big part of it is having confidence in yourself, you need to up-skill yourself and bring your A-game to the table to be able to be competitive among the top performers irrespective of gender, race or any other factor. I would hate to hear that I got a job because of my gender or race. I want to be given the job because I am the most capable and competent amongst the pool considered for the position.

Do you think women are well represented generally in the FMCG industry in Africa?
I don’t think so, mainly because the FMCG industry predominantly attracts engineers in terms of disciplines, just by virtue of the fact that there is a lot of manufacturing involved in the business. Even till date, if you go to various higher institutions of learning, you’ll find out that in the engineering discipline there is still a wide gap in terms of gender diversity. The sales force is another discipline that is typically male-dominated and important for the FMCG industry because we make and we sell. I believe there is progress but we are not there yet.

What have you done to encourage more women, being in the position you are in?
First and foremost, when we recruit we try as much as possible to attract female talents by showcasing our work and gender diversity strategy. We also highlight during recruiting events the fact that we are very diverse; we make sure that we are equally represented so that people can see and relate to the fact that someone like them is in such a position within the company. I think it’s very important because when people are looking for a job, they aspire to grow and become a leader one day. So it is very important that they see someone they can relate to. When new recruits come in, we do a lot of training and development. I personally mentor and sponsor many, mostly within P&G, but outside as well and I think it’s important to share your personal story and knowledge.

When I first moved to HR, I had this female manager who I saw as a mentor as she was always willing to offer a helping hand. And because she was female, it was easy for me to share a lot of my challenges with her. I also didn’t feel like I was going to be judged as she understood where I was coming from and was incredibly supportive. I think that it is very important for women to have that support. During the early years of my career, we had a support group in P&G called Women Supporting Women, and it helped me to open myself up for mentorship – that is part of the reasons why I mentor people and I am passionate about it. Even outside of the workplace I have female role models that I look up to and reach out to for advice on different aspects of my life.

In terms of career planning, I think we need to be sensitive and understand that it’s not a one- size fits all approach. You may want to get to the CEO position but there are different paths to it depending on who you are and we need to be flexible. As an HR professional, I’ve also played my part in making sure that policies are adjusted as well as to drive and promote gender diversity in the different markets that we operate in.

Do you think women have hit the glass ceiling?
Yes, I believe so and this is just the beginning. We have seen the exploits of Angela Merkel, Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May, Hilary Clinton, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Folorunsho Alakija, and more female leaders are emerging daily in both the developed and developing society. It has become a movement and it will keep growing.

Published in News & Stories

The day of the kidnap

On September, 2015, as I was coming back from my factory in Agbara to my home in Festac, arriving Seventh Avenue, I saw four gun men. They stopped in front of my vehicle and started shooting while I was with my two drivers in my Hilux pickup. I was sitting at the back, thinking they were policemen. I was wondering why they were shooting and charging at us not knowing that they were kidnappers. In the process, they shot us, me and two of my drivers but luckily, nobody died. I still have a bullet in my body. By the time I realized they were kidnappers, they dragged me out of my vehicle to their own Lexus 470 Jeep. Inside their Jeep, there were lots of arms and ammunition inside a box. They had another box at the back where they put me in. Four guys were inside that Jeep, well-armed, even the driver had his own AK-47 riffle. They drove past Festac Link Bridge to Amowu-Odofin, around 4:30pm as if they were going to Okota. Later, they came out to Oshodi -Apapa Expressway. By this time, they had not blindfolded me but they pushed my head down, lying bare on the floor of the car. One of them just held me as I was seriously bleeding. I never knew I would survive this. I couldn’t remember the places they took me to because I was lying down.

Change of baton

After a long journey, they stopped at a particular area, those guys jumped down and another group came on board and zoomed off again. As we were going, we got to one house, they called the security guard who came and opened the gate, and they brought me out, gathered water, changed their cloths and called one doctor, whether he was quack or not, I do not know. They told the doctor they had emergency. The doctor came, washed me and treated my wound. That was the first thing they did. Though, when we were about to get to where they wanted to take me to, they blind folded me. They were administering two injections on me daily. When I asked them the kind of injection they were giving me, they said it was anti tetanus injection and pain reliever. They refused to give me water saying that if you have bullet in your body, you don’t drink water. The second day, Evans came there with the doctor and said to me that, he came there because of me. Yet, I did not set my eyes on him. Maybe, the person that asked them to kidnap me told them that they should not let me die. I said this because of the kind of treatment they were giving me or maybe, it could be because of my wound. But, I was seriously bleeding. At a point, they were thinking of exchanging me. They called my brother to come and let me go out and treat myself of the bullet wound. My elder brother accepted to come but backed out at the end because those people, you never know what they planned. May be their plan was to capture the two of us before they would kill us. It was an ugly situation. They injected me for seven good days. From that Monday till the next Sunday, every two days, there was a particular guy that came there to treat my wounds, dress it and put the bandage again. After some days, Evans called.

How they operate

How they operate is that, they keep a hostage keeper, which is someone that would be guiding kidnap victims so that any time their boss wants to call, he would call that person. When he calls the person, the person would bring the phone to the victim and hold the phone for you talk to him. They were always communicating. They did not maltreat me because of my condition but I heard them maltreating the victim in the other room with hot iron and the person would be crying. Before they start that, they would go and put on their generator so that their neighbours would not be hearing. That guy was a terror.

Feeding pattern

They were feeding me with one useless Indomie. I was just managing to eat to keep my life moving.   They asked what kind of drugs I was taking but I told them I was not on drugs. I did not make trouble with them but there was a day I tried to escape. I was scared whether all the neighbours were their gang members or not. Again, even if I would have escaped, I would have been naked because before you go to the bathroom, they take away your boxers. When you finished, you knocked at the door and turned your face to the wall as they gave you your boxer to wear. They would blind fold you and put you in chains again. Early morning I used to hear siren and I thought, that it was police that were coming to rescue me. At the end nothing would happen. They would go. What were they coming to do there around 4:00 am to 5:00 am? I noticed that five times and I asked myself, “what the police are coming there to do?”. I also noticed there was a construction site nearby where people were working. One   particular day, one boy came in and asked “mummy, who is this uncle?”. I was listening and waited to hear what the woman would say but she did not say anything. So, that couple that was paraded were there. I was praying every minute of the day, waiting for anything that would happen the next day. It was traumatising . So many things happened.  I knew that, nothing would happen to me but they would charge me more money.   You know, I paid $1.2 million.  We paid it in three instalments. We paid two hundred thousand dollars, eight hundred thousand dollars and another two hundred thousand dollars. He claimed that, the first two hundred dollars we paid had been cancelled because we set them up by inviting security agents to be tracking them. That’s how we were accused and that the payment had been rubbished. He bargains with the victims, he doesn’t bargain with the families. Whatever he asked for that is what the family would pay.   A person that is under chain, what would he say? Anything they asked you to do, you just had to do it because of your life. That was not joke, they meant business. If you refused to corporate, they would kill you. I am sure; they have killed some people there.   I stayed there for six weeks. I was abducted on the 7th  of September and I was released on the 19th  of October, 2015.

What led to my release?

After I had finished paying the ransom, they still kept me for another eight days. My people were worried, and I was worried too because I did not know what was going on outside. They had cut off communication with everybody. Immediately, he collected his ransom, he travelled abroad.   He goes outside to keep his ill-gotten wealth, which was obvious. I now asked the hostage keeper, how long it takes them to release a hostage. He said four days, I now asked again, but why am I still here? He then said I should not worry, that the chairman travelled and that I would be released as soon as he returned. He said that I should see myself as a free man and relax. The man was a greedy man. Of all the money we paid him, he didn’t feed us well. His duty, I observed, was to collect money and drop victims. When he came back to Nigeria, he came to me where I was detained by his men and said to me that, today, you will go. He ordered his boys to bring all my belongings.   My Rolex watch, my bag, my golden ring and my sandals were nowhere to be found. Not to talk of cash because all of them were criminals. All other valuables were gone. They only brought my cloths, bank cheque books and seals and a polythene bag. And for my sandals, they bought one bathroom sleepers for me.   Just imagine someone coming back from his office.   Then, he asked me to hold on till the road was free; it was about 5:00 pm.

How Evans promised to attend my thanksgiving in church

As I was waiting, he came back and called me, Nnwa which is my title name. Any time he wanted to talk to me he first called me Nnwa. When he saw my wound, he said, I was a lucky man. That, my God is a great God. He said that, I would live up to hundred years for surviving that gunshot. I asked him why they were shooting us like that. He said in war all was fair. I then asked “you and who were fighting?. Did I have gun with me?”. Evans now asked who was the person in front of my car. That was when they thought I was a policeman. In fact they would have killed my driver if he were a policeman. When he came down and they asked him, he told them he was just an ordinary driver. That was when they left him. He advised me to buy a lot of drinks because many people would be coming to sympathize with me. He stressed that people were already waiting for my arrival. He said: “Any day you are going to do thanksgiving, we are going to be there.” I now asked him, how would I know you will be there? He replied that, I shouldn’t worry; he would come and follow me to thank God. “Nnwa, but your God is great oh”. All these things he was talking, my mind was not there because I knew he was wicked. That evening, he brought ten thousand naira that I should take it. That if, they drop me anywhere, I should use it to enter taxi to my house. Or if I wanted, they could drop me in a nearby hotel so that, I could call my people to come and carry me. But I told him to just drop my anywhere he wanted. When it became dark everywhere, they took me out of that house and moved me round the city before finally dropping me around Lagos State University (LASU, side in Iyana Oba. Even to walk was a problem because, I had been in chains for long and all my bones had grown weak. I almost fell down while trying to cross the road because of my wobbling legs. I lost so much energy that, I became weak, lean and tired.

Suya was the first thing I ate after my release from captivity

I called a motorcyclist to take me to any nearby bus stop, which he did. When I turned the other side, I saw one man selling roasted meat (Suya), I went to him and bought the meat for one thousand naira and started eating. My action was to soften the ground for me to start asking question that would let me know exactly where I was as by this time I never knew where I was exactly. I asked the man, how I could get to Mile 2, and he said before you get to Mile 2, you first of all get to LASU. I asked again, how I could I get to LASU, he told me to cross the road to the other side and enter any bus that was going that way.   As soon as I entered the bus, I switched on my phones and there was no single credit on my phones except the one we used as a company group. That one doesn’t need credit because we pay once in a month. I now used it to call one of my managers.   Immediately he saw my call, he knew I was out and asked me where I was so that he could come and carry me. I told him to come to LASU, I got there and was waiting for him. He was coming from Agbara axis. While there, I strolled down a bit to buy orange, one man just came to me that I should give him money in spite of my tattered appearance. I took two thousand out of the ten thousand Evans gave to me and gave to him. I was kind of hiding so that people who knew me before would not notice me until I got home. When my manger came, he took me straight to the house after that, I went to report officially to the police. Even the commissioner of police came to my house after that. After that incident, I requested for police protection which I was later provided with. I was so happy when I heard that, the guy has been arrested. I thank the Nigeria police for doing a great job. That shows that, if the police want to work, they could work.



Published in Headliners

As revelations of the criminal activities of the infamous kidnap kingpin, Chukwudi Onuamadike (aka Evans), continue to come up, the suspect has explained how he and his gang once hijacked a bullion van and took N200m from it.

Evans, who was apprehended in one of his mansions in Magodo Estate, Lagos, last Saturday, said the bullion van robbery, which was carried out on the Aba-Port-Harcourt Road in Abia State, was one of three of such.

He told journalists on Friday, “In 2007, I travelled to South Africa to deal in drugs and returned to Lagos the following year after a customer, who did not want to pay for a drug I supplied him, shot me on the shoulder.

“With the little money I had from my trip to South Africa, I came back to Nigeria and a friend of mine, Kingsley, introduced me to one of his gang members known as Too-Much-Money in Abia State.

“Too-Much-Money got me involved in the bullion van robbery. We hijacked a tipper we found on the Aba-Port Harcourt Road to intercept the bullion van.

“We forced the driver and his police escort to open the van. We got N80m from the van and I was given N1.8m as my share.

“Another operation was in Enugu where I met a gang leader called ND. We adopted the same tactic to attack another bullion van containing N200m. When we wanted to share the proceeds, ND collected our guns and gave us N200, 000 each.”

According to the suspect, the third robbery operation was on Umuahia Road where he and some new gang members attacked another bullion van. He said he used the N7m share he got from the operation to stock his shop in Lagos.

Meanwhile, the police have discovered two houses owned by Evans in Accra, Ghana.

A top detective involved in the recovery of the property told Saturday PUNCH that the value of the two buildings in Ghana had yet to be ascertained.

“Apart from those two mansions in Accra and Magodo, Lagos respectively, the suspect still has more properties that we have yet to discover. We will ensure that all the properties are unearthed,” the source added.

The Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Moshood Jimoh, had yet to reply to a text message sent to him on the development.

It would be recalled that the 36-year-old was arrested alongside six of his gang members – Nwosu Chukwuma (aka Sudo), 42; Suoyo Paul (aka Nwana), 42; Felix Chinemerem, 36; Chukwuemeka Bosah, 28; Uchechukwu Amadi and Ogechi Amadi.

While he was paraded at the Lagos State Police Command’s headquarters in Ikeja, he confessed to have collected millions of dollars in ransoms.

But his latest confession showed that he had participated in bullion van robberies in Abia and Enugu states.

The native of Nnewi North Local Government Area, Anambra State, explained how he linked up with several gangs and rose to become a kingpin.

Published in Headliners

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has declared wanted, Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015.

Olojeme, who was Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015, was accused of cornering $48,485,127 from the NSITF, Daily Post reports.

The accused and some directors in the company allegedly siphoned billions of naira, including funds meant for the payment of allowances of its staff as well as compensation to contributors.

It was learnt that several directors and contractors were invited to explain their own side of the story, many of whom had since returned funds to the EFCC.

An EFCC report, made available to newsmen alleged that the funds were said to have been traced to the accounts of some consultants and contractors, who were believed to be fronts for Olojeme and other directors in the NSITF.

The anti-graft agency report said, “It was discovered that the NSITF accounts in First Bank of Nigeria and other banks have witnessed a total turnover of over N62,358,401,927 between 2012 and 2015 from the Employee Compensation Scheme contributions.

“That out of the N62bn, the Federal Government contributed N13,600,000,000 while the sum of N48,758,401,927.80 was contributed by the private sector. That there were several payments to individuals and companies from the NSITF bank accounts for purported contracts or consultancy services.

“That some individuals and companies that received these payments, in turn, transferred part of the monies directly to the NSITF officials while others transferred huge sums to bureau de change operators who changed them to dollars.”

The report added that Olojeme sent her account officer at FBN to collect $48m from some NSITF contractors through a BDC operator.

It stated, “That through this process, Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the then NSITF board chairman, has collected a total sum of $48,485,127 from Mr. Chuka Eze (her account officer at FBN), which cash he collected on her behalf being the dollar equivalent of monies paid to BDCs by NSITF contractors.

“That she has refused to honour invitation and all efforts to get her to come and tell her own side of the story have proved abortive hence her arrest warrant has been obtained from court.

“We ask for the EFCC chairman’s approval to declare the suspect wanted.”

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said Olojeme had been declared wanted.

He urged members of the public to offer information that could lead to her arrest.

“Yes, she has been declared wanted. Members of the public are advised to give us information that would lead to her arrest,” he said.

Published in Business and Economy

* …suspect used N4.6m phones to frustrate arrest

The police have said that useful statements made by a younger sister of the notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudi Onuamadike aka Evans, led to his arrest.

The sister was said to have been arrested after her number was identified as one of the contacts in Evans’ special SIM card.

PUNCH Metro learnt that Evans’ childhood friend and four girlfriends were also picked up by the police and they all gave relevant information.

This is just as operatives disclosed that Evans used three phones – two of which reportedly cost N2.4m and N2.6m respectively – with anti-tracking features to frustrate his arrest.

Our correspondent learnt that he contacted families of his victims through the phones to demand ransoms, bearing in mind that the families could report to the police for tracking.

Reliable police sources also disclosed that the billionaire kidnapper had 126 registered SIM cards.

Evans, who also deals in drugs, was arrested on Saturday in one of his two mansions on Magodo Estate, Lagos, after seven years of high-profile abductions across the country, during which he collected millions of dollars in ransoms.

He was paraded the following day amid jubilation at the Lagos Sate Police Command’s headquarters in Ikeja.

He was said to have bought three houses in Accra, Ghana and wristwatches worth thousands of dollars from the proceeds of the crimes. The suspect, who dropped out of school at Junior Secondary School 2, had confessed to have once collected $1m ransom.

Six of his gang members are Nwosu Chukwuma, aka Sudo, 42; Suoyo Paul aka Nwana, 42; Felix Chinemerem, 36; Chukwuemeka Bosah, 28; Uchechukwu Amadi and Ogechi Amadi. Uchechukwu and Ogechi are husband and wife.

Five AK-47 rifles, one AK-49 rifle, two English pistols, 59 AK-47 magazine with ammunition, 1,272 pieces of live ammunition of AK-47 (9mm) and five number plates were reportedly recovered from the suspects.

A police officer told PUNCH Metro on Thursday that apart from the weapons, three phones – a Turaya, and two different Vertu phones – containing anti-tracking features were recovered from the 36-year-old native of the Nnewi North Local Government Area, Anambra State.

The officer said, “He has 11 phones. Two of them are special Virtu phones, which are very difficult to track. He also has a Turaya, which is a satellite phone. It can be used anywhere, including in the bush, on the sea, and desert, where there are no GSM service. In Nigeria, we don’t have the capability to track Turaya.

“He said he bought the Virtu phones N4.6m. He used the three phones for his nefarious activities. We succeeded in tracking him through the other phones he has.”

A detective stated that a number of SIM cards used by Evans complicated the challenges posed by the sophisticated phones, adding that he bought the SIM cards registered from miscreants in Computer Village, Ikeja.

He said, “We studied and analysed 126 SIM cards before we caught him. We have about two-page analysis of each of the numbers. He used 125 of those numbers to call his gang members only and used one to call his mother, wife and sister. He said he bought all the SIM cards already registered in Computer Village for N1,500 each.

“We picked his sister, his childhood friend with whom he attended primary school, and four of his girlfriends. They gave us the information that led to his arrest. Evans confirmed that they didn’t know he was into kidnapping. Because of that, we granted them bail, while investigations continue.”

Another source confided in PUNCH Metro that aside from a camp in New Igando, where Evans kept his victims, operatives had uncovered two other camps, which would soon be visited.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said the suspect would soon be arraigned in court.

Published in Headliners

After 52 goals in 83 matches, two EPL titles, one EFL Cup and plenty of memorable moments, it seems that Diego Costa’s time at Chelsea has come to an end. The enigmatic Brazilian-born Spaniard has revealed that Antonio Conte, Chelsea’s Italian manager, sent him a text message to tell him his time with the English champions was up. A lot has been said about how better the parting of ways could have been handled, but at the end of the day, the inevitability of the breakup had been there all along.

As Costa’s legend is being consigned to the annals of the Pensioners’ history, another man who left Stamford Bridge as a boy some time ago is ready to come back and fulfil all the promise he showed at a young age at the London club. That man is Romelu Lukaku. See five reasons Chelsea fans should be excited about the big, burly Belgian’s return!

1. Romelu Lukaku has never been short of confidence in his own ability, he’s been banging in goals for fun at the top level since the tender age of sixteen. He was the top scorer in the Belgian league in his first full season as a pro with Anderlecht as they won the title in 2009/10 and he also scored four times in Champions League qualifying. He had already scored 41 goals in 98 games for Anderlecht as an 18-year-old before Chelsea came calling in 2011.

2. The Belgian has fully matured in the EPL and is ready to take the next step and lead the Chelsea attack six years after he was brought in as a teenager. After spending two seasons on loan to West Brom and Everton and scoring a total of 33 league goals in 66 games for both teams, Everton forked out a club record £28m to have him permanently on their books and he duly delivered as he became the Toffees top scorer in the Premier League era and twice broke the record for goals scored by an Everton player in a Premier League season. Chelsea know they will be getting a proven goal scorer in the league with his capture.

3. Romelu Lukaku has outscored Diego Costa in the last two seasons and very importantly converted a greater proportion of his clear-cut chances and created opportunities for his team-mates more frequently. However, Antonio Conte is a stickler to hard work and likes to press teams from the front, if he wants to continue in that form with Lukaku, the Belgian will have to change his game as stats and optics have shown that he isn’t that kind of striker. Over 60 forwards made an interception last season and Lukaku wasn’t one of them and he also made only nine tackles last season. In fact, Romelu Lukaku has managed just one interception and 33 tackles over the past three years in the league, so Chelsea fans should not expect to see the big Belgian harrying opposition defenders.

4. He also isn’t the kind of striker that will run down the channels as his running numbers do not make for impressive reading. Among all the strikers to have played over a thousand minutes in the league last season, his average of 8.84km distance covered per game places him bottom of the list, while his 44.77 sprints per match put him forty-second out of forty-eight forwards. What you can expect from him is great positional play and awareness inside the box, so once the chances are created and presented to him, he is most certain to finish them off. 

5. One of the most important things that Lukaku will be bringing to Chelsea when he joins them will not be able to be measured and that is a chip on his shoulder. The big Belgian has a burning desire to be a success at the London club and has said in the past that he wants to be a ‘legend at Chelsea’ which was one of the reasons he chose to leave and prove himself elsewhere, instead of languishing in the reserves or sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge and that belief in himself has paid off as Chelsea are about to break the bank to get him back. Returning to the club will be a homecoming and he would surely want to have a huge party in London by painting the city with goals.

Published in Business and Economy

The Nigeria Union in South Africa on Wednesday accused two communities in the country of ordering Nigerians to quit their territories.

President of the union, Ikechukwu Anyene, said the Kuruman community in Northern Cape Province gave Nigerians till Thursday to leave the place.

Anyene also said the Klaafontein community, Extension 5, Johannesburg, has also directed landlords not to renew the rent of Nigerians in the area.

He said the grievance of the South Africans was that Nigerians were responsible for some social vices such as illicit drug trade and prostitution.

Anyene said a Ugandan man, who allegedly raped a girl in Kwazulu Natal Province, was described as a Nigerian in the media.

“The Nigeria union held series of meetings with the affected communities as well as police and local authorities on the recent threats to Nigerians,” Anyene told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“We have also written reports on these incidents and sent to the Nigerian Mission and the South African police.

“We recommended interventions before the June 16 deadline to the mission and we are waiting for their response. The union is worried that any incident involving non -South Africans are attributed to Nigerians.

“The union believes that the Early Warning Unit set up by Nigerian and South African governments has not been effective. We are yet to have any meeting since the ministers of the two countries met.

“Since then, there have been sustained media propaganda against our people

Published in Headliners
  • Folarin, who is one of Folorunsho Alakija's four sons, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifa
  • Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is one of the richest black woman in the world with estimated fortune of $2.1 billion
  • Event at Blenheim Palace had one million roses, surprise performance from Robin Thicke and A-list guestlist
  • Father-of-one is an entrepreneur, investor and cinematographer who lost his first wife to cancer
  • Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester

His mother is the world's richest black woman so it's little surprise that Folarin Alakija's wedding was a lavish, no-expense spared, fairytale affair.

Folarin, who is one of 66-year-old oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija's four sons, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in an extravagant bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend, which is estimated to have cost around £5m.

The father-of-one, who is in his late 30s and lost his first wife to cancer, tied the knot to his stunning wife in front of friends, family and celebrities, including Victoria's Secret Angel, Shanina Shaik.

While Folarin makes his money as an entrepreneur, investor and cinematographer, it's his mother who has an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion. Forbes rank her as the 14th richest person in Africa but the richest woman in the country. She is number 80 on its global Power Women list and overtook Oprah Winfrey as the richest woman of African descent in the world in 2014.

It is thought the family flew hundreds of close friends and family members over from Nigeria, who were no doubt put up in the lavish hotel for the weekend.

The Woodstock venue, which is the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, was kitted out with one million white roses, a lavish cake decorated with hundreds of ornate white roses and even hosted pop star Robin Thicke at an estimated cost of £150,000.

Wedding planners believe the venue hire was exclusively hired at a cost of £150,000 with the bespoke marquee and bespoke marble floor with their initials etched in gold costing around £200,000 on top.

Folarin Alakija, who is the son of Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the world, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in a lavish bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend

Folarin Alakija, who is the son of Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the world, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in a lavish bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend

Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant. The happy newlyweds are pictured walking down the aisle after tying the knot

Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant. The happy newlyweds are pictured walking down the aisle after tying the knot

According to the venue's website, the cost of hiring the whole venue is on application but hiring just the palace and state rooms costs £33,000.

Searcys are the approved caterer for the Orangery at Blenheim palace and three course meals start at £52 per head - excluding alcohol - but it's believed they had a much more expensive bespoke package with catering company, rhubarb.

The breathtaking flowers were the work of Jeff Leatham, who is known for his elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes.

Bringing over 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony, Jeff adorned every inch of the venue with copious amounts of roses and white orchids.

Guests were treated to a lavish five-course menu - printed on a golden menu card

Guests were treated to a lavish five-course menu - printed on a golden menu card

Jeff, who can command up to £250,000 for flowers, has worked for Madonna, Oprah and Tina Turner. He was also the man behind the flowers at Eva Longoria and Tony Parker’s wedding.

Guests were also treated to a surprise performance from Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke, who reportedly costs around £150,000 to hire and would have been flown over from the US, as well as a magnificent firework display in the hotel grounds later in the evening.

Folarin's new wife, who once dated Rob Kardashian, studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant.

The stunning brunette is the daughter of businessman Mr. Khosro and Mrs Nooshin Ghaissarifar, who are from Iran. It is believed that Naz, as she is known among her circle, was born in Iran and lived in London in her youth before moving to Manchester to study.

She has also spent time in Los Angeles, where much of her modelling work was based, and regularly mingled with celebrities, including the Kardashians.

Folarin, who studied Geography at Imperial College, London, was previously married to a lady named Chena, with whom he had a daughter. She tragically lost her life to cancer six years ago. It is believed that Folarin met Naz through friends in London.

The stunning bride, who has worked as a model, changed outfits for the reception and the pair were seen enjoying their first dance as man and wife in the lavish surroundings 

The stunning bride, who has worked as a model, changed outfits for the reception and the pair were seen enjoying their first dance as man and wife in the lavish surroundings.

The new Mrs Alakija has previously featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013.

She stunned in a traditional strapless white gown with lace embellishment as she was walked down the aisle by her father. She accessorised her look with a dazzling diamond necklace and white Manolo Blahniks.

She later changed into a racier, floor length white gown with sheer panelling. Beaming before her friends and family, she let her hair down as she danced the night away with her new husband and glamorous wedding guests.

The pair became engaged last year and had a traditional Nigerian wedding in Lagos in November.

A FAIRYTALE ROMANCE: HOW FOLARIN AND NAZANIN MET

Folarin, who studied Geography at Imperial College, London, was previously married to a lady named Chena, with whom he had a daughter. She tragically lost her life to cancer six years ago.

The new Mrs Alakija dated Rob Kardashian in 2013 and it was reported at the time that the Kardashian women 'loved her'.

The stunning brunette is the daughter of businessman Mr. Khosro and Mrs Nooshin Ghaissarifar, who are from Iran. It is believed that Naz, as she is known among her circle, lived in London in her youth and moved to Manchester to study.

Naz studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant.

She has also spent time in Los Angeles, where much of her modelling work was based, and regularly mingled with celebrities, including the Kardashians.

It is believed that Folarin met Naz through friends in London. The pair became engaged last year and had a traditional Nigerian wedding in Lagos in November.

 The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele

 The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele

The bride was seen walking down the aisle on the arm of her father and she donned some glittering jewels for the occasion

She later let her hair down on the dancefloor with her new husband, who proposed last October

The bride was seen walking down the aisle on the arm of her father and she donned some glittering jewels for the occasion. She later let her hair down on the dancefloor with her new husband, who proposed last October

Elaine Coles was the celebrant who performed the ceremony. Elaine, of UK Ceremonies, told MailOnline: 'It was a pleasure to hand write a bespoke and personalised ceremony for the couple'

Elaine Coles was the celebrant who performed the ceremony. Elaine, of UK Ceremonies, told MailOnline: 'It was a pleasure to hand write a bespoke and personalised ceremony for the couple'

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses and ornate doves, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. Elizabeth's clients include British, European and Middle Eastern Royalty, celebrities and high net worth individuals.

With eight tiers on their cake, topped with elaborate iced flowers and doves, it is estimated that their cake could have cost up to £10,000.

SOME OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE ELEMENTS OF THE WEDDING

Wedding venue: £150,000

Marble floor and marquee: £200,000

Flowers: £200,000

Robin Thicke: £150,000

Cake: Up to £10,000

(Prices are all estimates)

Elizabeth is also the only three times winner of The Great Cake Bake, a show which featured the best wedding cake makers in the country.

The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele and luxury partners alike so it was little surprise she was called upon.

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating.

Hamish Shepard of Bridebook.co.uk, said: 'The preparations and construction of their custom clear marquee, including a bespoke marble floor with their gold initials, would have required up to a week of exclusive hire of the Palace, with the cost of the marquee on top."

'Venue hire would likely be up to £150,000 with the bespoke marquee with marble floor and production around £200,000 on top.

'The spectacular endless flowers by Jeff Leatham are likely to have cost at least £200,000. With food and drink, Robin Thicke (at £150,000) and all the other items for the big day, including the dress, on top, the wedding will have no doubt cost more than £1million and potentially several million more.'

Guest Manny Kess uploaded this snap with the happy couple that was captioned: 'The most amazing wedding I will ever attend outside of my own (one day). Beyond grateful to be able to celebrate these 2 wonderful beings tying the knot'

Guest Manny Kess uploaded this snap with the happy couple that was captioned: 'The most amazing wedding I will ever attend outside of my own (one day). Beyond grateful to be able to celebrate these 2 wonderful beings tying the knot'

The lavish bash was attending by the most glamorous society guests and their Nigerian friends and family who flew over
The floor of Blenheim Palace was engraved with the couple's initials

The lavish bash was attending by the most glamorous society guests and their Nigerian friends and family who flew over. The floor of Blenheim Palace was engraved with the couple's initials

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium; prices start at £300 per tier

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium; prices start at £300 per tier

Folarin is the son of Folorunsho Alakija's, pictured, left, with her husband
Folarin is the son of Folorunsho Alakija's, pictured, left, with her husband. In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world.
In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world
 

Blenheim Palace, which is the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, was kitted out with one million white roses

THE WOMAN WHO OUSTED OPRAH WINFREY FROM THE TOP SPOT AS THE RICHEST BLACK WOMAN IN THE WORLD

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion.

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion

Starting her career as a secretary in a bank in the mid 1970s, Alakija, 62, then studied fashion in London and returned to Nigeria to start a label, Supreme Stitches. But her biggest break came in oil.

In 1993, her company, Famfa Oil, was awarded an oil prospecting license, which later became OML 127, one of the country's most prolific oil blocks, by then-president Ibrahim Babangida.

The company owned a 60 per cent stake in the block until 2000 when the Nigerian government unconstitutionally acquired a 50 per cent interest without duly compensating Alakija or Famda Oil.

In May 2012, Alakija, a married mother-of-four, challenged the acquisition and the Nigerian Supreme Court reinstated the 50 per cent stake to her company.

She also has a charity called the Rose of Sharon foundation that helps widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants.

In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world.

Forbes rank her as the 14th richest woman in Africa and she is number 80 on its Power Women list.

Glamorous guests donned their gladrags for the occasion

The lucky men and women who attended the nuptials posted images on their social media from inside the lavish bash

Glamorous guests donned their gladrags for the occasion. The lucky men and women who attended the nuptials posted images on their social media from inside the lavish bash

His model wife has featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013

His model wife has featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013

Over the weekend, Australian model Shanina Shaik (pictured) attended the wedding of Nigerian billionaire Folorunsho Alakija's son at Blenheim Palace
 
The cake, right, was adorned with doves and thousands of handcrafted roses

Over the weekend, Australian model Shanina Shaik (pictured) attended the wedding of Nigerian billionaire Folorunsho Alakija's son at Blenheim Palace. The cake, right, was adorned with doves and thousands of handcrafted roses

THE LAVISH VENUE: INSIDE BLENHEIM PALACE

Located in Oxfordshire, the historic Blenheim Palace has played host to some of the biggest films in Hollywood over the years.

Regularly used as a film location the grand country house, which is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough, has been seen in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rogue Nation, Cinderella and the upcoming Transformers: Revenge of the Knight.

It even doubled up as Palazzo Cadenza in Rome for the latest James Bond film SPECTRE.

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception.

Standing in all its Baroque splendour near the pretty village of Woodstock, just a few miles from Oxford, it is ideally placed for weekend visitors and attracts them in high numbers with its fascinating history and Churchill connections.

Although better known for its links to Winston Churchill, Blenheim has an interesting history of its own and culture-vultures will love the collection of tapestries, paintings and works of art throughout the palace.

Built as a gift for the First Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne following his triumph in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 the palace definitely shows the Queen’s appreciation of his efforts.

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception

The couple tied the knot in a traditional affair at the Grand Ballroom of Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, in November.

The star-studded guestlist included the likes of Aisha Buhari, wife of the president, Gimbiya Yakubu Dogara, wife of the Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, and Aliko Dangote, deputy Governor.

Known for his floral arrangements and elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes, it was no surprise that Jeff Leatham was in charge of the flowers

Known for his floral arrangements and elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes, it was no surprise that Jeff Leatham was in charge of the flowers

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating

Jeff flew 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony and he was not only working with copious amounts of roses but white orchids as well

He made bouquets for the bridal party, the tables and the fireplaces

Jeff flew 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony and he was not only working with copious amounts of roses but white orchids as well. He made bouquets for the bridal party, the tables and the fireplaces

Glamorous guests included models, fashion designers and famous bloggers, who all donned their best outfits for the occasion 

Glamorous guests included models, fashion designers and famous bloggers, who all donned their best outfits for the occasion

Guests included actress Rio Fredrika and fashion designer Becka Indigo

Dapper male models, entrepreneurs and politicians were also in attendance

Guests included actress Rio Fredrika and fashion designer Becka Indigo, left, and dapper male models, entrepreneurs and politicians

Guests took to social media to share snaps from inside the event, including a surprise performance from Robin Thicke Guests took to social media to share snaps from inside the event, including a surprise performance from Robin Thicke

The bar was stocked to the brim with expensive wines, with rows and rows of glasses lined up for guests to help themselves to

The invitations were embossed with the couple's initials in the same style as the gold initials etched onto the marble floor

The bar was stocked to the brim with expensive wines, with rows and rows of glasses lined up for guests to help themselves to. The invitations were embossed with the couple's initials in the same style as the gold initials etched onto the marble floor

Guests took to social media to upload snaps of the wedding's beautifully ornate details

They included blush pink gift bags embossed with white flowers, as well as matching invites and menu cards

Guests took to social media to upload snaps of the wedding's beautifully ornate details. They included blush pink gift bags embossed with white flowers, as well as matching invites and menu cards

The Kardashian's most trusted florist was tasked with adorning the venue with beautiful roses and orchids

The Kardashian's most trusted florist was tasked with adorning the venue with beautiful roses and orchids

There was also an impressive firework display in the hotel's stunning grounds after the event

The stunning flowers not only adorned the main hall but also the entire outdoor entrance

There was also an impressive firework display in the hotel's stunning grounds after the event. The stunning flowers not only adorned the main hall but also the entire outdoor entrance

Published in Business and Economy
Thursday, 15 June 2017 04:19

Evans breaks down in custody

Suspected kidnap kingpin Chukwudemeje George Onwuamadike alias Evans is not finding it funny in police custody. He is weeping that he is being held among “common poor criminals”, The Nation learnt yesterday.

The kingpin, who was arrested on Saturday at his 3, Fred Shoboyede Street, Magodo, Lagos home, is being kept in a maximum security cell.

It was gathered that Evans broke down yesterday, lamenting the state of the police cell.

A source said he lamented that after making billions, owning gold, diamond and living like a king, he finally ended up in a cell with poor suspects.

It was gathered that he told his interrogators he has two other detention camps in Lagos.

He was also said to have confessed that he started off as an armed robber in Sokoto State.

The source said: “He has been weeping uncontrollably because he is in a cell with common poor criminals despite all the wealth and mansions he owned.

“He has started talking. He has given us locations of other detention camps he had in Lagos. Aside Igando, he had two others and detectives would visit the place. He also said that his very first robbery was in Sokoto State and that they killed the victim.

“He is still being interrogated and more details would come out after the camps have been visited.”

Meanwhile, The Nation learnt yesterday that Evans has been excommunicated from Nnewi for over five years because of the terror he unleashed on wealthy indigenes of the town.

It was also learnt that his second in command, Felix Chinemerem, a native of Amanagu in Abia State, was also declared wanted in 2014, after his criminal activities led to the killing of many innocent people.

It was learnt that Chinemerem took part in the kidnap of a prominent Nigerian, which prompted policemen to storm the community and allegedly shot randomly, killing villagers.

After the incident, the villagers were said to have moved to kill him but he fled and had not been seen since then.

Published in Headliners

Reactions to the recent recall of some suspended judges by the National Judicial Council (NJC) have been somewhat mixed. While some aides of President Muhammadu Buhari were disappointed by the recall which they saw as further frustration of the administration’s anti-corruption fight by the judiciary, many Nigerians saw the NJC’s action as a welcome development that has corrected the hasty punishment of the judges and the violation of the presumption of innocence. It would be recalled that some judges were directed by the NJC to step aside from their duties in the wake of serious allegations of corruption levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The NJC was practically pressured to abbreviate the presumption of innocence of the affected judicial officers by relieving them of their judicial duties pending the conclusion of investigations or determination of the cases filed against them. However, eight months down the line, many of the judges were reportedly yet to be formally charged in court and the only judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court whose case has been concluded, has been discharged and acquitted of corruption charges by a trial court.

Against this backdrop, it is uncharitable to criticise the NJC for asking those who have not been charged to court and the person who has been given a clean bill of health to resume duties. Would it have been more appropriate for those judges who have been staying at home for eight months to continue to do so for as long as it took the anti-corruption agencies to file cases against them in the court? Or should Justice Ademola be prevented from benefitting from the outcome of his case in court, especially when the judgment of the court in his favour has yet to be properly appealed? Even if the verdict of the trial court has been appealed by the EFCC, is an appeal tantamount to a stay of execution? What has the anti-corruption agencies been doing for eight months that they could not build iron-clad cases against these judicial officers if indeed they have strong evidence against them? And why did the EFCC, in what seemed like a childish and afterthought, rush to court to file processes against the judges it did not charge to court for eight months now that the NJC has recalled them from suspension?

Sadly, many Nigerians wrongly thought that the EFCC’s job of prosecuting the judges would be simple given the items of evidential value allegedly recovered from some of them when their homes were raided some months ago by the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) also known as the Department of State Services (DSS). Instead of allowing the NJC to exercise its constitutional disciplinary control since the affected persons are judges of superior courts of record, the SSS and EFCC intervened. The SSS in particular is till date yet to establish a nexus between the alleged corrupt practices by the judges and the breach or potential impairment of national security which could have provided justification for its intervention. Ironically, the Presidency that is accusing the NJC of not being on board with it in the fight against corruption has allegedly failed to act on the recommendations of the NJC to it to dismiss or compulsorily retire some judicial officers who were found guilty of corrupt practices.

Nevertheless, since there was no case against the judges, the NJC was perfectly in order to have recalled them. It would have been immoral, oppressive and even illegal to keep the judges in suspense indefinitely. To do that in addition to the public odium, humiliation and media trial they had suffered after the raid of their homes and the seemingly malicious public disclosure of alleged incriminating items found by the DSS would have been tantamount to adding insult to injury. The recalled judges should be allowed to resume and attend to their duties without let or hindrance. After all, there are senior officials in the other arms of government who are still carrying on with their official duties while undergoing trial for alleged corrupt practices.

It is still rather curious that for eight months, the alleged incriminating evidence and proceeds of crime allegedly found in the judges’ homes could not be put together to initiate trial against those yet to be charged, or get conviction in the only case that has been concluded. The usual excuse of the complexity involved in handling the prosecution of corruption cases cannot explain away eight long months of inactivity on the judges’ cases while they were already serving punishment for offences they have yet to be charged in court for, let alone being found guilty. It is the law in this jurisdiction that the burden of proof rests on the party that alleges. This dictum applies to all criminal cases and not corruption matters alone. It is important that prosecutors endeavour to work hard and responsibly within the ambit of the law to get justice without inflicting unwarranted punishment on suspects.

Published in Parliament
Page 4 of 13

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