Tuesday, 03 August 2021

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Items filtered by date: April 2021

Zinedine Zidane believes Real Madrid is being underrated ahead of the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool on Tuesday.

Madrid has endured a patchy season but remains alive in the Champions League and La Liga, with the gap to Atletico Madrid down to three points with nine games left.

And if they can overcome Liverpool, they will have a semi-final to come against either Chelsea or Porto and be within sight of a 14th European triumph.

“I think my team has been underestimated,” said Zidane in a press conference on Monday. “I trust my team a lot and I know what it can give. But we can’t change what people think. We can only work day by day and while there is still a chance, we never give up.

“We are going to fight for everything. We have had difficult moments this season and now we are better but it doesn’t mean anything tomorrow.”

Zidane raised the possibility of Eden Hazard being involved in the first leg in Madrid on Tuesday, even though the Belgian has missed the last three weeks with a pelvic injury. Hazard trained at Valdebebas on Monday morning.

“We have talked a lot about this, Hazard has to be calm. The important thing is that he has recovered,” said Zidane. “If the player is well, I want him with the team. We are going to do things little by little and we’ll see what happens.”

Madrid will be without their captain Sergio Ramos, who injured his calf on international duty last month with Spain.

Ramos played a key role as Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the Champions League final in 2018 after his challenge forced Mohamed Salah to be substituted in the first half.

“I know Sergio, he is a teammate, a friend,” said Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez. “It’s a shame, nobody likes to be injured in moments as important as this and even more so when you know Sergio, who is the captain.

“I’m sure that not just Salah but everyone from Liverpool will want to take revenge and win the game, just like us.”

Liverpool bounced back from their defeat in Kiev by winning the Champions League and Premier League over the next two seasons but, like Madrid, they have wavered since, falling behind Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

“We don’t think about the past,” said Zidane. “It’s a big game for them and it’s a different game from the final in Kiev. We’re preparing for a different game.”

“We are at a club where every day, every minute we live with pressure,” added Nacho. “We know how to handle it, we try to use it in the best possible way, which is to lift a trophy at the end of the season.”

Published in Headliners

By Yusuf Alli, Abuja/ THE NATION

More than 130 choice assets have been bought with looted funds in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), by some ex-governors, ministers and senators.

These assets are among the over 800 traceable to Nigerians in the UAE, including top security and military officers.

Four areas have been identified through which the nation’s resources are looted.

These are Bribery and corruption, proceeds from commercial tax evasions, illicit activities engaged in by corporations and business ventures and proceeds derived from criminal activities.

The Nigeria’s oil and gas sector his belived to have contributed 92.9 per cent of the total amount in Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) .

But the chances of Nigeria recovering most of its looted cash are very low because of conditions attached to the release of such funds.

These highlights are part of a report on the “UAE component of the three country (Nigeria, UAE and the UK) comparative study of fixing Illicit Financial Flows,” which was submitted to the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa last Wednesday in Abuja.

The report, which was commissioned by an anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda,(HEDA), but researched and compiled by Prof. Gbenga Oduntan of Kent University.

Although the report did not reveal the identity of the Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) with the assets in Dubai, Chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraj, who spoke with The Nation on the telephone last night, said: “We have left it to, EFCC to unravel them. It is so sad that our funds are being looted and stashed abroad. We are not even talking of assets in the UAE identified with some military officers.”

The report, which was obtained by our correspondent, claimed that Nigerian Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and other corrupt public officers taken advantage of UAE’s soft system to launder funds.

The report said: “The sheer recklessness of a system which allows Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) including 34 Nigerian ex-governors to own 71 properties, seven senators to own 33 properties, and thirteen Federal ministers to buy and own 26 properties is apparent. In the circumstances this is a case of res ipsaloquitor- the facts speak for itself.

“A 2012 report stated that Nigerians had invested up to $6 billion in real estate in Dubai over three years, including whole floors of apartment blocks.61 As bad as things are with respect to dirty money being funnelled into properties in the UK particularly in London, Dubai is qualitatively worse.”

The report attributed the rush to stash funds in the UAE by top Nigerians to the weak financial system and its openness to investors.

The report said: “The finding reached is that the shortcomings in the practices of financial and professional bodies of the UAE are deep, substantive and troubling.

“Corrupt Nigerian elite have managed to evade detection and massively invested into the UAE property market particularly in Dubai. As argued by Barnaby Pace, “We know that the criminal and corrupt set up bolt-holes around the world in which to stash their dirty cash, with Dubai being a favoured spot for many….”

“Dubai is also a preferred destination for trade-based money laundering (TBML –IFF) and political corruption money laundering from Nigeria, precisely because the city is seen as a soft touch for PEPs and their associates.

“There is deliberate orchestration to make Dubai an Eldorado for property investors looking for a place to store wealth considering that construction and real estate sectors in the UAE contributed 20% to GDP as of 2016.”

The report quoted a study as saying “There are not the same checks on the sources of money coming into Dubai as there are in London and elsewhere”

“The lack of qualitative and mandatory beneficial ownership reporting system exacerbates the UAE’s significant shortcomings in relation to the interaction between luxury property market and “Dubai and other Emirates in the UAE operate a more laissez faire philosophy and the UAE generally has shaped itself into a vast bohemian desert investment space.

“Bribery, corruption, illegal resource exploitation, and tax evasion are the main channels of IFFs especially in relation to Nigeria- UK relationship in the country’s extractive industries. Much more damage is done to Nigeria’s financial interest by other countries as well.

“Indeed Nigeria’s oil and gas sector contributes 92.9 per cent of the total amount of IFFs the country records yearly through companies and persons operating in the highly porous yet important sector.

“In stolen crude oil deals alone Nigeria suffered more than $12 billion in losses to the US between 2011 and 2014. Another $3 billion was lost to China and $839.5 million to Norway in the same period.

“The damage done from within by bureaucratic mischief is very significant as well. Unfortunately, there is also under-reporting of production volumes and oil lifting by the NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

“For instance, it has for long been known that the effective lobbying by oil companies is a large aspect of the stalled progress of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) for nearly 20 years now because “the oil majors have been particularly vocal on potentially losing tax exemptions as a result of this law”.

The report made some recommendations including a generation of PEPs annually by the Federal Government with their data shared with some international agencies and development partners.

It added: “A comprehensive list of Nigerian PEPs should be generated annually. This data should be shared with its development partners, particularly the UAE, and the UK.

“Extradition remains a highly useful mechanism for governments and Nigeria must do its best not only to retain the treaties it has presently but most work to develop even more.

“The task of tracing the foreign investment practices of Nigerian PEPs in this way will have to take on a historical perspective. For instance, a former military governor of Ogun State is identifiable as owning up to six properties with a total purchase price of over $2 million.

“Article 236 (1) of the Federal Penal Code deals with the offence of accepting a bribe as a public official. There are similar provisions targeting bribery of a foreign public official and this is of great significance in reducing the space for bribe offences internationally and particularly in the developing world.

“Private sector bribery is unlawful under Article 236 b (2) of the Federal Penal Code. Public servants are defined under the Law as any persons in a federal or local position, whether legislative, executive, administrative or judicial, whether appointed or elected. (Article 5, Federal Penal Code).”

It asked the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to evolve better ways of monitoring financial transactions of PEPs and other businesspersons.

It said: The CBN would therefore, need to take a more effective approach with targeted measures not only to negotiate instruments but also to engage in better monitoring of financial transactions of PEPs and other businesspersons.

“Looking at what we have discovered so far, the CBN has not satisfactorily established and performed its supervisory functions not only over banks particularly in the case of certain types of customers (e.g., non-resident or offshore customers, PEPs but there are also shortcomings in oversight in relation to Private Investment Companies (PIC), MNCs and shell companies; offshore entities; cash-intensive businesses and import or export companies).

“ The CBN must do better particularly in its role as an assessor of the adequacy of financial institution’s systems to manage the risks associated with senior local/foreign political figures, but it must do better in instilling an expectation of probity among corporate management and their ability to implement effective risk-based due diligence, monitoring and reporting systems.

“The imposition of sanctions against banks including prosecution of their employees together with the institution is an essential part of creating a better-disciplined national financial system that is less susceptible to mischief from within and without. The journey to a full grant of autonomy to the NFIU is not yet complete although credit is due to the country’s authority for the implementation of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2018, which established the NFIU as an independent entity.”

Despite its recommendations, the report said the chances of recovering looted funds are very low.

It said: “The harsh reality is that Nigeria may never even find out just how many hundreds of billions of looted assets it has suffered over the decades and certainly since its independence as a sovereign state. The chances of having the losses restored in meaningful ways are extremely low.

“Sadly, even recent scandals with ample documentary trail have led to little or no asset recovery. The practice of some Western nations including the UK in insisting on exacting and retaining arbitrary sums as during asset recovery requests from weaker states is particularly abhorrent. Nigeria and other developing state have a duty to posterity to resist this practice.

“Similarly, the practice of demanding and attaching conditionalities outside the confines of international law to the return of illegally transferred wealth is abominable.

“These practices are not products of law and equity but are expressions of the asymmetries in international relations, which permit a certain group of privileged states to add insult to the injuries of weaker states in the sheer context of things.”

While receiving the report, the EFCC chairman, Bawa, said: “I want to assure you, that we are going to study the report to add value to those areas where it is within our mandate; we will look at it and ensure that justice is done.

“The country has been cheated for quite a long time, people saddled with the responsibility of governance in this country have succeeded in doing it selfishly by taking these funds out of the shores of this country.

“It is one thing for properties to be taken to the UAE and the UK, it is another thing that we here in Nigeria are ensuring that you don’t have the opportunity to take them out in the first instance. That is why we want to be proactive in our approach to law enforcement and the fight against corruption in this country.

“All the people that are taking these funds out of the shores of this country are not doing that alone; there are conspirators, engineers helping them, professionals are helping them, accountants and financial institutions are helping them. We are not trying to look at what happened before but we are determined the future will be better.

“And then of course part of our mandate to ensure that proceeds of crime are identified and repatriated for the benefit of all Nigerians. It is not an easy task, it is something that cut across jurisdictions.

“The UK and the UAE have their own laws, processes and procedures, but we have a lot of bilateral and multi-lateral agreements that we are signatories to; to discuss about issues of information sharing, investigation as well as repatriation of ill-gotten assets.

Published in Business and Economy

Portugal on Monday reopened museums, cafe terraces, and secondary schools nearly two months after tightening Covid-19 curbs following a wave of cases early this year.

There was an explosion of cases following Christmas and New Year festivities which led to overstretched hospitals and the government imposed a general lockdown in the middle of January and closed schools a week later.

There have been nearly 16,900 coronavirus deaths and 823,335 cases so far, according to an official tally on Sunday.

Primary schools reopened on March 15.

Monday’s easing comes with some guidelines. Only four people will be able to sit together at a table in cafe terraces while museums can change their opening hours.

Group training sessions at gyms and sports venues remain banned.

“We are expecting very few visitors” due to the paucity of foreign tourists, Antonio Nunes Pereira, director of the Palace of Pena in Sintra, outside Lisbon, told AFP.

“We expect a return to normal next summer… when the vaccination process advances in Europe,” he said.

The museum is one of Portugal’s most visited sites and drew over two million visitors in 2019. Eighty-five percent of them were foreigners.

The government has launched mass Covid tests and started vaccinating teachers.

It plans to start reopening high schools, universities and auditoriums, and concert halls later this month and restaurants in May.

The situation is being reviewed every two weeks and the government can tighten restrictions in municipalities with a high number of cases.

Portugal has suspended flights with Brazil and Britain to ward off the new variants that emerged in those countries and tightened controls on the land border with Spain.

Published in News & Stories

By Osagie Otabor, Akure/ THE NATION

A Lagos-based Pastor, Frederick Ojo Aramuwa, has been killed by his abductors after collecting N2m ransom.

Pastor Aramuwa corpse was found close to the area where he was abducted.

Sources said he was abducted alongside his driver some days ago while returning home to Ifira, Akoko South East local government area.

The sources said the kidnappers initially demanded for N10m but later collected N2m.

But his lifeless body was later found by a search team.

Asiwaju of Ifira Akoko, Chief Boboye Ojomo, who described the killing of Pastor Aramuwa as very tragic appealed to government agencies to rehabilitate the Orita-Ipele-Idoani-Ifira highway.

Chief Ojomo said the deplorable state of the road was a major factor for incessant kidnapping and robberies in the area.

He said the late Pastor has aged parents he used to cater for.

His corpse has been deposited at a morgue in the area for possible autopsy.

Ondo Police spokesman, ASP Tee-Leo Ikoro, who confirmed the killing of Pastor Ayamure, said investigation has commenced.

He said Police operatives have been searching for him until his corpse was found.

Published in News & Stories
Sunday, 04 April 2021 16:33

Obasanjo, Gumi meet in Abeokuta

By Alao Abiodun/ THE NATION

Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi and former President Olusegun Obasanjo are in a meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital.

Obasanjo’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, confirmed the meeting.

“I am not there and the meeting is still going on,” Akinyemi said when asked what the meeting is about.

“It is not just the two of them present; it is stakeholders meeting holding at his residence here in Abeokuta.”

The meeting, according to sources, may not be unconnected insecurity in the country.

Gumi has been meeting with various stakeholders to solve the security challenge.

He has been advocating amnesty for bandits, arguing they should not be treated as criminals.

Published in Politics

Many talented and brilliant Nigerians have had their promising future ruined by their desperation to seek greener pastures abroad. Some of them who quit thriving jobs at home end up doing menial jobs abroad with several others becoming fugitives in the long run, GBENGA ADERANTI reports/ THE NATION

Henry was a top insurance broker in Nigeria before he migrated to the United Kingdom (UK) for greener pastures on the crest of Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) visa. As a top flight insurance broker, he had everything going for him—decent accommodation, fairly good car, reward for good performance and opportunity to rise to higher positions in his organisation. But all that, for the young man, was inadequate.

He had read about how well insurance brokers are paid abroad and imagined how his life would change if he travelled out and earn a salary which when converted to naira would turn him into an instant millionaire. To actualise his dream, he quit his job and left for the UK with a promise to people he left behind that he would soon begin to send cars and hard currency to them.

On getting g to the UK, he tried his best to secure a job similar to the one he was doing in Nigeria but he could not get any. He found himself sweating in the cold temperature of the UK as he found himself unfit for the system. In the end, a friend got him a job as a security officer with a small private firm. Unfortunately, the pay was not enough for him to renew his HSMP visa even though it was better than what he earned in Nigeria.

In the end, the Home Office (HO) gave him 72 hours to leave the UK. But rather than comply, he simply changed his residential address and carried on with his job without informing his employer about the change in his staying status.

A friend to Henry said: “The HO Police went to the office of the security company where he worked after a deportation order was issued and a call was made to him to report in the office immediately. But someone in the office tipped him off about the presence of the police, so he managed to escape deportation.

“He was lucky to be off duty at the time the police visited. Otherwise, he would have been arrested and deported after serving a jail term for working without permit. His predicament has since caused him to go underground, looking for menial jobs and begging for charity.”

Yet as far as the young Nigerian was concerned, it was better to remain a wanderer in the UK than return to Nigeria empty handed to be taunted by friends and relations.

Like Henry, Bukky, an experienced nurse in a government owned hospital in Lagos, also quit her job to travel to the UK on the HSMP visa obtained with the help of a relative who qualified in the UK as a medical doctor.

As a nurse, she had read and heard how much her services would be needed and rewarded abroad. Without wasting time, she saved enough money and obtained a working visa. With the HSMP visa conditions, she was tied to four year visa with her employer – at Camberwell.

A friend of hers said: “In order to change her visa to permanent stay without restrictions, she needed to prove to the Home Office that she’s now ‘settled’ in the UK. As a result, she travelled back to Nigeria to arrange a marriage with an old boyfriend. All the expenses were borne by her.

“She subsequently obtained a visa for the ‘hubby’ and both of them travel to the UK, but the man could not get a job immediately. At a point the man became bored and started having affairs all over the place, flirting and visiting so many dating sites.

“Of course, their marriage crumbled, only for Bukky to realise that the husband actually had another wife and a child in Nigeria to whom he had been sending money to regularly from Bukky’s bank account.

“Bukky literally went ‘mental’. She lost her pregnancy and has not been herself since. She’s now recovering in a psychiatric home while the whereabouts of the husband is unknown.

“The only good thing is that the Home Office has allowed her to stay in the UK permanently without any restrictions, and she is now waiting to become a full UK citizen. Will she ever go back to Nigeria? I doubt that very much. Not for another husband anyway.”

Bukky’s friend also shared the story of two Nigerian ladies who travelled to the UK on six-month tourist visas that could not be renewed.

She said: “Many Nigerians allow their tourist visas to expire without leaving the UK. And knowing that without their old passport the Nigerian Embassy in the UK, by law, cannot issue them ETC (emergency travelling certificate), they burn their passports and clone the identities of legal UK residents that they know. As things stand, many of them may not be able to visit their home country again.

“But the most tragic thing is that many of them are suffering and are at the mercy of other Nigerians in the Diaspora who have turned them into slaves of sorts. This is the story many Nigerians abroad would not tell their family members at home. To compound their problems, some embassies and high commission offices are not making things easy.”

In a viral video, the Nigerian High Commission in Atlanta Georgia, United States, was fingered as one of the places the issue of documentation and passport renewal are made difficult.

In the video, a Nigerian who was frustrated about the hurdles placed in the ways of Nigerians who want to renew their passports described the situation at the high commission as “chaotic”.

According to the man that speaks in the background of the video, the staff at the Nigerian High Commission, aside from collecting the passport application fee, would make Nigerians pay another 130 dollars.

“Nigerians have to stay in the sun outside the embassy disorganised dishevel, leave their homes, travel by flight and sleep in hotels. (They) spend about 1,500 dollars for this trip just because they want to renew their passports,” he said.

In comparison, he said, the citizens of a country like the Republic of Benin do not have to travel but only mail their passports.

“We must stop this. It is a fraud. Defrauding Nigerians in the name of ‘there is no money’ to run the embassy. Where has Nigeria’s money gone to? What happened to the budget?” he queried.

For many Nigerians who are living abroad illegally, returning home to settle down or visit family members could be a pipe dream. According to an immigration lawyer, the problem with most immigrants, especially those with multiple entry visas, starts when they want to work in the UK.

According to him, the visa confers on them the status of visitors who are not allowed to work. “Most Nigerian immigrants adopt other people’s names and use the documents of genuine citizens who are allowed to work. In most cases, when such a visitor is caught, the penalty is always grave. Unfortunately, most Nigerians who come as visitors always have it at the back of their minds to work in the UK.”

According to him, it is a bit better for those with multiple visas. But it is also a big risk. Most of them would come in, work and use the proceeds of their work to buy goods. He said what they normally do is to extend the visa for two or three years and they would start working.

“After a while, they go to the home office and change their status from being a visitor to that of a trader or a business person. But it is a big risk, because in the process of trying to gather money, nothing must go wrong. For those of them that managed to escape immigration, it is always neither here nor there because they would not want to come back to Nigeria because of the fear of being caught by the immigration at the airport.”

A Nigerian with dual citizenship who lives in the United Kingdom told The Nation that some Nigerians who are stranded in the country are sometimes assisted by people like him. But he said it could spell a disaster if they are caught.

He said: “If stranded Nigerians want to go out of the country (UK), what they normally do is to look for someone with both the Nigerian and the United Kingdom passports. The one with the UK and the Nigerian citizenship will buy the ticket in his own name, pretending that he is travelling to Nigeria, check in, collect the boarding pass or even travel together.

“The only snag is that you can’t use such in two places because the gate the foreigner will pass through is different from the gate the UK citizen would pass through. But as soon as the Nigerian gets to the airport, he would send the passport back to the UK.

“This costs a lot of money and it is a big racket here. They charge as much as £2,000. But if caught, the owner of such a passport could also go to jail. Though very risky, that is the only way those that had been stranded get out of the UK.

“Although using another person’s passport may be difficult, some who are not eligible to work also change their identity by using another person’s document to work. But this has its own challenge too as the salary or the wage is paid into the account of the owner of the identity. The real owner deducts his own commission at source and gives whatever they agreed on to the borrower of his identity.

“This has its own problem too because the owner of the identity could decide to be dubious. He may decide not to pay a dime to the person using his identity, knowing full well that the person would not be able to report.”

Speaking to The Nation, Susan, who has lived in the United Kingdom for six years, said she came to the country with a student visa. But after finishing her studies, she decided to stay and work and has been using another person’s identity. Suzan said: “I was employed by a Nigerian agent to work as a caregiver. Most times when it is time to pay, the owner of the agency, a woman, would have one reason or the other not to pay. She would tell you that if you are aggrieved, you may report to the police. It sucks. What can you do?”

Suzan said if she would be able to get a job in Nigeria where she would be able to earn N500,000 a month, she would definitely return home.

There is also the case of one Peter who travelled to the United Kingdom. At a point that things were getting difficult for him, he approached his friend who gave him his driver’s licence which he used to apply for a job in a supermarket.

He said: “It was my friend that applied for the job for me. He gave me his driver’s licence but warned me sternly that if I was caught he would deny me and tell the police that I stole his identity. He warned me not to use his identity to borrow from a bank or get into debt.”

Peter was lucky for two years, using his friend’s identity to work without paying a dime to the owner of the identity. He applied for asylum and for more than two years, he kept appealing. He had his documents in the home office and was eventually granted an asylum.

“I was just lucky. It is always sweet when you are not caught. I couldn’t see my family during that period because if I made any attempt to come to Nigeria, they would not allow me to return to the UK. It was traumatic.

But using another person’s identity brings a lot of trouble. A Nigerian living in Texas, Dele Peters, told The Nation how a Nigerian was caught using the identity of a dead person. The real owner of the identity is in Texas while the person that assumes the new identity lives in Ohio. “Unfortunately, the owner of the identity who lived in Texas died. But the one with a fake identity kept using the document of the dead person even when she knew that the owner of the identity was dead.

“Unfortunately, this country is wired. They knew that the real owner was dead but he was still paying tax. Everybody pays tax. So, if you work, your employer remits taxes on your behalf to the federal, state and county. That the name was dead in Texas and yet a company was remitting taxes on her behalf was a red flag.

“Of course, the impostor did not realise that this could be monitored. When the authorities went to check his place of work, they discovered that it was another person that was using the document. The fingerprint of the person using a dead person’s document was taken, so it became difficult for him to work again. Even if he wanted to work, it would be under the table,” he said.

According to Peters, the system is fashioned in such a way that if you are caught, you may be lucky not to be deported but it is the system that would render such a person useless. “You won’t be able to function if your name is flagged on employment issue, particularly if it is based on dishonesty,” Peter explained.

He said the good thing is that such a person could go back to Nigeria but it would be difficult to return to the United States.

According to him, there are many of them in different correctional centres in the United States due to some of the things we do at home that do not attract sanctions.

“Here, it is a big deal and you could be jailed for it,” he said.

According to him, having a relationship with a teenager, watching ponography at work may not attract much sanction in Nigeria, but in the United States, it is regarded as felony sexual conduct and this attracts serious sanction. “Ethically, it is wrong if you are as a nurse or a doctor to have porn on your phone. I know some Nigerians who were locked and had their licenses seized because of that.

r-e-v-e-a-l-e-d-weird-things-nigerians-do-in-uk-america-to-avoid-deportation

“I know of someone here in this state. He was working with elderly people and the physically challenged. On duty he was watching porn. He left his phone because he needed to attend to an emergency. One of the physically challenged picked his phone and the first thing they saw on the phone was porn. That was a big error.

“He was prosecuted. He lost his licence and there was no way he would get a good job.

Fortunately for him, he ran to Canada because he is a citizen and reordered his life there.”

After returning from jail, such a person could be living on government benefits or foundation benefits. Such a person may not return to Nigeria because his record has been taken. And if he goes to Nigeria, he will not be allowed to return to the United States, except such a person is a citizen.

For some of them who are not citizens, they always prefer not to return to Nigeria because they would not be allowed entry into the country.

Peters also disclosed that some Nigerians deliberately prefer to be cab drivers because this gives them room to evade child support payment. “They know that if they do regular jobs, the government will continue to deduct their money from the source for child support. Some of them have two, three children outside without bothering to care for such children. In the real parlance, they have ‘baby mamas’ that they are not married to but have children with. If they are reported by the mother of their children, anywhere they work, their paychecks are always garnished.

“Quite a number of them do not like it. How do you make 6000 dollars a month and you can only have 400 dollars to show for it?”

“If you were married, doing well and all of a sudden, things started going south between the married couple, after divorce, one could claim spousal support. What that mean is that a percentage of your income goes to support the other even when you are no more married! But if you do not have an income that matches what percentage could be garnished, you’re free of such support.

“The medical doctor chose to be a cab driver where he only could determine his income declaration.”

He said if these set of people decide to come back to Nigeria, there is the tendency for the authorities to know that they had evaded their payments and could attract imprisonment. “So, most of them prefer to go underground rather than risk jail terms.”

While many other Nigerians were wandering the streets of London and New York, a nursing mother, Adeyinka Gbemisola, got a reprieve in court. Gbemisola, 45, had arrived in the UK on a visitor visa that permitted her to remain in the country till 2023, but not allowed to work.

According to a report by a magazine, Nigeria Abroad, a Manchester-based job agency, Local Care Force, became suspicious of Gbemisola after checking her CV and was unable to make contact with her referees.

According to the magazine, “the work documents she provided, upon investigations, it was discovered that she had previously worked illegally in the UK via another recruitment agency on £9 per hour and earned around £1,800.

Gbemisola was charged to court, where her lawyer, Joshua Bowker, argued that she had fled Nigeria from an abusive husband and had to obtain a fake UK resident’s card for a job in the care industry.

Gbemisola’s lawyer appealed to the judge to consider her, saying she took the chance “to put food on the table for her two kids, not to fund a lavish lifestyle,” and that her children would “suffer” if she was jailed.

Luckily for Gbemisola, the judge was persuaded by Gbemisola’s lawyer’s argument that she took the chance “to put food on the table for her two kids not to fund a lavish lifestyle,” and that her children would “suffer” if she was jailed.

Responding, the judge said that Gbemisola did what she did in order to earn money for her children, “but this must be taken seriously because those documents could have been used by someone with more sinister intentions to obtain work with vulnerable people and put them at risk.

“I take the view that you are clearly remorseful, have a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, are a full-time carer for your children and they would suffer greatly if you were to go to prison today.”

Gbemisola eventually got a six-month suspended sentence.

A suspended sentence, according to the magazine, places a defendant on probation and is likely to be discharged if the defendant does not break the law during the probation.

Published in Headliners

A selection of Manchester United fans on Twitter have produced a mixed reaction to the speculation that goalkeeper David de Gea could be sold at the end of the campaign.

The Spain international has been an excellent servant for the Red Devils for a decade, registering 153 clean sheets in 434 appearances.

However, his performances have been inconsistent over the past few years, and Dean Henderson is now regularly getting the nod over him in goal.

De Gea missed a few games last month due to personal reasons, and he could not reclaim his spot on his return as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued to stick with Henderson.

This has led to question marks regarding his future with his contract expiring in over two years, and The Mirror reports that the club are prepared to sell him.

The club are looking to offload his £350,000-a-week salary from their wage bill, but it won’t be straightforward as clubs may be reluctant to match his contract demands.

United have reportedly set a £50 million price tag, and it is claimed that they may have to offer him a big pay-off such that he will accept a pay-cut at his next club.

The report has produced a mixed response from some of the Red Devils’ faithful, and here are a few reactions on Twitter.

In a recent press conference, Solskjaer refused to confirm whether the Spaniard would start between the sticks against Brighton & Hove Albion tonight.

While De Gea remains highly valued by the club, he may not entertain the prospect of playing second fiddle to Henderson at the prime phase of his career.

He was linked with Paris Saint-Germain a couple of years ago, and it will be interesting to see whether Les Parisiens are interested in signing him this summer.

Published in Sports

Bhad Bhabie has claimed that she’s earned over $1million (£723,000) in her first six hours on OnlyFans.

The online subscription service, which has become synonymous with explicit content, allows independent creators to produce content hidden behind a paywall.

Bhad Bhabie is charging $23.99 per month (£17.35) for access to photos and videos on her OnlyFans page, with subscribers also promised the opportunity to “direct message with this user.”

In a new Instagram post on Thursday (April 1), the rapper shared a photo appearing to show her total earnings from the six-hour period, including $757,526.08 from subscriptions, $267,675 from DM payments and $5,000 in tips.

“Not bad for 6 hours,” she wrote. “We broke the fuck out of that onlyfans record.” A spokesperson for OnlyFans has since confirmed to Varietythat Bhad Bhabie’s claims are legitimate.

Last year, Bhad Babie entered rehab to seek treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues.

The rapper (real name Danielle Bregoli) underwent treatment for a “combination of things”, including childhood trauma and substance abuse. In a statement issued to TMZ at the time, her management team said: “We are very proud of Danielle for recognising that she needed help and seeking it out.”

Meanwhile, OnlyFans launched a new creative prize fund to help emerging artists last month.

The fund will give a £20,000 grant to four individual artists, who will be selected by a voting panel, featuring OnlyFans CEO Tim Stokely and UK rapper Stefflon Don. Other judges include actor Suki Waterhouse and designer Henry Holland.

Other artists to join the platform include Cardi B, who partnered with the online subscription platform last year “to release behind-the-scenes content, address ongoing rumours and connect closer with [her] fans.”

Published in Arts & Culture

Demi Lovato has shared a powerful new video for ‘Dancing With The Devil’ – watch it below.

The video tracks the singer’s well-publicised battles with addiction, and into her subsequent recovery. It appears on her new album of the same name, released alongside her new YouTube documentary series.

**As detailed at the start of the video, the ‘Dancing With The Devil’ visual “contains content depicting addiction, drug use, trauma and sexual abuse which may be triggering for some.”**

Ahead of the release of her new documentary and album, Lovato revealed that she had to “essentially die to wake up” after suffering a near-fatal overdose in 2018.

The pop star was rushed to hospital in 2018 after overdosing on heroin laced with fentanyl. She has since said if she had been found five-to-10 minutes later, she would have died.

Reviewing the singer’s new album, NME‘s Nick Levine wrote: “Demi Lovato is done pretending. It’s no coincidence that the pop star’s seventh album shares part of its title with her startling YouTube documentary series, Dancing With The Devil.

“Lovato has described it as ‘like the non-official soundtrack to the documentary’, an incredibly raw affair that explores her deeply traumatising experiences of sexual assault, years of substance abuse and a near-fatal heroin overdose in July 2018.

“So while most supposedly ‘confessional’ pop albums are really just mildly revealing, this one really goes deep.”

Included on the new album is ‘Met Him Last Night’, a collaboration between Lovato and Ariana Grande. The song, produced by Xavi and TBHits, marks the first time the two pop stars have collaborated with one another.

Published in Entertainment

Along with her daughter Blue Ivy, Beyoncé has two twins — Sir and Rumi — but to date she hasn’t shared many photos of the pair.

Which is why it’s kind of a big deal that B just shared photos of her, Blue Ivy, and the twins at the beach.

There’s a photo of Rumi walking by the waves…

As well as a snap of Beyoncé and Sir getting their feet wet.

She also shared a photo of her and Blue wearing some snazzy frames.

And Blue Ivy and Beyoncé did recently win big at the Grammys (Blue Ivy’s first, no less!), so why not kick back and relax for a sec?

Published in News & Stories
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