Friday, 19 January 2018
Items filtered by date: June 2017

Ever since my essay with the same title as above appeared in The Guardian of Thursday June 1, I have been asked how my longsuffering name ‘Hope’ functions outside my home country and continent. I have gladly replied that it is a name easily assessed, easily recalled by people of the Western world. Not so with my middle name, ‘Oghenerukevbe’ or my cousin’s ‘Obukowho’ or my surname ‘Eghagha’. I will not add my wife’s paternal surname ‘Ukostovbera’ or where she hails from ‘Eruemukowharien’ in Delta State to the discussion lest they think I am being mischievous and consider withdrawing my spouse of over 30 years from me! As you know, an insult to one’s spouse could be tolerated; but when you extend it to their family it becomes a communal matter – the type of insult Achebe says we feel in the bones!

So whereas at home my name became a password to different levels of social experience by situating me within an ethnic framework, abroad, the middle and last names which connote my ‘Nigerianness’ signal a socio-cultural disadvantage. Out there, ‘Hope’ as a name is ambiguous; it is ‘neither nor’. It does not tell the history of my ancestry. When deeply probed however, it tells the history of the colonial encounter, my encounter with religion, how after when the white man came we had the land and he had the bible and he asked my ancestors to close their eyes in prayer and how by the time they opened their eyes, the white man had the land and my progenitors had the bible. For, without that encounter I would simply have been ‘Rukevbe’ or ‘Atemejeraivwo’ or ‘Akpomuetata’ or ‘Obebeduo’.

So, ‘Hope’ still carries a baggage; yet abroad it is a positive baggage; it suggests to my foreign hosts that I have been civilised or Christianised. If I travel out with the name ‘Assad’ or ‘Osama’ or ‘Gadafi’, of course I would be singled out for special interrogation. My younger brother ‘Gamaliel’ received special attention from the Israelis once when he landed in Ben Gurion Airport. Was he a Jew in the Diaspora? What they did not know was that we had Elijah, Benjamin, Racheal and Abel in the house of a most ardent Christian father. Also, whereas ‘Adamu’ would not ask me in Kano whether I know ‘Adebayo’ because we are fellow southerners, an American who sees my African name would ask whether I know this friend of his ‘Njoroge’ from Kenya! As far as he is concerned, all Africans live in one country and we know one another!

I once spent a night somewhere in Charleston, West Virginia in 2007, because I could not connect a flight to my ultimate destination, hampered by inclement weather. Before long, an African-American man, darker than the darkest brother I had ever encountered back at home, (the type the Urhobo call ‘awhinawhi’, meaning ‘shiny black) showed up in the lounge, where I was fiddling with my laptop. I automatically had a friend, or so I thought. Although his complexion was a brother, his accent was not; his mission was also not brotherly. I found myself pausing, listening carefully as we did in pronunciation classes, to pick his words. When he said I spoke with an accent. I said to him that he had an accent too! Then he warmed up extra hard, asked whether I knew Kanu and Emeka (very cool guys, he said) who lived in Florida, that they used to hang out together and have a good time doing the ‘high things and other stuff. Hmmmm! My ears stood on alert like those of a hunting dog. Drugs! He seemed to want to know whether I was into such high stuff too. The image of associations! Was this an agent trying to fathom what a Nigerian on a one-way ticket was doing in this winterly-miserable cold city? I read between the lines and promptly gave him my complimentary card – Senior Lecturer, University of Lagos on a research programme sponsored by the very Ford Foundation itself!

So at the international airport, say in Detroit or Atlanta or New York, my name carries a tag, another meaning, especially in the era of Trump. If it’s a Muslim name, it carries a question mark, sometimes very loud, sometimes muffled. Are you a potential threat to our peace and security? If it’s a Nigerian name, the silent question is: are you going to do 419 things, internet fraud or arranged marriage? The polite ones say nothing, but stare something into your head. So when he asks ‘how do you intend to sustain your stay here in the United States with cash of only one hundred and fifty dollars? ‘I am a guest of the Government of the United States,’ I announce proudly. Really? He takes a closer look at this tall yellow fellow from the jungle of Africa. ‘You want to Google my name? He ignores this request. ‘Tell me, what exactly do you do that makes you a guest of the United States Government? ‘The letter says it all, I say. ‘I can read, he says. ‘But I want to hear it from you.’ A senior official looks in and nods me on after a brief quiet chat with my ignorant white interrogator.

In the days of our highly-rated and advertised footballers, your identity could be referenced with one of them. Like when our female team went far in the world cup in what year now? ‘Was it your country that won the match against? O yes! As we know the international passport is the major name one carries as we jet out. Its name carries water or paper. When our Nigerian brothers, citizens of America come home, they carry the Nigerian passport. It is different on their return home to America. The American passport carries more weight. So, it is a question of adopting a greater and stronger name that fits into your location.

This makes identity flexible. So a man may be born in Nigeria, but carries a British passport, just as his children who were born in America. They have British-Nigerian parents though they are Americans. As British-Americans, they would rather bear John Thomas Hope or Lester Watson Harris than Rukevbe Eruemukowharien Carrington!

Published in Parliament

At its inception on May 29, 2015, the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC), otherwise the government of President Muhammadu Buhari listed three major areas in which it hoped to make immediate and lasting impact. These are power, security and the economy. Anyone conversant with the state of the nation at the time would appreciate the reason for the choice.

Power had remained a pounding Nigerian headache for decades, its inadequacy ensuring chronic economic underperformance nationwide, not to mention the distress it caused most of the citizens. You couldn’t fix Nigeria without fixing power.

As for security, the Boko Haram menace concentrated in the northeast but occasionally spilling into Abuja, the federal capital, and as further south as Kogi, had created a climate of fear. This also impaired economic activities by the citizens and, like the problems of power, undermined the faith of foreign investors in the country. Who would be eager to do business in a country characterised by violence and insecurity?

And of course the economy was in dire straits due to the decline in the price of oil, the country’s main source of revenue.

In all, Nigeria was faced with a Gorgon of systemic dysfunction with multiple snakes for hair, and the biggest of the snakes were power, security and the economy. And something like mythical power would have been needed to scotch the snakes, let alone slay the monster, in the first two years of any government.

Having been involved in the power sector for 32 years, since 1985, I appreciate the complications inherent in trying to tackle its many man-made and systemic problems from which various unpatriotic and other perverse interests profit at the country’s expense.

So I understand the feeling of disappointment when our new governments and their Ministers of Power rush to confront the problems in the sector with gusto borne out of a genuine commitment to change only to realise that their effort is like trying to bring down an elephant with a catapult.

As for the APC government, needless to say that, two years at the helm, it is still battling the power behemoth, trying now to slay it not with an obviously ineffective catapult but with an arsenal of projects and programmes whose proper implementation may truly exterminate the monster and consequently lead to a sustainable improvement in the country’s power situation.

For instance, in implementing the Power Sector Reform, liquidity issues led to inconsistency in paying for gas supply to generating companies. This has created hiccups in power generation, undermining power availability for economic production and other purposes nationwide.

But, faced with the scarcity of hard currencies due to the decline in oil prices, the government’s launch of the N701 billion Payment Assurance Programme is arguably a good, creative intervention intended to resolve such liquidity issues by ensuring payment in Naira to gas and generating companies, while it undertakes the reform and strengthening of the distribution companies.

Power production is capital intensive and its engine in oiled with funds. And such funds, if properly managed – and vigilance is called for to ensure that they are – should improve the power situation in the country.

And there is the additional Power Sector Recovery Programme (PAP) initiated by the government, launched in March 2017, which has received the endorsement of the World Bank.

In a joint press statement issued by the Nigerian government and the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 2017, the Director of Operations at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, Sarvesh Suri, pledged that “a full range of instruments will be deployed to help the government mobilise investments directly from the private sector and through private sector guarantees.” Also, the World Bank’s Senior Director for Energy and Extractive Industries, Riccardo Puliti, noted that “controlling the cost of electricity supply is a critical element of the Recovery Programme that will require close attention to prioritising investments based on least cost power development investment planning principles.”

Then, the Global Director for Infrastructure and Natural Resources at the International Finance Corporation, Bernard Sheahan, noted that “a turnaround of the power sector will require the expertise and financing of the private sector.” Also, that “this would require continuous improvement in the investment climate in Nigeria and strong communications among stakeholders of the sector reform plan during its implementation.”

On the other hand, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babantunde Fashola, in one of the  remarks by top-ranking Nigerian government officials including the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Steel and Metallurgy, Enyinnaya Abaribe, stated that “the approval of the Power Sector Recovery Programme by the Federal Executive Council demonstrates that the Federal Government is committed to the sustainable development of the power sector.” Also, that “the implementation of the programme is critical to achieving the objectives of the Government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan.”

Then the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, summed up the proceedings with a pledge that “the World Bank Group is committed to supporting the implementation of the Government’s Power Sector Recovery Programme to re-establish financial sustainability in the power sector.”

Now, the advantage of this type of high-powered bilateral engagement to resolve the lingering issues in our power sector is that, through the physical participation of the key players and their avowals, it clears the suspicion of the sham involvement of such international agencies as the World Bank, like foreign investors, that may have plagued previous efforts by our governments to resolve the same or similar issues, with the implied doubt of their credibility.

In other areas, such bilateral commitments are being complemented with projects by the Ministry of Power to boost the capacity of the power sector to deliver value to the Nigerian people. And the projects have varied gestation periods.

These include the 40 per cent completion of the 700-megawatt Zungeru Hydro Power Plant and the 99 per cent completion of the 40-megawatt Kashimbila Dam.

Also, 45 per cent of the work on transmission infrastructure for evacuating power from the dam to the Yandev 132KV substation had been completed by March 2017.

The ministry is also on course to rounding off work on the Katsina Wind Farm with an installed capacity of 10.175 megawatts, which is 95 per cent completed. And work is ongoing on the 3,050-megawatt Mambilla Hydro Power Plant.

I regard the various facets of such developmental efforts as critical to preparing the power sector for delivering what may be described as “a real feel of megawatts” in the Nigerian system, given their efficient management. And it behoves the government and other stakeholders to monitor the process to ensure that they produce the projected results.

Oke, a former technical adviser to the ex-Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, lives in Abuja.

Published in Parliament

The land of the rising sun…Biafrans, Igbos, the South, Federating units, restructuring…revenue formula and now are some of the words that are trending. There are hate speeches from all sides, the Jewish Rabbi Nnamdi Kanu has also been in the mix. And if I say that all this is the usual noise I may only be naïve. And if I say that it is a serious matter, I would still need to be proved right or else I would be seen as naive. But the divide, the hatred, angst, the “we versus them, they and us” are signs that are in the air. Arguments and debates surrounding the Yoruba are ready, or we will not allow them go, and some say let them go radiate the horizon. However, let me thread this path to reinforce an earlier thought pattern, and my belief that really very little has changed.

A year or thereabout ago, the Indigenous People of Biafra retained lawyer, Prof. Dr. Göran Sluiter to file a complaint against Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari before the International Criminal Court. He was instructed to file a criminal complaint against Nigerian President before the International Criminal Court (ICC), on account of crimes against humanity. In that period very little has changed, it is still same difference; in the mainstream media, interestingly everyday keeps providing fresh news item, either on Biafra as a subject or affiliates, a case of those for, and those against, interestingly and naturally a divide amongst the Igbos themselves, and a few who are asking that we all thread with caution. The recent sit-at-home in most states of the southeast, was successful, the agitations continue, whether forced or willingly, grudgingly one must agree there seems to be a huge increase in followership for the “cause”.

Just a quick glide into history would show that what many think started out as the occasional security clashes between a group of idle minds may soon if not handled with tact and diplomacy become another BH, and for many a student of political history it is so easy to see the trend in comparison to the Niger Delta militants. But this may turn out worse in that weapons may not be really used. The Biafra ‘struggle’ needs to be handled, and trust me, it cannot be suppressed in the manner it is being handled. It cannot be waved off by the hands, current strong arm tactics will not work. Denying that there is no followership, only reminds one of the first handful members of Yusuf Mohammed. And thinking that the entire drama is symptom of an episodic ailment called marginalisation may be wrong.

In the past, I have looked at the Biafran renaissance as partly the story of the Youth today and the challenges as mirrored by Maduabuchi Dukor, philosophically speaking, “we recognize that the southeast or Ndigbo is an emerging society, developing society in search of identity in a multi-racial Nigeria state and in the world. This “identity” question is not only omnibus but also a logical challenge because you an Igbo or you are not an Igbo. In this wise, it is difficult for an Igbo to deny that he or she is an Igbo because doing so would amount to a contradiction. Identity does not brook any contradiction in the logical sense of the concept”. What is the identity of today’s Biafra I dare ask?

“Again the fact that it is existential and encompasses a whole personality presupposes that it is defined by the history, culture, economics, politics and education of the people which again logically entails that the challenges of youth empowerment among Ndigbo are the challenges of history, culture, economics, politics, leadership and education.” In the above regard, has the Biafra question been answered? Who are the Biafrans? Where is Biafra? It is a challenge of history, culture, economics, politics, leadership and education. Maduabuchi Dukor speaking further: “The youth question since after the defunct Biafran and Nigerian war is an unfortunate historically necessitated experience that has left Ndigbo like a rudderless ship in Nigeria, Africa and the world. The traumas, alienation, economic subjugation, discrimination, political marginalisation and the consequent psychological dislocation of Ndigbo by successive Nigerian governments until the dawn of the second republic is worse than colour dissemination in United States now and before.”

In what Professor Mercy Anagbogu of the Department of Guidance and Counseling, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Nigeria, captured in the metaphor of zero empowerment, the Igbo youth is in “a black box”, a state of mental, psychological tabula-rasa and moral, religious, educational economic degeneration and alienation. The historical phenomenon of “black box”, state of doldrums and darkness is still with Ndigbo youth in this regime and dispensation. The youth at zero empowerment has no place in the political, economic and educational calculation and space in Nigeria.

This scenario has brought a kind of flux where nothing holds and somewhat state of nature where wickedness, jealousies, confusion, disrespect and loss of Igbo and family values become the other of the day. The consequences or indicative factors again are negative disposition, ritual moneymaking, individualism and lack of corporate business, which are not conducive to the corporate, cultural and political existence of Ndigbo. Unfortunately, inability of Ndigbo leaders to confront and address the historical, existential, cultural, educational, political and economic challenges led to the dispersal of Igbo youth, in search of means of livelihood in the Diaspora. And one of the many reasons why defining Biafra is really difficult. Today’s Biafra certainly cannot be land of erosions, land of the like of Rochas the don of double speak, and land that elects a governor while he is in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, the land where everyone is a leader, yet no leadership and direction, envied by many, yet not sure of itself.

A land where its greatest enemy is itself, a land where its sons and daughters on one hand are marginalised yet, are in every nook and cranny of Nigeria doing very well…a people whose sons continue to do well in Lagos, but won’t go and develop ‘alaigbo’…but will whine “marginalisation”. So the land needs men of goodwill, leadership that needs to get its path right and stop playing third and fourth fiddle, leadership that is ready to write and teach their children their true history, teach their wards the dialect, culture and values, and not continue to engage in revisionist tendencies. While it remains true that Nigeria needs true federalism to thrive, the federating units equally need leadership to get it right, and are sons and daughters of Ndi-Igbo ready to take up the challenge—only time will tell.

Published in Parliament

Liverpool-bound striker Dominic Solanke was named Under-20 World Cup Golden Ball winner after his performances in England's triumphant tournament.

Solanke, 19, scored four goals to help England clinch glory in South Korea, with Paul Simpson's side beating Venezuela 1-0 in the final on Sunday.

Solanke was rewarded for his performances with the Golden Ball, joining Manchester United's Paul Pogba, Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Argentina legend Diego Maradona in winning the prize.

The forward will join Liverpool on July 1 after finding first-team opportunities hard to come by at Premier League rivals Chelsea.

In a video message to the youngsters, senior England manager Gareth Southgate said: "It's been a brilliant experience to follow you from afar.

"All of the senior team were crammed around the laptop watching it as we finished training in France. I can only say brilliant, well done everybody.

"It's a fantastic achievement, you have done everybody proud, yourselves and your families, and also you can see the country has taken note.

"You have raised the bar for everybody. It's great that all the teams who follow you now have something to aim for.

"You have given everybody belief that English players can be successful and you should have great belief in yourselves in what's possible now.

"Congratulations from all of us in the senior team."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the decisive goal for England against Venezuela, and the Everton forward said: "Hopefully there will be opportunities for the lads next season.

"I have had a taste of it last season with Everton and I just want to show I am capable of playing regularly next season."

Published in Sports

The Nigerian Police Force made good its promise to parade Nigeria’s billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudi Dumeme Onuamadike, alias Evans and members of his gang, revealing their victims and the ransom collected at various times. Most shocking, the police also unveiled a woman, Ogechi Amadi as one of the gang members.

“Ogechi Amadi is the woman who rented the house and cooks for the kidnappers and their victims in the camp”, the police said. Evans, the kingpin was arrested in his mansion in Magodo estate in Lagos on Saturday by the police Joint Special Forces led by the Intelligence Response Team, the Lagos State Police Command’s Anti-Kidnapping Unit and Technical and Intelligent Unit of the Force under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State.

The police described Evans, a native of Nnewi, “as the vicious leader of a highly organised kidnap-for-ransom syndicate and criminal gang terrorising and responsible for several kidnap of notable/prominent Nigerians in Lagos State, including the Western, Eastern, South-South and some Northern States”. “He has his gangs active and spread across these mentioned states”, the police said.

“After an intense gun battle that lasted several hours, Chukwudi Dumeme Onuamadike and his gang were overpowered by the Superior Fire Power of the Joint Special Forces and he was arrested at Magodo Estate, in Ikeja Lagos.

“Chukwudi Dumeme Onuamadike a.k.a EVANS was first declared wanted in August, 2013 when he masterminded the attempted kidnap of CHIEF VINCENT OBIANUDO, the owner of Young Shall Grow Motors in Festac, Lagos, where a Policeman attached to the victim foiled the attack and killed three of Evans gang members but also lost his life in the process.

Some of Evans gang members were subsequently arrested, but he regrouped later with several gangs and became more vicious and unleashed terror in the mentioned States of the Federation. ” Evans and his gang keep their victims kidnapped in Lagos Area at House No. 21 Prophet Asaye Close New Igando, Lagos State until the ransom is paid to him. “Ransom money are paid to him in Millions of Dollars, some victims are kept for upward of six to seven months until the last penny is paid. He never reduces his tagged ransom money. None of his gang members knows his house.

“In every kidnap attack he has a separate armed group that kidnapped victim with him and has another armed group who takes over the victim to their hideouts and prevent them from escaping.

The members of the two ‘2’ groups don’t know each other. They complied with Evans instructions. “Evans, and the dreaded vampire who died during a gun duel with the Police Special Forces led by IRT and Imo State Police Command in a forest in River State early this year are axis of evil in kidnappings in Southern Nigerian States and some Northern States. This is a huge success for the Nigeria Police Force.

The Force will build on this success and continue to prevent kidnap cases and criminality generally in the country, and ensure prompt detection of those crimes that cannot be prevented, and also ensure that perpetrators are arrested, investigated and prosecuted”.

The Police said Evans has two (2) Mansions in Magodo GRA Phase 2 worth about three hundred million naira (N300,000,000). He also has two (2) House in the Highbrow area of Accra City in Ghana among many other properties such as exotic cars, expensive watches, Jewelries e.t.c, he bought from the ransom.

* Felix Chinemerem 36yrs Native of ArichukwuOhafia LGA of Abia State second in command of Evans.

* Nwosu Chikodi Chukwuma aka Sudo 42yrs, 3rd in Command to Evans. He has over 20yrs experience in Armed robbery and about 8yr experience in Kidnapping. *Uchechukwu Amadi, Native of Anambra State longtime Evans Boy and head of the detention Camp in Igando.

* Ogechi Amadi is the woman who rented the house and cooks for the kidnappers and their victims in the camp.

* Suoyo Paul aka Nwana 42yrs Native of Bayelsa States Gangmember and Supplier of Rifles and Ammunitions to Evans.

* Ikenna Emeka 28yrs Native of Anambra State.


* Mbarikatta William Uboma, 35, kidnapped June 16th, 2012 at about on his arrival from Hungary while he was close to his house. He was in his Toyota Car 2010 model in company of his brother to drop him at his house when a Passat car emerged from nowhere and blocked his car. They blindfolded him and forcefully abducted him to an unknown destination. They later demanded a ransom of N10M. However, N2M was later paid while they collected other personal accessories. He was finally dropped off at Okota on the third day.

* Paul Cole, 34, from Ohafia in Abia State. A Director with Ocean Glory Commodities, Apapa, kidnapped August 3rd, 2012 at Festac Town together with his General Manager, Jude Ugoje and another staff, PiriyeGogo, and taken to an unknown destination. They demanded for N10M. On August 6th2012, they collected N5M ransom at Maza-maza area of Lagos State.

* Mohammed Jamal, 22, a Lebanese, kidnapped on August 19, 2012 at Ajah by three armed men, taken away blindfolded. N7M ransom was later paid at Ojo Barracks.

* Kingsley Nwokenta, 34, kidnapped September 19, 2012 after he left Lebanana Bar in Festac at Mile two under bridge. Later, paid N1.5M ransom while they made away with his black Toyota Venza and other accessories.

* Anthony Ozoanidobi, 41, kidnapped in October 10th 2012 along Marwa Road Satellite Town. Ransom of N1.5M paid after which he was released at Apple Junction, Amuwo-Odofin.

* Leo Abraham 58, kidnapped August 20, 2012. Paid ransom of N5M and was later released along Badagry road, Lagos.

* Ojukwu Cosmas, 45, sells Toyota parts at Aspanda Trade Fair. Kidnapped January 21, 2016 at Festac Town. It was not clear when and how he was released.

* James Uduji; kidnapped close to his house at 7th Avenue Festac late last year. Held for 6 six weeks. Paid $1M.

* Chief Raymond Okoye – Odu- Na –Ichida, kidnapped 2015. Paid $1M as ransom, held captive for 2months * UcheOkoroafor, trader at Alaba, kidnapped 2015, held captive for three (3) months, paid $1M.

* Elias Ukachukwu kidnapped November 2015. Paid $1M. Date of release unknown but it was gathered that his abductors were insisting on another $1M claiming family members were rude to them during negotiation.

* Francis Umeh also a spare parts dealer at Aspanda, kidnapped July 2016 at Raji Rasaki Estate, released after two months in captivity.

* The last Victim is Mr Donatus Duru. He was kidnapped in Ilupeju February 2017 and fortunately the man escaped from the Igando House where Evans kept him with his boys last month.

Police said during interrogation and preliminary investigation, Evans and his gang confessed to all the kidnappings linked to them and made confessional statements on the various roles they played in the commission of the crimes. They will be charged to court on completion of investigation, police spokesman Moshood Jimoh said.

Published in Headliners

Notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudi Dumeme Onuamadike, AKA, Evans, who was arrested by police in Lagos on Sunday said that he chose to collect ransom in American dollars to be different from other kidnappers.

The suspect, while being paraded at the Lagos Police Command in Ikeja, told newsmen that he started kidnapping in 2015, after he left his spare parts business, a claim that contradicted the police statement that he was declared wanted in 2013. He claimed that he lost N20 million to Customs officers, which made him to leave his trade.

The suspect was arrested in his mansion in Magodo area of the state on Saturday. Evans, notorious kidnapper Evans, who wasn’t sure of how many people he had kidnapped, said the highest he had collected as ransom was one million dollars. “I can’t figure out how much I have collected so far or how many people I have kidnapped, but I have kidnapped up to 10 since 2015.

“I chose to collect ransom in dollars to be different, and the maximum I have collected as ransom so far is 1 million dollars.

“I work in two groups. A team moves with me to kidnap victims while we hand over to the other team that takes the victim to the hide out.

“Kingsley introduced me to kidnapping, but I usually get my ammunition from one Chinedu and Ehis whom I met at Ago-Iwoye.

“I also do drug business that enabled me to buy my property,” the suspect said.

According to the police, Evans collected $1million from no fewer than four of his victims.

Among them are:

* James Uduji, who was kidnapped close to his house at 7th Avenue Festac late last year. The Evans gang held him for six weeks. He paid $1million to regain his freedom.

*  Chief Raymond Okoye – Odu- Na –Ichida,, who was kidnapped in 2015. He also paid $1million as ransom. He was released after  two months in captivity.

*  Uche Okoroafor, a trader at Alaba who was also kidnapped in 2015 for three months, also paid $1million.

*  Elias Ukachukwu kidnapped November 2015 similarly paid $1million. The police said the Evans gang demanded an additional  $1million,  claiming family members were rude to them during negotiation.

The Force PPRO, Jimoh Moshood said that the suspect had collected billions of naira from his victims and had property in and outside the country. He said that Evans was declared wanted in 2013, following a kidnap attempt that was foiled by the police. “He is said to have masterminded several kidnap cases in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and South-South states,’’ the police said. Moshood said further investigation into his activities were ongoing.

Published in Headliners

The Police have released the photographs of the two houses owned in Lagos by billionaire kidnap kingpin, Evans.

The houses are all located in Magodo Estate in Lagos. Evans, whose real name is Chukwudi Dumeme Onuamadike, also has two four-bedroom duplexes in Accra Ghana.

Evans, the kingpin, was arrested in his mansion in Magodo estate in Lagos on Saturday by the police Joint Special Forces led by the Intelligence Response Team, the Lagos State Police Command’s Anti-Kidnapping Unit and Technical and Intelligent Unit of the Force under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State.

The police described Evans, a native of Nnewi, “as the vicious leader of a highly organised kidnap-for-ransom syndicate and criminal gang terrorising and responsible for several kidnap of notable/prominent Nigerians in Lagos State, including the Western, Eastern, South-South and some Northern States”.

“He has his gangs active and spread across these mentioned states”, the police said.

Published in News & Stories

Didier Drogba enjoyed a dream debut for United Soccer League side Phoenix Rising FC -- the club he is also a part owner of -- scoring and assisting as they beat Vancouver Whitecaps.

Drogba, making his first appearance for Phoenix since his arrival in April, netted the opener and set up the winner in the side's 2-1 USL win over Vancouver on Saturday.

Wearing the No. 11 shirt and the captain's armband, the former Chelsea striker headed home Amadou Dia's cross in the 40th minute.

Then, following Marcos Bustos' equaliser from the penalty spot for Vancouver, the ex-Ivory Coast international teed up former Chelsea teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips for the game's decider in the 77th minute.

"Nothing different," Drogba said when asked about his debut compared to others. "The game is still the beautiful game and I want to enjoy it, and I was enjoying today, and that's the most important thing for me."

The 39-year-old, who was last playing for Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact, has missed five games since joining Phoenix as he attempted to regain his fitness.

"It took me five weeks to kind of get back in shape. I still need a few weeks to improve, but it's good to start at home," Drogba said.

Wright-Phillips added of Drogba: "Not only for me but for the players and the staff and the fans as well, I think it's very important to bring something different to the game. He also lifts up everybody and expects everyone to play to their potential, which is fantastic for the team and the club."

Phoenix head coach Patrice Carteron, also making his debut for the club, was pleased with Drogba's display.

"Most of the fans came to see him and he showed that he is still a great player," Carteron said. "I'm really happy for all of you who had the pleasure to see such a player."

Phoenix are one of a number of candidates with the aim of becoming an MLS franchise.

Published in Sports

More than 20 security operatives stormed the Fred Shoboyejo home of vicious kidnapper and robber, Evans, less than a month after the police announced a thirty-million-naira bounty in return for information leading to his arrest.

For at least seven years, Evans has co-ordinated bank robberies across Oyo, Port Harcourt and Abia, as well as numerous high-profile kidnaps whose ransoms amount to hundreds of millions of naira.

On that Saturday morning, utilising months of information gathering and fresh tips, the usual quiet ambience of Magodo GRA Phase 2 was interrupted by gunshots as security manned the Y-crescent zone where Evans lived. Without a picture of what he looked like, they had first descended upon an adjacent building and roughened the occupants before realising the error – Evans is said to own a certain pricey brand of Jeep which was used to identify the criminal’s building.

Painted in light blue, the modest duplex sits behind a reflecting steel gate, not very differently from the many other duplex buildings in the area. As neighbours gathered to watch in disbelief, many lamented the grave danger they had been unknowingly exposed to by living next to a criminal of this repute. “There’s always 24-hours power supply in this (Evan’s) house. He even connected the street lights to his house power (which is not an exceptional deed for a Magodo resident). At least, we’ll miss him for that deed,” a neighbour, Toyin, quipped.

Until Saturday, Evans was the regular upscale Magodo neighbour with a wife, kids (infant and toddler), househelp and gateman. He drove himself and had no security apparatus or escort vans. He was totally unassuming and drew no attention to himself. He loved cars and had a black sport car which he’d sometimes park on the street. His next-door neighbour is an ex-naval officer. This raid unsettled the otherwise quiet estate where the Deputy Governor of Lagos state also lives.

By early afternoon, the gunshots were deafening. A closer look revealed, they were out of jubilation rather than combat. One of the security men at Fred Shoboyejo gate explained that Evans had moved out his family and a few other belongings about a week before. He had only come back that morning in a hired vehicle for God-knows-what. The raid was successful and as security operatives brought out heavy bags and a vault – suspected to contain money and weapons, the visibly excited officials shot in the air sporadically, playing loud music from their cars, striking a machete against the tarred road out of joy, dancing and singing, ‘thirty million for the account o…’

Early bystanders claimed Evans had exchanged gunshots with the officials before he was captured. A ritual where a broom was inserted into his private organ was then performed as a sort of spiritual disarming before he was handcuffed. An official was heard lamenting the number of colleagues the force had lost to Evans’ several operations and previous botched raids. He also spoke of trailing the criminal’s wife across Turkey and with Interpol before finally accosting her at the Lagos International airport.

The Inspector-General’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) led by ACP Kyari has confirmed the capture and promised to parade the kingpin before newsmen at noon, in Lagos, on Sunday.

Published in Headliners
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