Sunday, 19 November 2017
Items filtered by date: July 2017

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, left Ghana on Sunday, July 2, 2017, to attend the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, which is being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The meeting of the Heads of State will take place from July 3 to July 4, 2017, under the theme, “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in the Youth”.

Issues to be discussed and agreed on include: institutional reforms of the AU; roadmap of practical steps to silence guns in Africa by 2020; the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA); and the implementation of Agenda 2063 – “The strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years”.

He was accompanied by the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway MP, and officials of the Presidency and the Foreign Ministry.

President Akufo-Addo and his delegation will return home on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

Published in News & Stories

The wife of ailing Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has left the country to visit him in London after first attending an African Union event, her office said.

Aisha Buhari’s office said late on Sunday that she was first heading to the AU summit in Addis Ababa for a “symbolic appearance” at a leaders’ wives meeting.

She will then head to Britain on Tuesday, a statement said, adding: “”She will convey to the president the best wishes of Nigerians and their fervent prayers for his quick recovery.”

Aisha Buhari first visited her 74-year-old husband in London on May 30 and returned to Nigeria on June 6, saying he was recovering fast.

The head of state of Africa’s most populous nation has spent most of this year in London receiving treatment for an unspecified medical condition.

In January and February, he spent almost two months in Britain and on his return in early March said he had never been as ill.

He left for the British capital again on May 7 for a second round of medical treatment. No date was given for his return.

The presidency has repeatedly rejected rumours that Buhari is terminally ill or even dead but has refused to disclose his illness or what treatment he is having.

Last week, opposition Ekiti state governor Ayodele Fayose advised Buhari to resign but his supporters rejected the suggestion.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has been acting on his behalf in accordance with the constitution.

Buhari’s absence has brought forward behind-the-scenes jostling for position for the 2019 presidential election at which the ailing leader is unlikely to stand.

In 2010, Nigeria was plunged into months of political turmoil after president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in office following months of treatment abroad.

Published in Headliners

The street where the Da Rocha home is located is extremely narrow. It is called Kakawa, a short stretch behind Union Bank Headquarters at Lagos Island. Even though the home, a large one storey building, the shape of a square, is said to be called Water House, neighbours who spoke with Saturday Tribune last Friday referred to it as “Da Rocha House.”

The house has obviously received a series of facelifts in its long life, but it still retains much of its original 19th-century look. For example, a large room on the ground floor serves both as the garage and the building’s entrance; the windows are unusually many, all of them designed as though they were intended for a church.

The lone car in the garage was covered with tarpaulin, on Friday. At the right side of the entrance was a makeshift bookstore where a young man sold mostly dictionaries. A tailor, an elderly man whom neighbours called “Baba”, occupied the left wing. Both men appeared to work also as domestic staff for the Da Rochas.

“Madam is sleeping,” the tailor said. It was past 9.am, and sensing the need for further explanation, he added, “She has just returned from a journey. You should come back around 12 or 1pm.”

Attempts made to meet her, hours later were unsuccessful. Even as of 2:30 pm, the message from the tailor who had gone up to check, yet again, remained the same: she was resting, and she would not give an appointment.

Water House is at the centre of the historical area that is the Lagos Island. The Third Mainland Bridge is only a few metres away; the popular Marina and Broad Streets are just by the corner, as is the Cathedral Church of Christ, the oldest Anglican Cathedral in Nigeria.

It was here, at Water House, in the 1800s and 1900s that the businessman, Candido Da Rocha, (believed to be the wealthiest Nigerian at the time) lived. It was here that the city’s first water fountain and first borehole were constructed. From here, Candido Da Rocha (Yoruba call him Darosa) operated what was known as Iju Water Works which supplied water to the entire Lagos district. For his work, he was paid directly by the colonial administration, until the water project was altogether acquired by the government.

Massive enterprise

A source who knows the family well, on Monday, made available to Saturday Tribune an interview given to the Catholic Herald by Da Rocha’s grandchild, Professor J.T Da Rocha-Afodu.

In the interview, published in the April 2017 edition of the magazine, the Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Lagos said he and his siblings were, in fact, raised by Da Rocha himself.

The professor said, “My grandfather was Late Chief Candido Joa Da Rocha, Chief Lodifi of Ilesa. He was born in Bahia, Brazil and died in Lagos in 1959. He had his Secondary School education at CMS Grammar School, Lagos. Available records showed that he was never beaten in the school and always came first in his class. His classmates were Late Bishop Oluwole and Late Herbert Macaulay. He was a voracious reader of newspapers, magazines and books, including those written in Portuguese. He had a good stock of books in his library including those on classical English and Portuguese.

“He brought us up after the demise of my father during the 2nd World War in 1940. My father’s boat was torpedoed by the German Submarine U.2 off the Coast of Batvia near Russia and all those in the ship perished. My grandfather took over our upkeep and education of myself and my two brothers and sisters from primary school to the University. Candido Joa Da Rocha was a business man, property and land owner and a financier. He lived in Water House Kakawa Street. The home was commemorated in literature by a novel, The Water House by Antonio Olinto.”

A key strategy used by Da Rocha to boost his revenue appeared to be his readiness to embark on many different projects at a time.

Da Rocha-Afodu said, “Chief Da Rocha collaborated with J.H. Doherty and Sedu Williams to found a Lagos Native Bank, the first in Africa. He owned many houses. He participated in the Lagos Horse Racing at Race Course where he won many trophies. The horses were housed at his stables at Water house, No 12, Kakawa Street, Lagos. His home, Water House, had the first borehole in Lagos. Some of his business interests included a restaurant called The Restaurant da Rocha and Sierra Leone, Deep Sea Fishing Industries Ltd.”

Genealogy of greatness

While it is not often clear how Nigerians with great wealth lived during the colonial period, many accounts have suggested that most of them kept a low profile. This quality appears to have been inherited by the descendants of Da Rocha, who even though they take pride in the family name and the legacies of their father, have nonetheless stayed out of the limelight.

A list provided by Professor Da Rocha-Afodu tells a story of a family which over the years has produced a number of notable names in fields such as medicine, trade, law, education and sports.

For example, Dr Moses Da Rocha, Candido’s brother, was one of the first medical doctors in Nigeria. He studied in Scotland and upon return to Nigeria set up a hospital at 4 Tinubu Street, Lagos.

Another grandchild of Da Rocha’s was Dr. Oladele Da Rocha-Afodu, described by his brother as “a pioneer of the game of Polo in Nigeria.”

“He was the eldest son in the Da Rocha-Afodu family. As a medical practitioner he specialized in Bacteriology and Pathology. He was one of the founders of Polo game in Nigeria and contributed immensely to the development of the game. He once donated a cup to the Lagos Polo Club in memory of late Candido da Rocha,” the professor said.

The professor’s elder sister, Mrs Abimbola Aina Omololu-Mulere, was a lawyer, and according to his brother, the “first Nigerian female graduate in Law to attend the University.” A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin University, she would later found Adrao International Schools in Lagos. She died in 2000.

Of his mother, Candida Adenike Afodu, Candido Da Rocha’s youngest daughter, the professor said, “She was mother of three ladies (Late Mrs. Abimbola Omolulu-Mulere, Mrs. Angela Omolara Branco and Mrs C.K Somolu) and two other men: Late Dr. O. da Rocha-Afodu, and Late Mr. Candido Olu da Rocha-Afodu.

“After the demise (in 1940) of her husband (Mobolaji Abisogun-Afodu, a pharmacist) during the 2nd World war, she came to live at Water House with her six children including Professor J.T. Da Rocha-Afodu. She took care of her father and her children. Her elder sister was Late Mrs. Angelica Folashade Thomas who was an active supporter of the Catholic Church and a Papal Medalist.

“Mrs Afodu was an active member of many women societies at Holy Cross Cathedral. She died at the age of 95 years and her funeral service was held at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos.”

Eternal charm

To many residents around Kakawa Street, Water House has remained something of a communal symbol, a repository of a people’s identity. Neighbours speak fondly of it, and are often quick to direct visitors to it. It is a quiet neighbourhood, and in its simplicity, the house itself appears hidden, dwarfed by the imposing edifices that surround it. Yet, there is a charming aura about it, one which appears to grow as the house ages. It is like a treasure in the shadows: it is hard for a visitor to resist the urge to cast a second look — and to ask questions.

Published in Business and Economy

It’s New York’s sickest hospital.

Long before a deranged doctor opened fire inside Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, the place was under an ongoing federal corruption probe, mobsters controlled the construction of its new outpatient center, executives were enjoying million-dollar pay packages and fat bonuses, doctors were allegedly offered per-patient bounties to drum up clinic business, and whistleblowing staffers sounded the alarm about poor patient care but were ignored.

Friday’s bloodbath was the latest black mark on a sprawling medical center that mainly cares for the poor and receives most of its funding from taxpayers in the form of state Medicaid.

Even its hiring of Dr. Henry Bello, the former resident who returned to Bronx-Lebanon on Friday to gun down the people who had once been his colleagues, is being held up at the latest — and most tragic — example of questionable recruitment. Bello, 45, had a criminal conviction for a 2004 sex attack on a 23-year-old.

Bronx-Lebanon has been headed for decades by Miguel Fuentes, who some describe as an imperious CEO who rarely leaves his office at the hospital’s Fulton Avenue campus to visit the main hospital facility on the Grand Concourse. When he does travel, he has a hospital-funded car and driver.

“This isn’t the Mayo Clinic,” one hospital observer bitterly noted.

Fuentes, 67, raised eyebrows with oversize incentive and retirement payouts which he was able to collect while still working. He took home $4.8 million in 2008, including $2.7 million in “other compensation.”

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Bronx-Lebanon Hospital CEO Miguel FuentesGetty Images

In 2015, his total compensation came to $1.7 million, according to the hospital’s latest tax filings.

Fuentes has homes on the Upper East Side and in Southampton. He had a $20,000 shower installed in his office bathroom and later removed it because of the optics of such a perk, a source told The Post. The hospital said he has a modest shower.

Federal investigators have been eyeing the hospital’s leadership in connection with a mob kickback scheme, sources have told The Post.

The probe concerns the construction of Bronx-Lebanon’s new nine-story outpatient treatment center which houses the hospital’s clinics.

Work on the $42 million annex began in 2009 and was mostly financed through the sale of taxpayer-backed state Dormitory Authority bonds. The hospital is paying back the authority over 25 years.

The project was supposed to be finished in 19 months, but it wasn’t completed until 2014.

Construction costs were padded, with cash allegedly ending up in the pockets of the Lucchese crime family and hospital executives, sources told The Post.

A major mob takedown against Lucchese crime family members in May included charges of wire and mail fraud against underboss Steven “Wonder Boy” Crea Sr. and associate Joseph Venice. The charges were linked to a project at “a major New York City hospital,” according to a federal indictment.

The indictment did not name the hospital, but sources have identified it as Bronx-Lebanon. The hospital has disavowed any knowledge of the allegations.

A source told The Post that Sparrow Construction, the general contractor, billed Bronx-Lebanon $26 million for only $21 million worth of work in a scheme carried out through falsified invoices and change orders.

The hospital did not question those change orders, the source said.

Bronx-Lebanon, which got its start in the 1800s, was in such bad financial shape in the 1970s that it nearly declared bankruptcy but was saved by a state bailout.

The Bronx-Lebanon health system now includes a 642-bed hospital, two nursing homes and a mental health facility.

It likes to tout that it has more than 1 million clinic visits a year, but how it attained that number was questionable to at least one former high-ranking staffer.

Dr. John Cosgrove, the former chief of surgery, told The Post that the hospital offered bonus payments to doctors of up to $60 for every patient treated in the clinics.

 

‘I told Fuentes I could not sign off on a surgeon I didn’t even meet and had no idea how safe he was.’

 - Dr. John Cosgrove, former chief of surgery

He said the incentives came from Medicaid payments and were made at a time when Fuentes was pushing to reach, and trumpet, 1 million visits.

 

Cosgrove said the system was distasteful and open to abuse from doctors who might schedule unnecessary visits in order to get more money.

The doctor also questioned the hospital’s vetting of key employees.

Cosgrove objected to a decision by Fuentes to hire Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum in 2008 as head of orthopedic surgery without consulting him first.

“I told Fuentes I could not sign off on a surgeon I didn’t even meet and had no idea how safe he was,” Cosgrove said.

He said Fuentes responded by unilaterally telling the head of the medical staff to change the bylaws and to make orthopedics its own department.
“Just like that,” Cosgrove said.

Kirschenbaum raised alarms among staffers when four patients died in a short period after he arrived.

Sources said complaints were made to both hospital leadership and the state Office of Professional Medical Conduct. The state did not take any disciplinary action against the doctor.

Bronx-Lebanon also took no action against the surgeon. “There was no reason to do any such thing,” said Fred Miller, the hospital’s lawyer.

Kirschenbaum maintained that the patients were all sick before surgery.

Kirschenbaum was brought in to do hip and knee replacements, which are money-making operations. He said he had done 3,000 at the hospital. He received a $314,210 bonus in 2014 and a $180,940 bonus in 2015, according to Bronx-Lebanon’s tax filings. The extra pay came on top of his $851,000 salary.Gunman dead after opening fire inside Bronx hospital

The Post received a copy of an anonymous letter that seven hospital employees, who said they were doctors, nurses and technicians, sent to the state with more recent allegations against Kirschenbaum. The letter discusses patients injured under his care, including one who lost a leg.

Kirschenbaum denied that to The Post and said he wasn’t aware of any recent state investigation of him.

A source told The Post that Kirschenbaum was responsible for hiring Dr. Peter Lesniewski, an orthopedist who was later convicted as being a top “lynchpin” in the $1 billion Long Island Rail Road disability-fraud scheme.

Lesniewski had been a consultant who between 1999 and 2008 “provided fraudulent medical narratives in support of the disability applications of at least 230 LIRR employees,” according to the US Attorney’s office. He was convicted in 2013 of mail fraud, wire fraud and health-care fraud.

He was sentenced in 2014 to eight years in federal prison. He declined, through a prison official, to speak to The Post about his time at Bronx-Lebanon.

Published in Headliners

Adrien Silva scored an extra-time penalty as Portugal recovered from a goal down to beat Mexico 2-1 in Sunday’s third-place play-off at the Confederations Cup in Moscow.

Luis Neto bundled into his own net to hand Mexico a 54th-minute lead, but Pepe stabbed home a stoppage-time equaliser to force an extra 30 minutes at Spartak Stadium.

Silva then struck his first international goal after a handball inside the box on 104 minutes, while both sides finished with 10 men as Nelson Semedo was dismissed for Portugal before Raul Jimenez saw red for Mexico.

World champions Germany face Copa America holders Chile later in the final in Saint Petersburg.

European champions Portugal were without captain Cristiano Ronaldo after the Real Madrid star was released from the squad to return home to meet his newborn twins.

Portugal and Mexico drew 2-2 in the opening game of the group stage, when Hector Moreno salvaged a last-gasp point for the Gold Cup winners, but were left fighting for a consolation prize in the Russian capital.

Portugal should have gone in front in the drizzling rain on 17 minutes when Andre Silva was upended by 38-year-old Rafael Marquez, with the video assistant referee stepping in to award the spot-kick.

But Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa flung himself superbly to his right to tip Andre Silva’s low spot-kick round the post.

Rui Patricio produced a sharp stop to deny Javier Hernandez, Mexico’s all-time leading scorer, from close range on the half hour, but the Portugal keeper was beaten shortly after the break.

Hernandez’s cross from the byline floated beyond Carlos Vela and Patricio, with Zenit St Petersburg centre-back Neto unwittingly turning the ball home.

Portugal went in pursuit of an equaliser and Gelson Martins — replacing Ronaldo in attack — was denied by an excellent save from Ochoa with just over an hour played.

But Ochoa was beaten in the first minute of injury time as Pepe lunged to get on the end of Ricardo Quaresma’s curling right-wing cross to force extra time.

Silva, on as a substitute, then grabbed the winner just before the end of the first period of extra time, burying a penalty after Miguel Layun handled in the box.

Semedo was then sent off on 106 minutes after picking up a second yellow card, but Mexico’s numerical advantage was swiftly wiped out when Jimenez received his marching orders.

Published in Business and Economy
Sunday, 02 July 2017 01:58

Killer doctor, Bello, blame colleagues

Nigerian-born Dr Henry Bello, who shot seven people, killed one woman and himself, at a Bronx hospital sent a chilling email to a New York newspaper just two hours before the deadly rampage, it has been gathered.

Bello used an AR-15 assault rifle in the attack on the 16th and 17th floors of the Bronx Lebanon Hospital last Friday around 2.45pm.

It was learnt the 45-year-old sent an email to the New York Daily News blaming two doctors for terminating “my road to a licensure to practice medicine.”

Bello, who was described on the hospital’s website as a family medicine physician, in the email said: “First, I was told it was because I always kept to myself. Then it was because of an altercation with a nurse.”

It emerged Bello was forced to resign over sexual harassment accusations.

However, in the email that was sent at 12.46pm, Bello said he was told his termination stemmed from him threatening a colleague.

He said he then sent an email to that colleague “congratulating her for my termination after she sent out an email to everybody telling them to file complaints against me so I can be terminated for being rude to her.

“I only said in the email, it remains to be seen if my life is meaningless or disposable,” Bello mailed.

Bello then blamed another doctor for ruining his career, adding that the doctor ‘blocked’ him from getting his medical permit despite him pouring $400,000 of his money into the hospital and the family medicine department.

Published in Parliament
Sunday, 02 July 2017 01:26

Bringing African folktales to life

Folktales and the art of traditional storytelling are in danger of being lost and Nairobi-based performer Maïmouna Jallow is on a mission to reverse the trend. But on her journey to revive the art she has also discovered the relevance of performing contemporary stories.

There is something mystical about Zanzibar's Stone Town. It is a place where past and present collide, and where a mosaic of sights and smells from across the Indian Ocean weave themselves together down narrow alleyways.

It is perhaps fitting then, that my exploration of traditional East African folktales began here, leading me on an unexpected journey into storytelling and adapting contemporary novels.

In 2015, feeling nostalgic for the tales of Anansi the Spider that I had grown up with in West Africa, I travelled to the historic centre of Zanzibar in search of folktales.

Streets of StonetwonImage copyrightMAIMONA JALLOW
Image captionStone Town's narrow streets and old buildings proved the perfect setting to rediscover old folktales

On arrival, I went straight to the Old Fort, an imposing 17th Century structure built by the Omanis to defend the island from the Portuguese. There, with the help of the painter Hamza Aussie, I met a group of women who owned curio shops that lined the grassy courtyard.

I asked them if they would share the folktales of their youth with me, and within a couple of hours, I had recorded a dozen stories, or rather, fragments of stories.

Around us, children pressed inwards, eager to hear their tales. But even in those magical hours, I started to feel like I was grasping at clouds. The women had to dig deep into the recess of their minds as they tried to piece together scattered bits of ancient tales.

Like an old discarded puzzle, some pieces seemed to be lost forever.

Women sharing stories in ZanzibarImage copyrightMAIMOUNA JALLOW
Image captionMaimouna heard traditional stories from women in Zanzibar

The children around us, whilst enchanted by their tales, would save their coins to play computer games in the gaming rooms that had sprouted alongside shops that sold henna and incense.

It seemed that even in this small town, famed for its quaint antiquity, folktales were dying. I needed to understand why.

Yes, television was to blame, and so was the breakdown of the extended family, but how had we so easily lost such a fundamental kernel of our existence?

Later that week, I had the good fortune of meeting Haji Gora Haji, the Island's poet laureate, a living fountain of wondrous tales.

As I listened to him recount a story about the infamous Hare duping Tortoise into buying a piece of land that turned out to be a beach, which Tortoise only found out about when the tide came in, I wondered whether part of the problem is that so many of these stories are far removed from our realities today.

Would our urbanised kids understand Haji's story?

Maimouna performingImage copyrightNII KOTEI NIKOI

Heck, even I needed Hamza to give me the annotated version. As he explained it, there was a time when many people on the island were being conned into buying land without title deeds, so this was a warning to people to be wary of unscrupulous salesmen.

Indeed, folktales have always been a vital way to transmit important information, as well as moral lessons, and as such, they are often rooted in specific places and contexts.

And as much as the purist in me wanted to believe that folktales are not only timeless but also universal, I started to think that perhaps one way to preserve folktales was to re-imagine them so that they would resonate with children and adults today.

Back in Nairobi, I launched an online contest, inviting African writers to re-write traditional folktales but with a contemporary twist.

We got a mixed bag of entries, some which addressed war and exile, others that questioned our modern mores. I too began writing stories that merged the old with the new, for example, drawing parallels between slavery and the indiscriminate killing of young black men in America.

Maimouna performingImage copyrightNEKANE REQUEJO DE OZAMIZ

I began performing these stories, at times using video footage of real events to ground them in reality, but preserving the structure and style of traditional folktales. The result was as hybrid as me, and whilst I worried about veering off track, I knew that are so many of us who inhabit multiple worlds.

The success of this experiment spurred me to push the boundaries even further and to use oral storytelling to bring African literature to new audiences by adapting novels for performance. I have author Lola Shoneyin thank for this.

The first time I read her acclaimed novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, the women in the story possessed me. They were hilarious. And they jostled for space in my mind, speaking loudly, and demanding to be seen.

My initial reaction was to think, "someone needs to turn this into a movie". But soon, I realised that I wanted to tell this story.

One-woman show

It was about patriarchy, sexual abuse, polygamy, poverty, education, love, friendship and so many issues that I wanted to talk about, and I felt that performance storytelling could be a gateway to have open discussions on the serious questions raised by the novel.

So I set about adapting the book into a 50-minute one-woman show.

Then, I dug into my bookshelves and pulled out other novels that I thought would translate beautifully into performed stories. I worked with five other women, an eclectic mix of poets, actors and writers, and together we started to bring African novels to life.

These were not plays. Each novel was adapted and retold by just one teller. We used traditional elements of African oral storytelling like call and response and each time, the teller would build a relationship with the audience and create a different form of magic.

The response was tremendous. Audiences told us that we had brought books to life. Some said they did not read and were grateful to still be able to enjoy the terrific literature coming out of Africa.

Many subsequently bought the novels so that they could enjoy the full details that had to be left out in the adaptations.

As an African literature major, it dawned on me that my journey had come full circle: folktales had led me back to contemporary novels and opened the door to storytelling. So perhaps I have not veered off track after all.

The late Professor Kofi Awoonor used to say: "We weave new ropes where the old ones left off." And like Stone Town itself, I have simply found a way to fuse past and present.

Published in Parliament

When Terry Gobanga - then Terry Apudo - didn't show up to her wedding, nobody could have guessed that she had been abducted, raped and left for dead by the roadside. It was the first of two tragedies to hit the young Nairobi pastor in quick succession. But she is a survivor.

It was going to be a very big wedding. I was a pastor, so all our church members were coming, as well as all our relatives. My fiance, Harry, and I were very excited - we were getting married in All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi and I had rented a beautiful dress.

But the night before the wedding I realised that I had some of Harry's clothes, including his cravat. He couldn't show up without a tie, so a friend who had stayed the night offered to take it to him first thing in the morning. We got up at dawn and I walked her to the bus station.

As I was making my way back home, I walked past a guy sitting on the bonnet of a car - suddenly he grabbed me from behind and dumped me in the back seat. There were two more men inside, and they drove off. It all happened in a fraction of a second.

A piece of cloth was stuffed in my mouth. I was kicking and hitting out and trying to scream. When I managed to push the gag out, I screamed: "It's my wedding day!" That was when I got the first blow. One of the men told me to "co-operate or you will die".

close-up of Terry GobangaImage copyrightTERRY GOBANGA

The men took turns to rape me. I felt sure I was going to die, but I was still fighting for my life, so when one of the men took the gag out of my mouth I bit his manhood. He screamed in pain and one of them stabbed me in the stomach. Then they opened the door and threw me out of the moving car.

I was miles from home, outside Nairobi. More than six hours had passed since I had been abducted.

A child saw me being thrown out and called her grandmother. People came running. When the police came they tried to get a pulse, but no-one could. Thinking I was dead, they wrapped me in a blanket and started to take me to the mortuary. But on the way there, I choked on the blanket and coughed. The policeman said: "She's alive?" And he turned the car around and drove me to the biggest government hospital in Kenya.

I arrived in great shock, murmuring incoherently. I was half-naked and covered in blood, and my face was swollen from being punched. But something must have alerted the matron, because she guessed I was a bride. "Let's go around the churches to see if they're missing a bride," she told the nurses.

All Saint's Cathedral is the national Anglican cathedral in NairobiImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionAll Saint's Cathedral is the oldest Anglican cathedral in Nairobi

By coincidence, the first church they called at was All Saints Cathedral. "Are you missing a bride?" the nurse asked.

The minister said: "Yes, there was a wedding at 10 o'clock and she didn't come."

When I didn't show up to the church, my parents were panicking. People were sent out to search for me. Rumours flew. Some wondered: "Did she change her mind?" Others said: "No, it's so unlike her, what happened?"

After a few hours, they had to take down the decorations to make room for the next ceremony. Harry had been put in the vestry to wait.

When they heard where I was, my parents came to the hospital with the whole entourage. Harry was actually carrying my wedding gown. But the media had also got wind of the story so there were reporters too.

I was moved to another hospital where I'd have more privacy. That was where the doctors stitched me up and gave me some devastating news: "The stab wound went deep into your womb, so you won't be able to carry any children."

Terry pictured this yearImage copyrightTERRY GOBANGA

I was given the morning-after pill, as well as antiretroviral drugs to protect me from HIV and Aids. My mind shut down, it refused to accept what had happened.

Harry kept saying he still wanted to marry me. "I want to take care of her and make sure she comes back to good health in my arms, in our house," he said. Truth be told, I wasn't in a position to say Yes or No because my mind was so jammed with the faces of the three men, and with everything that had happened.

A few days later, when I was less sedated, I was able to look him in the eye. I kept saying sorry. I felt like I had let him down. Some people said it was my own fault for leaving the house in the morning. It was really hurtful, but my family and Harry supported me.

The police never caught the rapists. I went to line-up after line-up but I didn't recognise any of the men, and it hurt me each time I went. It set back my recovery - it was 10 steps forward, 20 back. In the end I went back to the police station and said: "You know what, I'm done. I just want to leave it."

Three months after the attack I was told I was HIV-negative and got really excited, but they told me I had to wait three more months to be sure. Still, Harry and I began to plan our second wedding.

Although I had been very angry at the press intrusion, somebody read my story and asked to meet me. Her name was Vip Ogolla, and she was also a rape survivor. We spoke, and she told me she and her friends wanted to give me a free wedding. "Go wild, have whatever you want," she said.

I was ecstatic. I went for a different type of cake, much more expensive. Instead of a rented gown, now I could have one that was totally mine.

In July 2005, seven months after our first planned wedding, Harry and I got married and went on a honeymoon.

Harry Olwande and Terry on their wedding day in July 2005Image copyrightTERRY GOBANGA
Image captionHarry Olwande and Terry on their wedding day in July 2005

Twenty-nine days later, we were at home on a very cold night. Harry lit a charcoal burner and took it to the bedroom. After dinner, he removed it because the room was really warm. I got under the covers as he locked up the house. When he came to bed he said he was feeling dizzy, but we thought nothing of it.

It was so cold we couldn't sleep, so I suggested getting another duvet. But Harry said he couldn't get it as he didn't have enough strength. Strangely, I couldn't stand up either. We realised something was very wrong. He passed out. I passed out. I remember coming to. I would call him. At times he would respond, at other times he wouldn't. I pushed myself out of bed and threw up, which gave me some strength. I started crawling to the phone. I called my neighbour and said: "Something is wrong, Harry is not responding."

She came over immediately but it took me ages to crawl to the front door to let her in as I kept passing out. I saw an avalanche of people coming in, screaming. And I passed out again.

I woke up in hospital and asked where my husband was. They said they were working on him in the next room. I said: "I'm a pastor, I've seen quite a lot in my life, I need you to be very straight with me." The doctor looked at me and said: "I'm sorry, your husband did not make it."

I couldn't believe it.

Terry places a ring on Harry's fingerImage copyrightTERRY GOBANGA
Image captionTerry places a ring on Harry's finger

Going back to church for the funeral was terrible. Just a month earlier I had been there in my white dress, with Harry standing at the front looking handsome in his suit. Now, I was in black and he was being wheeled in, in a casket.

People thought I was cursed and held back their children from me. "There's a bad omen hanging over her," they said. At one point, I actually believed it myself.

Others accused me of killing my husband. That really got me down - I was grieving.

The post-mortem showed what really happened: as the carbon monoxide filled his system, he started choking and suffocated.

I had a terrible breakdown. I felt let down by God, I felt let down by everybody. I couldn't believe that people could be laughing, going out and just going about life. I crashed.

One day I was sitting on the balcony looking at the birds chirping away and I said: "God, how can you take care of the birds and not me?" In that instant I remembered there are 24 hours a day - sitting in depression with your curtains closed, no-one's going to give you back those 24 hours. Before you know, it's a week, a month, a year wasted away. That was a tough reality.

I told everybody I would never ever get married again. God took my husband, and the thought of ever going through such a loss again was too much. It's something I wouldn't wish on anybody. The pain is so intense, you feel it in your nails.

But there was one man - Tonny Gobanga - who kept visiting. He would encourage me to talk about my husband and think about the good times. One time he didn't call for three days and I was so angry. That's when it hit me that I had fallen for him.

Tonny and Terry GobangaImage copyrightTERRY GOBANGA
Image captionTonny and Terry Gobanga

Tonny proposed marriage but I told him to buy a magazine, read my story and tell me if he still loved me. He came back and said he still wanted to marry me.

But I said: "Listen, there's another thing - I can't have children, so I cannot get married to you."

"Children are a gift from God," he said. "If we get them, Amen. If not, I will have more time to love you."

I thought: "Wow, what a line!" So I said Yes.

Tonny went home to tell his parents, who were very excited, until they heard my story. "You can't marry her - she is cursed," they said. My father-in-law refused to attend the wedding, but we went ahead anyway. We had 800 guests - many came out of curiosity.

It was three years after my first wedding, and I was very scared. When we were exchanging vows, I thought: "Here I am again Father, please don't let him die." As the congregation prayed for us I cried uncontrollably.

A year into our marriage, I felt unwell and went to the doctor - and to my great surprise he told me that I was pregnant.

As the months progressed I was put on total bed rest, because of the stab wound to my womb. But all went well, and we had a baby girl who we called Tehille. Four years later, we had another baby girl named Towdah.

Terry and her daughtersImage copyrightTERRY GOBANGA

Today, I am the best of friends with my father-in-law.

I wrote a book, Crawling out of Darkness, about my ordeal, to give people hope of rising again. I also started an organisation called Kara Olmurani. We work with rape survivors, as I call them - not rape victims. We offer counselling and support. We are looking to start a halfway house for them where they can come and find their footing before going back to face the world.

I have forgiven my attackers. It wasn't easy but I realised I was getting a raw deal by being upset with people who probably don't care. My faith also encourages me to forgive and not repay evil with evil but with good.

The most important thing is to mourn. Go through every step of it. Get upset until you are willing to do something about your situation. You have to keep moving, crawl if you have to. But move towards your destiny because it's waiting, and you have to go and get it.

Published in Parliament

Dr. Henry Michael Bello, the gunman who shot six people at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Centre in New York on Friday, has been identified as a Nigerian.

Some Nigerians in New York, who knew Bello, confirmed to the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday.

And the NYPD has also identified him to be a Nigerian-born doctor.

Bello, 45, shot dead a woman, on the 17th floor and injured at least six others on the 16th floor, before killing himself the New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neil, said.

Five of his victims were seriously injured and “fighting for their lives”,

Bello went into his former workplace wearing a white lab coat with an AR-15 machine gun hidden underneath with the intention of targeting the same individual.

NYPD officials said Bello asked for a specific doctor on the 16th floor but when he was told the doctor was not there, he became angry and started shooting at everyone.

Officials said Bello tried to set himself on fire before committing suicide.

Reports said Bello, who was hired at the hospital in August 2014 as a house physician, had past arrests for sex abuse, turnstile jumping, burglary and public urination.

In September 2004, he was arrested and charged with sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment after a 23-year-old woman told officers he had grabbed her crotch area outside a building on Bleecker Street in Manhattan and tried to penetrate her through her underwear, reports said.

Court records indicated that in September 2004, Bello pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, a misdemeanour, and was sentenced to community service, while the felony sexual abuse charge was dismissed, according to reports.

He was going to be fired by the hospital, after reports of sexual harassments, but instead chose to resign in February 2015 in lieu of termination, reports further said.

Reports from the New York State Education Department said Bello had received a limited permit to practice as an international medical graduate in order to gain experience so he could be licensed.

The permit was issued on July 1, 2014, and expired on July 1, 2016, while he also had a pharmacy technician license that had been issued in California in 2006.

He went to medical school at Ross University on the Caribbean island nation of Dominica and later worked briefly as a pharmacy technician for Metropolitan Hospital Centre in Manhattan in 2012,

A photo provided by authorities showed him dead on the floor of the hospital, wearing a bloodied doctor’s coat.

Law enforcement officials described Bello as transient recently, with at least five different addresses since he left the hospital.

Published in Headliners

Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest carrier said on Friday it would resume daily flight operations between Abuja and Accra, Ghana on July 17.

The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, disclosed this on Friday in Lagos that the resumption of flights between the two countries was part of efforts to satisfy the company’s customers.

Ilegbodu said flights were suspended on the Abuja-Accra route in March following the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to pave way for the rehabilitation of the runway.

He said the Abuja-Accra flight would operate daily at 5.30 p.m. (local time) departure out of Abuja with a departure time of 7.40 p.m. (local time) in Accra.

“The re-introduction of the Abuja-Accra operation is part of the management’s strategy to optimise flight schedule and respond to the needs of our valued customers.

“Arik Air has been in the forefront of providing customer-centred services since our inception and we will continue to respond to the needs of our customers,” the CEO said in a statement.

Published in Business and Economy
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