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Despite paying over N1m, I saw hell migrating illegally to Europe –Nigerian Libya returnee

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Despite paying over N1m, I saw hell migrating illegally to Europe –Nigerian Libya returnee

Libya thrives in human trade and slavery. Migrants who are incapable of settling ridiculous smuggling fees are tortured, sold or forced into prostitution. Jerry Adelu was one of such migrants who had planned to get to Germany to start life afresh. In this interview, he details what he went through on the course of his trip.

 

 

What made you decide you were going to take the trip?

I would say lust. I saw a picture of a friend on Facebook who travelled. There’s an attitude that Nigerians who leave the country display. They would take pictures and share on Facebook and Instagram and tell you, “It’s happening over here. What are you doing there? Come over!” And they say, “Man, when you come, this laundry that you’re doing in Nigeria, it’s going to bring more money than what you get in Nigeria.”

Whom did you speak to about helping you leave Nigeria?

I didn’t speak to anybody. I was scared because my friend had input that mindset in me that if I tell somebody, that person will now become somebody that is now blocking my way from travelling. He was the one that called people, and directed me on which way to go.

How easy was it sourcing for funds for the trip?

It took me over six months to put the money together. What he told me was that if I could raise N300, 000, it would be more than enough for me to leave Nigeria to Europe. The initial plan was to go to Germany, which we bargained for. He would connect me with some transit guys who would take me from Nigeria to Europe. That was the starting point. Unknown to me, I was going to spend more than that. He didn’t explain the modus on the way, that I was going to face challenges and see kidnapping and beating. The money didn’t seem much to me. I knew that if I saved for three months or more, I would get it. God so kind, after six months, I raised the money.

Would you say that your friend was a bad influence?

My friend was not a bad influence. He just wanted to help me. Somebody helped him too, and he wanted to help me that way too. He was fortunate to get there in a nice way, by not spending much money. The person who took him was a bugger (returnee turned trafficker). But he was not a bugger himself. He wanted me to bypass the bugger. It would make me spend less than he did. He had the contacts of people I could call that could help me get to Europe.

Starting from the beginning, did everything work out according to expectation?

It didn’t work out well, and that’s the reason you’re seeing me here in Nigeria. I ended up spending N1.150m at the end of the day. After I left Nigeria, I paid the N300, 000 to someone my friend connected me to as an agent from Benin. After paying the money, we embarked on the journey. But I was shocked when I got to Sokoto and met another agent who said the money I paid in Nigeria was for a wrong connection. The money had been expended on my travelling arrangement and couldn’t take me into Europe. I called my friend and told him what was happening. My friend was furious, but there was nothing he could do. I had to handle it myself, by asking the agent how much it would cost to take me to Europe. He said N200, 000. I said no problem. So, I did a mobile transfer with my bank’s app to an account provided to me. The cash got me as far as Agadez in a journey that took 17 hours, nonstop. We travelled in a luxury bus. Arriving in Agadez, the same agent, called Abdulrahman still told me that the money I paid at the border had been expended. I needed to pay 5,000CFA. I did another transfer into another Nigerian bank account. I asked him if I would pay any other money and he assured me that I wouldn’t, that I would get into Europe.

Tell me about the Sahara desert. What was the experience like?

The Sahara desert experience is one that I have never seen. During the day, the sand is cold, the sun is high. During the night, it will now change. The sand would be hot, the weather we could cold. There was no way we could stand. When I say cold, I mean block of ice. We had to dress like armed robbers. We put on head warmers to cover up, so that we don’t die because of the dust and cold. As you’re passing the desert, you’ll see skeletons of people who have died. Inside the desert, we still have rebels who would come and rob you and take your money from you. Most of us suffered a lot in the desert. I was lucky, probably because of the money I paid. It took us only five days, between Agadez and Niger. Others weren’t so lucky. We passed through that stage and got into Qatrun, Libya. From there, we went to Sabha. And that was when the genesis of our problem started.

What was your experience in Libya?

We were taken to a large detention camp which was like a big hall that could accommodate nothing less than 5,000 persons. We had different departments there. We had Nigerian ghetto, VIP Nigerian ghetto, Ghanaian ghetto, Cameroun, Senegal… Different countries. When you get there, they will ask you where you’re from. If you say you’re from Nigeria, they will tell you to go to the Nigerian ghetto. If you come on credit from Agad e z , you’ll get VIP. It’s the credit area. If you’re standing, you will stand there for as long as you’re there. If you’re lucky to find a space to sit, you will sit there until you leave there. I was asked to stay in the normal ghetto. Hours later, the people controlling the camp welcomed us and told us we had come to the ‘Land of No Mercy’. They pointed at the walls of the hall and we saw fresh blood there. The story behind that was that some people had tried to escape and they had been shot dead. This was why they called the place the ‘Land of No Mercy.’ If you break their rules, your blood will stain the walls. Ahmed, one of the traffickers in charge of the place, came by and told us that we had to pay N300, 000. I reminded him of the guy in Agadez whom we had paid 5000CFAs to, that promised it would get us to Europe. I told them I was willing to pay the money, but I didn’t have a Libyan bank account to make it happen. They told me that I shouldn’t worry. Two hours later, he brought a bank account number from a Nigerian bank. God help you, if you are given that bank account number, your days start counting from there. You would be given 48 hours free of charge. After the time elapses, they would start beating you. Now, this is how it runs, once they give you that account number and the 48 hours elapses, they would give you 59 seconds to call Nigeria. You would be asked to cram everything you want to say. While you are on that call, they would be beating you, and whomever you’re speaking to would be hearing your cry of pain from the background. It would then trigger them to send the money.

I had no choice but to call my sister who is like a mother to me. She shouted, “Again? Which kain wrong connection? You no dey see better connection enter?”

I explained everything to her. She asked how much the money was. I told her and she said she didn’t have the money, but she was going to talk to her husband to help out. Meanwhile, we didn’t tell her husband. I had listened to my friend’s a d -vice about not telling anyone. Also, I relied on his promise, believing I would get there in two weeks. I had planned to reveal to the whole family where I was after I had arrived Germany. I wanted to surprise them. So, my sister had to tell her husband about my predicament, and the husband then sent the money. In that place also, girls were being used for prostitution. Those who could not pay their money were sold to those who were in charge of connection houses where they would have to work to earn twice of whatever they billed them. What Nigerians who want to make money do is to go there, get a girl and pay like N300, 000. The Arabs take 500 dinar, which is N50, 000 to bail anybody anywhere. It is a fixed price. But the Nigerians would take N300, 000. So, if someone bails someone for N50, 000, the person bailed would then pay N600, 000 in return. Can you see the difference? The traffickers would pretend as if they are helping you, but they are not doing that. They are actually killing you. That is their own source of income, how they earn their money. They have been living like that. They are comfortable with it, and they feel you cannot do anything about it. Now, what got me scared was that on our way back, we noticed they had caught a boat before they caught ours. The boat had about 157 people, but only 27 people survived. The rest died. Some had no eyes, no nose, stiff hands… That was the first thing I saw and my brain said, “Man, if you had died on that sea, who would see your corpse?” We were taken to a deportation camp where we spent nine months. During that time, we were calling on the ambassador, but he didn’t respond. The reason was that we were taken to Misrata, which was a no-go area. The law working there was different from the one in Tripoli where the Nigeria embassy was. At Misrata the law is too stringent. They would detain you if you don’t have papers or they are not complete. Eventually, I called my dad for help. He was upset at first, but he later succumbed to my pleas. I thank God that I am now in Nigeria. The government worked with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to bring us back home.

What advice do you have for those intending to travel out of Nigeria?

We’re not saying migration is bad. But if you must go at all, go through the legitimate menas.

What have you been doing since you returned to Nigeria?

Since I came back, I went back to my laundry business. I’m doing it in another way, putting what I learned from Libya into my business. Today, Jerry works with the Patriotic Citizens Initiative, actively enlightening people on the realities of irregular migration.

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Metro and Crime

25 suspected cultists held in Lagos

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25 suspected cultists held in Lagos

P

olice in Lagos yesterday said they had arrested 25 suspects believed to be cult members.

The suspects were alleged to have been arrested at Ijora, Mushin and Bariga.

The crackdown on the suspected cult members started on Saturday about 4p.m., after operatives of Operation Crush from the Anti-Cultism Unit arrested Olaitan Rilwan (20) in possession of an automatic pistol, concealed in his bag, at Ijora Roundabout.

The suspect admitted being a member of the Ayie Confraternity. In a follow up operation at Bariga, Mustapha Oseni (23) and 22 others were arrested.

In a related development, also on the same day, about 5p.m., the operatives also arrested another suspect on Gaskiya Road, Mushin. One locally-made pistol, with eight rounds of live cartridges, was recovered from him.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bala Elkana, who confirmed the arrests, said that investigation was ongoing.

He said: “Anti-crime patrol team from Mushin Police Station led by Inspector Atipi Agasa, while on patrol along Olorunsogo bus stop, Mushin, intercepted Omisogun Mathew (25) and Yetunde Lawson (28) on a motorcycle. On sighting the police team, the hoodlums attempted to escape, but were given a hot chase.

“One locally-made double-barrelled pistol, with two live cartridges, was recovered from them. The suspects belonged to a five-man armed robbery syndicate operating in Mushin, Ikotun and Igando areas of Lagos State. The suspects were transferred to the office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for discreet investigation.”

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Metro and Crime

Police: Armed men in military uniform kidnap five in Kaduna

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The police in Kaduna have confirmed the kidnap of five persons by armed men on Friday at Danbushiya Village, at the outskirt of Kaduna metropolis.

The Command Public Relations Officer, Yakubu Sabo, confirmed this in a statement on Saturday in Kaduna.

Sabo said on August 23 at about 2300hrs, the head of Malali police division reported that he received a distress call that armed men in military uniform blocked the access road to Babatunde Fashola Housing Estate, Danbushiya Village, at the outskirt of Kaduna and intercepted a Honda Accord Reg. No. LND 753 AL and five other vehicles. They kidnapped seven persons.

According to him, patrol teams within the metropolis led by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, were quickly mobilised to the scene of the incident but the hoodlums had already escaped with the victims.

“However, due to pressurised patrols within the general area, two of the victims were later found after being released by the hoodlums.

“The two released victims alongside the vehicles were recovered to the police station,” the spokesman said.

He disclosed that “upon search, the sum of $10,000 and N647,300 cash were recovered in one of the vehicles”.

He also explained that combined teams of police anti-kidnapping unit and vigilantes were later dispatched to the scene for search operation with a view to arrest the perpetrators and rescue the remaining five victims.

“The IGP’S IRT were also contacted for Technical Support in tracking the hoodlums,” he added.

Sabo said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ali Janga, has assured that the incident would not deter the command from its collective determination in the recent war against criminals.

He therefore called for continued support by all well meaning citizens of the state, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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Metro and Crime

Police: Armed men in military uniform kidnap five in Kaduna

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The police in Kaduna have confirmed the kidnap of five persons by armed men on Friday at Danbushiya Village, at the outskirt of Kaduna metropolis.

The Command Public Relations Officer, Yakubu Sabo, confirmed this in a statement on Saturday in Kaduna.

Sabo said on August 23 at about 2300hrs, the head of Malali police division reported that he received a distress call that armed men in military uniform blocked the access road to Babatunde Fashola Housing Estate, Danbushiya Village, at the outskirt of Kaduna and intercepted a Honda Accord Reg. No. LND 753 AL and five other vehicles.

They kidnapped seven persons.

According to him, patrol teams within the metropolis led by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, were quickly mobilised to the scene of the incident but the hoodlums had already escaped with the victims.

“However, due to pressurised patrols within the general area, two of the victims were later found after being released by the hoodlums.

“The two released victims alongside the vehicles were recovered to the police station,” the spokesman said.

He disclosed that “upon search, the sum of $10,000 and N647,300 cash were recovered in one of the vehicles”.

He also explained that combined teams of police anti-kidnapping unit and vigilantes were later dispatched to the scene for search operation with a view to arrest the perpetrators and rescue the remaining five victims.

“The IGP’S IRT were also contacted for Technical Support in tracking the hoodlums,” he added.

Sabo said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ali Janga, has assured that the incident would not deter the command from its collective determination in the recent war against criminals.

He therefore called for continued support by all well meaning citizens of the state, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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Metro and Crime

Go, change narratives about womanhood – Mrs Akeredolu charges BEMORE girls

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Go, change narratives about womanhood – Mrs Akeredolu charges BEMORE girls

Wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu, has advised girls who participated in the BEMORE Summer Bootcamp to go back to their homes and change the narratives about womanhood.

Mrs Akeredolu gave the advice on Saturday at the closing of the third edition of the programme, held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure.

She enjoined the girls to proclaim what they were taught at the camp and impact the society positively.

 

She also urged them to introduce a ‘Weekend Democracy Meeting’ to their families, where some of the things they had learnt would be shared with others for good living.

According to the governor’s wife, she is determined to focussing on the young girls who are malleable and not yet polluted with tribalism and rabid religiosity which are common with many Nigerians.

“I’m determined to equipping them with the tools to succeed and protecting them from harm, and all manners of physical abuse.

 

“I am certain that this will lead them to becoming leaders, not only in technology, but in all endeavours, especially in politics where their voices are desperately needed to sit at the table of decision making,” she said.

The governor’s wife said BEMORE was structured to chart a new course and serve as a grooming ground for a new breed without greed.

 

She explained that the girls were taught to be selfless, good mannered, advocate of causes of their choice, especially those related to the uplift of women.

“They were also trained to be proficient in their chosen professions,” she said.

Mrs Akeredolu tasked the girls to return to their various communities and initiate positive changes without being bothered by the high and mighty that might confront them when practising what they had learnt in the camp.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the over 250 girls, selected across the state, were trained on ICT, solar energy, taekwondo and various skill acquisitions.

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Metro and Crime

Sanwo-Olu prioritises security, assures residents of improvement

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Sanwo-Olu prioritises security, assures residents of improvement

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State yesterday assured Lagosians that his administration would soon embark on strategies aimed at improving the security apparatus in the state, saying that investors and businesses owner will soon experience an improved security.

 

Speaking through the state Head of Service, HOS, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, at the end of a four-day retreat in Lagos Island organised for Permanent Secretaries and Commissioners,

Sanwo-Olu said that “beginning from next Monday, residents of Lagos will see an improvement.”

 

According to the governor, the cosmopolitan status of Lagos required that security of lives and properties be given utmost attention.

 

The governor noted that aside security, which was often considered as germane, other sectors were also discussed during the retreat including Ease of Doing Business amongst others.

 

“The actual position of security in Lagos was discussed extensively at the retreat. Even the Commissioner for Police in Lagos, Zubairu Muazu, was also present to discuss the present state of security.

“From all that has happened at the retreat, I can assure residents that beginning from Monday next week, they will see an improvement in security and other sectors of the state.

 

“At the retreat, the Permanent Secretaries were equipped with the required tools to achieve the desired and promises made to residents of Lagos by this government,” he said.

 

Earlier, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, assured of better days ahead, as the three tiers of government agreed to synergize for positive results.

 

Omotosho noted that the retreat is to create a wide vision on the THEMES agenda of the present administration.

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Metro and Crime

Nigerian jailed 4 years for $8.3m fraud in U.S.

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Nigerian jailed 4 years for $8.3m fraud in U.S.

A Nigerian, Ayodeji Fatunmbi, has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding the United States government up to $8.3 million Medicare charges. Fatunmbi, according to an online news portal, PREMIUM TIMES, was found guilty in a jury trial on July 31, 2014, but was only sentenced to 46 months in prison on August 19, 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He was extradited to the U.S. in October 2018 based on the ruling of the Federal High Court. It was gathered that Fatunmbi, 47, was found guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud and one count of money laundering.

He was also asked to pay roughly $1.1 million in restitution to American government. The order was made by Christiana Snyder of the U.S. District Court of Central District of California. Fatunmi, according to reports, admitted he paid cash kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for durable medical equipment (DME), including power wheelchairs, which the Medicare beneficiaries did not have a legitimate medical need, according to the U.S. authorities.

Fatunmbi and co-conspirators caused Lutemi Medical Supply (Lutemi), a DME supply company that he co-ran, to submit approximately $8.3 million in claims to Medicare, which resulted in the company being paid over $3.5 million.

The convict further admitted that he was responsible for $2.1 million in false and fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary DME and that as a result of his conduct, Medicare paid Lutemi a total of $1.1 million. The conspirators also wrote cheques from Lutemi’s bank account to Lutemi employees and others, and Mr Fatunmbi instructed that those monies be returned to him to pay the illegal cash kickbacks to the patient recruiters and doctors, authorities said. Fatunmbi also admitted directing others at Lutemi to engage in the fraud to conceal the nature and source of the proceeds of the health care fraud conspiracy. Other conspirators identified in the fraud, identified as Olufunke Fadojutimi, 47, of Carson, California, and Maritza Elizabeth Velasquez, 44, of Las Vegas, Nevada, were also charged. Velasquez had pleaded guilty in 2013 and sentenced to 15 months in jail. She was also asked to pay a restitution in excess of $3.4 million. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California is pursuing a total forfeiture of Mr Fatunmbi and others caught in the fraud.

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Metro and Crime

Police get training on children’s rights protection, gender violence

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Police get training on children’s rights protection, gender violence

Policemen in Lagos and Ogun State Police Commands on children’s rights and gender-based violence have been taken through training on child rights protection. The one-day training programme was organised by the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN) in collaboration with the Ben Bruce foundation and ParenChild360 (PCI360). The theme of the 2019 training was tagged: “Gender based violence case management, referral and the role of the Nigeria Police”.

On the training, Mr Ebenezer Omejalile, co-founder of ACVPN), said: “The training is timely considering the fact that most of the policemen in charge of handling gender based issues have been transferred ,we deemed it fit to organise this training for the policemen newly deployed to the beat. We believe that having the desired knowledge will help them do their job better.” Ben Bruce, while speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting, decried the high rate of child molestation especially sexual abuse of girl children which he described as alarming.

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Metro and Crime

Taraba NYSC hands over 3 corps members with fake certificates to police

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Taraba NYSC hands over 3 corps members with fake certificates to police

The National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) yesterday handed over three prospective corps members found with alleged fake certificates to police and other security operatives in the camp for further investigation. The Taraba State Coordinator of NYSC, Mrs Florence Yaakugh, who handed over the prospective batch B corps members at the camp in Jalingo, said the verification officer discovered they were with fake documents. Yaakugh named the perspective corps members as Nasiru Yau, who claimed to have studied Mass Communication; Shehu Murktar -Computer Science and Illiyasu Usman- Sociology, all said to have come from Isfop University in Cotonu in Benin Republic.

He added: “They came for registration and the verification officer discovered them with fake certificates and verification papers. “If you will recall, the Director General of NYSC, Brig Gen Shauibu Ibrahim, had recently expressed deep concern over the activities of fake corps members who cannot make a correct sentence in the English language. “He directed us to check and fish out such persons and hand them over to the security operatives for further investigation and this is what we are just doing,” he explained.

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Metro and Crime

Kidnappers’ run riot in Enugu

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Kidnappers’ run riot in Enugu
  • Abduct ex-LG chairman’s daughter
  • Family of four held along old Enugu-Anambra Road

 

 

Enugu State appears to be under the siege of kidnappers following the rampaging activities of gunmen, with other unpleasant reports emerging days after the rape and murder of 67-year-old Mrs Pat Ugwu on Wednesday. Daredevil kidnappers struck around the Obioma-Nsude axis of Old Enugu-Onitsha Road on Thursday night, abducting four persons at a time, with all being members of a family. The victims were said to be travelling in a Toyota Venza car when the kidnappers intercepted the vehicle and took all of them away around 8.30pm.

The abducted persons are Ernest Otugo, a businessman based in Nnewi, his wife, their son and a family friend who was identified simply as Reuben. The kidnappers reportedly released Otugo’s wife later to go and raise money to pay ransom for the release of other hostages. Another couple, whose identity is yet to be identified, was said to have been attacked and kidnapped along the same road on the same day.

These incidents are besides the abduction of the daughter of Chief Frank Anioma, a former council chairman in the state who also acted as Personal Assistant to governor Chimaroke Nnamani during his tenure. Raising the alarm on Thursday through a Facebook post, Anioma solicited information and help from the public over the disappearance of his daughter who was said to have gone to the market before she was abducted. In the Facebook post, the politician wrote: “Please friends and good Nigerians help me, my daughter Josisochukwu Anioma was kidnapped this morning, August 22, about 7am on her way to New Haven Market. Her phone… was ringing without response. Now it’s ringing busy. Please help repost this. Who knows (how) God will show mercy.”

When contacted yesterday, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the kidnap of travellers along Obioma-Nsude axis of old Enugu- Anambra Road, noting that police were on the case. The PPRO, however, explained that the case of the missing daughter of Chief Frank Anioma could not be said to be a kidnap incident as no one had contacted the family or anybody close to her yet to demand ransom.

“Yes, she has not been seen, so you may want to say okay, his daughter went out, but we are following it up. Sooner or later, it will become clearer; but I can assure you that it is not all about kidnapping and all that because one, calls for ransom have not been made and all that but we are working on it,” Amaraizu said.

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Metro and Crime

Lagos, NGO conduct free surgery for 1,000 residents

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Lagos, NGO conduct free surgery for 1,000 residents

…Sanwo-Olu’s wife promises improved healthcare

 

 

The Lagos State Government yesterday said about1,000 people have so far benefitted from the ongoing free surgical intervention in orthopaedic surgery, eye and others being offered by the state government in collaboration with a nongovernmental, BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare Mission.

Saturday Telegraph gathered the free surgical intervention, which included dental surgery procedure, ENT surgery amongst others, was a continuation of the free screening recently conducted at the designated primary health centres across the State. Speaking during her visit to the centres where the surgery was being carried out simultaneously in general hospitals, wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo- Olu, expressed delight at the impact the interventions have had in the lives of beneficiaries. She said: “I have been round five general hospitals today to observe what has been done for the past few days.

I was at the Massey Street Children’s Hospital, General Hospital, Lagos, Onikan General Hospital, Gbagada General Hospital and the Orile-Agege General Hospital. “I must say I am impressed with surgeries that were being done and it is indeed heart-warming that the beneficiaries of these free surgical interventions were quite appreciative.

” Sanwo-Olu, who gave kudos to the management of BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare International (HMI) for the humanitarian service, noted that she is aware that the medical team even worked during the last public holiday to ensure success of the programme.

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