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ABA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS’ LAND CRISIS Maintain status quo or be consumed by what you don’t know –Village head



ABA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS’ LAND CRISIS Maintain status quo or be consumed by what you don’t know –Village head

Religion and education are two of humankind’s most ancient endeavours. They have long had a close relationship right from the colonial days in Africa with both playing big roles in nurturing and inculcating learning and character into humans.

Emmanuel Ifeanyi reports the complaints from the Eziukwu Community, in Aba South LGA, of Abia State, on how a popular church allegedly encroached on schools built on their ancestral land without permission.

Stories of the good old days usually tell of how early missionaries founded schools which in turn helped their religious teachings as many persons became literates thus making the reading and understanding of Bible easier.

But the events of nowadays are surprisingly turning the hands of time negatively as churches are now being alleged encroaching on schools, seeking to expand the worship places at the detriment of the academic centres as being alleged at City Primary School and the Township Nursery and Primary School, Aba. The two schools as gathered were established in the 1940s, which prompted the christening of the road where they are located as “School Road.”

The two schools located opposite the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA), at 1, School Road, Aba, had the largest piece of their land recently allegedly encroached upon by the SDA, which quickly erected a fence within, cutting the school premises into two with the aim of taking over one side.

The original owners of the land where both schools occupy, the Eziukwu Community, while reacting to the incident, called on the SDA to stop the ongoing encroachment, stressing that it had no right to do so. Sources within the communities told Saturday Telegraph that the church on one fateful Sunday morning allegedly broke into the school premises and started erecting a fence in-between the school buildings They said the SDA in its action, took over a larger portion of land where a football field, staff quarters and agricultural farms are located.

One of the sources said it took the efforts of the community leaders and youths to prevent the church from fulfilling its mission, which according to the source, the church tactically did on Sunday, knowing full well that the management of the two schools would not be on ground to challenge it. Speaking to Saturday Telegraph on the matter, the village head, Eziukwu-Aba Community, High Chief Chidi Nkire, said that his people gave out lands to the schools and the church in two separate parts of the road, which makes it unacceptable for one to encroach on the other. “That school land belongs to Eziukwu- Aba. Even that land where the church is standing today belongs to Eziukwu-Aba as well.

“That place where the church stands today was given to it so many years ago and likewise, the schools were also given theirs from the other side of the road. “That road that divides both the church and the school has been there before the church and the school were built.

“There was never a time the land given to the SDA crossed the road to the other side given to the schools. Similarly, the school land didn’t cross the road to church as well. “The tarred road separated their lands and none of them have right to encroach on each other’s except if it’s this current day politicians that are trying to put things where they necessarily do not belong. “Any iota of encroachment by SDA on the school premises is unacceptable and improper.

“The land was given to the school by our community leaders in the 40s and any group of people who came up today to take that land and hand it over to the SDA is planning to close that road. “They should remember why it was called School Road.

That name was because of those schools and it has been there before the war, very close to the Eziukwu Market, which came later after the war.” On what should be done, High Chief Nkire said: “I want them to leave things the way they are. They shouldn’t tamper with what was done there because it may not go down well.

“I’m telling SDA to stick to its boundary and the schools to also remain within theirs. Nobody should encroach. “All the pastors, Bishops, headmasters,teachers in the church and schools, none of them was there when those lands were given out. They contributed nothing. “Everybody should go home and relax and let things be. Our children are there.

They should leave what we did the way it is to avoid getting consumed by what they know nothing about,” he warned. Mr. Ebenezer Nwaogu, a member of the neighbouring Obuda community, which is also very close to Eziukwu alleged that the “smoke behind the fire” is the Abia State government, stressing that no church would dare encroach on a land without government backup “The problem in Abia is that we don’t say the truth until it’s too late.

When the church encroached on the schools’ land, I told my people that the state government is aware of it and that’s the truth until they prove otherwise. “They claimed they’re building model schools, but are now busy giving out the lands of schools that trained most of them to a church without making any formal announcement on that.

“I must not fail to tell you that there are many churches in this country, but few Christians. I said so because a good Christian should have known that taking that huge portion of land will eventually kill the two schools. If the church wants to expand, why not buy those small buildings behind it and get more space? “There are about three or four old buildings such a rich church can buy to expand, but they rather seek for cheap alternative, which is using their connection with those in power to grab the land of a school that’s been yearning for attention over the years. “I don’t understand why someone will believe that depriving those chil-dren of their playground, staff quarters and agricultural farm and giving it to a church will gladden God.

“Will God accept such a gift or will he frown at it? I’m not God, but you need to go to that school and see the neglect, and the only thing government can do for them is to give out the largest part of the schools to a church. “I always tell people about the folly of religion. Whenever a religious organisation benefits from something that’s wrong, you see them keep mute. “Just imagine government taking over church land and giving it out for the establishment of a school? They’ll tag the school a centre for Anti-christ.

“They’ll organise crusades, prayers and all kinds of spiritual warfare between whoever did it and God as though they have power to tell God who to kill. “We must realise that those who built the primary and secondary schools left those spaces for future development. Why are we now allowing government to be giving school lands out for a church, market and even private residence? Some residents who spoke to our correspondent also alleged that the SDA did what it did on that land because they believe it owns the current administration in Abia State. One of the residents of School Road, Chigozie Iwuoha, said he was not happy with what the church did because it was meaningless to shrink an academic centre just to expand a religious centre.

“You know that since inception of the incumbent government, a lot of things have been going the way of the SDA Church. The state governor as I learnt is a member of the church although not worshipping at that School Road branch.

“The Abia State environmental sanitation exercise, which usually comes up on first and last Saturday of every month had the commencement time shifted from 7am to 9am just to allow the SDA members to move freely and be in their churches while the clean-up exercise will be at 11am. “It used to start by 7am and end by 9am, but now it’s 9am till 11am, which was just shifted for them. Now, see what they want again.

“My anger is that they even have their own school on their own premises called: ‘Adventists Model School’, but want to take over the land of a public school that doesn’t belong to them. “And the state government cannot do anything.

Probably, it is even the state that gave them the land. “That school is the primary school I attended and there was never a time I heard that the SDA had business with that land.” Another resident, Mrs. Geraldine Uzoma, lamented the ongoing trend of taking away school premises for other uses.

“See, the problem is now between church and markets. Abia State government is just a huge joke. I don’t know what the people we call leaders are doing. “Go to School Road Primary School, which is just a stone’s throw from Town-ship and City Primary School you’ll see how they’ve divided the land into three.

“They gave away the portion from Ochefu Street and Weeks Road to some mechanics who are now using it as their workshop. I think it’s one of the largest vehicle mechanic centres in Aba now. “They also took the portion from Eziukwu Road, which used to be the Agricultural farm, and turned it into huge market, which is an extension of the Eziukwu Market, thereby shrinking the school in between the mechanic centre and the market.

“Maybe the church borrowed a leaf from what happened at School Road Primary School and decided to move forcefully into schools’ land. “I also heard that the state government wants to give out some schools to churches, but the SDA already has its own school inside and even if the church want to take over the schools, it shouldn’t be done without due process or in such a suspicious manner of erecting a fence overnight.

“That attitude looks suspicious and unreligious and should be condemned. I don’t know what future we are building for our children when we are allowing churches and markets to take over schools’ lands.

“Nobody is thinking of expansion of schools, but only expansion of churches and markets. The future holds nothing if we continue that way.” When contacted, the first elder of the Seventh Day Adventists Church, School Road Branch, Elder Christian Nwaosu, said that the land was owned by the government. He directed our correspondent to ask the Ministry of Lands and Education for explanation on what is happening on the schools’ land. Nwaosu said that the community should also be consulted to inquire about the land while still denying that his church had a hand in annexing the schools’ land. “The complainants went the wrong way. They should have complained to the owners of the land. The land belongs to the government.

“They did not go to complain to the government that some people are encroaching on their land, they came to speak with the press. Do they mean well at all? “I have no other explanation. I cannot go to court to answer for a suit without a lawyer. Try and see if you can speak with the governor or his men to get explanation for the land. Call Aba Ukwu people, Obuda people and Eziukwu people. “If you go there now, you will not see our sand there.

Have you found out who tried to build a fence there and they said it is our church? Nobody takes another person’s land without the government supporting it,” Nwaosu said. A former Aba South Education Secretary, Mrs Ngozi Nwaogwugwu, who was in charge at the time, said she heard of the effort to take over the school compound by the church. She said that she inquired through the former Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ikechi Mgboji, who said the land had been given to the church by Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu although she did not receive a letter to that effect. When Saturday Telegraph tried to get official government reaction on whether the government handed the school over to the SDA or not, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Onyebuchi Ememanka, urged the complainants (the community) to activate official processes.

“No such report has been received by the government. I will advise the people making these allegations to take appropriate steps to bring their complaints to the relevant offices and departments of government. “We have a Ministry of Education and the Abia State Universal Primary Education Board.

These agencies are in charge of issues that have to do with primary schools in Abia State. Government is not run based on rumours. “If the report gets to the relevant offices, of course, the government will respond. The government of Abia State has before now, handed over schools to missions to manage.

“Government will still consider more applications once the correct procedures are activated. It is therefore strange to hear that a school was invaded and broken into simply because there are plans to hand it over to a church for management. “It becomes even more intriguing when the claim is that the church that seeks to take over the school is the alleged invader.

Let the complainants do the right thing and an appropriate response will come from the government.” Meanwhile, when our reporter visited the school, the fence erected by the church was still there as well as the wall pulled down to take in materials used in erecting the fence.

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Minna floods: Cholera outbreak fears rise, as displaced persons sleep in worship centres



Minna floods: Cholera outbreak fears rise, as displaced persons sleep in worship centres

Gov Sani Bello begs FG to rescue Niger



Exactly 11 months after the incessant floods affected 22 out of the 25 local government areas in Niger State leaving 40 persons dead and several thousands homeless, more danger looms in Minna the state capital as residents now take refuge in worship centres following another round of flooding. In this report, DANIEL ATORI writes about the flash flood that happened recently in Bosso and Chanchaga local government areas of the state leaving hundreds rendered homeless



In Minna, a recent flash flood claimed three lives leaving over 500 people displaced after washing away and submerging over 20 houses, destroyed other buildings including shops and farms in Bosso Estate, Dutsen Kura Hausa and Gwari, Rafin-Yashi, Shanu, Kpakungu and Fadipe.

The flood, which started at about 4am on Saturday, was speculated to have been triggered as a result of the release of waters from the Bosso and Tagwai Dams in Minna by the Niger State Water Board (NSWB) while residents were still asleep.

While some persons claimed it was the force from the dam that washed away their houses, other residents said it was the early morning rain that was responsible for the flooding which overflowed them thereby collapsing the MYPA Bridge in Bosso, the Shanu Bridge and washing away the Mola Bridge in Dutsen Kura Hausa.

It should be recalled that 40 deaths were recorded in September last year when flood affected 22 out of the 25 local government areas in the state

In Gundu and Manta communities of Shiroro Local Government Area, in 2018, a lot of houses were washed away by the flood and two women delivered of their babies at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Shiroro.

With the recent flash flood, the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has raised worries that there could be an outbreak of cholera as the waters are now contaminated.

This was as displaced victims of last Saturday’s flood in Minna, the Niger State capital have vowed to take their mats to front of Government House as their new abode if alternative shelters are not provided for them.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Telegraph on phone, the Director General, NSEMA, Ibrahim Inga said the Agency has taken proactive steps to forestall any outbreak by boosting health facilities around affected areas.

According to Inga: “There are many issues that can arise from such incidents, we are likely to have health challenges especially when affected people are from different locations and backgrounds.

“There may be outbreak of cholera and other diseases, because the waters are contaminated. But at the moment we are going to boost all the health facilities around these areas with enough medications, so that in case we have any outbreak we can quickly bring it under control.”

But expressing their dissatisfaction over government’s unfulfilled promises, the victims of the flood told our Correspondent that they slept in churches, mosques, friends and relatives houses.

They told the Sunday Telegraph that the state’s Acting Governor Ahmed Ketso and NSEMA had on the day the incident occurred promised to bring succour their way.

According to one of the residents in Shanu village of Bosso Local Government Area, Hadiza Rabiu: “I slept in the mosque with my children and there was serious cold. I don’t have anything left with me, the N40,000 I kept in the house, food stuffs and personal effects were lost to the flood because I was trying to save my children’s lives.

“The eldest of my children is 5, the next is 3 and this little girl on my back is less than a year old. We don’t have where to take our bath or ease ourselves. Mosquitoes are biting us.”

Speaking further she that, they were fast asleep when the flood came, saying: “I started calling for help and to save my children. The flood started very early in the morning while people were still sleeping. I lost everything, our house collapsed and everything we had including over N40, 000 have been washed away. Please, Government should come to our aid.”

Another affected resident, Zubairu Abdullahi, who lost his livestock and farm produces, said his entire house was destroyed and washed away by the flood.

According to him: “We thought when the Deputy Governor, Ketso visited by now they would have alleviated our sufferings to an extent by giving us an alternative place to stay because they assured us of urgent support.

“I slept in the mosque with my family including my brothers who also live with me before the flood. If by today we sleep in the mosques and churches, by Monday we are all going to the front of Government House to sleep.

“We voted them to support us, protect us and do these things that are beyond us as individuals. How can the state government visit us, they came with NSEMA and up till this moment there is no sign of assistance. We have concluded that those of us in Dutsen Kura Hausa, MYPA road and even Shanu village, we will march to Government House on Monday.”

Engr. Mohammed Bello, a businessman told our Correspondent that he lost livestock worth about N5million to the flood waters.

He advised the government to be sincere with the people by working on the drainages in phases because of the lean allocation; successive governments have come, they made promises and left without doing anything

“I lost about 500 chickens which are already in the economic stage and are laying about seven crates of eggs on a daily basis. All the goats and sheep were carried away but we were able to rescue a few cows,” he lamented.

A Good Samaritan and neighbour to some of the affected victims, Hajia Anisat Bello said, she currently harbours three of her former neighbours.

Accordingly, she said: “They now live with me, no mattresses, nothing for them because the flood took everything. My house is not big but we are all managing. Some people now sleep in the mosques.”

The Ward Head (Mai Angwan) of Adamawa Road not too far from the Government House, Alhaji Inuwa Bawa Tokura lamented government’s nonchalant approach at addressing the incessant flooding that has affected the areas.

According to him: “I have witnessed four floods now; the only solution for this flooding is the construction of a proper drainage system from the Federal University of Technology, FUT, Bosso, Minna down to Minna-Bida road.”

Speaking on the need to alleviate the sufferings of the people, the NSEMA boss, Inga said: “Putting up an IDP camp is capital intensive; the thing is that, where in Minna are we going to put it and how many people can we accommodate.

“These places are scattered, it is not like a single village where we can just move all of them to a particular location. If we say we are bringing those from Anya Gwari, MYPA in Okada road, Shanu village, Kpakungu, Fadipe and the whole of Dutsen Kura, how do we cope?

“And the moment we say we are establishing an IDP camp even those who have places to lay their heads will come out and prefer the camp. We can only support those who have needs for foodstuffs and beddings pending when we will come up with our final recommendations that we will present to the government. Otherwise, if we are not careful there could be some crisis we may not be able to handle”.

The Director General, said government is already taking proactive measures and that the Agency has been mandated to take inventory of everything.

Accordingly, he said: “We are still taking inventories; we need to ascertain the number of houses affected and the level of damages; we need to have a confirmed figure of losses and then we will start supporting them with relief materials.”

He added: “What happened in Minna was a flash flood and in a few hours the water goes away. We are doing a detailed and full assessment to get the names of affected persons and the level of damages.

“It is only when the water remains for a longer time and it has not gone off that we can start talking of alternative shelter. Government will only give succour and cannot build house for anyone.

“However, the government can only look for a temporary site, either a school or a public building for those whose houses collapsed to stay pending when they can get back on.”

But in a swift response, the Niger State Deputy Governor, Muhammad Ahmed Ketso who was on an on-the-spot assessment of the affected areas, directed the State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) to immediately take inventory of losses and provide relief materials comprising of food and non-food items to cushion victims’ hardship.

He further called on the Federal Government and relevant bodies to come and assist the state in addressing the unending disaster caused by flood annually.

Speaking on behalf of the Dutsen Kura Hau

sa victims, Sanusi Mohammed, a businessman said: “Three persons have been carried away and must have died by now.”

Another victim, who also counted his losses, Zubairu Abdullahi, disclosed that his animals and fish pond have been wiped away and his entire house destroyed by the water.

According to him, the flood came from drainage which overflowed as a result of the midnight rain, my goats, chickens and thousands of eggs have all been carried away.

Also, the Head of Shanu village, Ibrahim Musa told our Correspondent that: “When the rain started in the early hours of Saturday, I was happy and thanking God that it was going to be a rain of blessing because of our farms, unknowingly to me it was going to wreak havoc. We have lost our farm produces and houses. This is tragic to us.”

Speaking on the immediate shelter needs of the displaced people, the NSEMA DG said over 70% of the affected victims built on waterways but that after taking inventory, the government will make necessary provision for their temporary accommodation.

Also, the Niger State Water Board debunked speculation that the flood experienced on Saturday morning was as a result of water released from the Bosso and Tagwai dams.

The Board, led by its General Manager, Engr. Hassan Muhammad Chado, which went on an on-the-spot visit to the dams to ascertain the authenticity of the speculations, told our Correspondent that: “Contrary to the rumours, the Water Board did not release water from the two said dams, water only spilled Sunday night to divert excess water down stream and not to communities.

“The Bosso Dam is stable, the Board did not open any valve and so it is at its normal working capacity.”

He further said the situation was the same at the Tagwai Dam which was inspected to be on its normal and functional capacity with its spill way serving effectively as a safety structure.

The General Manager, however, said the Rafin-Yashi Dam built by the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority requires a flood control system but added that there is no cause for alarm.

While on a sympathetic visit, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello challenged the people to embrace attitudinal change as a panacea to the perennial flooding experienced across the state.

Governor Sani Bello while interacting with flood victims explained that significant attitudinal change will facilitate effective environmental management, adding that indiscriminate dumping of refuse and building along waterways will not do anyone good.

“We need Federal Government’s support in finding a lasting solution to environmental challenges confronting the state due to excessive rains and both surface and underground water crisscrossing the state. The Federal Government needs to come to our aid especially in the construction of more drainage systems in the state.

“My administration will continue to do our best to cushion the effect of flooding. We need to embark on serious sensitization. We must stop blaming God for every flood incident. We should blame ourselves.”

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My marriage to missionary divinely ordained, says IDP-turned-lawyer



My marriage to missionary divinely ordained, says IDP-turned-lawyer
  • I dreamt Juliet would be my wife long before I met her –Husband


The International Christian Centre, home of Internally Displaced Persons, in Uhogua, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State, was a beehive of activities recently as Mr Hossana Ovadje and Juliet Ogbomo, were joined in marriage.

In a chat with Saturday Telegraph Juliet who is a full product of Edo IDP camp but now a lawyer with Edo State Ministry of Justice said of her marriage to Hossana: “My marriage to Hossana Ovadje was divine. I prayed fervently and the Holy Spirit told me that Hossana is my husband. God knows every heart and He gives the best.

As I prayed on the issue, I opened my heart and allowed God to lead me.” The native of Uhunmwode Local Government Area of Edo State advised ladies not to be deceived by class status while making a choice of their life partners. “In everything we do, we should allow the Spirit of God to lead us on to the right path, because when God makes a decision for you no man can change it,” Juliet added. On his part, Hossana, a mission worker at the ICC said he got the revelation that Juliet would be his wife two years before he got to know her. “It all started in 2011 when I had an encounter with Jesus.

I had a dream that I was in a wedding with Juliet. I had not met her then and I had not heard of the International Christian Centre. I kept wondering what the revelation was all about. I prayed fervently about it while I waited on God to unfold everything to me.

Then I never heard about the International Christian Church neither did I know Pastor Solomon Folorunsho (General Overseer of the church). “I read a book which talked about those that will go to hell and I was inspired to take up mission activities. Around 2012, I had some challenges which necessitated my coming to the ICC where I met Pastor Folorunsho and commenced training at the mission school. I had another revelation about her around 2013 that she would be my helpmate.

By then I had met her. After almost three years of praying on the issue I spoke with the vision bearer of the ministry (Pastor Folorunsho) about my dreams and he prayed with me while also guiding me on how to follow the right path.

“We started courtship in February 2018 that is five years after we met and seven years after I got the revelation,” said Hossana, who hails from Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State. Another man, Samson John, who was married on the same day as Hossana and Juliet, is also a mission worker at the International Christian Centre, Uhogua. He hails from Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. He said: “When God revealed to me who I was going to marry I went into prayers and also told Pastor Folorunsho about it. He joined me in prayers.

That was in 2011.”God revealed Blessing to me as the right person for me to marry. She is the rib that God took and returned to me. She is a wife, mother and sister to me.” When in 2011 she had the revelation that Samson John was going to be her husband Blessing (nee Idoghor), who hails from Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, kept the revelation to herself. “But the message from God was so clear and persistent and I had to discuss it with Pastor Folorunsho who guided me on the proper thing to do,” she said.

The General Overseer of the ICC who is also the originator of the IDPs camp situated on the church premises, Folorunso, said: “We take it as our God given responsibility to care for the needy in the society. We derive our comfort from the consolation that God gives to us and He has never promised to leave or forsake us. “And knowing that everybody here is a human being like us, that they deserve what we deserve, that we should treat them equally, that has made the love of God flow among us.

We don’t see them as different and we don’t treat them differently. We love them and share with them. Everybody sees this place as their earthly home. Nobody is alienated. Nobody is denied of what is available. They see these things, and it gives them confidence and a sense of belonging.”

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I sought housekeeping job with fake name just to steal –Maid



I sought housekeeping job with fake name just to steal –Maid

A lady, Franca Amaha, who stole her employer’s foreign currencies six hours after she was employed at Masha area of Surulere, Lagos State, has claimed that she stole the money to help her sick mother. The 26-year-old lady, who confessed that she deliberately sought a housekeeping work in order to steal, added that after pilfering the money she changed some to naira, fixed her hair and banked the rest. This was even as she claimed: “I stole the money because I got a call from my village that my mother was sick. Please help me to beg my boss to forgive me.”

Preliminary investigations showed that Amaha was once the housemaid of former Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro’s wife. Determined to carry out her plan to the letter, Amaha sought the employment through an agency, where she filled out fake names, home address and used a fake guarantor. After stealing the foreign currencies totally N1.6m, Amaha disappeared into thin air. All efforts to locate her proved abortive. The woman, who employed Amaha, identified as Mrs. Taiye, got tired of running from pillar to post, searching for Amaha, petitioned the Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu.

The suspect was finally arrested by operatives of the IGP’s Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari. A team from the IRT Lagos office was said to have been deployed to find her. She was found in her friend’s apartment at the Ajah/ Lekki area of the state. Amaha’s grand plan started on July 24, which was the day she went to the employment agency, seeking job as a house help. On July 25, she was called for employment with Taiye, residing in the Masha area of Surulere, Lagos State.

Two hours into her new job, Amaha followed her mistress to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, to pick her madam’s sister. Taiye’s sister was returning to Nigeria from overseas. A few minutes after they arrived from airport, while the sisters were in the sitting-room catching their breath, Amaha sneaked into the room where her madam’s sister’s luggage was kept and stole $2800, 1000 British Pounds and 2000 Dutch Guilder. She then disappeared into the air. A police officer, who took part in the operation, said: “The suspect was formerly working with the wife of former IGP, Mike Okiro.

She ran away, only to show up again in Lagos. She went to an agent and told the agent that she needed a job as a house help. She went to the agent on July 24 and was asked to fill a form. She was also asked to get a guarantor. It turned out that everything she filled out in the form was a fake. “She also gave a fake name to the agent. She identified herself as Esther, instead of Franca. On July 25th, the following day, she was taken to the house of Mrs. Taiye, at Masha Surulere, to work. She was offered N20, 000 as her monthly salary. Incidentally, Taiye’s sister was returning that same day from oversea.

The suspect followed her new boss to the airport. When they got home, the suspect entered into the room where her boss’s sister’s bags were kept and opened one of them. She stole all the foreign currencies in the bag and left instantly.

“The security guard at the gate tried to stop her, but she lied that she had issues with her madam and had been asked to leave. The guard asked her to wait, so that he could confirm from her madam, but before the man came out, she had mounted a motorcycle and disappeared. She threw away her SIM cards and ran to Ajah/Lekki to stay with one of her friends. The next day, which was on July 26, she went to Ikoyi and changed some of the foreign currencies to naira.” While fielding questions from operatives and journalists, Amaha explained that she came to Lagos in 2014 and worked with Mrs Tina Okiro. According to her, she got the job with Mrs. Okiro through an agent called Mr. Sunday. Amaha recounted: “Mrs. Okiro paid me N20, 000 monthly.

She enrolled me into Lagos State Polytechnic Isolo and paid school fees. But after I had stayed with her for two and a half years, she started complaining that I was keeping late hours at school. She said that I was no longer performing my domestic chores.

It was because she was complaining too much that I left. “I went into the streets and started doing prostitution. When my brothers heard, they asked me to return home. I returned to our village and also went to Onitsha to spend some time with my brothers. I came back to Lagos and worked with a woman in Ikorodu as a house help. I worked for three months, and then went back to my village to do farming. “I later came back again to Lagos to look for a job to raise money.

I approached Mr. Frank, who is a job agent. He led me to Mr. Ade, who linked me to the woman in Surulere. Before I started working for the woman, she told me about herself and advised me on how to work for her. She said that my salary would be paid through my agent. I gave her fake name and address because I had the intention of stealing from her.

“I got to the woman’s house about 12 noon and went to airport at 3:30pm to pick her sister. We moved the woman’s entire luggage into the room. I opened one of them and took money from it. I stole six pieces of $100, five pieces of 20 pounds, five pieces of $20 totalling $700 and 100 pounds. I changed $100 and made my hair with it and bought new slippers. I deposited the remaining money into my account.”

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…the moving story of Osaigbakhome



Uhunoma, Kemi Osaigbakhome, 36, has known no peace from birth. For her, life has been hellish. Born with physical deformity, rejected by her father, community and friends, she is still holding onto fate that life can only get better. The fathers of her three children didn’t help either. They, too, abandoned her to fate. Interestingly, she refuses to be deterred by the many challenges life keeps throwing at her. She is a good example of the motivational talk of making a lemonade out of the lemon life is offering her.


Forced to leave her village, Otese, after Okada town in Edo State in December 2011, she came to Lagos in search of the proverbial greener pastures and hoping she would be accepted in the cosmopolitan state.’ But actually got more than she bargained for.


She slept in many public parks with her baby, she was beaten, accused of stealing the baby and had to bring out her breast as proof that she was the mother of the child. She was also rejected by some churches, driven away from the vicinity of many houses she wanted to pass the night. She roamed Lagos streets until fate finally settled her in the Ikotun, Egbe area of Lagos where she stayed in a shanty for years before she moved into a decent apartment (one room apartment) last year. Raising three children without the support of their fathers was tasking for a woman who was never sure of where her next meal will come from, she insisted begging was not an option. “I kept encouraging myself that it can only get better.


I kept assuring myself that I will survive it, if I have managed to get this far in life, I will surely laugh last,” she assured herself. Looking back at where she was coming from and where she is at the moment, she said she could beat her chest and say: “I came, saw and conquered.”


Although she has not, there have been remarkable achievements in her life compared to what it was back in her village in 2011. A few years back, her life was synonymous with abject poverty and total rejection by the society she found herself ….when she was lost, wallowed in confusion and unsure of what awaited her at different bus stops. More importantly, she is now related with, as a human being. Osaigbakhome through thick and thin has empowered herself: she produces perfumed liquid soap in different sizes, disinfectants, air freshener. She now has customers who patronise her and now use proceeds from her products to feed her children.


Osaigbakhome’s travails started from birth when she was born with physical deformity. Everyone, including the medical doctors avoided her and her mother like plagues. The father asked the medical personnel around to kill her at birth, but her mother refused. “My father rejected me immediately like a plague. He said there is no such being in his lineage, even in the village, no such child like this. He met with doctors to give me an injection that will kill me so that my mother will not bring me back home.


The doctors already accepted but they also needed my mother’s consent before the ‘euthanasia’ is carried out. Right there, my mother cried and refused to have me killed. She told the doctors and my father that even though I’m like this, she would take good care of me and named me Uhunoma, meaning person with good luck/aura. She named me so because while carrying me in her womb, she had an accident but did not die, she believed she survived that accident because of me.


My mother cried her eyes out,” she explained. Osaigbakhome, the third of nine children explained further that while her mother was crying profusely, a white doctor passed by,pitied her and he promised to do something to separate her hands and legs glued to her chest only if they could raise money for the surgery. “Immediately, my mother   vowed to borrow money for the surgery, while my father and his family members turned their backs on me and my mother. The operation did little wonders, my legs and hands were in POP for a long time during my childhood. Even now, my two hands are not really functional. One is barely functioning while the other is totally condemned and my two legs as you can see are not functioning well,” she said.


Actually, Osaigbakhome cannot stand straight on her legs because her legs and toes are bent, making her to swerve left and right when she walks, while her left hand dangles, the right barely manages to hold an object. Yet, she radiates life.


However, till she completed her primary school education, she wandered all round her village, helping out in one menial job or the other, also frying cassava flake (garri) for people who in turn would sell- a job she said she would beg to do and get poorly paid for. But the good thing for her was that, she was able to feed herself, since her father would not allow family members relate with her or allow her near the house. While wandering about in the village, she met the father of her first child who promised her paradise on earth. “He promised to help me and consoled me with soothing words that he would take care of me, not minding   my condition. Unfortunately, that was the beginning of my suffering. As soon as I informed him I was pregnant, he disappeared. Since then till date, I have not set my eyes on him. I carried and nurtured the pregnancy alone till I gave birth to a boy. It was only my mother who supported me but her powers were also limited because of my eight other siblings. I sought for help all round but no one came to my rescue.


But a strange voice was telling to commit suicide, telling me that there is peace in death after all. But the pastor of my church always encouraged me to be steadfast in faith but he didn’t know the extent to which I was feeling the pains and the accompanying stigmatisation. Even the government of my state then, could not help, as government’s officials referred me to the office of the physicallychallenged where I took several letters of application but nothing also came out of it.


Osaigbakhome eventually took the bull by the horns by deciding to come to Lagos. She said she had divine direction to leave but there was no money to fulfill that prophecy. According to her, she approached a woman in the village and asked her to be giving her bags of sachet water so that she could hawk to be able to raise money. Three months after she hawked in the traffic within the town, she was able to raise N4,100 for her transportation fare.


Quietly, she said she dressed her four-year-old son and left the village for Lagos. When she arrived in Lagos, it was not as rosy as she thought. But it was actually from the frying pan to the fire. What she experienced was actually far from what she bargained for. “I didn’t know anywhere in Lagos or where I was going but the bus dropped me at Ojota Bus Stop where I spent a few days at different parks with my son.


From there, to Oshodi and later went to Yaba. While roaming the length and breadth of Lagos, she was accused on several occasions of child theft, threatened to be stoned and in some instances she was thoroughly beaten. But she kept bailing herself out with her breast which she had used to feed the child. Her ability to breastfeed her child whenever she was accused of child theft saved her from being lynched. Besides, her being referred to as ‘mummy’ by the child whenever she was accused of child theft convinced her accusers that she was truly the mother of the child. She recalled an occasion where she and her child spoke in their dialect and the child was able to answer questions asked by the mob, which convinced them of the true relationship between her and her child. Eventually at Yaba, she met a man (vulcanizer) who took pity on her and directed her to Oshodi where she would receive help.


“The man stopped a bus for me, threw me first inside the bus and threw my child at me inside and paid my fare, also dashed me N500. He instructed the driver to drop me at Oshodi. At Oshodi, there was nowhere in particular as well, I just roamed the whole market with my child till late evening when I wanted to squat in front of a shop but some touts came to chase me away from that spot. Again, from Oshodi Bus Stop, we trekked to Charity Bus Stop where we wanted to pass the night inside the flower bed, again some people chased us, and called me a thief.


It took me a while to convince them that I am truly the mother of the child. I cried that if they have to kill me, they should go ahead but first, they must promise to help look after my child and inform him of what happened to his mother when he grows old enough to know,” she said amidst sob. It was at that point she said the crowd took pity on her and gave her a small space to spend the night till the following day when they would be taken to a place she would get help. In the morning, one of her accusers took her to the Synagogue Church and gave her money. But the security agents didn’t allow her to go near the church.


“They told me that Synagogue is not meant for someone of my type. I begged them, cried, used my child to blackmail their emotions but they did not bulge, rather, they mocked me and asked if it was TB Joshua who impregnated me. They pursued me out and again, I started roaming the streets.” After three days of roaming on the streets, a woman took pity on her, lodged her in a hotel, and took her inside the Synagogue Church.


“Inside the church, the elders of the church called ‘wise men’ prevented me from meeting the man of God because I had no shoes on. I told them that my condition would not let me put on shoes except a flip-flop; they said it is forbidden for the Man of God to see a person without shoes, again, they pursued me out of the church,” she narrated. She continued looking for help until a good Samaritan gave her N2000 which she used to pay for her accommodation for 10 days, at the rate of N100 per day. She took N500 out of the remaining N1000 to start hawking sachet water, even at that, people were reluctant to patronise her. At times, she said the market touts would come to chase her out of the market.


“Still, I refused to resolve to begging, it is just not the best option for me as a person and I am not condemning those doing it, but I believe there are many honourable things out there for physically challenged people than begging.” She found herself at a church on Aliu Bolorunpelu Street in Ikotun where she began to worship helping to keep the church clean, yet, she claimed the church told her that nothing could be done to help her, rather they gave her a letter to the SOS Charity Home in Isolo and with a stern warning that she should not disclose her identity, her state of origin and real name. She said the warning made her to add ‘Kemi’ to her name. But at the SOS Charity Home, she was questioned and even confronted with the fact that she was from Edo but she denied based on the warning of the church.


The SOS official asked her if she knew the content of the letter, the church gave her, she said she didn’t. “At that point, the man told me that the church asked them to take the child from me for proper care. I broke down in tears, felt betrayed because that was not what the church told me.


They assured me that the SOS would give me accommodation and take care of me and my child,” she said. She continued that the SOS officer told her to go back to the church to get two lawyers and four policemen to sign the letter before they could take the child from her because the contents of the letter negate what she was asking for. “They told me that they cater for children they pick on the streets or gutters but since I was claiming that I was the mother of the child, then there must be legal backing to it. I was devastated that a church of God could be that deceptive to me. I left the SOS Charity Home with my child but never returned to that church again,” she said.


Meanwhile, while seeking for help in one of the churches, a pastor promised to help her get Lagos State government support, which they normally give to physically challenged persons which she felt would be far better.


Unbeknownst to her, the pastor had an ulterior motive. She said he got her the financial help to the tune of N100,000 but refused to deliver the money to her “Instead, he took canal advantage of me and only gave me N3,000 out of the money. He gave me money in instalments amounting to N8,000,” she said. Osaigbakhome however found another church, which accommodated her. There, she also was also sweeping and cleaning the church. Whenever it rained and there was flood in the church, she would ask her baby to climb her back while she would stand till the flood subsided. At the church, the members were really generous to her and her child. She was also allowed to benefit from the church’s economic empowerment programme.


Along the line in the church, luck smiled on her, she met a man identified simply as Sanya, who promised her heaven on earth. “And truly, he was really good to me and my child, he took good care of us, gave us food and money. I was really happy for once in my life,” she said. Before long, Osaigbakhome was pregnant and Sanya took her to his family. “Immediately, they saw me, they drove me out calling me a cripple. They told my husband that if he could not talk to a woman, he should indicate so that they would help him do so, but the least they expected of him was to bring home a cripple,” she said.


But the man stood by her, turned his back on his family and even lived with her in a rusty shanty. She described it as pure love at work then. When she was delivered of her baby,   she said her church members went to her in-law’s family house at 14 Afinaka Street, to plead for her. “My in-law threatened that if my husband made the mistake of bringing me to the family house, they would sell it and share the money among themselves. They just couldn’t stand my nature,” she said. Gradually, her in-law’s rejection took a toll on her husband and he too stayed away. “Again, I became devastated because I thought I saw a brother and father in my husband.” She became more frustrated when her first son, Great, ran away. For days, she looked for him.


When Great was found, she said the boy lied that she (mother) wanted to pour hot water on him and had to run away. But when Saturday Telegraph spoke to 12-years-old Great, he said that the suffering was too much and he couldn’t bear to see his mum in constant pains, so he thought if he ran away, luck might smile on him and then, he would come back to take good care of her.


“But I have now promised not to leave her side again, together, we will take care of my siblings,” he said. Perhaps her rejection, coupled with the harassment from her landlady made Osaigbakhome to discover herself. She probably challenged God that she could actually be useful to herself and her environment. With the little money she got from people, she started the liquid soapmaking business and enjoyed a large patronage, and some customers even forgo their balance as a way of encouraging her. She then decided to rent a room. It was a hellish experience. Her church refused to help on the excuse that the Nigerian economy was not friendly.


“They told me to be asking individuals for help inside the church but I refused, instead, I went out to my customers, asking them for loan and I promised to pay back by supplying them my products to cover the loans they gave me.” According to her, no landlord or landlady agreed to give her accommodation on the excuse that she is physically challenged.


The one that agreed insisted on, “two years rent just to discourage me, but my God rose to the challenge, I was able to pay N260,000 for two years with legal and agent agreement   fees. It is the next rent that I am trusting God for,” she said. From there, she was able to rent a room. Seeing that life had smiled on Osaigbakhome, her husband returned and impregnated her. However, when the pregnancy was in its second month, the man fled and left no contact.


“There was no means of reaching him and his people were also not responsive,” she added. Even at that, Osaigbakhome doesn’t know if getting a decent apartment was a blessing or a curse as she is no longer able to display her products for people to see and buy with ease.


She said her landlady had barred her from displaying her products in front of the house. MOTHER Meanwhile, Osaigbakhome’s mother, Lucy, told our correspondent that she believed her 36-year-old daughter got deformed because of the accident she had while she was pregnant. She said: “I almost died as a result but it was God that miraculously delivered and kept me alive with the baby.” “She was deformed right from birth.


I felt so bad and terrible when I saw her condition. I cried for weeks over her but I was consoled by the doctors, nurses and family members to accept her condition as it was not of my make but God who brought her to me understands why she is that way.” At the General Hospital on Sapele Road, Benin City, where she was delivered of her (Uhunoma), she said the medical personnel told her that the condition was not as a result of her accident but natural causes and that there was nothing anyone could do about it.


“My husband, (her father) completely rejected the baby and abandoned us to our fate. I was left alone to cater for her with help from my family members. We are farmers and petty traders and live on whatever we are able to gather from our farm and trading,” she said. But as she grows up, Mrs. Lucy explained that her daughter noticed the difference between herself (Uhunoma) and other children of her age and people around her and this made her to keep to herself. She said her daughter kept questioning her about her condition (deformity) “I did my best to explain things to her and the circumstances surrounding her birth,” the mother said.


With time, she her daughter accepted her condition and tries to make the best out of her life but years later, she ran away from home and didn’t know where she was until some years ago, according to her.


Mrs. Osaigbakhome expressed gratitude that she has reunited with her daughter and restored their relationship and they are now in good talking terms. According to her mother, it is unfortunately for her, that the man who impregnated her, disappeared into the thin air and left alone in the world to look after children and herself. She therefore appealed to Nigerians and government to assist her daughter. “I am appealing to the government and public spirited persons to come to her aid in order for her to be able to look after her children and herself. She is interested in trading but need money to start off. I will be happy if anyone could kindly help to fund her business and help put smiles on her face and her children, including me,” she pleaded.





When our correspondent spoke with Mr. Adeyemi Adegbaye, who said he was Sanya’s uncle, he said: “I relate well with her, called to congratulate her when she delivered her last baby.”


He added that he did not know Sanya’s whereabouts since she left Osaigbakhome adding that he would call a family meeting to discuss how she (Osaigbakhome) could be assisted.


“But I promise that I am going to call for meeting with Oladoke’s mother and other members of the family to see what could be done about Osaigbakhome’s situation,” he promised.

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Collapsed bridge: ATBU Gubi campus doesn’t look like university, everything is poor –Students



Collapsed bridge: ATBU Gubi campus doesn’t look like university, everything is poor –Students

Bau chi Students of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University where a bridge collapsed recently killing some students have said that the school does not look like a university and that facilities on the campus are far from adequate. The collapse of the bridge was as a result of a downpour in the state, which lasted for some hours. Speaking to Saturday Telegraph under anonymity a 100 level student in the Department of Agriculture Economic and Extension from Kogi State Hadiza Usman Ishaya (not real name) said the school had been taken over by reptiles.



Ishaya shared her experience of the bridge collapsed with Saturday Telegraph: “On Monday night at 11:30 pm students were coming back to hostel after a heavy rainfall, then a bridge that we used to take collapsed. The place is a very local village and it has a big hole and when rain falls, heavy wind blows. The place will be filled up with water like a river, people will then put a bridge for students to pass through. People were trying to get back to hostels so that the rain would not drench them, that was when the bridge collapsed.


Students were on the bridge, some died and some were injured. “I know eight students died but later they told me they were 10. I only know three of them because they were from my state, two girls and one boy. Sama, Joe and the other one her nickname was Ivy.


It was very painful death. I knew them, we stayed together, used to gist together. I don’t even feel they are gone. I still feel very sad. It was bad news I thought it would never come to me.” Pleading with the school authorities to build better facilities, she added: “ATBU should make a better bridge, the bridge that collapsed was a metal bridge.


At least they should make a better bridge   for us and they should make transportation easy for us because the road that we are supposed to ply is very long. We really need a better road, even transportation from Yelwa campus to Gubi is poor, boarding bus from Gubi to Yelwa is terrible. We really need a better transportation system; we really need help in our school. “The school is far in a bush, you see reptiles everywhere, you see animals. Reptiles bite our students and the school never helps



. When I took my friend to the clinic one day, she was not feeling fine, they gave her injection and she was reacting but when we tried to tell them, they left us at the clinic. They left us at the clinic all alone. They don’t have nurses on night duty, no light, everything in the school is poor, it doesn’t look like a university, no gate nothing, nothing.” Another student, Musa Mohamed, who spoke with our correspondent said: “The university is faraway from Bauchi town, the place is still a bush. We have bad roads and we see wild animals every day.


We. Have no fence and the security is poor. Speaking on the bridge collapsed, Musa said: “It was a sad experience the students will not want to have again; you see the river flows to the dam and it will take God’s grace to survive that dam. “Our school looks like a bush but I believe with time, development will come to the area and the issues of reptiles and wild animals everyday will be over.” On its part, the management of ATBU said that none of the students was still missing following the bridge collapse in the institution.


The Vice Chancellor Muhammad Abdullazees who received the Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulakadir during a condolence visit on Gubi Campus said only three students died in the incident and not four. He said the students had written to the management requesting for a footpath from the hostel to the lecture halls as the main road was   very far.


He said: “The management felt that it was necessary to construct a metal bridge that will take between 10 and 15 people at a time. This is not meant for static loads but for dynamic loads, that means you don’t stand on it, you just move on it. “From the report we received from some of the students, the rain had stopped and the students were about crossing and they found the scene excellent to take self- ies, so they started from two and before long there were more than 30 students standing on the bridge and it was not meant for people to stand on.


“Based on our records, no student is missing for now; the confirmed dead people are three, two from Kogi State and one from Benue State, two females and a male and they were all from Business Education and Management Studies. The Police, the DSS and the state government were proactive, they did a lot for us. This is the first time the state government is promptly responding to problems that have affected the university.”


Bauchi State Governor Bala Abdulakadir while commiserating with the families of the deceased and the management and entire student of ATBU over the unfortunate incident, pledged his administration’s intervention on the collapsed bridge. Speaking through Speaker,


Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abubakar Suleiman, the governor said he was very sad. He however condemned students’ response, which led to a protest and destruction of some school properties as “uncalled for.” “The unfortunate thing was the reaction of the students who are blaming the management or the VC for the loss.


A of us know that it was as a result of a natural disaster, so I see no reason why the students should have protested about it but I am sure the management is on top of the situation. We needed to come here yesterday (Tuesday) but when we were preparing to come, we learnt that the students were protesting and we were advised that it was not safe for us to come here and that was why we couldn’t.” He said, when he met with the Students Union’s leaders, they gave him some of their demands, which include road construction and a bridge.


The president National Union of Bauchi State Students (NUBASS), Comrade Ibrahim Hashimu Abdullahi, made a passionate appealed to both the state and federal governments to come to the aid of students on Gubi campus by building a befitting bridge and improve on transportation system of the school.


The union leader made the appeal during his visit to Governor Abdulakadir, at the Government House Bauchi to register their grievances Abdullahi further appealed for the provision of health facilities and construction of boreholes in the university in order to alleviate the sufferings of the numerous students on Gubi ATBU campus Responding, the governor appealed to members of the union to consider the recent case collapsed of bridge on Gubi campus of the ATBU as an act of God. President Tiv community Bauchi Mr. Austine Tsenzuul said they received the news of the death of their daughter, a student at ATBU Gubi campus, with a great shocked.


He said: “We understand that the bridge linked the hostel and the main campus. One wonders why an institution of that magnitude would have a monkey bridge instead of having a solid bridge that would carry thousands of students on a daily basis. “However, as Christians we attribute that as an act of God.


But we are not happy, we are sad, very sad and we are making arrangements to send somebody to the ATBU to find out the arrangements that have been made to convey the corpse, because traditionally, we don’t bury our dead who are grownups out the side Benue.


When we confirm that, we will be able to convey the corpse to Benue to the parents. The parents have already been contacted but this is our position, and as I told you, we are very sad but then it is an act of God. Speaking on compensation for the families of the dead, he said: “As a father myself, as a brother and a community leader, we know what it means to train a child. I believe all of you have children too, training a child from nursery, primary to the university is expensive, and naturally we consider it as an investment but this is the end.


There is nothing we can do, all of us would die in any case. “At this time, we will not make a categorical statement, we will wait and see what the university management will do before we take any step, because we consider it as a grievous mistake on the part of the university”.


On a telephone call to the family of one of the deceased, Blessing Torhile, 20, one of three girls in a family of five, her elder brother, Terungwa Torhile said: “We are on our way to Tse’tohile in Katsina Allah Local Government of Benue State with her remains for burial on Friday (August 9) in our village.” He added that: “For now, we have nothing to say to the university authorities or any other person until after her burial. Even then we will wait to hear from the university before any action.”

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How we delivered 10-year-old rape victim of her baby –Doctor



How we delivered 10-year-old rape victim of her baby –Doctor

The news about a 10-year-old orphaned girl displaced by Fulani herdsmen attack, and who delivered a baby girl after having been raped hit the airwaves recently Little Masenengen Targba is one of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) taking refuge in Jor Fada, one of the unofficial camps not captured by the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on the outskirts of North Bank area of Makurdi metropolis.


The victim got impregnated by a paedophile, Terna Taga, after relocating along with her uncle to the North Bank area of Makurdi. It was here she was allegedly raped and got her pregnant. It was gathered that Masenengen was in labour for three days before her uncle took her to the General Hospital, North Bank, Makurdi, where a Good Samaritan took her photograph and posted her story on the social media. Her story immediately caught the attention of Ukan Kurugh, a humanitarian activist, who alongside other activists went to the hospital and transferred her to the Foundation Hospital in Makurdi where she was delivered of her baby weighing 2.5kg through Caesarean Section.


Our correspondent spoke to some humanitarian activists, Chief Medical Director of Foundation Hospital and the Police. He also captures the contribution of the Benue State government in providing assistance to the little girl. Speaking to Saturday Telegraph, the Chief Medical Director of the Foundation Hospital, Dr. Michael Ijiko, said even though the girl was small, she could still breastfeed her baby.


Dr. Ijiko, a gynaecologist, said the little girl was in labour for three days when she was first brought to the General Hospital at North Bank and dumped there with nobody to take care of her. “She began to have some challenges and because of the peculiarity of the case, some humanitarians who got to know about the issue brought her to this hospital. It was about midnight and when I came, a surgery was done and we finished about 3am the next day”. “It was a sad situation indeed.


We did the surgery because there was no way that baby could have come out because the girl is small; she couldn’t have delivered through the vagina and as at the time we saw her, she was already developing some complications.


The bladder was already overstretched, and at any time it could have given way and that could have caused her VVF which is another difficult situation. “We understand that she had not done any form of antenatal, the pregnancy was not supervised though it was uneventful because it only came at the time she was in labour. The surgery was however successful and she is doing everything fine. The baby too is very fine, but the problem with the baby is that it stayed in the birth canal for too long.” When asked whether it is possible for the girl to breastfeed her baby at that age, Dr. Ijiko said she could do so.


“Yes, she can. You know, child birth is a physiological thing. Pregnancy, labour and child birth are all physiological phenomenon so the body gets to adjust itself. A lot of people have been raising issues concerning the age but we have seen a scenario these days where younger females are beginning to menstruate at very young ages. In the past, you see a woman first sees her menstrual period may be while in the secondary school but nowadays, it keeps going down and it is about eight, nine or 10 years now.


“For her, at least she started seeing her menses quite early and when that starts, pregnancy becomes possible because you have begun to ovulate. So that was what happened because once you are pregnant, all the organs begin to go down and hormones that are secreted in pregnancy that also help the breast to become mature even beyond what it should have been based on the age, are heightened. So, she has a well-developed chest and so she can breastfeed her baby.”


Meanwhile, National Coordinator of Jireh Doo Foundation, Mrs. Josephine Habba, a civil society activist, who was at the hospital told Saturday Telegraph that the victim (Masenengen) has named the perpetrator. Mrs. Habba said she had written to the state government requesting the governor and his wife to take custody of the two children and look after them until they grow up.


“I have written to the Ministry of Women Affairs for the immediate takeover of this case by the governor and his wife because it is unfortunate to have a 10-year-old girl who is an orphan, give birth in the state. “In fact, the whole state should support this girl to become the hero that she is meant to be. And my own advice is that the governor and his wife should take over these two children and look after them up till the time that they will be very proud to be identified with this story.” Meanwhile, the Governor’s wife through her pet project, the Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, (ESLF) has offset the medical bills of the child-mother.


Mrs. Ortom who was represented by the Foundation’s board member, Dr. Magdalyne Dura, explained that the action was in furtherance of ESLF’s commitment to supporting most needy persons to live healthy and decent lives. Expressing displeasure over the abuse of a 10-year-old leading to her pregnancy and delivery of a child, the ESLF founder stated that her Foundation would work closely with the Ministry of Women Affairs among other partners to bring the perpetrator to justice. Noting rising cases of sexual and genderbased violence, the governor’s wife said c o n c r e t e actions inc l u d i n g advoc a cy and sensitisation would be deepened to arrest the trend.


In the meantime, the Police in Makurdi have confirmed the arrest of an 18-year-old man, Terna Taga, who allegedly defiled and impregnated the girl. Benue Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Catherine Anene, said that Taga was arrested in North Bank area of Makurdi. She said the suspect was in custody for further investigations.


“The command will decide on the next line of action after full interrogation and investigation into the case, she said.” Speaking with journalists after he was paraded by the state Commissioner of Police alongside 14 other suspected criminals, the alleged rapist, Terna Taga, an SS1 student of Comprehensive Secondary School, Nasarawa State, confirmed that she he slept with the minor ‘only two times.’ Terna, who hails from Gwer West Local Government area of the state, narrated to Saturday Telegraph how it happened.


Taga said: “Masenengen came to my house and said she was hungry but didn’t have money to buy food and eat, I gave her money but did not have sex with her that day.” “The next day, she came and slept in my house because according to her, she had nowhere to sleep that night because her parents locked the house and threw her outside. “It was towards December last year that I slept with her. I slept with her two times. So, when my brother said the girl mentioned my name as the person that raped and impregnated her, I decided to go to the hospital to see her and that was where the police arrested me.”

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UNICEF, NOA, mobilizing for essential family practices



UNICEF, NOA, mobilizing for essential family practices



t is one thing to conceive a lofty programme but entirely a different ball game to reach the target audience with the effective implementation of the programme.

Unlike other government and institutional programmes, which fail at the level of implementation, the message of the Essential Family Practice, EFP, of the UNICEF using the National Orientation Agency (NOA), as vehicle for awareness creation, has been enthusiastically received by the women which explained its permeation in most communities and families in Abia State.


Women have been known to be effective mobilisers in the community and family naturally. Any programme that gets the support of women will to a large extent succeed. The partnership between UNICEF and the National Orientation Agency (NOA), has successfully taken the enlightenment on the essential family practices to several communities and women groups in Abia State.



The Social Mobilisation Technical Committee (SOMTEC) of the Community Governance Structure (CGS), led by the Abia State Director of NOA, Mrs. Ngozi Okechukwu, took the campaign to Igbere in Bende Council Area and the Deeper Life Bible Church, region headquarters, Umuahia last week, where the women and the church held their meeting.


Addressing the gathering at Igbere, Mrs Okechukwu said the programme targets chairmen, women leaders, and youth leaders of selected town unions.



According to the NOA boss: “The continual repetition of this project indicates that changes in the structure of community governance demand renewed strategies to drive the UNICEF sensitization at the grassroots.”

She explained that community governance structures are leaders of the communities who have enormous powers that can “affect policy outcomes that suit the needs of the community.”



She observed and rightly so, that though community leadership and community governance were strategic to developmental projects, they were often neglected.



“Over the years, different structures and platforms engaged in dialogue predominantly centred on material infrastructures such as roads, electricity and water supply across different spectra of the community,” she observed, but lamented that such discussions were not focused on child development and maternal health, a development which she noted posed a serious challenge to the adoption of the essential family practices by communities.

It is against this backdrop and the need to raise the profile of child survival and development that UNICEF in collaboration with the NOA and other partners is convening high profile community influencers across the state this year.

The expectation is that the convened community leaders/influencers have adequate knowledge of at least five essential practices and pass it across to other community members.


The major thrust of the five EFPs is: Exclusive breastfeeding, immunization, antenatal and postnatal care, adequate health care for sick children and proper waste excreta disposal.



To achieve the set target, UNICEF mandated NOA to ensure that at least 31,999 women across the state are properly sensitised to memorize the five essential family practices.



It must be emphasized that raising and nurturing healthy children is the cornerstone of human progress, of overcoming the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease, ignorance and discrimination place in a child’s way.



It is expected that at the end of the programme mothers and caregivers would have adequate knowledge of the five essential family practices and achieve significant increase in knowledge, attitude and skills of childbearing mothers, caregivers, parents and grandmothers of EFPs, among others.

She also told the participants at the Deeper Life Bible Church weekly prayer meeting that the programme was born out of UNICEF’s concern for the health of mother and child.



Taking the sessions on safe motherhood, immunization, proper child healthcare and antenatal care, the Abia State Health Educator, Mrs Meg Onwu, warned against patronizing traditional birth attendants who she said lacked the requisite training to handle emergencies and birth complications.

She urged the child bearing mothers to register at the nearest health centre soon after conception.




Onwu said pregnant women should visit a health centre at least four times before the delivery date.

“The first time she visits, she is given tetanus toxide, which prevents convulsions on mother and child. The second visit will be a month after, and she will be vaccinated against infections. This vaccination protects for three years. The third visit protects for five years while the fourth will protect the mother for 10 years,” she said.



The fifth visit, she explained will protect the woman throughout the childbearing age.





Onwu told the women that immunization begins as soon as the child is born, “six hours from the labour room.”



The first immunization, she further explained, protects the child against infection from the first contact with the environment and people.



The child should be given OPV to prevent poliomyelitis, BCG vaccine to prevent tuberculosis which she said was the cause of hunchback.



She also emphasized the need to complete the immunization dosage and to ensure it is not given on the buttocks but the laps. For instance, the complete dose of yellow fever vaccine is six times and at nine months.



“The danger of not completing the dosage is that when there is an outbreak even the immunized children would be affected,” she told them.


Mrs Chinwe Eke, State Baby Friendly Initiative Coordinator, took the gathering on breastfeeding insisting that the baby be fed with the first yellowish breast milk with cholesterol 30minutes after birth.



She said the first breast milk helps the baby to pass the first black excreta and also protects against infection. It also helps the placenta to come out easily.


Mothers were reminded of the need to do exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months. She explained that the water the baby needs is also in the breast milk, so no water should be given to the baby.



“Immediate feeding of the baby with breast milk helps the breast to flow early and faster,” she pointed out.



Eke also taught the women the proper position to carry the baby during breastfeeding as well as ensure that one breast is sucked dry before offering the next one.


Mr Theophilus Opara, of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), stressed the need for proper human waste/faecal disposal.

He took the women through the proper conduct required for healthy living for every member of the family, especially women and children, saying families should build toilets that can be flushed with water but preferably ventilation improved pit, VIP, toilet.



At the end of the day, the women and participants were excited with the enlightenment session and promised to carry the message home for implementation.



Mrs Felicia Dimgba, President General of the home branch of the Ezumezu Iyom Igbere, said she was delighted with the programme.



“As a matter of fact, the programme is all embracing. It is so important because most of our women do not know what to do about child birth” she said, and promised to carry the message home to those who did not attend the course.


Another women leader, Rose Ekeoma, said the programme was in line with the “same message I have been preaching to them, yet some of them will refuse. Some will come when the pregnancy is already nine months.”



Ekeoma, from Amiyi Igbere autonomous community, promised like the Secretary of the Igbere women, Mrs Mercy Ejieke, to cascade the message to other women in the community.



Also, at the end of the session in Deeper Life Bible Church, the Region Overseer, Pastor Nduka Ifeanyi, thanked the group for the programme and prayed for them.



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Curious boys attack hermaphrodite, Okeke, try to view genitals



Curious boys attack hermaphrodite, Okeke, try to view genitals



Mixed reactions have trailed the exclusive report published last week by Saturday Telegraph on Afam Okeke, a 25-year-old hermaphrodite, who last week revealed her worries and experiences over her intersex condition. It was reported that the Enugu-born grew up as a man but gradually developed feminine traits at adulthood.


In our exclusive report last week, Okeke said: “My body wasn’t really male or female. I was born with mixed features; people didn’t believe when I told them. What I was raised up in/living in, isn’t really the gender I identified with. Everyone could see in my body language, mannerism, and even in my looks, I am more of a girl/lady.



As a result, I stopped going outside. As for my genitals, it is complicated. I hate it when people ask me “do you have this or that?” It’s derogatory and annoying.



“I hide myself, trying to conform to a male gender so no one could tell I was different and I don’t get discriminated, bullied or lynched by the ignorant society I live in. I was always covered in baggy male clothes to hide my body.


The reason why I continued living as a male even though I didn’t really conform was because switching over to the female side was going to be difficult for lot of ignorant people in the society I lived in to come to terms with or learn to accept my intersex transition. Finding out I was intersex, I went through lot of trauma, self-hate, isolation, depression and suicidal thoughts as well I contemplated suicide on several occasions just to end it all.



Last year, I took rodent poison due to depression. When I took it, I felt weak and managed to enter the kitchen to drink palm oil after thinking otherwise. For five hours, I was unconscious and when I woke up, I felt tired and weak. I drank plenty of water and milk. I guess because I took the palm oil early, it helped. I got better the third day but started stooling and vomiting. It was tough, close shave with death.


“I felt I was punishing myself for a condition I had no control over and I did not bring it on myself. I felt so odd and unwanted; I didn’t even feel human anymore. I had to cut ties with all friends and family because no one knew or understood what I was going through and I didn’t know how to explain this to anyone.” After the report, some boys around where Okeke stays who could link him with the story laid ambush for him and attacked him on Monday evening in the Garden City. About six of them ran after him and demanded to see all he had ‘under’ him.



He fell in the process and was lucky to escape as some other people who heard him screaming came to his rescue. Okeke narrated his ordeal: “I was attacked by some guys who have been suspicious of me, and the story they read gave them an idea of my intersex condition. I expect they should mind their business but rather, they ran after me and they were actually beating me; remember the time some guys attacked me on the road and trying to find out if I was a man or a woman. It was scary.


They even tried to pull down my trousers to see my genitals. I thought that could be my last day and so I fought for my life. Some people who heard me screaming emerged from nowhere and the guys disappeared. I had to move out of my friend’s place and I’m now in the custody of a Non-Governmental Organisation in Port Harcourt. After the incident, I could not report to the police because this could further aggravate the issue.


“And on Tuesday, I also witnessed a sad incident in the bank when I when to collect money via Western Union and the cashier was asking me what gender should he fill for me in the form. Male or female or what? I was so humiliated. This was not due to the report but I guess it was my look. Even when I go to market, everyone there will be staring at me laughing and wondering whether I am a male or a female.




The societal effect on my current situation is very annoying. I did not do this to myself and people look at me as if it is my fault. It is really frustrating. “I talk about the society, what about my uncle?


My own blood who forced me out of his house, saying I was a witch. He said I was possessed and banned me from coming to his house or seeing his kids. That was after he took me to churches and no pastor said anything negative about me. They only asked about my parents and my background.”




There are however positives for Okeke after the exclusive report last week. Some individuals have responded with the intention of assisting him to overcome the current situation. “They demanded my PayPal account which I do not have but will find a way round it. I pray I have more responses because I wish to sort this issue out quickly and move on with my life. It is really tough but I will be strong to pull through.


Many people are also talking to me through my Facebook page ‘Sherry Rai.’ Okeke stressed that there was serious need for education in Nigeria about hermaphrodites. She argued that it was a condition and not a disease.



“People have HIV Aids and walk around normally but people stigmatize hermaphrodites and call them all sorts of derogatory names instead of trying to help.



I belong to so many groups on the Internet and I have learnt so much, on my Facebook page, I try to educate people and some of them talk to me directly. “I was born a man and I developed feminine traits along the line. It can be corrected and all I need is to undergo the necessary tests and surgery, I will be fine,” Okeke said.


Dr. Bola Adeyemi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, All Souls Hospital in Lagos, spoke on the way out for Okeke.



“There is need to determine many things through tests and investigation. Does the person have uterus, ovary and other feminine attributes?


“In this case, Okeke is comfortable as a female and so if she does not have vagina, she could go for Vagina Noplatic. It is being done at the University Hospital in Ibaban (UCH). With investigation, we should have other places in Nigeria. We have competent hands in the country to handle all medical cases but people do not respect doctors here. It is unfortunate.



“The case here is redeemable through several tests and surgery and the person will live a normal life,” Dr. Adeyemi explained Okeke is now considering to relocate to Lagos to avert further attacks and embarrassment. “I learnt Lagos is a free place where people mind their business no matter your condition.


Other places are not like that and it is sad,” he said. Interestingly, the hermaphrodite had a relationship with a white man who also has intersex condition. “



“He is white and we met in Abuja but somehow flashback from his past and some other personal issues affected our relationship. We were planning to get married but it did not work. I was the female in the relationship,” he said.

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SUSPECTS WHO DRUG DRIVERS, STEAL THEIR CARS: We target only greedy cab drivers who like free beer



SUSPECTS WHO DRUG DRIVERS, STEAL THEIR CARS: We target only greedy cab drivers who like free beer

Operatives of the Inspector- General of Police (IGP) Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), have arrested two members of a syndicate, who allegedly specialised in drugging cab drivers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, in order to steal their vehicles.


The syndicate came under IRT radar after it drugged a serving soldier to death, quickly buried him to conceal their crime and then stole his Peugeot 406 saloon car. The soldier, Sergeant Richard Akaeze, was said to have been using his car as cab during his off-days to augment his salary.


When his colleagues couldn’t find him, they petitioned the IGP, who then instructed IRT unit, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari, to find Akaeze and those behind his disappearance.


The search for Akaeze, led to the arrest of Sanusi Bala and Nurudeen Ibrahim. A police source said: “The syndicate used to lure their victims to drinking joints around the FCT, where they drug their drinks or food before leaving with their vehicles. The syndicate made a mistake when it caught sergeant Akaeze in its web and ended up giving him an overdose that eventually killed him. The suspects buried his corpse in a yet to be disclosed site. They made away with his car and phone.”


The IRT operatives, while tracking Akaeze’s stolen phone, discovered that it was being used by one of the suspects, Bala. Incidentally, Bala owns a car stand in Kaura Local Government Area of Zamfara State. He is also a worker with the local government in the state.



The source said: “Bala confessed after his arrest that his friend, Ibrahim, based in Abuja, gave him the phone when he brought a Peugeot 406 car for him to buy. He said that he didn’t buy the car because he had no money at that time. Bala said that aside his car business and working as a clerk with a local government, that he has taken part in several car thefts with Ibrahim at the FCT, where they drugged victims before stealing their vehicles. He, however, denied taking part in the operation that led to the death of Akaeze.”



It was further gathered that Bala assisted IRT operatives in arresting Ibrahim in Abuja. Bala told the operatives that the targets of the syndicate were greedy cab drivers, who enjoy free drinks. Bala (37), who is married with eight children, said: “I’m a civil servant. I work at the finance department of my local government as a clerk.



I have a friend, Nurudeen Ibrahim, who went to the same secondary school with me. He called one day, to tell me that he has a Golf 3 Saloon Car for sale. I bought it from him for N220, 000. Three months later, he called again and asked me to buy a Honda Civic car for N230, 000.


Five months later, he called again and sold a Peugeot 206 to me. Last year, he called and asked me to join him in stealing cars since I was just enjoying the sales. I accepted.” Bala said that when they got to Abuja,   they bought a drug, Tributan. Disclosing the modus operandi of the syndicate, Bala said they pose as passengers to pick a cab.



While in the cab, they would deliberately engage the driver in a conversation. They try to be friendly with the driver, and in the middle of the friendly chat, would invite him to a bar to share a drink with them. Bala said: “While in the bar drinking, we would ask him to get us something we left behind in his car. When he leaves, we would drug his drink or food. He falls asleep after drinking or eating the food.



We would take him in his car and dumped him on the outskirt of the town. We than disappear with his car.” Recounting his first operation with Ibrahim, Bala said: “My first operation with Ibrahim was the stealing of a Peugeot 406 wagon. We picked the cab from Nyaya and took the driver to a popular garden in Gariki area of Abuja. We got him drugged and made away with his vehicle. I sold the car for N320, 000 and gave my friend N160, 000.”


He said that in the second operation, they went to Dutse Alhaji, where they picked a Golf 2 saloon car after they had negotiated with the driver. They took him to a bar, where they bought him drinks and pepper soup.



They drugged his pepper soup and left him sleeping in the bar. They made away with his car and sold it for N160,000.” Bala said that three weeks later, he discovered that Ibrahim did a solo operation. In that operation, Ibrahim stole a Peugeot 406 Saloon Car, which he later took to Bala and urged him to buy it. Bala said: “I told him that I wasn’t interested. He took the vehicle away and sold it to someone else in Zamfara State. But before he left with the car to Zamfara, I searched it and found a small phone. I told him that I needed the phone.


He gave it to me. I took the phone to Kano and gave it to my friend, Lawan. Two weeks later, Lawan called and told me that he was in Zamfara to see me. I didn’t know that he came with policemen. When I went to see him, I was arrested.” Nurudeen Ibrahim (42), married with two children, claimed that he joined crime because his elder brother, a Brigadier General with the Nigeria Army, drove him out of his farm where he was working. He said: “I was a supervisor in his farm. He even married a wife for me and I had two children. When we started having issues, I left the farm.


Since I had no means of feeding my family, I went to a friend, Abdulrasheed, who was into the business of drugging cab drivers in order to steal their vehicles. I called and informed him that I was jobless. He asked me to join him in his business. In our first operation, we stole two cars, Nissan Almeria and Opel Vetral. I was ar-rested after that operation.



I went back to my village; but after a while, I came back and began the business of drugging cab drivers to steal their vehicles. I stole four cars, Honda Civic, Toyota Avensis, Golf and Peugeot 206. I sold the vehicles to Sanusi.”



Ibrahim said that he invited Bala to join him in the business because he felt that the job would be easier if they were two. “Whenever we have a target, who is usually a cab driver, I tell him that he might have to stop for me to buy something in a big super market. My partner would then tell the cab driver that I was very rich. He would also tell the taxi driver that I enjoy drinking beer.



“He would tell him that whenever I was drunk, I used to give cab drivers any amount of money they asked for. A greedy taxi driver would fall for this trick; he would follow us to a bar, where we would drug him and then steal his car. Those that are not greedy usually wouldn’t fall for such tricks.



I had a partner that was working with me, but he died of HIV/ AIDS. I had to bring in Sanusi. We stole three cars, a Toyota Avensis, a Golf 2 and Peugeot 406 Wagon. Sanusi bought all the cars and we shared the money. Later on, I went on to do three operations; I collected a Peugeot 406 saloon car from Maraba, a Mitsubishi car from Jabi and a Honda UK, from Garki areas of Abuja.


I sold the Honda UK and the Mitsubishi in Kano for N320, 0000. I wasn’t the person that drugged the missing soldier. I didn’t take the Peugeot 406 Saloon car to Sanusi. Sanusi is the only person who can explain where he got the phone. I have also been a victim. There was a time I tried drugging a victim and erroneously took the drink. I got high and slept off in the bar. The cab driver, who I was supposed to rob, stole all the money in my pockets.



He also stole my phones and disappeared with them.”

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SUCCESS: It’s all empty promises –Mum



SUCCESS: It’s all empty promises –Mum

Success Adegor, remember her?


The wonder kid from Sapele, Delta State, who literally set the internet on fire with her “u go flog, flog and flog until u tire” viral video in March. She did not only highlight her desire to be educated but somewhat exposed the rot in the country’s educational system. As expected, her outburst caught the attention of the state government, officials of her local government as well as notable individuals, especially from the Nollywood sector of the entertainment industry.


There were flood of promises in cash and promises to send her to the best school anywhere in the world that could help realise her lofty dreams in life. Incidentally, those promises have now become her family’s burden somewhat. The family, the mother said, now live in perpetual fear against all expectations, instead of the incident lifting her and her family as many anticipated. Threats have been pouring in their way in torrents of late in place of deserved accolades.


Aside that, the Adegor family house has somewhat become a mecca of sort as many visit to beg for unrealistic favour. This has heightened the fear of possible kidnap by those who perceive the family as swimming in millions.


The life of Success, according to her mother, Vera, has been everything but successful since the episode. Vera said: “People who made promises to us are yet to fulfill them. But some of them have been going about announcing that they had redeemed their promises and putting us in great danger with such careless talks.


“You can’t believe we’ve not heard from honourable Kelvin who promised publicly that he will provide accommodation for us. Unfortunately, many believe he actually bought a decent house for us.

There are also those who are peddling rumours that she has been given visa to travel abroad to further her education while others continue to broadcast that Success received millions of Naira from those who publicly promised to take us out of poverty. “The one that surprised me the most is that of the commissioner and the local government chairman. They came with journalists and promised before everyone that they would provide work for us.


The commissioner in particular promised to buy my husband Keke Napep (tricycle). All these meant trouble for us as people believe that we have become rich overnight.”


Vera, who told Saturday Telegraph in a telephone interview that their lives are in danger for the wrong perception people now have about them since the Success saga, said the family needed help. She said: “I want people to know that what they think is not the truth so that we can walk the streets free like we were used to.



“The only good thing about the Success story is that the government relocated the pupils of her school and renovation is ongoing in the hitherto dilapidated school as we speak. Most people are also happy with her for bringing the town to limelight. “The state government has also suddenly realised that people exist in that part of the state.


To me, that is something to be happy about. At least, history will forever be kind to her whenever the school or the town is mentioned. That is quite satisfying as parents,” Vera further said. She also revealed that Success who was promoted to primary four, took first position in her last promotion examination.


“We are very proud of her because she is very brilliant. In spite of her outburst, she has maintained cordial relationship with her classmates and teachers. Although some of the teachers may not be happy because she indicted them,” she said.


The seven-year-old Success, a pupil of Okotie Eboh Primary School, Sapele, Delta State, became a star after she featured in the short video, “Dem go flog, dem go tire”, which went viral on social media. She was sent home from school for not paying N900 examination fee. “I was angry.


It was not the first time and my favourite subject mathematics was about to commence then. I left the school premises and I was complaining when l met an auntie (neighbour) whose son had been sent home too. “She said she could take me back to school to plead on my behalf but l refused.


Bitter about being sent home and complaining, the neighbour kept pointing her phone at me while I kept expressing how angry I was,” the little girl said. Stephanie Idolor, the lady/neighbour, who did the recording, recalled how she saw the little girl grumbling.


Idolor had said: “Success was acting funny. She was a neighbour’s daughter and I recorded her with my phone. I never thought the video would go viral. Though I knew the video was funny, so, I shared it on WhatsApp and the next thing, it was on Facebook, Twitter and calls started coming in from all part of the country.”

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