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Editorial: Saraki and the Bullet-Proof Range Rover

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The call by Senator Ali Ndume (APC-Borno South) for the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate allegations that a N298 million bullet proof Range Rover sports utility vehicle, which was imported into the country allegedly with fake documents belongs to Senate President Bukola Saraki, is a rigmarole that is begging the issue. The armored SUV was impounded by Nigerian customs on January 17, precipitating a campaign of vendetta against the Customs Service, whose boss, Hameed Ali was ordered to appear before the Senate in his official uniform, after he refused to release the vehicle. Nigerians suspect, with good cause, that the Senate investigating its own president is a mere subterfuge to deflect pressure from Saraki and others involved in the ugly episode. In real terms, the transaction, along with the totality of the circumstances surrounding it, is a sad commentary on the values and quality of those in charge of the affairs of the country. The scandal underscores the yawning disconnect between the government and the governed in terms of priority and need, and why there is so much struggle for political appointment and offices.

 

A media aide to Saraki, Yusuph Olaniyonu, has denied the Senate president had anything to do with how the SUV was imported, arguing that it was the Senate that contracted out its procurement. “A supplier was engaged by the Senate to supply a vehicle. While transferring the vehicle between Lagos and Abuja, it was impounded by the Customs,” Olaniyonu said. “We believe that is an issue between the supplier and the Customs because the Senate has not taken delivery. So, why is somebody trying to drag in the name of Saraki into the issue?” Apart from the fact that due process was circumscribed; that so much public money was expended on one vehicle, at a time the country is in dire economic straits, the deal is as inexcusable as the reason offered for it. The worries of an average Nigerian are about the basic necessities of life – food, healthcare, quality education, gainful employment and reliable infrastructure, all of which remain hard to come by.

 

It is pathetic that while the average citizen buckles under the severe yoke of poverty; unemployment and lack, and the failure of government to discharge its statutory and moral responsibility to the populace, public officials would have so much leeway on profligacy and the mundane, which the bullet proof SUV at issue represent. This is more so at a time government revenue is said to be dwindling. When juxtaposed with the worst economic recession in decades characterized by an economy in free-fall; and the simmering insecurity and government’s failure to ensure safety of lives and property of Nigerians, the extent of government’s contempt and disdain for its citizens becomes obvious.

 

The Senate President went too far with the acquisition of the bullet proof SUV in a country where poverty is on the rampage, where primordial diseases such as cholera and guinea worm still decimate the rank and where infant mortality remains a source of concern to the international community. It is this same intense individualism, buoyed by the rapacious corruption in the country that can make Senators think that what is important for a lawmaking body is the safety of the President of the upper legislative chamber, rather than that of millions of people who depend on the legislators to pass laws that will improve their welfare. Individualism is the only reason the Senate has become the backyard farmland for its members where free funds are harvested as much and as often as they want.

 

Needless to say, the Senate traded away its integrity and compromised its oversight responsibility in order to please its leader. In so many ways, lawmakers conduct themselves as if they were above the law to the detriment of public service ethics. This pathetic phenomenon has bogged down the nation, as lawmakers would rather serve themselves than serve the Nigerian people who elected them.

 

Nigerians expect that this scandal should not be swept under the carpet, as many so-called investigations into financial impropriety in the public service have been compromised in the past. By any moral or decent standard, Saraki, who is undergoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, ought to have been ushered out of office to allow unfettered investigation by appropriate law enforcement agencies. That is the only way to counter insinuations that this government feels no scruple about corruption; or that no harm would befall anyone accused of corruption, however damning the allegation and its proof, if he belongs to the right ethnic group.

 

What the time calls for is a comprehensive overhaul of executive privileges at all levels of government. There is no need for any rigmarole, for that is what the Senate investigation or indeed any other panel set up by the government amounts to. There has been too many of such investigations in the past at public expense that turned out to be too much ado about nothing, mere sound without fury. That is not what Nigerians desire at this time as it amounts to an assault on the collective psyche of all citizens. The issues involved, namely morality, ethics and dignity of office are clear. All the culprits in this obscene act should be made to pay a price for their misconduct. Saraki’s continued stay in office is no longer tenable. President should do the right thing by using his office to bring pressure on the lawmakers to replace him with another person. The Senate officials involved in the Range Rover deal should also be thrown out of the system.

 

Meanwhile, the Police or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should open inquiry into the conduct of the culprits with a view to prosecuting them, if necessary. It is time public officials were made to account for their actions. No government that vacillates in a case so obvious and that smacks of massive moral deficit on the part of the Senate President will be deserving of the respect of its people. If government hopes to get away with this, it will not get away with the harsh verdict of history.

 

 

@Huhuonline

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I Know My Husband Likes Women – Olori Sekinat Elegushi

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Olori Sekinat, the first wife of Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Elegushi of Ikate-Elegushi, said she is not bothered by her husband’s love for women.

In an interview with BBC Yoruba, Sekinat, who married the monarch in 2003, said she knew at the beginning of their relationship that the monarch loves women.

The queen, who argued that all men are promiscuous, said she decided to continue with the relationship because of her love for him.

“My mum had a shop at Lagos Island. That’s where the king saw me and picked interest in me… I gave him a chance and we became friends,” she said.

“However, I told him that I had a boyfriend at the time but he said there’s no problem with that since we were only going to be friends.

Whenever I tell him that I’m going to see my boyfriend, he usually insists on accompanying me there. In fact, he knew my boyfriend then.

“In 2003, he proposed to me. I love him and he also loves me… despite the fact that he had other women in his life.

“For someone like him, who loves women, I ought to have turned him down that I cannot cope but we got along till he proposed and we got married.”

The monarch took a second wife in 2019, Olori Hadizat Elegushi.

Reflecting on how she copes with the monarch’s love for women, she said: “God has given me a patient and enduring spirit since childhood, my husband knows that I don’t disturb him on issues that have to do with women.

“That is because I know he truly loves me, and he always puts me first. So, I’m not scared because I know no one can take my place.

“It’s basically all men, it does not have to do with my husband alone. It is now left for the wife at home to handle the situation well. There is no man that is not promiscuous, it’s not possible except those that are yet to be born.”

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How Green Space Recyling’s Yemi Megbope Allegedly Dupes Investor Of N42million

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Being a sustainability adherent, Joshua Adegbola participated in a seminar organised by the Lagos Business School in 2019 with the hope that the platform would connect him with the right people and ultimately propel him into realising his lifelong ambition – owning a recycling plant.

 

During the seminar, he met Yemi Megbope, who was equally a recycling enthusiast, and thought his prayer had been answered.

 

Yemi Megbope.

 

After the exchange of ideas and an extensive conversation on recycling, Megbope offered Adegbola a stimulant – an invitation to her recycling plant in Ikorodu, Lagos.

 

“I paid a visit to her factory called Green Space Recycling Services Ltd. in Ikorodu in 2019 and was impressed by what I saw. I became so excited that I expressed my desire to set up something similar to hers,” Adegbola said.

 

The N34 million invoice Megbope sent to Adegbola

 

The PSP operator said he began making payments to Megbope in tranches but was forced to ask for a refund when he noticed a grey area in the agreement they had.

 

“When I started having doubts about all the things she told me, I took my money back from her. However, when she gave me assurances that my funds were safe, I started paying the money back to her in tranches,” Adegbola said.

 

“She said there was no problem and that I should reach out to her anytime I was ready.

 

“I asked her what it would cost me to set up a similar recycling centre, especially in the area of getting all necessary equipment needed for the business, and she said she would find out and get back to me.”

 

Adegbola said he reached out to Megbope in June 2020 when he felt he was ready to start the business.

 

“When I told her I was ready, she gave me a quotation of N29.2 million and a list of the equipment that would be transported to Nigeria from China once I made payment,” Adegbola said.

“When she gave me the list, I told her I personally didn’t have that kind of money but there were people that could borrow me.”

 

The moment Adegbola recommenced payment for the equipment he needed, the narrative changed.

 

“After paying a considerable amount out of the N29.2 million she said the equipment would cost me, she reached out to me and said the dollar exchange rate had changed and that I now had to pay N34 million,” Adegbola said

 

“I couldn’t go back at that point, so I had to make the additional payment she requested.

 

“In February 2021, I completed the payment after I was able to raise the money from friends.

 

“Mogbope told me my equipment would arrive Nigeria in March, 2021.

 

“For me to be able to clear the machines when they eventually arrive the Apapa port, she initially told me, it would cost N4.6 million. But later, she said it would cost me N6.6 million.

 

“At the end of the day, the entire amount I paid to Mogbope was N42,080,000 million. It was also agreed that the equipment I ordered would come in ‘two full containers.’”

 

 

 

WHAT ADEGBOLA ORDERED VERSUS WHAT HE GOT

 

 

 

Yemi Megbope

 

The goods did arrive the Apapa port in March, 2021, as Megbope promised. However, they did not come in ”two full containers” as promised and this sent an immediate signal to Adegbola that something was not right.

 

“When the goods arrived, I noticed they were scattered in six different containers,” the PSP operator said.

 

“I also saw that they loaded other peoples’ goods with mine in all six containers. I quickly sensed that the equipment she had ordered on my behalf was not even up to two containers and that was why she had them scattered in other people’s containers.”

 

Just like he had suspected, when the machines were brought out, Adegbola realised that they were not complete.

 

“Without wasting any further time, I decided to confront her about the incomplete machines that were delivered to me,” Adegbola said.

 

“This was when she said the money I paid her could not buy the whole equipment and that she only later decided to buy the most important ones I would be needing among them.

 

“She added that I should still be able to start my plant with the incomplete but key machines that were delivered to me. She even advised me to buy the missing ones locally.

 

“I became so sad because the equipment Megbope handed over to me were not worth N42 million. I also became quite depressed because I knew I had been defrauded.”

 

THE ACTUAL COST OF THE MACHINES MEGBOPE COLECTED N40M FOR AND STILL DID NOT DELIVER

 

Adegbola told us that he decided to do an independent finding online to know the actual cost of the machine Megbope collected over N40 million for.

 

“Luckily for me, I came in contact with the actual Chinese company that Megbope purchased the equipment from and they sent me all relevant correspondents on the inquiry I made,” Adegbola said.

 

“I then requested for an invoice from the company, and when they sent it, the equipment she collected about $100,000 from me for – because as of then a dollar was still being exchanged for N430 – was less than $25,000!

 

“This meant that the actual cost of all the equipment was within the region of N15 million.

 

“How could she have collected almost triple the actual amount from me and still not deliver all the equipment I needed? I was really mad.”

 

“Despite making over N27 million off me, she still chose not to deliver the complete equipment. Is that not wickedness?”

 

THE MEETING

 

Adegbola told our correspondent that he later scheduled a meeting with Megbope to allow both parties fashion out a solution on the matter.

 

“In the meeting, I told her my findings and the actual amount the Chinese company told me the equipment cost and she gave an excuse that she didn’t go to China herself,” Adegbola said.

 

“She also claimed she made the purchase through an intermediary.

 

“I then asked her, ‘You claimed to have used an intermediary, yet after swindling me this much, you still did not deliver all I requested for?’”

 

Adegbola said he insisted that Megbope get in touch with the intermediary so he could speak to him directly but she became evasive.

 

“I told her I paid for two containers so that my equipment wouldn’t get mixed up with those of others. It was clear she had my equipment scattered in different containers because of the fraud she wanted to perpetrate,” he said.

 

 

 

THE FAILED PROMISES THAT FOLLOWED

 

Adegbola said he had been asking Megbope to deliver the outstanding equipment since March, 2021, but she had continued to give him excuses.

 

In February, he got his lawyer to write her a demand letter.

 

 

 

First Demand Letter Adegbola Wrote to Megbope

 

“In February 2022, I got my lawyer to write her a letter demanding that she address my concern by making the other outstanding equipment available,” Adegbola said.

 

First Demand Letter Adegbola Wrote to Megbope

 

“Her lawyer wrote us back that the reason I did not get all the complete equipment was that there was ‘a mix up from China’. He also said they would be delivered soon. Till date, however, there has been no further response from them.

 

“I later asked her to pay me the equivalent of the outstanding equipment so that I could make the purchase on my own but she still did not respond.”

 

Adegbola said he wrote another letter to Megbope in September but still did not get any favourable response.

 

Message Between Agebola and Megbope

 

“She later sent me a series of WhatsApp messages to ask me where I would want her to deliver the items to. I sent the address to her and to her lawyer also,” Adegbola said.

 

“Till we speak, she still has not delivered them.”

 

Another Demand Letter Written in March

 

Adegbola said he had been getting messages from his creditors to repay the loans he collected from them between 2020 and 2021.

 

I don’t know why she doesn’t want me to flourish,” Adegbola said.

 

“The loan that I secured in order to pay her for the equipment has now risen to over N80 million because of the interest I am supposed to pay on it. It has continued to accumulate interest at a compounding rate.

 

“She has killed my business and I know she is after my life. One of the things that can throw a man into depression is debt, especially when it is an unserviceable debt.

 

“Every day, I wake up, go about my business and come back home to an ever-increasing debt, and this is because Megbope has decided to hold on to what could have brought forth the income I could have used in repaying the debt.

 

“It’s been over 20 months since I made the payment to her.”

 

 

 

REVELATION FROM THE SOURCE

 

Final Demand Notice Issued in October

 

Adegbola said he later reached out to a Chinese contact who also knew about the development.

 

What the Chinese contact revealed to me was disturbing,” Adegbola said.

 

“He told me that Megbope sold my equipment to another person. I also was able to establish that she paid around N15 million for the equipment and kept over N27 million for herself. Yet she did not supply all she was supposed to supply to me.

 

“I challenged her to bring out the list of equipment she ordered and the prices that were given to her by the manufacturers, but she never released the actual price list to me. She only sent me the total sum I was to pay.”

 

Adegbola said that apart from the N27 million fraud, Megbope had also refused to deliver essential machines like a rising tank, three screw loaders and one hot washing tank to him.

 

“It has been a tormenting journey. It is an episode that can make you lose your mind,” the PSP operator said.

 

‘OUR LAWYERS ARE ALREADY SORTING ISSUES OUT’

 

When contacted Megbope for comments on the matter, she said her lawyer was already working with Adegbola’s lawyer to get the issue resolved.

 

“He already told a lawyer to write to me on the issue. I have also contacted mine and they are already exchanging correspondence,” Megbope said.

 

When she was further asked whether she would like to react to the allegation levelled against her, she said she preferred to allow her lawyer do his job.

 

“When lawyers are having conversations, it is always better to allow them do their job. At the end of the day, the legal route is like the ultimate [sic],” she said.

 

After the conversation Megbope had with our reporter, she again reached out to Adegbola in November 2022, promising to deliver the equipment in one week. But she failed again in making good the promise.

 

 

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My 3 Daughters Can Stand Shoulder-to Shoulder With Any Man — Olori Sekinat Elegushi

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Olori Sekinat Aramide Elegushi, wife of Lagos popular traditional ruler, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, has revealed that she is not bothered about not producing an heir for her husband.

 

 

 

In a recent interview with BBC News, the elegant Queen of Ikate Kingdom said she is not worried but has been so blessed to have three adorable daughters together with Oba Elegushi—who she married in 2003— and they have both raised the girls to stand shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts in any part of the world.

 

 

 

She admitted that while women are not allowed to sit on the Elegushi royal throne, her daughters are capable of competing on an equal footing with men anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

“I never believed I wouldn’t have a male child but God in His infinite mercies gave me three beautiful daughters. Of course when it comes to ascending the throne, female children cannot inherit the throne. But I am so proud of my daughters because there is no place where any of their male counterparts stand, my daughters will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them,” Olori boasted in the interview released on Wednesday and conducted in the Yoruba language.

 

 

 

The Olori’s experience of successfully raising her three daughters has inspired her passionate love for the underprivileged and showing love to children through her Quality and Selfless Empowerment, QSE Foundation.

 

 

 

Speaking passionately about the foundation which holds annual children’s parties, and always well attended by several children in the community and beyond, Olori Sekinat said: “We care for mothers and their children. We have also been able to help many women in the community. The face of the kingdom has really changed. We have been able to introduce some modernity into the way things are done.”

 

 

 

Fielding questions on how different women swarm around her charming and well-heeled husband; Olori Sekinat said she has never been bothered by this as she claimed that it is natural for her husband to be attracted to different women because of his look and status as a first class modern monarch.

 

 

 

She however expressed confidence in her husband’s love and knowing that he prioritises her above every other woman. “God has given me the virtues of patience and endurance since I was young. My husband knows I don’t make a fuss about other women because I know he loves me and puts me first,” she exuded.

 

 

 

Olori Sekinat recalled meeting the king as a student at her late mother’s shop on Lagos Island, but he did not tell her anything about his royal status.

 

 

 

She claimed to have voiced concerns when her husband was selected for the throne at the time he —Oba Elegushi— was already rising politically and on the verge of getting the ticket to represent his people in Eti Osa at the House of Representatives but the wishes of the people prevailed.

 

 

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