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Ned Nwoko’s Assassination Story , a Hoax

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. The truth of the matter by Gabriel Ogbechie

 

My attention has been drawn to several publications in the print and social media wherein Ned Nwoko alleged that a plan to assassinate him is being sponsored by me. I also refer to a recent press conference held by the same Ned Nwoko wherein he alleged that the prisoner who told him of the plan to assassinate him has mysteriously died. He also accused me of being responsible for the death of the alleged prisoner/informant. I categorically state again that these allegations are completely false and a figment of Ned Nwoko’s infantile imagination. I have not planned nor sponsored any plot to assassinate Ned Nwoko.

 

In a petition to the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Abuja dated 12th of November 2020 and titled ‘LEAKED INFORMATION ON DANGEROUS PLANS TO ATTACK/KILL ME’ Mr. Ned Nwoko stated and I quote:

 

I was reliably informed by my wifeRegina Daniels who was also informed by one Wale Jana that the suspects who were arrested and remanded at the Kuje Correctional Center in connection with the murder case in my village are plotting to cause me harm and possibly kill me. From the information made available to me the evil plot is being sponsored by one Chief Gabriel Ogbechie. I came to this conclusion because according to the report sent to my wife by Wale Jana, it said an inmate in the same room with the suspects at the correctional facility who pretended to be sleeping heard them plotting to harm me. From what he heard, the sponsor of the planned attack owns a filling station and is in the business of Oil and Gas and hails from a community around. As far as I know, the only person who fits that description is one Chief Gabriel Ogbechie.

 

Screenshots of the purported WhatsApp messages between Regina Daniels’ informant and the random prisoner were attached to the petition.

On the 4th of December 2020, I had audience with the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command where I read the said petition and pointed out the fact that same was speculative with three layers of hearsay: The prisoner telling Wale Jana, Wale Jana telling Regina Daniels who then tells Ned Nwoko the tale of an alleged plot. Interestingly, the prisoner and/or Wale Jana never mentioned my name. The conclusion that “the only person who fits that description is one Chief Gabriel Ogbechie” is entirely that of Ned Nwoko.

 

The moment I stepped out of the office of the FCT Police Commissioner, Ned Nwoko and his social media trolls went into frenzy that I have been arrested for plotting to assassinate Ned Nwoko. That was false, I was NEVER arrested. I have it on good authority that in his bid to rub my name further in the mud, Ned Nwoko allegedly placed a frantic call to a member of staff of a popular television channel, asking him to carry the fake news of my arrest as breaking news. Abiding by the ethics of his profession, the gentleman refused despite being offered a blank cheque to propagate this evil on my person.

 

Regardless, the FCT Police Command thoroughly investigated the case. They visited the prisons, interviewed the actors and they reached the conclusion that the petition was spurious and frivolous. Suddenly, the Police Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID Abuja) asked that the case be transferred to them.

My lawyers wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police on the 22nd of December 2020 requesting that his office take over the case to thoroughly investigate it.

The IGP Monitoring Team invited Ned Nwoko for questioning. He was asked to produce the prisoner who told him and Regina Daniels of the plot to kill him. Ned Nwoko suddenly declared that the prisoner who told him/Regina Daniel of the plot is one Ossy Biose and that he was released from prison and died soon afterwards! How? When? Ned Nwoko had no answers to any of the questions. When the IGP Monitoring Unit asked him to provide details of the family of the alleged deceased, he declined!

 

As soon as Ned Nwoko stepped out of the Police Office, his social media trolls went wild with the news that the prisoner who told him that there was a plan to kill him has died mysteriously and that I am being fingered as the likely suspect.

 

The alleged prisoner, named Ossy Biose, is known only to Ned Nwoko and Regina Daniels. At his press conference, Ned Nwoko mentions that he knows the prisoner’s family and also provided explicit details of Ossy Biose’s sojourn to prison. This leads me to believe that he had a pre-existing relationship with him. Only Ned Nwoko knows the cause of death and he is the only one in a position to explain why the person known only to him and his wife suddenly passed.

The name Ossy Biose, the now allegedly deceased prisoner was only mentioned for the first time by Ned Nwoko at the IGP’s office when he was asked to substantiate his allegation and as at this time, Ossy Biose was already deceased, according to Ned Nwoko. Pray tell: how can someone be responsible for the death of someone whose name was only mentioned after he was dead and whose identity Ned Nwoko still refuses to disclose to the Police?

 

Frankly, the truth of Ned Nwoko’s allegations is that they are all a work of fiction, a poor movie script that has reached its end.

Also, Ned Nwoko in his petition stated that the prisoner shared the same room at Kuje Correctional Facility with two boys from Idumuje Ugboko. This puts the location of the alleged plot squarely at Kuje Correctional Facility. Quite to the contrary, the two prisoners from Idumuje-Ugboko who are in prison on account of Ned Nwoko are NOT in Kuje Correctional Facility. They are, infact, held at Suleja Correctional Facility, fifty-two kilometers away from Kuje Correctional Facility. They were arraigned on the 26th of August 2020 and the Judge ordered that they be remanded in Kuje Correctional Facility. However, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, they were remanded in Suleja Correctional Facility since the 26th of August 2020 and have remained there till date. These are the people that Ned Nwoko, in his hallucinatory state, accuses of conspiracy to assassinate him and who are allegedly being sponsored by an oil magnate.

 

In writing his work of fiction, Ned Nwoko could not do his simple due diligence to even ascertain the location of the two people who are in prison on his account and he is now maligning my integrity and reputation.

 

In the alleged WhatsApp exchange attached to the petition, one of the prisoners from Idumuje-Ugboko was mentioned as Cheta and the exchange stated that Ned Nwoko put them in prison. I do not know Cheta, neither have I met nor interacted with him. My preliminary checks revealed the full names of the said prisoners to be Cheta Okolo and Onyisi Esuzor. They are both members of the Vigilante Group in the village. In the course of their duty, they accosted a miscreant vandalizing street lights in the village. The person so accosted turned out to be Ned Nwoko’s acolyte in the village. At the behest of Ned Nwoko, Cheta Okolo and Onyisi Esuzor were promptly arrested and arraigned before the courts in Delta State for ATTEMPTED MURDER. The courts discharged and acquitted them as no case was established against them. Dissatisfied, men from FCID Abuja came all the way to Idumuje-Ugboko, arrested these boys on the 30th of July 2020 and locked them up for three weeks at the FCID. On the 26th of August 2020, they were arraigned before a judge in Abuja, this time charged with TERRORISM! They have been in Suleja Prison for five months now and counting. This is all on account of Ned Nwoko, according to the WhatsApp message exchange between Regina Daniels and her informant.

 

Ned Nwoko and I are from the same community, Idumuje Ugboko, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State. Ned Nwoko desires 100 hectares of land to build a University in the community, a noble gesture by all means. The King and Ned Nwoko, who are first cousins, have differing opinion on how best to acquire the land needed for the University. Sometime in 2017, I had an extensive meeting with Ned Nwoko in his house in Abuja and I appealed to him to allow peace to reign in the community. I spelt out what I believed was a clear road map for him to acquire the 100 hectares of land he needs to build his University. Ned Nwoko wants 100 hectares of land, contiguous to his existing 33 hectares of land on which he built his private residence. Part of the 100 hectares of land belongs to the Community but most of it are owned by private individuals. The King simply requests that Ned Nwoko follows due process; put in an application for the land, pay the token that is due to the community and gets the land. With regards the land that belongs to private individuals, he was advised to engage the owners of the land and take the necessary legal steps to acquire it. However, Ned Nwoko wants none of it, he believes he is above the laws of the community and is not ready to conform to simple dictates of communal living.

 

I am in support of the University. The King is in support of the University. The community is happy to host the University. The King, His Royal Highness Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko who ascended the throne about four years ago desires his Staff of Office. Ned Nwoko has used every subterfuge in the book to ensure the King does not get his staff of office. To no avail, I have appealed to Ned Nwoko on numerous occasions to follow due process in the acquisition of his desired portion of land and to also allow the newly installed King be presented his staff of Office.

In the last four years alone:

a.         The King, His Royal Highness Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko, who is currently 70 years old has been accused of killing his father, the immediate past King who died at the ripe old age of 91 years.

b.      The King and twelve other members of the community have been accused and charged to a court in Abuja on account of terrorism.

c.      Policemen, at the behest of Ned Nwoko, have invaded the Palace in the dead of the night, picked up the King like a common criminal and locked him up in Asaba. It took the intervention of the Government of Delta State to get the King out of the needless harassment.

d.      Two members of the community were accused of murder of someone known only to Ned Nwoko. Despite their strident denial they were locked up and charged to court. They spent three years in prison before the courts threw out the case for lack of evidence. Regardless three years of their lives have been lost.

e.      Three members of the community are currently held at Suleja Prison on account of Ned   Nwoko on an alleged charge of terrorism.

f.          In the past two years, more than 8 members of the community have spent time at prisons   in Abuja and some up to 14 months on account of alleged terrorism

Idumuje Ugboko, a small agrarian and peaceful community on the fringes of Delta State has been dragged into the national and public space by Ned Nwoko all for the wrong reasons. He has accused indigenes of terrorism or murder and is now hallucinating over a purported plan to assassinate him.

Having observed with revulsion, the great lengths Ned has gone to launch a heinous smear campaign against me, I am now completely doubtless that Ned Nwoko is very much capable of strategically executing plans and actions to bring about a desired result. I have severally engaged and admonished him to use his wealth to facilitate the economic progress of the bright minds in our community. Once again, I urge him to channel his talents to bring about an amicable end to the ongoing community conflict instead of waging a campaign of oppression. Hapless members of the community have been dragged before judges in Abuja and given very stringent bail conditions; some asked to bring sureties with assets of fifty million naira and above including houses in Abuja. This is way beyond what a lot of them can fathom or afford, so they simply rot in prison in Abuja. I have seen poor village women, most of them farmers, donate as little as five hundred naira into the pool of funds to raise the millions of naira needed to bail their children from jail in Abuja on account of Ned Nwoko. Despite the fact that I have no relationship with most of the oppressed and accused persons, I have provided the much-needed assistance for bail as much as I can. I have also made provisions for first-rate legal representation for the King and some of the accused persons.

Ned Nwoko has severally asked me to stop supporting the King as he believes my intervention prevents him from having his unrestrained way in the community. All these attacks and fabricated falsehoods against my person are to scare me into allowing him continue his harassment and intimidation of poor and defenseless members of our Community. This is wrong!

I have tried severally to reach out to him to arrange a forum of dialogue to resolve whatever he believes is conflict between us. He has evaded and sabotaged every single attempt I have made. Instead, he keeps fabricating and weaving a web of lies around me. I understand his family is in the show business and it is necessary they remain in the news to maintain the smokescreen of media hype. However, I urge him to keep me out of his social media antics and refrain from using my name as content. I simply have no desire to be a part of the fictitious drama borne out of the figment of his colorful imagination.

My lawyers have written to Ned Nwoko demanding a retraction, apology and payment of damages for the scurrilous statements and publications made by him and very soon, he would have his day in Court.

I shall continue to  take legal steps to protect my hard earned reputation and integrity. Ned Nwoko is not above the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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ABC ORJIAKO: LIVING A LUXURY LIFESTYLE WITH A HUGE DEBT PROFILE…..

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Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s biggest lender, which assumed that position following its merger and acquisition deal with former Diamond Bank, is continuing its quest to clean up the Aegean stable of legacy issues brought upon it by the merger, especially outstanding debt the latter consummated

The bank is now horn-locked with one of Nigeria’s serial debtors, Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, the chairman of Seplat Petroleum Development Company, SEPLAT itself, Cardinal Drilling Nigeria Limited, another company associated with the businessman, over an indebtedness put at $200 million.

In his bid to cover up his debt profile, he decided to go on a media war attacking Access bank as a bully. Isn’t it funny that a man whose debt profile has made him a serial debtor accusing a bank of corporate bullying?

He should pay his debt and see if anyone is interested in bullying him, as nobody is interested in his company, all they are asking for is for him to pay back depositors’ money.

In business, borrowing money in the bank without paying back is tantamount to putting the financial system at risk.

When a man calls himself a businessman and owes a bank you are putting the financial system at risk, which is not healthy for the economy.

As against his attack towards Access bank, ABC Orjiako should know and understand that been asked to pay back his loan is neither bullying nor a hostile takeover.

The matter, still in court, led to the issuance of a Morava order against Orjoako’s asset, which includes the freezing of seplat account and sealing of the seplat headquarters.

Although the order was lifted by the court of appeal, the Access bank has appealed to Supreme Court to reinstate the order.

Clearly, Orjiarkor’s recalcitrant behavior is a threat to the financial system.

The regulatory authority should find a way to prevent people like Orjiakor from accessing loans until they pay their old debt.

By: SUNDAY ADEBAYO

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Heritage Bank’s 8 years journey of entrenching business of banking in Nigeria

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Today marks a worthy milestone in the life of one of the fastest growing financial service provider, Heritage Bank Plc as it celebrates eight (8) years of entrenching seamless service delivery in the business of banking in Nigeria.

This is a journey that began eight (8) years ago, premised on passion, commitment, doggedness, culture and hard work amongst others, stands today as a reputable financial organisation in the Nigeria banking space.

The story began in 2012; a story of hard work and determination when Heritage Bank Plc emerged from a business combination of Heritage Banking Company Limited (HBCL) and Enterprise Bank Limited (EBL) after the acquisition of SocieteGenerale of Nigeria’s (SGBN) license by IEI Investment Ltd from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) having met all requirements by Nigeria’s apex bank.

 

Heritage Bank returned 100% of existing SGBN account holders’ funds which were frozen at the closure of the SGBN. This move brought a lot of smiles to the faces of former account holders and inspired many of them to open new accounts with Heritage Bank. In October 2014, Heritage Banking Company Ltd successfully met the requirements of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the CBN toward owning 100% shares in Enterprise Bank Ltd., after a highly competitive bid process. This development firmly anchors the Heritage Bank in a rich legacy of technology and innovation in the banking industry. SGBN, which was incorporated in December 1976 and commenced full banking operations in August 1977, pioneered the introduction of e-banking services including its flagship, the 24/7 Cashpoint through the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in 1990.

 

With a management focused on innovation through technology and a unique philosophy to create, preserve and transfer wealth to its customers, Heritage Bank found itself in a fiercely competitive banking environment but it remained guided by passion, resilience, innovation and a brand architecture that exuded quality service, performance and sheer excellence.

Still, as big a move as it was, it remained just one of the many strategic moves to change the banking industry and Heritage Bank has made a lot of them and attains giant strides in reshaping the economy since it began operations in 2013 to drive improved investment outcome and job creation.

Success stories of entrenching business of banking in Nigeria:

 

As a catalytic financial institution, Heritage Bank, through its strategic partnerships with government and private organisations, has continued to make efforts to transforming the nation’s economy through championing entrepreneurial schemes for businesses and the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector was not left out, which have always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as education, agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

 

In recent times, the bank’s response to dealing with the global economic challenge occasioned by COVID-19, which highly impacted SMEs, Heritage Bank PLC has continued to deepen its support to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria to grow their businesses either as start-ups or prospective business owners.

 

One of such is the last Season of the reality TV show The Next Titan, themed “The Unstoppable” that was designed to search for business ideas that are immune to any pandemic, innovations that break boundaries and technologies that can survive any lockdown. This programme produced a young vibrant entrepreneur, graduate of the Federal University of Technology Owerri with a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Science who is the Chief Executive Officer of Josult Oil Processing Company, a palm oil processing company in Akwa Ibom State, Joshua Joseph Idiong, as he finally emerged the winner of the Next Titan Season-7, going home with a whooping sum of N10million. Furthermore, Heritage Bank PLC in partnership with Honourable Fatima Mohammed (FAMO) Foundation also provided succor to over 300 affected private school teachers and small medium enterprises (SMEs).

 

Heritage Bank has continued to blaze the trial on the SME’s space to empower young entrepreneurs in such schemes as the HB Innovation Lab Accelerator programme (HB-LAB), Ynspyre Account, Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP), Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) on Young Entrepreneurship Business Training Programme (YEBTP), Young Entrepreneurs and Students (YES) Grant and Nigerian Youth Professional Forum (NYPF), Big Brother Nigeria, Lagos Comic Con, among others.

Last year witnessed the Launch of the Nationwide Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold & Precious Metals which stands to create new opportunities for Nigeria to grow its potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold.

 

The Nationwide Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold & Precious Metals Buying Centre will fast-track 10per cent contribution of mining sector to GDP by 2026. Referring to this giant strides, Prof. YemiOsinbajo remarked that the launch of this project between Heritage Bank and ‘Dukia Gold SPV’ would enable Nigeria to mine reserves properly, trade responsibly, refine locally and boost the nation’s foreign reserves.

 

Heritage Bank has continued to support Nigeria’s aspiration and roadmap to become a leading Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub in Africa, The Bank doled out the sum of $40, 000 grants to winners of the maiden edition of HB Innovative Lab.

The bank’s commitment is to create enabling environment, resources and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions with the potential to radically improve financial inclusion/intermediation, health, automobile, agriculture, and other related problems affecting critical sectors of the economy.

 

For the bank’s giant stride of support to tourism, Federal Government commended Heritage Bank for its commitment to the development and growth of the creative industry.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the commendation at a two-day Creative Nigeria Summit.

The bank, aimed at boosting Nigeria’s tourism via creative arts industry supported the sponsorship of exhibition at the National Museum Benin, at the Exhibition Gallery of National Museum Benin by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), in collaboration with the Edo State Government, and the Smithsonian Institute, United States of America.

 

Also, efforts are being taken by Heritage Bank Plc and the River State government during the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to make art and culture a unifying factor and major earner to the contribution of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

Heritage Bank Plc partnered with the organizers of the International Festival of Contemporary Dance (IFCOD) to host the second edition of One Language, a musical production of intrigue, dance and drama.

 

 

Most prominent of its partnership and supports is the annual Calabar Carnival and festival, tagged “Africa’s Biggest Street Party,” was created as part of the vision of making Cross River State the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and other tourists across the world.

Heritage Bank is not done yet. The bank went further to prove its trend setting profile by driving seat of the agricultural financing revolution.

 

In a bid to support the real sector and unlock food potentials, Heritage Bank Plc provided over N5billion long term facility under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) to Triton Aqua Africa Ltd (TAAL).

TAAL known as Triton Farm accessed the CACS through Heritage Bank, which was used to set up aquaculture businesses; nursery/hatchery to produce fingerlings and brood stock in Ikeja and earthen ponds for catfish and Tilapia in Asejire, Iwo and Gambari towns in Oyo State.

Under the arrangement, TAAL will also help small-scale farms increase their fish production by making fingerlings available to them.

In the short term, the loan is expected to help Triton double its current production capacity of 25,000 metric tonnes with a projection to scale it up to 100,000 metric tonnes in five years.

The bank also has thrown its weight behind Globus Resources Limited, a subsidiary of Triton Group, to flag off the second phase of afforestation programme in Oyo state.

Nigeria’s demand capacity for fish was estimated at 2.7million metric tons and the country currently produces 800,000 metric tons.

Triton is now producing over 25,000 metric tons and with them on board, over 25,000 metric tons capacity will be added to our current production, the company’s projection is to exceed 100,000 metric tons in 5years.

 

In the state level, Heritage Bank entered into partnership with the Oyo State government in a multi-billion-naira project to give agriculture a boost.

Under the initiative, the bank supported the Oyo State Agricultural Initiative, OYSAI, a programme designed to revive agriculture, boost agro-allied businesses and massive empowerment programme for both youth and women across the state through the creation of thousands of jobs in the sector.

This huge, albeit laudable, project that is spread across 3,000 hectares of land in 28 of the 33 Local Government Areas of Oyo State is in three stages: food crop cultivation, cash crop/horticulture, and food processing.

 

Heritage Bank is supporting agro investors involved in this initiative with funds and advisory services and indications are that the programme has already led to more than 30 per cent increase in food production in the state.

The Bank also supported thousands of small holder farms in Kaduna and Zamfara states to benefit from the bank’s financial support for rice and soya beans production under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).

 

Further on job creation, Heritage Bank through its establishment of a full-fledged learning and development institute accredited by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), dubbed “The Refinery” successfully trained and employed about 300 new intakes.

 

In the midst of the bank’s audacity to dare and succeed, industry watchers have continued to ask; how are they doing it? The answers may not be far from the fact that this is one bank whose leadership team continues to exude the charisma of the Midas touch. With Heritage Bank, the MD/CEO, IfieSekibo has proven over and over again that whatever he touches, turns into gold.

 

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Oshodi and Apapa, like BRF, like Sanwo-Olu…Resolving the Intractable

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Prior to Babatunde Raji Fashola’s becoming the Executive Governor of Lagos State in 2007, one of the seemingly most intractable conundrum faced by Lagosians was the ‘madness’ that one of the major areas in the heart of Lagos had become-Oshodi. There practically seems to be no solution in sight to bringing sanity to Oshodi, one of the most restive, active and a major hub in the transportation architecture of Lagos. From the military administrators to their civilian counterparts, all efforts geared towards bringing orderliness to Oshodi were trailed with futility. Not even the successive military governors in the state, from Air Commodore Gbolahan Mudashiru to the tough-talking Raji Rasaki, could solve the Oshodi debacle. Oshodi had become a bedlam that could not yield to even the effervescent and charismatic Buba Marwa who made some strides while presiding over the affairs of the state.

Daily at Oshodi, motorists have to struggle and even sometimes beg the street traders before they could maneuver their way to and from work. The regular 3 lane of the dual carriageway had two third of it occupied by street traders, from used clothing items sellers, popularly known as Okrika or Tokunbo to food item vendors, like pepper sellers, meat sellers, household utensil vendors, they all occupied the major road, without a care in the world, after all, they daily make a payment to the area boys who in turn make a daily remittance to the kingpin of the area boys, at a time Oliver Ogochukwu Dum Obiora, popularly known as Bomboy and later Adedigba Adepegba, AKA Talo Skibbo.

What made the case of Oshodi even more bemusing, in its state of accepted lawlessness was the fact that you cannot be heading towards the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, which is the major airport in the Southwest of Nigeria without going through Oshodi. So, obviously the most powerful men in the land cannot claim ignorance of the situation. On the other side of one of the major markets in Oshodi, Mosafejo market is the Nigerian Army Cantonment, the only point of division being the railway line that runs across the two. You will begin to understand the importance that the nexus known as Oshodi represents when people tell you that if you are going anywhere in Lagos, just find your way to Oshodi and you are certain that you are halfway to your destination. From any of the parks in Oshodi, you practically can get a bus or public transport to any part of Lagos or even any major city or town in Southwest Nigeria.

Of course with the degree of confusion and lawlessness that Oshodi was then, it’s only normal that crime will fester in the place and indeed it was a place renowned then for crime of every guise, from the petty to the major. Pickpockets, jewelry snatchers, swindlers, robbers and even fake clergies made Oshodi their homes. Not to talk of the peddlers of illicit drugs, whose domain was the railway line, stretching from Ladipo all the way to Cappa. Young ladies and girls know well not to stray or go anywhere near this stretch of the railway line anytime it is dark as rape and molestation were regularly report.

Let us not even go into the traffic situation around Oshodi at the time under review, the crippling, grinding traffic jam around Oshodi often led to you seeing highly placed people abandoning their drivers with their SUVs and jumping on the next available Okada in order not to miss their flights. Oshodi was that notorious.

All of these were to change at an unbelievable alacrity in 2009 when the then governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola said enough was enough and resolutely decided to redeem Oshodi and transform the place, even when many thought it was a tough decision that could adversely affect his popularity and may be a political albatross should he decide to seek re-election in 2011. With the common folks, indeed it appeared then like an unpopular decision, but with the clearing of the place and the crystallization of his dream for Oshodi, even his most avowed critics agreed that without a shadow of doubt, it was one of the best decision by Fashola, one that will ultimately cement his place as one of the best individuals to have piloted the affairs of Lagos. The transformation of Oshodi by Fashola was like going to sleep in the noisy slum of Ajegunle and waking up to the serenity of old Ikoyi, it was unbelievable. It was a feat that even the most optimistic of Lagosians found very hard to believe.

What Fashola achieved with Oshodi, is exactly what the current governor of Lagos, in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and the office of the Vice President have been able to achieve in unknotting the perennial gridlock that has become synonymous with Apapa. For years, Apapa had become one of the most dreaded places to visit in Lagos. No, it was not due to any reason adduced to crime other than the almost intractable traffic gridlock around the place.

For a non-regular visitor to Apapa and environ, whatever day of the week you chose to have any reason to go to that part of town, they were always ready to get their baptism of fire. Those who were unlucky to have made a visit to Apapa on some of its worst days always have a bitter tale to tell. There had been situations where people spent upwards of 10 hours on a spot, in Apapa traffic. The most unlucky ones were those who had one business or the other to transact around the port access roads, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway or Western Avenue leading through Ijora.

Before now, trailer trucks, container bearing trailers, petrol tankers and other heavy articulated vehicles used to litter the area with reckless abandon. They were like a law onto themselves and any attempt by government to regulate their activities were always swiftly met by threats of industrial actions by their very powerful union.

Several times, the activities of these vehicles had led to needless loss of lives and property through tanker, trailer and other vehicular accidents, as well as clashes resulting in fatalities between the drivers and their assistants, popularly known as motor boy and law enforcement agents.

All the madness that used to characterize Apapa is now a thing of the past- all thanks to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Hadiza Bala Usman, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Port Authority and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with the introduction of the electronic Truck Call-Up System.

Since the introduction of the system on Saturday, February 27, 2021, the entire Apapa axis is now enjoying free flow of traffic, with the residents and those who have offices around the place heaving a sigh of relief and commending the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government for proffering an ingenuous solution to what had almost been termed an irredeemable situation.

For a fact, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has proven to be a silent hard worker whose resolve to deliver on his electoral promises is one he isn’t ready to renege on. In spite of the major challenges, both local and global that have bedeviled Lagos since his assumption of office, he has kept his focus firmly locked on the ball and has consistently continued display an uncommon sense of purpose in piloting the affairs of Lagos.

By Victor Ganzallo

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