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Agony of a widow

Madam Ajarat, the evicted widow
A harsh experience of a widow of over five decades of marriage that culminated in undue disgrace and dishonor by her husband’s older children suspected of attempting to sell their father’s house that their father’s widow lives in.
Excerpts of interview of Madam Ajarat from Okenne, Kogi State,  married to Late Pa Ogunbajo of Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun State.
She spoke with OWOLOLA ADEBOLA
 What is your maiden name?
My maiden name is Ajarat Subair from Okenne in Kogi State.
 How did you meet your late husband, Pa B.L. Ogunbajo?
 He was a produce trader that used to buy and sell cocoa and other cash crops. He came to our family farm at Abeku by J4 in Ogun State. I accompanied my late aunt who was a farmer to visit him. That is how we met. He showed interest to marry me. He was an interesting man. I was 25 years old then. He was a fatherly figure.
 Do you remember the year that you married him?
 It was sometime in the 1960s. I had the first child for him but died of measles. My second surviving child for him was crawling when he died in 1973.
 After his death, how has life been with you?
 Upon my husband’s death, I was bequeathed to his junior sister, my late sister-in-law according to the prevalent Yoruba custom. She in turn bequeathed me to her son called “Olowo.”
I had two daughters for Olowo. The first was a handicapped daughter without lower limbs. The second, a girl too but now a woman. Both are married with children.
The first daughter for Olowo is called Lubuda. That’s physically challenged.  God blesses her with two children. I look after her and her children. The rest are on their own.
The President of Customary court, Ijebu Igbo
 What is your position amongst late Pa Ogunbajo’s wives?
 I’m the fifth and last wife. There were only two aged wives ahead of me. The rest two had died before I met him. I was well-accepted into the family. My immediate and extended family members love me. His mother ensured I was the closest person to her. All the children of the extended family would always come around to play in our big house then. There was enough space for them to run around.  I would cook for them all before they returned home.
 Did you marry outside Pa Ogunbajo’s family after Olowo’s death?
 Yes I did. I had health challenges then. Fibroid threats. I was advised to marry again to reduce and possibly eliminate the threats. I had two children with my last husband. I returned to my first husband’s house to look after all my children. I stayed in the two-rooms apartment given to my first daughter as her inheritance in her father’s house.
I stayed in the same two-rooms apartment in my husband’s house while my marriage to Olowo lasted until he died.
 What led to the dispute between you and your first husband’s older children, lately?
No specific reason for the dispute. I’m not a stranger to them. I’ve known them for over five decades. My suspicion is that they want to sell the house. The surviving children of Pa Ogunbajo are advanced in age. None of them is less than 80 years old. They alleged unspeakable nonsense against me and my children. They call us all sorts of names to intimidate me and my children. In the end, they summoned me to Customary Court.  They alleged so many untrue allegations.  I defended myself in truth as I could. In the end, they pronounced me guilty.
The widow’s belonging thrown outside
How did they find you guilty?
The Court president and others did not take into account to I
nvestigate all the allegations or call for witnesses or evidence to affirm the truth of the allegations. I debunked all the allegations but they didn’t believe me.
The Court pronounced me guilty. The Court granted me only 14 days to vacate the house and relocate elsewhere. The Court says I could appeal the judgment within 30 days.
 Did you comply with the Court’s ruling?
 I was advised to comply and I wanted to. Some extended family members heard of the Court’s ruling and were astounded.  They asked me to stay in the house while they would resolve the differences in the family.
I listened to them. The family members assured me they had contacted the Court president to stay the judgment execution. They assured me to continue living in the house.
 Given the assurance by the family members. What transpired next.?
 It was a rude shock to me that I was evicted on the 23rd day after the Court’s ruling. The Court president neither honoured his words to the family members to stay the judgment execution nor wait till the due 30 days granted me to appeal the judgment. The Court bailiff and plainclothes policemen came to the house.
They hired men of the Hausa tribe brandishing cutlasses and cudgel. They ordered the Hausa men to force the door open. They threw my belongings outside. They disgraced me and my children.
 When exactly did the trial take place and what day were you evicted?
 The trial took place on 23rd of January 2023 at Customary Court Holden at Ijebu-Igbo, Ijebu-North Local Government Area, Ogun State.
I was evicted on the 15th of February 2023. The third week after the ruling.
 Did you attempt to protest the eviction to the Court president?
 I don’t think it is necessary. There were rumours that the Court president had been contracted to sell the house if he could succeed in evicting me and my children. The Court president is a popular estate agent around Ijebu-Igbo.
What efforts are you making to seek redress in a law court?
 The legal fee to challenge the ruling and the oppression is exorbitant. It is unaffordable to me and my children in this difficult time around the country. I look up to God to redress the situation for me.
I may seek legal aid from the Ogun State government to help restore my right to live in my daughter’s inherited two-rooms apartment in her father’s house. If they would sell the house, they should seek my daughter’s consent as one of my husband’s children.
 Where do you stay at the moment?
 A good neighbour offered me and my children a room to stay for a while. I will move on to seek redress when I overcome the resultant trauma and the depression that becloud me daily. It is not a good way for me to end my life after five decades of marriage.
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Traffic gridlock returns to Apapa port as Federal government closes Total bridge for maintainance works

The eyewitness reporter
The relative respite that port users have recently experienced from the malignant traffic gridlock at Apapa port may be over as the Federal Ministry of Works closed down the ever-busy Total bridge to the traffic.
Announcing the temporary closure which is expected to last for two and half months, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said the measure is to pave way for repairs and maintenance works to be carried out on the bridge.
According to the statement by the authority on its verified Twitter handle, the bridge was closed to the traffic inward Apapa Port Sunday, 26th March 2023 at about 11.35 pm.
To minimise the pains of the resumed traffic gridlock on the port access road, the NPA said it has put in place a traffic control mechanism that is expected to ease the pains of port  road users.
The agency said it has partnered with LASMA, Police, FRSC and the Nigerian Navy to manage the traffic situation and work out alternative routes for motorists.
” To pave way for repair and maintenance works, the Federal ministry of works yesterday closed the TOTAL BRIDGE INWARD APAPA at about 11:35 am on 25th March 2023 to last for two months and a half.

“Given the impact the closure will have on Port users, the Authority in partnership with LASTMA, Police, FRSC, and the Nigerian Navy have worked out alternative routes and are on the ground to manage the traffic situation in the affected areas.

“The Authority wishes to solicit the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders as we continue to support measures to mitigate the temporary disruptions, the NPA pleaded.

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NIMASA collaborates with NCC to regulate submarine cable operation for enhanced navigational safety on Nigerian waters

The eyewitness reporter

Apparently alarmed by the indiscriminate laying of communication cables and pipelines underneath the Nigerian waters by telecommunications operators and other allied professionals which has the potential of harming the safe navigation of ships, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) has engaged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a strategic discussion to forge a formidable synergy with other relevant stakeholders with a view to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.

Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.

The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.

He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.

According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters.

“Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.

“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation.

“We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another Agency start.

“Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.

On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation, urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.

Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.

NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.

NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.

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Comptroller Nnadi mourns death of retired customs officer,   DCG Sanusi

—–reminiscences on his encounter with late Customs boss
The eyewitness reporter 
Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Area Controller of the Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, has expressed a deep sense of loss mixed with grief over the death of DCG (rtd) Umar Sanusi
The retired Customs boss died early hours of Sunday 26th, March 2023,  at a private hospital in Abuja and will be buried according to Islamic rites the same day after Muslim prayer in the Abuja Central Mosque.
However,  in an emotion-laden tribute to the late Customs boss, Nnadi bemoaned the death of Sanusi whom he said he admired and revered as a Customs officer.
Recounting his various encounters with the deceased, Nnadi disclosed that the late Sanusi came across to him as a fine, diligent, compassionate, thorough, and core professional officer who was humane, humble, and highly detribalized, the attributes which Comptroller Nnadi said had a deep impression on him
“It is with a heavy heart that I received the news of the death of DCG Rtd Umar Sanusi.  A gentleman officer and an erudite Nigerian.
“My first encounter with the senior officer was in 2003 or so at the  CGC conference in Calabar Cross River State, where, as an Assistant Comptroller of Customs, he presented a report as the  APM Apapa Command.
“It was not common then to present papers and reports in PowerPoint, but he did. This was not the only remarkable thing he did at the conference.
“The then AC Sanusi was detailed in his report, which was a departure from what others presented.
“He was factual and honest and admitted it where things were wrong in NCS  operations at Apapa Command and highlighted them in writing during his presentation.
“This was shocking to the entire audience as it was rare then for officers to admit that their acts while discharging their duties, were not optimal.
“Some attempt by the moderator to stop him was rebuffed by a lone voice.
“One man and indeed the Boss was that voice. The then  CGC now Gbon Gwom Jos Da Elder Jacob Gyang Buba overruled everybody and urged him to continue and to even say more if he has facts.
“He gave him more time than the allotted 30 minutes. There was a pin-drop silence.
“AC Sanusi earned a place in the Service after that encounter. He also earned my admiration as a young Deputy Superintendent of Customs.
“Our path was to cross again when I was posted to Apapa prior to the commencement of the second phase of the NCS and  NPA port reforms, which coincided in 2006.
” AC Sanusi was the APM and  I was the PRO of the Command.
“The NCS reforms included migration from basic  ASYCUDA to ASYCUDA 2.0, the use of the precursor to PAAR called Risk Assessment Report RAR, the introduction of e- Payment regime and the introduction of Non-Intrusive Cargo examination- Scanners all with Apapa Port as the pilot Command.
“On the other hand and going on simultaneously was the port concession which saw NPA handing over to private sector owners of the port facilities.
“The challenges then were enormous, but we survived all through DCG Sanusi’s diligence with the then Comptroller Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo.
“It was a milestone for me and indeed for the senior officer then AC Sanusi. I learnt a lot from him.
“Yet another remarkable encounter with DCG Sanusi was at the NCS Headquarters when he was appointed ACG Headquarters.
“I had gone to greet him and pay homage when he did the “unthinkable” at least in my little understanding of life then.
“After taking my compliments, he offered me a seat and of course, I refused to seat in his presence as an Assistant Comptroller out of courtesy.
“He said ‘Nnadi, I have observed that we are not close anymore and I think this is an opportunity for me to address it’. I was shocked and said it wasn’t so.
“What he said next shocked me. He said ” I know I offended you but I  want to use this opportunity to apologise and request that you work closely with me. As ACG HQ, I will need you around me since you are in SR&P”.
“I  responded that I did not know that he offended me being his junior who respect and admire him. He said I should never mind.
“He offered me a gift, stepped out, shook my hands and gave me a hug.
“I left his office confused, overwhelmed with emotions and thereafter held in greater esteem and awe. His loss is a personal one to me.
“Farewell DCG Umar Sanusi. NCS and indeed Nigeria lost a gem” Nnadi sobbed.
The deceased, Sanusi, who retired in 2019 as DCG, Human Resources Department, died after a brief illness in the early hours of Sunday, 26th March 2023.
Sanusi was earlier appointed Assistant Comptroller General Customs (ACG), Headquarters by Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), in 2015 before he was promoted to DCG in 2018.
Announcing his death, the Public Relations Officer, PTML command of the Service, SC Yakubu Muhammed said
“With heavy heart,i notify us of the demise of DCG AU Sanusi(Rtd).

“He passed on about an hour ago at a private hospital in Abuja. The Janaza prayers hold after the Zuhr prayers (1 pm) at the National Mosque, Abuja In Shaa Allah,”

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