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Obi Cubana’s lavish burial of his mother, By Onyeka Onwenu

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What I find deplorable is the strenuous effort to tag people of the South-East with all manners of negative attributes because Obi Cubana is Igbo.

The point I make here is that there are different strokes for different folks, even within a family. I do not condemn anyone for how they mourn, with their hard-earned money but I am very uncomfortable with lavish display of wealth on any occasion, especially in a time of hardship and lack for most others. The burial of Obi Cubana’s mother was not only lavish, it was obscene and insensitive.

I told a friend just days before the most outrageous burial of Innyom Ezinne Uche Iyiegbu in Oba, Anambra State in July that I had given my family instructions on how to bury me when my time comes. Do it quickly, quietly and privately. Celebrate me with prayers, lunch or dinner afterwards. Share some jokes about me and laugh. Mourn, yes, but not excessively. Make merriment and then go about your business. If my friends want to celebrate me, they should do so while I am alive, so that I can enjoy it with them, not when I am gone and have no idea about this. That is me Onyeka Onwenu.

My mother, on the other hand, wanted a different burial and I promised to give her want she wanted. On her hospital bed, just three days before she passed away, I reinforced that promise – it was important to her and she died knowing that I would keep my word. Hope Onwenu’s burial was nothing like what took place in Oba recently but it was elaborate and pretty expensive. Still I had the satisfaction that I kept my promise.

The point I make here is that there are different strokes for different folks, even within a family. I do not condemn anyone for how they mourn, with their hard-earned money but I am very uncomfortable with lavish display of wealth on any occasion, especially in a time of hardship and lack for most others. The burial of Obi Cubana’s mother was not only lavish, it was obscene and insensitive. It sent all the wrong signals at a time when Nigeria is wracked with widespread poverty and lack.

But so long as he and his supportive friends stole nobody’s money to do what they did, my outrage has abated. I will not call for them to be hanged on the stake as some have done. These reactions have been extreme and just as mindless as the conspicuous display of wealth we witnessed at the burial ceremony. Obi Cubana and his friends did not invent the art of spraying, neither are they the first to show off stupendous wealth in a wild celebration of any kind. But in an age of invasive social media, our senses are instantly bombarded with images of sheer madness, where caution is thrown to the wind and we are regaled with images of sheer debauchery. We ask: Is this all necessary?

I condemn it all. It does not reflect the Igbo culture that I grew up in. Ndigbo would not condone the conspicuous display of wealth. If you were found doing that, your close and extended family, your community would send a delegation to you, to ask about the source of the wealth you are throwing about. You would be ostracised if you have no convincing evidence of legitimate work. All that changed at the end of the Nigeria/Biafra conflict. Ndigbo were deprived of their money, their oil wells and towns excised from Imo and Abia States, their properties termed ‘abandoned’ and taken from them. They were forced to rebuild with no help and no compensation. It therefore became every person to themselves. Having money meant that you could get things done and like every other Nigeria society, our priorities were turned upside down. People no longer asked how and where you got your money. The point was that you had it. Our values may have been eroded but we have to fight back to regain them, to ensure our survival as the decent and hardworking people that we truly are.

However, what I find equally deplorable in this whole debate, is the strenuous effort to tag the people of the South-East, Ndigbo, with all manner of negative attributes because Obi Cubana is Igbo. This is not surprising. It has always been the case. When there is unexplainable hatred, some people are bound to give a dog a bad name, so that they can justify hanging it.

It may be a defensive reflex but some people see nothing wrong with the opulent burial in the Oba Kingdom of Anambra State, the famed land of Igbo billionaires. In fact, Obinna Iyiegbu did them proud by showing what a young man from the ‘Dot’ nation could do, himself and his crop of young Igbo billionaires. Obi Cubana is a testimony of what hard work and a charitable heart can do, they say.

Take the Indegenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for another example. If you are Igbo, you are automatically one of them. It is worse if you dare believe that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB have a right to ask for a referendum, as given in the constitution, that they have a right to protest or complain about the violation of their rights as equal stakeholders in Nigeria.

We say in Igbo: “a naghi e ti nwata ihe ma napu ya i bee akwa.” You do not beat a child and then prevent him from crying. It is inhuman, an extremely cruel and unusual punishment.

Ndigbo are therefore accused of not being good citizens of Nigeria, of seeking to dismember it. But others are allowed to openly advocate for bandits, killers, kidnappers, terrorists and rampaging herdsmen from neighbouring countries. We even pay them huge sums of our money to be a little nicer, while destroying our country.

It may be a defensive reflex but some people see nothing wrong with the opulent burial in the Oba Kingdom of Anambra State, the famed land of Igbo billionaires. In fact, Obinna Iyiegbu did them proud by showing what a young man from the ‘Dot’ nation could do, himself and his crop of young Igbo billionaires. Obi Cubana is a testimony of what hard work and a charitable heart can do, they say. Recall that the President of Nigeria, the father of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari had recently and derisively referred to the people of the South-East as a dot in a circle, who have no means of escaping what was coming to them, being treated in the manner they are accustomed to.

The arguments of Obi Cubana’s supporters make sense on some level but I disagree with them on one major point. The incredibly lavish and outrageously expensive burial of the century sent all the wrong signals to the world, including the young people of Nigeria. For me, it did nothing in it’s garish display but besmirch the essence of a dignified burial for a woman well deserving of it.

Throwing bundles of freshly minted money at people on the streets, and inside the Church is not my idea of showing respect for the dead. Neither is the report that young ladies from schools, far and near, left their academic pursuits to present themselves to the rich friends of Obi Cubana and their entourage, a palatable one to hear.

As a performing artiste, I am familiar with ‘spraying’; the practice of pasting money on or around a singer, to show appreciation for their performance. I also know that when singing in church, we ask anyone who is moved by the performance to give money to the Lord for ministry. When things are done in moderation they are more acceptable and their meaning understood.

As a performing artiste, I am familiar with ‘spraying’; the practice of pasting money on or around a singer, to show appreciation for their performance. I also know that when singing in church, we ask anyone who is moved by the performance to give money to the Lord for ministry. When things are done in moderation they are more acceptable and their meaning understood. The reverse is true when excessive displays are made and a good gesture is obscured by garishness and thoughtless exhibitionism.

There are, however, a few takeaways from this obscene exercise that played itself out in Oba. Let us give some credit to Obinna Iyiegbu for some of the positive things about his success story that have now come to light. We hardly knew him before his mother’s burial. It turns out that he has raised and continued to raise up so many others, even as he himself made it up the rungs of success. Such reckless generosity is rare but I can draw comparisons with people like M.K.O Abiola of blessed memory. We need more philanthropy in every part of Nigeria. Let those who can afford it, go round and lift others up from poverty and lack. Nigeria is blessed, her people have no business with hunger and depravity.

To Nigerians for whom Igbo hating has become a sport, I say this: Stop wasting your time tagging and castigating Ndigbo for whatever reasons. The dislike and hatred of Ndigbo seems to be a uniting factor for the rest of the country, we know. But let us be fair to one another. As we see the bad, let us also see the good. They both reside side by side in any group of people in Nigeria.

Recently, Harvard University and others around the world have begun the study and teaching of the apprenticeship programme of Ndigbo, describing it as the largest business incubation programme in the world. A successful trader, dealer, importer, distributor or manufacturer takes on young people who serve, work for him, learning the trade as they go along. At the end of their training, the ‘master’ settles the ex-trainee by helping to finance their new business venture. This way, they are guided to independence and hopefully prosperity. Did Nigeria take note of this recognition? Mba nu! It took the outside world to spot and highlight this very positive quality in the Igbo culture, which has benefitted the economy of Nigeria to no end.

Ndigbo are found mainly in the South-East of Nigeria, comprising Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia States. Also in the South-South, and Middle Belt – in Kogi, Benue, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Delta States. They are also found in countries such as Haiti, Zambia and Equitorial Guinea.  They are known for their industry and resilience, demonstrated by their ability to recover and thrive in the midst of evident marginalisation and discrimination. Igbos survived a brutal genocidal war in 1967, which lasted for three bloody years. They withstood the onslaught with the recognition of a handful of other developing countries, against a combination of superpowers like the U.K., U.S., Soviet Union and China on the other hand. Over three million people were piped out in the process. The Nigerian civil war or Biafran war, as some choose to call it, has been described as the worse since the Jewish Holocaust. Ndigbo remind me of the beetle which cannot be destroyed.

Culled from the Premium Times Nigeria

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Former Nigerian Police Inspector-General, Suleiman Abba, Others Invited By Anti-graft Commission For Grilling Over Fraud In Nigeria Police Trust Fund

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A copy of the letter obtained by the media on Saturday revealed that they will be investigated for alleged violation of the provisions of the ICPC Act No. 5 of 2020.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has invited the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF), Suleiman Abba and five others over fraudulent activities including alleged procurement of substandard equipment by the NPTF for the police.

Abba is also a former Inspector-General of Police.

The information is contained in a letter dated September 6, 2021, addressed to the Executive Secretary of the NPTF and signed by the Director of Operations of the ICPC, Akeem Lawal.

According to the letter titled, ‘Investigation Activities: Letter of Invitation Pursuant to Section 28(1(A-B) of ICPC Act 2000’, the anti-graft agency is asking the former IGP and others to appear before it between Monday, September 13 and Thursday, September 16, 2021.

A copy of the letter obtained by the media on Saturday revealed that they will be investigated for alleged violation of the provisions of the ICPC Act No. 5 of 2020.

The ICPC had earlier commenced investigation into alleged procurement of substandard equipment by NPTF officials.

It was discovered that some of the equipment the NPTF recently donated to the police was inferior.

The NPTF had recently donated operational vehicles and other equipment worth N11 billion to the police as the NPTF for the training and retraining of police personnel.

Some of the said equipment included 640 bullet proof vests, 120 buffalo vans, and 190 ballistic helmets but the equipment was said to be substandard.

For instance, it was learnt that the bullet proof vests are supposed to have resistant shields in the front and back but they only had protective shields in the front. Therefore, the bullet proofs will fail to effectively protect police personnel during shoot-outs with criminal elements like Boko Haram terrorists, bandits or robbers.

In the letter obtained by the media, those invited for questioning are identified as: IGP Suleiman Abba (rtd), Board Chairman; Mrs Victoria Ojogbane, Director, Legal Services; Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics; Mr. Lawal Gunjunju, Director, Finance and Account; Mr. Salihu Abubakar, Special Assistant, Technical; Dr. Fred Femi Akinfala, Director, Human Resources and General Services; Mr. Ben Akabueze, Board Member; and Engr. Mansur Hammed, Board Member.

Akabueze is the Director-General, Budget Office of the Government of Nigeria. He was before now the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning in Lagos State in the administration of Babatunde Fashola.

Meanwhile, the invitation letter specifies the different times each of them is expected by the ICPC to come in for questioning.

The former IGP, Suleiman is expected to come in for questioning at exactly 1pm on Thursday, September 16, 2021; Ojogbane is expected in by 10am on Monday, September 13, 2021; Mohammed is expected in by 1pm on Monday, September 13, 2021, while Gunjunju is expected in the ICPC office for questioning by 10am on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

Also, Abubakar is expected in for questioning by 1pm on Tuesday, September 14, 2021; Akinfala is expected in by 10am on Wednesday, September 15, 2021; Akabueze is expected in by 1pm on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 while Hammed is expected in by 10am on Thursday, September 16, 2021.

The letter partly read, “Similarly, the invited staff is to come with the following documents as applicable to their office and schedule as well as the original copies for sighting:

“Copies of all payment vouchers for overhead, recurrent and capital for year 2020 and 2021, copies of all contract agreement for contracts awarded from the takeoff grant and capital, copies of staff nominal roll, comprehensive list of staff on transfer, posting and secondment. Vote for take-off grant, breakdown of all spending and approvals, print out of ledger vote and spending, all no objection certificate from Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

“Evidence of BPP clarification on contract award, financial limit and thresholds, procurement methods and threshold of application and expenditure as related to NPTF.

“They are also expected to come with any of the following: a lawyer, Justice of Peace, Staff of the Legal Aid Council or any individual of their choice.

“Accept the assurances of the Commission’s highest regards, please.”

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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Drama As Fake Soldier Clashes With Air Force Personnel Inside Ogun Police Station

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There was a mild drama at the Ota Divisional Police Headquarters, Ogun State, when an alleged fake soldier, Segun Ogundeji, and an Air Force personnel, John Temitope, clashed over failure to extend official compliment.

In a statement, Spokesman of Ogun Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the drama played out last Wednesday shortly before Ogundeji was arrested for impersonation.

Ogundeji, fully clad in military camouflage, had stormed the police station to demand the release of a suspect.

But, Temitope, who had been on ground, demanded a compliment, leading to a clash between the duo.

“On getting to the station, he (Ogundeji) met an Air Force man, one Cpl John Temitope who accused the suspect of failure to give him an official compliment, as a result of which a quarrel ensued between them,” Oyeyemi said.

According to him, the quarrel attracted the attention of the station’s DPO, Godwin Idehai, who intervened and interrogated them.

Oyeyemi said, “It was during the interrogation that the police discovered that Segun Ogundeji is not a military man.

“It was also discovered that he has once been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for impersonation.”

The Police spokesperson, however, said the Commissioner of Police, Edward Awolowo Ajogun, had ordered a full investigation into past activities of the suspect, with a view to charging him to court as soon as the investigation is concluded.

Culled from the Daily Trust News Nigeria

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Kwara NSCDC Arrests Man Whose Mother Bear 3 Children For

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Men of Kwara State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC) have arrested one Adamu Sabi Sime, for allegedly having canal knowledge of his biological mother.

Sime, an immigrant from Republic of Benin was said to be the father of three children of his biological mother.

The spokesman of NSCDC in Kwara State, Babawale Afolabi confirmed the incident.

Afolabi added that Adamu’s mother has given birth to three children for her son.

“On Thursday September 09, 2021 one Mallam Bandede, the district head of Mose community in Kaiama local government area of Kwara State reported the incestous act being commited by one Adamu Sabi Sime and his mother, Fati Sime of the same community.

“Men from the intelligence unit and NSCDC operatives in Kaiama swung into action and the outcome of the investigations established the fact that the mother ( Fati) has three children for her biological son. Further check revealed that the younger brother of the accused , who was also confirmed to be sleeping with the mother is now at large,” Afolabi stated.

The NSCDC’s spokesman who disclosed that the mother and her two sons do not possess necessary papers to stay in Nigeria said they have been handed over to the Nigeria lmmigration Service for background check and further actions.

Culled from the Leadership News Nigeria

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