Wednesday, May 09, 2012
So 'penultimate' Sunday (that's how they write in Nigerian newspapers) my dear friend Singto and I got into a fix that I'm certain we'll never forget. A very severe 'Oh no had I known' situation which could have been avoided had I succumbed to Twitter coverage of the 2012 MBGN pageant.
I was meant to go to a new spot for a quick 'meet-and-greet' over drinks with a fellow international journalist (we have to distinguish please so you don't conjure up a beer parlor) but the fellow canceled at the last minute. Considering that I'd already put on my MAC powder (I have a rule that once that powder touches my face, I dey comot house) I decided to call up Singto who lives just down the road from me. If she had known what was going to go down that night, she'ld have said, 'Abeg leave me make I sleep.'
We decided to roll out to the 'Mexibaneseptriate' restaurant, Bottles, since it was Cinco De Mayo (5th of May). You know as we are from 'the Abroad', we mark some random days like that just as an excuse to have a few beers and things. Other friends came to meet up with us and we were gisting for about 3 hours. When the place cleared out and we started dozing off around 1 am, we decided to call it a night and head home. I still had a buzz that needed to be burnt off so as we drove past the now reformed Pat's Bar on Ajose Adeogun, we decided to park. But then we hesitated. Let me tell you why.
So last week Monday both of us and another friend, Sookie, had been bored and needed to 'look around'. Lagos is quite boring and so there are days when you just have the urge to drive around just to see people doing something sha. So we said, we've never been to this legendary Pat's bar, 'where no decent girl wants to be seen' due to certain perceptions of the patrons. We got there and got in to some mild drama with the bouncer (that story will make for another blog entry) for which we demanded to speak with the manager. The manager was nice and situation sorted after downloading the story and a few free drinks. So thinking about that situation led to the hesitation that made us change our minds. I wish we had just indulged our urge this one time and gone to say hello to our new friends at Pat's Bar.
We drove away from the Ajose Adeogun and then on to the link road towards Oniru Estate. Now on a normal day, I would turn right to save N120 on the toll gate and enjoy the 'scenic route'. But a voice in me said, 'you're having such a great night chatting away, why don't you turn right and take your time to get home'. That was the DEVIL's voice because he had his agents of darkness waiting.
As we turned right and had driven a little bit past City of David Church, I see a silver Toyota Corolla come from the back to over take us.That's when this drama began to unfold...
Adaure: Who are these mad people driving like this at night ehn?
Singto: When they go and have accident now they will know.
Adaure: Hmmmh...Why are they slowing down? Singto, these guys look like thieves sha
One guy comes out of the car holding something large...
Singto: Shit, Dude that's a gun. Drive!!
Adaure: Oh Shit! Uh uh!! I ain't going down like this!
As the movie of my life began to flash by, the first thing that came to my mind in that split second was Lagos doctors are on strike and as such one could not afford to get shot. So I put the car in reverse sharpishly and stepped on my gas pedal and DROVE as commanded. All this in between shouting 'Oh Shit' and 'JESUS' (Lord forgive me). As I reached deep inside me to find my survival skills (lessons from all the action films I've watched), the guy with the gun kept running towards us and pointing the gun. Unfortunately, the drivers behind us were not sharp enough to sight what was about to go down and so stopped and blocked my getaway. Meanwhile Singto was screaming 'Drive Adaure, Drive!' and me I was replying 'I am driving, I am driving!' When we couldn't go back any further, I attempted to do a fast 3 point turn but the road was too narrow thanks to the stupid dividers they build on roads which serve no purpose considering the fact that the light poles they are supposed to hold are all non-funtioning. So my 3-point turn failed, the divider was too high and I was not in a JEEP (I am provoking over that). By this time the gun man was already at Singto's window tapping with the gun and I was scared as hell.
Gunman: Open your door! Open your door! I will shoot!
Adaure: (window down) Oga calm down, don't shoot! What do yo want?
Gunman: Bring your Chain! Bring your chain!
Adaure: But we don't have any chain or anything.
Gunman: Your phone!
Adaure: (flustered) My phone! Where is my phone? Um Um....I am looking for it. I can't see! It's dark!
Singto: Please calm down, Oga, let us find our phones.
He proceeds to rub down my neck to confirm if i was lying about the chain.
Adaure: Oga wait let me put on the light for you
I was meticulous in de-americanizing my speech and hysteria so he would not get any 'kidnapping' ideas. By this time the cars following had started trying to turn around.
Adaure: Oga my bag is in the back, let me bring it for you
Gunman: Oya bring your bag, come and open your boot.
Adaure: Take the bag, Singto bring your bag (Singto looks at me like, dude why are you offering him all our stuff, he just asked for the phone)
Gunman: (to Singto) You where is your bag? (to me) You bring the car key.
Adaure: If you like you can take the car, we can walk home (In my mind I was like this car that has been giving me problem, please take it o)
He takes the key and walks around and throws it on the floor. As he walks away, my head lamps beaming at what had just gone down and what fate we had just escaped, I could also just see my bag (Channy-Nwa) with my wallet and all my bank cards and phones just walking away with him. I began to think if i had backed up my blackberry contacts because that would further compound my recovery from this ordeal. Singto had her wallet, checkbook, cards, car and house keys and one phone (she was smart enough to take out the other phone) as well as other personal effects.
As I am too flustered to drive, Singto takes over the wheels and we drive back towards Four-Points where we'd last seen the Police Patrol. We find them one street off and tell them what had just happened. The reaction just showed me all that people have been writing about and saying about crime-fighting and the future war on terrorism that we will face in Nigeria. It made me miss the 2nd Amendment.
We turned around and headed for the Maroko Police Station, where there was another lady whose car had just been snatched. Not sure if it was by the same guys. The police there were helpful but already had their hands full with another robbery incident in the Jakande area with 'live fire', according to them. Within 20 minutes we had written a report and went home. I decided to log on to an online app I downloaded to lock the phone and track it, assuming it was still on and there it was, roving all over Victoria Island. We decide that we can't get punked like this and went back with this 'new data' to the police. My sister was at home keeping watch on the tracker and calling in the location of the robbers.
At this point, I refused to dwell on the inadequacies of the Nigerian police. It is not their fault. It is the leaders feeding fat on funds meant to equip the police stations with scanners, radios and the likes. These guys were using GSM to call DCO to pass the new location on. A good 2 minutes in between that chain. I was surprised though that the guys at the 'Maroko PD' actually indulged us and according to them went towards the various locations identified on the tracker. But that's always the story of the Nigeria Police, always 'trailing' behind. Sometimes you wonder if these guys don't watch TV to even get simple ideas like informing the guys at the Ikoyi or Onikan end to look out for cars fitting the description. Not that our case was special, but the fact that it appeared to be am 'Operation Night' by the robbery gangs should have indicated the need to be a little ahead. Then again had the Inspector General of Police not banned Police Road Blocks, perhaps that would have deterred these particular boys from such brazen robbery, just a few blocks away from a police station and a police patrol van down the road at the Four Points hotel.
Suffice to say we went back and forth with the Police patrol on the phone for 3 hours. At some point, the robbers were on Adeola Hopewell and Sanusi Fafunwa, Eletu Ogabi, just casing, and then Saka Tinubu and Akin Adeshola for a while. Turns out they were dispossessing another guy (who's a friend of our friend) of his SUV right in front of The Porsche Center. According to the police, they did spot a car that fit the description of our robbers, but by the time they could turn (damn, those dividers again) the guys had zoomed off. In the space of a minute, on the tracker, they went from Akin Adeshola, to Awolowo Rd and ended on Ring Road in Obalende. That's the last we saw of them on the tracker.
The next morning, I tried to play Nancy Drew and see if the car had been abandoned and perhaps our personal effects dumped inside. I discovered that there had been about 4 to 6 Car jacking and armed robbery incidents between the Victoria Island and Lekki 1 Axis that had been reported in early hours of Sunday May 6th. About 3 cars parked at the Bar Beach Police station had been recovered. The lady we met at 'Maroko PD' also go her car back and apparently 2 robbers, apparently operating in Lagos, were shot and killed in Sango-Otta. Our robbers were lucky this night leaving us to wonder.
Normally, I would reign curses and abuses on them at this point, but I've decided against that because my curses will bring suffering to them and the cycle of poverty and desperation will only continue. Instead, I will pray for them and wish that when they sell those items, they'll use the funds to start up a business and earn a living. Wishful thinking, but it's a prayer worth saying because it will put them off the streets. As for myself and Singto, we thank God for our lives and not letting the robber shoot. I have to admit I have never been so scared in my life. This is the first time I'm ever getting robbed or witnessing such. All this week my stomach has been queasy with 'butterflies' and the whole thing has been playing in my head. You know, asking yourself what could have happened if this or that happened. Too much headache so I'll just thank GOD that we can even laugh about it and tell it like a story. As for the items lost, it's just stuff, EXPENSIVE stuff, but STUFF nonetheless, we can always get them back (after a few months of saving up) but life is IRREPLACEABLE. AA
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Channel sunglass/ Gucci sneakers/ LV wearing occupier
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Monday, January 09, 2012
THE stage seemed set for today’s petrol prices strike as some protesters were seen in Abuja with blankets ready to camp out.
A senators’ last-minute effort to stave off the strike failed. Labour mapped out details of its action and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) called on lawyers to join the strike.
Besides, the House of Representatives advised the Executive to roll back the prices. But the Presidency described the resolution as inciting.
Petrol now costs between N138 and N200 per litre, up from N65 before the New Year’s Eve’s sudden withdrawal of subsidy.
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Acting Secretary General Owei Lakemfa issued a directive on the protest in Abuja.
He said: “The NLC and TUC have directed that Abuja residents converge on Berger Roundabout daily by 8.00am from Monday January 9. Please pass on information to others by means.”
Some would-be protesters arrived at the Eagle Square yesterday, carrying mattresses, blankets and tents – ready for the action.
The Lagos State council of the congress will begin its protest from the Labour House in Tejuosho.
NLC Deputy President Promise Adewusi said he was not aware of any official invitation to a meeting with senators.
Said Adewusi: “I am not aware of any formal invitation by the National Assembly. So, I will not attend a meeting without an invitation as that will be tantamount to gate crashing. We are not likely to go for any negotiation now without PMS pump price being firstly reverted to N65 per litre as that will amount to negotiating under duress. Nigerians have been fully mobilised by hunger, poverty, anger and angst and are primed for the start of the strike tomorrow. Like our President ordered, ‘no retreat, no surrender’.
NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) leaders shunned the Senate’s invitation for a meeting over the planned strike.
The Senator Wilson Ake-led Senate Committee on Labour and Productivity scheduled the meeting for 3p.m. yesterday. It was not to be.
A source said: “Members of the committee were actually at the Senate, expecting the labour leaders who did not turn up. After some time, the senators went to the Labour House to meet with the leaders but they were not there. Efforts to reach them on phone did not yield positive results as the phones were switched off.”
The Nation learnt that most of the labour leaders were in Lagos to perfect plans for today’s action when members of the Senate Committee on Labour and Productivity were waiting for them in Abuja.
Labour leaders could not also be reached for comments.
Senator Ake had in a statement expressed worry over the consequences of a nationwide industrial action proposed by labour, civil society organisations and professionals against the federal government’s removal of fuel subsidy.
He called for restraint, warning that an industrial action could be catastrophic.
Ake dismissed the notion that the government was deliberately punishing Nigerians, saying all parties should cooperate in the collective interest of the nation.”
The nationwide indefinite strike begins today.
In Lagos, officials of Labour and Civil Societies Coalition (LASCO) met to put finishing touches to their plan for the strike.
NLC Deputy President, Joe Ajaero said after the meeting that nothing has happened to change Labour’s position. The strike and protests will begin today, he stressed.
His words: “Nothing has happened to change our position, not even the House of Representatives session. The President’s speech was also empty; it did not address the issue. We are not intimidated. It is a challenge to the Nigerian people, not only Labour. Therefore, the strike begins tomorrow (today) as scheduled. If Government is ready to listen to the people, the president should invite us. We will meet with him.”
LASCO Secretary Abiodun Aremu named the co-ordinating centres for the peaceful street protests to include NLC Lagos Secretariat, Yaba, TUC Secretariat, Ikorodu Road, Textile Union House, Acme Road, Lagos State University, Ojo, and Agric Union House, Alaguntan, Iyana Ipaja.NLC is the central coordinating centre.
Protesters will converge on NLC office and set out from there for the street rally at 8am.
Read more from The Nation
For readers in Nigeria, how do you plan to 'survive' during this strike? The Power Holding Company has been on life supply due to 'epilepsy' since I was brought to Nigeria in the 80s. So yo can be rest assured that you shall not be enjoying your DSTV and DVDs without blowing off steam as your diesel/petrol back up goes down. Thank God for Indomie Noodles and egg...the SUBSIDY MEAL after 'cassava-garium and peanuts'...LOL. Anyways, we journalists don't strike so I am on my way to work.
Saturday, January 07, 2012
It appears Vladamir Duthiers is now assigned to cover Nigeria and the West Africa region for CNN. He has been seen/heard on-air, reporting from Nigeria. If that's the case, he takes over from Christian Purefoy who did a fabulous job while on the beat for seven years. Here's Purefoy's tweet, confirming his exit.
Before joining CNN, Duthiers spent 20 years in the investment management industry at AllianceBernstein Investments – a $400 billion asset management company. As managing director, Duthiers managed a $10 million budget and a global staff of 12. He traveled through 40 countries, meeting interesting people in interesting places: from the ruler of the United Arab Emirates to Kannushi Shinto priests in Kyoto and the Bouquinistes of Paris. Seeing the stories behind the places and people of his journeys sparked his decision to leave the world of finance for journalism.
For many, such an abrupt transformation seemed spontaneous at best and reckless at worst. But, ever since reading Thoreau’s Walden as a child, he had always been inspired by the words, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”Now, his passion is to find a unique vantage point to those stories and tell them well to a global audience.
Duthiers earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also served in the U.S. Army with the Reserve Officer Training Corps. while attached to the 169th Military Police Company of the Rhode Island National Guard from 1988 to 1992.
He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, South Asian Journalists Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He speaks French, Haitian-Creole and is learning Mandarin Chinese. In his spare time, Duthiers is an amateur rock guitarist, pop-culture historian, and a student of several martial arts. He has written several screenplays and was the lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist in the Surrender Monkeys – a pub band that played to dozens of fans across Europe. (info culled from www.vantagereportage.com)
Welcome to Naija, Vlad!
More About Christian Purefoy
Purefoy was named to the position in early 2008 an was an integral part of CNN’s presence in Lagos, where he regularly reported stories of global relevance from within the region.
Purefoy served for three years as a producer, editor and cameraman on various assignments for CNN that included extensive work on Inside Africa, CNN’s weekly current affairs program that provides global viewers with an inside look at political, economic, social and cultural affairs and trends in Africa.
Before joining CNN full time, Purefoy was based in Lagos, Nigeria and worked as a freelance journalist writing for a variety of UK and US newspapers and publications including The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Newsweek.
He first joined up with CNN International in June 2002 as a producer at ‘Vivid Features’, an Africa-based production company, where he helped produce a number of CNN-commissioned projects. Purefoy is British and studied International Politics and International History at Keele University.
Goodluck Chris and Congrats on holding down the beat!
The spokesman who goes by the name Abul Qaqa said the attacks were in response to an ultimatum he issued on Sunday giving Christians three days to leave the country’s mainly Muslim north.
He called on the federal government to release all arrested Boko Haram members as a condition for attacks to stop.
Friday, January 06, 2012
An industrial court in Nigeria, Friday, gave authorities legal backing to break up any work interruption by labor groups. It ordered unions to halt a planned nationwide strike over spiraling gasoline prices due to the New Year's Day removal of subsidy. That action has seen the doubling of the cost of goods and services, including transportation, leaving many stranded and cash strapped in the countryside, where they went to celebrate the holiday.
The order by the National Industrial Court came as protests continue in several Nigerian cities over the removal of government-sponsored fuel subsidies. The nation’s House of Representatives will also meet on Sunday to address the concerns of the people despite the apparent unwillingness of Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan to balk to the pressure.
Gas prices rose from $1.70 per gallon (45 cents/ 65 Naira per liter) to at least $3.50 per gallon (94 cents/ 141 Naira per liter) since the subsidy ended Sunday. Keep in mind that Nigeria, is a nation of more than 160 million people where most live on less than $2 a day, as many international press and agencies never fail to add in every article and report.
The court order by Justice Babatunde Adejuwon came after the federal government filed as suit to stop the Nigeria Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria from holding a planned strike Monday. Only government lawyers attended the hastily called court hearing in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.
“Economic activities within the country will be adversely affected, as will the health and safety of the citizenry, if the impending strike is allowed to hold,” Adejuwon wrote in his order.
The Nigeria Labor Congress issued a statement after the ruling dismissing the order. “There is no going back on next week’s protests and shutdown,” it said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria's federal police promised Friday to protect peaceful protesters ahead of a planned national strike but much could not be said of that promise when only a short distance away from police headquarters in the nation's capital Abuja a heavy presence of police, soldiers and other security agents — some carrying gas masks — blocked protesters from demonstrating in the national parade ground near federal offices.
Read more from the Associated Press in The Washington Post
So Boko Haram has killed 20 people at an Ibo Town Hall meeting in Mubi.
Speaking to the Associated Press, local police commissioner Ade T. Shinaba said the attack took place on Friday at noon in Mubi, Adamawa, where a group of Igbo traders had gathered for a town hall meeting before the start of business.
"We started hearing many gunshots through the windows," Okey Raymond, 48, who attended the meeting told the AP. "Everyone scampered for safety, but the gunmen chanted: 'God is great God is great' while shooting at us."
Monday, January 02, 2012
A parody in the making, and the singer W4, didn't see this one coming. If you know him, kindly tell him to remix one for the masses.
This one is one of those pictures where you would rather a belt to flog the person in the picture. A bottle of Hennessy is not equivalent to one liter of petrol (I would usually end at this point with an insult, but in the spirit of christmas i shall blame this one on the government)
If the rams can't hold up, import a camel.
But further up, towards the coastal line, where the Reuters crew visited, the villagers there are feeling the effects of an oil spill. I say an oil spill because according to the report, Shell says it's not their oil.
While villagers and environmentalists are saying the oil washing up the coast is from the Bonga accident, Shell says five ships were used to disperse and contain the spill and that should keep any oil from washing up the coast. Therefore it can't be their oil.
So who's the naughty oil spiller and sneaky environmental polluter keeping quiet and letting Shell take all the heat and how bad does it have to get before Nigerians get mad and scream bloody murder like the American did with the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
And as much as I hate to be the pessimist, should we just assume that Shell is going to get the kid-glove treatment on this one because the minister of petroleum is a former executive of the company? Hmmh....I just wonder. Too many questions arising as this saga unfolds.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
Following extensive consultation with stakeholders across the nation, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) wishes to inform all stakeholders of the commencement of formal removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), in accordance with the powers conferred on the agency by the law establishing it, in compliance with Section 7 of PPPRA Act, 2004.
Executive Secretary, PPPRA