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Ekweremadu: Obasanjo Writes UK Court, Pleads for Leniency

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has written a letter to the Chief Clerk of the Central Criminal Court in London to temper justice with mercy over the conviction of former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife.

It would be recalled that Ekweremadu and his wife, alongside a Nigerian doctor, Obinna Obeta, were recently found guilty of attempted organ harvesting of a Nigerian trafficked to Britain to provide a kidney for their ailing daughter.

Obasanjo in the letter dated April 3, and addressed to The Chief Clerk, the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London, titled “Re: Ike Ekweremadu,” said though Ekweremadu’s action was condemnable and unacceptable, he had contributed his quota to the socio-political development of Nigeria, adding that his punishment should consider his past records of good deeds and the plight of his ailing daughter.

The letter read: “It is with great pleasure that I write in respect of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who I have known for over two decades.

“Within this period, I have followed and watched, with keen interest, Ike Ekweremadu’s inspiring career which traversed private legal practice and public administration. I recall, with fond memories, the beginnings of our political and social relationship at the outset of our collective quest for democratic rebirth for our fatherland.

“During my administration as a democratically-elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, Ike Ekweremadu and I had close relationship and interactions as staunch members of our political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and more so as he got elected into the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003, of which he has since remained a member till date..

“Within this period of his service in the Nigerian Parliament, he has served as Deputy Senate President of the Senate and has headed so many committees in various capacities and brought to bear his broad-based experience in legal practice and public administration.
“Sometime in 2009, he was appointed as the First Deputy of the Economic Community of West African States, and led ad hoc Committee to work for the return of ECOWAS B constitutional order in the Niger Republic.

“I clearly remember that in the heady days of the keen contest for the presidential ticket of our Party in early 1999, he joined other well-meaning Nigerians from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria to set aside extraneous considerations and ensured that South East unanimously adopted me for the Presidency. ”This was without regard to the fact that my closest competitor hailed from their part of the country. I truly cherish his God-fearing, dispassionate, moderate and pan-Nigerian approach to national issues and developments, in our multi-ethnic, multi-religious geo-polity.

“He dedicates himself to the service of God and humanity and he continues to play visible roles in national development. Through the Ikeoha Foundation, a non-governmental organization founded by him and his wife, in 1997, he and his wife have rendered a lot of charitable activities, enhancing poor people’s access to quality education and healthcare and building their capacity to participate in mainstream social, political and economic activities of their communities.

“lke Ekweremadu’s conferment with the coveted national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, is further testimony to his selfless service to our country, Nigeria.

“Mr Chief Clerk, I am very much aware of the current travails and conviction of Ike Ekweremadu and his wife in the United Kingdom resulting from their being charged with conspiring to arrange the travel of a 21-year-old from Nigeria to the UK in order to harvest organs for their daughter.

”I do realize the implications of their action and I dare say, it is unpleasant and condemnable and can’t be tolerated in any sane or civilized society.

“However, it is my fervent desire for the very warm relations between the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Nigeria; for his position as one of the distinguished senators in the Nigerian Parliament, and also for the sake of their daughter in question whose current health condition is in danger and requires urgent medical attention, you will use your good offices to intervene and appeal to the court and the government of the United Kingdom to be magnanimous enough to temper justice with mercy and let punishment that may have to come to take their good character and parental instinct and care into consideration.

“I do hope Mr. and Mrs Ekweremadu have learnt from this distressing experience of theirs to guide their future actions or inactions so they will continue to be outstanding members of their community and will continue to contribute fully to the good of society”.

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The Travail of Tinubu’s Tourism Minister, Lola Ade-John

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By Eric Elezuo

Just weeks after her confirmation as the Minister of Tourism, seasoned banker and foreign-based tech investor, Lola Ade-John, has been hospitalised in Abuja following reports of acute poisoning she suffered from unknown origins, says a Peoples Gazette report. The medium added that her family members and immediate colleagues fear that time was running against their efforts to save her life.

The Boss learnt that Lola Ade-John, who is 60, was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, shortly after she started manifesting symptoms of her poisoning, according to family sources familiar with her ordeal. As the time of filing this report, a source says that the minister has spent five days at the facility as at Saturday morning.

The source further revealed that Ade-John, who is a career banker and tech expert, has been on a machine to aid her breathing. The specifics as to what substance she ingested and how could not be immediately established by The Gazette, which broke the news. The paper also revealed that the Police and the State Security Service did not immediately return a request on whether or not any investigations had been opened into the matter.

Her worsening situation has further set the family against the government, with the permanent secretary of her ministry said to be in disagreement as to whether she should continue receiving treatment at a public hospital or be moved to a better-equipped private facility downtown.

The permanent secretary, Ngozi Onwudike, it was further stated, was said to have insisted that the minister should not be transferred because the FMC is a public hospital and its services wouldn’t attract substantial charges to the government, a position her family rebuffed. But they remained with her as they could not raise funds to move her to a private hospital, our sources said. A phone number for the permanent secretary did not connect on Friday morning.

A spokesperson for the FMC did not immediately return a request seeking comments from The Gazette about Ms Ade-John’s condition.

Ms Ade-John was appointed as a minister by President Bola Tinubu in August. She was immediately touted as one of the few cabinet members appointed from outside the political beltway. She was based in London for years before she was asked to return to the country to serve by the president.

Stakeholders in the Tourism told The Boss that Ade-John was expected as a special guest software honour at the just concluded World Tourism Day held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, but she failed to turn up raising concerns as to her health.

A source from the Tourism sector, who craved anonymity lamented that it was a very healthy Ade-John that took over the ministry in August, but wondered why just a few weeks after, she is battling for her life over alleged poisoning.

“Though there is no available medical information, but it is heavily suspected to be poison,” a Tourism sector source told The Boss.

However, a family source, who also prefers to speak behind identity revelation, has revealed that the report of poisoning is true, but not the poisoning as most people know it, saying that it is a case of ‘food poisoning’, adding that the report of conventional poisoning in the media space is a product of ‘junk journalism’.

“She has had a bad case of food poisoning compounded by bad malaria. She hasn’t been poisoned by anybody at all. That’s junk journalism at work!

“Also, she’s in a private hospital not a government hospital and no problem at all about funding from her private resources. Further junk journalism! She is receiving treatment and on the way to recovery, no life threatening situation.

“Temi, her daughter, came into Nigeria yesterday because she was understandably concerned about her Mother,” the source exclusively revealed to The Boss.

But the Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Haruna Garba, has ordered the State Criminal Investigation Department to immediately take over from the Mabushi Police Division, on the ongoing investigation into the alleged poisoning.

The FCT Police Command Public Relations Officer, SP Josephine Adeh, revealed the development on Saturday in an exclusive telephone interview with The Punch.

“The CP has ordered the Mabushi Police Division that was investigating the matter to immediately transfer it to the SCID,” SP Adeh was quoted as saying.

Lola Ade John is a 1984 B.Sc graduate of the University of Ibadan, who majored in Computer Science. Her exceptional performance in her academic sojourn earned her the honour of being the top graduate of her class that year.

Presently, Lola Ade John is the Principal Consultant at Novateur Business Technology Consultants, a company she founded in 2014. The firm specialises in providing technical management and consulting services to both private and public sector clients, helping them improve their operations and performance through the application of technology systems knowledge and operational techniques.

She was invited from her base in the United Kingdom to come and serve in the Tinubu-led government.

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Rotary Africa Donates $25k, Mobilizes Funds, Support for Morocco

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Rotary International Zone 22, which covers the whole of Africa, has made an initial donation of $25,000 to help the disaster relief effort going on in Morocco while also calling for more funds, donations and support for the people following a devastating earthquake.

According to statement by Rotary International Director, Patrick Chisanga, “Rotary stands in solidarity with the people of Morocco as we witnessed the unprecedented devastation caused by a catastrophic earthquake. Our hearts go out to the affected families, and we mourn the tragic loss of lives.

While the 5th All Africa Zone 22 Institute was ongoing in Lusaka, on 8th September, and with members from across Africa in attendance, we received the distressing news of this earthquake, and our immediate response was to offer support and comfort to those affected.

“Rotary clubs in Europe and Africa including in Morocco have raised funds and mobilised material support for the relief efforts. An initial $25,000 was approved by the Rotary Foundation to immediately go to the disaster relief efforts and more grants are being developed.

“Our partner organisation, Shelter Box and others have supported in raising support for shelter and related needs of affected individuals.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Morocco, particularly our fellow Rotarians, Rotaractors and their families who have endured immense suffering. We also wish a swift recovery to all those injured in this calamity.

In our commitment to making a difference in times of crisis, Rotary International is actively engaged in providing assistance and support to the relief efforts in Morocco. To this end, we have established direct communication channels for Rotary Districts willing to mobilize support in any form. Clubs and Districts can contact District Governor Saadia Aglif on +212 661 135750 for further information on how they can contribute to the relief efforts directly in Morocco.

Furthermore, the Rotary Foundation Trustees have set up the Morocco Earthquake Response Fund, a dedicated fund to provide immediate relief to those affected by the earthquake. Donors can contribute directly to this fund to aid the ongoing relief efforts. Contributions to this fund will be accepted until 31 December 2023. Districts are encouraged to apply for grants from this fund until 21 September 2024 or until the funds have been fully allocated. Any remaining contributions after 21 September 2024 will be directed to the general Disaster Response Fund, which supports disaster relief efforts worldwide.

· Rotarians can give online, by cheque or by transferring District Designated Funds through https://my.rotary.org/disaster-response-fund

· To give by check, make it payable to The Rotary Foundation or an associate foundation, and include a completed contribution form. In the DESIGNATION/PURPOSE section, choose “Other” and write the fund name (Morocco Earthquake Response Fund).

· To allocate District Designated Funds, district leaders can use the DDF contribution form.

· We also call upon individuals and organizations to join us in raising funds to support the Morocco Earthquake Response Fund. You can start a fundraiser on Raise for Rotary, a platform that currently accepts 12 currencies. Contributions made through fundraisers for this fund on Raise for Rotary will be credited and recognized and acknowledged as described on the Rotary website.

Rotary International Director (RID) for Africa, Patrick Chisanga urges everyone to come together in this time of crisis and demonstrate the true spirit of Rotary by providing much-needed relief and support to the people of Morocco. He said, “we believe that our collective efforts can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by this tragedy”.

“The expertise of Rotarians and Rotaractors across Africa, will be available and essential in assisting clubs in Morocco respond effectively to the needs of their communities. RID Patrick has pledged the support of all Regional and Zone Coordinators’ in grants and projects development to support the clubs in Morocco during this crises”

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Tourism Minister, Lola John Allegedly Poisoned, Fighting for Life in Abuja Hospital

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The Minister of Tourism, Lola Ade-John, has been hospitalised in Abuja after suffering acute poisoning from unknown origins, says a Peoples Gazette report, adding that her family members fear time was running against their efforts to save her life.

Lola Ade-John, 60, was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, shortly after she started manifesting symptoms of her poisoning, according to family sources familiar with her ordeal. She has spent four days at the facility as of Friday morning, The Gazette heard.

Ms Ade-John, a career banker and tech investor, has been on a machine to aid her breathing, our sources said. The specifics as to what substance she ingested and how could not be immediately established by The Gazette. The police and the State Security Service did not immediately return a request on whether or not any investigations had been opened into the matter.

Her worsening situation has further set the family against the government, with the permanent secretary of her ministry said to be in disagreement as to whether she should continue receiving treatment at a public hospital or be moved to a better-equipped private facility downtown.

The permanent secretary, Ngozi Onwudike, was said to have insisted that the minister should not be transferred because the FMC is a public hospital and its services wouldn’t attract substantial charges to the government, a position her family rebuffed. But they remained with her as they could not raise funds to move her to a private hospital, our sources said. A phone number for the permanent secretary did not connect on Friday morning.

A spokesperson for the FMC did not immediately return a request seeking comments from The Gazette about Ms Ade-John’s condition.

Ms Ade-John was appointed as a minister by President Bola Tinubu in August. She was immediately touted as one of the few cabinet members appointed from outside the political beltway. She was based in London for years before she was asked to return to the country to serve by the president.

People’s Gazette

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