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Dad’s return to Nigeria homeless after 30 years in UK, US sad – Son

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Dad’s return to Nigeria homeless after 30 years in UK, US sad – Son
• John and Joseph Ibironke

John Ibironke, the son of a 68-year-old man from Ondo State, Joseph Ibironke, who claimed to have spent nine years in the United Kingdom and 21 years in the United States before he found himself in Nigeria after a strange illness, tells The PUNCH how he reunited with his father

Who is Joseph Ibironke to you?

My name is John Ibironke, I’m a building contractor. I’m from Igbara Oke, Ondo State. I’m the only son of my mother alive, born to Joseph Ibironke.

Your father said you were a few months old when he left Nigeria. What do you know about his life or as you were told by your mother?

Well, I barely lived seven years with my mother before she got married again to someone else and life was not easy; it was very difficult. I had to start living with my dad’s elder brother, Williams Ibironke, when I was about seven or eight years old. However, while still with her and from the things she told me when I grew older, my father was a man who cared for me and my brother when he was still in Nigeria and we would never have suffered the way we did if he was around.

When did your older brother die?

Of course, I was still young at the time but it was around 1987 that he died as I was told by my mother. I was not old enough at that time.

How old are you?

I’m going to be 43 in a few months.

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Did you not try to search for your dad when you grew older?

I did. There’s an adage in Yoruba that says that it is only a bastard who won’t look for his father; a true son will find his father. When I was growing up, my friends and some people in my mother’s family usually called me a fatherless boy which was a very painful abuse and sad for me at the time. So, I decided that I was going to find him. I had always worried my mother that I needed to find my father but she didn’t have the time to do that despite my insistence. It led to a fight between us and her new husband. Later on, I had a long vacation in school, I hustled and gathered money together to travel to Lagos from Ilesa, Osun State. At that time, his brother had already died but I didn’t know.

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What happened when you arrived in Lagos?

When I got to Ebute Metta, I went to their house and asked his wife why I wasn’t informed when he died. She said she didn’t know that I was going to come back. I told her that what brought me to Lagos was the fact that I needed to find my father and going to Igbara Oke would be the best shot to finding him and that I needed the address to get there. She gave me the address and I left Lagos for Ilesa after three days in Lagos. After two days in Ilesa, I went home to Igbara Oke searching for my other extended family members with the hope that I’d be able to locate my father because the only link I knew, which was the uncle I lived with, had already died.

How were you received in Igbara Oke?

When I got there, no one knew me. I had to explain who I was to them and mention all those I knew just to be able to back my claim that I was the son of Joseph Bankole Ibironke. I spent about six days in Igbara Oke before I left there.

How did you know that your father had returned to Nigeria?

It was the son of one of his brothers who called me that he was back. I remembered that there was a time I went to Lagos and we exchanged contacts and he told me that he used to connect with my dad and that he was going to contact me when he was able to reach out to him. Some years later, he called to tell me that my dad was back in Nigeria. He said that he got his Nigerian phone number and that he was going to share it with me.

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Did you call your dad?

I called my father and we spoke. He tried explaining some things to me but I told him that my mother should be his first point of contact and that if he reconciled with her, it was all fine with me.

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After that, he regularly called me but I didn’t warm up to him. This year, in June, he called me and informed me that he was with my mother in Ilesa. I spoke to my mother through his phone and all was settled. He also saw my mother’s new family. This came about six or seven years after our first contact notifying me that he was in Nigeria. After about two days, he called me and told me that he also wanted to meet me and he travelled down to Ilesa to see me and my family.

How many children do you have?

Yes, I have a family already. I am married with three children.

How did you feel when you saw him for the first time after decades?

It was a sad reunion, I must be honest with you, especially when he explained all he had gone through. I couldn’t cry but pity him because of the experiences he had and what life had shown him. I believe that when there is life, there is hope. I am trying my best to visit him in Lagos from Osogbo when I can.

How did your wife and children receive your father?

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It was emotional. My wife had never seen him or his picture before so she didn’t recognise him. I had to introduce both of them and also introduced him to my children as their grandfather. My children and wife were all surprised to reunite with their grandfather and father-in-law, respectively, after so many years.

How old are your children?

My first child, who’s a boy, is 19 years old and my second child is four years old. The third is a toddler who’s just four months old. (PUNCH)

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JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge

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JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge
Emefiele

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed a fresh charge at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory against the embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

EFCC in the charge accused Emefiele of approving the printing of N684,590,000 at the rate of N18.96 billion.

In the charge sighted by PUNCH Online on Tuesday, EFCC alleged that Emefiele broke the law with intent to harm the public during his implementation of the naira swap policy of the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The anti-graft agency also accused Emefiele of unlawfully approving the withdrawal of N124.8 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

The document dated April 2, 2024, and marked Suit No: CR/264/2024, was filed by EFCC’s top prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN revealed that Emefiele will be arraigned on a new four-count charge before Justice Hamza Muazu bordering on disobeying the law to punish Nigerians, iilegal printing of money, abuse of office, among others.

Counts one to four of the charge, read, “STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: Public Servant disobeying direction of law with intent to cause injury to the public contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89 Laws of the Federation, 1990.

“PARTICULARS OF THE OFFENCE: That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1, 000, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

“COUNT 3: “That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 137,070,000 pieces of colour swapped N200 (Two Hundred Naira) Note, at the total cost of N3, 441, 005, 280 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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“COUNT 4: “That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, on or about the 7th day of October 2020, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 80 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), by approving the withdrawal of the total sum of N124, 860, 227, 865.16 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly, which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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Recall that Emefiele was on November 18, 2023, arraigned before the court on six counts of procurement fraud, in what is the most high-profile corruption case under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He was also accused of abusing his office by approving a contract for the acquisition of 43 vehicles totalling N1.2 billion from 2018 to 2020.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the EFCC arraigned the former banker alongside one Henry Omoile before Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for an alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud. (PUNCH)

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Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name – Kogi Assembly tells EFCC

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Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name - Kogi Assembly tells EFCC
• Embattled former Kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello
Kogi House of Assembly has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to vacate the ‘wanted’ tag it placed on the name and picture of the immediate past Governor Yahaya Bello.

This forms part of the resolutions during the House plenary on Tuesday and follows a matter of urgent public importance presented on the floor of the House by the member representing Ajaokuta Constituency, Hon Jibrin Abu.

Their resolutions made available to newsmen on Tuesday read: “The EFCC, IGP, Immigration, NSA and other agencies conscripted into this melodrama be so informed and involved to act accordingly. The Commission should not allow itself to become a tool of political vendetta, blackmail, or intimidation against any individual through personal grudges, persecution, and campaign of calumny to tarnish the image of personalities from Kogi State, especially Alh Yahaya Bello or any perceived political enemy of the characters hiding behind their executive powers to unleash allegations through media for public consumption and sympathy.

“The House condemns in its entirety a statement by legal practitioner suggesting a request that the military be involved in the case that does not constitute a threat to internal security or treasonable felony.”

Earlier in his motion, titled,: “A call to end all false, frivolous, fictitious, and far from the truth smear campaign against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello,” Abu lamented the anti-graft agency had been allegedly witch-hunting the former Governor for a long time.

“The recent reports on the print, electronic and social media had featured various debasing forms of address against the former Governor of Kogi State. Recall that the whole narrative was principally sparked off by the blithe actions, without respect to due legal process by Nigeria’s anti- graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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“The consequence of this has deeply affected the minds, emotions, and impressions of Kogi citizens, and by extension, Nigerians. Kogi State, over the years, has witnessed a worrisome trend and torrent of witch-hunt by the anti-graft agency, unrepentantly striving to force corruption claims on the State Government and officials.

“This is not forgetting the plight of late Prince Abubakar Audu in the hands of the same agency, albeit, giving his dog a bad name for the kill.

“The Commission started with claims that it discovered a non-existent fund in an alleged Fixed Deposit Account. By its statutory responsibility and while appreciating EFCC’s efforts in the fight against corruption, every right thinking individual would hold it a duty to support it in no small measure to succeed in its primary responsibilities. It is also possible as touted all around for those very wary of certain actions outside legal process by the EFCC to caution against allowing the Commission to become a tool for political vendetta.

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“It is pertinent for House to further note that the new objectives assured by the leadership of EFCC upon assumption of duty and in his fight against crimes and corruption under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu are to fight financial crimes with due diligence and legal process. These objectives are being eroded by certain selfish group of political individuals with access to media and investigations in the commission.

“The 7th Legislative Assembly of Kogi State in August and September 2021 berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission upon the completion of its investigation over the allegation of N20b Bailout diversion against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alh. Yahaya Bello through a fixed deposit account at Sterling Bank, Lokoja.

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“The EFCC has continued the trajectory of persecuting the former Governor against all known legal decencies and now likened, by most, to personal vendetta. But the question is why?

“A point of reference for the House to take cognizance of is the submission, that having wasted taxpayers’ money, the time of the honourable court and Nigerians, one Kemi Pinheiro SAN, acting on behalf of EFCC and other Legal luminaries, discovered that the case of N20b against the State Government lacked substance and that it was aimed at disrespecting the rule of law. The case was accordingly withdrawn citing 6 reasons. These reasons were in line with findings of 7 Legislative Assembly and for berating the EFCC.

“The Rt. Hon. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, this was not without a fight by the then Governor, revealing to Nigerians the impotent drive
by the Commission and its sudden acceptance of duties not enshrined in the law establishing the same.

“Kogi State, by allocation standard, is not rich so much so that N80.4b will be missing that the State will not be shaken to its foundation. This claim by the EFCC should be sanctioned and taken as laughable. Innocent Nigerians and Kogi State citizens that bought into the lies should by their personal volition withdraw their support,” he stated.

In his submissions, the member representing Kabba-Bunu State Constituency Hon. Oluwaseyi Bello berated EFCC for allegedly disobeying a subsisting court order in the State.

Former Deputy Speaker Hon. Enema Paul told the anti graft agency to respect the rule of law.

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He said: “Why is EFCC in a haste? Nigeria is not a banana republic. I was surprised to hear a senior lawyer to EFCC inviting the military in a Civil case. Has the Police, DSS failed?

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“I think EFCC should look at their lawyer and see if he is really qualified. The Man they declared wanted is in Appeal Court with them. Declaring him wanted, I think EFCC has a lot of questions to answer. We don’t want military to rule this Country and some body is dragging us back to the olden days.”

Speaker Aliyu Umar Yusuf admonished the anti-graft agency not to act contrary to the law of the country.

“This House is not against the EFCC doing their job but they should do it within the ambit of the law and not in a gestapo way.

“The country belongs to all of us, so we must respect the law and work with it. The EFCC engaging in media trial and working in a gestapo way is unacceptable. If Yahaya Bello has a case to answer, it should be done within the rule of law,” he stated.

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Blackout in 3 Northern states as vandals pull down TCN towers

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Blackout in 3 Northern states as vandals pull down TCN towers
• One of the vandalized towers

The Transmission Company of Nigeria, (TCN) has confirmed that vandals destroyed its four towers along the Jos-Gombe transmission line, causing power blackout in three States of Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba.

TCN general manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, who disclosed this in a statement late Monday night, said the towers were vandalised around 3:32pm on Monday.

As a result, the bulk power supply to Gombe, Yola, and Jalingo Substations has been disrupted, affecting the bulk power supply to parts of Yola and Jos Electricity Distribution Companies’ franchise areas.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria hereby states that four towers along the Jos – Gombe 330kV transmission line have been vandalised at about 3:32 pm today, 22nd April 2024.

“TCN notes that when the 330kV transmission line tripped, its operators attempted to restore it to service but it tripped again, prompting the dispatch of TCN lines men to trace the line to detect and rectify the fault.

“While fault tracing, TCN’s engineering crew discovered that towers 288, 289, 290, and 291 were vandalised and that some tower members were carted away. Also, the towers had equally collapsed as a result of the incident.

“Presently, bulk power supply to Gombe, Yola, and Jalingo Substations have been disrupted, affecting the bulk power supply to parts of Yola and Jos Electricity Distribution Companies’ franchise areas.

“To mitigate the effect of the incident on electricity consumers affected by the incident, TCN is trying to first back feed Gombe through its 132kV transmission line from Bauchi and subsequently Ashaka, Potiskum, Damaturu, and Billiri/ Savannah.

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“We will do everything possible to restore supply to the affected areas while efforts are made to reconstruct the four vandalised towers,” the TCN spokesperson said.

SEE ALSO:  EEDC: NERC transfers regulatory oversight to Enugu Electricity Commission

Recall that Abuja was thrown into darkness in February over the vandalisation of TCN towers.

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