Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kwara State, Ishola Balogun-Fulani has faulted the claim by the Nigeria Police that he was rescued from the kidnapers’ den.
Balogun, who was kidnapped by gunmen on Friday, alongside the party’s Secretary, Chief Sunday Bode Adekanye, said ransom was paid before they were released.
Balogun-Fulani told newsmen at the palace of the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, after a visit of appreciation to the monarch, that the gunmen demanded N40 million and N30 million from him and his secretary, respectively.
He also said they trekked for about 10 hours from 7:30am to 4:00pm in the forest without food or water.
Balogun-Fulani said “we had nothing as food or water while we were in our abductors den. They said they were Fulanis and that they had no other business than armed robbery and kidnapping.
“They spoke Fulani and Pidgin English fluently. They said we must find money for them and demanded N40 million and N30 million from me and the secretary and that if we failed to do that, they were going to waste us.
“We had to call our people; we don’t know what they did but I think they must have paid a certain amount before we were allowed to go (on Saturday) by 6:30pm.
“They tried to enquire whether I am a Fulani man too to which I said yes but they said this is not a family matter but strictly business.
“We were not tortured and nothing was done to us but we trekked from one hideout to another,” said.
“We warned our people not to bring any security men, either police or the army because they warned us and threatened to kill us if we do; they said they were not afraid of police or army and that they have their own weapon too.
“The Police IG tried, he sent a helicopter to come looking for us but it was difficult to locate us because it was inside a very thick forest. Same with the Commissioners of Police in Kogi and Kwara state who also sent in people, yet we were unable to be located. It was when we came out that we saw about 100 policemen waiting for us. The place is around Osara and Okene”, he recalled.
Also speaking, the secretary of the party, Chief Olabode Adekanye, who also narrated how the incident happened, added that another man from Ondo State was kidnapped with them by the Fulani gunmen.
Adekanye said “We first thought they were SARS because they wore no uniform. But immediate we got closer, we saw some of them, about four in number, crawling on the road.
“Then, we immediately made U-turn but were ambushed by four men from the rear; they fired and we stopped.
“They were asking for money and then told us to be running inside the bush with gun pointed to my head.
“After a while, they relaxed and communicated in their language before they ordered us to proceed again.
“Later, they cooked rice with ordinary oil and offered it to us inside one dirty black pot, if we cared. Then we asked for water thinking we could get pure water but they just went somewhere and fetched water from a mud pond with, earth color. That was what they drank and ate and they smoked and constantly took cocaine. It was later in the evening that they now asked us to identify ourselves.”
Tony Elumelu Foundation Disburses First Tranche of $5m Partnership Commitment from African Development Bank
Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has congratulated the African Development Bank (AfDB), and AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, on their commitment to African entrepreneurship, with the disbursement of $2.5million seed capital to the AfDB-sponsored beneficiaries of the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. $2.5m was released today, with the remainder expected to be disbursed to the entrepreneurs in Q12020.
The AfDB commitment follows the recent $8.5 million disbursements from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to 2,648 entrepreneurs in the Sahel region and Africa more broadly and further accelerates the economic empowerment generated by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. In 2019, the Foundation significantly increased the scale and reach of it impact, with the number of beneficiaries of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme rising from its annual commitment of 1,000 to 5,150, in collaboration with global and African partners.
With its commitment to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and develop young entrepreneurs, AfDB joined the growing list of global development institutions benefiting from the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s unique model of identifying, training, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs and start-ups across Africa. The partnership demonstrates the implementation of the AfDB’s ten-year “Jobs for Youth in Africa” strategy, launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million meaningful jobs across the continent.
The partnership illustrates TEF’s willingness to share its infrastructure and know-how, with others who share the mission to empower young African entrepreneurs and TEF’s goal of creating millions of jobs, as well as generating
billions in revenue, to catalyse economic growth across the continent.
The Foundation is currently accepting applications to the 2020 cohort of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme on TEFConnect.com, Africa’s digital hub for entrepreneurs.
Dangote Farms Commissions Tomatoes Nursery To Provide Seedlings For Farmers
In a bid to make Nigeria self-sufficient in tomato production, Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited, owned by the younger brother of Africa’s richest man, Sani Dangote, has unveiled a N2.8 billion greenhouse nursery in Kano to supply the best quality tomato seedlings to Nigerian farmers.
Speaking on the project, Sani Dangote said the nursery is designed to use the automated Pat Moose planting technology, the first of its kind in Nigeria and has the capacity to process 350 million tonnes of hybrid tomato seedlings per season enabling the planting of 12,000 hectares of tomato farm. The pat moose process takes three weeks before proceeding to the next stage reducing the whole process of growing tomatoes to just 3 months.
He stated that Nigeria consumes about 2.3 million tonnes of tomatoes annually and with the establishment of the nursery, “we have created a capacity to triple tomato production, attaining self-sufficiency in tomato production as well as a potentially exporting surplus to neighboring countries.
“Furthermore, this nursery will produce the highest quality tomato seedling available meaning that the farmers can grow the highest yield tomatoes. Currently, the yields produced by Nigerian farmers are less than the global standard. As a result, farmers will be able to earn more income from selling higher volumes of harvests each season.
“Nigeria is on a trajectory to becoming self-sufficient in rice, tomatoes and poultry production. This means that millions of jobs will be created for her citizens.”, Sani Dangote explained.
The African continent imports $40 billion of food annually despite having 65% of the world’s arable land. The public-private model on-going in Nigeria could be adopted by other African countries to also attain self-sufficiency in food production.
Tony Elumelu Donates Technology Centre To AAU
Chairman of UBA Group, Tony O. Elumelu, has made the donation of a multipurpose information technology center to his alma mater, Ambrose Ali University.
Through the UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Elumelu has championed the construction of a state-of-the-art multipurpose information technology building, which will benefit the students of Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State. The hall, to be named The Tony O. Elumelu multipurpose hall, is furnished with computers, desks, and chairs measure 839 square meters and have adjoining offices and conveniences.
Elumelu highlighted his motivation: “Education is crucial to Nigeria’s human capital – whether our young people join our national institutions, the private sector or, as I did, take the entrepreneurial path, no one can afford to be cut off from the digital world. It has been a personal mission to ensure that the hall was delivered to specification, for the benefit of the students at the AAU. Success brings with it the duty to give back, and I am just grateful that I am now in a position to meaningfully help the next generation”.
The multipurpose hall was formally handed over to the University, at a ceremony attended by members of the University’s governing council and staff, led by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo.
Speaking at the commissioning, UBA’s Directorate Head, South Bank, Mr. Chris Ofikulu, who represented the UBA Group Chairman, highlighted the contribution of UBA, through its Foundation, to education and development across Africa.
‘As a pan-African bank, operating in 20 countries across our continent, UBA is committed to being a socially responsible institution, and a role model for businesses in Africa. The UBA Foundation actively promotes the socio-economic improvement of the communities in which UBA operates, with a particular emphasis on development in the areas of “Education, Environment, and Economic Empowerment”. We believe in intervening and building capacity within communities, facilitating projects that will act as catalysts for social and economic development’ he stated.
“Tony Elumelu is a product of this great university and is conscious of the need to give back and there is no substitute for world-class educational infrastructure, and this is what has informed the construction of these facilities, that will help equip the future leaders of our great nation Nigeria,” he said.
The AAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards the gesture by the UBA Group Chairman, noted that one of the most pressing needs of the University for 2020 had been met, and thanked UBA and Mr Elumelu.
He challenged students to make proper use of the facilities provided by UBA and to ensure that they emerge great leaders and mentors like Elumelu, whose commitment to catalyzing entrepreneurial growth across Africa, through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and institutionalizing African philanthropy, had created a strong positive role model. ‘We at Ambrose Ali university are so proud of our son Tony Elumelu and every time we see him doing good across Africa, we feel joy and accomplishment’ said Onimawo.