Completely out of the blue, the retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension were invited as special guests of honour along with various African heads of state to the Africa Summit which was tagged by President Vladimir Putin as the “Africa Initiative”. The venue was St. Petersburg, Russia and it was in full swing from Thurs 27 July, 2023 to Fri. 28 July 2023.
We nearly turned down the invitation on account of the front page headline of the “Private Eye” magazine (No. 1601: 30 June – 13 July 2023) “Revolving Russians”
The bubbles carried the following messages:
(i) Ukraine War Shock: Russian troops are advancing on the capital. Unfortunately it’s Moscow.
(ii) Ex-Chef in Power Grab: It’s coup of the day! The feud here is terrible.
(iii) Agreement Reached: We can’t have a mad war criminal running the country.
(iv) Prigozhin exiled: I saw a window of opportunity. And soon you’ll be falling out of it.
Anyway, we opted to join the Revolt (not the Revolting!!) In any case, KPMG used to have a huge and thriving practice in Russia under Roger Mulling.
Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, KPMG in protest closed down its office in Moscow and everywhere else in Russia.
To cut a long story short, the main item on the agenda was the war in Ukraine and the blockage of the supply of Ukrainian grain to Africa by Russia – and the consequential poverty as well as starvation in Africa.
Ironically, caviar and vodka were in plentiful supply at the Summit.
As for the retired partners of KPMG, compromise was on offer. We were ready to accept Russian roubles in lieu of dollars. Just before when we were about to sign the agreement in full glare of the world press, the “Breaking News” was the military coup in Niger (Nigeria’s neighbouring country).
The State forcing the government to introduce a compulsory undertaking signed by all the students and their parents to curb hooliganism.
What was comical was that Russian television kept mixing Niger with Nigeria and went to town with the following reports:
(i) Front page “Daily Trust” newspaper, July 24, 2023 headline: “Ogun students beat teacher who stopped exam malpractice.”
“A gang of 10 secondary school students in Ogun State reportedly attacked one of their teachers, who prevented them from cheating during the last third term examination.
The students of Isanbi Comprehensive High School, Ilisan-Remo, in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun, had waylaid the teacher, Kolawole Shonuga, on Tuesday.
It was gathered that Shonuga while invigilating the unified examination for the SS 1 Art class students, caught one of the boys, 18-year-old Ashimi Adebanjo, cheating, and he seized his paper.
A witness explained that after school hours, the student gathered somewhere, waylaid the teacher and beat him up at the school gate.
It was learnt that one of the boys, Kazeem Adelaja, allegedly hit a stick on Shonuga’s head while others were beating him.
Meanwhile, policemen from the Remo Division have arrested a sizeable number of the suspects.
Police spokesman, Omotola Odutola, confirmed the incident, saying Shonuga had formally reported the alleged assault at Remo Police Division while confirming the arrest of 10 suspects.
The State Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Felix Agbesanwa, frowned at the incident, insisting that “any student who raises his hand against his teacher should face the wrath of the law.”
Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, also condemned the students’ actions with a vow that the state government would not condone acts of indiscipline by learners across the state.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, also condemned the students’ actions with a vow that the state government would not condone acts of indiscipline by learners across the state.”
(ii) Front page of “Saturday Vanguard” newspaper July 29. 2023.
Headline: “I offered my last child for money rituals to train other nine children” – farmer.
– Herbalist warned us not to use boy – accomplice.
A 50-year-old Beninese farmer, Poni Bada, left his country home for Nigeria, with his unsuspecting nine-year-old son, who he intended to use for money rituals.
Three other men: Ige Koselu, Benjamin Balovi and Segun Shile, accompanied the farmer to a herbalist’s home in Owode area of Ogun State, where the money ritual was to be carried out.
The trio contributed N100,000 needed to start the ritual process, with an agreement to have their share of the loot when the ritual is successful and money start to roll in.
But that was not to be, as a team of policemen from the Zone 2 Command, Onikan Lagos, who acted on intelligence, stormed the herbalist’s shrine and effected the arrest of all the suspects, while the would-be sacrificial lamb was rescued.
Vanguard learned that the nine-year-old boy, Agbe, was brought from Benin Republic in May, 2023, to work in a farmland where he was paid N5,000.
A month after, his father was said to have called his contact in Nigeria, Benjamin Balobi, complaining that the money paid to his son was too small compared to the farm work.
Explaining how he came up with the idea of using his son for money rituals, the father of the boy, Bada, said: “I have 10 children from three wives.
“The situation of things kept going from bad to worse. I could not feed my children. I then decided to use my last child, Agbe, for a money ritual, so that I could train the other children and have better living conditions.
“In May 2023, I left my home town in Jakotome, Benin Republic for Nigeria, to visit my brother, Benjamin Balobi, at Ilaro, Ogun State, who earlier told me he was doing well as a farmer and that the owner of a farmland was looking for labourers.
“That was how I brought Agbe to Nigeria to work.
“But the thought of using him for a money ritual came up when I realized that the money paid as salary to my son was very poor.
“I told Balobi to help me get a herbalist that would help me with the money rituals; he said he knew no one but promised to help me find a herbalist who might have information on it.
“He informed Ige Koshelu (one of the suspects) who found someone that promised to take us to the herbalist’s place in Sango. But we were taken to another herbalist’s place in Owode, where we were arrested.”
Also speaking, one of his accomplices, Segun Shile, a commercial motorcyclist, said four herbalists earlier contacted declined to engage in money rituals sacrifice.
He expressed regrets, saying, “If I had known, I would have withdrawn. We were warned by the herbalist I took them to at Owode, Ogun State, not to use the boy.
“When I called the herbalist on the phone, he said there was nothing like money rituals. Few days later, he invited me to bring the person that would be used for the rituals.
“Immediately he sighted the boy, he stated categorically that the child’s head was too strong to be used for rituals.
“He, however, demanded N100,000 to take to another herbalist who would perform the rituals.
“Three of us: Balobi, Koshelu and myself, who accompanied the father of the boy there, then went outside to discuss how to raise the money.
“Balobi brought N50,000, and Koshelu and I added N25,000 each. We told the boy’s father not to pay since he was donating his son for the ritual.
“The agreement was for him to give us out of what would come out of the process. When we handed the money to the herbalist, he picked up his phone and called someone. To our surprise, the next thing we saw were policemen.”
Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, Command, AIG Muhammed Ali who confirmed the arrest of the suspects and rescue of the minor, said the latter would be taken to a juvenile home at the end of investigation.”