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Warning! There is a new terrible virus in Nigeria. It is not Covid-19 but it can afflict anyone and have more devastating effect. How does this virus work?
What anyone who does not like you needs to do to completely cripple you is to write a petition against you alleging any kind of manufactured criminal activity. Your adversary then gives the petition to a middle level police officer with some sweetener. The police officer will go with the petition to a magistrate in the most remote of places and get a “court order” against you that is perpetual without any trial and in a case in which you are not even a party.
Bingo! In a twinkle of an eye, all your bank accounts are frozen. You can no longer write a cheque, you cannot do any bank transfer or even use an ATM. It does not matter how much you own. Without notice, you are unable to buy food for your family, buy medication to deal with any ill health or even put fuel in your car. You cannot pay any bill. Nothing can be more devastating than what I have just stated.
You think this is a fable or I am exaggerating? It is happening today in Nigeria and this crazy virus is spreading. Please don’t tump your chest and believe that you will not be infected one of these days. I am sorry, evil appears to have taken over our land. While patriots are being hunted, the vampires sucking our nation dry are roaming free.
Last year, my only son and friend, who bears the same name with me and who lives and works in the United States was scheduled to get married. As a proud father, I was happy and informed several people of the forthcoming wedding. The wedding was put off several times because of the COVID-19 situation. Not long after, I was hit by a medical crisis and needed to travel. Two days before my trip, a strong attempt was made to abduct me in Lagos, whisk me away and waste me in Benin. In the execution of the devious plan, the Almighty intervened. While I was abducted, my abductors could not take me away from Lagos. God freed me and I was able to travel for my medicals.
One afternoon, not long after I came back from my medical trip, the news came that bank accounts of COSON of which I am chairman had been frozen, the accounts of my personal business had been frozen, my domiciliary account had been frozen and my personal Naira account had also been frozen. Suddenly, life was hanging in a balance. To do basic things, I had to find someone to borrow from.
I hold no government position and have no access to one naira of government funds. I do not do money laundering, I do not do oil bunkering, I do not do ‘yahoo-yahoo’ or internet fraud of any kind, I do not deal in drugs and I am not engaged in any criminal activity of any sort but they have kept hunting me. There is no big money in any of my accounts that will suggest that it is the proceed of any crime and they know it. Their objective is to decapitate me.
Because of the passion I express about the crazy direction our country is headed and my strong position that the law must be obeyed with respect to copyright management, for the benefit of creative people in Nigeria, I have become the victim of the odium of people who want to own all of Nigeria and reap where they did not sow. They see me as an obstacle.
I am probably the most investigated Nigerian. COSON whose board I chair has had ten statutory audits and one big forensic audit by one of the most renowned auditing firms in the world. No one has found anywhere that I took one Naira that does not belong to me.
When your accounts are frozen, you have to go to court to unfreeze them. You need to hire a good lawyer. How? With what money? With no access to any money, you must engage in the endless judicial processes that can take years. Meanwhile, how do you operate a business in this day and age without a bank account? How do you take care of your staff without any funds? How do you feed your family? Believe me, only someone who hates you terribly and wants you to die a painful death can inflict this terrible virus on you.
Two weeks before my son’s wedding, I went to the Federal High Court in Abuja after the two months strike action by judiciary staff union to see if I could get a reprieve to at least be able to buy a ticket to travel to New York to be with my son. In Abuja, I suddenly fell very ill and it took the intervention of Dr Moses Jatto who made some prescriptions on the phone from Lagos and my young lawyer, Bamiyi Adejo who rushed to buy the medications, to stabilize me. Did I get any reprieve from the court? No! What I got was another adjournment.
With no money and very poor health, how do I honour my son at his wedding? It was then it hit me that those who froze my accounts did not freeze the enormous goodwill I have garnered over the years. They had not frozen the creative ingenuity that the Almighty had bestowed on me and the love with which he has shielded me from all kinds of adversities. It took one phone call to my younger brother in Baltimore Maryland for my travel ticket to be assured and few more calls and I was ready to go.
Dr Jatto who took not one penny from me will confirm that on the day I left Nigeria, I came to take six injections from him making it eighteen in three days. Without my daughter, Alex who travelled with me, I may not have made it to New York. She nursed me along the way like a baby.
Though I still had health challenges in New York, I was pumped up. I was sure that those who froze my accounts had not frozen my faith and organizational ability. I am usually not one for big family events but I begged the Almighty to make the wedding of my son, who is my good friend and confidant an exception and an unforgettable event and to show evil people their limits.
From the basement of my elder sister’s home in Queens, New York, I made calls and calls and calls. Friends and our two families rallied around my son and his bride and my God answered my prayers with a miracle of the most scintillating wedding I have ever attended. Anybody who was at the event will tell you that it was as perfect as perfect can be and once again, the devil was defeated.
I am today an exceedingly happy man. I have received hundreds of congratulatory messages from many who rejoice over good things and are happy with my family over the scintillating event in New York. I am also aware that there are those who are not sleeping well. They are sad that the failure they prayed for and worked for did not materialize.
I do not know how to thank all those whom God has used to perform the miracle of July 11, 2021 but to ask that the good Lord be there for them as they have been there for me. Thank you, thank you and thank you.
See you next week.