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Confessions of a Seminarian. Written in Honour of Michael Nnadi, Seminarian of the Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna

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The Confession Of A Seminarian
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“Exactly 21 days of being held hostage,
We overheard our abductors speaking in Hausa “an kamala tattaunawar” “an biya fansa”
Meaning the negotiation has been concluded, and the ransom has been paid.

Although we haven’t been released, and stood completely oblivious of the one to whom those allusions were made, but this news does indeed strike in all 11 of us in captivity, sentiments of happiness and sighs of hope

Yet, I heard one of them saying something about sending a message- “amma har yanzu muna bukatar aika sako”
But I couldn’t really make anything out of it until now, when I watch life fade out of my brother, friend and colleague Mike, who was bleeding profusely and gasping for breath.

A bullet had hit him on the neck.
I held him tight in my arms and put a pressure on his neck to stop the bleeding
Grasped with fear untold, I called out…
Mike! Mikky! Stay with me, we are almost out of this bush
While gradually fading out, he stretched out his hand to wipe my tears,
In whispers I heard him mutter
“Pray for me”
I cried even more, and screamed for help,
Hum… but just in a jiffy, I suddenly became conscious of Mike’s increasingly plummeting temperature
Others; Pius, Peter and Stephen came back running
Only to find him dead in my arms…

Remembering our shared hope of return to freedom, tears rolled down my cheek effortlessly
Lost in thought, I took the wing of reminiscence
Recalling moments shared prior to our kidnap…
it was around 10:27pm on Wednesday, January 8, just few minutes before light out
I had gone to Mikky’s room to get the provision he promised to buy for me from outing
I met Stephen and Mikky’s roommate Pius, soaking garri
Mikky was also in the room, so I joined in the feast, even though it wasn’t a free night

Then we heard a loud thud, it was the fence
But before we could phantom all that was happening, we heard gunshots simultaneously with the words, Ja su waje! Ja su waje!! Drag them out!!!
Our first line of action was to lay down flat, as the gunshot continued
We heard other been dragged out of their room, but we couldn’t hide
Our door gave way on a single heavy kick
Two men, in military uniform entered
Heavily armed, with bullets across their shoulders
Stephen was the first to jump up from where we laid, he was slapped back to the laying position,
Then we were dragged out into the quadrangle of the hostel
We were the last to be dragged out
To join the line of other seminarians already on a straight line in the quadrangle
We were asked to submit our laptops and belongings, which we did.

They packed it into their van and as they were about leaving they dragged us into their van,
last four persons on the line which happens to be Me, Pius, Michael and Stephen and then they took Peter too.
We were blind folded, chained and thrown into the van,
The van was on speed for about an hour before there was a turn
Into a rather not too smooth road and the drive went on for about another 2 hours…

All I knew was that by the time they removed the blindfold we were already in a forest camp
We were striped of our clothing and thrown into a cell, to join 7 others who were abducted at different times

In the cell, there we met a Pastor; Lawan Andami who we later found out to be the CAN chairman of Michika, A Doctor’s wife; Mrs Philip Ataga, An elderly Muslim couple; Alhaji and Hajia Bisiriyu with their first son Usman, who were alleged to have masterminded the escape of Christians in the past, and others
persons whose name I would rather not mention.

Hours rolled into days
Days into weeks,
We were fed once in 2 days.
We kept on praying together with the pastor, who unwaveringly encouraging us not to lose hope in God.
Then a day came they, that was like a week after we arrived
They came to call the pastor, he followed them without hesitation,
We never thought we would see him again, but to our surprise he came back, and when we asked him, he said they ask him to make a video telling people he is fine, and encourage his people to pay his ransom.

After some days, they came again and took Usman, the son of the Bisiriyu,
we were wondering what they wanted with him, but still he followed.
Moments later, we heard gunshots at some distance and we conjectured that he had been killed

The Bisiriyu’s cried uncontrollably for days
We mourned with them and prayed for his happy repose,
Why they killed him was unknown to us all
Then two days later, just before evening fall,
There was noise and rage in the camp, we don’t know why,
But we heard the leader of the group shouting
“ Ja su waje! Jaa su waje! Alsaabiuwn…. Kafirai
Drag them out… Infidels.

We were dragged out of the cells, lined on a queue.
Then they forcefully dragged Lawan, the CAN chairman out of the line,
They accused his people of not paying up to the amount requested and with that they felt much slighted.

And so he was going to die
He beg for his life, but they refused,
They dragged him out,
forced his neck on stake they have prepared
Then the Dagger-like cutlass was revealed
and so it was, with two strikes, his head rolled off,
blood gushed out profusely, the sight was horrible.
when we tried to look away, they slapped us to look at the horrific sight
according to one of them, we were to witness it so as to serve as a motivation for us to ask our people to pay the ransom.

Caught up in immense sorrow and in pain, we were led back to the cell
again, we prayed for the repose of his soul
while we await similar fate to befall us,

on the morning of the 21st day
we overheard them saying the negotiation had been
concluded and the ransom had been paid.
Then I also heard one of them saying something about sending a message, well I didn’t pay attention to it as we were a midst the joy of been released.

Moment later, they threw the gate of the cell opened; four of us and Mrs Ataga, the doctor’s wife were let loose.
Then they ask to run for our lives
Initially we hesitated, then they fired some shots at a close range to our feet, then we started running through the direction we thought was the way out of the forest.

We had only run a few distance when we heard gunshots from behind, they were coming after us
We increased our pace and took to our heels, scattered in the forest,
Mike took the same direction with me,
The shots continued
They sprayed sporadically…

Then I heard one last single shot,
The very one that hit Mike,
I turned back to look, Mike was already on the floor
I rushed back to help him, but he was already gasping.
I looked back to see where the shot had come from
Then I saw him, few meter away, smiling…

Then he said “kai wannan gida … wannan shine sakon”

Take that home… that is the message.

And all those who have lost their lives in the hands of kidnappers and terrorists.

Eternal Rest grant unto them oh Lord… and let your perpetual light shine upon them
May the soul of Micheal Nnadi, Lawan Andami, Philip Ataga, and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen…”

© Dele Momodu,
Ovation Magazine Publisher

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Plateau Govt Confirms 22 Dead, 132 hospitalised In Jos School Building Collapse

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The Plateau State Government has confirmed 22 dead and 132 persons injured in the Jos collapsed school building.

Musa Ashoms, the Commissioner for Information, said six of the injured were in critical condition.

Ashoms said that those injured were receiving treatment in various tertiary health facilities in the state, while the bodies of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuaries.

NAN reports that a two-storey building of Saints Academy, a secondary and primary school located in Busa-Buji community of Jos North Local Area, had collapsed, trapping students, teachers and others.

The incident occurred at about 8:30 am on Friday when the students were writing their third term examination.

Meanwhile, Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State has described the incident as a tragic and monumental loss to the state.

Mutfwang stated this in a statement issued by Mr Gyang Bere, his Director of Press and Public Affairs, on Friday in Jos.

The governor, who sympathised with the families of the affected victims, further described the incident as heartbreaking and unfortunate.

“This is tragic, unfortunate, heart-wrenching and a gloomy situation. We appreciate the timely intervention of the search-and-rescue team, as well as members of the public, who rushed to the school premises to assist in evacuating some of the surviving students and staff,” he said.

 

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Tinubu Renames National Theatre After Wole Soyinka

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President Bola Tinubu has renamed the National Theatre in Lagos after Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.

JomogNews reports that President Bola Tinubu has renamed the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, after Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.

This online news platform learnt that Tinubu announced this in a tribute he wrote to celebrate Soyinka in commemoration of his 90th birthday.

The tribute dated “Professor Wole Soyinka at 90: Tribute to a national treasure and global icon,” was personally signed by the President and made available to journalists on Friday.

Tinubu expressed his delight to join admirers around the world in celebrating Soyinka, adding that July 13 would be the climax of the series of local and international activities held in his honour.

Tinubu wrote, “Professor Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Literature Prize in 1986, deserves all the accolades as he marks the milestone of 90 years on earth. Having beaten prostate cancer, this milestone is a fitting testament to his ruggedness as a person and the significance of his work.

“It is also fitting we celebrate this national treasure while he is still with us. I am, accordingly, delighted to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as the Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

Tinubu stated that Nigeria not only celebrates Soyinka’s remarkable literary achievements, but also his unwavering dedication to the values of human dignity and justice.

“When he turned 80, I struggled to find words to encapsulate his achievements because they were simply too vast. Since then, he has added to his corpus with his series of Interventions, which have been published in many volumes.

“Professor Soyinka is a colossus, a true renaissance person blessed with innumerable talents. He is a playwright, actor, poet, human rights and political activist, composer, and singer.

“He is a giant best riding not just the literary world but our nation, Africa, and the world,” he averred.

According to the President, Soyinka is one Nigerian whose influence transcends the Nigerian space and who inspires people around the world, explaining that since his youth, he has been a vocal critic of oppression and injustice wherever it exists, from apartheid in South Africa to racism in the United States.

“Beginning from his 20s, he took personal risks for the sake of our nation. His courage was evident when he attempted to broker peace at the start of the civil war in 1967. Detained for two years for his bravery, he narrated his experience in his prison memoir, ‘The Man Died.’

“Despite deprivation and solitary confinement, his resolve to speak truth to power and fight for the marginalised was further strengthened.

“Our paths crossed during our struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election,” Tinubu stated.

 

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FG Reaches New Agreement With IOCs On Crude Supply To Dangote, Local Refineries

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JomogNews Nigeria reports that the Federal Government and crude oil producers in Nigeria have committed to working towards a sustainable supply of crude oil to local refineries under a market-determined pricing system.

This Nigeria news platform understands that both parties said the commitment aimed to ensure that while the operators (crude oil producers) do business optimally, the refineries are not starved of feedstock.

Accordingly, the industry regulator, the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission has directed oil refiners in the country to provide monthly price quote on crude supply.

This came as the $20bn Dangote Petroleum Refinery is reportedly ramping up the importation of crude from the United States, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, Nigeria’s upstream regulator stated that oil producers under the umbrella of the Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at a meeting called by NUPRC, agreed to concede to a framework that would be mutually beneficial with the aim of ensuring that local refineries are not strangulated due to off-the-curve prices.

“The focus of the meeting held at the instance of the Commission Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe, was on the status review of the Framework for Seamless Operationalisation of Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation Template.

“It was part of efforts to effectively implement key sections of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, especially the issue of pricing and crude supply to the domestic refineries,” the commission stated.

In the statement, Komolafe said President Bola Tinubu is fully committed to providing a level playing ground for producers and refiners to do business in the industry.

He expressed the need for a rule of engagement to ensure that the pricing model from the oil producers does not hinder the domestic refineries.

He directed producers and refiners to provide the NUPRC with cargo price quotes on crude supply and delivery for effective monitoring and regulation of transactions among parties. “We need to have the price quotes monthly,” he directed.

The NUPRC boss pointed out a convergence between the Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation and the nation’s energy security, indicating that his team is re-engineering its regulatory processes to address the challenges.

“We allow all our processes to be transparent. While the Federal Government targets the implementation of the regulation, all parties must submit to the rules of engagement as a guide for operation,” Komolafe stated.

He said NUPRC is committed to driving the willing buyer/willing seller provision.

“We have to discuss pricing, especially as parties have committed to respecting their domestic crude oil obligation. As the regulator, we don’t want the upstream sector to be operated sub-optimally through cost under-recovery.

“So, the regulator is very alive to that. In crude pricing we will never allow price strangulation to disincentivise our domestic refining capacity optimisation. The regulator does not support cost under-recovery in the upstream sector, and we will continue to work to ensure that crude supply profiteering as a negative factor that can strangulate our domestic refining capacity optimisation is disallowed,” Komolafe declared.

Dangote raises alarm

Last month, the Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, had accused International Oil Companies in Nigeria of plans to frustrate the survival of the new Dangote Petroleum Refinery.

Edwin had said the IOCs were deliberately and willfully frustrating the refinery’s efforts to buy local crude by hiking the cost above the market price, thereby forcing the refinery to import crude from countries as far as the United States, with its attendant high costs.

“Recall that the NUPRC recently met with crude oil producers as well as refineries’ owners in Nigeria, in a bid to ensure full adherence to Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligations as enunciated under section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act. It seems that the IOCs’ objective is to ensure that our petroleum refinery fails. It is either they are deliberately asking for a ridiculous/humongous premium or they simply state that crude is not available.

“At some point, we paid $6 over and above the market price. This has forced us to reduce our output as well as import crude from countries as far as the US, increasing our cost of production. It appears that the objective of the IOCs is to ensure that Nigeria remains a country which exports crude oil and imports refined petroleum products.

“They (IOCs) are keen on exporting the raw materials to their home countries, creating employment and wealth for their countries, adding to their Gross Domestic Product, and dumping the expensive refined products into Nigeria – thus making us to be dependent on imported products. It is the same strategy the multinationals have been adopting in every commodity, making Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa to be facing unemployment and poverty, while they create wealth for themselves at our expense,” Edwin had stated.

But on Thursday NUPRC emphasised the imperative for appropriate pricing to drive willing buyer willing seller referencing guided Fiscal Oil Price published by the commission in line with the provisions of the PIA.

“NUPRC is committed to attracting the needed investments to boost upstream development and optimisation of our hydrocarbon resources just as we want sustainability of domestic energy supply in the midstream and downstream sector.”

Crude importation

Also on Thursday Bloomberg reported that Nigeria’s Dangote mega-refinery was ramping up the importation of crude oil from the United States, stating that the Lagos-based refinery had created a new flow of long-haul crude from the US, as inflows of American feedstock could be about to rise further.

The report stated that the Dangote mega-refinery was lapping up ever more US crude, bringing the barrels thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

It stated that Dangote bought more than 16 million barrels of West Texas Intermediate crude oil so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In August and September, the proportion it will take from the US — as opposed to Nigerian barrels — may be set to rise, based on tenders for new supply seen by Bloomberg.

 

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