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Lagos Commisioner Ajibola Ponnle’s marriage breaks, moves in with new lover

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The marriage between Ajibola and Michael Ponnle is over and as you are reading this, the affair is like what could be describe ‘Things Fall Apart’ and the centre can no longer hold, as the 22 year-old marriage between Lagos State Commissioner for Establishment, Training, and Pensions, Ajibola and her hubby; Michael Ponnle, the CEO of defunct Origin Oil & Gas.

The wife, Ajibola has dragged her husband to a Lagos court for dissolution of their over two-decade marriage that produced three children, all boys.

In her evidence in chief before the trial judge, Justice Lateefah Okunnu, on February 4, 2020, Ajibola, a chartered accountant admitted that she had left her matrimonial home, and now co-habits with her lover, one Segun Bamidele who lives four streets away from her matrimonial home in Banana Island, Lagos.

In the amended petition she filed before the court, she stated that eight years after she got married to her husband, he changed his behavior towards her in a manner as leading to constant intimidation, coercion, and threats, seizure and and destruction of the petitioner’s personal belongings as well as emotional and physical abuse.

She stated that when she could no longer cope, she left her matrimonial home in Banana Island on January 9, 2016 after which the respondent moved her belongings to her mother’s house on the same day and forbade her from returning to the house.

She therefore urged the court to issue a decree of dissolution of the marriage. She further seeks an order of court to direct the respondent to pay for the educational, physical, and medical maintenance of the children, and a house in Banana Island Lagos, being the location the children are accustomed to, pursuant to section 70 of the Matrimonial Causes Act. She further wants the court to order the respondent to pay her the sum of N250 million for her maintenance pursuant to the act.

However, her husband the respondent denied the allegations made against him by his wife. He said that the petitioner first deserted her matrimonial home in January 2010 with their children because he insisted that the petitioner should perform her duties as a wife and mother, particularly at it relates to the upbringing of the children.

He denied ever been cruel to his wife who he said he married out of genuine love. Rather, he said that the petitioner’s attitude changed towards him within two weeks after their marriage and she became cruel towards him by locking him out of the matrimonial home at every flimsy excuse.

In the 49 paragraph deposed to by him, which also serve as answer to his wife’s petition before the court, the respondent denied ever incarcerating his wife, or preventing her from meeting work obligations. “Regardless of the respondent’s support, the petitioner neglected her primary responsibilities to the respondent and the children and continued in that manner of defiance to any advice or plea from the respondent that she should try to create a balance in managing the home and meeting work obligations”.

He also stated that the petitioner preferred to come home late, long after the children must have gone to bed without making provision for their meals, a situation that necessitated him to employ cooks and stewards in their home. “Yet, the petitioner persisted coming home late”, he stated.

The respondent said that the only thing that caused a strain in their relationship was the petitioner’s refusal to fulfill her obligations as a wife and mother. He claimed that the petitioner’s mother and sister once assaulted him over his insistence that she take more care of the children. Also, she moved out of the home twice in five years over the same issue.

“The petitioner moved out with majority of her belongings, using over 15 suitcases and leaving behind only clothes she no longer wore. The respondent offered to send them to her as he was no longer comfortable with the petitioner coming into the matrimonial home after she had voluntarily moved out a second time in five years”, he stated.

When the matter came up on Wednesday, February 5, the respondent, led in evidence by his lawyers, Mr. Adebowale Kamoru and Mrs. Kehinde Daniels of Pinheiro LP told Justice Okunnu that he cannot afford the N250 million his estranged wife is asking for her maintenance, saying that his business has gone down.

Asked how he had been living, he said: “When business was good, I invested in many people, including my wife, which resulted into the booming business and job (commissioner) she has now”, and it is the goodwill of those other people he has been living off..

He however told the court that he was willing and ready to take care of his children, as they were his reason for still working. He particularly lamented that against his wish, his wife took their last born (name withheld) to the United Kingdom at the age of 10.

He said; “Initially, I agreed to her wish to have custody of all the kids. To me, the issue of the kids is very vital. In as much as I don’t agree with Jibola, we cannot divide the kids. I came from a single home and I know what it means. But it dawned on me when she sent our last boy to school abroad at the age of 10 and I think it is very wrong. I know all my sons. I know my last born is very smart and curious. He therefore needs a fatherly role model.  Nobody can do this better than me, his father. It is not right to take him abroad at such a tender age. I therefore ask for his custody. Others are old enough and I need to guide my son to be a responsible man”, he said.

He mentioned that he has since been taking care of the children to the tune of five million on each of them and an additional five million for their maintenance, all amounting to N20 million per annum, last payment of which was just this January of 2020.  He says that the sole reason he is working is to take care of his children.

When asked by Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN, the petitioner’s lawyer, whether he loved his children, he replied: “One million percent”. The petitioner’s lawyer thereafter attempted to tender as evidence, an e-mail which the petitioner’s first son sent to the respondent but his counsel objected.

Justice Okunnu in her ruling struck out the application to tender the letter, saying that what had happened between the parents was not the making of the children. She said it did not concern them and that they must not be made to suffer the consequences of the actions of their parents. “Admitting such a letter can destroy the relationship and confidence between father and son and the court will not be part of such. Besides, she said such admittance is contrary to family law”.

The trial judge therefore admonished the lawyers to advise their clients appropriately. She thereafter adjourned the case till May 5, 2020 for final address.

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Disparaging Dangote Uncalled For, Creating Bad Waves For Nigeria – AFDB President, Adesina

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The president of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has spoken out in defence of the Dangote Refinery, addressing concerns about potential monopolistic practices.

In a statement shared by businessman Femi Otedola on Tuesday via X, Adesina expressed his shock at the controversy surrounding Dangote’s operations, warning that it is “creating bad waves for Nigeria globally.”

According to Otedola’s post, Adesina argued that monopolies often arise in industries with high entry barriers or capital costs, citing railways and large-scale refineries as examples.

He was quoted as saying, “Monopoly often exists where there are high barriers to entry or high capital costs. How many individuals or companies can do railways? How many can do refineries of the scale of Dangote Refineries? In a nation that has been importing refined petroleum products for several decades, the abnormal simply became very normal.”

The AfDB President emphasised the significant investment made by Dangote, stating, “No smart investor would make a $19.5 billion investment and want it to be undermined by importers.”

He highlighted manufacturing challenges in Nigeria, describing the business environment as fraught with policy uncertainties and reversals.

“To manufacture is extremely expensive and risky. This is even more so in Nigeria, given the very challenging business and economic environment, fraught with policy uncertainties and policy reversals, and where the self-defeating default mode of “simply import it” is always so easily rationalized and chorused to solve any problem,” he said.

Addressing concerns about anti-competitive practices, Adesina said, “Competition is good for everyone. But is Dangote refineries anti-competitive? What is the evidence? Has Dangote Refineries prevented any other company from setting up refineries? Why have others not done so? How come they have not done so for several decades?

“Was it Dangote that held them back? But Dangote refineries surely cannot be asked to ‘compete’ with importers of petroleum products. That is not competition. Let the importers set up local refineries and compete by refining in Nigeria. That is fair and justified competition.”

Adesina stressed the broader economic implications of the refinery, stating, “We cannot and must not undermine, disparage or kill local industries, talk less of one that is of this scale — a jewel of industrialisation in Nigeria. It is more than simply delivering the cheapest product to the market.

“It is about domestic supply security, driving (and yes, protecting) globally competitive industries, maximising forward and backward linkages in the local economy, job creation, reducing forex expenses and shoring up the Naira. We must not be myopic.

“This whole disparaging of Dangote is uncalled for. It is self-defeating. And it is very bad for Nigeria. Who will want to come and invest in a country that disparages and undermines its own largest investor? Investing is tough. Pettiness is easy. It sadly sends a signal that the price for sacrificing for Nigeria is to get sacrificed.”

 

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BBC To Cut 500 Jobs As It Attempts To Save £200m For ‘Transformation’ Of The Corporation

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The BBC has announced plans to cut 500 jobs as it attempts to save £200 million to drive the “transformation” of the corporation.

Chief operating adviser, Leigh Tavaziva said it is making the changes to improve its premium video offering and digital capabilities.

It comes as the BBC is already attempting to save £500 million as part of a plan announced two years ago.

Tavaziva said “significant activity” is already underway to make the corporation “more flexible”.

She said: “In March this year we announced a requirement for an additional £200 million of savings and reinvestment plans to drive the continued transformation of the BBC.

“This will support greater investment into premium video content and further develop our digital capabilities.”

She added: “To further build our digital capabilities, whilst targeting efficiencies, over the next two years we will continue to close and transfer roles in some areas and create new roles in growth areas.

“This will result in a forecast net reduction of 500 roles in the public service by March 26, with further growth in targeted areas planned in our commercial group.

“To support these changes we will today be launching a new voluntary redundancy scheme for staff.

“Our priority remains to protect and champion the BBC’s fighting role as the UK’s public service broadcaster, for all our audiences both local and global.

“I would like to thank all colleagues for their continued efforts and commitments over the past 12 months.

“I am immensely proud of the exceptional content creativity, delivery, and innovation that our teams both provide and support every day.”

The BBC announced in March 2023 that it was to cut 1,000 hours of TV in order to save money, with half of that coming from sport.

In the same year, the corporation announced it was scrapping its in-house chamber choir, the BBC Singers, and reducing salaried orchestral posts across the BBC English Orchestras by around 20%.

In December 2022 it said that it was making £11m worth of cuts in local radio, which saw its 39 stations required to share content and broadcast less localised content.

Back in 2016, the BBC said it needed to cut £800m worth of costs, with £80m of that coming from news.

The move saw the Andrew Neil Show axed in 2020, along with 450 jobs in English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news.

 

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I Have No Blending Plant Outside Nigeria, NNPC Boss Kyari Replies Dangote

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari has said he does not own a blending plant outside Nigeria.

Kyari stated this on Tuesday, July 23, while reacting to claims that some officials of the NNPC have blending plants in Malta.

Reacting in a post on his X handle (formerly Twitter), Kyari said he had been inundated with calls from family members and friends, asking if he truly owns a blending plant in Malta.

Kyari stated that he does not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world except a local mini-agricultural venture.

He also said he is not aware of any employee of the NNPC that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“I am inundated by enquiries from family members, friends and associates on the public declaration by the President of Dangote Group that some NNPC workers have established a blending plant in Malta thereby impeding procurements from local production of Petroleum products.

“To clarify the allegations regarding the blending plant, I do not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world with the exception of a local mini Agric venture, neither am I aware of any employee of the NNPC, that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“A blending plant in Malta or any part of the world has no influence over NNPC’s business operations and strategic actions.”

The NNPC boss threatened to sanction any official of the NNPC involved in such acts if they truly exist.

 

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