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No Need To Investigate Circumstances Surrounding My Husband’s Death- Helen Prest-Ajayi

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A former beauty queen, Helen Prest-Ajayi, says there is no need to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of her husband and Managing Director of First Foundation Medical Centre, Lagos, Dr Tosin Ajayi.

Helen told PUNCH Metro her position through her lawyer, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), on Saturday.

Five children of the deceased had through their lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), written to the Chief Justice of Lagos State demanding a coroner’s inquest into the circumstances surrounding their father’s death.
A family friend, who spoke on behalf of the children, had told PUNCH Metro that Helen and Tosin were never legally married, because his marriage to his first wife, Oluyemisi, which produced the five children, was never dissolved.

The family friend further alleged that four weeks to the time of Tosin’s death, Helen never informed the children of his condition and even his death, adding that they only got to know of his demise through a third party and she also allegedly prevented them from viewing his corpse in the mortuary.
Upon his death, Helen was said to have gone to Tosin’s office, where she reportedly made away with some documents, fuelling further suspicion.

Her lawyer, however, told PUNCH Metro that the allegations against his client were baseless.

“This whole thing is not good for the memory of the deceased. A coroner’s inquest should not be abused. It should not be a theatre for infighting in the family. There are genuine cases that should go for coroner’s inquest, but if they are looking for public sympathy and are grandstanding, they should remember that the soul of the departed deserves rest and respect,” Owonikoko said.

Narrating the circumstances surrounding Tosin’s death, Owonikoko said sometime in March, he had high blood pressure and his condition worsened at home.
The senior advocate said Tosin was taken to a hospital in Ikoyi, where he was diagnosed with a heart condition, and later suffered kidney failure.

Owonikoko said the deceased was taken to the St Nicholas Hospital, then First Cardiologists on Victoria Island and back to St Nicholas Hospital, where he eventually died.
He stated, “A cardiologist was invited to the house three days after Dr Ajayi took ill and after running some tests, he concluded that he must be taken to a hospital. He was taken to a hospital in Ikoyi that Sunday and by the next morning, his condition got worse and Mrs Ajayi (Helen) started calling his associates and friends. About three or four friends responded and they suggested that he be taken to a hospital that could attend to him properly.

“On Monday, he was admitted to the St Nicholas Hospital. That was on March 9. On getting there, they discovered that he needed a cardiologist. He was then referred to First Cardiologists, Victoria Island. He was on treatment for three days and when he stabilised, he was returned to St Nicholas.
“He was there undergoing treatment, which included dialysis for kidney failure. He was there until April 26 by which time we were hoping he would be discharged and taken home. But that day, he passed away.”

When asked if Helen and the deceased were married, Owonikoko told PUNCH Metro that their relationship spanned more than 25 years and produced a daughter.

He stated, “She (Helen) was made to understand that Dr Ajayi had divorced his first wife, but this is not the time to be discussing such. Things like this will be addressed in the fullness of time
“They lived together for 25 years and no one, including the children, challenged their relationship all through when the man was alive. I think they should not let the old man’s memory be soiled.”
When asked why Helen never informed Tosin’s five children of their father’s illness, Owonikoko said the deceased had categorically instructed her that his condition be kept a secret, adding that he did not want anyone coming to visit him during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On why his client made away with some documents from Tosin’s office shortly after his demise, the lawyer said she needed vital information such as his date of birth and other bio-data, which would be included in his death certificate.

“One of the controversies was his age. So, she needed to consult documents. The documents she got revealed that he was actually 75 and not 68 as she had thought,” the senior advocate said.

When asked why Helen prevented the children from seeing their father’s corpse in the mortuary, Owonikoko said his client was also hospitalised a day after Tosin passed away and immediately after she was discharged, she reached out to one of the children of the deceased, Mayowa.
He further claimed that Helen informed the children of their father’s death the day after he passed away.

However, a family friend told PUNCH Metro that most of Helen’s claims were untrue, adding that they learnt of Tosin’s death through a third party.

The family friend said Helen pointedly told the children that she would not let them see their father’s death certificate and made it clear that she would not let them play their rightful role during his funeral.
PUNCH.

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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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