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In 2018, 41-year-old Oluwaseyi Samuel had a thriving confectionery business in the Ijora-Badia area of Lagos State until he was persuaded by a neighbour to employ his teenage daughter.

Unaware that the young girl was a ‘missing person’ and unrelated to his neighbour, Samuel offered her employment as a salesgirl.

Two months later, Samuel found himself in prison after Police invaded his home and arrested him for alleged abduction, human trafficking, and defilement. In this edition, Samuel who eventually became a Pastor while in prison, narrates how his kind gesture and refusal to heed Police’s demand for a bribe made him spend five years in prison until the court discharged him.


My name is Oluwaseyi Samuel. I was ordained a pastor in prison. Before my prison ordeal, I was a snacks maker.

I make different kinds of snacks like meat-pie, fish roll, egg roll etc in my house in the Ijora-Badia area of Lagos. I had boys who worked for me and I paid them at the end of the month.

Request for help

On June 15, 2018, one of my  neighbours, Michael Isaac came to my house and pleaded with me to help his daughter whose name is Favour.

I told him that she would only assist in selling the snacks and get paid and could stay in my apartment with my other workers if she wishes. When the girl came, I interviewed her and she told me that she was 16 years old.

She started working for me  immediately but after two weeks, something shocking happened.

Real identity revealed

One  Saturday morning, I overheard Favour and her supposed father, Michael arguing outside my house. When I rebuked her for shouting at her father, she opened up to me that Michael is not her father.

I was shocked. Michael reluctantly confirmed the same to me. When I further interrogated Favour, she told me that sometime ago, she came to Lagos from Abakaliki in Ebonyi State alone to meet a relative but lost the paper containing the address of the relative.

She narrated to me how she was sleeping under the bridge and begging people for assistance until one Alhaji engaged her to sell fish for him. According to her, it was in the course of selling the fish that she met Michael who became her regular customer. She told me that Michael only treated her like his daughter while she was working for the Alhaji.

Alleged victim ‘disappears’

After that incident, I told Favour that she would have to return to her parents in Ebonyi State but that she would also have to give me till August to raise some money for her.

A few days after that discussion, Favour suddenly disappeared with my goods and money. I made frantic efforts to find her to no avail. I asked my neighbour, Michael her whereabouts but he said he didn’t know. I was really worried about her safety and asked my other neighbours to inform me anytime they see her.

Whenever people sight her in the neighborhood and inform me, before would I get there, she would have left. It was later that I also discovered that she had also taken some other persons’ money and goods and ran away.


In the morning of September 9, 2018, I heard a knock on my door and when I opened the door, I saw Favour with some policemen and a man, Isaac Nweze, whom I later discovered was Favour’s real father.

When I was asked if I knew Favour, I said yes. I told them that she had run away with my money and goods. The Police ordered me to follow them to their  station and I complied. At the Police station, I met my neighbour, Michael, and about seven other persons whom I was told had employed Favour before.

When they asked Favour if I had sex with her while she was working for me, she said no. Immediately  she said no, her father slapped her.

The Investigating Police Officer, IPO, decided to lock Nweze up in a cell and accused him of using his daughter to set people up. To my surprise, when the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, came, he ordered that Nweze should be released and that we should settle the matter amicably.

Demand for N70,000

The IPO later asked us to pay N70, 000 for bail, but I told him that I didn’t have that kind of money and that even if I did, I wouldn’t part with such money for what I didn’t do.

The IPO later explained that part of the money will be given to Favour’s father  to cover the expenses  he incurred while searching for her. I told him that I will not pay for such expenses.

The DPO later intervened and suggested that we should settle the matter amicably among ourselves but  Favour’s father refused. Before I could process my bail at the Police station that day, it was already getting late, so I agreed to stay at the station till the next day.

Case transferred to SARS

To my surprise, by 8:00am the next day, I was told that the matter has been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Ikeja.

It was later that I discovered that Mr Nweze had gone to SARS to report a case of abduction and kidnapping against me. All the other persons arrested in connection with the case except Michael, were released after giving bribe to the Police.

At SARS office, one of the operatives observed that there was no way my neigbour, Michael and I, would have kidnapped Favour and be sleeping with her and she will not say so.

Mr. Nweze  insisted that we kidnapped his daughter and that I particularly  will suffer if I don’t pay him the money he spent to come to Lagos to search for his daughter.

I told the Police that another neighbour who was aware that I innocently offered to assist Favour out of my good heart, would come and testify on my behalf.

Unfortunately, that neighbour refused to show up because someone told him that he would be arrested by the Police and implicated in the case.

Instead of coming to the station, I learned he went around my neighborhood raising funds from friends to settle the N70,000 that Favour’s father had requested as a condition to drop the case against me. He was only able to raise N39,000.

When the information got to me while in detention, I reported the matter to my IPO that someone was using my name to collect money from people in my area. Unfortunately, they refused to listen to my case. Despite my protest, I was arraigned before the court along with Michael for abduction and defilement.

Trial stalled

I was initially arraigned at the Ogba Magistrate Court for abduction and defilement but the matter was transferred to the High Court after two years.

For the two years that the matter was before the Magistrate Court, Favour and his father appeared in court just once. The prosecutor who became friends with Mr. Nweze threatened that I will rot in prison for refusing to pay the money they requested from me.

The matter was at the Magistrate Court for about 18 months before the DPP advice came and it was transferred to the High Court. When the matter got to the Ikeja High Court, the charge was modified to abduction, human trafficking and defilement.

Salvation in Prison

I gave my life to God in prison in 2019 after all hope of my being released was lost. I immediately began to serve God. I am grateful to the Christ Embassy Church’s Mind Changers’ programme which helped to change my life.

My passion to serve God was energized and fellow inmates came to me to share their problems and get advice. By the grace of God, I was able to lead some of them to Christ. At some point in my stay in the prison, I became grateful to God for the opportunity to become a minister in prison.

Had I not come to prison, perhaps I would not have given my life to Christ.

Lessons, regrets 

I lost many things while in prison. After my arrest and arraignment, my family scattered. My business naturally was also grounded because all the boys working for me left.

I also lost all my properties. I engaged about three separate lawyers to help handle my case but they all took my money and did nothing. It was after their disappointment that a non-governmental organisation, Anchor Heritage, took over my case free of charge and eventually got a good lawyer to handle my case until I was released. The court freed me because Favour and other police witnesses refused to appear in the matter.

On the day that I was freed by the court, there was no one to receive me, except the Anchor Heritage team led by Mr. Bidemi Oladipupo.

They gave me money to travel to Osun State to reunite with my 105-year-old father. My father had wished to see me alive before he dies and I am grateful that God answered his prayer. Since my release, I have been looking for one of my sons.

I was told he left the family after I was arrested and has been roaming the streets endlessly in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

My prayer is to find him and look for money to train him and my other children. I am also appealing to Nigerians to come to my aid to enable me pick up my life again. 


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Birthdays are special days. And today is Madam Patricia Nwabugo Nweke’s day. Her family paid a moving tribute to her:

On a day like this, a virtuous woman was born into the family of Mr and Mrs Ikeobi. A woman of substance who is married to Elder Nweke is a mother of 6 beautiful children and a grandma of 4 kids and counting.

She’s indeed the best wife, mother, grandma, sister and friend anyone would ever ask for. A hardworking and successful woman filled with love, kindness and with a heart of gold.

We want to use this medium to wish her the very best on this special day and to pray for her to live long, healthy, and prosperous.

We wouldn’t have asked for anything else if not you Mummy.

Thank you for all you do and may the beautiful smiles and joy that comes with this birthday never seize in you life. God bless, strengthen and protect you Mum. We love you so much 😘😘

Cheers 🥂 to a brand-new year. Cheers to good life too. Happy birthday Mum

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Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (left) at a meeting with the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Security in Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ATEKO

• Igini: BVAS didn’t fail, it put an end to exaggerated election results

• 2023 elections fascinating, positive, says outgoing British envoy

Ahead of Saturday’s governorship and state Assembly elections, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, have warned politicians and their supporters against causing mayhem that might disrupt the smooth conduct of the polls.

The NSA specifically vowed that the Federal Government would deal decisively with anyone who attempts to disrupt the March 18 polls.

The duo gave the warning, yesterday, during the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) held at INEC’s headquarters in Abuja.

Yakubu, who called on political parties and their members, to remain peaceful during and after the elections, said Saturday’s election would be more intense and a bit complicated.

According to him, unlike the first round of elections involving 470 constituencies, Saturday’s election will involve 1,021 constituencies.

The INEC boss said the election would require more collation centres and will need the deployment of more security personnel.

His words: “ Governorship elections will hold in 28 states. Governorship elections in eight states (Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Osun) are held off-cycle and therefore not conducted during the general elections. However, elections will be conducted for all the 993 state constituencies nationwide.

“Our state offices have made available to the Nigeria Police Force, being the lead agency in election security, the delimitation details for the elections, including locations of Polling Units and Collation Centres. On that basis, we expect a coordinated deployment plan in synergy with other security, intelligence, law enforcement and safety agencies.

“Unlike the last election involving 470 constituencies (1 Presidential, 109 Senatorial districts and 360 House of Representatives seats), the state elections will involve 1,021 constituencies (28 governorship and 993 state Assembly seats). There will also be more candidates involved and more collation centres to protect.

“They are also local elections involving keen contests. It is, therefore, important for parties and candidates to speak to their agents and supporters to see the elections as a contest and not war. They should refrain from acts of violence that may mar the elections or compromise the security of our personnel, observers, the media and service providers,” he said.

On his part, Monguno urged politicians, especially at the state level to demonstrate equal level of maturity and discipline by calling their supporters to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner.

“Anybody thinking to undermine the process should please think again because that won’t be in his or her interest or the nation’s interest.”

MIKE Igini, a former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, said the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) functioned optimally in the presidential election, despite observed technical glitches.

INEC had extended the voting time beyond 4:00p.m. in some places to make up for the time lost. However, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also cited BVAS failure as one of the factors that affected the efficiency of the election.

But commenting on the concerns during an Arise TV interview yesterday, Igini said it was incorrect to say BVAS failed. He said findings from an ongoing review of previous elections showed that the BVAS significantly reduced exaggerated figures from being uploaded.

“The BVAS, as I said and I will repeat and reiterate here, functioned. The BVAS delivered, BVAS won. It’s grossly incorrect to suggest that BVAS failed at the just concluded presidential election.

“The BVAS put an end to the invidious figures that were posted in several parts of the country in previous elections.”

THE outgoing British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has described the presidential and National Assembly elections as fascinating and offered future assurance for democratic governance in the country.

The British envoy made the declaration at the Senate wing of the National Assembly, yesterday, while fielding questions from journalists after a courtesy call on the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

She said despite contestation on the process of the election by some political actors, it was fascinating and portends bright future for the country.

She said: “I made very good friends. I love Nigerian music a lot. The culture here is so rich. The politics in Nigeria is so fascinating. I was here till the last election and I finished with this election and I’m impressed with Nigeria’s democratic journey.

“Yes, a bit of setback, but overall, I see this as positive and Nigeria should be proud, but with a remarkable difference when I came in 2019.”

She added: “Nigeria is the biggest democracy in Africa. The world watches your progress to democracy.

“Though there were some disappointments in the last election, overall, every Nigerian should be proud because since 1999, Nigeria has been on the right track as far as participatory democracy is concerned.

“The election here is very different and fascinating as you are moving to a three-party system or maybe even four. I think Nigerians as well should realise that their votes count,” she added.

The Senate President, in his remarks, commended the British envoy on her positive disposition to the country. He tasked her with help in strengthening bilateral relations between Nigeria and Britain.

Also, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, poured encomiums on Laing for her selfless service and collaborative efforts with the Nigerian Parliament during her five-year assignment in the country.

Gbajabiamila said during her term, she provided a lot of support to the House, which he said was helpful to the Parliament.

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Owie Osadebamen, the husband of Elizabeth Osadebamwen, who was shot dead during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections in Edo State, shares his grief with ADEYINKA ADEDIPE

What is your relationship with the deceased?

My name is Owie Osadebamen. The late Elizabeth Owie Osadebamwen was my wife. We met over 10 years ago when I was working in a bank. She was a customer at that time and was very lively whenever she came into the banking hall. We got talking and started a relationship. We got married on September 14, 2013.

How will you describe her?

She was a family person who placed importance on the family as an institution. She was nice, caring, lively and fun to be with. She always exhibited joy. Before I met her, I thought I was generous, but when I met her, I found out that she was more generous than me. She put people first and she was always available to offer help. She was a perfect mother who was loved by her kids and they are still very wonderful despite the demise of their mother.

Was she politically active or a member of a political party?

She was never involved in politics. However, she decided to vote this time round so that she could be part of the move to bring a positive change to the country. She went to cast her vote for Peter Obi. That was the first time she voted.

Was she a member of the ‘Obidient’ movement?

She was a part of the Obidient movement but she did not belong to any support group that I know of. She was a staunch supporter of Obi.

What made you think she was a strong Obi supporter?

Whenever she met people she used to ask to know who they would vote for. For those who did not support Obi, she used to talk to them at length about the need to support the Labour Party’s candidate. She also encouraged people to get their permanent voter cards and she had to change her polling unit from our previous place of residence to the Ogheghe area just to be able to vote.

Can you recall your last moment with her?

When she woke up that morning, she greeted me, did the household chores and moved to her polling unit to cast her vote. She opted to walk, but after talking to her, she decided to mount a motorcycle to the venue. There was no sign to suggest that it could be the last time I would see her when she left home that morning. It was a normal day and I looked forward to her coming back but unfortunately, she was killed that day.

How did the news of her death get to you?

I actually called her in the afternoon of that fateful day but she didn’t take her call. When she called back, she said she had cast her vote and she would be at home later, but she never came back alive. The news got to me between 7.30pm and 8pm that day. I am sure the incident happened before then.

Who notified you about her death?

Someone called one of my late wife’s adopted daughters, who handed over the phone to me. The person said she heard that the polling unit where my wife cast her vote was invaded by those who killed her.

How did you find her corpse?

When I got there (the polling unit), some people were still around and they showed me where her body was. I believed she was alive, so I took her to two hospitals where she was rejected.

Where was she pronounced dead?

Was she alive when you got to the scene of the incident?

To me, she was still alive and that might be due to the fact that it was difficult to come to terms that she was dead. Even when they pronounced her dead at the specialist hospital, I insisted that she was still alive and that they should do something. But they didn’t because they had confirmed that she was dead.

Did you report the incident to the police and what action have they taken?

Actually, I did not report the case personally, but my family members did at the police station near Christ Embassy on Sapele Road. They were told that the case had been transferred to the force headquarters.

What is the latest about the case?

Well, we all know how cases like this are treated due to their political nature. However, the police said the case was under investigation and that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

How is the family of your late wife taking the news of her death?

Her parents are dead but her uncles, aunts, brother and sister are as sad as I am. Her children have been moody, but they just have to stay strong because of their education and make their late mother proud.

The state government and some leaders of the Labour Party paid condolence visits to you. What kind of support are you getting from them?

The Labour Party has not done anything. I have not heard anything from them. However, I heard that the governor promised to support the family with N2m. And since the governor made the pronouncement, those who initially wanted to help all pulled back. But as we speak now, the government has yet to redeem the pledge.

Has your wife’s death affected what you think about elections in Nigeria and voting as a civic responsibility?

It is a duty the citizens have to perform but they have to be careful because some people go to election venues with a bad agenda. If you know you can’t wait after casting your ballot, you can go home. If you decide to wait for the votes to be counted and there is an outbreak of violence, quickly leave the venue. For me, it will be difficult to take part in any election soon.

Do you suspect anyone or a group of people as perpetrators of the crime?

 I don’t know those responsible or suspect anyone or a group of people but hopefully, they will be arrested and brought to justice. I need the support of the public to ensure that the family does not lack support. It’s not going to be easy for me.

Do you intend to take any action to seek justice for her?

We are planning a one-million-man march for her. The plan is on and when it is perfected, we will make it public. We will also use the march to demand justice as many people have been calling me from home and abroad to ask what is being done to arrest the culprits.

When will she be buried?

I intend to bury her remains in one of the properties I acquired. Hopefully, her family from Delta State will show understanding and allow her remains to be buried here (in Edo).

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