Foreign Degrees versus the Nigerian Reality

Nigeria is a richly blessed country with an abundance of mineral wealth and an energetic work-force; sadly, it is easier for a Senator of the Federal Republic to disclose how much he earns than for one to land any gainful employment here. Thus, in a bid to stand taller than most peers in the labour market, I joined the league of those that travelled to the UK for further studies. As a warning, those of you still contemplating returning to Nigeria for good should either look away now, or be ready to be jolted-don’t come back if you are afraid to try.

When I decided to relocate to Nigeria after a little under a decade in Europe, I did not imagine it would be easy to start a better life here; a life powered by a lucrative job-neither did I reckon I would still be grappling with the viciousness of the Nigerian situation more than a year after I returned. I had many luring job promises from friends and contacts that gave the impression they had something to offer; I was very confident and couldn’t wait for the Arik flight to depart London Heathrow airport for the journey back home.

Finally in Nigeria, the euphoria of being back to a place I call home started to wear off after a month. As a man on a mission, I started moving around the country armed with my CV and a strong faith in Nigeria-I sinfully thought my newly acquired British accent and my UK certificates would make any difference. Well, my certificate has not made any difference and my “fake” accent only made most interviewers unfriendly. The only difference I have noticed is that the soles of my shoes have started moaning at the effect of trekking, and my London clothes have started “washing”.

I have attended many interviews, passed all of them and asked to “be ready to resume in two weeks”. Well, it is gone past one year now, and I have finally given up on this country; one thing though is clear, people like Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe might disagree (who cares?), but about 90% of jobs in Nigeria go to cronies of either those in government or those working in places where such vacancies exist. Merit has been thrown to the dogs and that is why you find all manner of unintelligent folks working in sensitive positions all across the country.

Well, why not start something on your own-you don’t expect the government to do everything for you, you know? What have I not tried? Even though it smirks of having a pessimistic disposition towards striving to make a living here, the fact remains that the government of Nigeria has not put the enabling conditions in place for the advancement of private enterprise. That may well explain why you notice that only those that are close to the government in power make the list of “20 richest Nigerians”.

It is really a harrowing experience having to explain to friends why a business plan you thought was going to work out perfectly in Nigeria collapsed the very moment you stand up to try it out. Nigeria banks are not helping matters either; it is easier for a Boko Haram chap to embrace Christianity than for a Nigerian bank to agree to give you a loan to start a business. Be ready to produce all manners of outrageous “collaterals”, your great-grandfather’s living next of kin, etc. This is the first step towards being disillusioned here.

If eventually you manage to establish something that has a semblance of a consultancy, or able to team up with an already established practice, you must be ready to deal with the reality on ground. Warning number one; Nigerians must remain Nigerians- do not expect to see everybody exhibiting that rare sense of honesty. If you want to show most people that the way things are done here should be dumped for the better ways you learned abroad, brother, “you dey on your own”. Ours is a system whose major fuel-source is CORRUPTION-be ready to play ball, or at most, do not attempt to rock the boat.

After a while, you begin to ask yourself if it was really worth the stress-going to spend some good money studying abroad only to come back to Nigeria armed with a foreign certificate, an accent that makes you sound funny and a soon-to-be dashed hope. Well, given another opportunity, I will do it again, and again. Quality education is power people.

But then, what is the way forward?

I believe strongly that Nigeria remains one vast very lucrative market and whoever that is daring will surely hit gold here. However, the key is to discard any false hopes that suggest that having a foreign degree is an assurance to some splendid employment. That was in the past-not any more.

Secondly, it is better to research your intended engagement before you jet into Nigeria; from experience, all I had going for me was a luggage filled with job promises and a conviction that my foreign certificates would speed up the process of getting a good job that is well remunerated. Wrong, wrong and wrong. People here excel in promising what they know is not within their power to do, unless you are willing to bribe your way through.

Thirdly (may be most importantly), save up some cash before relocating to Nigeria-at least, enough cash to last you for about a year. Friends are many when you are “fresh” from overseas but the vanishing acts commence the moment you start moaning about paucity of funds and no employment. Most “friends” have a mental problem that makes them run faster away than Usain Bolt the moment they suspect you will start asking for a loan. So, make sure you pinch your resources till you are sure of a regular income.

On a lighter note, be ready to become a Bible carrier, a “practicing Muslim”, or a strong adherent of African Traditional Religion. You will be ridiculed, excluded and mocked the moment you attempt to convince your mates that there is so much poverty and ignorance in Nigeria, not because one is not a follower of any religion but because we have over the years, been ruled by visionless men and women whose major pre-occupation was looting our resources and banking same in foreign banks. Has that situation changed?

Finally, Nigeria is a beautiful country with majority of the people willing to work to make a living. However, years of rubbish leadership and a docile citizenry have reduced living in Nigeria akin to living in hell. Believe me, there is everything stacked against you here, but the reality remains that if you are daring, if you can choose to ignore all the odds and be ready to get dirty to make a living here, Nigeria is the place to be. There are countless opportunities in Nigeria-we are not bad people, but our government is peopled by bad people.


Serious traffic expected in VI, Lagos today.

Heavy traffic is expected today in Victoria Island, Lagos. This is because the State government is flagging off the Phase 1 of the “bogus” Eko Atlantic City project and several dignitaries are to be in attendant; President Goodluck Jonathan, Bill Clinton, Governor Fashola of Lagos State, other State Governors and a host of other “bigwigs”.
As is customary in Nigeria, all major roads leading in and out of VI will be closed to the public to make way/room for the fat cats. Also, the Ikeja area might be affected since most of the top-shots will come in via the airport.
Another sad day for the suffering people of Lagos.
Please, plan your journey accordingly..brace up for the traffic gridlock.

NB…who are those to benefit from the Eko Atlantic project? What’s the cost of sand-filling the Atlantic Ocean just to provide another exclusive address for the oil thieves and thieving Nigerian politicians? How will this project benefit the poor people of Lagos State? Won’t it be better to provide hospitals, good roads,regular power supply, efficient transport system, etc to Lagosians? God bless Nigeria. JCO.


  • Osas Odia deported in 2005 after using forged stamp in his passport to work
  • Returned on a marriage visa after marrying a British nurse
  • Jailed for two years after pleading guilty to conspiring to launder criminal property
Jailed: Osas Odia, who returned to Britain after being deported, has been jailed for two years for his role in a £2.7million lottery scam

Jailed: Osas Odia, who returned to Britain after being deported, has been jailed for two years for his role in a £2.7million lottery scam

A Nigerian who returned to Britain after being deported has been jailed for his role in a £2.7million lottery scam.

Osas Odia, 33, was booted out of the UK in 2005 after immigration officials discovered he was using a forged stamp in his passport to work.

However, the management graduate was allowed to return on a marriage visa after marrying a British nurse.

Upon returning he joined a group of Nigerian fraudsters who sent thousands of letters to people across the world telling them they had won millions on the lottery.

The scam letters told readers they would have to send money to ‘unlock’ their huge windfall.

One victim, Betty McClellan, 62, wired £264,000 to the fraudsters to release her ‘lottery win’.

When it never arrived, Mrs McClellan was shot dead by her husband Hersey McClellan, 63, in their Los Angeles home in 2010. He then turned the gun on himself.

Meanwhile an elderly woman living in Bristol lost £312,000 after she wrongly believed she had won £1.8million on the Australian lottery.

Prosecutor Andrew Evans said the loss of the money had a devastating impact on the Bristol woman.

‘She was buying a new home and intended to settle the balance from the winnings she was expecting,’ he told Croydon Crown Court.

‘She is now living in sheltered accommodation and feels vulnerable and extremely embarrassed and her family have lost their inheritance.’

Marriage: The management graduate was allowed to return on a marriage visa after marrying a British nurse

Marriage: The management graduate was allowed to return on a marriage visa after marrying a British nurse

The victims included a farmer from Indiana who lost £339,000 in the hope of winning £14.9million and a Venezuelan businessman who lost £163,000.



Police identified 13 victims worldwide, who each lost an average of £207,000, after they became convinced they were due huge pay-outs.

Odia’s role in the conspiracy was to launder some of the money which was sent by the victims through three bank accounts in his name.

Victim: Betty McClellan, 62, wired £264,000 to the fraudsters to release her 'lottery win'. When it didn't arrive, she was shot dead by her husband in their Los Angeles home in 2010. He then turned the gun on himself

Victim: Betty McClellan, 62, wired £264,000 to the fraudsters to release her ‘lottery win’. When it didn’t arrive, she was shot dead by her husband in their Los Angeles home in 2010. He then turned the gun on himself

The Nigerian pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder criminal property and was jailed for two years on Friday.

Odia, of Erith, south London, had been allowed to finish his degree before he was sentenced.

Judge Jeremy Gold QC told him: ‘You are a man of some ability and you have just completed a degree and I hope that means you will not be tempted to return to this sort of offending.

‘You played a full part in laundering the proceeds of a sophisticated fraud.’ 

His lawyer Paul Brill said: ‘He is alarmed and upset by the nature of the fraud and did not realise people’s life savings were being taken so callously in the way they were.

‘His previous conviction was for a false stamp in his passport that allowed him to work. He is not workshy and has a strong work ethic.’ 

It is understood that Odia will be allowed to stay in Britain when he is released because of his marital status.

The plot’s ringleaders, who spent the money on property, were jailed at an earlier hearing for conspiracy to defraud.

Obinnam Nwokolo, 37, of Erith, was jailed for six years and four months and student Uchechhukwu Onuoha, 40, also of Erith, was jailed for five years and two months.

Another money launderer, Sergius Ene, 44, of Ilford, was jailed for 16 months.

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Mr. President, power has not improved-Punch Editorial

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan
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PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan found out what a difficult task it could be to sustain his oft-touted claims of improved power supply in Nigeria during his recent arranged television interview with the no-nonsense Christiane Amanpour of the Cable News Network. While it has been easier to get away with such cheap claims in his public appearances and television broadcasts here in Nigeria, where the talk-back mechanism is often manipulated, he found out that it was a different ball game entirely on the global stage during the CNN interview, thanks to the power of the social media. The interview reportedly cost Nigeria $40,000.

Jonathan had, in his usual casual manner, challenged his interviewer to ask “ordinary Nigerians” about their impression of the state of electricity supply in the country. According to reports, he had said, “I would have loved that you ask ordinary Nigerians on the streets of Lagos, Abuja or any other city. That is one area in which Nigerians are quite pleased with the government that our commitment to improving power is working.” But if the President thought he could get away with that cheap propaganda, he was mistaken, as some commentators, using the popular social network forum, Twitter, took him up, claiming they were actually watching the interview using generators!

Of course, that was a dangerous claim to make by Jonathan, based, apparently, only on figures churned out by government agencies of power generation peaking at an all-time high of 5,003 megawatts. Even if it is true that power generation has improved from about 3,000MW in 1999, when the civilian government took over, to a little over 5,000, it is hardly anything to flaunt in a country that boasts a population of over 160 million people. Interestingly, some key government agencies are citing lower figures of 4,774MW and 4,825MW.

The claim is a sideshow of political stunts. It shows a lack of ambition by the government to be making claims of improved power supply when it is clear that the impact that the difference of about 2,000MW can have on the lives of Nigerians is, at best, insignificant. For a government to be bragging about improved power supply in Nigeria today shows a want of what to showcase as an achievement. In fact, it is laughable for the Nigerian government to be boasting about improved power based on current realities when a tiny country like Qatar, with a population of 1.9 million, almost the size of Bayelsa State, has raised its power output from 2,200MW in 2003 to 8,756MW.

Even when the government has been assaulting the sensibilities of Nigerians with phantom claims of improvement in power generation, very little has been said of the state of distribution and transmission. Nigeria’s power delivery system as it stands today is reportedly incapable of transmitting more than 4,000MW of electricity. It therefore goes without saying that anything generated above 4,000MW is wasted. Where then is the basis for the proclamation of improvement in the power sector when the noise of generators continues to constitute a nuisance to citizens? Where is the basis of such claims when Nigeria has yet to lose her position as the largest generator market in the world? With all the claims of improvement in power supply, how come the Presidency itself has reportedly budgeted N654.02 million for the purchase of generators, to replace old ones, and to keep them firing for the current budget year? Coming from the Presidency, does this give the citizens, who are still groaning under the weight of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria’s arbitrary billings, any cause to believe that the President believes his own story of improved power supply?

Besides, even if it is true that power generation has reached 5,000MW, experience has shown that this can be easily lost in one moment of system failure, which is a frequent occurrence in Nigeria. Last year alone, the PHCN admitted that there were 24 system failures in the country, out of which 15 were total collapses. Altogether, Nigeria has had a record of 124 system failures in the past four years, according to figures released by the PHCN National Control Centre, in Osogbo, Osun State. Meanwhile, an estimated minimum of between 12,000MW and 15,000MW will be required to meet current demand and wean manufacturers off expensive standby power generation.

The danger in celebrating “little successes” as the President is currently doing is that it could lull the government into sleep, thinking that all is well, while the truth of the matter remains that Nigeria is still far away from attaining sufficiency in electricity requirement. The PHCN is also becoming more vicious in its arbitrary billings. Despite repeated assurances by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission that pre-paid meters were available for distribution, free, the company has refused to distribute them, thus passing the burden of subsidising its inefficiency to consumers. Even when recent reports tend to quote the NERC Chairman, Sam Amadi, as saying that the meters would no longer be free, Nigerians would not mind paying if the meters are made available.

Also, the high rate of unemployment has been a glaring testimony to the lack of stable power supply. Many Nigerians who could have been self-employed have not been able to do so because of lack of electricity, while Nigerian goods continue to be uncompetitive and prohibitive because sourcing of power privately adds about 40 per cent to the cost of production in the country.

Rather than bombard Nigerians with spurious claims of improved power supply, the government should by now have handed over everything about power generation, distribution and transmission to the private sector, as contained in the Electricity Power Reform Act of 2005. The President came to power promising to improve power based on his Power Sector Roadmap. But all the timelines on that Roadmap have been missed. Celebrating such a minuscule gain undoubtedly smacks of lack of seriousness.

I was dead for over a week –Patience Jonathan

Mrs. Patience Jonathan

Mrs. Patience Jonathan
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Wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, narrated on Sunday in Abuja   how a debilitating sickness almost took her life at a time the Federal Government was telling Nigerians that the President’s wife was in perfect condition.

The President’s wife said she passed out for over  seven days and that her aides, believing that she was dead, were already selling her personal effects before God “miraculously” brought her back to life.

Punctuating her testimony with praise songs, Patience, who refused to read from a speech prepared for her, narrated to a congregation at a thanksgiving service held at the Presidential Villa how she underwent nine surgeries within one month in London at a time the Presidency was assuring the citizens that she had merely travelled to rest after the rigours of the 2011 elections  and hosting the African First Ladies Summit.

At a reception later in the day, Jonathan said his wife’s “miraculous healing” had put an end to the superstition about deaths in Aso Rock.

Jonathan’s wife said, “I remember when Chief (Olusegun) Obasanjo was the President of the country, I was close to his late wife, Stella. We worshipped together in this chapel.

“It was a painful moment for me that time when she died and her corpse was brought here. That was how my corpse would have been brought here. It was not an easy experience for me. I actually died; I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened.

“I am not Lazarus but my experience was similar to his own. My doctors said all hope was lost.

“A black doctor in London who is with us in this service was flown in when the situation became critical. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I would return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days.

“I know that some people somehow leaked the information that I was dead. They are people that I trust and rely on; to them, I was dead and I would never return to the country alive. Some of them even sold my things off.

“I won’t say everything here. It is the Lord’s doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no.

“People are always afraid of operation (surgery) but in my own case, while my travail lasted, I was begging for it (surgery) after the third operation because I was going to the theatre every day.

“It was God who saw me through. I did eight or nine operations within one month. It was not an easy one.”

Curiously, the President’s wife did not reveal the nature of her ailment but she admonished the citizens to stop playing politics with sickness, saying nobody was immuned to ailments.

 She said her experience taught her that there was nothing like a First Lady and that she realised that she was “a common woman and my name is simply Patience.”

Patience, joined by her husband and family members, later danced to the altar for a special thanksgiving with the song “This kind God, I have never seen Him before.”

Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, in his sermon titled, “The saving acts of God” at the service recalled that many Nigerians and friends of the nation were anxious about the health situation of Patience when she was abroad.

The cleric said while a lot of people uttered negative statements about the situation, he said he was delighted that what the people said was different from what God said.

He assured Patience that her healing was perfect and her ailment would not relapse, saying it was a good thing that when God turns shame to joy, there is need to rejoice and thank Him.

“You have been set free; the forces attacking you have been defeated. God has released His authority and today, you are a winner,” he said.

At the reception, the President said, “The story was that one of us (the President or his wife) will die. Today we are celebrating her.

“Her recovery has put an end to that belief. I am not too good in celebrating, but for this particular one, I think we have to thank God for keeping the life of my wife.

“If anything had happened, there would have been different stories. Fake prophets would have given their stories. As mortals, we must fall sick and die but how and when is what matters most.

“To die when serving your people is not good. Death should come after you have finished serving.”

The President recalled that when he was still a deputy governor in Bayelsa State, he lost a second cousin.

He said during the burial, a story was told how anybody in his community who is gradually going into limelight always die mysteriously.

He said all eyes were focused on him, apparently insinuating that it was his time to die.

Jonathan said he prayed hard that he would not die young and God answered him.

 Patience Jonathan left Nigeria unannounced in August last year and spent about seven weeks abroad.

 Although her media aides claimed she was resting abroad after the rigours of hosting the African First Ladies Summit, media report had it that she was admitted at a German hospital during the period.

 Throughout her period of absence, the Presidency kept mum on her state of health and the nature of her sickness.

Police nab prophet, accomplice over fresh human parts-Vanguard

Two persons, one of them said to be a prophet with a white garment church, have been arrested by the Police in Lagos, following  the discovery of fresh human parts in their custody.

Vanguard gathered that policemen attached to Ikotun division on patrol accosted two men at about 12: 30 p.m, Friday, with a Ghana-must-go bag. When they requested to know the content of the bag, one of the men bolted.

When the bag was eventually opened, fresh human parts were found  inside  two containers.

Fve fingers inside container

Fve fingers inside container

The  recovered parts  included  five fingers, a human heart, liver, kidney and intestines, all concealed in separate plastics filled with water. The plastics were, thereafter, tied inside separate polythene bags and kept  in the carry-all bag.

Apparently to avoid suspicion, the suspects added soup ingredients such as salt, tomatoes and two pairs of bathroom slippers in a separate nylon bag which they placed on top of the human parts.

However, during interrogation, the arrested suspect identified as Kunle Olaide, claimed the bag was given to him by his friend who bolted when they were stopped.

On further interrogation, it was discovered that Kunle and his fleeing partner, slept in the  church the previous night.

Kunle confessed to be coming from the church located in Egbe area of the state when they were accosted by the policemen. His confessional statement led to the arrest of the said prophet of the church, Dare Akinrosoye.


The suspect, Kunle Olaide and the human parts.

The suspect, Kunle Olaide and the human parts.

Sources at SCID told Vanguard that investigation so far revealed that their victim was recently killed. But the purpose and circumstances surrounding the killing were yet to be ascertained. Police sources hinted that it was obvious the suspects were taking the human parts somewhere, assuring that investigation would unravel  the truth.

Contacted, the Lagos State Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Damasus Ozoani, confirmed the arrest, stating that  investigation was still on.

physically challenged son kidnaps mom-Vanguard

*Demands N20 million ransom  *Detains her for 10 days


A physically–challenged barber, who abducted his mother, Mrs. Kate Emienor, in Benin City, Edo State and detained her for 10 days at a hideout in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, while demanding N20 million ransom to secure her freedom , has been nabbed by the police.

Commissioner of Police, Delta State, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, who confirmed the incident, yesterday, said, “It is true, both the son and mother that was kidnapped are in our custody.”

Sunday Vanguard learnt that the barber, suspected to be a hardened criminal, allegedly abducted her mother, February 5, in Benin City, where he operated a barbing salon, and whisked her to a hideout in Ogwashi-Uku.

He reportedly alerted his elder brother, based overseas, that their mother was kidnapped and the abductors were demanding N20 million ransom to release her.

The ransom was later reduced to N10 million when his brother could not raise the N20 million. Meanwhile, unknown to the son, the police were alerted about the purported kidnap and they put in place strategies to track the abductors.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the suspect might have brainwashed his mother into agreeing to be abducted in order to obtain money from her son living outside the country.

Aduba, who expressed concern about the involvement of family members and insiders in kidnapping, said, “The suspect who arranged the purported kidnap of his mother was busy holding meetings with other members of the family on how to release their mother, whereas, he was responsible for the abduction.”

The police boss disclosed that the suspect held a meeting with other members of the family 24 hours before he was arrested at about 4.00 pm on February 15, adding that no ransom was paid to rescue Mrs. Emienor.

His words, “The scourge is getting worrisome as kidnap cases are not abating with idle youths turning their energy negatively to the detriment of the larger society”.

Recalling the case of a man who arranged the kidnap of a friend, he said, “Hard time awaits kidnappers in Delta State; they will be smoked out and made to face the full wrath of the law, including their sponsors, who always lurk around”.

According to Aduba, “Recently, a so-called human rights activist and lawyer was nabbed pants down trying to pervert the course of justice shamelessly in Warri.

“His game of blackmailing notwithstanding, let him prove his innocence in court, not before native doctors cum spiritualists.

“I want to assure Deltans that with their cooperation, there is no hiding space for  sponsors of crime in the state; once they are caught, no compromise”.

A police source told Sunday Vanguard, last night, “It is likely the suspect will be charged to court for the kidnap of his mother, but the mother will be used as a key witness since it was obvious she fell for the trap.”