It was a rich showcase of colours, culture and tradition at this year’s Ojude Oba Festival which held in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State on August 13, 2019.
The Ojude Oba, (which in Ijebu dialect means, “the king’s forecourt or frontage”, is a major festival in Nigeria that began over 100 years ago. It brings together all sons and daughters of Ijebuland in Nigeria and diaspora for a carnival-like celebration of the traditional, cultural, spiritual accomplishments and other values of the Ijebu nation.
During the Festival, various age groups (popularly known as the Regberegbes), indigenes, their friends and associates from far and near – all in their colourful costumes and riding on horses, thronged the palace of the Awujale of Ijebuland to pay homage to him amidst prayers and other fun-filled activities.
Sponsors of the Ojude Oba Festival and foremost Nigerian financial institution First City Monument Bank (FCMB) congratulated the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona, chiefs, age groups, all indigenes, friends and well-wishers of Ijebuland on this year’s festival.
The Bank reiterated its commitment to support activities that promote and add value to Nigeria’s culture and heritage which are also capable of boosting tourism, trade and the hospitality sector. FCMB’s participation was as usual grand, exciting and rewarding for the thousands of people within and outside the country that graced the fiesta.
In a goodwill message to the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Adetona, the Founder of FCMB Group, who is also the Olori Omo-Oba Akile Ijebu, Otunba (Dr) Olasubomi Balogun, CON, expressed his gratitude to the paramount ruler for his selflessness, distinguished and exemplary leadership for the 59 years he has been the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, which makes him one of the longest reigning monarchs in Nigeria.
In the same vein, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, congratulated the monarch for upholding the values of Ijebuland and raising the status of the event over the years. He stated that, ‘’the Ojude Oba Festival is a rallying point to promote the sustainable growth and development of our community. We recognise that celebrating our heritage is an important part of our national identity, a means of educating visitors and future generations about our history and an opportunity to measure our growth, development and sustainability.
Hence, for us at FCMB, the Ojude Oba Festival is not just another event. It is a pride to us; being a major platform through which we reaffirm our commitment to the community and promote our nation’s cultural diversity. We will continue to support all activities of the State with focus on the economic and social development.
We are committed to the longevity of the Ojude Oba Festival and are proud to be associated with its grandeur’’.
For more information about FCMB, please visit www.fcmb.com
Some pictures from Ojude Oba 2019 are shown below:
GOtv, the country’s leading terrestrial pay-television operator, has unveiled an exciting line-up of programmes for its subscribers in the upcoming week.
From Saturday, 17 August till Wednesday, 21 August, GOtv subscribers will have access to the best of movies, telenovelas, sport, kiddies, documentaries and general entertainment programmes.
Viewers will be treated to another interesting episode of The Heir, showing on Saturday, 17 August at 8pm on Zee World. Raj tries to warn Manu about Yuvraj, but fails to heed to the advice. Manu participates in the annual village competition which could make her the village head, but Yuvraj is declared winner and crowned as the head.
Lovers of reality television shows will be thrilled with the hot pepper being served on Big Brother Naija “Pepper Them” season, airing 24 hours daily on GOtv channel 29. The housemates continue to struggle in their quest to claim the ultimate prize totalling up to N60 million in cash and gifts. However, one or more of the housemates on the season four of the programme will have his or her dream truncated on Sunday, 18 August, during the live eviction show, which will be broadcast at 7pm on Africa Magic Family. For more information on the show, visit www.africamagic.tv/
Movie buffs will be thrilled by the action movie, Bad Boy II, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It will be broadcast on Sunday, 18 August at 7pm on BET. Police Detective Marcus Burnett his partner, Mike, are asked to investigate and halt the drug menace in Miami. The duo track the drugs to a Cuban smuggler, Johnny Tapia, who is also involved in a bloody war with Russian and Haitian mobsters. However, tension builds between the two police officers because Lowrey is romantically involved with Burnett’s sister, Syd.
Also on offer is the intriguing movie, Road to Rhode Island, which will air on Wednesday, 21 August at 4pm on FOX. After Stewie is banished from his grandparents’ house, Brian takes a trip to retrieve the terrible tyke. How will the redemptive adventure end?
Keep up with one of the most popular sisters on television as Khloe Kardashian helps fans who have gained weight get revenge on people, who discouraged them during their weight gain in the new season of Revenge Body With Khloe Kardashian. It airs on Saturday, 17 August at 9pm on E! Entertainment.
For adults with a penchant for documentaries, Donal Macintyre’s Murder Files, showing on Monday, 19 August at 8:10pm on CBS Reality, promises to provide thrills aplenty. Donal Macintyre, a renowned undercover reporter and crime journalist, examines the most horrific and fascinating crimes, interviewing first-hand, the men and women who ensured justice was done.
The kids have also a galaxy of shows to keep them happy on their return from summer classes and during the weekend. One of such programmes is The Lion Guard, showing on Saturday, 17 August at 10am on Disney Junior. A guard is tasked with helping two zany Gorilla princes return to their home in the Rwenzori Mountains. Will the journey turn out to become successful or will there be hiccups on the way?
SpongeBob SquarePants, which will be broadcast on Wednesday, 21 August at 8:50amon Nickelodeon, will also keep the children laughing during this holiday season. On this episode entitled: ‘House Fancy, Krabby Road’, Squidward sees Squilliam on a TV show about fancy homes. SpongeBob thinks Plankton is in a band.
The football offering has been further boosted on DStv and GOtv as both platforms will broadcast games from the Sky Bet Championship and Carabao Cup for the 2019/2020 football season will be broadcast live to its subscribers.
The games from both English football competitions will be broadcast on both MultiChoice platforms after SuperSport acquired the rights this week.
Huddersfield Town and Fulham kick-off the live broadcast of the Championship matches and it will be aired live on SuperSport 10 on all DStv packages and on SuperSport Select 2 to GOtv Max and GOtv Plus subscribers.
On Sunday, Reading will take on Cardiff City in another Championship game. It will be aired live at 12 noon on SuperSport 10 for all DStv subscribers and SuperSport Select 2 to GOtv Max and GOtv Plus subscribers.
The Sky Bet Championship is the highest division of the English Football League and second-highest in England after the Premier League.
The Championship is in its third week and teams featuring in the league’s 2019/2020 season include Leeds United, Derby County, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers, and West Bromwich Albion.
The Carabao Cup is an annual knockout competition and includes all 92 clubs within the top four levels of English football.
Fixtures for Round Two of the competition will take place on Tuesday 27 August and Wednesday 28 August. The provisional fixtures include QPR versus Portsmouth, Fulham against Southampton and Nottingham Forest against Derby County.
Manchester City are the reigning champions of the Carabao Cup after beating Chelsea on penalties in last season’s final.
For the latest news, fixtures and results on the 2019/2020 football season, visit www.supersport.com.
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Friday announced its interception of 21 contraband drugs including tramadol valued at over N5 billion.
The National Public Relations Officer (NPRO) of NCS, Assistant Comptroller Joseph Attah, told newsmen in Ikeja that the drugs were intercepted when the smugglers of the items were attempting to move them from Lagos to other parts of the country.
The smugglers, according to him,had intended to seize the opportunity of the festive mood of the last Eid-el-Kabir to play a fast one on the Customs.
The seizure was effected on August 3,Attah said at the Ikeja Training College of the service where the truck containing the drugs is being detained.
He said:“On Aug. 13, at about 2 am, operatives of the Headquarters Strike Force Zone A intercepted a truck laden with dreaded codeine, tramadol and other controlled pain killers along Maryland, Ikeja road.
“The intercepted trailer contains illicit drugs and was immediately brought to the attention of the team leader of the force, Assist. Comptroller of Customs Usman Yahya, who deepened preliminary investigation that led to the discovery of a warehouse along Oshodi-Mile 2 road.
“The warehouse was stocked with tramadol, codeine and other unregistered pharmaceutical products without the National Agency for Foods Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) number,” Attah said.
He said the warehouse was immediately sealed with a detachment of well-armed officers to guard the place.
Attah said the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), had already directed a thorough investigation with a view to bringing all those connected to the drugs to justice.
He said that evaluation of those intercepted drugs had commenced, adding that a suspect who happened to be the truck driver was apprehended and in custody for judicial process.
A simple and spontaneous light-hearted father-daughter banter between billionaire Femi Otedola and his entertainment-sensation daughter, DJ Cuppy, has spurned a social movement, an urban refrain and a song that is fast becoming a mainstream hit.
While on holiday last July, billionaire Otedola and daughters stopped by in Italy for some Gelato, the video of which DJ Cuppy excitedly posted online.
It went viral, spurning countless rehashes, memes and skits by established stars and social media influencers and users.
Weeks later, DJ Cuppy teamed up with rave-of-the-moment street hop star, Zlatan, of the Zanku fame, to collaborate on a new song fittingly titled ‘Gelato’.
Since its release, Gelato has become a bona fide fan favourite while enjoying intense streaming and downloads on music-streaming websites like Spotify, Tidal, Boomplay, Soundcloud and MTN Music among others.
Conversely, Gelato has become a daily trending topic on social media with many users commending the young lady for constantly reinventing herself and proving to critics that there is more to her and her artistry than her father’s billions.
Starting out as a Deejay, a female in a male-dominated sector where talents abound and the competition is cutthroat, DJ Cuppy, whose real name is Florence, has proven that the sun does not have to go down for her moon to shine.
While her stock keeps rising at home, Cuppy has been flown to every part of the world for performances.
Those who have seen the Law graduate of Kings College, London at work say her strength lies in her clinical understanding of her crowd and ability to play the music that suits them at every point in time.
With a slew of hits in her growing repertoire already, especially the monstrous hit, Green Light featuring Tekno, Gelato has thrown DJ Cuppy back into the cultural conversation.
It further earmarked her as one of the new generation singers whose songs always find their ways to the top of the chart without aggressive push, a fairly rare accomplishment in a constantly evolving industry. (NAN)
The highly anticipated Ghana Event Awards 2019 is set to come off on the 30th of August, 2019 at the Silverstar Tower, Airport City, Accra.
The award scheme which is aimed at rewarding event excellence has been running for the past three years and has carved a niche for itself in that regard.
The awards depends on the need to advance and feature organizations and individuals who make and effectively execute mind boggling events which meet international standards and have the possibilities of getting to be models for other future undertakings.
The awards will make a stage that will ultimately draw in pertinent consideration, sufficient assets and suitable venture towards occasions in Ghana and will fill in as a support for event coordinators to proceed with their patterns.
Top GH personalities KOD, Uncle Ebo Whyte and Santokh Singh who have helped in promoting, organizing & supporting events will be honored at this year’s GEA19 GhanaEventAwards, for their impacts on the entertainment industry and support to the event industry for more than a decade.
KOD – FASHION ICON OF THE YEAR
UNCLE EBO WHYTE – LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
SANTOKH SINGH – SPECIAL RECORNITION
Guaranty Trust Bank plc has released its audited financial results for the half year ended June 30, 2019 to the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.
The half year result shows positive growth across key financial metrics and reflects GTBank’s leading position as one of the best managed financial institutions in Africa. The Bank reported a Profit before Tax of ₦115.8billion, representing a growth of 5.6% over₦109.6billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2018. The Bank’s loan book grew by 1.0% from ₦1.262trillion recorded as atDecember 2018 to ₦1.274trillion in June 2019 and customer deposits increased by 6.3% to ₦2.418trillion from ₦2.274trillion in December 2018.
The Bank closed the half year ended June 2019 with Total Assets of ₦3.598trillion and Shareholders’ Funds of ₦603.0Billion. In terms of Asset quality, NPL ratio and Cost of Risk improved to 6.8% and 0.2% in June 2019 from 7.3% and 0.3% in December 2018respectively. Overall, asset quality remains stable with adequate coverage of 84.7%, while Capital remains strong with CAR of 23.5%. On the backdrop of this result, Return on Equity (ROAE) and Return on Assets (ROAA) stood at 33.7% and 5.8% respectively.The Bank is proposing an interim dividend of 30kobo per ordinary share of 50 kobo each for period ended June 30, 2019.
Commenting on the financial results, the Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Segun Agbaje, said; “We have delivered a good result inspite of a challenging market, characterized by varying degrees of uncertainty and a rapidly changing competitive landscape. Our strong financial performance is underpinned by our unwavering focus on delivering value for our shareholders and reimagining the role we play in our customers’ lives.”
He further stated that “In a rapidly changing world and increasingly unpredictable environment, we are committed to building a long-term business that is both nimble and focused on flawless execution. The progress that we have made over the past six months demonstrates that we have the right strategy and the dedicated team to deliver for all our stakeholders, even in difficult conditions.”
The Bank has continued to report the best financial ratios for a Financial Institution in the industry with a return on equity (ROE) of 33.7% and a cost to income ratio of 37.6% evidencing the efficient management of the banks’ assets. These ratios are a testament to the competent and experienced management and work-force, efficient balance sheet structure and operational efficiency of the Bank. In recognition of the Bank’s bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service delivery and innovation, GTBank has been a recipient of numerous awards over the years. Some of these include Africa’s Best Bank and Best Bank in Nigeria from Euromoney Magazine, and Best Banking Group and Best Retail Bank by World Finance Magazine.
Their excitement was exceptional that Saturday morning on 6 July 2019. It was an overflowing river of joy and gratitude they could not contain, pumping from their hearts. The students and staff of Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired, Surulere, Lagos had a good reason to be ecstatic.
The Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan – First Bank of Nigeria Limited – and a team of volunteers from the nation’s premier financial institution visited the school to demonstrate acts of random kindness. Provisions (Food supplies, drinks, toiletries) and educational materials were given to the school to cater for the hundreds of children under the care of Mr. Kehinde Alimi, Principal of Wesley School 1.
The visit to Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired was part of the 2019 CR&S Week activities by FirstBank. The Bank had its maiden CR&S week in 2017.
Expressing his gratitude, Alimi began his speech by asking the students of the school to shout, ‘three hallelujahs’, thereon stating “I sincerely thank every member of your team (FirstBank) for their kindness and generosity. For all you have given us, God will replenish you back a million times. To have reached this stage as an institution has not been easy, but we have been able to pull through with the support of God and organisations like yours. The sheer quantum of materials you have brought also shows that you recognise that we are two schools and not just one – Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired 1 for senior students and Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired 2 for the junior students. You have proved that FirstBank is indeed the first while others follow.”
Like Oliver Twist, Alimi couldn’t resist asking for more: “We thank you most sincerely for today’s visit and we kindly enjoin you to continue to find time to interact with us. For us to have been in your thoughts means that you are concerned about our welfare, but we will still be approaching you with requests. We want you to find time out of no time to come and be part of our programmes. We are grateful for your efforts and pray that God will continue to sustain the Bank and all its staff. Thank you very much for all your cumulative efforts.”
Dr. Adeduntan had explained that the FirstBank team came to the school to demonstrate the kindness that it preaches and to assure students and staff of its support.
He said, “we believe that if all of us can show acts of kindness to people around us, we will make the world we live in a much better place for everyone. Our decision to come here today is to show appreciation to the management for shouldering the enormous responsibility of taking care of these children with special needs. This visit is also to assure the children who are schooling here that, as the popular saying goes, you will not walk alone.”
Commendably, Twenty-three other charity homes/institutes including camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were visited by FirstBank staff volunteers, led by senior members of staff. The Executive Director, Public Sector, FirstBank, Abdullahi Ibrahim with other volunteer employees visited the School for the Blind, Jabi, Abuja while the Group Head, Corporate Banking, Remi Ajose-Adeogun visited the Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria, Fagba, Lagos. Other visited locations were Madinatu and Almiskin IDP Camps, Maiduguri amongst others. Food supplies (provisions, drink, toiletries) and educational materials were delivered to all the visited homes.
The wide range of activities of the FirstBank CR&S week underscores SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness), a values-based initiative by the Bank which focuses on creating and reinforcing a conscious mindset of showing compassion, empathy as well as giving to others. It is aimed at inspiring people to make a difference as it is designed to promote kindness to one another. It is executed through a range of strategically designed activities including visits to homes for the less privileged members of society and talks about SPARK.
FirstBank’s visit to the various homes was particularly thoughtful in the light of the predicament of the less privileged and persons with disabilities in the country, estimated to be around 19 million by the National Population Commission in 2018. Many of these persons face several challenges including hunger, starvation, stigmatisation, discrimination and lack of access to healthcare, housing and education. Though the government moved to intervene in their plight when President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 in January, there has yet been the expected respite for them hence, most of them rely on the benevolence of public-spirited institutions like FirstBank and individuals.
Considering the number of challenges that Nigerians living with disabilities face, especially lack of access to healthcare, housing and education, there’s no gainsaying the fact that they need all the care and support they can get. And by continuously including them in its plans since it commenced the enlarged CS&R Week in 2017, FirstBank has been at the forefront of providing support for the less privileged Nigerians by reiterating that no assistance is too much to help them live a fulfilled life.
With the impacts made across over half a dozen countries that play host to the Bank’s business operations, the FirstBank 2019 CR&S week reinforced that philanthropy is no doubt embedded in its DNA.
Former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has expressed shock over his ban by FIFA and accused the world soccer ruling body of dishing out punishment without contacting him.
The former U-23 coach, in a swift reaction on social media following news of his ban, vowed to fight to clear his name.
He wondered how a person can be charged and found guilty of an allegation without being heard from.
He also dismissed claims by FIFA that a letter to that effect has been dispatched to him while re-echoing that he has not done anything wrong.
“I am shocked with FIFA ban, I was never questioned by FIFA.
“I don’t know anything about this. I did nothing wrong and I have not received any letter from FIFA,” he said.
There are strong indications that the former Super Eagles star who scored 16 goals in 51 appearances for the national team will appeal the decision.
Some say the 52 -year- old former Lokeren of Belgium striker may drag FIFA to Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
The court has recently been inundated by cases involving fIFA and other stakeholders including Presidents of Football federations. (The Nation)
Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), who left Nigeria on Monday, for medical treatment in India, returned to Nigeria on Friday.
The IMN leader, along with his wife, Zeenat, arrived via an Ehiopian Airline aircraft with registration number ET911, which landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 11.41 a.m.
An airport official, who pleaded anonymity, told anxious journalists at the new arrival terminal of the airport that El-Zakzaky had “passed through an alternative arrival terminal”.
“The man (El-Zakzaky), has arrived; he passed through another arrival terminal”, the official told newsmen..
Immediately after his clearance by Immigration officials, he was whisked away by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
But, El-Zakzaky, who spoke through his spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, declared that he left India because the Federal Government allegedly tried to kill him in India using its international connections.
Musa also said the security agency holding him hostage should declare to the public “where they are keeping him in the country”.
He vowed that the movement would continue the struggle to arrange another medical trip for him outside Nigeria and also his freedom from DSS detention.
”We wish to reiterate our call for the federal government to comply with an earlier Abuja high court that has freed him since 2016. We believe obedience to this court order will finally solve the crisis that has been lingering since the Zaria genocide of December 2015″, Musa said.
In a statement on Friday, which he described as ‘setting the records straight’, the IMN spokesman highlighted some developments leading to the El-Zakzaky stand-off with doctors at India’s Medanta Hospital.
“It is a well-known fact that the Nigerian authorities had tried all their antics to see that the Sheikh wasn’t given a medical leave. Distrustful of the Nigerian government’s offer of a jet to take him to the destination, having survived its attempts to poison and kill him while in detention, our leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, declined the offer and chose to pay for his trip through the Emirates Airline.
“Their ordeal started right here in Nigeria when they were scheduled to board the plane to Dubai. After a 2 hours’ drive from Kaduna to Nnamdi Azikwe international Airport in Abuja, they were not given enough time to rest before boarding the plane. They endured an eight hours flight to Dubai and another three hours flight to New Delhi. Under normal circumstances, as patients suffering life threatening ailments, they shouldn’t have been subjected to such exhaustion. Nonetheless, our leader and his wife endured the journey hoping that they will get good treatment when they reached New Delhi.
“However, even though they needed rest, on arrival they were wheeled to a hospital without their personal physician that accompanied them from Nigeria. They were then subjected to physical examination in the absence of the doctors that examined them in Nigeria and when they requested for their presence, it was turned down. Even a physician that came from London was also denied access to them. It was at this point that Sheikh Zakzaky refused any attempt to have him forcefully treated.
“More so, the Hospital compromised its stance and medical ethics, as a result the Sheikh lost interest in the hospital and demanded to see his own doctors for a substitute arrangement. It is well within every patient’s right to decide whether or not to be treated and to also decide who attends to his health. It is called ‘giving of consent’, which every sane autonomous person with capacity is entitled to. Contrary to the Nigerian government’s statement, that misinformed that it was against “medical ethics and standard practice,” it is in fact at the very essence of medical ethics, which every elementary medical person knows.
“The interference of the government raised suspicion that it was planning to kill the Sheikh in India using its international connections. He insisted that if he would not be allowed to see the doctors that brought him to India, he would rather come back to Nigeria and seek another destination for his treatment. This became clear because of the government’s stance insisting on other doctors than the ones that he was in India to meet. They finally decided to bring him back for refusing to succumb to be treated by their chosen doctors.
“It is worth noting that the Kaduna High Court allowed the Sheikh to go to India with the government only supervising, instead the federal government presented him to the Indian government as a dangerous suspect with an unknown ailment coming to India and demanded stringent security placed on him. There was even a report that the security agents in India subjected him to physical assault.
“It is glaringly clear that the Nigerian government had an ULTERIOR MOTIVE it was nursing, using its connections in India when it violated court order and interfered with the procedures of the Sheikh’s treatment. This can also be deduced from the way the security agents whisked him away to unknown destination after arrival at Abuja International airport, without allowing him to have audience with the journalists that were waiting for his arrival”.
The cleric, who is facing an eight-count charge of homicide in a case filed by the Kaduna State Government, was granted leave for medical treatment by a Kaduna High Court on August 5.
El-Zakzaky and his wife subsequently travelled to India via Dubai, for medical treatment after the Federal Government and relevant agencies took steps to comply with the order in spite of protestation by Kaduna State Government.
However, the Federal Government in a statement on Wednesday, said that the religious leader was frustrating the authorities of the Indian hospital where he was to be treated.
In the statement, “The true story on El-Zakzaky in India”, the government said that the cleric, who particularly chose Medanta Hospital, India for the treatment, had begun to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures.
The statement signed by Grace Isu Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said that the cleric refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks after State officials resisted his pressure to hand over his International Passport to him.
“He also demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds, and also requested to be allowed to check into a 5-Star Hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital.
“That request was rejected on the ground that he came into the country for medicals, and not as a tourist, especially with the Visa issued on medical grounds and not for tourism.
“He also demanded that Police protection be withdrawn from him by the Indian authorities.
“Against medical ethics and standard practice, he requested to nominate Doctors of his choice to join the ones tasked by Medanta Hospital to perform medical treatment on him and his wife.
“That demand created a stalemate as the Hospital insisted that he would not dictate to it on the choice of medical personnel to carry the required medical treatment.
“Frustrated by his antics, the Indian authorities have expressed willingness to return him to Nigeria with immediate effect. This is on the account that they will not allow him use their country to internationalise his group’s activities.
“The Nigerian government commended the stand of the Indian Government and also apologise to her for the “unruly behaviour” of El-Zakzaky.
The statement affirmed government’s readiness to prosecute El-Zakzaky through due process, if and when he is returned to the country, urging Nigerians to ignore his claims that he was being held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria.