Friday, June 29, 2012
By RANDY KENNEDY
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has received a major donation of Benin bronzes and ivories, a gift that promises to transform its African collection.
The works, from the collector Robert Owen Lehman, include 28 bronzes and 6 ivories, which will go on display at the museum in late 2013, joining the lone Benin work, aterra-cotta head, now in the permanent collection.
Mr. Lehman, a great-grandson of a founder of Lehman Brothers, bought the works from dealers and at auction from the 1950s through the ’70s. “Benin craftsmen produced some of the finest examples of bronze casting ever made anywhere in the world,” Mr. Lehman said in a statement. “I wanted the works to go into a gallery where they could be shown in a context that makes their power, beauty and technical sophistication evident.”
The kingdom of Benin, in what is now Nigeria, reached the height of its economic powers between 1300 and 1500, and the art produced by the kingdom is renowned for its beauty and idealized naturalism. In 1897, much of the art of the Benin court was destroyed or taken during a British military expedition, making it difficult or impossible for scholars to trace the history of the work.
In a statement announcing the donation, the museum said that “many works of art in the Lehman Collection are known to have left Benin in 1897, and the remainder likely left at the same time.”
Arts with Tajudeen Sowole: After Sotheby's controversial sales, grandson of another benefiary discloses over thirty of 1897 looted Benin art pieces
Arts with Tajudeen Sowole: After Sotheby's controversial sales, grandson of another benefiary discloses over thirty of 1897 looted Benin art pieces
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1969–1976
VOLUME E–6, DOCUMENTS ON AFRICA, 1973–1976, DOCUMENT 208
Monday, June 18, 2012
Bepo being prepared for morgue
By:AKIN ALOFETEKUN, Minna
Date:Sun, 06/17/2012 - 21:03
The peace and quietude of the day was, however, short-lived for Bepo when by 3p.m (just two hours to the close of work), four Guinean policemen allegedly stormed his office, dragged him out and took him to the outskirts of the town. He was battered, especially on the head, and later dumped in front of a police station where Good Samaritans saw him and helped him to his company’s clinic.
Four days later, Bepo gave up the ghost, leaving behind a wife, six children and other dependants But what could have been his offence? Well, the late Bepo, who hails from the Bepo Ruling House of Ilesa in Osun State, was said to have refused to “do a deal” with a Guinean national who had come to siphon diesel from the company’s fuel stock beyond the 200 litres contained in the approval paper he brought to Bepo. The deceased, until his death, was the store officer of the company.
Arab Contractors, Bepo’s employers, were engaged in a road construction work for the Guinean government in Malabo. Some dubious activities happening in the company in Malabo compelled the company to transfer Bepo whose record of sincerity and integrity was said to be a common knowledge to his Egyptian bosses in the company.
With his papers perfected and work permit from the authorities in Malabo issued, Bepo left his office in Lagos and headed for Equatorial Guinea to assume office as Stores Officer. Part of his schedule was to take charge of the company’s property in the stores and release items to staff and sub-contractors of the company only on the approval of his bosses. Since his arrival in Malabo, the deceased had adhered strictly to the rules guiding his job until last month when this strict adherence cost him his life in the hands of those who felt his continued stay in that office was becoming injurious to their selfish interests.
Daily Sun exclusively gathered that around 3 p.m of the fateful day, one Mahmud, a Ghanaian subordinate of the late Bepo, had asked for the deceased’s signature permitting him to release 200 litres of diesel to one of the company’s sub-contractors. The authority letter was genuine and so Bepo wasted no time in appending his signature.
Some 20 minutes later, however, Mahmud again returned with Don Rahman Fernando Nguii, the Guinean sub-contractor, telling Bepo that the sub-contractor was asking for additional 100 litres, but that he (Mahmud) told the Guinean that only a higher authority could grant such a request.
Bepo was said to have told the man that he was not in a position to grant his request. At that point, the Guinean allegedly became furious and put a call to somebody whom he told in Spanish that Bepo was proving stubborn. “Leave him. I will let him know I am a Guinean,” he was quoted to have said furiously before storming out of Bepo’s office.
Some 15 minutes later, the Guinean reportedly came back with four policemen who, without any introduction, went straight for Bepo. In a commando-like manner, the policemen was said to have dragged him away from his chair and pushed him into their car and sped off.
By the time Bepo resurfaced at the company’s clinic in Malabo, his was a case beyond the capacity of the clinic. He was then transferred to another hospital where he spent a night before he was again transferred to Centro Medico, Lapas, said to be the best hospital in Equatorial Guinea. Here, Bepo was reportedly placed under the intensive care unit. He, however, could not make it, as he died four days after the attack.
Daily Sun, however, gathered from sources close to the family of the late Bepo that the policemen were of the Bonas Esperance station in Malabo. By the time Bepo’s relations arrived Malabo after hearing the news of his death, the matter was yet to be reported officially to the Nigerian embassy. However, the Yoruba community in Malabo reported the matter to embassy officials. The company eventually communicated the news of Bepo’s death to the Nigerian embassy via a letter dated 31st May, 2012.
According to Mallam Bashir, a member of the Yoruba community, killing Nigerian nationals in Equatorial Guinea was a regular occurrence, especially the illegal immigrants. The Nigerian Head of Chancery, Alhaji Umar A Abdullahi, the Chiroman Lapai in Niger State, in a telephone interview with our correspondent said he would not respond to any of the questions put to him, saying: “I am a civil servant.”
When reminded of the gravity of the issue at stake, Abdullahi, who was more interested in knowing how our correspondent got his telephone number than in talking about the matter that has capacity to cause diplomatic row between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, said he had said everything there was to be said to the relations of the deceased.
“If you cannot get them to brief you, then go to the ministry in Abuja. I don’t know you and I cannot talk to you,” Abdullahi said with a tone of finality. Ezekiel Ajayi, a colleague of Bepo, confirmed to Daily Sun in a telephone interview that the president of Equatorial Guinea, Ngueso Nguema, had personally taken interest in the matter and has since ordered the immediate arrest and prosecution of all those involved.
James Agum, another colleague of Prince Bepo, also in a telephone interview told Daily Sun that about five people, including Nguii, the sub-contractor and the head of the Bonas Esperance police station whose men picked the deceased, were already in detention waiting to be charged to court. The Head of the company in Malabo, Mallam Ahmed Abubakar, could not be reached on his mobile number, but unconfirmed sources revealed that the management of Arab Contractors is divided between insisting on justice being done on Bepo’s case and the need to maintain the existing cordial business relationship with the Guinean authorities that would not create embarrassment for the government in Malabo or be found to be responsible for diplomatic row between Abuja and Malabo.
Funmi, wife of the deceased, Babajide, Seyi, Adeola, Mary, Tade and Bunmi, his children are presently mourning the loss of a husband and father who left Nigeria for Equatorial Guinea in a legitimate search of a means of livelihood, only to return home dead.
Bepo was not an illegal immigrant in Malabo, and the company’s letter to the Nigerian Embassy confirmed this. In the letter intimating the embassy of Bepo’s death and signed by the company’s General Manager, Engineer Ibrahim Mabrouk, the company stated that Bepo “came to Equatorial Guinea by the company’s request and was working with us. He died on the 27th May, 2012 by an internal bleeding. It’s such a painful situation and we are sorry not being able to communicate it before.
“Our lawyers are taking care of the case before the Equatorial Guinea justice department and that was why we were unable to pass on the information earlier.”
Murder in Malabo
Saturday, June 16, 2012
By Vanguard Newspaper
What does fifty years mean to you; people say as a golden jubilee, it is supposed to make a man wiser?
Nothing, but I believe I’m wiser and more experienced in age and life but I’m indifferent towards it. Pertaining to celebration, some people are making it look like a glorious day because they appreciate my works, but to me, its just another day that will pass.
There are so many of it. My first hit was ‘’Wonder-Wonder’’ which won a lot of awards in Nigeria. I was the first Nigerian to win ‘’KORA Award, ‘’World-Music Award and some others. I believe I was the most appreciated Nigerian at the Grammy award even though I haven’t won any yet. I have been nominated for a good number of awards too. I’ve toured extensively all around the world. I’m definitely in ‘the fore front of Afro-beat. The period when ‘’Bang-Bang-Bang’’ became an international hit, it opened so many doors especially to the new generations who did not know my father; they were now able to relate me and my works to him.
Even regarding sales too?
Well, I can’t really say that about sales because it has dropped for everybody. One who used to have a sale of twenty million then should be happy and grateful if he can have a sale of two million now.
How about the low points?
That would include bad press, especially from some particular National newspapers. Once I was called and asked where I was in France, it was rumoured that I was running around the ‘’Eiffel Tower’’ naked. I didn’t bother to call them to clear the air; I think my sister (Funke) did. Also, my crashed marriage was as a result of the same bad press. I decided to keep quiet about it for the sake of my son but they fueled it by exaggerating the story.
The death of my sister would most likely be the lowest point of my life and my mother’s death too because on that day, I had to play at Okoya’s 60th birthday party. I was glad I was able to sail through but those two days were the worst days of my life.
How about the death of your father?
Not really, because my father was a celebrity. So it was more of celebration rather than a burial. The only sad thing is that he didn’t get to see his grandchildren and give them a piece of advice for their career but it was not as regretful as that of my sister. My father lived a rather fulfilled life with 27 wives, fame and fortune. He was nothing short of the biggest star Nigeria ever had. So his death was not a regret but a celebration.
Faced with the reality of your father’s death and as the first male of the family, how did things go for you?
His death was not something I was prepared for. Notwithstanding, he had been grooming me for a life after him so, I wasn’t shocked. But as the days went by, the burden of the legacy that had been passed on to me dawned on me because the African tradition emphasizes on the male son to take over everything but luckily for me, my sister was very helpful.
What were the initial challenges?
The initial challenge was trying to get the ‘’Shrine from the ‘’Burlington’s and when we could not get it, we immediately licensed his back-catalogue. If you remember then, a lot of his music was bootlegged because he was dead. We quickly convinced the family to give Universal Music the license because that was the only multinational organization that could sue and stop the bootleggers.
They took a fast decisions so we would not loose licensing to back catalogue.
Convincing and keeping the family together became a major challenge because a lot of people wanted to separate the family, using Seun as an excuse to cause friction. I had to keep my band, tour and music career together as well. It wasn’t easy but I learn that nothing good comes easy in life.
Talking about your Music, how much would you say it has grown in the last five years?
I think my next album would be a dynamite. From the Grammy nominations, you can see that if I wasn’t progressing, I wouldn’t have been nominated for that award. If ‘’Bang-Bang” won the ‘World Music nomination in 2001, 2010 and 2012, it shows that it’s not the end of my career, I’m progressing and it is not just a flick. If it were to be that I had just one nomination, people would have said it was because I happened to be Fela’s son or that I featured American artistes, but it wasn’t so. I featured more of French artistes and had no American collaboration. The performances of the French artistes on my album was done in Lagos.
There was no technological enhancement. It was live from the studio. That shows that people appreciate what I’m doing and it is not easy to be nominated for awards. Femi Kuti has taken the Broadway to a different level and here, where it started, nothing much is happening but in Europe.
My fear is that we would soon have a situation whereby they may not have services of the original owners of the music…
We should understand that Afro-Beat has become a global thing; it doesn’t belong to just Nigeria anymore. The world appreciates the fact that it is Fela’s creation and nobody runs away from that fact. So it can only keep growing. It is now going to have a new dimension and more branches.
The Afro-beat I play now is quite different from what Fela played and when my son (Made) who is being trained, makes his own album, whatever he plays is going to be different from what we both play but, he would still have the influence of his father and grandfather. As the years go by, it is not going to be done by Nigerians alone, other people would emerge.
I’m talking about the originators, nobody would be there to take over?
That’s not true. I’ve seen a couple of bands that play Afro-beat. I cant remember their names but I know a good number play the same.
They may not be as known as myself and Seun but they do exist. It is just because the critics are over-critical, insisting that you must be like Fela. I once had a problem with these critics due to the fact that Seun acted more like Fela but I refused to act like him and it took me years; that is over a decade to convince Nigerians that you don’t have to be like Fela to play Afro-beat. It was ‘Bang-Bang-Bang’ that opened their eyes to the fact that you can do something else with the Afro-beat and it has opened a whole new market that people are capitalizing on now.
You seem to have come back to where you started from, was that an experiment?
No, its all part of the going. When I did the work with most of those Hip-hop artistes in America, an opportunity came and I seized it. If another one comes by and I have to work with classical musicians, I would not hesitate. It is all part of growth and development of music.
What are those basic things in Afro-beat that makes it distinct from other genres of music, particularly when you do a collaboration with a Hip-hop artiste?
First, you must remember that Hip-hop came out of Afro-beat, so there are a lot of similarities between the two and merging is not a difficult task. The difference between Afro-beat and the rest is finding melodies for your rhythm and being political and sincere with your lyrics.
Is it really compulsory?
No it’s not. ‘Bang-Bang-Bang’ showed it is not compulsory but that should be the major factor. If you want to hear a love song, people want the sincerity of that music kept in place, so when I play ‘’Sorry-Sorry’’, people want to hear the frustrations of a young man regarding bad government.
You are looking very good, honestly, I’m quite impressed
Well, thank you. I try as much as possible not to stress myself at my age. Notwithstanding that I’ve been through so much, I have tried to live and stay healthy in the toil surrounding my life.
How has it been keeping a band together?
I’ve had to start up a new band for over five times now because of indiscipline among my band members. Sometimes, they refuse to understand the political message behind my music; building and maintaining the ‘’Shrine’’ also. In all these cases, if you don’t try to comport yourself, you might lose your head (laughing).
Lets talk about romance, is it dead?
No. You can see one of my beautiful girlfriends over there.
I mean ‘wife’, not ‘girlfriend’…
I don’t have to be married to be happy and I’m not getting married again. I can actually say I’m married and I don’t necessarily have to call a Pastor to serve as a witness to it. I even consider that a low point on my integrity.
If I live together with a woman who has a child for me, in the African tradition, she is already my wife-that’s common sense. I can say I’m married only that it is not documented which is preferable because if we start a fight, we don’t have to go to a court; we can settle it amicably or just walk away from the relationship. I just got off the phone with Funke before you walked in. We talk about our son and other issues like we are still married but not legally married anymore.
But why is she not here?
She does not have to be here. She stays at her own house.
Asking as a friend now, do you sometimes miss her?
Like I said, I have no regrets and we are no longer married. But sometimes, I miss her. I’m the kind of person that gets up and picks his life back after a problem or else, it will kill you; not physically but mentally or psychologically. There were times we tried to come back together but it just didn’t work. There were stronger forces against our coming back and I did not have the energy to keep on pleading for understanding. A lot of things changed but it is something nobody is bitter about now. We talk about the past but nobody accepts responsibility for the mistakes, so we just let it die down.
If she comes to you for sexual pleasure now, would you succumb?
Most likely not. (laughing)
What is your perception of the talent hunt show,’Next Afro-beat Star’?
I think it would be wonderful and fantastic if it is focused.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
The lawmakers say the airline should be barred from operating flights until investigations are completed. The Senate has asked the Federal Government to ground all planes belonging to DANA Airline until investigations are completed into Sunday's deadly crash which killed 153 passengers and crew and unknown number of people on ground.
At plenary Tuesday morning, the upper legislative chamber also ordered the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Harold Demuren, to step down.
Monday, June 4, 2012
By SaharaReporters, New York
John I. Nnorom, a former Executive Director for Finance at Air Nigeria, has warned Nigerians to stop flying the airline until they are sure that its planes are being properly maintained.
In a blistering public petition, Mr. Nnorom, who resigned his appointment with the airline on April 1, 2012, blamed the situation on big businessman Jimoh Ibrahim, the chairman of Air Nigeria, whom he accused of being uninterested in the maintenance of company aircraft.
“Some of the certifying Engineers and I are under threat of assassination by Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, if we reveal this secret to Nigerians,” he said.
Mr. Nnorom said that upon his resignation, he wrote a letter in which he said he preferred to die than to be a witness to over 100 souls perishing in an Air Nigeria aircraft.
He disclosed that Air Nigeria is in financial crisis because money loaned by Bank of Industry of N35.5Billion has been diverted into Mr. Ibrahim’s NICON INVESTMENT LTD, a non-finance company popularly called wonder bank, leading to air safety being compromised, and stressed that there is a great possibility of a disastrous Air Nigeria crash, which can occur at any time.
He recalled that in Jan 2012, Licensed Engineers in Air Nigeria went on strike because they were being forced to certify unfit aircraft into the air, and another strike was averted in March 2012 following the intervention of the DG-NCAA, Demureen. Both events, he said, were based on failure on Failure To Meet Safety Standard, and are verifiable information the public is aware of.
Why are Air Nigeria flights sometimes delayed for as many as eight hours? According to the petitioner, that is because the aircraft for that flight is not ready. “While passengers are waiting, engineers are battling to put the aircraft on Air. Several times our Aircraft on Runway taxing to takeoff, turns back to offload passengers due to some technical faults observed by Pilots.”
He said that of the 11 aircraft being operated by Air Nigeria, only one, Embraer, is safe to fly Nigeria Air space, with all of the others needing “deep and heavy” technical maintenance.
“This explains why Air Nigeria has never operated more than six Aircraft out of eleven Aircraft. Air Nigeria do not have the money to fix these Aircrafts. Let anybody go and check now, some of the Aircraft and Engines have been grounded for the past one year.”
Mr. Nnorom even advised Nigerians who choose to take the risk of flying Air Nigeria not to eat or drink anything, pointing out that passengers have been poisoned because Air Nigeria serves bottled pure water, and that passengers have complained of being served “smelling waters.”
Mr. Nnorom further claimed in the petition that Mr. Ibrahim’s companies, including Air Nigeria, do not have tax clearance certificates. He listed the others as Global Fleet Oil & Gas, NICON Insurance, Nigeria RE-Insurance, NICON Properties Ltd, Nicon Luxury, Nicon Hotels Okitipupa, VGC & PHC, Newswatch Communications, Newswatch Daily and National Mirror.
“In Air Nigeria, just to renew expatriate resident permit, Bar Jimoh Ibrahim will instruct a vendor to forge all the tax clearance papers which is filed with the immigration.”
Mr. Nnorom alleges that Mr. Ibrahim:
Mr. Nnorom alleges that Mr. Ibrahim:
• As the chairman of Air Nigeria, has diverted N5billion From a BOI aviation industry intervention loan Of N35.5billion granted last year by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria into NICON INVESTMENT LTD;
• Diverted $18m Out Of $40m Afrixim federal government support of the aviation industry; with $26,969,505.63 diverted into Mr. Ibrahim’s acquisition of Energy Bank of Ghana;
• Diverted N10 billion released by the government through the office of the Accountant-General of Nigeria for the payment of pensioners into Nicon Insurance Plc released the sum of, with no pensioner being paid.
Mr. Nnorom insisted that Mr. Ibrahim is trying to kill him, and attached his letter of resignation and subsequent acknowledgement by the CEO and FOREIGN LEASSORS to the petition.
“On the SFU, recovery of $75,000 from me, I was never arrested, never invited by SFU, did not make any statement, I do not know how money was recovered from me,” he said. “I am ready to sponsor any person to come with me to SFU and show me my statement,” attributing the matter to Mr. Ibrahim’s “poor character of cheap blackmail.”
According to the former Executive Director, “Jimoh Ibrahim is after my life but if my death will save hundred Nigerian souls from plane crash and that is the will of GOD, my soul will be happy to meet my creator anytime.”
"Air Nigeria" Is A Flying Coffin, Former Executive Director Says | Sahara Reporters