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Colleagues, associates battle to save journalist from cancer

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Colleagues and associates of an Abuja-based journalist, Ronald Mutum, are battling to save him from cancer.

Life seemed normal for Mutum until two years ago, when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and his world came crashing down.

Despite his struggle with the ailment, he lost his job and started battling with medical bills.

This is in addition to his responsibilities to his wife, Angel, and three children: Caroline 5, Ronald Jnr 3 and Nathan 2.

Mutum has spent the last two years undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy at the National Hospital Abuja, Nigeria, but now requires treatment outside Nigeria to stay alive.

His former colleague at Daily Trust, who now lives in Boston, United States of America, Francis Okeke, initiated a fundraiser for Mutum recently.

Okeke explained that at the behest of oncology consultants in Nigeria, further treatment is recommended at better equipped hospitals in India and Ronald cannot afford the cost.

“Thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) is the proposed estimate to cater for the next stage of treatment in India,” Okeke said.

A breakdown of the overall cost shows that PET/CT scan and baseline investigations, including PDL 1/molecular/genomic testing, amount to $2,000.

He would undergo four bi-weekly immunotherapy courses at $3,500 per course, amounting to $14,000.

A re-evaluation with PET/CT scan will cost $650, with the cost of surgery standing at an estimated $13,900.

“The above does not include travel costs for Ronald and Angel his caregiver, who would accompany him. Ronald and Angel have been married for over five years,” Okeke explained.

Recalling his close ties with Ronald while he worked with Daily Trust, Okeke stated, “As a security, defence and financial crime correspondent, he demonstrated profound commitment to investigating, reporting and exposing sleaze in both the public and private sectors in Nigeria.”

As of Friday, the fundraiser had generated $3,529 out of the $40,000 needed for the medical bills.

Back in Nigeria, colleagues, friends and associates of Mutum have also set up a WhatsApp group, “Save Ronald Mutum” with 197 participants to raise some funds for him.

Molly Kilete of The Sun Newspaper, who initiated the group, said she was touched by his condition and summoned a meeting where the fundraiser platform was set up.

Kilete said she covered the Defence beat with Mutum and if it were to be someone else in need of help, Mutum would have done the same.

“Ronald is nice and intelligent. He makes friends very easily and takes people’s burden like his own. He is an easy-going guy, but unfortunately this has happened and in the course of the crisis, he lost his job and this was why I mobilised one or two people for a meeting,” she said.

When contacted, Mutum’s family declined comment, but Mutum gave his consent for the fundraiser.

His former colleague at Daily Trust, Victoria Bamas, said Mutum’s condition made her realise that in Nigeria, unless you are in the top wealthy position, you are one sickness away from being absolutely broke even after working for decades in what is considered a middle-income level.

“It goes to show that more needs to be done about our health system,” she said.

His associate and former colleague, Daniel Adugbo, said he felt pained and devastated when he recently learnt that Mutum had been diagnosed with cancer.

Adugbo called on Nigerians to rally round Mutum to raise the funds needed for his treatment.

“My prayers are with him and as a friend/colleague, I will support him financially. Ronald or Mutumina, as I teasingly call him, is a great guy and a professional. I wish I could afford all the costs for his treatment. I believe that God would make a way for him  to get the treatment, get well and finish the race of life. He still has a lot to offer to his family, the journalism profession and Nigeria,” Adugbo said.

Interested donors to send their donations to Iremide Adepegba 2023159835 UBA

-Trust

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‘One chance’ robbers torture, dispossess commuter of laptop, money, phones

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Saheed Ogungbenro

An accountant at a construction company on Victoria Island, Lagos State, Saheed Ogungbenro, has recounted his ordeal at the hands of brisk traffic robbers locally known as ‘one chance’ robbers along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

It was learnt that the hoodlums in a Sienna car beat up Ogungbenro, robbed him of a laptop, two phones ATM card, among other items, and transferred money from his bank account.

The victim, who was hospitalised after the encounter, told our correspondent on Friday that he boarded the vehicle at the U-Turn bus stop along the expressway around 5am while going to work.

He explained that he met two ‘passengers’ in the car, adding that trouble began after the driver picked another person at Abule-Egba.

“One of the two men at the back held me in the neck while the other man that entered later punched me in the face. One of them hit my nails with a hammer. I was overpowered. They collected my phones, laptop, national identity card, driving licence and my company ID card. They asked for my card pin and information about how to open my banking mobile app.

“I had to give them everything. I have N830,000 in my Access Bank account. I don’t know how much they transferred from it though someone had gone to the bank on my behalf and they had blocked my account. I had my Diamond (Access) ATM card with me. They collected it and transferred money from my Access Bank account to the Diamond (Access) account. I don’t know how much they transferred.”

Ogungbenro said the robbers dropped him off around the Oke-Odo area and zoomed off, leaving him in pain.

He added, “A motorcycle rider who saw me groaning with pain said I was the fourth person robbed and dumped at the spot. It was a tricycle rider who eventually took me to the hospital. The case was reported at the Oke-Odo Police Station.

“I was in a hurry that day. I didn’t go to the office in my car because I was tired. That was not the first time I would board Sienna to the office. Many commuters going to Victoria Island always rush to board Sienna at the bus stop early in the morning.”

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, could not be reached for comment on the incident.

Afeez Hanafi, Punch News

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Mother, Two Children Kidnapped by gunmen in Kwara

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A mother and her two children were Friday evening in Omu-Aran,   Irepodun local government area of Kwara state abducted inside their room by yet-to-be-identified gunmen

Sunday Vanguard reliably gathered that the incident happened around 7 pm near a petrol station at Oko junction area in the ancient town.

It was reliably gathered that the kidnapped woman, is the wife of the owner of the nearby filling station and that she also has a shop around the area.

The suspected gunmen were said to have invaded the area and fired several gunshots sporadically into the air to scare away the residents.

Thereafter, two of the gunmen were said to have gone inside the room and held the woman and her two children at gunpoint and dragged them into their car and they drove away.

It was also gathered that stray bullets from the gunshots hit two commercial motorcycle riders in the process and they sustained severe injuries.

The wounded Okada riders who were said to have been rushed to an unknown hospital in the town, are said to be recuperating at press time.

As at the time of filing this report, it was not known if the alleged abductors of the woman and her two children had contacted the family for a ransom payment.

The state police command is also yet to confirm the incident.

Contacted, Spokesperson of the command Ajayi Okasanmi told Sunday Vanguard that he has not been briefed of the incident.

He said, “I am not aware of the incident, but I will get back to you as soon as I am officially briefed of the development.”

Demola Akinyemi, Vanguard News

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How 20-year-old was killed and buried by his parents in Imo

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CP Rabiu Hussaini

Lambert Osundu and his wife, Racheal, an Imo-based couple who reportedly murdered their son, are currently cooling off in police custody.

The duo were said to have connived with their daughter to kill 20-year-old Chukwuebuka, whom they accused of being too stubborn.

The suspects, who hail from Umuezealagwu in Ehime Mbano local government area of Imo, were said to have committed the heinous act on September 14, 2021.

They reportedly told curious relatives that Chukwuebuka travelled to Ghana.

However, community members, who were not satisfied with their response, alerted the police who swung into action.

Upon interrogation, the trio were said to have confessed that they hit Chukwuebuka with a wood and left him to die.

They also confessed to have buried him in a shallow grave behind their compound.

A source from the community, who spoke anonymously, said, “Chukwuebuka used to be popular among us and he had never hinted us that he would be travelling. When we could not see him and his family could not give enough information, we reported them to the police.”

Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Mike Abattam, confirmed the incident.

He said following credible information, the Commissioner of Police, CP Rabiu Hussaini, immediately dispatched detectives to Ehime Mbano LGA of Imo, the alleged scene of the crime.

“On arrival, the command’s operatives based on intelligence, interrogated one Robert Anyanwu chairman of Umuezealagwu Umuduruekwe in Ehime Mbano LGA of Imo State, and it was revealed that, on 14/9/2021 at about 1200 hour, the Osundu family comprising of Lambert Osundu ‘M’, Ndubuisi Osundu “M” and Rechael Osundu “F” all of Umuduruihiako Umueze ll in Ehime Mbano local government area of Imo State, conspired and beat their youngest brother, Chukwuebuka Osundu “M” aged 20 years to death for yet to confirmed reason(s).

“After killing him, the father of the deceased with the assistance of Ndubuisi Osundu carried the lifeless body to the back of their compound, dug a shallow grave and secretly buried the corpse.

“The command’s operatives with the support of the community were able to arrest two suspects, they are Lambert Osundu and Racheal Osundu.

“Presently, they are undergoing interrogation and have made useful statements that will lead to the arrest of the other family members on the run,” Abattam said.

Daily Trust

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