Monday, 17 August 2009

GOOD LIFE: One bright Tuesday morning

IT was a mistake. Depending on whom you spoke with, it was a small one, or a huge one. Whether because I had not written it down before saying it, or maybe because I had been a bit unsure of the thread before starting it anyways.
People ask me what it feels like to be on radio. I always pause and say to them honestly — It is scary! Yes, it is a lot of things — fun, a great opportunity to inspire an entertain, a dream come true, lively, interesting, and so on. But what being able to go live on air does to you, is fill you with fear! Unlike with print or television, you do not have the benefit of a spell checker, of time, of photoshop, of paragraphs… But believe me, this is not a complaint, seeing as radio brings with it a lot of inexplicable joy as well. But one bright Tuesday morning, I went live on air, and basically implied that Obama had visited Ghana. To this day, I still cannot remember the way I phrased my words, or what I said, and if a caller hadn’t corrected me 10 minutes later, I probably never would have known I had said something wrong! And once that happened, it all almost went downhill from there!!! That one slip almost ruined the rest of the show for me-that which had passed, and that which was to come, such that no matter what had happened before or after, all I could see was what was happening at that point. THERE are people that will tell you there are no mistakes; just opportunities for learning through experiences. So, let us take this as an experience to learn. What was learnt though? Mistakes will be made… apologise and move on. Always apologise, but note that you can make it worse by over apologising as it were. Find the balance and move on. But remember that apologies do not leave with a guarantee of acceptance. Your own duty is to apologise. Heal through the pain, laughs and experiences of others, especially colleagues, fellow students, and your mentors and heroes. Finding out little things like how Larry King and Ellen and Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi had goofed in the past helped. These were people who had been at it for years, and if they could make silly or big mistakes and still be standing, well, maybe I could. RECOVERING from a mistake is vital. It would be better if we never made mistakes. But we do. But when we do, the question always, always is… do you get up and continue running, or do you give up and maybe even start a decline? The answer is always up to us. But if you are ever in that situation, choose to move on! But what was the biggest lesson I learnt that Tuesday as I drowned my tears in a bottle of caffeinated soda? We are human. We make mistakes….

Taming the kidnapper

MY friend’s sister had received anonymous emails demanding a ransom for the life of her teenage child.
She reported the matter to the police — at home and abroad — as the child didn’t school here.
They investigated and traced the emails to a former employee who was then apprehended.
He seemed to be working alone and apologised profusely perhaps ‘for allowing the devil to use him’.

ONE hopes this new form of ‘psychological and technological kidnap’ wouldn’t become a trend.
We all are dear to our loved ones and, therefore, have a ‘price’ whatever it may be, which they would be willing to pay if they thought we were in any danger.
Anyone desperate for money could try this form of kidnap or worse. Those who want to get rid of people, for instance, could send threatening letters, emails or whatever asking for an impossible amount, then finish off the person and put the blame on ‘kidnappers’.
Someone sent this email to me recently and I thought I should share it with you because you never know.
Please share this with members of your household.

I FELT I should share this experience with you so that you will be careful how you deal with people who are unfamiliar with you.
About a month ago, a family friend in Abuja received anonymous telephone calls and text messages demanding a ransom of N200,000, failure which he and/or members of his family would either be kidnapped or shot. No reason was given for the threat.
The gang was very thorough in their details of my friend’s family and his movement. They gave him the first and middle names of each of his children and his wife, which were known only to very close relatives.
On one occasion, the gang gave a description of the clothes he wore on a particular day and the times he went out and came in.
The recipient was advised to play along with the group while efforts were made to contact our State Security Service (SSS) and the Police.
Two weeks ago, the gang issued a 48-hour ultimatum for the money to be paid. The SSS contacted the management of the commercial bank nominated by the gang for the deposit of the ransom.
My friend was then advised to deposit the sum of N200, 000 in the Abuja account. Three hours after the deposit was made, attempt was made to withdraw the money in a branch of the bank in Lagos.
The bank immediately alerted the police who arrested the man and kept him incommunicado.
As other members of the gang could not reach their member who was then in Police custody, they rang my friend to enquire if he reported the banking details to security agencies. When my friend enquired why they asked, he was told that they had neither seen nor heard from the man they sent to collect the ransom from the bank.
The gang appeared to have bought the lie sold to them by my friend when he told them that the man might have absconded with the money.
Two hours later, they sent an account in another commercial bank for the remittance of the balance ransom.
The security agencies again placed alert on the account after which my friend paid in N200, 000.
Soon after the deposit was made, two men walked into a branch of the commercial bank, again in Lagos, to withdraw the money.
They were both arrested and handed over to the police. All three men are now being interrogated by the FCT Command of the Nigeria Police.

IN the course of the investigation, it was found that all three men had been contracted by my friend to drill a borehole in his house about two months ago.
While they were constructing the borehole, my friend’s wife had occasions to take them in her car to some places in Abuja to purchase materials for the works.
On one occasion, she had left a file containing her school records and other personal documents on the back seat of the car.
A member of the gang scanned through the file and extracted some vital personal information.
Also, during the course of the two weeks when they drilled the borehole, they had interviewed my friend’s two little children, aged four and three, to know their full names.

THERE is so much we can learn from this incident. Personal and sensitive information should not be left in a place where unauthorised persons could have access to them.
In our homes we should use only workmen who have been referenced and/or are familiar. And third, we should teach our household members to not speak to strangers.

No comments:

Post a Comment