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OPINION: Igboho Writes President Buhari

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Tunde Odesola

Shugaban Nigeria, ya kwana uku.

Your Excellency, I do not seek to rouse the ghosts of the slain victims of Fulani Ghoulish Nomads (FGN). Before you hasten to add hate speech charge to the list of rootless allegations your rulership has levelled against me, let me quickly state, sir, that ghouls are not only located in northern Nigeria.

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They’ve sprouted and taken over every inch of the land ruled by your underachieving regime, wearing the masks of terrorism, corruption, rape, banditry, ritualism and daily bloodshed – kicking Nigeria in the teeth – with no end in sight.

Aare Buhari, though the dead have long buried the dead, their ghosts won’t just rest in peace. So, the spirits of the dead continuously hover over the face of the waters, crying for justice and seeking repose, but getting neither from your bullying regime.

Before my letter reopens the bleeding wounds of the past, permit me to do a brief and formal introduction of myself, sir. My name is Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo. I’m a 48-year-old indigene of Igboho town in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State.

Your Excellency, if Oke-Ogun evokes some sense of utter disdain in you, I understand. It was Oke-Ogun that caused you to storm the Oyo State Governor’s Office, Ibadan, in October 2000, in company with some prominent Fulani leaders, on the allegation that some Yoruba farmers allegedly killed 68 Fulani herdsmen in a reprisal. Do you remember the incident, Baba Yusuf?

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God bless his soul, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, the first executive Governor of Oyo State in the Fourth Republic, who hosted you and your aggrieved entourage from the Caliphate.

FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Buhari’s Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots

Before he spoke on the occasion, Lam, as the governor was popularly called, first called on the state Commissioner of Police, and the state Director, Department of State Services, both of whom told you to your face that the alleged death of 68 Fulani in the hands of Yoruba farmers was untrue.

Lam also called on his deputy, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Michael Koleoso, both indigenes of Oke-Ogun, and the chairman of one of Oke-Ogun LGs, Chief Ademola Alalade, to speak. They all told the truth which indicted the Fulani in Oke-Ogun as the killers of their Yoruba neighbours.

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Your Excellency, when he spoke to round off the meeting, Lam advised the Arewa Consultative Forum to seek the unity and peace of Nigeria at all times.

Baba Buhari, though I never attended a university, I’m not an illiterate. I can read and I can write, despite starting out as motorcycle repairer. Through hard work, self-improvement coupled with my belief in Ifa, I’m today an employer of labour.

Shugaban Nigeria, just like you don’t write your speeches yourself, I didn’t write this letter myself, too. Baba Zahra, mi o gbo oyinbo nla nla, walahi! I don’t understand big big grammar. But I understand justice and truth. This is why the cause I champion, which is the emancipation of the Yoruba from daily killings, victimisation and repression, is being supported by true sons and daughters of Oduduwa. The support is what produced this letter, Your Excellency.

Baba o, I am citizen Igboho, a creation of the abject Nigerian leadership. Like millions of my ilk living in the nooks and crannies of the country, I’m a product of years of government neglect.

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When your government kept silent as Fulani herdsmen butchered my people day and night, I embarked on the road called self-help and employed bravery, street wisdom and defiance to rescue my people.

FROM THE AUTHOR: [OPINION] Pantami: Buhari’s Terrorising Minister

This was after Dr Fatai Aborode, Europe returnee, was killed in his Igangan community of Oke-Ogun by suspected Fulani herdsmen when he complained that his 400-acre cashew farm was eaten up by Fulani cows.

President Buhari, though Aborode’s murder was one death too many, your regime kept silent and did absolutely nothing to assuage the killing or assure the people of Igangan of their safety. Also, popular herbal trado-medicine practitioner, Alhaji Fatai Yusuf, aka Oko Oloyun, had over a year ago been killed along the Igbo Ora-Eruwa Road in Ibarapa, among many other deaths. Ironically, sir, hundreds of captured Boko Haram terrorists were granted pardon and rehabilitated into the society, after alleged deradicalisation.

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Baba Halima, I’m not a criminal. The pervading sense of hopelessness, injustice and insecurity in the South-West was why I went to Igangan and gave the Fulani therein an ultimatum to vacate the land.

Sir, do you know that long after my seven-day ultimatum, the Emir of Muri Empire in Taraba State, Alhaji Abass Tafida, has also given a 30-day ultimatum to Fulani bandits. But he hasn’t been declared wanted.

Your Excellency, as I said early on, I may not understand big big ‘turenchi’, but I can read and I can write.

I read on Sahara Reporters website that the emir didn’t only give a 30-day ultimatum for Fulani killer herdsmen occupying Taraba forests to vacate, he also said, “From now onwards, if anyone is kidnapped from this emirate, we will go into the bush and kill any Fulani man we see.”

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General Buhari, if a Yoruba or Igbo monarch had said what Emir Tafida said, the fire emanating thereof from Aso Rock would’ve burnt the crown on the head of such a monarch into ashes. But because the emir is from the North, Aso Rock looked away like a corrupt invigilator who has been bribed by cheating students.

Baba Hadiza, what have I done wrong? I’m only fighting for my people, just like you took up the cause of your people and led a delegation to Lam in October 2000.

FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Do Not Kill Kanu And Igboho

Oga Buhari, in 2019, you also led a delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York, where, in your own very words, you advocated ‘the rights of the Palestinian people to have their own country…and live in peace in their own land’.

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Having said this to the ovation of the world in 2019, President Buhari, what is the justice in your rejection of the clamour for self-determination being championed by me and my fellow comrade, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, when southern lives are not worth a fart under your regime?

Baba Fatima, it’s natural if your health is diminished by old age, but I know your memory is still intact to remember that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2012, lamented that his government had been infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists.

Ogagun Buhari, your own regime is no better. It’s even worse because whereas it was Jonathan’s government that was infiltrated then, it’s your cabinet that has been infiltrated by Islamic fundamentalism now.

A beloved member of your kitchen cabinet and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had, in a sermon years before he became minister, openly expressed views sympathetic to the notorious al-Qaeda group and Boko Haram, describing the slain al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, a worthy Muslim. Pantami also expressed happiness that infidels were being massacred.

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Infidels in the eyes of the Pantamis peopling your cabinet would be no less than millions of Christians, traditional religionists and believers of other faiths in Nigeria. With such a minister in your cabinet, Mr President, what’s the guarantee that the war against terrorism isn’t a lip-service by your regime?

Only God know how many innocent Nigerians were killed by Islamic terrorists who took up arms against perceived infidels having been fired up by Pantami’s destructive sermons.

Instead of investigating Pantami to check if he had been truly deradicalised or not, the Presidency rose stoutly to his defence, and said the leopard has changed its spots.

I, Igboho, didn’t say one-hundredth of what Pantami said. Today, Pantami is a free man but I and the supporters of my cause are being hounded by your regime. Two members of my family were killed when DSS attacked my house. This nepotistic attitude is unbecoming of a father, mujin Aisha.

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Your Excellency, I’ll close with the words of your forebear, Uthman Dan Fodio, “Conscience is an open…”

Thank you, sir.

Tunde Odesola is a seasoned journalist, columnist with Punch newspapers and a guest writer on Info Daily.

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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Opinion

OPINION: Why Replace A Library With A Shop?

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By Rafiq Omogbai

A few years ago the Edo State Government wanted to sell the Edo House on 1225, Ahmadu Bello Way and 1225 Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. The Edo State Government, precisely, in 2013, announced plans to sell the house and use the proceeds to develop Edo State. The government promised it will utilise its economic value for the overall good of the people of Edo State.

But the proposed sale came under frontal attack by stakeholders who were opposed to the idea because it would amount to selling one of the many legacies, Edo State inherited after the breakup of Bendel State into Edo and Delta.

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At that time, the Edo House was valued at N3.5 billion and was the most priced asset of the state. With a large army of qualified Estate Valuers of Edo State origin who were not given the opportunity to partake in the process, many suspected foul play. Others felt that the botched sale of Edo House was designed to meet the interest of a top government official who was acquiring the property for his personal use.

Stakeholders suspected foul play when an advertorial placed in national dailies for the sale of the property stated that “the client has no obligation to accept the highest or any bid”. Yet the government said its reason was to get more money, but rejected the highest bid!

Just now, the news is all over that the Edo State Government, under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki, who has failed to unveil an Executive team one year after he was elected, has sold the Edo Library Complex and the age-long State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to a multinational firm.

Edo Library Complex is located along Sapele Road and opposite Imaguero College, Benin City, while the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in existence since the excision of Midwest State from Western region is on Central Road, in the state capital.

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The Library was relocated from its former premises at New Lagos Road, Benin City to a more Central location to allow for easier access by the government of Chief Lucky Igbinedion. He ensured that, on commissioning, it had the best library facilities in the country to the extent that people come from far and near for research work.

Edo Library was the envy of other states as it had a branch in every local government headquarters across the three senatorial zones. The library system so flourished that it was explored by legal luminaries, the poor and the wealthy persons.

With a board of its own, it was to be merged with the Ministry of Education under the supervision of the Commissioner for Education and its deterioration began. Students and others were made to pay before they could use public libraries in the state.

Poor funding became its lot and qualified hands left. And the Library complex, became dysfunctional without electricity, water but with old staff and old obsolete books. Most of the books in the branches are worse hit with very outdated, and out of stock books. Government stopped supplying books, claiming workers were stealing them.

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This is the sad tale of Edo Library which complex Mr Obaseki wants to sell along with the MANR. He has not told anyone why he is selling the places. He did not even announce plans to sell the place and use the proceeds to develop Edo State. He has not said he plans to utilise its economic value for the overall good of the people of Edo State.

READ ALSO: VAT: Matters Arising [OPINION]

The market value of the two complexes has not been published online or offline as there are reports that it is one of the most underpriced asset of the state. Estate Valuers of Edo State origin were not given the opportunity to partake in the covert process, leading to their purported sale. There are very strong undeniable insinuations that sale was for a top government official who is acquiring the property for his personal use.

There was no advertorial placed in national dailies for the sale of the properties for interested bids. This is horrendous and must be stopped. Selling Edo Library without any due process is bad on its own not to mention selling it to a foreign firm like ShopRite that has packed and left many Nigerian cities in recent times.

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What is the investment sense or economic wisdom in selling Edo library complex built with tax payers money to this private company? How can ShopRite be Obaseki’s problem right now? If he is so keen on having the trading firm in Benin City, common sense would say ummake use of the land beside Dumez Road which the previous adminstration was planning for the same purpose. Edo people are waiting and watching for Governor Obaseki to come out publicly to speak to this issue. He cannot hide under the toga of bringing investment to the state to fritter away our assets. Anything else is illegal. Enough is enough.

… Omogbai is a prince of the Uzairue Kingdom

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Opinion

VAT: Matters Arising [OPINION]

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Richard Asoge

Simply, Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax payable on the goods and services consumed by persons or business organizations. It represents tax on consumption levied at each of the stages of a given transaction taxable by VAT law which the final consumer bears the brunt.

VAT came about as a result of intellectual work of French Economist, Maurice Leave in 1954 and was first implemented in France in April 10, 1954. In Nigeria, the concept can be traced to the team led by Sylvester Ugoh in November, 1994 after which a committee was set up and chaired by Emmanuel Ijewere. The term of reference of the committee is not unconnected to how VAT will be implemented in the country seamlessly.

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VAT was finally brought into the Nigerian economy in 1993 by VAT Act No 102. Its introduction displaces sales tax that was hitherto in operation been administered by states and Federal Capital Territory. Abolishment of sales tax was not unconnected to the narrow base it operates as only nine categories of goods and services were captured. And besides, the basic principle of consumption tax which by nature, is expected to cover all consumable goods and services was negated. Therefore, the 5 percent operation of VAT in 1993 can be described as a fiscal measure to cover all the loopholes identified in sales tax in Nigeria.

Since VAT anchors on changes on levels of consumption, two elements are identified. Namely; VAT imput and VAT ouput. Input represents all items taxable and payable under the law which the manufacturer, wholesaler, importer, service provider etc, otherwise refers to as registered person or entity incurred when sourcing for raw materials for the purpose of production while ouput is the tax collectable on the items, goods or services rendered or sold out to another consumer by registered person or entity.

By computation, it is the excess of VAT output over the imput that is expected to be remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) by the registered person or entity who collects the tax on its behalf. However, if VAT input is more than the VAT output, then credit is given to the concerned entity by FIRS. It must be noted that as broad as VAT is, some items, goods, and services were not covered. Such include medical & pharmaceutical products, basic food items, educational materials & services, agricultural produce, services rendered to microfinance banks & mortgage institutions, all exported goods and services etc.

Ever since the implementation Nigeria Finance Act 2020 on 1st of February 2020, which empowers the registered person or entity to charge 7.5 percent, VAT has been a great source of income in the country. Infact, it is now the second source of income after petroleum tax.

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Nigeria is blessed in various areas. No state is without area of its strength from Lagos to Borno, from Edo to Plateau, all states consume one thing or the other upon which VAT is collected.

Demographic features, religion, culture, value, orientation, education among others vary among the people of each of the states, hence, the contribution from each state to the VAT pool is not expected to be equal.

It is clear that after 4percent reduction of the total VAT collected in a given period by FIRS to cater for its administrative charges, the balance is shared among federal, states and local government in 15percent, 50percent and 35percent respectively. From this, the states are the major beneficiary of the fund.

However, what goes to each state may not necessarily be proportional to its contribution to the pool but must be seen to be fair. Or better still, any state that shows interest in the collection of the tax within its environment should be left alone. VAT is in concurrent list. The state, to some extent, has a say on it. Given the interested state(s) the liberty to collect VAT, will in no doubt, lessen the over reliance of state(s) on the federal government for ‘meal’. This will also make the job of governance at the state level meant for serious ones and for those with creative thinking rather than for ‘jamboree’.

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Richard Asoge
Clappahouse Analytics
chards001@gmail.com
O8081492614


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Opinion

Nigerian Embassies Of Shame (2)

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Tunde Odesola

With a tongue roughly twice the length of its body, and a brocade of dubious colours for skin, the chameleon is the ultimate invisible animal predator.

Without premonition, small creatures like worms and insects searching for daily bread disappear suddenly into the Bermuda Triangle in the belly of the dodgy chameleon via a sticky, snappy tongue.

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Like worms and insects, in June 2021 alone, 1,032 Nigerians met sudden death in the hands of gunmen and kidnappers across the country, according to a fresh security report.

Approximately, the 1,032 casualty figure translates to 34.4 wasted lives per day, excluding deaths by sicknesses, auto accidents, extrajudicial killings, ritual killings, etc in a peaceful country in pieces.

Home or abroad, the fate of the average Nigerian is mournful.

Home-based Nigerians are plagued by physical and psychological deaths just like Nigerians abroad are not spared psychological torture and humiliation in Nigerian embassies.

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The overwhelming corruption yet pervading most Nigerian embassies despite numberless media reports in the last six years attests to the failure of the retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari led-regime in curbing dishonest dealings that have cemented the green passport in the hall of infamy.

FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Nigerian Embassies Of Shame (1)

Lamenting the nasty treatment she went through in the hands of officials at the Nigeria High Commission in the UK, a registered nurse, Kemi Samuel, who has lived in England for over three decades, said she suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder whenever she visited the commission.

A registered nurse with more than 30 years under her belt, Samuel recalled that every Nigerian in England, notwithstanding their locations, was required to physically come to obtain visas, renew passports or get new ones.

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Samuel explained that it was ridiculous that she renewed her 10-year British passport within two hours at Her Royal Majesty Passport Office, Globe House, London, while she laboured to renew her five-year Nigerian passport after visiting the high commission on seven different occasions.

She said, “If you want your British passport to be done as an emergency, you need to visit the passport office, but if you want to follow the normal process, it will arrive in your mail within four to five days.

“The reverse is the case in the Nigeria High Commission, where officials allow applicants to shunt the queue after bribing them. The officials were nasty to young and old, and they’ve no regard for children, women and the physically challenged. I was breastfeeding my baby and I had to leave my work each time I visited, meaning that I was losing money.

“In 1997, an immigration officer wanted to steal my passport at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. He hid my passport among the documents he was clutching and he said I didn’t give him my passport, and he was trying to walk away. I raised my voice and told him to bring out my passport from among the papers in his hands.

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“In 2010 when I wanted to renew my passport, they said there were no booklets from Abuja, so I had to use my British passport.

“Between February and August of 2016, my daughter and I visited the high commission over 20 times to renew our passports! Nigerians came from other European countries to renew their passports, too.

“There was the pitiable case of a female Nigerian student who needed her passport to renew her studentship. She said that was the 11th time she had come to the commission.

“When we got to Nigeria, the carousel didn’t work as there was no light at the airport, prompting passengers to use the light of the phones. All that was strange to my daughter who suddenly felt pressed to use the toilet. She ran out of the toilet when she saw heaps of maggots.”

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A Nigerian resident in Houston, Texas, who doesn’t want his name in print, lamented that he was asked to pay an unreceipted $20 as car park fee at the Nigerian embassy in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 50-year-old applicant, who is from southern Nigeria, said, “The embassy won’t process applications for more than one year, and after the expiration of one year, the applicant will be required to pay a fresh $195 as passport fee. Since it was the embassy that failed to produce passports as and when due, applicants should not be made to pay twice for passports.”

Nicknamed BB, the sad Nigerian also alleged that his online application was changed and ‘sold’ by embassy officials to another applicant who had bribed them.

“I picked up my American passport that can enable me to enter about 200 countries visa-free in my mailbox. I don’t know why my Nigerian passport, which nobody wants to see, is so problematic,” he said.

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Complaining about the terrible treatment meted out to visa and passport applicants at the Nigeria High Commission in London, a Nigerian, Sunday John, said applicants were never given appointment when they apply online.

He said, “They won’t give you an appointment when you apply online because they make money by giving appointments to those who have bribed them.

“Passport fee is 75 pounds but they will charge you between 300 and 700 pounds through the backdoor. I refused to pay, and I’ve since not been able to take my wife and three children to see my mum in Nigeria.

“I wanted to open a business account but because I’m not British yet, my nationality was required. The non-issuance of a passport to me has put the business I’m planning to do on hold. I’ve vowed not to bribe them because if I do so, I’ll be encouraging corruption. Sadly, other African nationals in England get their passports in a matter of days.”

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Sharing his ordeal, another Nigerian, Mr Frederick Oluwole, who has lived in New York for over 30 years, said passport production at the Nigerian embassy in Manhattan was delayed because of lack of ‘nylon’ covering for passport pages.

Oluwole said, “They took my unsigned money order from me. They didn’t allow me to write my name on it. What they would later do is to write their own name on it and collect the money on the order, and pocket it.

“They talk down on you as if they’re doing you a favour. An official had to fly to Nigeria to bring common ‘nylon’ which could have been sent through courier.”

It’s the same hopeless song in Ottawa where the Nigerian embassy in Canada is located.

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Narrating his nightmare, a Nigerian, Valentine Abiodun, disclosed that calls to the embassy were never picked.

“When someone eventually picked my call after weeks of calling, I told him I had been calling the embassy repeatedly, the officer said he travelled. I was shocked, and I told him the embassy wasn’t a private business that should be held up by an official.

“I told him I had sent in my passport for renewal. He told me they’ve not received it. Because I was tracking the passport, I told him who received it at the embassy.

“Then, he said I should call back. When I called back, he said he had seen it, adding that he would stamp and send it to me through mail. I said he shouldn’t. By 2am that night, I got a car and travelled down to Ottawa, getting to the embassy in the morning to pick my passport.”

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FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Buhari Is Worst President, Ortom Is Right

A young Nigerian living in Mississauga, Ontario, Emmanuel Ogunlade, said he just received his renewed passport, which he had been processing since January 2020, two weeks ago.

Ogunlade said, “It was a terrible experience. I travelled to the Nigerian embassy, Ottawa, a journey of 427km, thrice after uncountable calls that were not answered before my passport was renewed even as I paid $23 twice for prepaid envelopes. They sent an email saying that they’ve sent my passport to me, but it was false. They later admitted they’ve not sent it.”

An anonymous female resident of Dubai said Nigerians now go to Abu Dhabi from Dubai to obtain their passports because of the hardship encountered at the Nigerian embassy in Dubai.

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Uhhmm, Nigeria, under Buhari, is rich in corruption, home and abroad.

Sai chameleon!

*Concluded.

Tunde Odesola is a seasoned journalist, columnist with the Punch newspapers, and a guest writer with Info Daily.

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Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola
TundeOdesola.com


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