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USA refuge for Nigeria stars past and present

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Many Nigerian players who have found “refuge” in the United States of America never planned to quit active football when they did, but the experiences behind their move to America are better imagined than told.

No fewer than 50 Nigerian players and counting are currently eking out a living in the US and many more have not been lucky to continue what’s left of their chequered lives in the God’s Own Country due to lack of funds or visa denials.

The worst hit of this trend are the NPFL players – both active and retired – who have found relocating to the US tough, but still hoping to get on the move once the opportunity comes.

The Nigeria Professional Football League players have not kicked a ball since the last season drew its curtains four months ago and after several postponements, and action will return to the league venues today.

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The NPFL players’ pockets have been hit badly following the uncertainty sorrounding the resumption of the new season and lack of competitiveness has not also translated into moving abroad to further compound their woes back home.

Agents have scarcely been on the trail of NPFL players due to league inactivity and the players have hung on survival instincts to keep moving.

Many who have had opportunities with the national teams may have cursed their decisions to hang on in Nigeria, while their US or Schengen visas expired before the lure of bettering their lives outside Nigeria beckoned badly.

Attempts to lift their lives from the woods have not been helped with visa denials at the embassies leaving the players cursing their luck, while they refused to help their lives when they had better opportunities to move abroad at least to work for survival.

For those who succeeded to cross the Rubicon, they have savoured the new life in the US and counted themselves lucky to leave the troubled shores of Nigeria.

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One-time NPFL top scorer and former Orlando Pirates and Club Africain striker Ezenwa Otorogu is one of the former NPFL players who “escaped” to the US as the trend continues to grow among Nigerian players.

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The former Enyimba star has since settled down in US for a brand-new lease of life and put behind his harrowing experiences of his second return to the local league after he was released by his Israeli club.

The 2008 NPFL season top scorer is currently enjoying all the perks of his new American life as he’s settled in his new life as a worker, not even remembering what part of his home he hung his boots in Aba.

Otorogu endured the agonies of poor and delayed entitlements after he returned from Israel to put his career back together before US smiled on him to bring back a smiling face.

His ex-El Kanemi Warriors’ mate Ikechukwu “Mosquito” Ibenegbu had nothing to prove again in the NPFL with club and individual honours complementing his long NPFL sojourn, has also left the troubles of NPFL to join him in the US.
Ex-Enyimba star Rasheed Olabiyi has also stayed put in the USA

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He’s done this, done that in the local league and age was not on his side any longer to keep attracting mouth-watering figures from clubs hence his decision to better his life after football which Nigeria may not fully guarantee.

“Mosquito” could not secure a move outside the shores of Nigeria despite his superb outings for Enyimba and Rangers and with age catching up with the mercurial midfielder it wasn’t as good as it got for him.

“Mosquito” has since reunited with his long-time friend to bring their once lively El-Kanemi dressing room to Maryland where the duo have taken “refuge” after their tough times in Nigeria.

Otorogu isn’t the only ex-foreign based player who has sought new life in the US – a good number have put behind their bad experiences of securing clubs after being released from their foreign clubs to smile again in the US.

After painting India red and leaving no milestones to achieve, Ranti Martins found a new home in the US after winding up his career in Malaysia.

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Smart investor back home and in Ghana where he kick-started his hugely successful career, Martins also took his investment to US where he has since settled with his family.

Former Sunshine Stars’ striker Victor Kayode Igbekoyi had a very successful career in Azerbaijan, where he turned out for five clubs before he moved to US to play for North Caroline in the USL Champions in 2018.

The Ondo-born star, whose clearance to star for adopted Sierra Leone could not be finalised before he was withdrawn from the Leone Star’s team to play Tunisia in an AFCON qualifier, decided to permanently move to US after hanging his boots.

Still back home and hanging on the hope for a better life in the US, local players have also gone on the desperate route to get on the US escape route by looking for funds to pay agents for US visas.
‘Mosquito’ Ibenegbu chilling out in the USA

Not too many success stories have been told of this, but a few have succeeded and off they jetted out leaving their worries back home.

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Even the retired are not left out in the most sought after US succour – some of whom donned the national colours and played abroad.

Life in the US, according to them, is better than hanging on irregular wages and near endless league kick-off postponements and menial jobs over there can at least put food on the table and a few more dollars to send home.

With education alien to some of them, unskilled jobs keep body and soul together, while they work hard to obtain Green Cards through marriages to raise some bars for their lives.

The ageing ones in the NPFL appear to be the most desperate in this US survival story and more often than not they get a new lease of life leaving for the US through arranged marriages to US citizens organized by their younger more successful friends, who were lucky to “escape” to US.

While the ageing and the clueless grope in the dark and waiting for miracles, a few still active have hatched up plans for their smooth move to the US when they finally call time back home.

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One of those is a NPFL veteran, who told SCORENigeria he’s garnered enough life experience playing in Nigeria and abroad to put his life in his desired standard.

Part of his post-career plans is to move to US and continue his life without having to hang on anybody or anything for crumbs.

He said he has kept his US contacts close to his heart for a smooth transition, while his US visas are regularly renewed.

“I have turned both mentor and financial adviser to younger players and to my greatest joy, I’ve succeeded in helping lots of players to move to US for better lives after football,” the veteran continued.
Ranti Martins in the USA

“I have read many books and gained lots of information about immigration and its requirements which many of my colleagues are ignorant of or poorly educated to know.

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“A few derailing players have had their steps redirected by my advice thanks to my timely advice and interventions.

“I’m so close to some that even their families rely on me to bring their heads home and a lot have succeeded.

“I have had friends who played in Europe that didn’t know immigration opportunities therein until I told them and thank God lots have succeeded.

“Several times, I’ve succeeded in advising players to shelve pleasure and put their future in the right direction.

“Some who were and still are based in Europe I have advised to move their families to US and quit coming home on holidays to show off.”

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The US trend seems to have caught up with the active foreign-based players currently as many of them have moved their families to US, while they remain in Europe to see off their careers with a view of moving over when their careers are ove

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Charles Inojie: #MakeWeHalla movement shows it’s time to change culture of silence around domestic violence in Nigeria

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 Nollywood actor and director Charles Inojie has opened up what inspired he and actor Ali Nuhu to create the #MakeWeHalla movement against domestic violence.

In a recent interview with Wazobia FM, Inojie noted that he wanted to use his platform to change the culture of silence around domestic violence, and he realized that the way to do it was to make noise.

“When we all keep quiet, the abuser, perpetrator of this act of abuse seems confident to do more. But when we speak up and against the abuse without being violent, it sends a signal to the perpetrator that he should desist.”

Inojie continued, “This evokes what prompted myself and Ali to decide to join our voices for this matter. We thought about it and arrived at the fact that we all are guilty if we continue to keep quiet, and watch domestic abuse happen around us. “Make We Halla” is actually a call to action to everybody around to say “if you see something that is bad, speak out and do not keep quiet.”

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Ali Nuhu and Inojie recently teamed up in a viral video, “Make We Halla”, that has continued to make waves on social media. In the video, the two friends start banging on their plates in a restaurant in an attempt to call out the domestic violence they witness. Other patrons join in on the halla in a moving display of solidarity, and the violence stops.

The two film stars have gone a step further to start the #MakeWeHalla challenge that has seen celebrities like Wumi Toriola, Kiki Bakare, and Tosin Olaniyan, and many other fans jump on the #MakeWeHalla train and lend their voice.

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Explaining the challenge during his interview, Inojie said, “We’ve been overwhelmed by how much support we’ve seen in this movement. It just shows how much we need this conversation. People have spoken up, shared their stories, and most importantly, committed to “Halla” whenever they see domestic violence.”

He continued, “The #MakeWeHalla challenge for everyone is very easy. Just go Tiktok or Instagram. Almost everybody is now on Tiktok, almost everybody is on Instagram. Take your phone. It’s easy. No rules, just halla your way. Anyhow, you deem fit to add your voice in raising awareness against domestic violence is welcome. Halla, talk am. Or if you feel like “I am someone that is shy’, you can go to the videos already uploaded -whether my own oo, or Ali’s own – you can duet. Just post with the hashtag #MakeWeHalla. And the beautiful thing is that joining in the challenge to create more awareness even gets you a reward. The best Halla video will collect brand new iphone 12..”

Going further, he said, “The hashtag is very important so that we can see the video. The hashtag is #MakeWeHalla. If you like, tag Ali or tag myself and for the prize we have, the middle of May will be the finale.”

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When asked about his motivations for “Make We Halla”, Inojie also revealed how an incident he witnessed as a young man further changed his mindset about the need to always speak up when domestic violence is witnessed.

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“By myself, as a little boy, I have seen one who, till today, lost one eye to domestic violence. That time, many of us could have done something in that same compound but we felt like we were concerned about it, because they are a couple and they will sort themselves out. So, all of those things are what we refer to as silent bystanders, passive. People just say “Wetin concern me?” or ignore and move on with their lives and in little time, major damage would have been caused. This has led to several innocent children losing their mothers and some becoming orphans. Hence, we say no to domestic violence, it shouldn’t thrive in our midst or our society. Let’s see a way, a movement to call people to action saying don’t keep quiet when you see domestic violence, no matter where it happens, no matter who it happens to, speak out but not in a violent way. Let’s Make We Halla!”, Inojie encouraged.

Links to #MakeWeHalla Challenge entries:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C5bzgAhqf5w/?igsh=MXZ6Y2d0dmdjcHpwdg%3D%3D

https://www.tiktok.com/@jire_ogunleye/video/7361394106943245573?lang=en

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Meet Segun Ogedengbe, a versatile Nigerian actor and producer

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Segun Daniel Ogedengbe is a versatile Nigerian actor, movie producer, and skit maker with a rich portfolio of work in the entertainment industry.

Born on August 22, 1996, he is a graduate of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

As a producer, Segun has spearheaded the creation of several acclaimed movies, including “Omo Jeje,” “Oba Korope,” “Agbara Eje,” “Ayo (The Scores),” and “Emi Ni.” In addition to his work behind the scenes, he has showcased his acting talent in films such as “Peregun,” “EMILOJU,” and “Labalaba,” among others.

Segun’s creativity extends to skit making, where he has produced engaging content such as “Idan,” “The Herbalist,” and “Trap,” featuring popular actors like Okele and Solaibi Gaji. Collaborating with other versatile Nollywood actors.

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Meet Segun Ogedengbe, a versatile Nigerian actor and producer

Meet Segun Ogedengbe, a versatile Nigerian actor and producer

Meet Segun Ogedengbe, a versatile Nigerian actor and producer

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After successful London premiere, Aiyefele Movie to screen in all major cinemas across lagos from May 3rd (Photos)

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On Friday 5th April 2024, Double Tees Productions premiered and screened the movie Aiyefele at the iconic Odeon Imac Cinema in Greenwich London.

The premiere red carpet was graced by hosts of Nollywood celebrities, from one of the lead actors Biola Adebayo, Bimbo Oshin. To celebrity guests Rykado Agbor and a host of others.

Aiyefele Movie (A Community on the Brink) is a riveting feature film that follows the journey of a community always on the brink of desolation; it struggles to find a cure for the plague killing its citizens as its beliefs and practices conflict with the new faith brought by missionaries. The people are threatened by a self-destructive culture,
assaulted by an endemic disease and oppressed by some evil forces until an unexpected visitor arrives to lead them from the drumbeats of sorrow to a vibrant tune of freedom.

Aiyefele features a respected ensemble cast in the industry, including Odun Adekola, Mercy Aigbe, Femi Branch, Bimbo Oshin, Biola Adebayo, Rotimi Salami, Lara Aiyeomoni and Akinola Akano. It is directed by
the award-winning Seun Olaiya.

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Set in 18th Century Nigeria and England, Aiyefele takes its audiences on an emotional journey of sacrifice, reflection, and redemption.
Executive Producers are Toyin Moore and Omotayo Utomi.

Feedback from the Premiere in London has been hugely positive, with the audience describing the movie as interesting, funny, emotional, with a wow effect and an immersive experience.

AIYEFELE Movie will be showing at Bluepictures cinema in City Mall Lagos from Friday 3rd May 2024.

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Check out pictures from the London Premiere below.

 

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