Connect with us

Government

Ajala: 9/11 Nigerian Hero Who Died for Others to Live

Published

on

  • Ajala: 9/11 Nigerian Hero Who Died for Others to Live

The seventeenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on United States was marked on Tuesday. A tribute on one of the three Nigerians who died in the attack, Godwin Ajala, first published on the tenth anniversary is reproduced below.

Ahead of today’s seventeenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States (September 11, 2001), families, friends, colleagues and others worldwide have in various ways been remembering the victims of the incident.

Residents of Dividing Creek in New Jersey have been placing flags to represent those who lost their lives. One of the flags is for Godwin Ajala, the only Nigerian officially listed among the deceased.

Godwin Ajala

Godwin Ajala

Although he is known at home as Godwin Ajalli, all the records of tribute referred to him as Godwin Ajala. He hailed from Ihenta in Akaeze Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

As part of activities marking the 17th anniversary, Janice Laws on September 7 this year wrote in the guest book of tributes for the victims on the website legacy.com: “I am proud to say that I placed a flag for Godwin Ajala” Ajala, who was 33 and a qualified lawyer before he left Nigeria was at the time of the attack an Access Control Officer working at the Concourse level of one of the World Trade Centre buildings.

Apparently exhausted after helping to guide many out of the attacked building, Ajala reportedly first went into a coma and did not die until the following Sunday.

But for the economic situation in Nigeria which has forced many professionals to seek greener pastures abroad, Ajala might not have been anywhere near the scene of the attack. He would have been practising as a lawyer in Nigeria. According to a New York Times profile on him, he migrated to the United States in 1995, hoping to earn more support for his family.

The New York Times report on the life and times of the 9/11 victims titled Profiles in Grief provided some insights into Ajala’s sojourn in the US and his unfulfilled dreams. The paper wrote, “At first he bounced between jobs, but ultimately he landed a steady position as a security guard at the World Trade Centre. Still, he was frustrated, and he began pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer in America, setting his sights on passing the New York State Bar Exam.

“His roommate, Christopher Onuoha, said Mr. Ajala worked from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., went home for a nap and then studied for the Bar for six to eight hours, often late into the night. Co-workers said he was last seen helping people escape from the trade centre.

“When he was living here, he was suffering in terms of always working and studying,” said a close friend, Christopher Iwuanyanwu.

“Every September, Mr. Ajala visited Nigeria, and he was planning to travel there again this past September to visit his wife, Victoria, and their three children, Onyinyechi, 7, Uchechukwu, 5, and Ugochi, 1. His friends said he was planning to apply for visas to bring them to the United States.

“His dream was that he would take the law exam, pass it, and with that bring his family here and invite them to the swearing in,” Mr. Iwuanyanwu said.

“He would have been much happier if his wife and kids were around.”

In response to the NY Times profile of Ajala, one Vanessa during the 2010 anniversary wrote “rest in peace, Mr. Ajala. I read your story on a memorial site and it struck a chord with me. Your work ethic reminds me of my boyfriend, who is also Nigerian. Thank you for coming to this country and helping to guide people out of WTC. You will not be forgotten.” Another reader, Alissian wrote in September 2003: “He worked so hard to make a better life for himself and his family only to have the dream destroyed by hatred. I hope he is at peace now and that his family can find peace and happiness in his memory”.

A Nigerian resident in New York, Austin Obi recalls his chance meeting with Ajala and how they became friends.

“It was sometime in early 2000 and I was the Manager at the Burger King right across from the Trade Centre, when Godwin came in for lunch. He saw my name tag and introduced himself and from then on he would stop by every lunch. He was tall, imposing yet very warm, friendly and affable towards my staff and I.

Everybody knew him. We would often talk about home, our families and our goals in America. He was a good man. May You Rest in Perfect Peace, my friend”

Monsurat Laidi, a Nigerian lady who was lucky to escape from the WTC according to a report on Nigeriaworld.com said Ajala who also works with the same company was a surveillance security guard and was normally outside the building. She believes he must have been wounded while trying to help others.

Iwuanayanwu, Ajala’s friend, confirmed that people remember seeing the late lawyer and asking why he was there, why didn’t he leave? His response was “Why are you running? Why aren’t you helping people out?”

Another colleague of Ajala, a security supervisor, who opted to remain anonymous, said he met Ajala that morning in the locker room. He said Ajala was a very popular person at the company and a workers’ union leader.

The security supervisor told Nigeriaworld: “he started work at 6 a.m. that day and we talked about the Jos crisis. I was going to leave at 7a.m. after an overnight shift. He was a union leader and was involved in contract talks on pay with the management of WTC. They just agreed to a salary raise for us. There was a meeting scheduled between the union and the management on that day.”

Continued the source: “After we left the locker room together, we departed and he went to resume work, I left him and we said we would see later.” The meeting was never to be.

Ajala is undoubtedly one of the heroes of the 9/11 attack. One of the best tributes which aptly captures the place of Ajala among the victims of the attack is by a blogger named CarpeDM.

“In a world where so many people are looking out for their selves, this man risked his life for others. Who knows how many were saved because of him? Today, whenever I see a flag or hear someone speak about 9/11/01, I will think of all those who died. And I will think of all those who survived because of men and women like Godwin Ajala.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

Published

on

China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

Continue Reading

Government

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

Published

on

President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

Continue Reading

Government

Ahmed Kuru, Hassan Confirm as AMCON, NDIC MDs

Published

on

AMCON

Ahmed Kuru, Hassan Confirm as AMCON, NDIC MDs

The Senate has confirmed both Ahmed Kuru and Bello Hassan as the Managing Directors of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigerian (AMCON) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, respectively.

The two were confirmed after careful consideration of two separate reports of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.

Also, the Senate confirmed Ebelechukwu Uneze and Aminu Ismail as executive directors of AMCON; and Muhammad Ibrahim as Executive Director of the NIDC.

Senator Uba Sani, the Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, said Kuru was confirmed as the MD of the AMCON in 2015.

He said, “The Corporation saw tremendous and tangible transformation and performance in effectively discharging its mandate during his first tenure through the introduction of new policies and frameworks.

“Strategically under his leadership, AMCON partnered investors and operators for value-enhanced exit of its portfolio companies, as well as the introduction and implementation of the Asset Management Partners scheme to assist with the resolution of small loans which in turn created over 3000 jobs both directly and indirectly.

“He also championed the creation of the Asset Tracing Unit which has led to more extensive discovery of assets and subsequent recovery of indebtedness while simultaneously having proactive negotiations with debt holders to achieve prompt and optimal settlements,” the lawmaker said.

Continue Reading

Trending