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Op Ed

A Plea For Understanding in Zamfara Tech Shutdown – Okoh Aihe

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A Plea For Understanding in Zamfara Tech Shutdown – Okoh Aihe

I begin this material with a solicitation that you join me in prayers for a dear friend, Ahmed Abudulkadir who was kidnapped on Monday along with his daughter in Bakori, near Funtua in Katsina State. Ahmed is a nice fellow, a genuine go-happy gentleman who has no time for misery and regrets.

Ahmed has served his people without holding anything back. He was General Manager, Katsina State Television, before joining the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) where he retired as the Zonal Director in Maiduguri. The Maiduguri Zone also includes: Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Yobe. Before the Maiduguri posting, Ahmed was Head, Public Affairs of the Commission. It will be pertinent to observe here that with all the dangers in the Zone which includes the dreaded Sambisa forest, Ahmed traversed the whole of the area before retiring into farming in his native Katsina State.

Ahmed is a good man. Go to his Facebook posts and you will be overwhelmed with the love of one man for his family. Those who took him should look at the face of one gentleman that has given his best to his people and country and, please, release him to continue with his simple life. Let those who know how to pray, pray that God should come through for Ahmed and bring him and his daughter home safely.

Without a doubt things are spinning out of control in the country, demanding of all of us to encourage and support government in its actions to deal a lasting blow on the enemies of the land before the situation festers beyond redemption.

READ ALSO: For MTN, a time to celebrate a success story – Okoh Aihe

The nation is not at war but some people are going through war daily. They say there is peace and some unsavory developments are exaggerated; the peace is as good as a man and the young daughter being kidnapped and that man, who is a father, is unable to play the role of a father and defend his family. Villages are attacked for hours and nearly obliterated but help does not come. The attackers choose very soft targets where they can engage in looting and in the dance of death unhindered and people are wondering what is going on in the land. Something has to give. And that came last week.

For the first time government took a decision to shut down telecommunications operations in Zamfara State to enable the gallant Nigerian forces intensify their operations in that part of the country, and the document which is top secret found its way to the public space and it has been trending ever since. I have asked myself severally, how did this happen? Who released this document without even contemplating the implications?

“The second paragraph of the letter dated September 3, 2021, reads: “The prevailing security situation in Zamfara State, has necessitated an immediate shutdown of all telecommunications services in the State from today September 03, 2021. This is to enable relevant security agencies carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the State,” the letter said.

I have looked at this material I couldn’t find anywhere it is marked ‘Top Secret.’ How could somebody make that type of puerile mistake where lives are concerned?

Be that as it may, I have also tried to assess the behavior of whoever leaked the letter, there is no justification whatsoever. I admit that this government may have engaged in some actions that were unwarranted and really irritating sometimes, making the citizenry to hold some of its actions in suspect, but that should not make anybody in the country to underestimate the danger staring us in the face.

I have been reliably informed that the letter was not intended for the public because of the security implications but the public got it, and I am suggesting that the public also get the more sobering message, which is to the effect that the situation in the land is no more a handshake between friends. It has never been. The hold has gone beyond the elbow and only this government enjoys the reason why it cannot declare these bandits terrorists.

Some guy spoke to me on Monday morning and painted a grim picture of what is happening in some of these States where the war on terror has been raging. The source explained that for whatever reason the bandits have taken arms against the nation, the acquiescing conspiracy of the locals, among them informants,  is even more dangerous and damaging. Among the locals are the agents who the bandits pay heavily; they include suppliers of food, diesel, fuel, and other necessities. My source lamented that it is worse when the security forces believe they are fighting for the people only for a tiny few among these people to betray their commitment and sacrifice with results that can be very discouraging, damaging and even deadly.

“They have informants all over the place and they are paying those people heavily. The people are doing it as a means of livelihood without knowing the dangers their actions constitute to the nation,” the source said.

READ ALSO: Bandits Invade Zamfara School For Fresh Mass Abduction Of Students

From all indications, what is being done is so technical that the ordinary folks were not supposed to be in the loop. There is a way the neighbouring States are affected causing some parts of Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna and Niger to suffer some collateral damage by propinquity. The technicality or those involved in the chain of implementation of the government’s directive shouldn’t be our concern but the results. I remain miffed by the fact that a communication was even released to this effect, which nearly jeopardized the entire process. My source is however encouraged by the results coming to them from the field of operations.

Here is my appeal. The situation in the land is so dire and so potentially explosive that we need, as a people, to escalate our thinking process and be able to squeeze reason out of irrationality. In the war against terror, government needs help and Nigerians should give it even at a cost.

For instance, the people of Zamfara are under a very terrible situation at the moment. That is a grave cut. The security forces are ready to pay with their lives by paying the ultimate price. How do we ever pay them back? The operators and their contractors with total service shutdown have taken their own cut. The rest of us should be ready to take a cut and support government’s actions towards bringing this nightmare to an end. This tech disruption in Zamfara is only but a phase that will soon pass.

 

Final take. Please remember Ahmed and his little daughter in your orison.

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Op Ed

FFK: A Vulgar Striker on Transfer by Bolaji O. Akinyemi

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Nigerians To Fani-Kayode After Defecting To APC: You Have No Shame

Politics like football or soccer as Americans will call it has seasons when stars are open to transfer from club to club. This is usually a season their handlers must seek to strengthen their team in their areas of weaknesses with the view to have a competitions’ winning team.

The political atmosphere in Nigeria is at such a time now, and parties are doing their best to get not the best of skillful legs but of razor tongues who can inflict deep injuries on political opponents. This, the APC has taken advantage of, to sign on the most deadly tongue in political propaganda in Nigeria. Unlike football which is played with legs, politics is a trade of tongues!

There are highly rated tongues in Nigeria’s political turf, exhibiting top-rated verbal skills. Stars, like Festus Keyamo who is in a class by himself in strategic communication, Lai Mohammed, a midfield maestro having the ability to assist the attacking lines with passes for deadly strikes, his recovery in counter attacks to fall back in defense to dispossess opponents of the ball is commendable, but the “Otooge” exponent is of the ACN stuck in APC. His position at present is a threat to the CPC component. Though PDP may never recover from the damages done to her by Lai led verbal team, FFK is needed to take his place. Do I need to talk about the Big Joe Igbokwe, Femi Adesina, Garba Shehu, etc? The list goes on.

The challenge before Muhammadu Buhari is how to make good the promise not to end his presidency a failure, and his agenda on this is clear, the grazing routes must be recovered for the Fulani race. Rail line must be built from Kano to the Niger Republic to complement the Refinery already built there. Though this may look like a waste of Nigeria’s resources generated mainly from Southern Nigeria, but these projects for me, are not enough to say thank you to the people and Governors from the Niger Republic who turned out en mass to show their solidarity to one of their own during his last presidential campaign in Kano.

Femi Adesina’s attempts at selling the grazing route science, and ruga technology couldn’t fly in the southwest. His verbal jab, “your ancestral land or your life”, was too “fodiolically” offensive for the sophisticated people of the South West!

Good, as the stars studded APC side may look, none on their list comes near prolific Femi Fani Kayode in verbal vulgarity. He is in the class of blasphemous Pharisees, whom Jesus best describes as a brood of vipers! The strength of a viper is its poisonous tongue!

Nobody in the talking trade in Nigeria comes near him in rating, FFK is the only liar I know who neither stammers nor blinks in action. His smooth talk and fluency will blow up any lie detector’s fuse. The only antidote to FFK is don’t listen. Listening to him on this latest movement on Channels TV with Seun Okinbaloye, I can’t but pity Nigeria and Nigerians for Balak the king has hired Balaam the prophet! A verbal spell is unleashed against the masses. This concluded deception, only God can deliver our gullible population from.

FFK is better on your bench than to have him playing against you. The trauma of this, made PDP beg the spy of our oligarchy in power to stay, so he can play all qualifying games ahead of 2023 on their side but the offer from APC said it all, it is time to come out of hiding, back to the home he joined them to build in 2013! “Orí ade kíi sún si ajo”, a prince must not be buried in a strange land.

Don’t be surprised if FFK is given a portfolio in the cabinet reshuffle that may happen soon. This administration is indeed in need of one who can betray secessionists’ agenda, I doubt if any betrayal of tribe, east, west, south-south, or middle belt can beat uncle FFK to this rating!

FFK loves life on the juicy side. This of course has sealed this deal. According to him, he was one of those who formed APC in 2013!

In my first article on him, “FFK: the spy who fooled us”, I was determined to unveil the masquerade called FFK, but fathers in the Lord whose influence in the kingdom were too huge to ignore called me and requested that Femi should be treated like a brother who is fighting in defense of the faith, though I stated my reservations about their conclusion, but gave in to the plea. Today, I stand vindicated!

Though I was compelled to come out of my shell earlier in the year, when FFK first touted his desire to return home when he visited Yahaya Bello the Governor of Kogi State, I did, under an article titled; Femi Fani-Kayode: Our Fooling Spy And His Crossover Night”.

That FFK is a spy, his old friend Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who was captured outside Nigeria, Igboho his new friend who broke down in tears for fear of Government move against him, was parted on the lap by FFK whom he promised never to leave, should be able to tell!

The same house where FFK visited him was raided by DSS. Sunday Igboho is yet to be visited by FFK since he was arrested in the Republic of Benin! Please, if FFK comes knocking on your front door, bolt it firmly and run away through the back door, he was a forerunner of Igboho’s calamities!

Who else but a spy, can be in a party and yet be instrumental to negotiating the exits of Governors who are leaders of his party to the party in power? He boastfully recounted his exploits, “There are many people in PDP who want to come to APC, I was there, like a champion pointing to his trophy, he beckoned on the reporters to confirm his efforts that translated Matawale from PDP to APC. It was him who seduced Ben Ayade to come to APC dining table and of course, he converted the Chairman of the South East Governor from PDP to APC, and this happened while FFK was the PDP one man warrior against APC! Who could have fooled his party in this manner except a spy?

Ironically, PDP have little or nothing to worry about, Femi can’t do more damage to them than already done while he was a mole in their camp.

This star was “signed” to bench some stars who may be speaking for ACN in a CPC controlled APC. It is to this divide that Joe Igbokwe who is crying, “despite my push for APC, Abuja has neither called me to appreciate me, nor invite me for coffee with the C-In-C, this party only rewards traitors”! Uncle Joe, please hold on to your ACN given gutter job, for Femi is back home to send all fellows who are strangers in APC bed relationship packing.

A Yoruba adage says, “ile tó bá tọrọ, ọmọ àlè ibè ni ó tii dàgbà.” Meaning, if a family is at peace, it is because the bastard in the family has not grown.

This transfer scenario is nothing but the maturity of a family bastard back home to claim his rights, the future will certainly be rough for every member of the family!

There are others who in the estimations of their handlers are possibly over pricing themselves by aiming to be the valuable captain of APC team as presidential candidates. Such persons better prepared for this storm in the tea cup of their presidential ambition. May it not break their cup and spill their tea. Rotimi Amechi should begin to articulate in his hand over note. The only person in PDP who probably should be worrying is the Governor of Benue State. Samuel Ortom should be ready for FFK, while watching his back for Akume who may have a new portfolio for the sake of Benue mission!

Femi left no one in doubt of his assignments and of the terms and conditions of engagement. FFK was not brought into APC to do damage against political opponents but to fight from inside; “I will not renege from my core values but will fight from inside the party to have them established”, though he mentioned some of his “values”. But, please, ask yourself, what are the values you can relate Uncle Femi Fani Kayode with?

Coming out of his sign on ceremony at the Presidency, he mentioned the need to “fight foreign elements who want us to go to war killing one another, this is what informed my coming to see the President”. International alliances of the Yoruba nations’ agitators leading to successful protests around the world is expected to come under FFK verbal attack. He confirmed our suspicion of his physiological state of mind, when he communicated clearly, he is least worried about people of conscience who may be bordered about his past vulgarity against the President and APC. Our brother said we can’t hold him down to anything he has said in the past. Could this be what his hand shake with Pantami, a man that has risen above the deeds and sayings of his past, was meant to communicate? If Pantami can’t be held accountable for crimes inciting speech of terror against individuals and by extension, the State, why should FFK become a slave to his sayings in the past against a political party?

It is important for me to state that FFK must have been brought in to do vulgar damage to the ambition of Pastor Tunde Bakare who is being led by the Holy Spirit to become the President of the Federal Republic. Now that FFK has been led also by a “holy” spirit, the day ahead may be rough for PTB. He will be told by this new spirit man to stay out of politics and face the more profitable things of the Kingdom.

The Jephtah named at the Citadel should be ready for insults hauling. What is coming will make late Yinka Odumakin’s revelation of the Jagaban a child’s play. As for the Vice President, FFK will be a brutal attacking machine against a politically naive pastor and gentleman in politics!

Gumi must have been visited by the spirit that led FFK to APC when he accurately prophecied about what is to come, that FFK is the Judas of the Yoruba nation. This engagement is about the need to stop the agitations for Yoruba Nation, and possibly Yoruba Presidency which is majorly the aim of politicians behind the scene. One thing is clear he will justify his sign on with verbal assaults on whoever is unlucky to be on his list. Unfortunately for FFK, “bibire ni iyì ọmọlúwàbí”, meaning to come from a decent family is the honor of integrity. To the Yoruba nation, decency is not in his DNA nor integrity part of his core values. Our elders went further to say, “Ibí a bí ní kó tó ká tún rà ẹni bi” meaning to be born is not as important as to reborn one’s self. On both, Femi Fani Kayode is a drop out.

This transfer of course is a good sell for PDP and a bad buy for APC! “Spokesmanship” is not just about eloquence and wit of words, but about content of what is being said and the character of who is saying it!

Nigeria once had a football star, who had in him the skills of Okocha combined with the speed and strength of Amokachi. It was that star who redeemed us from the yoke of Cameron’s defeat at Adamasingba Stadium. But, for his lack of character, he couldn’t make it close to those he graciously combined their graces, in career. Charisma is good, but character is everything! What APC can make out of a man with charisma without character only the future can tell.

Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi, an Apostle, with focus on revival and revolution, the BID as he is fondly called is also a strategic communicator.

FB: Bolaji Akinyemi
Email: bolajiakinyemi66@gmail.com

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Op Ed

VAT: Wike, FG And Authority Stealing – Azu Ishiekwene

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VAT

The guns of Nigeria’s three-year civil war were silenced 51 years ago, but in the battle for a truly federal state, the echoes of warfare have never been more resonant.

On August 10, Rivers State, which at an average monthly federal receipt of N12b, is the third richest by dole amongst Nigeria’s poor 36 states, started a war with the Federal Government over the collection of Value Added Taxes (VAT).

The state governor, Nyesom Wike, a lawyer by training and leading member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), found a loophole in the tax law. He got a ruling of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt which affirmed that states, and not the Federal Government, are supposed to collect 100 percent of VAT.

The ruling, which could cost an already cash-strapped Federal Government significant revenues, also set off a chain of reactions from Lagos – and at least five other states – eager to cash in and reverse decades of lopsidedness in the country’s fiscal landscape. Only Kogi State, pleaded for charity and brotherly love, instead of law or economics – a plea that should have been directed elsewhere.

The current row may have been sparked by the nearly 60 percent drop in state revenues in a season when COVID-19 and the crash in oil prices have brought Nigeria’s prodigal government to its knees.

But the war between states and the Federal Government has a long, chequered history, dating back to the civil war era. Carving out the oil-rich Rivers State from the Eastern region was, perhaps, the first significant move to redraw the federal map at the onset of the war. It was an emergency, a strategic move by the Federal authorities to cut off supply, especially oil supply, to Biafra. It proved decisive.

It would turn out to be not the last, but the beginning of a series of brazen encroachments that has left states which were mostly created by the military without a thought for their viability, as mere receptacles of federal benevolence and brutality. The long spell of military rule after the civil war made matters worse. In contrast to the pre-civil war era, it reduced the states to zombies of Lagos (and later Abuja from 1991).

Victor Attah, former governor of the Southern Nigerian state, Akwa Ibom, said in a paper on the onshore/offshore dichotomy, for example, that up till 1970, derivation (revenue from minerals derived in the regions), stood at 50 percent.

After the civil war, Attah said, Decree 113 of 1970 put forward by the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo and promulgated by General Yakubu Gowon reduced derivation to 45 percent and at the same time appropriated the entire offshore oil revenue to the Federal Government.

The states endured. There was not much resistance that could reasonably be expected under the unitarist military rule. Also, it was thought that after the civil war, the Federal Government required considerable resources to rebuild the country.

But soon, like in most emergencies, understanding became indulgence and indulgence turned into abuse.

In his first coming, General Olusegun Obasanjo extracted another 20 percent to the centre, and his successor, President Shehu Shagari, took yet another 20, reducing onshore derivation to five percent.

By the time Obasanjo returned to office as civilian president 20 years later, the restiveness in the Niger Delta had boiled over. It had become so dangerous that the ad hoc measures, such as the creation of special funds and agencies by the governments before his, could barely contain the negative impact of the crisis on the country’s oil receipts.

Again, the perennially extravagant Federal Government hooked on cheap oil money, needed more fixes to shore up its falling income.

Instead of risking any legal landmines, however, Obansanjo settled for a “political solution”, in the now infamous onshore/offshore dichotomy, a fiscal gerrymandering which left at least 20 states worse off and the Federal Government twice as crookedly rich.

Nigeria is back at the same spot. Only this time the dispute is not about oil or derivation, but about VAT, the crown jewel of the top seven taxes in the country. It’s politically convenient to demonise Wike or to treat the current dispute as some sort of abhorrent beggar thy neighbour politics.

But the trouble is not with Wike. It is with those whose thinking has been so jaded by years of military rule they just can’t get over themselves. This VAT crisis should be a welcome lobotomy.

There’s nothing that Wike has done in respect of the current VAT controversy that is outside what the constitution provided for. The tax items under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Government, such as stamp duties, taxation of incomes, profits and capital gains are listed in the exclusive legislative list. No one is quarrelling with that.

It’s shocking that those who have spent years clamouring for the restructuring of the country have conveniently lost their tongue or yielded to be taken hostage by cowardice in the current VAT debate.

It’s not about Wike. In a viral video, the Chairman of the modified VAT committee, Emmanuel Ijewere, told Channels TV in an interview apparently even before the increase in the VAT rate to 7.5 percent, that the original plan when VAT replaced sales tax in 1994, was for states to keep 100 percent of VAT income. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was supposed to receive five percent of the proceeds as administrative cost, for easing the confusion brought on by multiple sales taxes in the states.

That plan was discarded in spite of the original intention of the military government and in total disregard of the clear provisions in section 162 (1) of the constitution which excludes VAT or taxes on sales and consumption from the schedule of Federal Government taxes. Abuja grabbed more than its legitimate share.

This is not a one-off transgression. It’s a consistent pattern of wide-ranging impunity which began with appropriating minerals to prosecute the civil war and later expanded to cover swathes of economic and social activities from policing to prisons, copyright to trade and waterways, among others.

Lagos State, especially under Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, reclaimed acres of federal wasteland through judicial intervention and brought relief to the states in areas such as betting, town planning laws, creation of administrative councils, and taxes in the hospitality sector.

I’ve heard the argument that in the end, Rivers State and the six other states challenging the VAT law may not benefit from it as much as they thought; that the VAT on alcohol which is the favourite trope of opponents of the current system is only three percent; and that on account of the considerable receipt from the VAT element of import tax, the Federal Government may, in fact, be better off in the end.

Nonsense. It’s the same warped argument that has kept the Federal police a monstrous shambles that it has been all these years, because some say that whereas it’s OK for the Federal police to brutalise and exploit innocents, police in the hands of states would be turned loose on the enemies of governors. We love federal oppression so much we’re happy to be sacrificed for it.

The point is not whether states will gain or lose more if they got 100 percent of the VAT. It is whether in a democracy, we are ready to do what the law says, however inconvenient. Until the law is amended – and the Federal Government’s desperation indicates that it knows it’s on a wrong footing – the government of President Muhammadu Buhari should obey and stop the authority stealing.

The matter of efficiency of modes of collection can be discussed by all parties and hopefully, they can reach a common ground. But the unilateral decision of the Federal Government to appropriate VAT beyond its residual administrative fees for the past 27 years must be condemned by all and called out for the fraud that it is.

The benefit of not being a lawyer is that I enjoy the freedom to not think in blinkers. Those hiding under the ruling of the Court of Appeal that the parties should maintain the status quo ante as excuse for delaying the enforcement of the ruling of the lower court are mistaken.

Status quo ante, in this case, cannot be a return to the illegality of the Federal Government stealing VAT that does not belong to it. Status quo can only mean a return to what the constitution provides explicitly – which means states, and not the Federal Government, are entitled to 100 percent of VAT.

Buhari’s government must end the shameful avarice and illegality and do what the law says – until it is amended.

Ishiekwene is Editor-In-Chief of LEADERSHIP

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Op Ed

Agonies Of Monogamy Against Polygamy

By Chief Tola Adeniyi, a former MD of Daily Times.

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Society must rethink this issue of pretentious monogamy vis-à-vis polygamy so that in the not-too-distant future we do not end up with millions of unmarried women whose life style would be worse than prostitutes’ and millions of children whose fathers would be nowhere to be found.

The article is designed to expose the hypocrisy and pain associated with embracing false notions which are really not observed by any culture in the world, and to advise those who erroneously sentence themselves to a life of sadness and emptiness because they were deceived to believe that there is some utopia somewhere called monogamy.

I am very much aware that this article will generate a lot of controversy most especially from those who live holier-than-thou life and have continued to deceive the world that they are upholders of a doctrine that is not supported by true and enlightened interpretation of any religious doctrine.

My Greek, Italian, Russian, British, American and other Caucasians routinely visit their other wives [called by other names] with whom they have children. But back in the homes shared with the one carrying the ring, they are monogamists!
If God had wanted humanity to be monogamous He would not have made the pigeon the only monogamous creature. The cultures that practice polygamy had always known that at any given time, the number of available marriageable women far out number available men plus the fact that an 80-year-old man, if he has money, is still very much in the market whereas a 60-year-old woman may not be that lucky. The biological limitation to a woman’s productive age is also a factor. Why should a woman therefore remain on the shelf till age 45 when she could jolly well get married as second or fourth wife to a man who can afford to share life’s responsibilities with her? Why should a woman leave a man with whom she is No 1, simply because he took a second wife and end up being numberless in the hands of several men with whom she naturally shares bed just because of some doctrine she hardly understands?

All the women who should go and marry but are saying they do not want to share their man with another woman in a polygamous setting, are sharing current boyfriends with several other women. Where is the logic?

The argument that children in a polygamous house are always at each other’s throat does not hold water. Many siblings of monogamous families are sometimes known to have had worse and irresolvable or irreconcilable squabbles with dirty bitterness over inheritance or even other matters than children from different mothers.

The agony suffered by both men and women in the hand of unnatural laws and doctrines is too stifling for comfort. In 2002, five hundred and two Reverend mothers were reported to have died while procuring abortion in Rome (alone). Nigerian Tribune wrote an editorial on the unfortunate incident. And stories of Reverend fathers having children and sodomising young men in their care are legion! Why the hypocrisy? Why should the world continue to live the life of Ostrich?

A well known Nigerian journalist hide his other wives from his wife because his religion would not permit of it and his wife, living in monogamy should not hear of it. At his funeral service programmes, 9 wives surfaced and the woman parading the ring collapsed. It was the grace of God that prevented double internment that day!

Mitterrand, the former French president was discovered to have side attachment with 2 kids after he died. Meanwhile French laws restrict man to only one wife. Arnold Schwarzenegger who was married to JF Kennedy’s sister had a troubling home. He disclosed to the wife that the male child the former house maid was carrying about was actually his son. That day the Kennedy lady did not sleep in that house. She parked out of the house that night with her 3 kids. She cannot tolerate to share her husband with another woman. She is there with no other man.

So, over to those whose opinion is hinged on whatever reason to rethink. This is becoming a wild fire that will leave no home in no distant time.

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