Nigerian Oil Tycoon Tonye Cole Joins Politics

Tonye Cole, a Nigerian multi-millionaire and co-founder of Sahara Group, has resigned from the board of directors of the company to attempt to build a political career.

The board of Sahara Group in a statement issued on Saturday said the Nigerian oilman was leaving the company in order to participate in active politics. Cole, 51, is looking to contest the governorship elections of Nigeria’s oil-rich Rivers state in the 2019 general elections.

Tonye Cole founded Sahara Group in 1996 along with his business partners - Tope Shonubi and Ade Odunsi. The company is now one of Africa’s largest integrated energy solution providers, and operates businesses in the upstream, midstream, downstream and power sectors.

El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras consistently rank among the most violent countries in the world. Drug trafficking, gang warfare and rampant crime have created an unthinkably dangerous climate that drives hundreds of thousands to flee Northern Central America in search of safety to the north or, increasingly, to the south.

 Parents fear for their children's lives every day. "Gang members are in the schools recruiting children as young as 7 years old. Violence is everywhere," one mother says in despair. "There is no one to trust. The problem is too big. I have no hope."

 Here, some children share their stories about what it's like to grow up surrounded by violence in Central America. Their names and countries have been omitted for their protection.

"Where I live, there are gangs. They're the ones who rule here," a 15-year-old girl lamented in 2016. While her mother was away, on her fourth attempt to find work in the U.S., the teenager was left to watch over her two younger siblings. "They look for children from the community to bring them into the gang," she says. "I have a cousin who converted. He's in the gang now. He's only 12 years old. Now they're looking for him, to kill him. A friend of his was just killed. They stabbed him. Then they cut him into pieces and put him in a bag which they left for my aunt.

This 15-year-old girl was approached by a girl at school to become a sex worker for a gang. The girl told her that if she refused to join the gang, they would kill her and her whole family. Her family sold everything they owned and moved to another country. "It was hard to leave my friends, especially because I couldn't say goodbye," she said. "We couldn't risk the gang finding out."

Standing with his grandmother, this 10-year-old boy told how his father and five uncles were killed in gang violence in Central America. Some of his friends were too scared to come to school, where gang members roam freely. A 15-year-old girl from his neighborhood was murdered after being tortured for two days in a local gang headquarters known as Casa loca (crazy house). "There is a lot of violence here," he said in 2016. "I want to be a doctor so I can help people who are hurt."

Though he never joined a gang, this teenager grew up in gang territory. Going to school meant crossing into a rival gang's territory every day. At 12, he was attacked and badly beaten by gang members. His best friend was killed in gang violence. Continuous death threats followed, forcing him to drop out of school. He was able to continue his education at a UNICEF-supported outreach center situated on the border between the two gang territories, using a computer to access the school's online curriculum. "Every day, my mom is scared for my life when I leave the house," he said in 2016, when he was 15.

Source: Forbes
Date: Sep 4, 2018