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Fraudulent Nigerian physician sentenced to prison

ONUMBA.COM – Dr. Charles C. Njoku, 61, the Nigerian-born physician who pleaded guilty to charges of committing medical fraud and having his office assistant, Veronica Scott-Guiler, practice medicine, will spend a year and a day in federal prison for his shenanigans. That was the sentence handed down last week by the U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley. 

Njoku, who owned The People’s Family Medical Center, with offices in two locations, Akron and Columbus, including one at 1279 E. Dublin-Granville Road, could have received 30 years in prison plus a fine of $1.5 million. His package of punishment includes three years probation, including one year of house confinement, and 416 hours of community service. 

What’s more, he and Scott-Guiler will reimburse the government the $131,995 paid to People’s Family Medical Center as a result of these fraudulent billings. Prosecutors had pressed for a three year sentence for Njoku.  But his attorney Walter Madison argued otherwise, contending that his client should have been spared of any prison time, noting Njoku’s “exceptional life.”

Indeed, Njoku has had that kind of life. But it all came to an abrupt end after his arrest in January, setting off a saga that belied the storied career of a man whose impressive resume helped him build a thriving medical practice after earning his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., in 1979. 

In 1983, Njoku was licensed to practice medicine in Ohio. Continue Reading

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Somalis rally to support candidate for homeland president

ONUMBA.COM – The treacherous road to peace and stability in the East African nation of Somalia could pass through Columbus where Abdulkadir “Fish” Ali officially kicked off his candidacy for the president of his war-battered homeland. Ali, who was the Chairman of the Somali Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, made his candidacy official last week at a rally held in Days Inn on E. Dublin Granville Road. 

Before a group of friends and supporters, at an event bunting with Somali flags and patriotic songs, Ali urged his fellow Somalis in their native tongue to rally around his candidacy under the mantra:  “2011 New Hope for Somalia.” If he prevails in his bid, he vowed to establish an effective government rooted in “honesty, integrity and accountability.” In his speech, Ali outlined some of his plans to steer Somalia out of the crippling conflict that has robbed it of an effective government for nearly two decades. 

That conflict has shredded Somalia into a wreckage of despair, leaving its war-fatigued citizens dangling in brutal hostilities, which started in 1991 after the demise of strongman Siad Barre’s regime. “It’s time for a new leadership,” said Ali. Continue Reading

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Ministry promotes healthy marriages at anniversary clambake

ONUMBA.COM – When Rev. Comfort Kalu was planning the third anniversary celebration of the Fountain of Living Water Ministries International, she decided to gear the occasion in part towards an issue that’s hugely dear to her heart:  ‘marriage.’

So she invited an expert all the way from the State of Washington, author Dr. Asopuru Okemgbo, to come and speak on the subject. 

And Okemgbo didn’t disappoint. 

Navigating through some of the biggest pitfalls of marriage, he identified a menu of factors he blame for weakening the pillars of an institution that has come under assault from a barrage of salvos. It has even come to a cusp where folks don’t even bother to get married anymore.  They bypass it altogether, preferring instead to shack-up. What’s worse, society, even as it dangles morality as its foundational virtues, doesn’t even frown at that anymore because it has grown into an acceptable vogue. Apparently, the sense is, why say “I do” when many of the intrinsic bounties of marriage are also available to those who might as well be saying ‘I don’t.’  Single folks in relationships can do everything that married couples do:  live together, have sex, bear children and raise a family, all while reserving the right to walk away from it all without any costly legal brouhaha which is often part of a typical divorce saga. Obviously, going that route makes the issue of divorce a mute point. Continue Reading

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Columbus man is seeking to lead warring Somalia

ONUMBA.COM – Mahatma Ghandi’s words that we should be the “change we want to see in the world,” is probably no more than just a lofty cliché for a lot of people. But for one Columbus resident, it has become much more than that. 

It’s also a call to action. Abdulkadir “Fish” Ali said that it’s time to rescue his war-battered homeland from the mean-spirited grip of politicians he characterized as “inhumane, unwise and heartless.”  These folks, he said, have for years fanned the flame of a vicious conflict that has brought Somalia to its knees. 

Yet, through it all, Ali, like other Somalis, paced the sideline with hands folded as their troubled homeland ravaged in deepening squalor. But that was then. In an interview last week, the 52-year old Ali told the Call & Post that he has seen enough. Continue Reading

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Somali community celebrates education excellence

Onumba.com – When Fartun Farah, Huda Hashi and Mohammed Mahmud graduated from school recently, it was an exciting moment that each one of them celebrated with their respective families and close friends. But little did the trio know that they would also be celebrating their achievements with the rest of the Columbus Somali community and that Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and a bevy of other elected officials would be there to celebrate with them.  And that President Barack Obama would send a shout-out all the way from the White House in recognition of their accomplishments. Thanks to Jibril Hirsi, President of SomaliCAN, who in collaboration with the Somali Education Association, made it all happen after he decided to organize the event to celebrate educational excellence in the entire Somali community. The event, titled the First Annual Ohio Somali Graduation ceremony involving high School, college, and university graduates, took place at the Hilton Easton.  It was themed, ‘celebrating academic excellence.’  The keynote speaker was Professor Steve Howard of the Center for African Studies at Ohio University. Evidently, this kind of community clambake is an obvious departure from the norm.  Typically, each family would hold separate events to celebrate the graduation of a family member.  But Hirsi decided to change that.  He told the Call & Post that holding an amalgamated event is much more productive, not only because it celebrates collective community accomplishments, but also it brings the community together, even as it helps debunk the constant association of Somali youth to “terrorism” and “pirates.” Continue Reading