Folashade Adebere Stands Tall in U.S., Refutes Biased Story On Her in 2004
Nigerians and the world woke up on December 7, 2004 to read a news article titled ''Internet encounter strands Nigerian woman" by Roselee Papandrea, a news reporter with Jacksonville Daily News ( www.jdnews.com ), a local newspaper based in Jacksonville, North Carolina, USA. The same news article was republished by different news media days after the original publication, either with the same title or slightly modified, for example "Nigerian deported after US Marine dumps her on arrival ". Masterweb News Desk received two phone calls early last week to alert her that Folashade Adebere, the Nigerian woman at the center of the news article by Roselee Papandrea was complaining that the write-up was biased and prejudiced. Masterweb Reports caught up with Adebere who now lives in U.S. in Virginia, to get her own side of what transpired in Jacksonville, North Carolina in 2004. The Nigerian woman who now stands tall with a promising career told our reporters that the article by Roselee Papandrea was nothing but a fabrication based on distorted facts, bias and prejudice. She said it was a case of the criminal running to press through a media associate to save face and discredit the weak and innocent.
Below is what Folashade Adebere had to say when Masterweb interviewed her on the incident.
Masterweb Reports - We took time to read the article by Roselee Papandrea before this interview and would like to hear your own side of the story regarding the incident.
Folashade Adebere - Thank you for the opportunity of reversing this great injustice on the innocent, weak and gullible.
Masterweb Reports - Why do you say weak and gullible?
Folashade Adebere - This is because at that time, I was a student in UK and invited by one Tyran Jay Loggins to the U.S. to visit while also doing some aspect of my research work. My research professor at that time was aware of my trip and he had given me a letter to take to another professor at the University of North Carolina, so I could work closely on some aspect of my proposed topic, while in the US. It was my first trip to the U.S. and that made me to be weak and gullible because I was in a new environment. I was innocent and trustful.
Masterweb Reports - That makes a lot of sense. Now what is your side of the story to the first paragraph of Papandrea's article which reads as follows: "A 27-year-old Nigerian woman was stranded in Jacksonville this weekend after a Marine she met on the Internet decided he didn't want her to visit."
Folashade Adebere - This is not true because Tyran Jay Loggins invited me and gave me a letter of invitation which enabled me get visa from the U.S. Embassy. It is untrue he didn't want me to visit, in fact he initiated the visit knowing fully well of my status as a student to enable me do part of my research work in the U.S.
Masterweb Reports - That also makes a lot of sense. One cannot invite another to a foreign country and after the invitee clears customs and immigration, the host claims his guest is unwanted. Then how was the invitee able to obtain a visa for the visit? Interesting. What do you say about the paragraphs that read: [ Jacksonville police on Sunday helped Folashade Adebere return to England, where she is attending school. Adebere was brought to the Jacksonville Police Department at 1:30 a.m. Saturday by a shuttle driver who picked her up at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, said David Shipp, deputy chief of the Jacksonville Police Department. When Adebere arrived in Raleigh, she called the Marine she had been corresponding with via e-mail for the past two months, Shipp said. "He advised her to get back on the plane and go back home," Shipp said. Adebere decided to come to Jacksonville anyway. She negotiated a $150 fare with the shuttle driver, even though she only had $80. When they arrived in Jacksonville, the Marine was called again to get directions to his house, Shipp said. "According to (Adebere), the Marine said again that she should go back home," Shipp said. "He wasn't going to pay for her fare." The shuttle driver wanted his money, so he took Adebere to the Police Department. "He said he wanted his money and would prosecute her if she didn't pay," Shipp said. Police officers negotiated with the shuttle driver and he reduced his fare to $125. Adebere was still $45 short, so several officers chipped in money and paid the shuttle driver the remainder of the fare, Shipp said. Throughout the day Saturday, officers worked to get Adebere home. They called several agencies, including the U.S. State Department and Nigerian Embassy. While she was at the Police Department, officers used their own money to buy her several meals, Shipp said. The Marine was called by an officer, and he eventually showed up at the Police Department. He didn't want to see Adebere, but he did want to pay the officers back for the portion of the shuttle fare that they paid, Shipp said. The officers allowed him to pay some of it, and the remaining $20 was given to Adebere so she would have some money when she arrived back at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Sunday, Shipp said. ]
Folashade Adebere - When I arrived in the US, I had with me a suitcase, a handbag and a purse where I had kept some cash of about 320 pounds an equivalent of about $600. I had even made some purchases earlier on the aircraft, where I had bought a wristwatch and perfume in flight. So, definitely, I had no cash problem on that trip at all. When we got off the aircraft I asked someone on the queue with me if I could use his phone to call my friend ( Tyran Jay Loggins ) who was to come pick me up. I used this man’s phone to place the call. Loggins then spoke to me and told me he will be coming in about an hour. I knew Loggins for about six months (and not 2 months as alleged in the article) before my travel. I could not use my UK cell phone because the battery was dead and I could not recharge it on US electrical outlet, the voltage of which is half that of UK (220 volts). I did not realize until when I got to the bureau de change area that my purse and a few documents were missing either on-board the plane or in getting through the checks at the airport. However, I took some of the other change I had and converted them to US currency and coins, and started calling the guy on the pay phones, so that he can come and help me with the trouble I had encountered here. I made a complaint to the customer services manager as well but I was told they will look into the matter and that was it. I had to go by what she told me because I was a visitor and I did not know what to do. At this time, my charger would not work with the wall units, so I could not retrieve numbers of contacts I had on my cell phone and time was far spent. Everything was different unlike when I left Nigeria for England, where I continued using my phone and charger without any problem. All I had to do when I arrived in London then was to get a new sim card and continue the use of my handset. So, not being able to use my phone, was one unexpected difference for me that day. I waited for an hour and did not see Loggins, so I called him that I could take a taxi if he was running behind schedule. Finally, I got the number for a taxi and I told the driver to take me to Loggins' address. The taxi driver did not tell me it was that far away, and how much it would probably cost to get there. I remember Loggins was going to come from work and pick me within an hour, so I thought it couldn’t have been that far away. I placed series of calls to Loggins on our way with the taxi driver's cell phone. The cab driver heard some of these conversations but did not know the antecedents to the conversation. When we were getting close to the address Loggins suddenly stopped answering his phone. It was already very late and dark; we couldn’t see anything. The driver started to get impatient and actually started acting out about his money, saying he has to go. I told him to take me to an ATM so I can use my credit card. He took me to a store like a 711 (I am not sure) with an ATM inside. This was unsuccessful for obvious reasons, it was a Barclaycard issued in London and this was 2004. When the trouble became too much I told him to take me to the police station as the police will be able to help me. I was the one who told the cab driver to take me to the police station as I needed to tell the police what has happened since I arrived at the airport. When I got to the station, the cab driver was just shouting and screaming for his money, so I told them I have been in trouble for hours, I lost my wallet, could not use my phone, now am in this area - middle of nowhere because a friend of mine whom I met online that is a Marine officer had abandoned me for no just reason and I obviously needed his help as my only contact there. So they promptly took his phone number and address from me, and in their database they pulled his information out and told him to come to the station and pick me up. Loggins showed up hours later but then I had already seen some stuff (bad records) about him on the computer in the police department that were unsavory and coupled with his shifty and unstable behavior that day, I decided not to have anything to do with him any longer. When he came in, he paid the fare and wanted to take me with him, but I refused to go with him. Note this, I was the one who told the officers that I am not going anywhere with Loggins and that once I get to the airport, that I can find my way from there. I later got help to go back to the airport in the morning were I used the airport internet portal to reach some friends via e-mail. I later checked into a hotel for the next three days before I returned to England.
Masterweb Reports - Did the police give you $20 so you could have some money when you got back to the airport? Did the police contact Nigerian Embassy?
Folashade Adebere - The police did not give me $20 nor any money. They did not tell me they contacted Nigerian Embassy and they did not put me on the phone to talk to any Nigerian Embassy official.
Masterweb Reports - Nigerian Embassies and Consulates do not open weekends as far as we know, unless the police called and did not get a response. If that was the case, they would have indicated so. What do you say about the last paragraphs that read: [ An officer managed to get the return flight date on her round-trip ticket changed, and another officer drove her to the airport, Shipp said. "They did a good job accommodating her and getting her back home as soon as possible," Shipp said. "The officers went out of their way to help her." ]
Folashade Adebere - My return flight date was not changed by police, I returned at my convenience. The police did a good job in providing me security; I thank them for that. However, it is ridiculous what was reported because I did call them from England when I heard about this news and they denied ever doing anything in connection with this story. Officer Shipp himself denied having said what he was quoted as saying.
Masterweb Reports - How will you describe your 2004 U.S. experience and how does it feel being a U.S. resident now?
Folashade Adebere - It was a horrible experience; I thank God for seeing me through it. It was shocking to read of being deported, knowing it was just impossible. In addition, to be maligned as a desperate woman looking for an American spouse cannot be furthest from the truth about what I stand for. I do not believe in being with a man because he is a citizen of a particular country, -that means absolutely nothing to me. I only associate with highly intelligent people who are committed to using their influence and substance to advance humanity positively; wealth or status without these attributes is inconsequential to me. I still demand an apology for the conduct of all those involved, however, it is hard not to wonder at how silly and childish the whole plot was. Like, I always tell people, America is a great country and I am glad to be part of it. I am very happy with my career as a project manager and a budding entrepreneur.
Masterweb Reports - Thank you for granting us this interview.
*NB: Masterweb contacted Jacksonville Daily News and was told Roselee Papandrea no longer works with the newspaper. When we told them that Folashade Adebere refutes the article on her on their paper, they said they would like to hear her own side of the story. Masterweb also contacted Jacksonville Police Department and was told David Shipp (Jacksonville Police Department Deputy Chief at the time of Adebere incident) was no longer with the department, neither did they have records of the incident. The staff we spoke to said that apparently a report was not filed in the case, otherwise it would have been in their system since they keep files 20 years before destruction. Masterweb Reports later gathered David Shipp retired from service in 2009.