Slowly, he unzipped his trousers and without hesitation, removed his underwear to show a little pierced bulging mark in his private parts.
“There it is,” Olakunle Ajomale told our correspondent in a dejected voice. “It is because you are a man that I can show you; I have never shown a woman.”
According to Ajomale who presently resides in the Ogba area of Lagos State, the mark in his groin is the exact location of a microchip, planted on him through his anus by some officials of the United States Immigration and Culture Enforcement since 2010.
He added that the microchip is affecting some of his internal organs such as his testicles and navel. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines a microchip as “a very small piece of silicon containing a set of electronic parts which is used in computers and other machines.”
Ajomale wore a native dress on a sunny afternoon in the third week of July and sat on a chair in his house. Our correspondent sat opposite him on another chair with the verandah breeze blowing softly in the upper section of the duplex.
As serene as the environment was, one noticeable thing was that Ajomale was not comfortable. He shifted intermittently in his chair and paused often while talking with painful sighs synonymous with a headache.
“The greatest pain is on my back and I have regular headaches. My spinal cord is painful. I feel this almost 24 hours weekly. Can you imagine having this string of pains continually? I know God still wants me to live to tell this story and I want America to face me. Let them challenge what I am saying,” he said.
Ajomale is accusing the US government of an inhuman treatment meted out to him by some ICE officials in December 2010, before he was deported to Nigeria.
He explained that he had engaged the services of about 11 Nigerians doctors since he returned to Nigeria in February 2011 but none of them could detect the location of the microchip.
However, some Indian doctors came into Nigeria for an exhibition in 2015 and showed him the exact spot where the chip was implanted.
The artist told our correspondent that despite his effort to draw the attention of the US authorities to his predicament and the violation of his fundamental human rights by the US ICE, the country had done nothing about his issue.
“The US authorities have refused to deal with the matter or talk about it,” the singer lamented.
Ajomale started his career as a gospel music artist in 1994, although he said he had been involved in music since 1987. The artiste, known for his hit song, Leyin Jesu ko senikan, has lived for several years in the US before the 2010 incident occurred.
“This incident by the grace of God has not affected my music ministry in any major way. But I still feel pains as long as this stranger is in my body. I can’t sit the way you are sitting. I have to rest on my back. I cannot sit up in a chair or lean forward,” he said with a depressed voice.
The beginning of Ajomale’s travails
Speaking further, the artiste narrated that he first got to the United States on April 12, 1997, with a visiting visa. Around 11 years later, precisely February 2008, he became a permanent resident.
The artiste said on January 22, 2009, he travelled to Nigeria for his father’s burial and stayed about one week. On his return to the US on February 5, 2009, the decade-long saga allegedly began in the hands of some US officials.
Ajomale said he was arrested by an official at the Baltimore/ Washington International Airport, Baltimore, Maryland, and allegedly taken to a cold room for nine hours where he was told to make an incriminating statement of using a falsified passport in 2001.
He said, “I was convicted and sentenced to six-month imprisonment at DC Rivers correctional institution centre, North Carolina, and was released back to the community on August 11, 2009, at about 7pm after being cleared by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“About August 15 2009, I received a call to pick up my green card and passport at the ICE BWI airport office on Aug 19 2009 but surprisingly I was rearrested by the same officer Derrick who said they made a mistake to have released me.
“While in (a second) detention at Worcester Detention Centre Snow Hill Maryland, an ICE officer told me I could be released but it was going to cost me money. I told my lawyer about it who reported to senior ICE officers.
“In August 2010, I was moved to Frederick Detention Centre, Frederick Maryland and where I was feeling vibration on my bed; I reported to the authorities but no action was taken. My roommate was my witness yet the issue was taken with nonchalance. On December 3, 2010, I was invited by the chaplain pastor for a bible study with two other detainees and while returning from the chaplain’s office, I felt a strange movement in my navel and I told one of the inmates. We quickly approached the officers on duty to take me to the medical unit but instead, I was crushed to the floor by eight white officers.
“My pants were opened and a chip was put in my anus. I screamed but no one could help me. Since then, I’ve been feeling strange movements in my body. After about 48hours, my blood sample was taken and the report never got back to me till date as part of a grand agenda. I was called to see the Immigration Judge around December 17, 2010.”
Ajomale noted that he alerted the Nigerian Embassy, his family and lawyer to his ordeals, noting that he also sent a letter of complaint concerning his ‘immigration status’ to one Senator Cardin of Maryland, but his reply was allegedly intercepted and returned to the sender.
He stated, “On same day, December 3, I was asked to pack my stuff and to my surprise, I was flown to San Diego California. On getting there, I was put amongst the mentally challenged and when I was interviewed by a psychologist, I told him how embarrassing it was for ICE to have artificially made the absurd arrangement.
“At the San Diego detention centre, I met two Nigerians working at the centre, in whom I confided in about my ordeal. The ICE later moved me away to a private hospital where I also declined treatment and told the doctor that nothing was wrong with me. Nevertheless, I was forcefully given eight shots of injection. When I realised my health was continuously threatened, I voluntarily decided to drop my immigration case and return to Nigeria to save my life.
“On February 24, 2011, they moved against their agenda and unwillingly returned me to Nigeria. At the California airport, the officers bypassed the screening machine but I refused. They yielded to my request after deactivating the screening machine, to cover up their shady agenda. At the United Airline departure point, my boarding pass read Jacob Ajomale.
“And on getting to our stopover at Ghana Airport, two ICE officers who came with me lied that my boarding pass got lost in the plane to cover up the identity on my boarding pass.
When we finally got to Nigeria on Feb 25, 2011, I reported the device in my body to the Nigerian Immigration Department at the airport from where I was referred to the State Security Service officer on duty who documented the report and promised to follow up.”
Ajomale noted that before he left the US, he involved his attorney identified only as Mr Richard, who he said assured that the officials would remove the wandering chip causing harm in different parts of his body. According to him, that never happened.
He said, “I keep losing weight, feeling sharp pain on my back and continuous headache since the device was implanted. The Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan of my lumbar vertebrae at the government hospital in Ikeja, Lagos, attests to this. Each time I eat, the food is sapped from my stomach.
“I have scars in different parts of my body. I sleep and wake up with pains all over my body. This is a case of high-level human right abuse. In fact, I have no iota of privacy, it can even be said that my entire being is in the US while my body is remotely controlled, tortured and threatened daily by the US immigration authorities. Only God knows the amount of harm the electronic device has done to my body system.”
Medical tests confirm pains, moving object in Ajomale’s body
Ajomale in December 2012 approached the BT Health and Diagnostics Centre of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja Government Residential Area for a medical examination over his condition.
The lumbosacral spine MRI scan test result obtained by our correspondent and signed by a consultant radiologist anatomist, Dr M.A.N Akinkunmi, stated that the artist has lumbar spondylosis.
Our correspondent learnt that the situation is connected to the alleged torture of Ajomale before the insertion of the microchip in his body and eventual deportation to Nigeria.
Lumbar spondylosis is described as degenerative conditions affecting the discs, vertebral bodies and associated joints. It is a descriptive term to designate spinal problems.
The test result partly reads, “Disc spaces, intervertebral foramina, spinal canal and facet joints: The L4/5 and L5/S1 disc showed loss of T2 signals and height in keeping with disc degeneration. Conclusion: One, lumbar spondylosis, two; degenerative disc disease with disc extrusion and mild bacterial foraminal stenosis, mild right ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and mild spinal canal stenosis.”
In August 2014, the artist approached a private facility in Ikeja GRA for another examination and a medical report dated August 13, 2014, was done and signed by the medical director identified as Dr A. Lambo.
It reads, “I saw the above named (Jacob Kunle Ajomale) shortly after he finally arrived from the USA in 2011. His complaint was severe abdominal discomfort which radiates to the scrotum and other parts of the body including the head and chest. The patient explained to me that on December 3, 2010 something was forcefully introduced into him via his anus. Ever since then, the above symptoms occurred and he has been living with this pain and discomfort.
“A number of tests have been carried out in an attempt to locate the foreign body ranging from X-rays to MRI and blood tests. Presently, he feels a lot of discomfort and pain in the head and experiences something moving around in the body since the introduction of the foreign body into his system through the anus. Mr Ajomale has a permanent mass on the left aspect of the scrotum and sharp pains in the sacrum. Mr Ajomale has endured this discomfort for years and he looks forward to the foreign body being removed from his body.
“Amongst the physical injuries treated by us was an eruption and skin ulcer that occurred around his umbilicus in February 2013. This cleared with treatment but the sharp pains and discomfort all over the head and trunk and groin continue.”
Still not satisfied, in 2015, Ajomale decided to meet with some Indian doctors who came to Lagos, for a medical consultation only to Nigerians with “special cases.”
Continuing with the narration at the verandah in his house, Ajomale disclosed the shock he and his friend got from the Indian doctors during the visit to the doctors on Lagos Island for the examination.
He said, “It was the friend of mine who first heard of the news that some Indian doctors were coming to Nigeria for “uncommon health challenges.” That was what they called it. I was told to give it a trial and I went there. It was to start from 6am at the venue. I left home at 5am and got there in 30 minutes, but I was beyond number 20 in the queue.
“When it got to my turn, the personnel invited me in and I told one of the doctors everything that happened to me. I told him I always feel a strange object moving around in my body. The doctor asked me where, and I said I don’t even know but I feel movements inside of me. Then, the doctor used a scanner, started from my head but there was no sound.
“Then, he came down to my stomach; there was nothing, and when he got to my groin area, the scanner made a beeping sound. Then the doctor moved the scanner down my body but there was no sound again. Then, he asked if I came alone and I said ‘No, there was somebody with me.’’ He said, “’Okay, go and invite the person in.”
“The Indian doctor told my companion, “Look, this man truly has a chip in his body and though it could be removed, it cannot be removed in Nigeria.”
The artiste added that the Indians also gave him a 50-50 chance of survival if he was ready to get rid of the chip.
“I didn’t know what to do. I went to one of my lawyers and narrated to him what I was told. He said if I travelled and anything happened to me that would be the end of the case. He advised me to be patient. The Indian doctor did not give me a financial estimate yet, but it was not about the money; it was about my life.
“We concluded that the US is the best to remove the chip. They inserted it and they know the best way to remove it. If I try to go through an operation elsewhere and there are complications, they will claim they did not insert anything in me or they weren’t aware of it. That is my present predicament. I have just been holding on,” he noted sadly.
Our correspondent asked him about the allegation of a falsified passport which he was accused of in February 2009 which led to his incarceration at the DC Rivers correctional institution centre, North Carolina.
Ajomale said he was ready to challenge the US authorities, noting that he was innocent of the accusation.
He said, “Why did they make me write a statement under duress? I was entering the US that year with my passport and green card. I was not a criminal. Let them bring my passport. Let them show me where I falsified it.
“The statement they forced me to make was that I used somebody’s passport. They put me in a cold room for nine hours before I made that statement. That was serious torture. It was in February 2009; I was returning from my father’s burial in Nigeria. I was with my passport and green card.
“Some officials stopped me at the airport. They asked me to step aside and I did. They asked me some questions about a certain passport. I said I knew nothing about it. I was confident that I did not offend in documents. My passport and green card are with them till today. I don’t even need the green card again.”
Riding on Floyd’s case to get justice
Ajomale told our correspondent that the torture and death of George Floyd, a black American killed through police brutality on May 25, 2020, revived his desire to seek justice.
He noted that he had been receiving calls from within and outside the US that he needed to amplify his agitations about his failing health, now that there was a global attention on black torture, heralded by the movement; Black Lives Matter.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch in its World Report 2020 also scored USA and Nigeria low in the handling of the cases of abuses.
The organisation’s 30th annual review of human rights practices around the globe summarises key human rights issues in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2018 through November 2019.
The report partly reads, “In 2019, the United States continued to move backwards on rights. The (Donald) Trump administration rolled out inhumane immigration policies and promoted false narratives that perpetuate racism and discrimination; did not do nearly enough to address mass incarceration; undermined the rights of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people; further weakened the ability of Americans to obtain adequate health care; and deregulated industries that put people’s health and safety at risk.
“The US continues to have the highest reported criminal incarceration rate in the world, with 2.2 million people in jails and prisons and another 4.5 million on probation and parole as of 2017, the latest year for which Bureau of Justice Statistics figures were available at time of writing. The figures show a slight decrease in the number of people incarcerated from 2016 to 2017 and a 10 per cent decrease from a decade earlier.”
Ajomale can’t prove microchip medically–FG
When contacted, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who was aware of Ajomale’s matter, said the singer couldn’t prove the presence of a microchip in his body medically.
Dabiri-Erewa, who once served as the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, said in a text message to our correspondent on the matter, “We found nothing. We went as far as the Consul General, US Consulate, Lagos. He will need to have his allegation proven medically which he couldn’t do.”
Our correspondent also sent an inquiry by electronic mail to the US ICE Public Affairs regarding Ajomale’s allegations but the email had yet been replied since June 25, 2020. Instead an automatic reply mail partly reads, “If you are a member of the media, a member of the ICE press team will respond to your query as soon as possible – typically within one business day.”
Also, the spokesperson for the US Embassy in Nigeria was emailed on Ajomale’s matter but there was no response. He was referred to the Lagos consulate which also refused to respond to enquiries.