Russian opposition leader, Alexey Navalny has announced that he plans to return to Russia on Sunday from Germany, where he has been recovering after being allegedly poisoned by the Russian state.
Navalny was poisoned with the lethal toxin Novichok in August while in Siberia and nearly died. He accused Putin of being responsible for the murder attempt on his life but the Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement.
He is currently in Germany, after receiving treatment at Berlin’s Charite clinic.
Recent reporting from Bellingcat and CNN revealed that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) had formed an elite team specializing in nerve agents that followed Navalny for years. Phone and travel records suggest that the unit followed Navalny to at least 17 cities since 2017.
A seperate CNN-Bellingcat report featured a phone call in which Navalny duped one of the agents into revealing that he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok applied to his underwear.
In 2014, Navalny was found guilty of fraud after he and his brother Oleg were accused of embezzling 30 million rubles ($540,000) from a Russian subsidiary of French cosmetics company Yves Rocher. Alexey Navalny was given a suspended sentence and his brother was sentenced to a prison term.
Russia launched a new fraud accusation and jail threat against Navalny at the end of 2020, increasing pressure on him.
On Monday, Russian prison authorities sent an official request to a court asking to replace his suspended sentence in a years-old case with a real jail term.
The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service said that by staying in Germany Navalny was violating the terms of his suspended sentence in the so-called Yves Rocher case, which Navalny believes is politically motivated.
Despite the threat to his life, Navalny took to Instagram on Wednesday, January 13, to reveal that he purchased a plane ticket to Russia after realizing that “he is almost healthy and can finally come back home.”
“There was never a question for me whether to return or not, never. Just because I didn’t leave. I ended up in Germany, having arrived there in an intensive care box. On January 17, Sunday, I will return home on Pobeda airline flight. Meet me,” Navalny tweeted on Wednesday morning.
In the video address, Navalny said new criminal cases brought against him in Russia were “demonstratively fabricated” and an attempt to prevent him coming back to his home country.
Navalny dismissed the charges against him.
“I’ve survived. And now Putin, who gave the order to murder me, screeches all over his bunker and tells his servants to do everything so that I do not return. The servants act as per usual: they fabricate new criminal cases against me,” Navalny said in Wednesday’s Instagram video.
“They are doing everything to scare me. But what they are doing there is not of much interest to me. Russia is my country, Moscow is my city, I miss them,” he added.
/CEO, Esso Properties Limited, Mr. Smith Sosochukwuma Ezenagu displaying his plaque at the presentation of awards and his induction into the Hall of Fame of LEADS Africa on Monday, January 11th , 2021 at Esso Properties Limited Headquarters in Awoyaya, Lekki-Epe Expressway.
The League of African Development Students, LEADS Africa has inducted renowned philanthropist, realtor as well as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Esso Properties Limited, Mr Smith Sosochukwuma Ezenagu into its Hall of Fame.
The induction took place on Monday, January 11, 2021 at Esso Properties Limited’s headquarters in Awoyaya, Lekki- Epe Expressway and also saw Ezenagu bagging two other awards. They were Corporate Endorsement Merit Award and Africa’s Patriotic Personality of the Year award.
While presenting one of the awards, Tankou Patrique, a Camerounian and Regional Representative (Francophone) of LEADS Africa, said Ezenagu was inducted into the body’s Hall of Fame for his consistency and dedication.
L-R) Manager Media, Esso Properties Limited, Blessing G. Ugbem, Founder/ CEO, Esso Properties Limited, Mr. Smith Sosochukwuma Ezenagu and Head of Administration, Amaka Ofortube at the presentation of awards and induction into Hall of Fame of Mr. Ezenagu by LEADS Africa on Monday, January 11th , 2021 at Esso Properties Limited Headquarters in Awoyaya, Lekki-Epe Expressway.
He said, “In terms of proficiency in corporate leadership, and other assignments/ideas generation and implementation, Mr Ezenagu has proven to be sagacious and ingenious. This equips him for the immense and outstanding services he has been providing to boost Africa’s quest for property development, especially with varied property acquisition plans for different classes of Nigerians. He has contributed immensely to self-reliance in real estate in Nigeria/Africa, and his erudition fused with his unparalleled commitment to 21st-century compliant leadership, philanthropy, community development and public service are the most important pathway to achieving the Africa Vision 2063.”
He added, “Today, Africa is reaping the dividends of his dedication, brilliance and effectiveness as a top-notch patriotic developer for nation-building.” Other delegates of LEADS Africa that were at the event were, Sandra Okpegbuo, Head of Gender, LEADS Nigeria and Abayomi Okuwoga, Director of Logistics.
Responding, the awardee said he was always dedicated and focused.
He advised the youths to imbibe the virtues, adding that they would always excel in their endeavour if they did.
Head of Administration, Esso Properties, Amaka Ofortube, Manager Media, Esso Properties Limited, Blessing G. Ugbem, Founder/CEO, , Esso Properties Limited, Mr. Smith Sosochukwuma Ezenagu, Otaru Mohammed, Vice President (Partnerships) and Tankou Patrique, Regional Rep. (Francophone) at the presentation of awards and induction into Hall of Fame of Mr. Ezenagu by LEADS Africa held on Monday, January 11th , 2021 at Esso Properties Limited Headquarters in Awoyaya, Lekki-Epe Expressway.
Ezenagu holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ecole Superieure Sainte Felicite Univerity, Cotonou in the Republic of Benin; Master of Business Administration from the Rome Business School, Lagos and other qualifications and certifications.
He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Esso Properties Academy, a real estate training institute with a futuristic approach to operations in the real industry. Ezenagu previously operated in financial management and training, superintending a company that grew to partner four financial institutions in Hong Kong, Dubai, Israel and London.