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INVESTIGATION

How Skye Bank demolished 212 houses in Lagos, rendered over 3000 people homeless

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… Victims petition IGP, demand N10 billion as monetary compensation

 

Oluwagbemiga Ajiboye

Skye Bank Plc and its subsidiary, Skye Trustees Limited are currently enmeshed in fresh controversy following the demolition of more than 200 houses at the instance of the two organisations in Lagos, THE WITNESS reports.

While the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is striving so hard to achieve its target of delivering affordable housing to the people, the Tokunbo Abiru-led financial institution and its subsidiary on Thursday, July 26th 2018 visited hardship on the Glorious Villa Community in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State which housed over 3000 inhabitants when they demolished the properties.

THE WITNESS reliably learnt that trouble started when Skye Bank was discreetly sold a large expanse of land allegedly belonging to about 55 families by four of the families in Abule Parapo Phase 2, Awoyaya area of Ibeju Lekki.

It was further gathered that after winning the land dispute case from initial land grabbers, another set of family unit had three years earlier sold some plots located behind the famous Greenspring International School for the sum of N1.5 million each to the occupants who are now homeless after the destruction which gave them no chance to salvage their belongings.

 

Unknown to these family units, the four family units had also obtained a court judgment behind the scene and went ahead to sell the entire 200.184 hectares of land plus the court judgment to Skye Bank and Skye Trustees Limited which rushed to the Lagos State government through high-powered officers for the authentication of the lands in their company name.

Skye Bank, THE WITNESS learnt, reached out to the lawyers of the property owners to come over for ratification and demanded that they should pay sums of money ranging between N4 million and N8 million for the ratification of each of the plots in contention.

The property owners had suggested further negotiation and had reached a compromise with the bank, but Skye Bank allegedly went ahead with the demolition of the properties with the backing of about 300 armed operatives from various security outfits that harassed the residents and seized their belongings including phones and cameras.

The Skye Bank-ordered demolition has thrown the residents of the area into a state of distress and agony as majority of them now take refuge in uncompleted buildings outside of the community. Others have resorted to talking solace under the bridges around the area while some have moved in with their relations as squatters pending when luck will smile at them to acquire new accommodations.

Affected residents, most of who are customers of the Skye Bank have been counting their post-demolition losses, lamenting the suffering they are forced to go through.

“This pain is too much to bear, and to think that it comes from a bank I hitherto held so dear is worrying to me,” lamented a woman who did not provide her name.

Mr. Wise Iyanla while narrating his ordeal to THE WITNESS correspondent said: “I, my friends, my comrades and my families, we are closing all our accounts in Skye Bank. This is a trying moment but we will win this battle!

“As a young man in the corporate world, I strove harder to do some expensive things. One of the things I did was to strive to build a bungalow here in Ibeju Lekki axis (Awoyaya) and my land was properly acquired from the legitimate owners who originally acquired the landed properties from their forefathers as inheritance.

“All of a sudden, just last month here, I was at work when I received a WhatsApp message from a co-landlord, informing me that our properties built with our hard-earned sweat were being demolished by Skye Bank and their agent, Lekki Gardens Estate Limited  with a battalion of security personnel to protect their heinous action.

“What can I say as a young father and hustler? I said to my co-landlord, man can never be hurt. What took us years to stand, as struggling young Nigerians, were demolished in minutes.

“The most painful aspect of the story is the fact that our buildings were demolished in error because there was no court judgment that warranted the destruction of our properties and I doubt that the IG was aware of the illegal police officers outing during the criminal and malicious destruction of our properties and now that it is established, 10 billion for the accounts is feasible.”

Another affected resident, a 64-year-old widow and retired civil servant, Mrs. Oyekunle Azeez, said ever since the incident, she has been living in a church and her blood pressure had risen. “In tears, the elderly woman said: I laboured so hard before I retired to build this house, how have I offended the bank and their directors? This was all I had. Why do they want to send me to an early grave?” Mrs. Azeez lamented.

The lawyers representing Glorious Villa Community Development Association, Reagan Nzeteh & Co. has written Lekki Gardens demanding the sum of N10 billion from Skye Bank plc and Skye Trustees Ltd for what it called trespass to land, willful/criminal/malicious damage of its client’s properties and illegal demolition of the properties in Abule Parapo Phase 2 by the two organisations. They have also threatened to sue the trio if the money is not paid within a stipulated period of time.

In the same vein, the inspector general of police has been petitioned regarding the illegal use of over 300 police officers in the operation.

Efforts by our reporter to reach the management of Skye Bank and Skye Trustees for their angle to the development proved futile as enquiries sent to the bank were not responded to as at press time.

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BUSINESS

Wema Bank, Dana Airline in alleged money laundering scandal

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One of the nation’s topflight banking institutions, Wema Bank and Dana Air, owners of Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) have been fingered in a money laundering crime and may be prosecuted by the anti-graft agency.

According to a source, the airline’s inflight donation collected between 2014 and 2018 without following due process is the bane of contention.

“The EFCC will take it up. We will investigate and prosecute the crime element once prima facie is established,” the acting spokesperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade said.

Dana started Nigeria’s Sri Sai Vandana Foundation in 1995 and commenced the inflight donation in partnership with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria. But after the airline suffered a major crash in Lagos in 2012 in which 153 persons died, it ceased the collaboration, ‘re-strategised’, and solely ran the inflight donations.

Reports also reveal how Dana through Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, got the inflight donations between January 2014 and October 2018, raking in millions of naira deposited into the Wema Bank account number 0121291839 without due registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), a prerequisite for complying with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) regulations.

The EFCC official stated that the company will be sanctioned and that when there is a vacuum that is when we will lift the veil.

He further explained that by ‘lifting the veil’ he simply means “The company cannot run without humans. So, it is when everyone denies being members of the company that we go after the individuals.”

In line with the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, it is mandatory every Designated Non – Financial Institution, DNFI, to register with SCUML in order to legally operate in Nigeria.

Contravening the SCUML guidelines have some specific penalties, including “suspension or revocation of license, fines or imprisonment or both,” according to Sections 15 to 17 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

It stipulates a maximum of 14 years jail term for an individual but, in the case of a corporate organisation, the law says such organisation would pay “a fine of not less than 100 percent of the funds and properties acquired as a result of the offense committed” and would also have its license withdrawn.

Precisely, the law defines the unlawful act listed in subsection (2) of the Act to include “corruption, bribery, fraud, counterfeiting, and piracy of products…or any other criminal act specified in this Act or any other law in Nigeria.”

As such, Wema Bank officials involved in Dana’s account opening process may as well be prosecuted by the anti-graft agency, as soon as SCUML forwards its findings to the EFCC.

Source: ICIR

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INVESTIGATION

Sanwo-Olu’s Chief of Staff, Tayo Ayinde dumps wife, …Marries millionaire’s sister

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Barely one year after the crash of his marriage, popular Lagos politician, Mr. Tayo Akinmade Ayinde has found love again. He is romantically involved with Doyin Ojora, a popular society lady. Ayinde, who presently serves as the Chief of Staff to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state, was the Director-General of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group between 2018 and 2019.

This newspaper gathered that Ayinde ended his marriage to his first wife, Titilola, shortly before Sanwo-Olu’s gubernatorial project kicked off. Sources disclosed that Ayinde decided to end the marriage to Titilola and send her packing, for the flimsiest of excuses, which continue to elude the couple’s close friends. Not satisfied with his decision to call it quit with his first wife, Ayinde, reportedly, denied her access to their children.

Close sources disclosed that Ayinde’s decision to end his marriage with Titilola, has refused to sit well with his close friend. They can’t seem to fathom why he would dump the woman, who started from the scratch and made a lot of sacrifices to make him what he is today.

Sources revealed  that Titilola almost went into a state of depression when all efforts she made to reconcile with her family was frustrated by her estranged husband. Left with little or no option, the 49-year old lady left Nigeria and relocated to the United States, where she currently resides.

Meanwhile, Ayinde has since found love in the bosom of Doyin Ojora, a party-loving society girl. The two have since consummated the affair and now carry on as husband and wife. Doyin is in her late 30’s, and she is the niece of Otunba Adekunle Ojora, the boardroom businessman. She once worked with Ayodeji Joseph, during his tenure as Chairman of Apapa Local Government. Later, she was appointed as a caretaker of Apapa Local Council.

Ayinde, who hails from Ikorodu, Lagos State was born on the 24th of August, 1964 at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. He is an alumnus of Havard Business School, Boston, USA and University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Ayinde is a former security and intelligence personnel. He had previously served as chief security detail to the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from 1999 to 2007.

A source close to the chief of staff, however disclosed that he and his estranged wife have been separated for about 3 years and they finally divorced last year. “It was as a result of irreconcilable differences, he’s a good man who has right to live well.

This was one of the issues that counted against him when he contemplated contesting for the governorship, Aswaju told him that “koni yawo nile,( he doesn’t have a wife) so, if he decides to do that now,is it wrong? The source said.

SOURCE: First Weekly Magazine

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INVESTIGATION

Crisis rocks Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as D-G refuses to leave after tenure

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There is apprehension in the Abuja head office of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as a result of the decision of the Director-General (D-G), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, to remain in office after the expiration of his tenure.

Despite the order from the Permanent Secretary of the federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdullahi, who is the overall boss of the ministry in the absence of a minister, that Ihekweazu should vacate office based on the content of his appointment letter dated August 1, 2016, he has bluntly refused to obey the instruction.

A presidency source, who is in the know of what is going on in the agency, declared that the Permanent Secretary has made an official complaint against the D-G to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

The presidency source said: “There is a complete loss of confidence in the D-G and the top officials no longer hold meetings with him”.

Aside the fact that this action may affect the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari, it may also affect the mandate of the agency to effectively respond to the challenges of public health emergencies.

NCDC Memo

The source declared that the Presidency is already shopping for a replacement “and this will be announced soon”.

The top four directors in the agency are Dr. Joshua Obasanya, Mrs. Olubunmi Ojo, Mrs. Nwando Mba and Mr. Y.Y. Abdullahi. Of these four, Obasanya is the most senior.

There are also Deputy Directors such as, Dr. John Oladejo, Mrs. Elsie Ilori, Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe, Dr. Chinwe Ochu and Dr. Olufemi Ayoola “and I can tell you for free that these top officials don’t see eye to eye with the D-G again”.

One of the junior officials in the ministry declared: “Our D-G has vehemently refused to vacate office, despite the instruction from the Permanent Secretary”.

He said Ihekweazu assumed office on August 1, 2016 based on a letter signed by the then SGF, Babachir David Lawal.

With Ref. No. SGF.6/XXI/356 and entitled APPOINTMENT OF NATIONAL COORDINATOR/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE NIGERIA CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (NCDC), the letter reads:
“I am pleased to inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved your appointment as National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of the National Office for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC).

“The appointment took effect from 25th July, 2016 and your emoluments and other conditions of service are as provided under Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008.

“I am to add that your tenure terminates at the end of this Administration unless otherwise decided by Mr. President.

“Please accept my congratulations and best wishes on your appointment”.

The source declared that Ihekweazu “pressed all the buttons” to ensure a renewal of his tenure in May and April but a fresh letter was not given to him.

“He should have left office since May 29 but he has been using delay tactics. I can tell you that the morale is down in our office. All our ogas (directors) don’t attend meeting with Dr. Ihekweazu again.

“I remember the last meeting they had with him was about two days after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for another term on May 29.

“The D-G should have left office on May 28 but he told them that he would leave office Tuesday of the following week. Twenty four hours to the day, he called them again and announced that he would leave office the following Thursday. All of a sudden, the next thing we saw was a letter from the D-G, informing all directors, heads of departments and members of staff that he would go on one-week leave from June 13 to 21”.

The letter, dated June 11, 2019, reads:
“Dear Colleagues, I will be proceeding on annual leave from the 13th to 21st of June, 2019.

“During this period, Dr. Joshua Obasanya will act in my capacity as Director-General.

“I am very grateful for the hard work and support from you all in the first half of this year. It has been an extremely busy period but with a lot of success and remarkable achievements.

“The prospects of what we can achieve in the next half of the year are very exciting. I look forward to more progress on this journey.

“Once again colleagues, thank you very much for your support.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu”

The source said the paragraph ‘The prospects of what we can achieve in the next half of the year are very exciting. I look forward to more progress on this journey’ is already causing ripples in the agency as it is believed that Ihekweazu does not want to vacate office, despite the expiration of his tenure.

The source alleged that the D-G “is still signing cheques and awarding contracts, backdating them to May 27”.

“There is a serious lacuna in our office. The sit-tight syndrome is already affecting our operations here. There is also the allegation of nepotism against the D-G. Since the D-G resumed from the one-week leave, I have not seen our ogas (directors) in his office. Now, we hear all kinds of rumours.

“There is tension everywhere. One of the ogas (directors) told me that they will not have any meeting with him. Honestly, since the Permanent Secretary advised the D-G to leave, I wonder what he is still doing in the office”.

Established in 2011, the core functions of NCDC include prevention, detection and control of diseases of public health importance.

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