Friday, 14 April 2017


The serenity of the highbrow area of Osborne road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, on Wednesday was shattered by gunshots.
The gunshots, which reverberated through the quiet community, were from smoking guns of operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The operatives reached Osborne road around 4:30pm.

The reason for the sporadic shooting is yet unknown, but people in the area, including guards attached to the posh houses scampered for safety. Some of the guards made valiant efforts to hurriedly lock their gates before bolting for cover.

When the gunshots died down, some brave hearted guards gingerly stepped out and noticed that policemen and EFCC operatives, with vehicles, were at the front of House 16 Osborne Road.
House 16 Osborne Road is an 11 story building, excluding its penthouse.

The operatives made a beeline for the seventh floor. The door of the apartment was forced open.
Money was alleged to have been discovered in two rooms in the apartment. Another set of money was discovered in wardrobe. The money was neatly arranged were US dollars, British pound sterlings and some naira notes in sealed wrappers. The money was put as $43.4m, £27,800 and N23.2m.

The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said the discovery was through a tip-off from a whistleblower.

Yesterday, our correspondent was at the highbrow community and it was almost like a ghost town. Many of the residents were said to have gone to their different offices. But even  if they were at home, they tend to mind their businesses in their lush apartments. Buildings there are alleged to be owned by politicians and highly placed Nigerian individuals.

Private guards, attached to Bulwark security manned the gate of 16 Osborn roads. They were rude and hostile to journalists.

The leader, Haruna Mohammed, said they didn’t receive any instruction to allow journalists into the compound of the building. Stern faced mobile policemen were sighted inside the compound. Four men were also seen farther inside the compound, discussing.
Some private guards in the street, who witnessed the commando style EFCC operatives shot as they stormed the area, said they thought a robbery operation was taking place.

One of the guards in the street said: “When the EFCC operatives were coming, they took one way. As they came closer to Osborne road, they started shooting sporadically. Everyone started running. Nobody knew what was happening. We later saw cars going into number 16. We saw policemen.”
Another resident, working for one of the rich folks in the area, said that he later saw two cleaners that work at House 16. They were crying. He noted that even some of the guards were fuming.

He said: “They cried that they didn’t know that such a huge amount of money was inside one of the apartments in the building. They are not well paid. The guards working at House 16, said they used to see people take bags into the apartment, but never knew the bags contained money. The people who used to bring the bags, sometimes used to give them a tip of N500. The guards were angry that those people give them just N500, when they had so much more in the apartment.”

A northerner, working in one of the buildings on Osborne road said: “The shooting yesterday was too much. I thought the shooters were armed robbers. I later saw vehicles driving in and out of House 16. There were policemen everywhere.”

Uwujaren said that a court has ordered a confiscation of the money. Sources said that the EFCC was already on the trail of the elusive owner of the money and apartment. It was also alleged that EFCC is already making contact with the owner of the building.
Reacting to questions of the owner of the building, Uwujaren said: “We’ve only just discovered the money. We’re still investigating. These things take time. We don’t know the owner of the building or money yet.”

The EFCC also denied disclosing to anyone that the former Managing Director (Operations) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, was the owner of the apartment and money. Indeed, Wilson said: “We’re yet to make any arrest.”
Yesterday, some social media linked the money and apartment to Nnamdi-Ogbue. The woman’s lawyer, in a fast move, denied the allegation.

Nnamdi-Ogbue’s lawyer, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), in a statement said the report was far from the truth. Etiaba said his client was shocked by the reports.

He wrote: “The attention of our client, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue has been drawn to the news making round in the News Media to the effect that the large sums of money to wit: $38,000,000.00 (Thirty-Eight Million Dollars),N23,000,000.00 (Twenty-Three Million Naira) and £27,000.00 (Twenty-Seven Thousand Pounds) uncovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) from an apartment in Osborne Towers, Osborne Road, Ikoyi Lagos, Lagos State belong to her.

“By this Press Release, we inform the public (especially the News Media) that the said sums of money and/or the apartment where the sums of money were found do not belong to Our Client.

“Our Client is as shocked as many other Nigerians at the uncovering and recovery of the said sums of money and wishes to salute the courage and efforts of the EFCC in the war against corruption.

“She also wishes to commend the whistle blowing policy introduced by the Federal Government in the fight against corruption which policy has resulted in large scale uncovering and recovery of monies and assets.

“It is Our Client’s belief that the source and ownership of the said uncovered sums of money is known or eventually will be known by the EFCC in due course. There is therefore no need for conjecture or speculation. May we finally implore the News Media to be more circumspect in their publications.”.


No comments: