…Bagudu, Ekweremadu, Etete, Tafa Balogun top list
…Report lacks substance – Gov Bagudu
About 334 top Nigerian politicians are listed to own about 800 choice properties that is worth about $152bn in Dubai, the capital city of United Arab Emirates
The list, which have Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, and the senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Ike Ekweremadu, aas well as former minister of Petroleum Resources, Don Etete and former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balagun is contained in a report published at the weekend by an American-based non-governmental organisation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on its websit
The report, with its title as “Dubai Properties” An Oasis for Nigeria’s Corrupt Political Elites”, noted that its findings were based largely on private data compiled by UAE-based real estate and property professionals.
It would be recalled that while Ekweremadu, a former Deputy Senate President was recently free by the court in cases corruption cases instituted by government anti corruption agencies, Atku Bagudu, who is the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, which is a forum of governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, has severally been linked with the numerous loots that are associated with late Military dictator, General Sani Abacha
Just recently, the Kebbi state governor was alleged to have asked the federal government for a share of the over N300m which recently agreed with the government of United States of America to be returned to Nigeria as part of the Abacha loot, which Atiku Bagudu was alleged to have helped the former military dictator to louder overseas
The report, which described Governor Bagudu as Gen Sani Abacha’s money man, linked him to eight properties on the 12th floor of Dubai’s capital bay towers development valued at more than $4.8m in total, while Ekweremadu was allegedly linked to eight Dubai properties, with an estimated total value of more than $7m (N2.66bn). The report listed Ekweremadu’s alleged properties to include a luxury flat in Park Towers bought for $2.2m (N836m) and one in Burj Dubai purchased for $1.4m (N532m), including other properties in the United Kingdom.
The report also alleged that about 20 former and serving governors, seven former and serving senators, current and former heads of ministries, departments and agencies of government, commissioners and bureau de change operators, own a significant number of the properties.
Other prominent Nigerians who allegedly own properties in Dubai include a former Peoples Democratic Party chairman, Ahmadu Ali; former Kwara State governor, Mohammed Lawal; former petroleum minister, Dan Etete; a former deputy senate president, Ibrahim Mantu and a former managing director of the defunct Oceanic Bank, Mrs Cecilia Ibru.
Others are a former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun; former chairman of Military Pension Board, Bala Mshelia; former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ladan Shehu, and a former head of the Petroleum Product Marketing Company, Samuel Okeke, among others.
The report also identified possible use of fronts by prominent Nigerians, including former Delta State governor, James Ibori, adding that about four political associates of the former governor were found to have ties to properties in Dubai.
A breakdown according to the report showed that 156 politically exposed persons own 226 properties in Dubai; 13 known Nigerian law enforcement agency suspects own 216 properties; 50 PEP-linked business persons own 91 properties while 14 security sector leaders own 71 properties.
The report further linked 69 properties to 35 governors; 16 properties to 45 lawmakers; 25 properties to 16 heads of departments/agencies; 24 to 15 ministers; 13 to NNPC staff members; 13 properties to five Presidency staff and one property to a judge totalling 800 properties.
The report stated, “The 800 Dubai properties linked to Nigerian PEPs are estimated to be worth well over $400m. This equals roughly two-thirds of the Nigerian Army’s annual budget and over three times the annual budget of the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission.”
Responding to the allegations, Bagudu dismissed the report, saying it had no substance. The governor, who spoke through one of his aides, Yahaya Sarki, described the report as “one of those online reports which have no substance.”
When contacted, former Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu, said, “I have said this before, let anybody who finds any property listed against my name that is not in my asset declaration form which I duly submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau take such a property.’’