Written by Akintolu Ibrahim
** The biggest corruption and fraud in Nigeria since Independence, this is the reason Lagos’s debt is bigger than the whole of S/west, S/East, N/East and N/Central states together.
The massive looting of Lagos state by the Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has reached monumental proportion. Tinubu whose companies recently cornered a multi billion road construction job in Ogun State, has in his pocket all the juicy contract in all the Action Congress’ states.
In retrospect, it might be difficult to come to terms with the fact that an individual could hold the entire south west to ransom. There is no doubt that Tinubu has succeeded in buying the Lagos State government, and he has done this using government funds.
Whenever someone in Lagos begins to wonder where their 4th mainland bridge went, or what was the fate of the pipe-borne water project, or even where the schools and hospitals had vanished to, there is a silence that contains it all. The largest landlord in Lagos has done as he has pleased, and the rest of the state just has to deal with it. For instance: Number 4, Oyinkan Abayomi (formerly Queens) Drive, Ikoyi: A 5-bedroom detached house on one acre of land which was originally the Lagos State Governor’s guest house since 1979, but which now belongs to Tinubu. The certificate of occupancy of the property valued at N450 million was signed and released to him by Fashola in 2007 shortly after he assumed office.
Tinubu’s residence at 26 Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi was initially falsely presented as Oando Plc Guest House. Later, he purportedly bought it from Oando, and used public funds to rebuild and renovate it. The Lagos State Government bought the property and paid an undisclosed sum to him and thereafter gave the property back to him under the bogus Pension Bill he signed to law shortly before he left office in 2007. The property is worth over N600 million.
The annex of the Lagos State Guest House in Asokoro, Abuja was bought by the State Government in 2006 for N450 million, purportedly to protect the main house from security breach. Shortly after Tinubu left office, the property was transferred to him under the pension plan he signed into law before leaving office.
The 250-hectare land valued at about N35billion and strategically located at the Ajah junction on Lekki Road was initially meant for a General Hospital for the people of Eti-Osa Local Government but was stolen by Tinubu and handed over to Trojan Estate Ltd – a company owned by Deji and Wale Tinubu – to develop as Royal Garden Housing Estate at the expense of the taxpayers of Lagos.
The 1,000 hectares of land valued at about N75billion located at Lakowe near Abijo at Ibeju-Lekki Local Government and given to Lekki Concession Company (LCC) which is partly- owned by Tinubu and Fashola and being developed as golf course and housing estate by Assets and Resource Management Ltd (ARM) as ADIVA project.
The prime land of 157 hectares with 2.5km of Atlantic beachfront valued at about N10billion and stolen by Tinubu from the communities of Siriwon, Igbekodo, Apakin, etc in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government and given to Ibukun Fakeye – his crony to build a golf course and luxury villa with little or no compensation to the villagers. In addition, Tinubu paid $20million (N3billion) out of public treasury to Ibukun Fakeye to commence the project in late 2006. Fashola has since released additional funding for this project, which is not owned by the state government.
The 14-hectare Parkview Ikoyi Estate foreshore land reclaimed by Lagos State Government is now owned by Bola Tinubu.
While in office, he allocated to himself the former Strabag yard beside the Lagos State Secretariat at Alausa, Ikeja. The property is now being developed into a shopping mall as big as the Palms in Lekki. This is public property brazenly stolen and now owned by Tinubu, aided by Fashola.
The choice property at Lekki-Epe road on which he built and owns the multi-billion Naira Oriental Hotel and the extension of multi-storey car park beside it. Also, the multi-level recreation centre by Mobil in Oniru Estate on Lekki-Epe road jointly owned with ARM and Tunji Olowolafe. All these assets valued at over N25billion were obtained without paying a kobo to the Lagos State Government.
Tinubu and Fashola sold the following prime Lagos properties to their personal friend and front – Prince Dipo Eludoyin at very ridiculous prices:
a] The 3.8-hectare of land of Lagos State Fisheries office in VI (beside the Institute of Oceanography) valued at N3billion.
b] The fishery landing jetty at Badore (where the Ilubirin fishermen were to be relocated) valued at N500million
c] The entire Ogudu foreshore scheme initially earmarked for a low-cost housing scheme valued at N5billion
d] The Ilubinrin housing estate (which used to house Lagos state civil servants and judges up till 2007) valued at N2.5billion.
e] The former Julius Berger yard at Oko Orisan, Epe valued at N450million.
Tinubu raised a loan of N4.7billion on Eko Akete project for which nothing was achieved before he turned around to sell the property to his Chagouri friends of Chagouri & Chagouri and Hitech Construction Ltd at a ridiculously low price at the expense of the taxpayers of Lagos.
Tinubu applied to personally purchase the Federal Secretariat building while in office. When he couldn’t get to buy it, he directed Fashola to stop the eventual owner of the complex to develop it. The complex is presently wasting away courtesy of the Lagos State Government.
It took several months of horse trading and underhand payments before Fashola could allow the new owners of 1004 flats to redevelop the complex. Several other buyers of Federal Government properties and developers of properties in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Government Reservation Area Ikeja were forced to succumb to the outrageous demands of Tinubu, Fashola, Commissioner Abosede and other officials of the Lagos State Physical Planning Ministry and were made to pay ridiculous amounts to private accounts before their redevelopments were approved.
Those who refused or were unable to pay could not develop their properties. This is a major economic strangulation of property developers and has contributed largely to the skyrocketing rent in Ikoyi, VI and Lekki axis.
Tinubu converted all the plots of land where Lagos Polytechnic was located at Ikosi near the old toll gate. He chased away the Polytechnic in 2006 and went ahead to locate the choice plots to himself, his cronies and political associates. The headquarters of Television Continental (TVC), which is owned by him, is located there. He deprived the youths of Lagos of decent education because of his greed.
Tinubu solely sold the prime land on Aboyade Cole, Victoria Island which was recovered from some allotees, to UACN Properties Plc. The amount of proceeds was shrouded in secrecy.
Eludoyin, fronting for Tinubu, built the estate directly opposite Goshen Beach Estate in Lekki area.
Tinubu’s wife, Remi Tinubu, built the massive New Era Foundation youth camp at the junction of Eleko, off the Lekki-Epe express road, with Lagos State funds and has now converted it to personal use.
Tinubu owns the Fara Park Estate and the Beach Wood Estate both in Lekki.
The Critical Care unit at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja, built and equipped with state funds, is now owned personally by Tinubu. He has put one Dr. Sikiru Tinubu, (a supposed cousin of his) to run the outfit. It is run as a private unit and the proceeds are pocketed by the duo. The unit charges its users exorbitantly and most Lagosians can hardly afford to pay its high charges. Much of the revenue is derived from fees paid by the State Government for patients referred there by its General Hospitals.
Several prominent Nigerians in the judiciary, police, INEC, and other sensitive agencies have obtained prime land from former Governor Tinubu and incumbent Governor Fashola over the years without paying a kobo. Many of them had turned around to sell the land to third parties at substantial profit. Many top officials in the police, INEC and the judiciary who participated in the 2003 and 2007 elections and tribunals in states where Tinubu has interest were compromised with parcels of free prime Lagos land and cash. If the Lagos State Land’s Bureau could publish the names and identities of beneficiaries of land allottees from 2000 to date, the scandal that will result is better imagined. Gbenga Ashafa, now a Senator, and Mrs. Awofisayo were the conduits through which these acts were being perpetrated. Both were also personally involved in various dubious land transactions on their own.
Prime land and properties have been used to pay off public officials who are personally close to Tinubu and Fashola for “jobs well done” or for being privy to sensitive information, notably:
(a) Dele Alake, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, was sold a whole house on Alexander Road, Ikoyi where he lived as official quarters at a give-away price.
(b) Rauf Aregbesola, Osun State Governor, who was a former Commissioner in Lagos as well as Muiz Banire, also a former commissioner, got detached houses at Ladoke Akintola Street, GRA Ikeja for their “good job” while serving under Tinubu.
(c) Yemi Cardoso and Wale Edun, both former commissioners, were sold houses on Iru Close, and another location in old Ikoyi at give-away prices by Tinubu.
The fraud in Lagos state is the biggest corruption and fraud case to be recorded in Nigeria since Independence. This is the reason Lagos’s debt is bigger than the whole of S/west, S/East, N/East and N/Central states together.
With all the billion collected by the Lagos State government, the state has been unable to publish what their incomes are and the corresponding expenses for nearly 14 years.