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Opinion: OMS: The Missing Links in Hosa Okunbo’s Tale

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By Anthony Badmus

Ordinarily, the attempt by Captain Hosa Okunbo to obfuscate the real issues and confuse the public through a massive manipulative media onslaught should be dismissed as a desperate and futile effort to clean his Augean stable. However, the inept and unskillful manner of his media campaign has only revealed to the discerning mind the missing links and his deliberate attempt to sidestep, if not totally avoid, addressing the substance of the issues in contention.

The issues in contention are crystal clear and unambiguous. The deliberate and orchestrated campaign to demonise Tunde Ayeni, a major investor and co-founder of Ocean Marine Services Ltd has failed to achieve its intended purpose but has rather resulted in leaving people wondering why the substance of the critical issues recently brought to fore in the public domain have been intentionally left unattended to.

Captain Okunbo wants Nigerians to believe that Tunde Ayeni has irrationally relinquished his shares in Ocean Marine Services to him. His claims are premised on an illogical notion that a highly discerning and successful entrepreneur such as Tunde Ayeni sold the totality of his over 30% equity stake in OMS, a multi-million dollar going concern valued well in excess of US$100 million, for a paltry sum of N2 billion (US$4.5 million) and a little change. He wants the corporate Nigeria to buy into the false narrative that a business strategy aimed at ensuring that huge debts owed the company was recouped was actually a forfeiture of investment decision, thereby resulting in a situation where he, Okunbo, has become the absolute Lord of the OMS Manor, whilst the man whose idea and contacts gave birth to the investment can take a dive.

However, it is common knowledge that deception has its limits and treachery has its expiry date. Discerning corporate players are not taken in by Okunbo’s wasteful media antics and the attempts to give a bad name to the one on whose back he rode to wealth and stardom. Assuming, without conceding, that his erstwhile Partner’s investments are now his in return for the proverbial bowl of pottage, a la Essau, does that, in any way, extinguish the critical corporate issues bordering on the illicit diversion of OMS’s corporate revenues that Okunbo has been called out to address?

Many still wonder what type of media battle is this that fails to address the salient issues that could clear his name once and for all, provoking the question: “Why is Okunbo dodging confronting the real issues?”

The critical issues here are gross mismanagement, stealing and criminal diversion of company funds. This matter is fundamentally about the abuse of business ethics and corporate governance for selfish ends.

Why is Okunbo maintaining a deafening silence on the allegation of the unauthorised withdrawal of $10 million allegedly spent on settling a Senate Hearing on one of the Subsidiary Companies, Secured Anchorage Area, SAA? When did the Board sit to approve such bizarre expenditure and on what basis?

Why is the recently deposed King Maker of Edo State Politics not in town to address the issue of the alleged illegal withdrawal of $8 million allegedly and supposedly spent on the Presidency, whatever that means. That withdrawal, which is what EFCC is currently investigating, was claimed to be funds withdrawn to take care of the dispute between the company and Ministry of Transportation and the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA.

Why is this self-acclaimed Lord of the OMS Manor with intimidating resources to buy all available media spaces and pages not addressing the gross allegation of diverting $5.5 million, being the proceeds of the sale of the company’s Challenger Aircraft, to his personal farm in Benin?

And this is not all. The EFCC is also beaming its searchlight on the company’s $5 million, which Okunbo allegedly singlehandedly withdrew and claimed to have invested in an oil block owned by Star Oil as a 5 per cent stakeholder.

Another key issue that will engage the attention of the anti graft agency is the $1 million which the Captain allegedly claimed to have borrowed from the company but which he has refused to pay back.

The alleged infractions are legion. How does one justify a claim by a company Chair that he expended $30 million on a film on Oil Spill in the Niger Delta Region and expect investors and, even the long suffering Niger Delta people to be excited?

But the mother of all infractions appears to be Okunbo’s recent political misadventure in Edo State where he threw in an intimidating war chest which unfortunately yielded a colossal failure. An unspecified amount of money estimated at about $18 million allegedly withdrawn from the company’s account, was said to have been expended on that costly political misstep.

The EFCC definitely has its job clearly cut out for it in respect of the many infractions at OMS.
Okunbo will be explaining to the anti graft agency why he singlehandedly moved the company’s account from Polaris Bank to StanbicIBTC and thereby abandoning the loan repayment commitment by the company to the consortium of banks that funded the acquisition of Ibadan and Yola Electricity Distribution Companies. The loan currently is about $100 million.

As damning and mind boggling as these issues are, corporate watchers find it strange that at OMS’ so-called Board meeting of December 17 2020, the Board could only have a one line response to the issues raised as follows: “…that its accounts are in good and correct order and its funds are intact and not missing, misappropriated or otherwise mismanaged.” Of course, the so-called Board members are his minions and those with insignificant stakes in the company.

That the ‘Board’ could take such major issues bordering on corporate governance and accountabily with such levity and treat Nigerians with such disdain speaks to the mindset of this Lord of the Manor who must have convinced himself that he could get away with any infractions since, in his worldview, everything and everyone has got a price.

But the day of reckoning draws closer and it is just a little more time before Nigerians will find out that some gods truly have feet of clay.

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Jealous Wife Murders Husband’s Would-Be Wife

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The Police have arrested a housewife in Kano State for allegedly killing her husband’s fiancée, a week to their wedding.

The Police on Tuesday said Suwaiba Shuaibu, 20, stabbed Aisha Kabir, 17, to death in an uncompleted building in Doguwa Local Government Area of the state.

The Police spokesperson in Kano, Abdullahi Kiyawa, said Kabiru Jafaru had lodged a report with the police that Miss Kabir was missing.

Mr Kiyawa said the police after preliminary investigation arrested Mrs Shuaibu of the same address as the complainant.

The suspect is the wife of Shaibu Ali, who was to be wedded to Miss Kabir on January 9, after six years of courtship, the police said.

“During interrogation, the suspect confessed that she had called the victim on phone, deceived and lured her to an uncompleted building in their neighbourhood where she used a sharp knife to stab her on her neck, chest and other parts of her body.

“I killed Aisha out of jealousy because my husband proposed to marry her,” the police quoted the suspect as saying.

Officers evacuated the corpse of Miss Kabir to Tudun Wada General Hospital, the police spokesperson said.

He said the state’s Commissioner of Police, Habu Sani, has directed the case to be transferred to the command’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Homicide Section, to wrap up the investigation.

Mr Kiyawa said the suspect would be charged to court after the exercise.

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Landlady’s Son Stabbed to Death over Friend’s Affair with Neighbour’s Daughter

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One Toheeb and his friends are currently on the run after allegedly stabbing one Akin Okebukola to death in the Alakuko area of Lagos State.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the men were allegedly mobilised by a woman, identified simply as Iya Abe, who was reportedly assaulted when a friend, Morenikeji Olawunmi, invited her and one Ajoke Bello, to threaten one Abu on the suspicion that he had been having sexual relations with her 16-year-old daughter.

Angered by the injuries she sustained during the assault, Iya Abe reportedly informed her son, Toheeb, who mobilised two other yet-to-be-identified friends to Olawunmi’s residence on Oluobadare Street Gbadabiu area of Alakuko, on Saturday, January 18, 2020.

A resident of the area, Johnson Idowu, said Abu fled from home before Toheeb and his friends got there, adding that in a bid to avenge his mother’s injuries, the men pounced on Abu’s roommate, Okebukola, and allegedly stabbed him with broken bottles in his leg.

He said, “Immediately blood started gushing out of his leg, because his vein had cut, and he was rushed to hospital but died on the way. After Okebukola died, Iya Abe, Toheeb and his two accomplices ran away. The person who was killed knew nothing about what happened; he was the landlady’s son, who accommodated Abu in his room.”

Olawunmi said she was not the one who killed Okebukola, but blamed herself for the circumstances that lead to his death, adding that Abu, who was the cause of the incident, ignored advice to desist from seeing her daughter.

She stated, “My daughter has been behaving strangely lately and I do beat her so that she could stop the behaviour. I even reported her to one of our neighbours, who informed me that my daughter was fond of seeing one Abu, who was staying with my landlady’s son, Okebukola.

“I asked Abu and my daughter to stop seeing each other but they refused to obey me. I had to call Iya Abe and my friend, Ajoke Bello, to help speak to my daughter and threaten Abu, but in the process, Iya Abe was injured by Abu. So, Iya Abe held Abu down, and quickly informed her son, Toheeb, who came with two other boys.

“Abu quickly got himself freed from Iya Abe and ran away. So, when her son and the two other guys came, they chased Okebukola and stabbed him in the leg. We rushed him to three different hospitals, but he was rejected and that was how he died. I was not the one who killed Okebukola, but I blame myself for all that happened.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said Olawunmi would be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, for further investigation, adding that some boys in the area, while protesting Okebukola’s death, destroyed both Iya Abe and Toheeb’s shops.

He stated, “When the incident was reported at the Alakuko Division, the Divisional Police Officer, SP Maryam Sonubi, mobilised policemen and the woman (Olawunmi), who alleged that one Abu was sleeping with her 16-year-old daughter, was arrested.

“During interrogation, she said she had warned him (Abu), but he refused to leave her daughter and she reported to some people, who called some boys, including one Toheeb, in the area to threaten him.

“It was out of annoyance that Toheeb’s mother called him because she was injured by Abu when they were threatening him to leave the woman’s daughter.

“So, Toheeb brought some guys to beat up Abu, who escaped, but his roommate, Okebukola, was attacked and stabbed to death. Unfortunately, the roommate was not the target.”

Adejobi explained that a manhunt had been launched for Toheeb and his accomplices, adding that Okebukola’s remains were deposited in the Ifo General Hospital for autopsy.

He added, “We were unable to pick the woman, who invited the boys. The boys also ran away but aggrieved youths in the community destroyed Toheeb’s shop and house for leading others to stab the victim.

“The Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has launched a manhunt for Toheeb and his accomplices to get them arrested and brought to justice.”

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Bandits Kidnap Prof, Kill Son, Three Others in Kaduna

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Some gunmen in  separate attacks invaded  three local government areas of Kaduna State on Sunday, killing four persons, including a professor’s son, two vigilante members and one other.

The invaded local government areas are Igabi, Zaria and Giwa.

It was gathered that the bandits first launched an attack on Anaba village and Birnin Yero town all in Igabi LG where one person was killed

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, who confirmed the attack on Monday, gave the name of the victim as Lawali Abdulhameed.

The commissioner disclosed that the bandits stormed Wusasa in Zaria LGA where they kidnapped the Wazirin Wusasa (title holder), Prof. Aliyu Mohammed, in his residence while his son, Abdulaziz Aliyu, was killed during the raid.

He also added that the professor’s nephew, one Abba Kabiru, was shot and injured.

According to the commissioner, bandits on motorcycles stormed Iyatawa village of Giwa LGA but were repelled by some vigilantes, forcing them (gunmen) to flee.

Aruwan noted that two among the vigilantes who battled the bandits were, however, killed.

“The two of the local vigilantes, Malam Auwalu and Alassan Shehu, were sadly killed during the encounter as ground and air patrols were quickly mobilised to the location for a comprehensive engagement,” he said.

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