Two weeks ago, PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported on how an Abuja home of Nigeria’s immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, was burgled by police officers assigned to guard the property.
The policemen stole items valued at several millions of naira from the building located at No. 89, Fourth Avenue in the Gwarimpa District of the federal capital from March 2016.
Mr. Jonathan left power on May 29, 2015. He was deputy governor and governor of Bayelsa State and later vice president before his ascension to power as president.
Among the items stolen by the police officers were five sets of furniture, several Plasma television sets, several refrigerators, two sets of sitting room chairs, several air conditioner units and one gas cooker.
Also stolen were Niger Delta traditional attires in ‘Ghana-must-go’ sacks; suits, with the inscription “President Jonathan;” Ghana-must-go sacks containing women’s attires; a sack containing clothes that had PDP logo on them; and about 20 Niger Delta bowler hats.
The police officers sold the items piecemeal to dealers at the Panteka second-hand materials market in Tipper Garage, Gwarimpa, and other markets.
Mr. Jonathan, in a statement by his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, confirmed the vandalization of his house, which he bought from CITEC in 2004. He, however, disputed the specific number of each item stolen and the number of police officers involved.
“The house, which the former President bought from CITEC estate developers in 2004, was totally stripped bare by the thieves who stole every movable item in the house, including furniture sets, bed, electronics, toilet and electrical fittings, as well as all internal doors and frames,” the former president said.
The police have since dismissed four sergeants over the vandalization. Those dismissed, according to the FCT Police Commissioner, Musa Kimo, areMusa Musa, F/No. 436691; John Nanpak, F/No. 235422; Ogah Audu, F/No.261898 and Gabriel Ugah, F/No. 425210.
One of the police officers, Mr. Musa, iscurrently being prosecuted and was on August 8 granted a N7 million bail by an Abuja court.
Mr. Jonathan is, however, only the latest in a growing list of prominent Nigerians who have lost money or materials to domestic aides, close associates or security guards.
Others who have suffered similar fate include Senate President Bukola Saraki, ex-First Lady Turai Yar’Adua, and Titi Abubakar, the wife of former vice president Atiku Abubakar.
SARAKI’S ILORIN HOME ROBBERY
On June 6, 2016, the Senate President’s home in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State was robbed and at least N12 million cash carted away.
A statement by Mr. Saraki’s media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the money was stolen from the administrative office located next door to his house.
It said that though the perpetrators could not be identified at the time, reports that the senate president’s domestic aides were responsible for the theft was not true and that the amount involved was N12 million and not N300 million.
Mr. Saraki was governor of Kwara State for eight years before he was elected senator in 2011. He became senate president in June 2015.
“Unknown persons broke into the safe in the administrative office and stole the N12 million. The incident had since been reported to the police and the Kwara State Police Command is investigating the matter, with a view to nailing the culprits.
“There is no truth that the money ran into hundreds of millions, that it was in foreign currency or that the incident happened in Dr. Saraki’s room. The amount was simply in naira and the money has nothing to do with the Kwara State Government as being insinuated by some people.”
Mr. Olaniyonu did not explain what the Senate President was doing with such volume of cash despite the government’s cashless policy.
ANOTHER SARAKI CASE
In March 2017, while being paraded by the police, a dismissed operative of the State Security Service, Abdulrasheed Maigari, confessed that he stole N310 million from Mr. Saraki’s home in Maitama District of Abuja in 2015.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, while parading the suspects before journalists at the Force Headquarters Abuja, gave their identities as Emeka Kelvin, gang leader; Ndubisi Prince Ozor, second in command; and Abdulrasheed Maigari, dismissed SSS official, who provided technical and logistics assistance to the gang.
Mr. Moshood said Mr. Maigari was arrested by combined operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligent Response Team IRT, and the Anti-Kidnapping Unit from the Abuja Police Command deployed to rescue the Chairman of Gateway Insurance, Isa Salami.
In his statement during the parade, Mr. Maigari said it was an army captain in charge of the security of the place that ordered the theft.
“I served in operations department at Gombe and Osun Commands of the DSS before my dismissal in 2015. Before I was dismissed, I was posted to the home of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in Maitama and in November 2015, I can’t recall the exact date,” said Mr. Maigari, who was nabbed for kidnapping by the police.
“Three vehicles brought the N310 million into the compound and the army captain who was on ground that day ordered that we should take the money away because he suspected the money was government’s money which could have been wrongly appropriated and could, therefore, be taken.
“We were four DSS operatives and four army officers involved and we drove the three cars to a house in Suleja (Niger State) where the money was shared. I got N30 million and I bought a car and took it to Kaduna State where I hid the rest of my share.
“I came back to Abuja, but on November 28, 2015, I was asked to report at DSS Headquarters and when I got there, I was interrogated over the theft and detained for five months, dismissed and charged to court.”
Both Mr. Saraki and the DSS later accused Mr. Maigari of lying, claiming the money did not belong to the senate president.
An Abuja High Court recently granted Mr. Maigari bail after he agreed to drop his claim that the Director General of the SSS, Lawal Daura, was aiding Mr. Saraki to subvert the cause of justice.
TURAI YAR’ADUA LOSES N91 MILLION TO HOUSEHELP
In September, 2016, one Yusuf Sarkin-Gida, a domestic servant to the family of late President Umaru Yar’Adua was reported to have stolen cash and property worth N91.4 million.
The money and items belonged to Turai Yar’Adua, the wife of the former president. Mr. Yar’Adua was governor of Katsina State for eight years and president for about three years.
At the time the incident was reported, the 70-year-old Mr. Sarkin-Gida had served the family for 40 years.
The police said following a complaint lodged by the Yar’Adua family, it arrested Mr. Sarkin-Gida.
“We received a formal complaint from the Yar’Adua family and we invited him and investigation is still ongoing,” said the Katsina State Police Commissioner, Usman Abdullahi.
“It will surprise you to know that that man has been serving the family for over 40 years and the whole keys to the house are under his custody.
“There are materials and raw cash that got missing. If I give you the keys to my house and I come back and see that some things are missing, who do I ask? The rough estimate of what is missing is about N91.4 million.
“The suspect is the custodians of all the keys and property of Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua for the past 40 years. There are 37 boxes in the custody of the suspect, but only 27 boxes are in the store.
“The several items in the 27 boxes are completely missing and the suspect has failed to give full explanation on the goods and items in the boxes.”
It is not clear if Mr. Sarkin-Gida was ever charged to court.
TITI ABUBAKAR LOSES N910 MILLION TO BUSINESS PARTNER
In May 2017, while testifying before a Lagos State high court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, Titi, the wife of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, revealed how her business partner, Nsikakabasi Akpan-Jacobs and two others, allegedly defrauded her of N918 million.
Mrs. Abubakar’s husband was vice president between 1999 and 2007.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had slammed the accused with a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of property worth N98 million belonging to THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd.
The company, which was reportedly established in 2000 belonged to Mrs. Abubakar, Mr. Akpan-Jacobs and Mr. Fred Holmes.
Mrs. Abubakar was said to be the majority shareholder with 49 percent shares, while Akpan-Jacobs and Holmes had 25 per cent shares each.
Mr. Akpan-Jacobs, who was also the firm’s managing director and secretary, was alleged to have gone to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and altered the shareholding in his favour and forging its board resolution.
In her account, she said: “I thought the first defendant, being a pastor, will not defraud me. I thought that he was being genuine with me during our business dealings.”
The case is still pending in court presided by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye. In May, the judge had awarded a cost of N100, 000 against Mr. Akpan-Jacobs.