Former chieftain of the defunct National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, Ralph Obioha, has alleged that there are plots by his former employee and lawyer to take over his property after the duo destroyed his documents.
Obioha said his former employee, who also doubles as the Managing Director at First African Trust Bank, Yomi Tokosi, and his former lawyer, Chima Okafor, have perfected plots to take over his property located at N24A Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos State.
Obioha said he kept the original property file with Okafor when he (Obioha) went into exile during the onslaught on NADECO leaders by the Sani Abacha-led military regime over its refusal to swear in the winner of the 1993 presidential poll, Moshood Abiola.
He explained how he had in 1991, acquired the land from the late sculptor, Ben Enwonwu, whom he said gave him the power of attorney, deed of agreement, deed of sale, and deed of indemnity but that Abacha’s men invaded his country home at Arondizuogu, Imo State and destroyed some of the documents.
Obioha said he initially had a joint venture agreement with Tokosi to develop the property to an acceptable standard, “but today, he is fraudulently twisting the agreement we had”.
He said he has reported the matter to the Nigerian Police Force Investigation Department, Alagbon as well as written a petition to the Inspector General of Police in Abuja against Tokosi concerning incidences of harassment, assault, theft, trespass, and the threat to his life and lives of his family members but had yet to get justice.
Obioha said, “I am shocked at the twist of event, the deception and abuse of trust as well as the obstruction and mistreatment of justice in the matter. It is troubling how the instant case in which I am the victim is being manipulated to my detriment as there are no actions on the several complaints lodged.
“It is unbelievable that Tokosi has even made false claims that the land doesn’t belong to Prof. Enwonwu, but to the Lagos State Government. I bought the property at 24A Ikoyi Crescent in 1991, three years before a friend introduced Tokosi to me.”
Narrating his ordeal, he said, “Political unrest rocked Nigeria following the refusal of the military to swear in Chief M.K.O. Abiola as the winner of the 1993 presidential election. The truncation of Abiola’s mandate predicated massive unrest with General Sani Abacha assuming full military powers and I, being a front liner in the struggle, fled into exile in the USA for safety.
“Multi-Projects Limited continued with the construction of my property at 24a Ikoyi Crescent, reached foundation level, and had to stop as my flight to the USA which we believed would be brief, turned from months to years. I didn’t return to Nigeria until 1998.
“Later I had an agreement with Tokosi who asked me to allow him to complete the building on the basis of sharing the four units; two each to myself and himself (Tokosi). Tokosi also undertook to perfect the Certificate of Occupancy of the land and other fees.
“I had earlier handed over some documents, including the agreement I had with Tokosi, to Okafor for safekeeping.
“The agreement to allow Tokosi to complete and share the building between us is today my greatest undoing. Tokosi later rented one of the two units belonging to me (I did not sense danger then) and paid rent thrice but declined further payment while still occupying the unit.”
Obioha further explained how his erstwhile lawyer, Okafor, also betrayed him with claims that the original documents got burnt in a fire incident.
He said he got a call from Okafor while he was in exile when Okafor announced he was no longer acting as Obioha’s lawyer
“He said I should return immediately to Lagos and collect the property file with him. When I returned to Lagos after a week, I discovered that Tokosi and Okafor had concluded a plot to take over my property. Okafor refused to honour any invitation for us to meet, except once, and did not return the property file to me till date. We spoke on the phone and he said there was a fire incident in his office which consumed the property file. This is a lie.
“The missing agreement which Okafor claimed was burnt in a fire incident was contrived to destroy evidence, particularly the part that established that Tokosi was to perfect the land title, build a first-class finished building of the highest standard, ensuring all building approvals were obtained and consent obtained from me before any changes would be allowed.
“If there was a fire outbreak, why didn’t the duo obtain a police report of the incident? As a lawyer, why didn’t Okafor do an affidavit of facts over the incident and obtain CTC of the burnt documents and make them available to me? It was a planned scheme to take over my property. The two of them were of the mistaken conviction that if they succeeded in claiming that the documents were burnt by fire, then Tokosi would simply inherit the property. This is mischief.
“Tokosi and Okafor were aware that the enforcers of the Abacha junta invaded my country home, Arondizuogu, in Imo State and carted away the title documents on my property holdings in Nigeria, including the ones I received in respect of 24A Ikoyi Crescent.
“I felt secure that my lawyer, Okafor, was in the safe custody of the original documents of 24A Ikoyi. But it is regrettable that I was betrayed. Tokosi believes that the documents to the property are out of sight, this is why he is shouting that the production of the documents is all he wants.
“It is clear today following all developments that they are out to claim my property but they will fail.”
When contacted, Tokosi said he never wished to take issues with Obioha as instructed by his lawyer since the matter would be coming up in court soon.
“It will be better to settle it in court with all relevant proofs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Okafor had not answered his calls nor replied to the text message sent to his mobile line as at the time of filing this report.
SaharaReporters, New York