A storm has been brewing over NewsmakersNG story about a US-based businessman who was allegedly shown nothing but the lagoon after he was charged N787.5million for 150 plots of land in Lagos.
Mr Kennedy Chukwuemeka Nwabuoku told the Police how he had paid N577, 590, 792 in installments among other charges, plus another N18million for bush clearing in February, and how the land agents, Mr Michael Owolabi Alonge and Mr Emeka Okoronkwo, were sending him pictures and videos of caterpillars in action at the purported site at Ifedele Agunbiade Village, Sangotedo, in Eti-Osa area of Lagos. But, when he traveled to Nigeria to see the site, he was led to the lagoon.
The story went viral on social media, and thousands of readers from all over the world are polarized in their long thread of reactions on NewsmakersNG’s Facebook page and other platforms. Some of them expressed pity and shared similar experiences, while others either mocked and lampooned the victim or condemned the suspects.
The reactions also had political, spiritual and ethnic dimensions with comical illustrations and memes.
A reader, Mr Albert Oladapo Ogunwusi, posted on the thread: “Things like this happen when ppl (people) don’t want to pay lawyers. Any roadside legal practitioner would have perforated this fraud in no time and offered useful counsel. Imagine somebody who was to buy a piece of land that is worth several hundreds of millions and you don’t hear of the involvement of a single legal practitioner.”
Another reader, Mr Babatunde O. Gbadamosi stated: “Speaking as a stakeholder in the real estate industry, this is really sad, but unfortunately, quite a common occurrence.
“His first mistake was looking in the wrong place for cheap land. The only vendor selling “cheap” land is government, since they get the land for free and paid scant compensation for it, if at all.
“His second mistake was failing to use professionals with something to lose. A reputable lawyer, a registered surveyor and a reputable real estate agency would have saved him the money he lost.
“His third mistake was his willingness to spend that much money without viewing the property himself along with the aforementioned professionals first.
“For those telling him to involve relatives, they can be truly horrible. I can’t count the number of times relatives of people abroad, appointed to contact me in their behalf, have demanded that I inflate the cost of property to accommodate their own needs, in one case by as much as 100%!”
Okechukwu Ihemenandu Nwaosu stated: “This is inhuman; this is why most investors from abroad find ut difficult to do business with Nigerians, what stops them from acquiring the land for him and collect their fees. What their myopic nature didn’t tell was that an investor that can put down such amount of money is capable of turning it over after investing and whenever he needs any other property he will still call on them. It’s indeed a shame to some idiots that dupe people with the intention to better our society.”
Further investigations by NewsmakersNG have revealed more about the 45-year-old victim, Mr Kennedy Chukwuemeka Nwabuoku and the suspect, Mr Emeka Okoronkwo, the Country Managing Partner of Kings Court Realtors who the police are set to arraign tomorrow, instead of the earlier December 5 date, because he has complained of ill health and he is being kept at an undisclosed hospital in Lagos.
Background checks through reputable US organisations brought no negative report on Nwabuoku. The checks show that Nwabuoku has been a lead engineer for El Paso Corporation’s Wolfcamp Program in West Texas, and he had lived in Katy and two other addresses in Houston, Texas, before moving to Richmond where he allegedly stays now.
The checks, which also revealed that Nwabuoku has a Cadillac – 2015 Escalade and a 2013 Mercedes Benz in his garage, became necessary amid questions on the source of his wealth, even from one of his old school mates at the University of Ibadan (UI) who made uncomplimentary comments underneath the story, on newsmakersng.com, attacking the victim and NewsmakersNG.
The alleged schoolmate, George Arnold, stated: “I know this character called Kennedy Nwabuoku very well in our days in University of Ibadan and also lived with him in the USA. He cannot be defrauded because he is FRAUD personified. I will reserve my comment on this write up until I can hear the other side of this story. I won’t be surprised if he paid greatly for this story to hide some facts. Time may be able to tell us. We are still waiting for him here in Houston.”
Arnold later apologized for insulting the publishers in a mail to NewsmakersNG. Three days after his post a group of Okoronkwo’s friends also sent a rebuttal to NewsmakersNG.
Okoronkwo had allegedly told the police that he received N603million only from Nwabuoku for 100 plots which are yet to be delivered.
Here is the full text of Okoronkwo’s friends’ rebuttal titled ‘PURPORTED SALE OF LAGOS LAGOON: THE SHAME OF A NATION’:
“Our attention has been drawn to your publication titled as above. For reasons best known to you, you have deliberately misrepresented the facts and therefore misleading the public. Our findings reveal this to be a pure case of civil commercial transaction between two parties where one-party Mr. Kennedy Nwabouku is using his connections in high places to intimidate Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo a seasoned Professional, a Chartered Surveyor and Valuer of Kings Court Realtors, and therefore appropriate 50 plots of land to himself without paying for it. It is also instructive to note that a popular Lagos lawyer and an acclaimed human rights activist is aiding Mr. Kennedy in perpetuating this grave injustice.
The subject land is described in the survey plan attached to the C of O which same survey plan was used as the description in the Deed of Assignment conveying all 150 plots to the purchaser by the owners of the land.
The facts of the matter are;
- Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku through his agents approached Emeka Okoronkwo’s office to assist in the purchase of 150 plots of land
- Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo procured a block of 150 plots covered by a certified Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Lagos State government
- Mr Kennedy through 4 instalment payments was only able to pay for 100plots.
- The sellers became impatient and wanted quick completion of payments particularly as there were other potential buyers
- Mr. Kennedy requested Emeka to please find means of paying up for the 50plots so that he Kennedy Nwabuoku does not lose the land. Kennedy promised to pay Emeka back the cost of the 50plots afterwards
- Emeka then paid up for the 50plots to complete the deal based upon trust and agreement with Mr Kennedy Nwabuoku
- All the land documentation for the purchase of 150plots of land are with Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku. The documents include the C of O & the Power of Attorney, etc.
- Mr. Kennedy continues to hold unto the documents for 150plots of land whereas he paid for only 100plots
- When Emeka demanded for the refund of the cost of 50plots from Mr. Kennedy, he met with threats and blatant refusal from Mr. Kennedy.
- Emeka petitioned the EFCC following Kennedy’s refusal to refund him the agreed cost for the 50plots
- Mr. Kennedy using his connections in government petitioned the Police IG falsely claiming that land does not exist and that documents issued by the Lagos State government are fake. He then turned around and requested a refund of the money paid for the 100 plots, this is after 5 months of holding onto the land documents and refusal to pay his debt on the 50 plots.
- Emeka demanded the documents be returned to him to enable sale to other prospective buyers so that Kennedy Nwabuoku can be so refunded.
- The police intervened and encouraged parties to reach an amicable settlement of the matter.
- The Agreement for Accord and Satisfaction that was proposed and signed already by Mr. Okonrokwo in the presence of the Police IPOs agreeing that the land in question be sold and the proceeds used to refund the part payment made by the Mr. Kennedy.
- Kennedy using the police tricked Emeka Okoronkwo in believing they were coming for the execution of the settlement agreement. Emeka arrived his lawyer’s office where he signed the agreement in the presence of the IPO. The IPO also endorsed his signature on the settlement agreement.
- After signing the agreement, the IPO then told Emeka he was under instruction from his superiors to arrest Emeka Okoronkwo.
- Since Wednesday the 8th of November Emeka has been held at Alagbon police station and subjected to sub human treatments including torture and shackling his legs for a purely civil and commercial matter.
- The police refused him bail and instead went to magistrate court to obtain a detention order.
- The police continue to hold Emeka to perpetuate the threat by Kennedy Nwabuoku aided by an acclaimed human rights lawyer.
- Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku continues to hold unto the Original Certificate of Occupancy, along with the Deed of Assignment and a Power of Attorney, duly vesting the land in his company, his designated beneficiary. The receipt of these documents was duly acknowledged by the complainant by email on receipt.
Mr. Nwabuoku was and has been unable to affect the refund for the 50 plots and had asked Mr. Okonrokwo for time to affect the refund, which he was still unable to do after 3 months. The refund to Mr. Okoronkwo of the balance sum paid on his behalf to the owners of the land remains owed and outstanding to date a debt Mr Kennedy Nwabuoku acknowledged in writing.
It is pertinent to note that when Mr. Okoronkwo first became aware of Mr. Nwabuoku’s Petition to the Police, he on his own, visited the authorities at Abuja and at his cost invited the Investigating officers to Lagos to visit the Land’s Registry at Alausa as well as the Land site. The land in question was described as 150 plots and more particularly described by the survey plan attached to the C of O. It was in other to avoid any unpleasantness that Mr. Okoronkwo agreed to find another buyer for the land and to refund the money advanced by Mr. Nwabuoku. This was in the light of the several threats made by Kennedy Nwabuoku to severely deal with Mr. Okoronkwo.
It is worthy of note that Mr. Okoronkwo who had honoured every invitation by the Police, was arrested in his lawyer’s office at a meeting conveyed by the Police to sign the attached Agreement for Accord and Satisfaction in resolution of the issues in difference.
Mr. Okoronkwo’s lawyer’s thinking it was an honest desire to adhere to protocol volunteered to stand as his surety, upon which the policemen said it could only be done at a Police Station and that the Bar Beach Police Station was the closest. Mr. Okoronkwo in company of his lawyer obliged. At the station his phones were forcefully taken from him, he was told he was under arrest and put behind the counter.
Mr. Okoronkwo did not at any time resist or quarrel with the Police. When the bar beach Station refused to take him into custody, for reasons best known to them, the Police asked that we all go to Alagbon Close, to which Mr. Okoronkwo obliged, believing this was all a mistake and that once the superior officers knew the truth they would call the IPOs to order. This was so even though the fact that he was arrested without a warrant and that the transaction in question was wholly civil were brought to the attention of the court.
Mr. Okoronkwo was rushed to the Police hospital on the 15th of November when he was found to be very weak and ill in the cell. His blood pressure had risen to dangerous levels. Mr. Okoronkwo’s situation is still very dire. He had collapsed in the hospital on the night of the 15th of November, completely unaware of where he was. He had to be assisted in walking and had difficulty urinating. The doctors have battled to stabilize him, but he continues to need medical attention.
Mr Okoronkwo continues to be denied bail by the Police Authority even though this is a civil transaction and Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo is the victim. He has an armed Policeman stationed in his room 24/7 and is confused as to what he has done to deserve this in a democracy where the Rule of Law is supposed to be operational and Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku’s lawyer a leading human rights activist who has been kept fully abreast of the torture and infraction of Mr. Okoronkwo’s liberties and the excesses of the Police in this matter.
The police authorities do not appear to be interested in the truth as they have, for whatever reason bought Mr. Nwabuoku’s version of events as incredulous as it is while refusing to even look at the verifiable facts and the accounts of Mr. Okoronkwo.
The campaign of calumny against the person of Mr. Okoronkwo, the seeming complicity in his plight by a leading human rights activist in calling in the Police Force, in a purely civil transaction and the erosion of the Fundamental Rights and Liberties of Mr Okoronkwo is not only a sad commentary but most disheartening given the personalities that have acquiesced in the plight of Mr. Okoronkwo. He should be allowed his bail to enable him to tend to his health and his business. Our findings also reveal that the Libra Law Office in Lagos is currently working to get Justice for the victim Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo.
For concerned friends and professional colleagues
In spite of this defense by Okoronkwo’s associates, the police still want him to defend himself at the Igbosere Magistrate’s Court 3 tomorrow, November 22, 2017.
The matter is being handled at the General Investigation Section of the Force Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Alagbon, led by DCP Abutu Yaro, who took over the case from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) monitoring unit led by DCP Abu Sanni.
Read our earlier story here: http://www.newsmakersng.com/2017/11/16/exclusive-fraudsters-sell-lagos-lagoon-for-n787-5million/