Posted by News Express | 13 December 2019 | 1,156 times
A group at the popular Balogun Market, Lagos, has accused the current leadership of the market led by Mr. Tony Obih, of falsifying documents of the association with a view to perpetuating themselves in office.
A press statement signed by Mr. Chinedu Offor, on behalf of Concerned Members of Balogun Business Association, International Centre for Commerce, Trade Fair Complex, Ojo, Lagos, accused the leadership of BBA of falsifying facts and fooling the public.
This, according to the statement, is in a desperate move to extend their stay in office by embarking on massive forgeries and falsification of records of the association with a view to perpetuating themselves in office by unlawfully deceiving the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja, to alter the Certificate of Incorporation of the association with the aid of “cooked documents and minutes of meetings” that never took place.
The statement accused Messrs Tony Obih, Okpala and Ezeako, of masterminding the plot on assumption of office.
Offor was reacting to an earlier publication in a national daily by the accused in which they claimed that they were being persecuted because they were supporting President Muhammadu Buhari.
But in Thursday’s press statement entitled, “The Truth of the Matter”, Offor said they would have ordinarily ignored the “infantile misrepresentation of facts contained in the publication but for the unnecessary futile and devious attempt to drag the esteemed name of our amiable President Muhammed Buhari, into a pure criminal case being ably investigated by the Nigeria Police Force ably led by the respected Inspector General of Police.”
He accused Obih and his group of giving political colouration to the facts of a rather straight forward criminal case, noting that it was not only evil, but an attempt to avoid lawful consequence to their criminal actions.
Giving the background of the matter, Offor described BBA as a foremost business association comprising businessmen and women engaged in various trades in Lagos. He said the association was registered under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act as the Incorporated Trustees of the Balogun Business Association and by its certificate of incorporation, dated 19/12/2002, had the following trustees: Chief Okechukwu Ezibe, Alhaji Mogaji Mohammed, Mrs. Caroline Nwazojie, Chief Emmanuel Ohanugo, Chief Nicholas Okeke, Mr. Ikechukwu Obiorah and Mr. Okwudia Anyaorah.
He said that apart from the Board of Trustees (BoT), who were custodians of the regulations governing the association, there was also an Executive Committee elected every three years to pilot the day to day activities of the association, with the elections into the Executive Committee being supervised by the BoT.
He noted that the affairs of the association had been smooth, moving from one elected executive committee to another, until December 2017 when the BoT, under the chairmanship of Chief Okechukwu Ezeibe,supervised an election which brought into office, a new set of officers that included, Mr. Tonybell Obih (Tony Obih) as President, Mr. Jonathan Okpala as Secretary and Mr. John Ezeako as Treasurer.
He however regretted that upon assumption of office as members of the Executive Committee of BBA, Messrs Obih, Okpala and Ezeako conspired amongst themselves and began massive forgeries and falsification of records of the Association with a view to perpetuating themselves in office by unlawfully deceiving the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja, to alter the Certificate of Incorporation of the Association with the aid of “cooked documents and minutes of meetings” that never took place.
He said that some of those purported to have attended those meetings had since denied doing so through sworn affidavits. They included Chiefs Okechukwu Ezeibe, Ikechukwu Obiorah and Okwudiba Anyaorah, who all said the meeting never took place.
Offor also said that one of those said to have attended the meeting in the forged minutes, Chief Emmanuel Ohanugo, had died since the May 2, 2013, at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital.
“The death certificate of Chief Ohanugo, together with his burial programme, was submitted to the police. Dead men do not attend meetings in the land of the living as the forged minutes suggest,” Offor stated, noting also that in the said forged minutes of the meeting, the deceased was recorded to have moved the motion for adjournment, thus clearly exposing the forgery by Tonybell Obihand Jonathan Okpala.
“Alhaji Mogaji Mohammed, who in the forged minutes, was reflected as having attended, voted and moved the motion for adjournment in the minutes had, like Chief Ohanugo, died many years ago. This fact is known to all members of the association and it will be interesting to ask Messrs TonybellObih, Jonathan Okpala and John Ezeako to produce Alhaji Mogaji Mohammed to be interviewed since they claimed to have met with him,” Offor said.
He also said that Mrs. Caroline Nwazojie, shown in the forged minutes as having attended the meetings of 12/04/18 and 11/08/18, voted and even said the closing prayers; had since 10/04/18, been living in the United States of America.
“She was not in Nigeria on the 12th day of April 2018 or 11th day of August 2018 and therefore could not have attended the phantom meetings as the forged documents purport. Mrs. Nwazojie has deposed to a sworn statement before a notary public in the United States, denying attending any such meeting. She has also presented her flight ticket to the police, showing she left Nigeria on 10/04/2018,” Offor stated.
He also accused the trio of Messrs – Tonybell Obih, Jonathan Okpala and John Ezeako – proceeding to use the said forged documents to obtain registration at the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja, where they presented and filed the said forged minutes with the Corporate Affairs Commission and deceived the Commission to alter and change the Certificate of Registration of the Association by including themselves as Trustees of the Association.
Offor also accused them of possessing and using false documents, and making documents without authority.
“When the above actions of forging the minutes of meetings of the association and using the forged documents to deceive the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja, to issue new Certificate of Registration of BBA, thereby cancelling the existing one illegally came to the knowledge of the BoT; Messrs Okechukwu Ezeibe and other members of the Board of Trustees of BBA, as law abiding citizens were compelled to report these fraudulent actions, which threatened the corporate existence of BBA, to the Inspectional-General of Police for investigation.
“The BOT also reported this conduct of Tony Obih and his cohorts to the Corporate Affairs Commission for appropriate action.
“Faced with this petition dated 30/07/2019, the Inspector General of Police directed the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2 Lagos to investigate the matter. Consequently the AIG Zone 2, referred the petition to the X-Squad of Zone 2,” the release stated.
It also noted that in the course of their investigations, the police confirmed the death of Sir Emmanuel Ohanugo, as well as the death certificate issued to that effect by the hospital.
It noted also that the police confirmed that the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja, cancelled the Certificate of Incorporation of BBA dated 19/12/02 and issued a new one dated 3/07/2018 in which Tony Obih and his cohorts were made Trustees by virtue of the forged
“Mrs. Caroline Nwazojie shown on the forged minutes as having been present at the meeting was in fact in far-away United States of America on the dates of the meeting.
“Based on the above facts the Officers of the X Squad, Zone 2, Nigeria Police Lagos invited all parties, including the Complainants, to attend a meeting on 5/11/2019 at 10am.
“At the meeting held at Zone 2 Lagos on 5/11/2019 the statements of all persons except John Ezeako who did not attend were taken after which everyone was allowed to go home.
“Interestingly however, the Police then invited all parties to attend another meeting the subsequent week but only the complainants attended while Tony Obih, Okpala and John Ezeako refused to attend. All efforts by the police to invite Tony Obih and his cohorts proved abortive until a signal was received by the Police Zone 2 Lagos to transfer the case file to Abuja for further investigation at the request of Tony Obih and Co.
“Consequently, the BoT wrote the Police high command explaining the facts of the case and intimating it that the accused persons were merely shopping for forum to escape the long arms of the law from their fraudulent actions. The Police High Command then ordered the file to be moved back to Lagos to enable the men of the Zone 2 Police Command Complete their investigation,” the release stated.
It wondered why the accused would not submit themselves to answer the petition against them if they were innocent.
The release expressed regret at the actions of the accused and said the attempt by one Peter Oge Obih (Tony Obih’s brother) to drag the name of President Mohammed Buhari into the matter of forgery by Tony Orbih and co was reprehensible and must be condemned by all.
“Peter Oge Obih is not a member of Balogun Business Association and therefore lacks the capacity to understand how the association is managed. He has no interest other than the fact that his brother is the current president of the association, this more than anything else has beclouded his sense of judgment.
“As for the consequences of the false publication made by Mr. Peter Oge Obih, it is left for Chief Okechukwu Ezibe to decide with his legal team how to respond,” the statement read.
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