Children of late Kudirat Abiola, one of the wives of the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election Moshood Abiola have written to President Muhammed Buhari asking him to wade into a family crisis over the sharing of assets left behind by their father.
Led by Lekan Abiola, the children in the appeal letter titled ‘Report of A Decade-Long Fraud’ alleged that after over two decades of their parents’ demise, some unnamed members of the family “have continued to deny them their rights to their shares of the late business mogul’s properties within and outside Nigeria.”
The letter was copied to the Minister of Justice, the Inspector General of Police, the Director-General of the State Security Services, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.
Others who were copied included the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Head of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, and the governors of Kwara, Lagos, Ogun and Taraba states.
“Our father was a man of equity and, as such, he established companies that reflected this side of him. In all his companies he made sure that no child was given one single share and that no child was even officially made a director. Even in Habib bank (now Keystone Bank), he gave equal shares to children of different mothers (Kola and Lekan were given equal shares and this can be verified),” the children wrote
They further explained that their late mother was appointed as a director in Abiola Farms and another one of Abiola’s wives, the late Simbiat Abiola, was made a director in Radio Communication Nigeria (RCN), though, according to them, each wife was not given more than one share.
“However, five years following the death of our father, some members of the family fraudulently and criminally inserted their names into our father’s companies, including the most active one called RCN in whose name our father had used to purchase the bulk of his shares at Habib Bank,” the children alleged.
“Having taken control of this company, these individuals were able to tamper with the Bank PHB shares and borrow monies from commercial banks using our father’s assets with the aim to default and impoverish his other children,” they added.
“This is despite the fact that in his will our father stated that his entire assets should be equally shared among all his children. This is something that should have been done over two decades ago. They were also able to use their new status in RCN to exert influence on other companies like Abiola Farms and Abiola Bookshop where RCN is also a major shareholder.”
According to the letter, “several cases had been filed seeking to declare their actions as fraudulent but the court had repeatedly adjourned the suits.”
“Even some other members who serve as administrators with Kola have joined this case against these fraudulent insertions out of fear of their names being tarnished. It is worthy of note that any open disagreement between administrators renders their validity null and void.
“In the meantime, the perpetrators continue with their acts on the basis of an invalid letter of administration that has failed to live up to its task. They never give account to qualified beneficiaries but were apt at publishing names of children who supposedly failed DNA tests while those who passed (including all of our mother’s children) have received nothing since our father died over two decades ago.
“The UK property our father secured for our mother was even sold illegally a few months after her assassination and proceeds not given to us (all we were told is that some debts involving the estate had to be paid. This property is now worth almost a billion naira). Furthermore, the money willed to her was withheld from us while other wives had the UK properties secured for them converted to their names and also received monies willed to them.”
They demanded that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) be made to “rectify the criminal charges made to RCN and to reverse the company to its original form as of the time our father died when he owned 499,999 shares and the late Alhaja Simbiat owned one share (in other words, it should withdraw the 60 per cent and 40 per cent illegally given to both Agbo and Deji Abiola).”
They also requested that the CAC “immediately declare the company as moribund,” adding that all proceeds received from the sale of its shares in PHB and revenues ‘‘accrued from Summit Oil (using the fact that RCN is a shareholder of Summit Oil) should be returned to the rightful heirs as intended by our father.”
The demands also included the ‘‘protection of the status of our mother as a director in Abiola Farms through which her position can only be substituted by our surviving children through a legal proceeding which has already been done by two high courts.
“All investigative agencies should move with speed to bring the culprits to book since this is a criminal offence and not a civil matter.
“The culprits must be made to return all monies earned illegally after deducting what was entitled to their mother in the will or in the current value of any property denied her as occurred in our own case. These people should face the full and swift wrath of the law to serve as a potent example and deterrent to others planning to carry out similar crimes.”
Also, Kudirat’s children asked that the NNPC and the Department of Petroleum Resources be instructed to stop dealing with any individual claiming to have authority over oil blocks belonging to Summit Oil.
Kudirat was assassinated on June 9, 1996, while her husband, popularly known as MKO, died in prison on July 7, 1998.