An alleged attempt by Bemigho Reno Omokri, President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide on New Media, to forcefully evict a tenant in his late mother’s house, in Warri, has resulted in a robbery scandal to the tune of N25 million that was kept in a ‘Ghana-Must-Go bag’.
Huhuonline reports that the stolen money was meant for the South South Mandate, a pro-Jonathan campaign group, and supposed to be used for the campaign ahead of the presidential election on 28th March this year, huhuonline reports.
The building(pictured right), located at Plot 17, 19 Street, DDPA Housing Estate, Ugborikoko-Effurun, opposite the Warri residence of former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, was allegedly burgled by nine heavily armed men, some of whom wore police uniforms, suspected to have been hired by Omokri.
The building was inhabited by Prince Alex Oyoro, a former Peoples Democratic Party Ughelli North/Udu Federal Constituency aspirant and head of the group campaigning for President Jonathan. He was in Abuja on Tuesday when the armed men stormed the building and carried out the act in a case that is still pending at the court.
However, in a hurry to vacate the building after ransacking it and allegedly stealing the money, the hired thugs left behind document that have implicated Omokri. The document contained an incriminating write-up with the heading: ‘Eviction notice,’ which had Omokri’s name and which
Sources said they intended to paste on the wall of the building.
Oyoro said the money, which was kept in one of the bedrooms, was to be deposited in a bank upon his return from Abuja but that he was still there when the act was committed.
The armed men who allegedly gave the impression that it was an armed robbery operation, reportedly gained access into the compound by cutting the gate, which had padlock on it, and then climbing into the ceiling through which they entered the apartment.
Even though they wanted to just turn the apartment upside down and make the building inhabitable for the occupant and his family, they ended up stealing the money.
Prince Oyoro, who said his wife called him to inform him of the development, added that the armed men damaged the building on behalf of Omokri.
He said Omokri had several times, harassed and threatened his family members using his office in the presidency even when no court had ruled over the case in court concerning the property.
He said his wife told him that the men stormed in with various items including guns, hammer, cutters, ladders and such items to make their entrance easy.
While calling on the police to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book, he stressed that: “about six of them wore police uniform and the others were on mufti and they came with three cars. They broke the gate, some jumped over the fence about 8am and tried to force their way into the house.
“When they couldn’t, they used the ladder to climb through the ceiling and started ransacking the house for what I don’t know. They saw a ‘Ghana-Must-Go’ bag containing N25 million and carried it.
“The money belonged to the South-South Mandate and I was to deposit it the following day when I return from Abuja. But it appears they calculated I was not in town and that was when they stormed my house.
“As soon as they got the bag, they fled, but unfortunately for them, they left a vital information, which contained the name of Reno Bemigho Omokri, who happened to be the Special Assistant to the President on New Media.
“Before now, this Bemigho had been harassing me, claiming that he is the owner of the house and that I should leave the house. Before now, he had also taken me to court on the same issue and the matter is still pending in court but he has been trying to get justice through the back door.
“I don’t know why a man who claims he is working for the President should use the seat of the President to intimidate a law abiding Nigerian during this electioneering time. I believe the attack was political because if it was a landlord and tenant issue, they could have just pasted the purported eviction notice, which ordinarily goes with court judgement. But in this case, it was not so.
“They invaded the house, ransacked it and stole from it while shooting sporadically in the name of eviction. So I believe it was political because Reno Omokri, we know his antecedent.
“He was an aide to Atiku Abubakar and it was through him that they planted him in the Presidency again. So if he is working from the opposition and he is a mole in the Presidency, this incidence would reveal it.
“If Omokri is hiding under the umbrella of the Presidency to commit crime, the world would know because this is injustice. The trauma we have passed through would not be left to go like that. We have been sleeping in this roofless house like for three days now.
“It is unfair, an injustice and oppression of the highest order and I pray the law must take its course. I am also crying to the civil society organizations to stand by me on this because this is oppression in high places.
“I have not done anything wrong to Omokri. I was not the one who took him to court. He did and the courts are yet to decide. So where have I gone wrong that Omokri is after our lives?”
The building had been a reason for a clash between Omokri and the Oyoros and the case had been in court.
Oyoro’s wife, Fina Maiki, allegedly got the lease to the house from the original owner, Omokri’s mother, Helen Igbene, who then resided in Enugu State and who was a friend to the Oyoros before her death in 2004 while the lease agreement remained.
Oyoro also claimed that his family renovated the building which was already dilapidated before the lease agreement was reached.
After Igbene’s death, a Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Anekwu, who wrote the Oyoros that administrators had been appointed for the property. But not long after, Omokri started laying claim to the property arguing that he owned the building being the first son of the deceased.
This forced the Oyonos to pay rent in 2005 and 2007 to Omokri in spite of being in a lease agreement as they allegedly could not bear the pressure and harassment. In one of the occasions, Omokri reportedly collected N175,000 from the family and personally thumb-printed a written agreement for a receipt of the rent. Another of such rent was reportedly paid to his wife’s account.
In a petition dated October 21, 2014 on behalf of Fina Maiki-Oyoro by F. O. Olokor (Esq), the petitioner said following another letter threatening eviction from the lawyer of the family of Igbene, the tenants again paid rents for 2007 to 2013 to the chambers of Urowayino on behalf of one Misan Igbene-Okotigor (acting on behalf of the administrators of the late Helen Igbene estate) after a suit No UACC/234/2010 was instituted at the Uvwie Area Customary Court, Ugborikoko-Effurun.
This payment to another person got Omokri, who had travelled out of the country after the end of Atiku’s tenure as Vice President, angry. He took the tenant to court in suit No UACC/561/2012. The case is still pending at the Area Customary Court, Effurun.
Since then, the family said they have been constantly harassed. For example, Maiki-Oyoro alleged that in 2012 at about 9pm, Omokri deployed armed men who claimed they were from Abuja to harass and threaten her family.
In February 2014, Maiki-Oyoro said she had a car accident on her way from the Ugborikoko Police Station in February 2014 where the case was reported against her by Omokri and she was hospitalised at the Oghara Teaching Hospital, Oghara. Again on November 13, 2014, Omokri allegedly used an official letter-head paper of the Presidency to initiate a petition against the Oyoros in a bid to further intimidate the family.
Calls to Omokri for his response to the allegations were not taken.