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3000 Depositors Lose Money to a Christ Embassy Affiliated Microfinance Bank

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Customers of the Suisse Microfinance Bank have written a letter to the General Overseer of Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, to help them recover their funds from the defunct bank.

The bank is allegedly affiliated to the church, while documents obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission revealed that Pastor Alabi Lanre, one of the senior clerics at the church, is listed as one of the bank owners.

Representatives of the bank were reported to have visited the Christ Embassy between 2013 and 2016, promising members huge interests for deposits.

However, problem started on December 16, 2016, when Suisse Bank failed to pay some depositors their savings.

Soon, a crowd of customers besieged the bank’s premises on Gacoun Plaza, FESTAC Town, Lagos, demanding their money.

The bank was reported to have initially blamed the situation on ongoing audit of its accounts, before its complete shutdown.

About 3,000 depositors were said to have been affected.

A lawyer for six affected customers, Mr Muyiwa Olusa, in a letter to Oyakhilome, titled, ‘Special appeal for urgent intervention in payment of our clients’ deposit and accrued interests in Suisse Microfinance Bank Limited,’ appealed to the cleric to prevail on the bank to pay the customers.

“It is important to state that our clients are retirees who depend on their investments to cater to themselves and members of their families. As it is now, our clients are facing a lot of hardship as a result of their inability to access their deposits.

“Be that as it may, we request your quick intervention on this issue so that our clients can be paid their deposits and accrued interests. Our clients are law-abiding citizens and we do not want them to resolve to a situation where they will embarrass your ministry because all the directors who are alter ego of the bank are members of your ministry,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, a magistrate’s court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, has ordered the bank to refund the N12m deposited by three of the customers.

The Magistrate, Mrs O.A. Akokia, in separate judgments, ordered the bank to pay the customers, Adeduro Adefusi, N4m; Jerome Ojolo, N5m; and Mega Corp Consult Limited, N3m.

She further ruled that aside from the cost of the court action, 10 per cent interest should also be paid to the judgment creditors.

The court observed that the case, which started in 2017, had been frustrated as attempts to serve the bank failed, until one of the directors was reached.

Despite this, the bank was said to have refused to show up or make any legal representation when the matter was heard in December 2018.

In the Adefusi case, the court stated that all the evidence presented by the claimant went unchallenged.

“The case of the claimant is that sometime in 2016, he invested in the defendant’s bank’s Trade and Investment Account with a deposit of N4m (by the conditions attached to the investment, an investor may liquidate his account at maturity date provided that a notice to liquidate his investment must be given at least 30 days before maturity date of the investment).

“After the maturity date of the investment, the claimant demanded the liquidation of his account, but the demands were refused by the defendant. Consequently, the claimant instructed his solicitors to write letters of the demand in that regard. But the defendant still failed to accede to these demands….” the magistrate said.

The court said based on the evidence before it, the customers were entitled to their money and ordered that the sums of N4m, N5m and N3m be paid to Adefusi, Jerome and Mega Corp Consult Limited, respectively.

Their counsel, Olusa, lamented that since the ruling was delivered on January 22, 2019, the bank had refused to comply.

He noted that letters written to its managing director had also not been replied to.

Olusa said aside from the three customers who had obtained court judgments, there were three others whose cases were still pending in court.

He identified the others as Mr Ashafa Hammed, N5m; Precious Omoruyi, N5.5m; and one Gift Tubolnengi, N500,000.

When our correspondent called the Managing Director of the bank, Mr Olusola Ayodile, he declined comment.

While our correspondent was still introducing himself and the purpose of the call, he cut off the line and did not take subsequent calls.

Our correspondent went to the Christ Embassy, Oregun Way, Ikeja, to get a reaction from the church on the letter sent to Oyakhilome.

He was asked to wait at the reception, as a man later emerged to ask for our correspondent’s mission.

The official asked our correspondent to write another letter to the church’s general overseer, stating his questions.

“When we see it, then we can reply to it,” he added.

As our correspondent made to write the questions, the official said they must be typed.

Our correspondent asked for an email address to send the questions to, but the official said the church did not have an email address for such enquiries.

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Man Video-calling His Girlfriend gets Crushed by a Car

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On Wednesday, a 26-year-old man, Olajide Asade, was crushed to death by a commercial car, while he was making a video call to his girlfriend at the Adedero village on the Abeokuta-Siun-Sagamu Expressway.

The accident involved a Honda Odyssey car with number plate AAA 589 FV, which was conveying crates of eggs.

It was gathered that the deceased was reportedly making a video call to his girlfriend while crossing the road when the accident occurred.

An eyewitness told our correspondent that the deceased and his brother boarded a car from the Kuto motor park in Abeokuta, but the vehicle developed a mechanical fault on the road.

The eyewitness said while the other passengers were standing by the roadside waiting for the driver to repair the vehicle, the deceased reportedly concentrated on the video call.

The deceased’s brother, Azeez, said they were both travelling to their mother’s residence in the Ajah area of Lagos State.

Azeez confirmed that his brother had been making a video call to his girlfriend since they took off from Kuto in Abeokuta.

He added that they left their apartment at Ijoga in Abeokuta very early in the morning to embark on the journey.

Azeez maintained that the driver of the car, who hit Olajide, was on a normal speed.

The driver, whose car hit the deceased, Bolaji Balogun, said Olajide was the one who bumped into his vehicle.

Balogun, an employee of an agro firm, said he was going to the Obasanjo Farm to purchase crates of eggs for his company.

The driver stated that the deceased had already got to the front of his car before he could apply the brake.

Confirming the crash, the Public Relations Officer of the Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps, Babatunde Akinbiyi, said there were two male occupants in the vehicle that killed Olajide.

He stated, “There is a road diversion along the Abeokuta-Siun-Sagamu interchange due to the ongoing reconstruction; the deceased probably assumed it would be better and safer for him to cross to the other side, where road reconstruction is ongoing.

“The man, while crossing back to the other side of the road, was making a video call and was oblivious to the fact that a vehicle was coming from the Sagamu end to Abeokuta.

“The vehicle, a Honda Odyssey, hit him and he died on the spot.

“His corpse has been deposited in the morgue of the General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta, while the driver of the Honda Odyssey and the vehicle are now at the state Motor Traffic Division, Ibara, Abeokuta.”

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60 Northern Travellers Intercepted in a Cow-filled Truck at Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

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On Monday, several security outfits intercepted about 60 men hiding in a Lagos-bound truck filled with cows at the Berger end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

It was gathered that the travellers, who reportedly came from Zamfara and neighbouring states, were heading for the Agege area of Lagos.

It was learnt that some of the men jumped down from the truck and fled on sighting the personnel of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences (Enforcement Unit), the Rapid Respond Squad, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection Officers and the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps at the boundary between both states.

The security personnel, however, denied them access into the state and turned them back.

The motor boy, who accompanied the truck from Zamfara State, Kabiru Haruna, said the cows were meant to be delivered to an abattoir in Agege and expressed surprise that the security agents stopped them.

He said, “We left Zamfara around 6 pm on Sunday, but not all of us here are from Zamfara State. Some are from Sokoto, Kano and Kebbi states. I am the motor boy for the truck, and I followed it from Zamfara down to where we are currently.

“We want to deliver the cows to an abattoir in Agege. I can’t really say the exact time we were stopped because I did not take note of the time. I don’t know why we were stopped.”

The truck driver was asked to go back to the point of take off after most of the fleeing men had regrouped at the pin-down point in Berger.

Confirming the incident to one of our correspondents, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said the men could not be allowed into the state.

He stated, “Forty-two men from Zamfara State hid in a truck and were intercepted at the Berger end of the expressway. The law is very clear; if you’re escorting a vehicle conveying food items, you must not be more than seven, but these people violated the law, and they were turned back.

“We have been searching all vehicles and all food items thoroughly to be sure that nobody is being smuggled into the state and this has helped us. We have sent the truck back; it cannot come into the state.”

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Ebonyi Man Whips 11-year-old Neighbour to Death

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On Tuesday, an Ogbonnaya Daniel was arrested by the Ebonyi state police for killing the 11-year-old daughter of his co-tenant, Miss Ukamaka Nwuzor.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Loveth Odah, stated this in a statement in Abakaliki on Tuesday.

Odah said the matter was reported to the command’s ‘B’ Division, Kpirikpiri, Abakaliki by the deceased’s father, Peter Nwuzor.

She said following the beating, the victim was taken to the Alex Ekweme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FETHA) for treatment where she was confirmed dead.

Odah said the suspect had been arrested and an investigation was ongoing after which he would be charged to court.

The statement read, “On May 2, 2020, at 2.15 pm, one Peter Nwuzor of Omege Avenue, Abakaliki, reported at ‘B’ Division Kpirikpiri, that by 9am of the same date, his co-tenant at the address mentioned above, one Ogbonna Daniel, aged 28, a native of Asaga in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State, beat up his daughter Ukamaka Nwuzor, aged 11, to a coma.

“Following the report, police detectives immediately visited the scene of the incident. The victim was rushed to the A-E Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AE-FETHA I) for medical treatment, but was later confirmed dead by the medical practitioner on duty. The corpse was deposited at the same hospital mortuary for preservation and autopsy.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect is a next-door neighbour of the deceased’s family and there was an altercation that the deceased (Ukamaka) poured unclean water near the suspect’s apartment. As a result, he descended on her, beat her to a coma, which led to her death.”

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Imam arrested for Flouting Ban on Gatherings in Delta

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The Imam of Ekakpamre, Mohammad Young Okotie was on Friday arrested by Delta state police officers for defying the ban on gatherings.

The Imam had defied the stay-at-home and social distancing order of the state government and led hundreds of Islamic faithful in congregational Jum’at service.

The incident happened on Friday, April 23 at Otu-Jeremi in Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state.

“Imam Okotie led hundreds of Muslim faithful, and held Jumat service at the Ekakpamre Central Mosque in Ughelli South Local Government Area, thereby violating the prohibition on gatherings in the state,” a source told our correspondent.

When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Onome Onowakpoyeya, confirmed the arrest.

He said, “The Imam was arrested about 11 am on Friday, May 1, 2020.

“He is currently held at the Otu-Jeremi Police Station for possible prosecution according to the laws of the land.

“The State Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Mohammed-Inuwa, had ordered his arrest a few days ago.”

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