The children of the late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola have urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to intervene in the protracted feud between them and some unnamed members of the family on allegations of withholding the assets left to them by their late father, Chief Moshood Abiola. Their petition was contained in an open letter titled ‘Report of a Decades-long Fraud,’ addressed to the President by ‘Children of Kudirat Abiola,’ published in Daily Trust on Saturday.
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. The petition read in part, “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). On the other hand, he put some of his wives as directors.”
Kudirat’s children further explained that their late mother was appointed as a director in Abiola Farms and another one of Abiola’s wives, the late Alhaja Simbiat, was made a director in Radio Communication Nigeria, 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 (sic).
“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.
“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,” the letter read.
Kudirat’s children alleged that the United Kingdom property Abiola secured for their mother was “sold illegally a few months after her assassination” on June 4, 1996, the proceeds of which they said had yet to be surrendered to them. According to them, the 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 said.
They demanded that the Corporate Affairs Commission 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.
When contacted, one of Kudirat’s children, Abdulmumuni, told Sunday PUNCH that he and his siblings were still awaiting the response of the relevant authorities.
He said, “I haven’t received any response, we just put it in the public today (Saturday). This battle is not only mine. I am fighting for the Abiola family. The only people that won’t be supportive are the powers that be.”
Attempts to get a response from some of Abiola’s other children, including Kola, Deji and Agboola, were not successful. While Kola did not respond to telephone calls nor text messages from our correspondent, calls to Deji’s number indicated that it was switched off. Similarly, Agboola had yet to respond to an Instagram message as of the time of filing this report.