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International NGO, Marie Stopes Nigeria, in alleged money laundering scandal – Report

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On September 5, 2012, Angela Nworgu, then head of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML, of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), disclosed that NGOs are now used as conduits for money laundering and the support of criminal operations. Several years later, the revelation she made in her opening remarks at the annual seminar for Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFIs) with the theme “Strategic partnership Among DNFIs for Effective Implementation of AML/CFT Regime in Nigeria” held at the EFCC Academy, Karu, Abuja, is still relevant.

According to Nworgu, research by the Financial Action Task Force indicates that money launderers “who use NGOs to carry out layering of stolen wealth through several countries to disguise the actual origin of the money do not mind losing 40% of the total amount in the process because it is money gotten from illegitimate means”. This admission of fact raises questions about Marie Stopes Nigeria’s apparent receipt of sizable funds from organizations without affiliation to its services or business operations.

Marie Stopes was founded by Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, a proponent of birth control who launched the first contraceptive instruction clinic in the UK in 1921. She was born on October 15, 1880, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and died on October 2, 1958, close to Dorking, Surrey, England. MSI, which has its presence in 37 countries, opened its first clinics in Nigeria in 2009 for the sole purpose of “providing high-quality contraceptive services” for Nigerians. Its head office is located at 59, Anthony Enahoro Street, Utako, Abuja. It has branches in Edo State and Lagos.

For a company that flaunts “providing high-quality contraceptive services” as its core mission, its relationship with companies that have no direct affiliations or are in the same line of operation becomes a source of worry to SecretReporters.

THE INFLUX OF CASH

Documents obtained by SecretReporters, show how Marie Stopes Nigeria received millions of Naira from different companies, including construction companies. The irregularities of payments into different accounts belonging to the ‘supposed NGO’ raise eyebrows.

Below is a chronicle of some of this influx:

Between 29/03/2019 and 25/04/2019, Rigserve Ventures, which was incorporated in Lagos, Nigeria, with Registration Number 2605768, paid N310,000,000 into Marie Stopes’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB) account number – 0739250018. The company was registered on 09 May 2018, and its status is unknown.

Within the space of one month, (29/08/2018 to 26/09/2018), EBOLEEY C INVESTMENT LTD, which was incorporated in Nigeria with Registration Number 461026, paid N341,975,000.00 into Marie Stopes’s FCMB account number – 0739250018. The company was registered on 28 August 2002, and its current status is unknown.

Titilayo Olufunmilayo Eboh, a major stakeholder of Marie Stopes, uses three of her companies to pump millions into several accounts of MCI. On 05/02/2018, CHAYOMI MULTI SER-N, a company owned by Titilayo Olufunmilayo Eboh, paid N20,000,000.00 and another 30,000,000.00 into Marie Stopes FCMB Account 0739250018. The company was incorporated in ABUJA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 1323640. It was registered on 21 Mar 2016, and its status is unknown.

Barely five months after it was founded, CHAYOMI PETROLUIM LTD, on 27/07/2018, in tranches, paid N433,200,000 into Marie Stopes’s FCMB account 0739250018. The company was incorporated in ABUJA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 1474052. It was registered on 26 Feb 2018, and its status is unknown. The company is owned by Titilayo Olufunmilayo Eboh. Also, between 23/05/2019 and 25/06/2019, the company paid N252,000,000 into Marie Stopes’s FCMB account 0739250018.

In the same vein, CHAYOMI ALUMINIUM LTD, owned by Titilayo Olufunmilayo Eboh between 09/01/2018 and 05/07/2018, paid N1,492,910,000 into Marie Stopes FCMB account 0739250018. The company was incorporated in ABUJA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 1372008. It was registered on 03 Nov 2016, and its current status is unknown.

SecretReporters will later investigate the newly incorporated Chayomi group; its findings are mind-blowing. Take note of this, as we publish our report later.

In different transactions, WIDE-RANGE INTEGRATED SERVICES LTD on 11/07/2017 paid 20,000,000.00, 15,000,000.00, 20,000,000.00, 55,000,000.00 into Marie Stopes Nigeria FCMB accounts – 739250104, 739250070, 739250087. The company, owned by Ikobayo Olatunde Isiaka and Ikobayo Oluwafifunwa O, was incorporated in LAGOS, Nigeria, with Registration Number 864157. It was registered on 14 Jan 2010, and its current status is unknown.

On 17/05/2018, DIAMOND GLOBAL EXCHANGE AND INVESTMENT LTD had in two transactions, paid N94,000,000.00 into Marie Stopes FCMB account 0739250018. The company, owned by Shahru Haruna Zahraddeen, was incorporated in ABUJA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 1440235. It was registered on 22 Sep 2017, and its status is unknown.

Another company, CONSTRUCTION LOGISTICS LTD, paid 10,000,000.00 into Marie Stopes’s FCMB account 0739250018 on 04/04/2018. The company also paid N50,000,000.00 into the same account on 05/04/2018.

Within two months, BLUESWORTH RESOURCES paid a whooping sum of N538,100,000 into Marie Stopes FCMB account 0739250018. The transactions were done between 26/03/2018 and 04/05/2018. It is germane to note that the company, owned by Banjo O. Wasiu and Banjo O. Adijat, was incorporated in OJOTA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 450869. It was registered on 23 May 2002, and its status is unknown.

A pharmaceutical company, LIZAK PHARMACEUTICAL LTD, incorporated on 18 Jan 1998 (25 years ago), with registration number 327442, linked to a politician identified as Alhaji Aliyu Zakari Jiya credited MARIE STOPES Nigeria with the sum of N30,000,000.00 on 1 June 2015. The amount was paid in three tranches. On 02/06/2015, the company also paid 10,000,000.00 to Marie Stopes. All monies were paid into FCMB account 739250025.

Alarmed by this influx, SecretReporters visited their head office in Abuja to have a first-hand chat with the Country Director, Emmanuel Ujah, on who these supposed ‘partners’ are pumping millions into the company’s accounts.

 

THE VISIT TO MARIE STOPES NIGERIA

On Tuesday, 28th June 2022, SecretReporters visited Marie Stopes Clinic, Abuja, located at 29 A.E. Ekukinam Street, Utako 900108, Abuja, to inquire about their services and connection with the above-mentioned companies. The personnel who spoke to our correspondents said they were not in a position to respond to the issues and referred our team to their head office at 59, Anthony Enahoro Street, Utako, Abuja.

Our team was greeted by an unfriendly and obnoxious ruse at the gate. The security men on duty told our correspondent that no one could enter the building except on appointment, not even for media enquiries–which is strange for an NGO with a public interest.

When the Team insisted on seeing any administrative staff, the security personnel made a call, and the coordinator, of Corporate Services, Susan Jummai Gashau, came out to speak with them. She affirmed that no one could visit the ‘NGO’ to make enquiries except by invitation or appointment. She, however, asked the SecretReporters Team to write a letter seeking an appointment with the Country Director. This was done, and the letter was acknowledged by Susan, who promised to revert with a scheduled date for the meeting to hold. A reminder was sent about a week later but was completely ignored.

SecretReporters, on 20th July 2022, paid another visit to Marie Stopes’s head office in Abuja, and the narrative was the same at the gate. When a call was made to Susan, she said her boss had yet to issue a directive on the next line of action.

On July 21st, SecretReporters sent an email to MSI’s head office in the United Kingdom, to ask if it was aware of the monetary transactions by its Nigerian branch and if a local branch is permitted to make such transactions. They did not respond to the mail, and despite sending a reminder four days later, on the 25th, MSI still did not respond to the mail.

Determined to speak with the NGO, our team, on Wednesday, 31st August 2022, paid another visit to their head office at 59, Anthony Enahoro Street, Utako, Abuja. Again, the team was greeted by the same unfriendly and obnoxious ruse at the gate, the security men firmly maintaining that no one could enter the compound except on appointment. Despite exerting efforts to speak with any personnel on ground, they maintained that it was impossible to gain entrance, and speaking with their personnel is only on invitation.

More worrying was that a female staff exiting the building said to the security personnel, ‘Do not allow anyone to enter the compound’.

With the above damning influx of cash laced with irregularities, the complexity of gaining access to the company’s premises, and Marie Stopes’s unwillingness to speak to SecretReporters, it will not be out of place to aver that the NGO has cockroaches hidden in its cupboard.

News and Report

Just In: President Tinubu approves N70,000 minimum wage

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President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers with a promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

 

More details later…

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Gov. Zulum Clarifies Son’s Purported Killing Of Chinese National At Indian Nightclub

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The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has denied reports alleging that one of the sons has been arrested and sentenced to prison for the murder of some Indian citizens.

Reports has it that there were unverified rumours, especially on social media platforms, alleging that the first son of the governor, Umar Zulum Umara, killed the Chinese national during a fight at an Indian nightclub.

However, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media, Abdurrahman Ahmed Bundi, dismissed the reports in a statement on Wednesday.

According to him, no son of the governor was arrested or charged with any crime.

The statement read, “attention of the Borno State Governor’s Media Unit has been drawn to rumours circulating that the son of the Borno State Governor has been arrested for the alleged murder of some Indian citizens.

“This misinformation was published in an online blog, Nairaland, titled “Son of Borno State Governor Murders Someone In India—Politics.” The blog claimed that the Governor also travelled to India, attempting to use diplomatic status to resolve the matter.

“It is on record that Governor Babagana Zulum was on a one-month vacation in Saudi Arabia for the 2024 Hajj and later travelled to Egypt to attend the annual ASUWAN forum conference in Cairo.

“The Media Unit would like to clarify and set the record straight that Nairaland and other online blogs have mischievously spread defamatory content without any speck of truth.

“We hereby warned Nairaland and all those who have spread the false information to pull down this misinformation from its website and platforms within the next 24 hours and offer an unreserved apology to Governor Zulum, his son, and the entire family, or risk legal action. The Governor shall also not hesitate to take legal action against any media outlet that continues to publicise this defamatory information on its platform.

“We would like to inform the public that none of Governor’s Zulum’s son was either arrested or charged with any crime, or involved in any unlawful activities anywhere.

“We urge the public to exercise caution when consuming and sharing information, particularly when it comes from unverified sources and blogs instead of credible media outlets.

“We enjoin all media organisations to engage in responsible journalism of truth and factual verification while recognising the potential harm and psychological trauma the spread of false information might have caused to the Governor’s family.”

 

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Over 600,000 Nigerians sought asylum abroad under Buhari – Report

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Over 600,000 Nigerians filed for asylum in other countries between 2016 and 2023, which were years under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari was President from 2015 to 2023 and handed over to President Bola Tinubu who was sworn in on May 29, 2023, after winning in the general elections the same year.

According to a report released on Wednesday, July 17, 2024, by Statisense, a data collection organisation, of a total of 664,384 in eight years, 355,792 persons sought asylum between 2016 and 2019 while 308,592 sought asylum between 2020 and 2023.

On a year-by-year basis, 66,862 sought asylum in 2016, 91,924 in 2017, 84,624 (2018), 112,382 (2019), 73,233 (2020), 83,105 (2021), 83,402 (2022), and 68,852 in 2023.

The figures indicate a surge from the past years, as Statisense noted that within 12 years – 2004 to 2015 – only 204,791 Nigerians filed for asylum in other countries.

In total, 869,175 Nigerians filed for asylum in the last 20 years, notably from 2004 to 2023.

The report was posted on the organisation’s X.com handle @StatiSense, citing the United Nations Refugee Agency.

In another report shared by the organisation on Wednesday, it was stated that the Republic of Niger topped countries with the most Nigerian refugees in 2023 with about 200,497 Nigerians and a total of 1,268,464 Nigerian refugees between 2015 and 2023.

Niger, a border country, shares proximity with Nigeria’s north, where residents battle a spate of insecurity in the region ranging from banditry, terrorism and herdsmen-farmers crisis.

Another report also revealed that Nigerians topped the list of African countries who sought asylum in Canada in 2023 with about 10,111 asylum seekers followed by Kenya with 1,345.  It stated that 1,345 Nigerians however sought asylum in the United Kingdom and 5,136 in the United States of America.

Source: The Punch

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