THE Inspector General of Police, Ogbonnaya Onovo has confirmed there was indeed a plot to kill the chairman of African Petroleum Plc, Mr. Femi Otedola, his four security aides and two directors of the oil company.
“It is correct,” Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu said in response to our inquiries on the matter on Saturday, August 28, 2010.
Preliminary police investigations had it that the lift Otedola and six others were trapped for about two hours was allegedly tampered with to endanger their lives on Monday, July 5, 2010. The billionaire businessman was at the AP Plaza in Lagos for a crucial board meeting that fateful day. The emergency meeting was to address serious allegations of corporate fraud and infractions in the oil company. And not deterred by the ugly incident, the board reportedly went ahead, sacking two top staff and suspending an executive director. Those affected in the long expected purge were former Managing Director/CEO, Tunde Falasinu; Executive Director, Finance, Clement Aviomoh and Company Secretary, Elizabeth Idigbe.
Otedola, who suspected sabotage, after the lift failure, had reported the matter to Lagos State Police Command. And not satisfied by their handling of the case, he petitioned the Force Headquarters from where the matter was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) under the headship of Deputy Inspector General of Police, John Ahmadu.
The top cop actually briefed the press on Thursday, August 26, 2010, on how far the police have gone in the investigation. He revealed that the lift supplied by Otis Lifts Limited, an indigenous lift supply and maintenance company was obviously tampered with by suspected saboteurs. Two men in charge of the lifts, Messrs. Celestine Ononobi and Moses Oluremi have already been arrested in connection with the widely reportedly incident. They are currently assisting the police with useful information to enable them unravel the heinous crime.
The DIG relied on the observations and report of elevator engineers hired by the police in the course of their investigations. The elevator experts wondered how the lift installed just a year ago and powered by a 625KVA generator could have developed a fault so early.
“The technical experts, who examined the lifts after the incident found out that the lift was tampered with because the safety switch was pressed down. The moment they pressed the switch, the lift started working again perfectly, indicating that the incident was an act of sabotage and an attempt to murder the occupants,” the police report said.
AP Plc has been in the news lately. Rocked by board room politics, their shareholders even protested days back. One of the directors fired by the management on allegations of fraud is still fighting the company. Otedola himself is not even in the country at the moment for fear of further attempts to his dear life. Just like the one the police is currently investigating.
- THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2010