CLAIM: President Bola Tinubu shunned Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, over indictment in a probe report.
VERDICT: Evidence does not support claims.
A post on Nigerian microblogging platform, Nairaland, claimed that President Bola Tinubu shunned Dangote over the billionaire’s indictment in the Jim Obazee report on the probe of the Central Bank of Nigeria, under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele. The same post was plagiarized on News Direct
President Tinubu had on July 28, 2023, named a former Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, as the Special Investigator for the CBN. He was tasked with the responsibility of probing the CBN and key Government Business Entities.
The report has since been submitted to the President’s Office.
The Nairaland post claimed that the report indicted Dangote, and because of that, when the business mogul visited the President twice, he was not warmly received.
It was also alleged in the post that Dangote received a loan of $3.9 billion without following due process.
The post reads in part: “Villa sources confirmed that he had attempted to see the President about two weeks ago but waited for seven hours and was only able to see the President for between ten to fifteen minutes.
“The meeting did not yield the desired result. Insiders revealed that Obazee findings indicted Dangote for collecting 3.4Billion dollars from Emefiele-led CBN and what he paid back was 1.9billion dollars in Naira value leaving an outstanding 1.5billion dollars which he didn’t pay the naira equivalent. The President is said to have insisted that the 1.5billion dollars must be paid back. Moreover President is said to be miffed that a Nigerian could collect so much money in hard currency and didn’t pay the Naira equivalent to the coffers of the government.
“Since the first encounter did not yield any fruitful result, Dangote was said to have attempted to see the President again, but was not successful. Villa sources revealed that he waited in vain and as he couldn’t see him in the office, he tried to ambush him during the Friday prayers at the Villa mosque where the President had gone for prayers but could only exchange greetings with Tinubu and had to leave after all efforts failed.”
Ripples Nigeria found that the evidence provided in the post were inconsistent with the claims made. Firstly, it was stated in the post that Dangote “had attempted to see the President about two weeks ago”. Contrary to this, the last time Dangote was reported to have visited the Villa was June 19, 2023. He was accompanied by American Billionaire, Bill Gates. It is unlikely that Dangote would visit the villa “two weeks ago”, and no media house would report it, even if they don’t know the purpose of his visit.
It was also stated that Dangote “tried to ambush him (the President) during the Friday prayers at the Villa mosque. Tinubu has reportedly visited the Villa mosque a number of times since he became President. Whenever he does, it is reported in the media and the reports also mention the dignitaries that appear in the mosque with him. The President’s last appearance at the Aso Rock Mosque was on October 13 – two weeks ago. Dignitaries who joined him in observing Jummat, according to media reports, included Vice President Senator Kashim Shettima, the Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Ganduje and some other top government officials. Dangote was not reported to be there.
While Ripples Nigeria cannot confirm the content of Jim Obazee’s report, we found inconsistencies in the facts in the post. This questions the credibility of the claims.
By Oluwatobi Odeyinka.
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