While the promoter of a N15 billion investment in Gunduma, Nasarawa State, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) engage in accusations and counter-accusations, Ndubuisi Francis reports that the enormous opportunities offered by the emerging industrial hub is being threatened
The vision of promoters of a sprawling business conglomerate, G-Complex Nig.Ltd, which is fast transforming the sleepy Gunduma village in Nassarawa State is being threatened .
The multi-billion naira investment sited on tens of hectares of land, is an omnibus, multi-sectoral business venture. It boasts a world-class vehicle assembly plant, a 160-bed specialist hospital, a pharmacy, restaurants, supermarkets, a state-of-the-art bakery with the capacity to produce 120,000 loaves of bread every 12 hours, a mega filling station, banks as well as expatriate and local staff quarters. A private university designed to take off with 5,000 students is part of the conglomerate and is to sit atop 43 hectares of land.
The promoter of this dream investment is an Abuja-based businessman, Alhaji Abdulhamid Zari, who has also factored in a residential space for himself and his family in the Gunduma-based business empire.
However, Zari laments that the complex with over N3 billion already sunk in and slated for completion November this year is being threatened since March 27, 2017 when EFCC operatives sealed off the complex.
For him, the words of Macbeth, â€œfair is foul, and foul is fairâ€ best describes the scenario since the complex was sealed by operatives of EFCC.
Zari is pointing accusing finger on one Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu Madaki, the personal assistant to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, over alleged use of public office for personal benefits, extortion and perversion of the course of justice.
In a petition to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, he is demanding the investigation of Madaki.
The petition, which originated from the law chambers of Mike Ozekhome said â€œOur client is the Managing Director of G – Complex Nig. Ltd, a company that he has been using to develop Gunduma village, Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, which incidentally is also the hometown of Abubakar Aliyu Madaki.
â€œOur client had legitimately acquired some lands to build a multi-purpose complex that encompasses bakery, hospital, pharmacy, filling station, restaurants, supermarkets and a truck assembling plant. The complex also boasts of staff quarters and the personal residential quarters of our client, his family and relations.
â€œOur client has, since 2008 when he arrived in Gunduma Community, always enjoyed a good relationship and peaceful co-existence with every member of the community, including the late Village Head, Alhaji Abdullahi Yusuf, who accepted our client as his son,â€ part of the petition read.
The petitioner alleged that Madaki had always solicited and sought for financial favours from him, adding that the bubble burst when the EFCC official approached him to buy 10 hectares of land at the price of N20 million, insisting he must pay the said amount since he had the financial capacity to pay, given the volume of his investments in the community.
â€œOur client offered to pay the sum of Ten Million Naira only (N10,000,000.00) in respect of the said parcel of land. Our client decided eventually not to buy the said land which decision irked Abubakar Aliyu Madaki who was desperately in need of money at that time,â€ he alleged.
Zari also alleged that it was at that point that Madaki allegedly decided to use the EFCC to frustrate his investments.
When THISDAY contacted Madaki on phone on the allegations, he said he had nothing to say, adding that his response was already contained in newspaper publication of June 12, 2018.
However, the EFCC, in a recent statement issued by its Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, had said Madaki was being framed up.
â€œThe commission wishes to state that there is no truth to this allegation, which is contrived to malign and impugn the reputation of Madaki, an operative who has handled several high profile investigations without blemishâ€, the statement said.
â€œIt will interest members of the public, who may have been misled by the mischievous story, to know that Zari had been crossed with Madaki over suspicion that he instigated the investigation leading to his arrest and detention by the commission,â€ the statement said.
Meanwhile, Zari continues to lament that â€œthe EFCC has failed to obey various court orders in respect of this matter.â€
â€œ The Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/557/2017 in an application for the enforcement of my fundamental rights, directed the parties to maintain status quo. This notwithstanding, the next morning, the EFCC sealed my house, chasing my entire family away. It would further interest you to know that upon the conclusion of the case, the court, in its judgment, made another order, directing the EFCC to remove the paintings on the walls of my premises. The EFCC has failed to comply with the said order till date.
â€œMy companies and I have been investigated by virtually all the departments of EFCC, namely Procurement Fraud Section, Economic Governance Section, and Land and Property Fraud Section. It would further interest you to note that EFCC has failed to disclose the results of all these investigations against my companies and I,â€ he said.
While the businessman continues to be buffeted by the onslaught on his investments, he regrets that the interruption by the EFCC is a huge setback with the attendant humongous losses.
According to him, the proposed university, already approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to be fully funded by his foreign partners would have been at an advances stage of completion by now.
When our correspondent visited the vast G-Complex recently, Zari, materials also procured for the take off of some of the investments had been left at the mercy of the elements. Mattresses for the 160-bed specialist hospital, most of the building materials used for construction work, valued at over N700 million have become a complete waste.
Incidentally, G-Complex Nig. Ltd has become a good advertisement copy of how to be a good corporate citizen with its corporate social responsibility initiatives dotting the entire landscape of Gunduma.
It has provided boreholes, constructed roads and bridges, built a mosque, drainages, and provided access road to a community school.
But above all, its target of creating 3,000 direct and indirect jobs for the teeming army of unemployed Nigerians and turning a sleepy community into an industrial hub is being torpedoed.