Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman of Capital Oil, has fallen out with Nigeria’s most controversial government contractor, Emeka Offor.
Ubah has been complaining to friends and family members that Offor, a close friend of his since the past three years, has stabbed him in the back. He is, therefore, preparing for a showdown with Offor.
Two of those in whom Ubah confided said the chairman of Capital Oil claimed that Offor was responsible for his arrest and detention by the Department of State Security (DSS) for six weeks until his release on June 20. The DSS charged Ubah with stealing N11 billion worth of petroleum products belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The products were kept in Capital Oil’s storage facility in Apapa, Lagos, for a fee. Ubah has countered the allegation by claiming that the NNPC has owed him N13bn for long.
According to one of the sources, Ubah stated that Offor furnished the DSS with information he had confidentially shared with him. In addition, Ubah believes that Offor horribly twisted the narrative he gave to top DSS officials in order to make the chief executive of Capital Oil look extremely bad in the eyes of both government officials and the Nigerian public.
Our source said Ubah insisted that there was no other person with whom he shared certain information than Offor, adding that during numerous sessions of grueling interrogation the DSS officials used exactly the same words and names he used in discussions with Offor. “Chief Ifeanyi feels betrayed because he said he was treating Sir Emeka [Offor] as his brother since they hail from neighboring communities. Mr. Offor is from Oraifite town and Mr. Offor from Nnewi.
Accusing Offor of being the worst traitor he had ever met, Ubah has told friends that the embattled Offor deliberately distorted information in leaks to top DSS executives in a bid to curry favor from the Muhammadu Buhari government. On coming to office, Mr. Buhari told his senior aides that Offor represented the worst breed of “government contractors,” adding that he had no desire to interact with Offor who first came into money through a controversial turnaround maintenance contract during the brutal reign of military strongman, Sani Abacha. On coming to power, President Buhari blacklisted Offor on account of his legacy of shoddy work on public contracts, including the turn-around (TAM) contracts at both the Warri and Port refineries which led to the collapse of the two strategic national firms.
Saharareporters learned that, a few weeks after assuming office, Buhari warned his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, against allowing Offor into the Presidential Village in Abuja, describing him as “a mere Aso Rock contractor”. The instruction was subsequently passed down to all key presidential aides in the Villa.
A bitter Ubah has also told friends and confidants that Offor took pleasure in his incarceration. One of them quoted Ubah as complaining: “Sir E (Offor’s pet name) did not bother to visit me even for a second. And he did not try to use his contacts in the police and other security agencies to help me regain freedom.”
Vowing never to reconcile with his erstwhile friend, Ubah has told associates that he would demand from Offor an immediate repayment of the N400m loaned to him last year to bury his father, Benneth Offor, a police inspector who was demoted to sergeant for extorting a huge bribe from one Ignatius Nwabueze from Uzoakwa in Ihiala of Anambra State, head of the Rosicrucian Order in Eastern Nigeria.
One source said Ubah would likely forego N50m of the funds loaned to Offor as “sympathy contribution to the burial expenses of his estranged friend’s father. It remained unclear whether Ubah would demand interest payment, too.
A relative of Offor’s said the businessman, who has fallen on hard times since Mr. Buhari took office, had used part of the loan from Ubah to immortalize his father by building an information technology school in his hometown of Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State. The school is to be named Benneth Offor Memorial International IT School.
Apart from his inability to pay his Nigerian employees since Buhari became president, Offor reportedly owes several Nigerians. His list of creditors include suppliers of drinks, including top-of-the-range Champagnes, consumed during his father’s burial. The list also includes Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Motors who is owed N10m for souvenirs supplied for the funeral.
Benneth Offor died in February 2016, but was not buried till nine months later because his contractor son was looking for funds for a lavish funeral ceremony. A fundraising committee headed by former Senate President Ken Nnamani was set up to assist. A funeral committee headed by one Tony Obi announced at a press conference on November 12 that President Buhari and Donald Trump, who had just been elected the American president, were among world leaders attending the burial. However, practically no government official attended it, apparently because Offor had been blacklisted by the Presidency.