The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Tuesday took over the business premises and assets of Bedko Nigeria Limited belonging to Buba Galadima, a strong critic of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Galadima, a former political ally of the president, has for years been one of the most vociferous critics of the administration.
A one-time Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Agency (NMA) (1996 – 1998), Mr Galadima was appointed the National Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) formed in the run-up to the 2011 national elections.
He was one of the nine signatories that signed the merger agreement between some political parties that came together to form the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), which President Buhari used as a platform for his election in 2015.
The political parties in the merger deal were the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Congress for Progressive Change (CPC); All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
However, since the president’s election, his relationship with Mr Galadima appeared to have gone sour, with the latter emerging as the leading opposition voice against the administration’s policies and programmes.
On Tuesday, AMCON in a statement in Abuja said the Federal High Court in Abuja issued an order for it to take over Mr Gladima’s properties, including his private residence and company, over alleged N900 million indebtedness.
The order followed a ruling in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1136/2019 against Bedko Nigeria Limited and Mr Galadima, AMCON said.
The spokesperson of AMCON, Jude Nwauzor, said the loan was sourced from Unity Bank Plc in 2011 during the first phase of Eligible Bank Assets acquisition.
“Since then, AMCON has offered the obligor a good measure of olive branches and explored all avenues to resolve the matter amicably. But the obligor, and his company, Bedko Nigeria Limited, have remained recalcitrant and unwilling to repay the huge debt to the Corporation,” Mr Nwauzor said.
AMCON listed the properties to include House No. 15, Addis Ababa Crescent, Wuse Zone 4, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and House No. 4, Bangui Street, Wuse 2 also in the high-brow area of Abuja.
AMCON said the enforcement of the order on the properties of Bedko Nigeria Limited and Mr Galadima is one of the many it would be undertaking this year since receiving additional powers from the president late last year.
An Inter-agency Committee on the recovery of AMCON debts was constituted by the President Buhari last year following the signing into law of the 2019 Amended AMCON Act.
The amendment gave AMCON additional powers to go after all obligors of the corporation no matter how highly placed in society.
Mr Nwauzor said AMCON would take all necessary actions, including asset take-over, liquidation, winding-up and garnishee proceedings against Bedko Nigeria Limited and its directors in line with the court judgment and relevant sections of the AMCON Act as amended.
Meanwhile, Mr Galadima has denied knowledge of the allegations of indebtedness against him and his company.
Meanwhile, Mr Galadima has said he and his company are not indebted to AMCON.
“I went to a bank in 2003 to sign for a loan. A letter of credit was opened for me to import fertilizer at that time. But the goods never came. The head office of the bank in America refused to honour the invitation because the Bank in question was under investigation by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Intelligence). I didn’t take one kobo from them. They didn’t even credit my own account,” he said.
Mr Galadima said the collateral was agreed to take effect two or three years after importation of the fertilizer began.
However, he said when AMCON took him to a high court over the money, he protested that he was not satisfied with the judgment and appealed.
He said he won the appeal and the court freed him.
“All this is an attempt to disgrace and break me down. But I am unbreakable and they can never silence me,” Mr Galadima said, blaming his travails to his political opponents.
“This is injustice and attempt to humiliate me. But, God will not let them. They sacked me and over 50 people that sleep in this apartment. We don’t know where to go. We will remain on the streets. We will remain on the streets until God provides another place for us.
“They will surely pay for disgracing and humiliating me publicly. I am going back to court,” Mr Galadima said.