Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, has denied ownership of a 21-storey building in Ikoyi, Lagos State, which collapsed on Monday killing at least 40 people so far, describing his alleged link to the property as sheer wickedness.
Osinbajo’s reaction comes amid suggestions that he has a stake in the collapsed building, and may have influenced the Lagos State government to allow work to continue on the building even when it did not pass stress test.
The vice president who denied the allegations in a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande in Abuja on Friday, said emphasized that he has no interest whatsoever, and has never had any interest, either legally or beneficially, in the land, the collapsed building or development.
Osinbajo condoled with the families and relatives of all those who have died, those injured or affected in the collapse.
The Vice President frowned at the publication by a well-known online media outfit that had linked him to the collapsed building.
The online media outfit had in its publication claimed that the Vice President owns the land upon which the collapsed building in Ikoyi stood, while also alleging that he bought the said land from Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, Chairman of Elizade Motors.
“Let it be made clear that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo does not own and has never owned the said land,” Osinbajo said in the statement.
“He has also never been involved, in any shape or form, in the development of this or any other land since he became Vice President.
“At no time whatsoever did the VP buy this or any other piece of land from Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, or entered into any transaction for the sale of that land or any other piece of land from Chief Ade-Ojo or anyone for that matter.
“All property and assets owned by the Vice President have been publicly declared.
“Also, the Vice President has never spoken to the Governor of Lagos State or any other official of the State Government regarding the unsealing of the said building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, which subsequently collapsed.
“He has, indeed, never acted to influence any other regulatory action on the collapsed building, or any other building for that matter, in Lagos State.
“The Vice President restates categorically that he has no interest whatsoever, and has never had any interest, either legally or beneficially, in the land, the building or development.
“The wickedness and viciousness of a lie that seeks to utilize a tragedy where so many people have lost their lives, even as rescue efforts are ongoing, and in wanton disregard to the feelings and untold grief of their loved ones for political gain, reveals a dangerous desperation, as well as the heartlessness of the perpetrators of such despicable lies.”
He further said that the online medium was “undoubtedly well rewarded for the criminal and inhumane conduct. Typical of a hatchet job and deliberately irresponsible journalism, the publication was not signed by anyone.
“The Vice President has referred this disgraceful publication to his lawyers for prompt legal action.”
Ade-Ojo, denies selling collapsed building land to Osinbajo
Meanwhile, the founder of Elizade Motors and Elizade University, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, has denied selling the said land to Osinbajo.
Ade-Ojo in a statement issued and personally signed by him on Thursday, stated that he owns the property next to the collapsed building, adding that he has not sold it and does not intend to sell it to anyone.
“It has come to my attention that a publication by the online news website, Sahara Reporters is in circulation, claiming that I owned the land on which the high-rise building in Ikoyi that collapsed earlier this week was built,” he said.
“The story titled ‘Photo Proof: Osinbajo bought the Ikoyi collapsed building’ published on November 4, 2021, also claimed that I sold the land to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo shortly after he became vice president.
“Both claims are outright falsehoods. I hereby state that I do not own and never held title to the said property.
“In addition, I did not sell any property to the vice president at any time whatsoever.
“To be clear, I own a property next to the said building, which I have not sold and do not intend to sell to anyone