By Ajibola Abayomi,
The President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Chief Chris Isiguzo has told all parties involved in the failed Penjewel Estate housing project to refund the money collected from subscribers within one month.
Those involved in the alleged fraudulent project are President Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Ifeyinwa Omowole, former Chairman Lagos State Council of NUJ, Deji Elumoye, former NAWOJ Treasurer Tosin Odusola and the developer Primewater View Company.
Isiguzo spoke at a meeting with all stakeholders held at Radio Lagos in Alausa, Lagos, where he clearly stated that the parties deliberately took subscribers for granted.
Journalists in 2015 contributed money in United States of America dollars and naira running into about N85million purportedly for counterpart funding for the provision of 800 units of three-bedroom flats in part of their land at Abaren, Ogun State, which was never delivered.
The President, who attended the meeting with the union’s National Secretary Shaiubu Numan, said the project was designed to fail ab-initio.
Reading the NUJ’s position on the issue after over four hours of deliberation, Isiguzo said N73 million was paid to the developer in installments for a job not done, adding that substantial sum was diverted to another project.
“We observed that about N85million was involved in the entire project whether paid in dollar or naira. Of this, N73 million was paid out to the developer, Primewater View Company. We also observed that a substantial sum was diverted to another project.
“We were also able to establish that the subscribers were not properly informed and the purported agreement signed by the parties was defective ab-initio. We discovered that money was paid to the developer in installments from N10 million, N45 million, N10 million and lastly N8 million totaling N73 million.
“This totally violated the content of the agreement and clearly shows that from the onset, the project was designed to fail as subscribers were deliberately taken for granted.
“Accordingly, we want to call on all the parties involved in this illegal transaction to quickly terminate the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they signed. As earlier directed by the National Executive Council (NEC), the amounts paid out should be returned and given back to their original owners, the subscribers.
“The NUJ Lagos Council and the leadership of NAWOJ should quickly liaise with the developer and bring back the money paid. Clearly, money was paid for jobs not executed.
“On the issue of Lagos NUJ and NAWOJ members involved in this charade, we shall revert to NEC for it to decide the appropriate punishment to be meted to them.
“As recommended earlier by both the Lagos NUJ land committee and the NEC elders committee, we are asking the parties to do the needful within the next one month because it is so sad that leaders will get to this level.
“It was clear that the foreign developer pulled out the project; that was the time parties ought to have ended this transaction. The fact that they didn’t do this left so much to be desired.
“We want on to also caution that henceforth, any council that wishes to go into any project must do that in strict liaison with the national leadership of NUJ.
“Failure of the leadership of Lagos Council to do the needful has led us to this decrepit level we all find ourselves. We want to appeal to subscribers that since we have now come here and discussed, let all hostilities stop so that we wait for the parties to do as directed.”
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