The six-storey building at 45, Martins Street, Lagos, flaunts a rich history. The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) acquired the property after the country’s Independence in 1960 and structured it into a broadcasting station.
The first Frequency Modulated (FM) station in the country, Radio Nigeria 2 (RN2) began broadcasting from there, infusing entertainment into radio broadcast, a role it admiringly played for many years, spewing sonorous music, and producing exciting plays and short stories.
That exemplary narration has, however, changed. The building housing Radio Nigeria 2 (RN2), as the station was widely known, is today a burnt edifice enmeshed in sale and management controversy. Invariably, the property was sold without the owner (FRCN) knowing about it. What is even more curious is that it was sold over 10 years ago with no one coming forward to claim ownership – until recently.
But that is not the only curious thing about the sale of the property. Investigations by The ICIR shows that the building was sold (in actual fact, leased for 99 years) in 2010 by the Presidential Implementation on the Sale of Government Property to Seamen Traders Nigeria Limited without the knowledge of FRCN.
Further investigations revealed that Seamen Traders was issued a Certificate of Occupancy by the Federal government on May 17, 2010. A search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) showed that Seamen Traders is owned by Orji Uzor Kalu, businessman, newspaper publisher and senator representing Abia North. The company, which was incorporated in February 1988, has Christiana Orji and Obinna Moore as the other directors.
Also curious is the fact that the property was sold for N100 million, whereas independent evaluation puts its worth at least one billion naira. What is more, there is no evidence that the pittance for which it was sold was ever paid into government coffers.
Property’s chequered history
On November 6, 2019, fire razed the imposing building, which Adebowale Stores Limited (ASL) had managed as lessee for some 19 years on behalf of the FRCN. That would be the second major fire damage to the building.
ASL had been a tenant in the building for about 20 years when fire first gutted the building on November 15, 1997, wreaking extensive damage. As the property remained unrepaired two years after the fire incident, the founder and chairman of ASL, Hamza Beyioku Adebowale, wrote to the FRCN in December 1999, indicating his company’s desire to repair the uninsured building and acquire a leasehold on it. The FRCN management agreed and, on May 29, 2000, both parties signed a five-year lease agreement.
FRCN kept us in the dark on sale – Adebowale
ASL had since then been the manager of the property until the 2019 fire tragedy and, as the company’s Head, Corporate Services/Company Secretary, Yishau Habeeb, put it, was hoping its long tenancy and lease relationship with the FRCN would put it in a position of advantage if and when the federal government eventually decided to sell it. That hope would turn out forlorn, for, as the ASL just recently discovered, the building had actually been sold in 2010 for N100 million.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.icirnigeria.org/controversy-trails-sale-of-billion-naira-worth-radio-nigeria-building-for-n100-million/