Atiku, El-Rufai, Other Politicians, Security Officers ‘Linked’ With Properties In Dubai

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A comprehensive investigation has uncovered that approximately 200 Nigerian politicians, security officers, and their associates have collectively invested almost $1 billion (N1.49 trillion) in Dubai’s real estate market over the past two decades, according to a BusinessDay report.

The explosive findings are part of a global investigative project, “Dubai Unlocked,” spearheaded by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and over 70 media partners worldwide.

Economy Post, the sole Nigerian participant in this investigation, provided crucial data revealing extensive property holdings by politically exposed Nigerian persons (PEPs), their families, and high-ranking civil servants in Dubai.

The report indicates a significant increase from previous years, with the current figures standing at 1,600 properties valued at $997.79 million, up from 800 properties worth $400 million in 2020.

These properties are located in some of Dubai’s most prestigious areas, including the Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah.

Nigerians rank as the second-largest foreign real estate investors in Dubai, trailing only behind Indians, with PEPs and their connections owning approximately 88% of the properties tied to Nigerians.

BusinessDay’s analysis also included social media scrutiny and cross-referencing birth dates to confirm identities and property ownership.

A law professor, Emmanuel Okeke, commented on the findings, noting that while owning property abroad is lawful, the significant capital flow into Dubai’s market raises concerns about potential corruption.

“These revelations are critical as they shed light on the foreign investment behaviors of Nigerian elites and their implications on the country’s economic and anti-corruption landscape,” said Okeke.

Nigerian Owners Of Dubai Properties

Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former vice president, is linked with a three-bedroom flat estimated at $1.23 million at Palm Tower in Dubai. His daughter, Hadiza, is also linked with a one-bedroom flat at Trade Centre Second, valued at $104,135. The 23-year-old Atiku’s daughter also owns another two-bedroom flat at Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid estimated at $289,305.75. The flat, the data shows, serves a commercial purpose.

Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi, Nigeria’s chief attorney and justice minister, is linked with an $85,846 property at Al Hebiah Third. Fagbemi is a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai owns a four-bedroom flat valued at $193,084 at Al Hebiah Third. He governed the northwestern state of Kaduna for eight years.

Eight properties valued at $2.28 million are linked to Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections. The properties are located in choice locations such as Burj Khalifa, Al Yelayiss, Al Barsha South Fourth, and Town Square Safi 2.

Datti is currently not in government, but he was once a senator and member of the House of Representatives. He founded Baze University in 2011.

One property, a villa, valued at $1.13 million, was traced to Patrick Ifeanyi Uba, chief executive of Capital Oil and Anambra South senator.

However, eight properties were traced to his wife, Uchenna Uba. The values of all the properties were not inserted in the files, but one property (a villa) at Wadi Al Safa 7 costs about $1.13 million, while two others are valued at $294, 516 each.

Seven properties valued at $1.48 million are linked to Attahiru Bafarawa, former Sokoto State governor, while another real estate asset, located at Palm Jumeirah and valued at $750,112, belongs to his wife.

A property at Burj Khalifa valued at $822,016 belongs to Ahmed Markafi, former Kaduna State governor.

Late Tafa Balogun, former police chief, is linked with five properties in various locations, including Marsa Dubai. The properties cost more than $1 million today.

A property was traced to a former police assistant inspector-general (AIG), Mbu Joseph Mbu.

Three properties are linked with Amadu Adah Ali, former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chair, while one valued at $422,887 was traced to his daughter, Khadijah Nneamaka Ali.

Eleven properties were traced to Maina Ma Aji Lawan, former Borno State governor and senator, while one located at Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, valued at $1.16 million, belongs to Ashe Ahmadu Muazu, wife of a former PDP chairman.

One property was traced to Christabel Bentu, a former special assistant to one-time governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye.

Two properties were traced to Isa Mahmoud Nuhu, a Nigeria Customs Service (NIS) senior official. One property is estimated at $553,802.

Two properties were traced to Salisu Abdullahi Yushau, a former senior officer of the Nigerian Air Force.

A flat at Marsa Dubai, valued at $590,807, was traced to Mohammed Sidi Sani, former director-general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), who was sacked in April 2023 with seven of the agency’s directors. The property is valued at $590,807.

A Marsa Dubai property valued at $3.093 million is linked to Hadiza Ali Sheriff, wife of former Borno State governor.

One real estate is linked to Nenadi Esther Usman, Nigeria’s former finance minister, while another property was traced to Bobboi Bala Kaigama, former Trade Union Congress (TUC) president.

Seven properties are linked to Ibrahim Folorunsho Jimoh, senator representing Ondo South, while five belong to Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy Senate president, who is serving a jail term in the United Kingdom.

One property is linked to Orji Uzor Kalu, former Abia State governor and now senator, while another was traced to Jeremiah Useni, former military governor of old Bendel State.

A real estate estimated at $101,793.37 at Jabal Ali First belongs to Osita Ben Chidoka, former aviation minister, while another real estate asset is linked with Olisa Metuh, former PDP spokesman.

A property at Marsa Dubai is owned by Abdulsalami Alhali Abubakar, Nigeria’s former head of state. A property valued at $1.025 million is owned by Hassan Ardo Tukur, former principal secretary to President Goodluck Jonathan.

A property at Marsa Dubai was traced to Adeyemi Sabitun Ikuforiji, former speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly. Another property is owned by Dan Etete (Dauzia Loya Etete), Nigeria’s former petroleum minister.

Naijaonpoint clarifies that this is not an indictment on the names listed, as there is no evidence that the individuals acquired the properties with stolen or public funds.

Findings showed that some Nigerian male property registrants listed their address as Puerto Rico.

Similarly, some male Nigerians were also registered as female.