* Okowa’s Commissioner, Warri-based lawyer Responsible for viral video Over 2023-Gbagi, Says Okowa Knows Me Better…
*Commissioner Mrakpor’s Ally, Akpojotor Replies Gbagi : Please Leave Mrakpor Out Of this issue…
By Gbenga Abulude( Head, Politics and General Desk) with report from Our Delta Reporter, Victor Onowakpor
Owner of Signatious Hotel Ltd, Effurun, Delta State and controversial Billionaire businessman, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi has accused the Delta State Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Peter Mrakpor and a Warri-based legal practitioner, Mr. Kunle Edu of allegedly being brains behind public outcry over the production and circulation of a trending video showing stripped naked three ladies and a boy including a married woman.
In what seems like a serious dramatic, bickering political battle between two sons of Ughelli South LGA , Gbagi and Mr Mrakpor, the brawl is not likely to abate soon going by Gbagi’s utterances. Olorogun Gbagi who is a chieftain of the PDP and a vocal contender for the Patry’s governorship ticket in the 2023 governorship election, fired the first salvo that signaled the commencement of what movie actors may well describe as scene 1, Act 1 in the epic fracas between him and his kinsman, Mr. Mrakpor. In fact, political analysts posit that the escalating war may turn out to be a consuming row between for both kinsmen politically if not resolved.
In a roaring tone, the controversial businessman alleged at a press briefing held at his Oginibo community in Ughelli LGA that Governor Okowa’s Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr Peter Mrakpor who hails from the same Ughelli South LGA like him is equally interested in the PDP governorship ticket, and was working discreetly to undermine him politically in the race since they are both from the same LGA.
According to Gbagi, “the intention of Mrakpor, is to try to do any and everything to disrepute me before a God fearing man, Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, all in an attempt to shore up his desire to be the Governor of Delta State having seen me as the greatest threat to his ambition” He declared: “Let me make it clear to you, gentlemen of the press, that we are more than capable to repel Mrakpor’s campaign of calumny and all his threats put together. The election of 2023 is a must do for Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi”.
Gbagi also accused one Barrister Kunle Edu of involvement in his ordeal. But a visit to Barr. Kunle Edu, by The New Diplomat, urging him to allow the media to have access to his client for their own side of the story in order to respond to Gbagi’s claims was unsuccessful as he cautioned that he was being careful not to expose his clients to danger. But a politician from Ughelli South, Chief Akpojotor accused Gbagi of being the architect of his own scandalous controversy, pleading with him to” leave Peter Mrakpor out of this issue over the stripped ladies and a pending case in court…”
Chief Akpojotor said Gbagi should stop accusing the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr Mrakpor because he believes that” Mrakpor is too professional to be the one to be working against another son of Ughelli South’s interest especially at this stage…” ” I have known Mrakpor for sometime and he would not do such a thing against Gbagi, another prominent son of Ughelli South”, he added.
Akpajotor who said he personally decided to rise up in defence of Mrakpor appealed to Gbagi to thread softly and sheathe his sword in the unfolding discord: “ I would appeal to Gbagi to slow down his voice. Afterall, they are both prominent sons of Ughelli South and their differences can be settled. If you decide to fight with all your arsenals, at the end both of you might lose. First, let’s also hear from the Commissioner’s side. In the meantime, let me appeal to Olorogun Gbagi to kindly go and settle that crisis in Oginibo since he wants to be governor…You are from Ethiope so you don’t know what is happening in Oginibo. There is serious crisis in Oginibo which Gbagi should try to resolve…”
But Olorogun Gbagi who has an answer to that said some people were sponsored to challenge him in his community by politicians within his own party. Recall that Kenneth Gbagi, who is also Warri-based businessman has reportedly generated measurable employment for the locals in that vicinity via in his business interest that spans property development and hospitality repeated his allegation that his political detractors including Mr Mrakpor allegedly “planted agents as workers” in his Signatious Hotel, Effurun, Delta State, to smear his image and portray him as unsuitable to be governor of the state in 2023. He also accused Mrakpor of collaborating with some few persons in his community to precipitate some unhealthy political developments.
Repeated efforts by this reporter to reach Commissioner Mrakpor was unsuccessful. As at the time of filing in this report, calls made to the Attorney General, Mr.Mrakpor by this reporter in Warri were not returned neither were text messages responded to. Sources however said the Commissioner would not want to be “ dragged into controversy with Gbagi.”
But Chief Akpojotor who says he an ally of the Commissioner says there is no point engaging Gbagi in verbal exchanges because that would amount to serious distraction at this stage. “ Everybody knows Gbagi. So give him chance and when he is tired, he will realize the issues.…”
However, the controversial businessman and PDP chieftain, Chief Gbagi insists that: “The fabricated allegation was a plot by the Delta State Attorney General; Peter Mrakpor, and his agents who are threatened by my speed of light mannerism in the contest of gubernatorial elections in Delta State. According to trusted inside source, he has vowed to do any and everything to contest, which is why there is an urgent and pressing need to blackmail and destroy my person. I say categorically that Mrakpor in all his entireties will fail. When I founded the PDP in Delta State he was still in school….”
Dehumanizing Condition: The Road To The Crisis…
It would be recalled that early last week, a video showing three ladies and a young man stripped naked in a hotel in Effurun, near Warri went vira, trailed by a story of how the management of the hotel including the owner, Gbagi allegedly subjected four workers to dehumanizing condition for allegedly stealing the sum of N5,000 belonging to the hotel.
It was further alleged that a 15 years old son of Gbagi was allegedly ordered by his father to take the video of the workers in their nakedness state and that it was the son who reportedly posted the video/picture in various social media channels. Hell was let loose on the internet! Angry social media activists took Gbagi to task and roasted him raw on social media!
Earlier, report equally quoted the allegedly dehumanized workers alleging that it was Olorogun Gbagi who ordered that they be stripped naked for stealing N5,000 and who also forced them to accept statements written for them by one of Gbagi’s girls, forcing them to admit stealing in the hotel under duress.
The Ladies had also alleged that they were arrested and detained at the Ebrumede Police Station, Effurun, from Friday to Monday when they were charged to a Magistrate Court for charges of stealing various sums of money belonging to the hotel. As the report and accompanied video went viral in the social media and several human rights groups, including lawyers, got interested in the controversy, Gbagi was reportedly compelled to grant a preliminary press interview where he denied the allegation of inhuman treatment meted out on the workers in its entirety.
According to Gbagi, the three girls and a boy were no staff of the hotel in question nor any organization owned by him, adding that at best they were freelancers who came to the hotel to look for job opportunities. He also added that although they were undergoing screening for less than six days, they purportedly stole the hotel’s money running into millions of naira.
In a preliminary interview granted by Gbagi, an audio recording of which was also circulated in the social media, he further alleged that the victims were people who were involved in a sexual escapade in one of his guest houses, adding that they even went to swim from where they were arraigned before the management and forced to make confessional statements to their heads of department.
He said: “One, none of those people that are lined up in that video are staff of GKO properties or any organization owned or operated or associated with my person. If they are staff, I ask the general public to demand for their letters of employment or engagement. At best, they are freelance people who come around with the intention of seeking for job and, most probably, they may have been going through screening processes, but not staff of the hotel or any of our systems.
“Two, the photographs you saw that are circulating were photographs of these persons who were sexually harassing themselves in one of our guest houses, not the hotel as is being rumoured. Now, whilst some of them came to seek application to work in the hotel and they have lasted for less than 6 days, they all went into stealing of various sums of amount from the hotel where fight broke out with the purported married woman and other citizens that were involved sexually.
“In any case, when I discovered that these persons have stolen money running into millions, some of them ran away when they heard that these persons have confessed. Victor, I would confess, did a good job on all of them. He narrated how some people stole N1.3 million, including the Gloria herself.”
On Saturday September 26, 2020, Gbagi similarly addressed a world press conference in his country home, Oginibo where he also denied involvement in the dehumanizing video, adding that the victims videoed themselves on the instruction of some politicians who were using them to smear his name and blackmail him before the governor of the state.
He said: “On the allegation of molestation of staff employed with Signatious Hotel, one of the business interests I own, let me categorically state that at no time did I or any person related to me strip naked the persons mentioned in the malicious allegation. As a father of six daughters who has tremendous respect for women and their rights and equality, I consider those behind such accusation and blackmail the most evil minds that must be identified and brought to face the full wrath of the law…I have reported all the above incidents to the Governor. I also wish to call on the Inspector General, Mohammed Adamu, as a matter of urgency to investigate the claims made herein.”
Meanwhile, it has been reported in the media that the Inspector General of Police has promised to take up the matter, especially where it affected the rights of the victims who were allegedly stripped naked on phantom allegation of stealing N5,000. As the drama and political bickering escalates, the last has not been heard about the scandalous assault of these Effurun hotel staff.