* I didn’t strip anybody naked – Gbagi
By Steve Seigha, Warri
Suspected four assaulted workers of Signatious Hotel in Warri, Mr. Victor Ephraim, Gloria Oguzie, Mrs. Precious Achibong and Roselyn Okiemute Diaghwarhe have demanded N1 billion compensation from the Director of the Signatious hotel Chief Kenneth Gbagi who was accused of allegedly stripping them naked at gun point over an alleged stealing with the help of his private mobile policemen and uploaded same nude photos in social media.
Chief Gbagi had denied that he didn’t strip anybody naked and that the said persons were on sex escape. Gbagi told Daily Watch that the videos in circulation are fictitious and that the persons are not his hotel staff.
The aggrieved hotel workers wrote Chief Kenneth Gbagi, a heavily worded official letter signed by their counsels,Olukunle Ogheneovo Edun Esq. LLM, Nyerhovwo Ohre Esq. Acti, Othadua Adueniforae Okpakpor Esq. LL.M, John Smart, Alfred Ogunli Esq. Austin Akanyo Esq demanding for an apology and demand of N1billion as compensation from him.
They also demanded that Chief Kenneth Gbagi should drop the said nude photos of their clients from the various social media.
The letter stated, “We have been briefed and our services retained by (1) Mr. Victor Ephraim (2) Gloria Oguzie (3) Mrs. Precious Achibong (4) Roselyn Okiemute Diaghwarhe (hereinafter collectively referred to as “our clients”) and on whose firm behest we write you this letter, in your personal capacity and as the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of Signatious Hotels & Suites Limited (a company owned by you).
“Information from our clients (with very compelling evidence) confirms that until very recently they were staff of Signatious Hotels & Suites Limited, and assigned various responsibilities. It is public knowledge that you were a former Minister of State for Education and former Chairman of the Nigerian Legal Aid Council. You were called to the bar in the year 2003; therefore you will easily appreciate the facts hereunder.
Our clients state as follows:
That on the 30th of August, 2020 while in the ordinary course of their duties at Signatious Hotel welcomed a guest into the Hotel. The guest requested for a room and was given Room 301 which rate was N25, 000. 00 (Twenty Five Thousand Naira) per night. The guest did not have his ATM Card with him and requested to do a transfer to the accounts of one of our clients (Victor Ephraim). The guest stayed for four nights and paid for each day he stayed. The Hotel acknowledged receipt of the four nights that he stayed.
“That after the guest’s stay, he gave our clients the sum of N105, 000.00 (One Hundred and Five Thousand Naira) as tips for the good time that he had at the hotel. This again, is not unusual in the hospitality business.
That the Hotel did not lose any money neither was any alleged to have been stolen.
That when you got wind of what happened (most likely you refused to believe that there are still honest Nigerians) you summoned our clients to your office immediately and subjected them to tortuous interrogations (in the presence of your armed mobile policemen) where you demanded that all the tips given to our clients must be returned to you. You told our clients menacingly that they are not entitled to tips, as all tips belong to you. As a matter of fact, you categorically stated that they were not supposed to have monies in their accounts as long as they were working for you. This is not surprising, because according to our clients, you hardly paid staff salaries regularly and at times the staff worked without pay for months.
“That on Thursday, the 17th of September, 2020 you forcibly took our clients to the Hotel warehouse and later to your office (also at the Hotel’s Restaurant) in the presence and active assistance of the armed mobile policemen (paid by tax payers) and at gunpoint ordered our clients to pull off their clothes. Our clients pleaded profusely for your mercy but you showed them none. One of our clients, Mrs. Precious Achibong, knelt down and cried for your mercy because she is a married woman (a fact which you are aware of) and no one except her husband was supposed to see her nakedness but the milk of mercy never came from you. With the threatening presence of the armed policemen who willingly did your bidding, you directed your son of 15 years old (a minor) Master Egba Gbagi, to film and take photos of our clients’ nakedness.
“That you were still not done. You summoned the other staff of the hotel to see the nakedness of our clients. They were shocked at what you and your son were doing but still had to look at the shameful sight because they were afraid of you. They also joined in taking snapshots. You took every pride and dignity that our clients had away from them and according to you, that is the way thieves should be treated. You became the Accuser, the Judge and Executioner.
That the case of the married woman is even more pathetic. She was assigned to the Food and Beverage Department. You alleged that there was a shortage of N1, 000.00 (One Thousand Naira) in her sales for the 18th of September, 2020 and demanded that she returned the money, notwithstanding the fact that she was not the staff directly responsible. But as the Supervisor she promised to return the N1, 000.00.
Watch below video of Daily Watch investigative team exclusive interview with one of the allegedly stripped naked female workers at Signatious Hotel, Effurun, Warri Delta State.
“That at gunpoint, you forcibly collected their ATM cards and used the Hotel’s Point On Sale (POS) device to transfer all the monies in our clients’ bank accounts. You withdrew the sum of N111, 000.00 (One Hundred and Eleven Thousand Naira) from the account of Victor Ephraim on Friday, the 18th of September, 2020. Same time also you unlawfully withdrew the sum of N176, 500.00 (One Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand Five Hundred Naira) from the account of Gloria Oguzie. You withdrew the sum of N5, 000.00 (Five Thousand Naira) from Okiemute Roseline Diaghwarhe which you claimed was what she “stole” from you. Precious Achibong had already under duress, refunded the sum of N2, 000.00 even though the alleged shortage from her daily sale was N1,000.00 but you still subjected her to this infamous show of bestiality.
“That when you noticed that the news of your infamous and bestial conducts had filtered out to the public and to stave off bad publicity, you quickly called the DPO of the Ebrumede Police Station, Uvwie Local Government to send officers to your hotel to arrest some “thieves”. The Policemen came and arrested our clients, without any complaint first being made by you or any member of your staff to the Police. Our clients, at your instance were detained for 4 (four) days at the Ebrumede Police Station. Our clients were eventually arraigned in court on frivolous charges of stealing the same actual amounts that you unlawfully and at gun point withdrew from their accounts. This was not smart at all.
“That you personally and also instructed your said son, Master Egba Gbagi to post the nude pictures of our clients on the Hotel’s staff WhatsApp group and in the general social media. By this your authorized act, the nude pictures of our clients went viral and are now on facebook, YouTube and other social media outlets. The media is now agog with it.
That inspite of the gory incidents where you, your son and the armed mobile policemen attached to you were the principal conniving characters that orchestrated same, you are still threatening our clients and members of their family that you will use your influence and position to deal with them if they dare seek any legal redress. Our clients take these threats seriously and shall inform the law enforcement agencies immediately. Our clients have also seen the money-motivated and hurried Press Release made by Signatious Hotel purporting to deny what transpired and ascribing same to be the machinations of your alleged political detractors whom you claim are bent on scuttling your gubernatorial ambition in Delta State. Certainly no one believes these clichés again. They are the usual tales told by politicians to attempt to hide the truth. The wicked runneth when no one pursueth…Proverbs 28.1.
Information confirmed that the Operations Manager, the Safety Manager and some other senior and junior staff of the Hotel have resigned as a result of your acts complained of and are willing to give us more information.
OUR CLIENTS’ DEMANDS
We have the instructions of our clients to make the following demands on you and HEREBY NOTIFY ACCORDINGLY, to wit:
i. A formal public apology for the trial by ordeal, calamitous embarrassment, disgrace and public ridicule that you subjected our clients to. The apology must be on a full page and to be published in the Vanguard Newspaper and the Punch Newspaper.
ii. An immediate retraction of all the videos and pictures of the nudity of our clients shared by you and your son on the social media.
iii. Report yourself to the nearest Police Station for contravening the provisions of Sections 26(1) & 32(1) of the Child Rights Act, 2003, for involving and procuring a child in the commission of an offence and sexually exploiting a child in a manner not allowed by the Child Rights Act.
iv. Immediate return of all the items/monies unlawfully withdrawn and forcibly taken from their accounts including Samsung Phone A10, black Itel phone, ox-blood coloured hand bag containing perfume, keys, pair of sandals, yellow shirt, food flask, cash of N2,500, wallet (which belonged to Roseline Okiemute Diaghwarhe). The phones of our other clients taken by you must be returned.
v. The sum of N1, 000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) as modest damages and compensation for the unmitigated actions of yours.
Please, be further informed that should you fail/refuse to comply with our modest demands WITHIN FIVE (DAYS) UPON YOUR RECEIPT OF THIS LETTER, we have the full instructions of our clients to perfect their instructions and proceed as follows, without further reference to you:
I. File Complaint to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee and the Nigerian Bar Association that your conduct is unbecoming of a lawyer.
II. Lodge a formal complaint to the Inspector General of Police against you for the grave crimes you have committed.
III. Make a formal petition to the Senate of the National Assembly to intervene in this matter and withdraw all Honours bestowed on you by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
IV. Petition the Hoteliers Association of Nigeria to de-list your Signatious Hotel and any other Hotel business that you may be involved in.
V. Petition the appropriate agencies involved in Child Care and file an action in court against you personally for child abuse and seek to put your child, Master Egba Gbagi into proper custody pursuant to the enabling provisions of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003.
VI. Petition the Embassies of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and put them on notice of the bestial acts complained above.
VII. Petition the National Human Rights Commission on your gross violations of the fundamental rights of our clients.
VIII. Enforce the fundamental rights of our clients and seek for remedies, including but not certainly limited to the payment of the sum of N1, 000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) as exemplary damages” the letter said.
I didn’t strip anybody naked, they were in sex escapade ― Gbagi
Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi while reacting to Vanguard online Thursday edition, who denied that he didn’t strip anybody naked.He sees the whole drama as being staged managed by political opponents to blackmail him following his 2023 Delta state governorship ambition.
The Minister for State (Education), Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, has declared that he did not strip anybody naked as portrayed by political detractors in some trending videos and photographs, saying the people involved were having sex among themselves when a fight broke out among them
Gbagi stated, “My attention has just been drawn to trending photographs in virtually Nigerian social media and blogs. First and foremost, the videos in circulation are fictitious- made videos and none of those people lined up in the video are a staff of GKO Properties or any organisation associated with my person.
“What you see circulating are photographs of these persons who were sexually harassing themselves in one of our guest houses, not the hotel, as it is being rumoured.
“While some of them came to seek application to work in the hotel and have lasted less than six days, they all went into stealing of various sums of amount in the hotel, where fight broke out with the purported married woman and some other citizens involved with them sexually.
“If they are staff, I ask the general public to demand their letters of engagement or employment. At best, they are freelance people, who come around with the intention to seek jobs and most probably they may have been going through the screening process, but not staff of the hotel or any of our system.
“Now take the question of if it is indeed true, the pictures you have seen, did you see any injury or torture on them, and they were swimming. First and foremost, they were swimming, they had come out of the guest house where they were sleeping with themselves, I have nothing to do with it.
“They were the ones that brought themselves to lodge a complaint, I never would take such photographs nor my children to circulate, no, it was all planned by political opponents, I cannot do that, I was a former chairman of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria and I know what it takes.
“In any case, let us deal with the issue of theft which is the main matter here. These are people who stole, we have their statements in writing, in fact, they were writing against themselves. So, it was all politically motivated. We have no business with it,” he added.
His words: “I categorically say that all of these are motivated to smear me (laughs), not knowing that I am not moved by such lies. I am not involved, I am laughing at them because all they needed to have done is to try and make sure of what they want to show to Deltans, as to why a jobless man, a man that has nothing to offer should come and govern them, I have presented my credentials to the world and that I know is good enough.”
“It will be recalled that it was rumored that some point, some years ago, getting towards an election like we are now getting to prepare for shortly, that I had a lion in my house that was going to come out and devour people. That time, childish as it was, they said a man of God saw the vision that my lion was going to come out, the man of God in question came out to debunk that there was no such thing.
“But the mischief-makers insisted, homes were closes, stores were abandoned, all in an attempt to avoid being devoured by this so-called lion that never existed. Up till this moment, the lion in question has not been seen or produced and nobody bothers to ask the question – where is the so-called lion.
“I have since moved out of that property to my community and no lion is anywhere. I want to tell you that this is a plan by some persons, who believe that with the good job we do, it is a lost battle for them, they want to be governor of Delta State and all these are geared towards presenting an embarrassing case to the governor.
“The governor is not a stupid person, he can never be, and he knows this game better than they think they are doing.
“You will recall that sometime much earlier in the year, there was a rumor that somebody was killed in my community, the people, who killed the persons in the community, turned around, produced the video of the dead body as though I was the one, it is political.
“Incidentally, I was not even in the country when the incident occurred. I came in, made sure we complained to the police, they arrested the culprit, these same men who are seeking to be governor connived with some top official and release the people on a no-case submission.
“A lawyer said to be with them is an extortionist, he has done everything before now to extort money from me, in fact, he believes he is a partner to my wealth and all of these have been playing out,” he added.
Daily Watch investigators went to the Ebrumede Police station, the police station that made the arrest of the hotel workers at the instruction Chief Kenneth Gbagi on the same matter to get further clarification on Thursday could not meet the Divisional Police Officer. But a very senior police office who spoke on the condition of anonymity told our Warri correspondent he is aware of the incidence.
But he revealed that the police at Ebrume station is handling only allegation of stealing and conspiracy levelled against some workers at Signatious Hotel brought to the station by the management.
Daily Watch asked, does the Ebrumede Police station is also aware that the workers arrested were allegedly stripped naked by the director of the Signatiois Hotel Chief Kenneth Gbagi and according to the victims, it was the police that clothed them at the point of arrest?
The senior police officer said he is not conversant with the stripping aspect of the workers as he was not part of the patrol team that went for the arrest and no policemen who went for the arrest hinted him.
Daily Watch probed further, is he also aware during police statements made by the detainees, did they added as part of their statement that the hotel director Chief Kenneth Gbagi also stripped them naked and asked his twelve years old son to video and snapped photos of their nudity and also paraded them before other workers in the hotel?
He told our investigators the police is not handling the alleged stripping case until it is reported in fresh complain by the aggrieved party. That the police is handling the alleged stealing and conspiracy allegation and it has been charged court against them in a magistrate court at the order of the hotel director.
See court charged document below.
Meanwhile, Daily Watch to get a better clarification of the matter on Tuesday during an investigation asked the victims as how they got the nude photos in their smart phones displaying to the journalists and their counsels as evidence of nude photos taken without their consent allegedly at the order of Chief Kenneth Gbagi at gunpoint? One of them told Daily Watch on 23rd Tuesday, September, 2020 at their lawyers chamber in Ekpan, Warri that the nude photos were shared or forwarded to them by their co-worker at Signatious hotel who got them from Gbagi’s 15 years old son smart photos.
On that same day, the nude photos partially mutilated on the faces and other sensitive parts of the images was published in Sahara Reporters.
We asked how did Sahara reporters got the same photos displaying in their phones. They replied they had no knowledge.
While Daily Watch investigative team requested the nude photos for forensic analysis to get a possible clue. The counsel to the victims turned down our request, stating the photos did not portray his clients in good light and that it is his duty to protect the privacy of his clients.
On 24th Wednesday, the following day, Daily Watch saw same private photos almost on every Facebook handles, condemning the alleged action and wickedness of the chairman of Signatious hotel for stripping his workers naked over stealing allegation.
However, we called the victims counsel why the nude photos were everywhere on the internet? He replied he did not upload the nude photos. Daily Watch asked further who did it? He fingered Chief Kenneth Gbagi.
Daily investigative media team would keep you abreast as events unfold on the alleged stripped hotel workers case. By our next follow up exclusive investigation, we promise to bring new menu to our esteemed readers, while we have millions questions to ask both parties to get to the root of the matter.