Exposed: Nigerian Leaders with billions worth of Dubai properties


Some powerful Nigerians, including Politically-Exposed Persons, with high-value properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been identified.

They were identified in a report released during the week by American-based NGO, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The report authored by Mattew Page, and based largely on private data compiled by UAE-based real estate and property professionals, revealed that 800 properties valued at N152 billion were linked to the powerful Nigerians.

Dubbed “Sandcastles data,” the UAE-based real estate professionals had in 2016, made the data available to the Center for Advanced Defence Studies (now known as C4ADS) as confidential sources. But as credible as the data is, the Centre added a caveat that they do not constitute property deed, which it noted is a form of official documentation strictly controlled in the UAE as confidential information.

“Further, the data, last updated in 2016, show the affiliation of individuals and entities with Dubai property at that moment in time, and, as such, this paper makes no claim that these affiliations have continued past that year. The mention of any individual, company, organisation, or entity in this paper does not imply the violation of any law or international agreement,” the report cautioned.

According to the report, some Nigerians with properties in Dubai are:

  1. Atiku Bagudu: The Kebbi State Governor and Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Progressive Governors Forum owns eight properties worth over $4.8 million in total on the twelfth floor of Dubai’s Capital Bay Towers development.
  2. Senator Ike Ekweremadu: He was Deputy Senate President (2007 – 2019). Ekweremadu is connected to eight Dubai properties, with an estimated total value in excess of $7 million. These include a luxury flat in Park Towers bought for $2.2 million and one in Burj Dubai purchased for $1.4 million.
  3. Ibrahim Mantu: He was in the Senate (1999–2007) and became Deputy Senate President. Mantu is linked to twelve Dubai properties purchased for a total of over $10 million through a front company, TSE Stevedoring Nigeria. Mantu’s wife and sons own 70 percent of the company, according to corporate records. Through another company, A-Z Properties, Mantu also is linked to a $600,000 flat in the Jumeirah Beach Residences. His son Musa is also tied to a comparable flat in the same development.
  4. Mohammed Alabi Lawal: He was Miltary Governor of Ogun State (1987 – 1990) and Civilian Governor of Kwara State from 1999 t0 2003. He died in 2006. He owned six properties with a total purchase price of over $2 million. At least one of those properties, a villa, was bought in January 2003, while Lawal was still in office.
  5. Ahmadu Ali: Former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ali, his wife, Marian Nneamaka Ali, and son, Mamman Ali, are linked to eleven properties in Dubai. Seven of the properties are together worth at least $4 million; the other four are together worth an estimated $2 million. Ali also owns two high-end London properties: a $10 million house near Hampstead Heath and a $1.3 million flat in Marylebone.
  6. Dan Etete: Ex-Petroleum Minister (1995 – 1998) is also linked to a parcel of land in Emirate Hills worth over $920,000. He also owned a $500,000 apartment in the Palm Jumeirah’s Marina Residences.
  7. Four other Ministers: Four other ministers—sitting and former—appear to be linked to Dubai property, including one tied to a villa, worth up to $800,000, in Dubai’s Arabian Ranches development.
  8. Ex-Presidential Aides: At least four former aides are linked to Dubai property. One is linked to four flats in the Burj Khalifa complex worth an estimated $2.6 million in total and a three-bedroom apartment worth over $490,000 in Dubai Marina. Another is tied to an apartment in the Jumeirah Beach Residence—where the average sales price is now $586,000. The spouse of another former aide is connected to an apartment on the Palm Jumeirah.
  9. Friends of James Ibori: Several former senior state officials linked to ex-Delta State Governor, Ibori (1999 – 2007) are tied to properties in Dubai. While many are believed to be fronting for him, others could have acquired these properties with their own funds. One is linked to four Dubai properties, purchased for a total of $3.8 million. Another is affiliated with a two-bedroom flat on the twenty-first floor of the DAMAC Residenze, which, according to the developer, “comes with all the trappings of an indulgent lifestyle” as well as “uninterrupted panoramic views of the ocean.” The official reportedly purchased the apartment for over $1.5 million and also bought a flat in another development for $500,000. A third Ibori ally is linked to a two-bedroom flat on the twenty-third floor of the DAMAC Residenze that he purchased for over $1.3 million. Yet another is tied to four luxury flats in Dubai, purchased for just over $2 million in total.
  10. Ex-Commissioners: There at least three such commissioners with ties to Dubai property. A former commissioner of finance from one northern state is linked to a two-bedroom flat in the Tuscan Residences development worth about $400,000. Another former commissioner from a Niger Delta state is linked to two properties in Dubai Sports City.  An ex-commissioner from a neighboring state is affiliated with a flat in the upscale Jumeirah Lakes Towers.
  11. Heads of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs): Thirty-seven such people are linked to seventy luxury properties. One senior official who managed a state-owned parastatal for roughly ten years is linked to a Dubai property worth over $864,000. Another senior career civil servant who recently retired from a prominent state agency is linked to three luxury apartments worth over $900,000 in total.

This list is by no means exhaustive, as many other politically-exposed persons are mentioned in the report.

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