Kaduna Gov. El-Rufai Appoints Fugitive Banker Jimi Lawal As Special Adviser

Former FCT minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai may need to explain to the people of Kaduna State why he has decided to bring the controversial former bank executive, Shakiru Olajimi Adebisi Lawal into his cabinet.
el-Rufai who is a leading voice at campaigns against corruption and has been selling himself as a proponent of ‘Change’, shocked many when he recently appointed Jimi Lawal, a former Managing Director of Alpha Merchant Bank who was convicted in absentia in Nigeria for criminal act of distressing his bank, abandoned thousands of devastated investors to groan in their loses, while he fled Nigeria to overseas to escape arrest.
Jimi, we gathered, also had issues with the American authorities. Apart from his divorce case in the United States of America, he was at a point in time wanted there for tax matters, only to resurface as consultant to then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai e-Rufai in Abuja.
Again, el-Rufai now as Kaduna State Governor, has appointed the ‘voodoo’ banker into his cabinet to operate as Special Adviser on Investment Promotion.
Not bothered by the agonies of the bank depositors who lost billions of naira to Lawal’s mismanagement of Alpha Merchant Bank, the newly elected governor ignored all security checks to favour his very close friend.
Recall that Jimi Lawal’s case affected a lot of families. Prominent amongst them was that of Chief Michael Omisade, former chairman of the National Bank of Nigeria and director at Alpha. Omisade, co-founded the bank. He suffered from stroke in the aftermath of the distress that hit Alpha in 1993, while Jimi who was then, the Managing Director had fled.
The tragedy swept away the multi-million naira investment of Omisade in the bank and threw him into an indisposed state from which he never recovered. He died so ill and wretched.
Omisade was not the only one that died of either stroke, or shock but some other depositors too suffered different fate that was similar. A hardworking business man named Wale, a depositor and cousin of Vincent Laniyan, publisher of the defunct African Tourist magazine had a similar case of stroke which many say was a result of shock from the loss of his deposits trapped in Alpha Merchant Bank.
Many depositors who survived the Alpha distress remain stuck on bad times. Even the compensation by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, the maximum amount of N50,000 that they were paid, as restricted by law, was a far cry from the millions of naira they had deposited in Alpha.
While many have gone on bad times, Jimi returned to Nigeria quietly like a smart bloke, worked as consultant to EL-Rufai, and now on another appointment as Special Adviser.
A strong member of the APC in Kaduna who is not happy with the trend of things said “all the noise of el-Rufai and our party’s anti-corruption stance has made me confused because, I can’t imagine why my governor is celebrating a man who was indicted by failed bank tribunal of 1996, now holding a sensitive position. Are they telling us that the whole Kaduna State does not have a qualified person, so he had to shop for his friend from Ogun State? It is not a tribal issue, but people with questionable characters should never be at the front row and be accorded respect” he stated.

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