Delta gubernatorial aspirant and former Minister of State for Education, Dr. Kenneth Gbagi, has personally debunked claims made against him and his companies in viral videos and photos accusing them of dehumanising some staff over a missing N105,000.
In an audio post he made, a copy which sent to Everyday.ng, he disclosed that videos and photos on social media are those of persons allegedly ‘sexually harassing themselves” in one of his guest houses and not any of his hotels.
He disclosed that the three ladies and a man are not his staff, noting that, at best, they were free-lancers seeking employment. Curiously, he said they were applicants who had not lasted six days working, but went into stealing of various sums of money.
“I categorically say all of this is politically motivated to smear my name, not knowing I am not moved by such lies,” he stated.
Gbagi also made damning allegations against the lawyer representing the four persons, Mr. Kunle Edun.
Meanwhile, The Punch newspaper is reporting that the former employees of Signatious Hotel, Warri, Delta State, who were reportedly stripped on the order of the chairman of the hotel and former Minister of State for Education, Mr Kenneth Gbagi, have demanded N1bn compensation and public apology from him.
The victims’ legal team, led by Mr Kunle Edun of Tri-Lex Partners law firm, made the demands, among others in a September 23, 2020 letter sent to Gbagi, who is also a lawyer, on Wednesday.
In a viral message showing the four affected persons, clad only in their underpants, the poster, who did not identify himself wrote:
“This is the climax of dehumanisation I have seen in recent times.
“As reported in Punch newspaper, former minister of Education Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi who owns Robinson Plaza Warri Deco road, Delta state, Federal Republic of Nigeria, a business mogul, a governorship hopeful allegedly stripped his staff naked on account of #5,000.00 theft; but refuted by the victims that it was a gift to them by a customer. He stripped them naked, and asked his 15 years old son to film them. The respected citizen went further to cease (sic) their ATMs, withdrew their monies, invited police officers from Ebrumede station to arrest them. He also threatened to make life miserable for them.
“Until the masses rise up against oppressive leaders and wealth owners, injustice will persist.
“I’m calling on Human right activists and right lawyers to pick up this matter and bring this wicked man to sanity.”
Meantime, the lawyers for the four, in the letter titled, ‘Trial by ordeal, torture, stripping naked and bestial conduct of Signatious Hotel and yourself in an organised show of shame and animalism: Notice of intention to seek full legal redress’.
Edun stated that their clients, Mr Victor Ephraim, Gloria Oguzie, Mrs. Precious Achibong, Roselyn Okiemute Diaghwarhe, because of the tips a guest who lodged at the hotel for four days gave to them on his departure on August 20, 2020.
The letter read in part, “That after the guest’s stay, he gave our clients the sum of N105, 000 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.
“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.”
The letter added that on September 17, 2020, Gbagi allegedly forcibly took the victims, one of whom was a married woman to the hotel warehouse in the presence and assistance of the armed mobile policemen and at gunpoint ordered them “to pull off their clothes”.
The letter stated that 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” and then “summoned the other staff of the hotel to see the nakedness of our clients”.
The lawyers gave the ex-minister five days to among others, pay their clients N1bn “as modest damages and compensation for the unmitigated actions of yours.”
Already, the spokesman to Kenneth Gbagi, Mr. Sylvester Omonigho, has warned ominously that those blacking his boss: will pay an unforgettable high price
He said in the statement, “From all indications, there is a poorly scripted and badly thought-out plan designed to tarnish the good name and hard earned reputation of Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi in the eyes of the general public by professional blackmailers.
“And, we wish to remind these dark-minded beings that Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi has through dint of hard work and sheer tenacity built this name over these years.
“Every choice a man makes has consequences. Those who have chosen to do the dirty jobs of cowardly and visionless politicians, whose primary goal is to scuttle a long held vision of selfless service to the good people of Delta State by willfully and maliciously casting aspersion on Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi’s growing popularity and acceptance within the Delta State political space in particular and the country in general, in the vain hope that they can abridge his political ambition by so doing, should be ready to face the full and unmitigated consequences of their ill advised choices. They will be made to pay an unbearable and unforgettably high prize for their indiscretion.
“It is trite Law that the burden of proof rests squarely on whosoever asserts. Those who have mastered the art of blackmailing innocent people, albeit masking their devious enterprises by parading themselves as human rights activists and defenders of the poor, will be told in no uncertain terms that every act of evil deserves the full wrath of the Law without any iota of mercy.
“It is common knowledge today in Delta State, that Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi remains the front runner among the aspirants who have overtly or otherwise made known their desire to lead Delta State come May 29, 2023.
“Expectedly, those who cannot match Olorogun Gbagi wit for wit, grit for grit, determination for determination, courage for courage and vision for vision have latched onto non-existent stories woven in manners that smack of tales by moonlight and gratuitously standing truth on its head just to tar his name with all manners of dirty brushes.
“We won’t advise you to stop. Those whom the gods want to destroy, they first run mad. Continue!
“But be reminded, it will be too late to cry or repent or ask for mercy when the head is off.
“Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi has been known to be a development minded lover of humanity, a well known philanthropist, a more than average employer of labour and a respecter of the rights, privileges and dignity of all and sundry and above all, a lover of peace.
“However, any attempt to capitalize on these humane qualities to abuse his person now or any other time and jeopardize his future, will be met with what President Donald Trump of the United States called “Fire and Fury”.
Additional reports by The Punch