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Law firm exonerates couple from alleged railway contract scam

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A leading Nigerian law firm, Advocaat Law Practice has disassociated a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ola Alokolaro from a controversial award of railway project contract by the federal government of Nigeria. 

An Online newspaper report had raised the alarm that a multi-billion-naira contract to rehabilitate a section of Nigeria’s Eastern Railway Line was awarded to an unregistered entity in a process that reeked of corruption, regulatory failure, collusion, and defiance of Nigeria’s public procurement rules.

The newspaper claimed that, a setup named Eser Contracting and Industry Company Incorporated, promoted by Turkish firm, Eser, was awarded the contract to rehabilitate the 463km Port Harcourt-Makurdi section of the Eastern Railway line for N19.2 billion in March 2011. 

It said the company has no legal capacity for the work as it has no required certificate of incorporation, as a CAC search revealed.

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The newspaper further alleged that investigation showed the setup has possible connections with certain persons – Adekemi Alokolaro, nee Sijuwade, and her husband, Ola Alokolaro – who share family ties with Adeseyi Sijwuade, then Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

But the law firm, in a rebuttal yesterday, clarified that the allegation on Mrs. Oluwakemi Olokolaro (nee Sijuwade) and her husband, Mr. Ola Alokolaro has no connection with the award and execution of a contract awarded by the federal government. 

The law firm maintained that neither the couple nor their entities on which they serve as directors have ever been awarded nor executed any railway contract by and or on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as alluded to in the said publication.

According to the release, “Our attention has been drawn to an on-line publication of Premium Times dated October 17, 2020 and titled: INVESTIGATION: How non-existent company was awarded multi-billion naira railway contract.

“The said publication attempts to link the partners of our firm Messrs. Ola Alokolaro and Kemi Sijuwade to the award and execution of a contract awarded by the Federal Government of Nigeria to Eser West Africa for the rehabilitation of the Makurdi-Port Harcourt Railway Corridor.

“For the avoidance of doubt, neither our partners nor the entities on which they serve as directors have ever been awarded nor executed any railway contract by and or on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as alluded to in the said publication. 

“Furthermore, our partners are already seeking independent advice on the said publication, with a view to seeking appropriate legal redress. We assure our clients of the integrity of all members of our firm in the course of all our dealings and remain committed to the core values with which we have become synonymous.”

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