“Money, of course, is never just money. It’s always something else, and it’s always something more, and it always has the last word,” said Paul Auster, U.S. writer. Aster’s words bring to mind the wisdom of late German economist and philosopher, Karl Marx. Speaking of money, Marx said: “It is the common whore, the common procurer of people and nations.” These profound summations no doubt speaks to vanity and greed of late Oloroogun Micheal Ibru’s family. The late business magnate must be turning in his grave as his children engage each other in a bitter squabble over his estate. 16 of his children are in a legal tussle over their paternity and his multi-billion naira assets.
One of his sons, Oboden Ibru, has approached the Igbosere High Court, Lagos, for a declaration, among others, that he and his 15 other siblings are entitled to the estate of their father.
In a counter-claim, one of the late Chief Ibru’s daughters, Janet Ibru, urged the court to declare that only persons whose paternity are confirmed by a diagnostics centre in the United States are entitled to an equal share of the estate. Oboden’s suit was filed February 8 by Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) but has not been assigned to a Judge.
The defendants are Oskar Ibru, Peter Ibru, Emmanuel Ibru, Gloria Ibru, Elaine Ibru-Mukoro, Elvina Ibru, Mamemo Ibru, Janet Ibru, Obaro Ibru, Vivi Ibru-Stankov, Edesiri Ibru, Christiana Ibru, Jero Ibru, Vikwesiri Ibru, Gabriel Ibru and the Probate Registrar, High Court of Lagos State.
The claimant is seeking an order declaring that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of January 2, 2001 is valid as to the distribution by way of gift of the late Ibru’s assets to both “Ovuone” and “Ivetu”.
He asked the court to declare that the properties listed in the MOU belong in their entirety to “Ovuone” being gifted jointly and several times to “Ovuone” in the lifetime of the late Chief Ibru.
Such properties include No. 1, Marine Road, Apapa, Lagos; 47, Marine Road, Apapa; 49, Marine Road, Apapa; 52, Marine Road, Apapa; 5,7,9 Emotan Road, Apapa; 3,5,7 Ladipo Oluwole, Apapa; Daska House; Blomfield Court; 33, Michael Ibru Boulevard; 6, Louis Solomon Close, Victoria Island, Lagos and 5/7, Queens Barracks Road, Lagos.
Others are No. 20, Queens Drive, Ikoyi, Lagos; 6, Kensington Park Gardens, London; Starcross Farm; Hillcrest Apartment; Zabadne Plot, Abuja; Maitama Plots, Abuja; Maroko Plots, Lagos; 7, Randle Close, Apapa, Lagos; all shares in Oceanic Bank; Oteri Holdings Limited’s shares in Minet Nigeria Limited; Oteri’s shares in Ibachem and the portion of Ibafon land occupied by Ibachem and Ovwian land.