Segun Adebutu, son of renowned lottery figure, Kensington Adebutu, popularly known as Baba Ijebu, is not in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) contrary to reports by some online news platforms, a family source has said.
The source said Adebutu was neither arrested by the EFCC nor any other law enforcement agency. “The businessman merely opted to go to the EFCC on behalf of his father concerning a petition filed by Senator Buruji Kashamu, an Ogun State politician and the owner of rival lottery company, Western Lotto.”
Thisislagos.ng in a report on Wednesday pooh-poohed the claims when it reported that Adebutu was spotted at popular Ikoyi lounge, The W, late Tuesday night till the early hours of Wednesday in the company of employees and potential business partners.
Contrary to popular belief, a reliable source told newsmen that the rumour pertaining to his detention was nothing but “a deliberate and petty attempt to smear the solid reputation of the lottery mogul.”
“Some competitors in the lottery business have envied Premier Lotto’s track record of successes without appreciating the amount of work that has gone into the company over the decades,” the source said.
Kashamu, however, continues to deny his involvement in a drug-related felony in the US where he has been declared a wanted person.
“It is highly irresponsible for a man who is alleged to have committed such grievous crimes to embark on or sponsor a campaign of calumny against an octogenarian who has created indelible footprints in the lottery industry and his family,” the source continued.
Kashamu was fingered by a lottery commission official of filing the petition against Adebutu in order to monopolise that segment of the betting business in Nigeria.
“What we learnt is that Buruji Kashamu said he has sole rights to ‘Ghana Games’ in Nigeria,” an official said under anonymity because the lottery commission is still considering a unified response to the EFCC investigation. “But he should not burn down the entire industry to further his business interests.”
Kashamu was recently a rival to another of Adebutu’s sons, Ladi, in the race for the Ogun State governorship seat. A civil society organisation, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), cautioned EFCC against being used to settle political scores.
The group’s convener, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said in a statement: “Our attention has been drawn to a petition written against Baba Ijebu’s premier lotto by Western Lotto company, owned by a controversial businessman who is wanted in the United States, Buruji Kashamu.