The Lagos State arm of an international service group, Y’s Men International, has been accused of using a driver, Kolade Olabintan, and his bus, as collateral for a debt of N1.9m which it allegedly owed a hotel in Cross River State. The group had contracted the bus driver for a week-long convention at the Obudu Cattle Ranch in October 2015. On the last day of the programme, the group was alleged to have contracted another driver to take them away from the venue and left Olabintan in the lurch. They allegedly asked the management of the hotel to keep Olabintan and his vehicle pending when they would offset the bill.
The father of two was said to have wandered around the hotel for a month, before a part of the money was paid and he was freed. As of Wednesday, the debt had yet to be cleared, while the vehicle had yet to be released.
A motorist, Biodun Olugbile, who acted as the link between Olabintan and the club, said Y’s Men agreed to use the vehicle for a fee of N250,000. He said, “Sometime in October 2015, about five of us, including Olabintan, had a meeting with the organisers of the programme and they said they would need a Hummer 3 and Hummer 1 buses for an international convention at the Obudu Cattle Ranch. “They called later that they would not need the two buses again, that they would need one. Olabintan was the driver of that bus, so he agreed to take them. “He later called me from the place that there was a breach in their agreement as he drove members of the group to places that were not mentioned during negotiation.”
The driver, Olabintan, also said that he drove to the Enugu airport to take other members of the union, who were coming in from Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, India, among others. He said on the final day of the event, he had prepared for the journey to Lagos when he was held. He said, “They never told me that they owed the hotel N1.9m. If I had known, I would have escaped. “On Sunday, October 25, 2015, I had washed the bus and was getting ready for us to go back to Lagos. One of them came to meet me and said they were in indebted to the hotel. “I went to meet the security officer at the gate and he said they had instructed him to lock the gate against me.”
The driver said he challenged the President of the association, Mrs. Clara Adetuyi, and she appealed to him that the group would resolve the issue. He said shortly after, he saw the group members packing their loads into another vehicle that had just entered the hotel.
“They all begged me that within a week, they would send the money and I would be released. They gave me N4,000 to manage for a few days, but I ended up spending one month in the place. They sent N500,000 after two weeks, and later, they sent another N500,000 to make N1m. “At a point, I started begging for food. They never bothered to call me to know how I was faring,” he added. Olabintan said he had lost his means of livelihood and his children had also stopped going to school due to the problem.
The owner of the vehicle, Mrs. Agnes Layode, told PUNCH Metro that the president of the group had refused to show concern about the matter. She said, “For three months, she did not pick my calls or reply to my text messages. In December, I begged her to give me money to feed because I am a pensioner and I rely on that vehicle for my upkeep. She didn’t reply. She did not care because she is a lawyer. I have sacked the driver since there is no bus to drive.” “I went to meet the security officer at the gate and he said they had instructed him to lock the gate against me.”