BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI
…As group petitions EFCC over alleged Lagos govt deal
CONTROVERSIAL Sunburn Yacht Hotel, bought from England and moored at the Marina Beach front, in Lagos few years back, described as the “Pride of London and Great Britain,” but which has been lying as the “waste of Lagos” due to its present derelict state, is expected to leave the shores of Lagos soon.
When the custom built yacht, with 102 spacious and elegant yacht suites, arrived in Lagos in November 2008, an official, described it as a “delightful” addition to Lagos skyline as it would add value by being one of the very few floating hotels in the world thereby putting Lagos in the league of cities like, New York, Paris, Finland among others.
One observer said: “Looking at a Sunburn yacht today, one get sad. I remember back in England when the Sunburn Yacht, was choice venue for weddings, birthdays and exclusive events and even more personal, I remember spending a whole day with some models and photographers on a fashion shoot in what was a breath-taking location
“I touched and experienced every nook and cranny of the yacht, and I can tell you, it was truly a ostentatious, opulent, beautiful, elegant and world class.”
Zero corruption coalition
Recently, a non- governmental organisation, NGO, under the umbrella of Zero Corruption Coalition, South West, recently stormed the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Lagos to protest what they termed “moribund” Sunburn Yacht Hotel bought with tax payers’ money.
The protesting group, called on the EFCC and the incumbent state government to investigate those behind the purchase of the yacht which they alleged was bought with a whooping N8 billion belonging to tax payers and Diamond Bank Plc. shareholders and depositors.
As at 9.30 am, weekend, the protesters had already assembled at the EFCC office Awolowo Road , Ikoyi and later submitted a petition to the authority for appropriate action.
Meantime, most of the issues shrouding the operation of the Sunburn Yacht Hotel seem to have been cleared, while arrangement had also been reached to take it back for rehabilitation and repairs. The Lagos State Government, in a swift reaction to the protest by the group, said it had issued a notice to the owners to remove it from Lagos shore for security purposes.
Commissioner for Tourism and Intergovernmental Relations, Oladisun Holloway, who made the clarification while speaking on the recent public comments said that Lagos State government has financial interest in the yacht. Holloway, while debunking the reports, stressed that Governor Babatunde Fashola, had on several occasions stated that the state government never invested in the project.
He said stakeholders in the business transaction maintained that all issues relating to the vessel had been cleared, noting that outstanding issues have been settled out of court.