Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo Ben Bruce deserves sympathy not mockery

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON) has seized some of Ben Bruce’s properties, including the popular Silverbird Galleria, due to an N11 billion debt.

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Senator Ben Murray-Bruce play

Senator Ben Murray-Bruce

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Senator Ben Murray-Bruce is in trouble, and instead of receiving consolation, he is being mocked.

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON) has seized some of Ben Bruce’s properties, including the popular Silverbird Galleria, due to an N11 billion debt.

AMCON sealed the Galleria and other Silverbird branches around the country today, June 23, 2016, following a judgment by a Lagos Federal High Court to that effect.

AMCON had earlier appointed Muiz Banire as Receiver/Manager over the company’s assets.

“Aside from the fact that the receivership was done pursuant to deeds of legal mortgages duly executed by the three companies and guaranteed by Ben Murray Bruce and four of his brothers, there is a court order backing same up,” counsel to the Receiver/Manager, Kunle Adegoke said.

“It must be borne in mind that innocent depositors’ money is what the Commonsense propagator and his brothers have been living large and feeding fat upon without recourse to the interest of the real labourers who own the money.

“The said loan was purchased by AMCON in 2011 after the capital base of Union Bank was terribly shaky. And the Commonsense senator has persistently failed to pay the loans and yet has been pretending to be concerned with the welfare of Nigerians whom he has been skinning alive in order to remain relevant and live like a king,” he added.

Adegoke was describing Ben Bruce as the “Common sense senator” due to the latter’s frequent Twitter advice to the Nigerian government under the guise of common sense.

This is the same reason for which the senator is being bashed nationwide because Nigerians believe that someone who can offer such “great” advice to the government should be able to take care of his own affairs. The huge debt is also a shock because Silverbird was believed by many to be a lucrative enterprise but in actual fact, it was sinking.

Ben Bruce is not my favourite person, in fact I find him highly annoying and believe that he's a hypocrite of the worst kind. However, I do not believe that he should be mocked at this critical time.

Say what you will about Ben Bruce, but no one can deny that he is a force to reckon with in the Nigerian entertainment sector. Silverbird was Nigeria’s first introduction to classy local TV and, despite the decades old movies and programmes it showed, it was a window to the outside world for the country’s teeming masses. Silverbird also pioneered the high end cinema business in Nigeria and paved the way for others to follow.

Ben Bruce started and maintained a business that hired thousands of people, a feat few people in Nigeria can boast of. The senator certainly has his flaws, but it is cruel and wrong to kick him when he’s down.

Nigerians should show support for Ben Bruce at this time and not mock him because the shutdown of Silverbird is not just bad news for the senator, it’s also bad news for many families that rely on the company for sustenance.

It is my sincere hope that Silverbird pulls through this difficult period because, as Ben Bruce said in response to the shutdown, “Tough times don’t last but we, as tough people, outlast them.”

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