Celebrity designer, Toyin Lawani has raised alarm about a possible threat to her life and that of her kids’ accusing Idris Okuneye a.k.a Bobrisky.
She also shared screenshots of the chats a concerned friend sent to warn her about plans to kill her and her children.
Read her statement below:
Ms Lawani who has reached out to the appropriate security agencies to investigate the alleged assassination plot wondered how things could have degenerated so badly and narrated her first encounter with Bobrisky when he came to her for help.“Bobrisky came to Tiannah’s Empire as a customer sometime in 2015 and pleaded with my attendants that he wanted to meet me as he needed some remedy for his bad skin. After administering treatment on the skin and was cured of his skin irritations, he testified that people would not stop asking about where and how he got his skin treated. He then told me he was a student at University of Lagos (UNILAG) and would love to market Tiannah’s Glow natural products. As he was a living testimony, I began by giving him some of the products and allowed him to earn 40 percent on the products he sold. I also recommended a full body polish via Tiannah’s spa which helped to treat his skin infections and cleared his dark knuckles. I also advised him on how to take care of his body odour as my clients started complaining and would usually have to spray air fresheners every time he stepped into the fashion floor at the Empire. He took offense that I advised him about his body odour but the truth was that it was really bad and caused us a lot of embarrassment at some events including a top society wedding he forced himself to attend with me,” Ms Lawani said. The Tiannahs Empire CEO further explained that as a non-judgmental person, she initially opened her doors to Idris (as he was then simply known) because he appeared relatively stable, only unusual. He was not cross-dressing at the time but wore makeup, fixed lashes and nails. However, when she realized it was bad exposure for her son; her kid started begging to wear makeup and heels, she told Idris to desist from wearing makeup to her office; a request that angered him.
“He worked with me for only about two months but even in that time period, he caused a lot of harm than good… He was also manipulative and was always trying to cause problems between me and my staff or friends. On one occasion, we went out together and there were complaints about his appearance which I told him about. I subsequently received a text message from an unknown number expressing admiration for Idris and his eyelashes, also asking me to introduce them. I suspected he sent the message because he spelt ‘lashes’ as ‘latches’ having seen him make the same mistake several times publicly so I confronted him. He initially denied it but subsequently admitted and apologised following which I banned him from entering my Empire again. At that point, I realised I needed to put him at arm’s length. It also coincided with the time a lady came to my store to allege that Idris claimed to be the one mixing my beauty products for me. It was a ridiculous claim because my mother started the business over twenty (20) years ago and it has grown beyond the phase of mixing products with hands. We have machines doing all of that in our factory,” she said.
Concerning claims made by Bobrisky that Ms Lawani swindled him of the sum of N250,000 he allegedly paid for the purchase of souvenirs for his birthday, the stylist clarified that Bobrisky made a deposit of N150,000 but failed to pay the balance of N100,000 as agreed which initially prevented her from placing the order for the items and that the delayed balance she made with her money caused a corresponding delay in the shipment of the items and he couldn’t balance her money on time, which made the Tiannah’s Empire CEO decide to withhold the goods to him and suspend the plan to sell the items to him.
“He was owing my company almost N200,000 around the time after repeatedly buying clothes on credit and I informed him that I would use the money he paid towards the purchase of the speakers as his balance which would leave him with a balance of N65,000 and I gave him a cheque for that amount,” Ms Lawani said.
It is instructive to note that shortly after Bobrisky was given the cheque, he was sternly warned by the police to desist from visiting Tiannah’s Empire or going near Ms Lawani following complaints about the lies and negative stories he was peddling about the Tiannah brand. He was at the time compelled to delete Ms Lawani’s pictures and videos on his social media pages which he had been using to create a false impression that he was still engaged by the Empire thereby obtaining payments from unsuspecting clients for Tiannah products and supplying inferior products from a certain Mama Tega after which he blocked the clients. When Ms Lawani got wind of Bobrisky’s many attempts at passing off fake beauty products as Tiannah beauty products, she again reached out to Bobrisky to desist from the act but his next action was most baffling. Narrating the experience, Ms Lawani said:
“Few days after I issued him a warning, Idris came to Tiannah’s Empire with a black polythene bag and the security guards prevented his entry. I went downstairs to ask what he wanted and he said he had come to apologise for his misdeeds. He handed me the polythene bag and when I opened it, I saw white clothes and a guinea fowl inside. I threw the bag on the floor and asked one of my employees, Dayo, to burn it while also warning Idris to never again visit me with such gifts. I collapsed the next day and started bleeding heavily following which I was rushed to Ave Maria Hospital. I was informed the incident was linked to pre-existing concerns with fibroid but I believe it was caused by the diabolical items Idris brought as a supposed gift. I had a surgery and remained in the hospital for two months before I was discharged. As soon as I returned to work, Idris showed up at the Empire, saying he heard I was ill but that he came for cash as the bank did not pay him because they could not reach me to confirm the cheque while I was hospitalised. I took the cheque from him and gave him cash then bid him bye,” she said.
A few months after Bobrisky received the cheque and was told to stay off the Tiannah’s Empire premises, an aggrieved woman arrived with policemen one afternoon, claiming a Tiannah cream had ruined her skin. It was difficult to reconcile her claims with the praises generally heaped on Tiannah’s glow natural products for its positive effects on both dark and light skin ranges as she had horrible stretch marks as well as a burnt face, knees and knuckles. Upon examining the products which the woman said Bobrisky had sold to her claiming they were from Tiannah’s Empire, it was discovered that they were fake products.
In a related incident, another lady sent a message on Instagram threatening to pull down Tiannah’s Empire after buying fake products from Bobrisky which badly affected her skin and which Bobrisky had falsely claimed were from Tiannah’s Empire. Ms Lawani contacted him and warned that he could be arrested for damaging her business reputation through his fraudulent activities but he replied with threats and called her kids bastards.
Another spurious claim Bobrisky made on social media, which we are constrained to respond to prevent lies from wearing a toga of truth, is that he paid N26,000 for Ms Lawani’s meal because she supposedly could not afford to buy herself a meal. The claim is not only untrue and ridiculous but a wicked manipulation of events by an ingrate. Ms Lawani has over the years empowered a lot of individuals, providing them food and shelter while also helping many young entrants into the entertainment industry find their feet and attaining success. The truth is that Bobrisky forced himself into a group of guests Ms Lawani was taking to lunch on a particular afternoon. Ms Lawani directed her personal assistant (PA) to pay for the meals but the latter however only realised that he had forgotten the debit card with which payment was to be made, at the point of making payment. Idris volunteered to help out but the moment they returned to Tiannah’s Empire, a cash withdrawal was made at a nearby ATM and Bobrisky’s money returned to him that very night. Bank statements reflecting the various transactions mentioned were printed and shown to the police when a complaint was made against Bobrisky in November.
“I reached out to Idris to reprimand him but he only responded with threats. I initially dismissed the threats but I had to eventually report to the police when I noticed strange cars trailing my kids and I on different occasions. He has also been trying to pull down my brand, sending messages to my clients that I sell substandard materials to them or that I intend to have affairs with their spouses. He also falsely claimed that I was not paying my staff, of which I have almost 100 members of staff working for me, who I also support in many ways such as sending their kids to school and starting businesses for them. None of my workers can honestly claim I owe them salaries, so I really had no choice but to report Idris to the police,” Ms Lawani said.
It would appear that the turn of events between Bobrisky and Ms Lawani reflects the extent to which ungrateful individuals will go in setting back their benefactors especially with the help of unprofessional bloggers who fail to clarify statements made by such characters as Bobrisky before brandishing them as truth. Ms Lawani has done nothing to Bobrisky but be of help to him, accepting him at a time when he most needed validation and support. He has recently claimed to have benefitted nothing from Ms Lawani but there is a video clip of him profusely thanking the Tiannah CEO for transforming his looks and helping him attain a better skin.
It is most shocking to see Bobrisky who has benefitted from Ms Lawani’s generosity and compassion turn around to persistently attack her and her businesses. His persistent defamation of her character with false claims of fraud recently led to the loss of an endorsement deal and the cancellation of a property transaction. Ms Lawani as a hardworking woman and mother who has built her businesses with a record of integrity for over 20 years has tried to avoid joining issues with Bobrisky but his persistent attacks can no longer be left unaddressed in the face of baseless and uncharitable comparisons now being made by some segments of the media. It is an indisputable fact that Ms Lawani is an accomplished business woman and Bobrisky can only dream of achieving some proportion of her success if he suspends his baseless attacks and actually tries to build a genuine business. His threats against Ms Lawani and her children have been previously reported to the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) for which reason he was arrested and taken to the police headquarters in Abuja for questioning and subsequently counseled on his conduct. Contrary to his claims on social media, he was not arrested for supposedly poaching Ms Lawani’s customers but rather for making threats to Ms Lawani’s life among other criminal acts. His persistent insults, lies and threats directly and indirectly through his affiliates are worrisome and reflect an unacceptable disregard for the law and constituted authority. The police is therefore urged to be alive to its responsibility in guaranteeing the safety of Ms Lawani and her family as well as her businesses.
Monday, 3rd December, 2017
Tiannah’s Place Empire