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Senator Ben Murray-Bruce Reacts to AMCON Takeover of Companies, Assets

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Founder and co-owner of Silverbird Group, Ben Murray-Bruce, has expressed his resolve to remain composed in the wake of a nationwide shutdown of his business interests by Nigerian authorities on Thursday.

Mr. Murray-Bruce said today’s development was not necessarily unusual for a company that had been in existence for over three decades.

“In 36 years, Silverbird has grown and like anybody, it will face challenges. Tough times don’t last. But we, as tough people, outlast them,” Mr. Murray-Bruce said in a reaction posted on his Twitter handle Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Murray-Bruce, who’s also a senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, said he was in transit on an international flight when officials of Nigeria’s assets management authorities took possession of Silver Group’s properties in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt in the early hours, adding that his businesses would soon be back in operation.

“I have been on an international flight and have only just landed,” Mr. Murray-Bruce said. “The situation is being resolved and things will be back to normal.”

The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) had earlier today announced a takeover of three of Mr. Murray-Bruce’s businesses — Silverbird Galleria Limited, Silverbird Promotions Limited, and Silverbird Showtime Limited.

All the companies are co-owned by Mr. Murray-Bruce and his brothers, Guy Murray-Bruce, Michael Murray-Bruce, Guy Murray-Bruce as well as his son, Jonathan Murray-Bruce.

The takeover came two months after AMCON, which was established in 2010 to manage delinquent loans of big firms and individuals, appointed Muiz Banire as the Receiver/Manager of the companies, following an alleged failure to meet up loan obligations with Union Bank of Nigeria.

On social media, supporters of Messrs Murray-Bruce claimed the businesses were shut because of his political affiliation.

Mr. Murray-Bruce, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, had said in a tweet he posted Wednesday night that President Muhammadu Buhari should consider dealing with anti-corruption measures and economic exigencies simultaneously.

“It is actually possible to fight corruption and grow the economy at the same time. One does not have to happen at the expense of the other,” Mr. Bruce said. It is, however, unclear if the tweet was informed by his businesses’ run in with the authorities.

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