The United Kingdom government has released the names and information of 56 Nigerians who have died with unclaimed estates.
This was contained in UK’s government Treasury Solicitor website which was last updated on September 8, 2022.
The unclaimed estates have a 30-year time limit from the date of death before it is removed if no one comes for it.
It was, however, gathered that most of the deceased, there is little information on relatives to whom their assets may be transferred.
A familiar name on the list is a certain Victor Adedapo Olufemi Fani-Kayode, who is said to have died on August 15, 2001, in Birmingham, with the informant on his death listed as the Birmingham City Council.
The list also includes Arbel Aai’Lotta’Qua Abouarh, who died on February 5, 1998 in Chiswick, London, and is thought to have several spelling variations. According to the information on file, he may have married in December 1959 (location unknown) and had four children from the marriage.
There is also a Paul (Akinola) Bernard who was born in Lagos and died in London on October 12, 2008. Available information suggests he married a 2nd wife, Marie Vidarte de Castro in 1970, but she had also died in August 2008. He is believed to have a daughter from his first marriage which ended around 1970.
Born in Ibadan on August 2, 1958, John Olaolu Bankole died in London on April 27, 2010. Information available includes a Decree Absolute dissolving the deceased’s marriage on 11 November 2002, while his marriage certificate states that his father’s name is Oladipupa Bankole.
While Enwukwe Graham Kwedi Edde, who died on January 6, 2011 in London is only known to have been born in Diobu, River State, Charles Ayodele Aliu, who died on March 31, 2011 in Solihull, West Midlands is said to “have possible cousin in Nigeria”.
Sunny Eyo Edem, who died on September 16, 2011 in Fulham is believed to have a “Possible son and relatives in Calabar, Nigeria”. Also, William Kadry, who died on November 1, 2011 in Fulham, is said to have been born in Iponri, Lagos State, and his father Akanni Kadiri died in 1941, while his mother Muniratu Kadiri died 1958.
Recent additions to the list include Solomon Adekanmibi who died on January 31, 2021, in Colchester, Essex; Eugene Bucknor, who died on March 2, 2021, in Brockley, London; Jeff Adhekeh, who died on March 12, 2021, in South Kensington, London and Louisa Holmes, who died on May 24, 2021, in Cheam Sutton.
“We often hear of accounts of deceased persons in financial institutions that are never claimed and are never made public by these institutions. I believe we can borrow a leaf from the practice in the UK in this regard to promote transparency,” says Olaitan Akinnubi, a lawyer based in Lagos.
“I believe that information about deceased persons and their unclaimed assets being made public in the UK is something that is worthy of emulation here in Nigeria.”
“for the relatives of any such deceased person or any other person entitled to the estate of any of the listed deceased persons, it is advisable that they engage a Probate Solicitor or Practitioner in the UK to help and guide them through the process of obtaining letters of administration in respect of the deceased person’s Estate in the UK,” he added.
He further said a lesson to be drawn from this, is the importance of writing a will while one is alive. Once a person starts acquiring properties (real or personal), they should start thinking of writing a will, he advices, as this would help their family, friends and loved ones identify their assets and administer them accordingly upon their death.
“Who knows if the relatives of any of these deceased are languishing in poverty while their dad, brother, son, etc has property of value in the UK? If these assets are not claimed after a long period of time, they become bona vacantia i.e. goods or assets without an owner; and they eventually are taken over by the Crown or government in the UK,” he said.