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87 FCT residents killed, 176 kidnapped under Tinubu – Investigation

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Gunmen kill Igbo politician 
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Over 200 violent attacks have been recorded across all six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory since President Bola Tinubu assumed office on May 29, 2023.

The incidents led to the death of no fewer than 87 residents of the FCT, while 176 were kidnapped within the period.

The figures were sourced from Beacon Consulting, a local firm monitoring security issues in the country, and several media reports on violent attacks, including kidnapping and killings in the FCT.

Since the assumption of office of the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, on August 16, 2023, there’s been a rise in violent attacks in the nation’s capital.

The FCT is facing alarming surge in insecurity, prompting concerns among residents and the authorities. The capital city, once considered relatively immune to the prevalent security challenges in other parts of the country, is now grappling with an escalating wave of criminal activities, particularly kidnapping.

According to a 2020 report by SB Morgen, Abuja was ranked 11th among locations with frequent abductions, a stark revelation of the evolving security landscape in the region.

Over the last three years, close to 50 kidnap cases have been recorded in Abuja, involving over 200 persons. The severity of the issue becomes more apparent when examining the data from January 2021 to June 2023, revealing approximately 40 recorded cases with 236 victims. Between October and December 2023 alone, there were 13 recorded kidnap incidents, impacting 80 victims.

These incidents are not isolated to specific areas but have occurred in various locations within Abuja, including Gwagwalada Kuje, Lugbe, Pegi, Abaji, Keti, and Kwali. What is particularly concerning is that these incidents seem to occur unchallenged by security agencies, allowing criminal elements to operate with impunity.

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The economic toll of the rising insecurity is substantial, with confirmed ransom payments totalling N653.7m between 2021 and 2022. Residents and businesses in the affected areas are bearing the brunt of the security challenges, and the impact on daily life and economic activities is becoming increasingly pronounced.

The most notorious among the incidents over the past seven months includes the abduction of seven persons, including six girls kidnapped on January 5, 2024, in the Bwari Area Council.

Latest amongst the incidents was the abduction of the wife and one of the in-laws of a lawyer, Cyril Adikwu, on Thursday, January 18, at the Nigerian Army Post Housing Scheme in the Kurudu area of Abuja.

The incident, according to a neighbour of the victims, occurred around 10pm in the Phase 2 area of the estate.

Also, on January 7, 2024, armed men abducted 12 from an estate in the Bwari area of Abuja.

On December 12, 2023, a total of 23 residents of the Dei-Dei community in the Bwari area of the FCT were also abducted.

A nursing mother and three children were kidnapped in Abuja on December 12, 2023. An Abuja-based musician and his band members were kidnapped on December 18, 2023, while two persons were kidnapped in the Mpape area of the FCT on July 16, 2023.

Following a rise in the incidents, Nigerians have called on the Federal Government and the security agencies to find a lasting solution to the problem.

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The Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, on Wednesday launched the Special Intervention Squad in the FCT to curb the activities of kidnappers and bandits wreaking havoc, especially in border towns within the territory.

SEE ALSO:  Fulani herders allegedly kill farmer, burn his body in Kogi

The squad is charged with patrolling and securing the communities in the border areas of the FCT, and intervening to curb and mitigate violent attacks in the nation’s capital.

Following the inauguration of the SIS, its operatives commenced patrol across the FCT and border towns, villages and hamlets.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who spoke with one of our correspondents in an exclusive interview, revealed that the deployment of the officers would be all over the FCT, with more attention to crisis-prone areas and exits out of the city.

He added that the creation of the SIS was aimed at addressing the security concerns in the FCT.

“The deployment will be all over, with more attention to crisis-affected areas and exits out of the city. It is a general operation aimed at addressing the security concerns in the FCT,” Adejobi said.

The Commander of the FCT SIS, Bennett Igwe, who led the operatives on Tuesday in Bwari, Kawu, Kubwa and Gwagwalada, among others, and into Niger, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and Kogi states, told our correspondent that the SIS operatives would be stationed in the borders and would be moving in and out of the FCT to apprehend bandits and other insurgents disturbing the peace of the capital city.

He added that the SIS was under the command of the Inspector-General of Police at the Force Headquarters hence its operatives were not limited by borders.

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Igwe said, “We are here tonight in Kawu, where about 23 persons were kidnapped. As you’ve seen, we’ve toured the whole of Bwari, and we have shown the criminals that we are ready and we want our people to be at peace.

“As we’re stationed here and patrolling Bwari, our other officers are also currently patrolling other border towns in the FCT; our operatives are patrolling Gwagwalada, Kubwa, Maraba, and other border towns, villages and hamlets. And we’re moving in and out of the border states of Kaduna, Nasarawa, Niger, and Kogi. We will flush the bandits out and return peace and harmony to the FCT.”

The scourge of abduction, which has strangulated social and economic activities in the North-East and the North-West, has spread nationwide as bandits and other criminal elements have moved their operations into major cities across the country, especially the FCT in recent times.

The hoodlums, who hitherto operated on highways and in rural communities, have in recent times escalated their attacks on residents of Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna and other urban centres.

Unveiling the SIS at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, Egbetokun said the alarming rise in criminal activities without equivocation demanded immediate and resolute action.

He noted that the approach of the police was comprehensive, adding that beyond immediate intervention, the SIS would also engage in community-oriented policing.

Egbetokun said, “As I stand before you today, I am imbued with a profound sense of duty as we confront the crisis of kidnapping and violent crimes presently afflicting our esteemed nation, particularly in and around the Federal Capital Territory.

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“The alarming rise in these criminal activities without equivocation, demands immediate and resolute action from us all. It is thus with a determined spirit that I proudly announce the inauguration of the Special Intervention Squad.

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“Conceived as an elite unit of the Nigeria Police Force, the SIS composed of specially trained, well equipped and highly mobile police officers, and possesses the capacity for rapid intervention and effective containment of significant security breaches, such as those currently threatening the suburb of the FCT and creating panic generally.

“This initiative is not just born out of necessity, but out of foresight, diligent planning and commitment to enhancing the already robust security architecture of our nation’s capital.”

Operatives of the SIS visited several villages and hamlets in the Bwari area of Abuja where there had been several attacks by insurgents over the past weeks.

One of our correspondents, who followed the operatives during the show of force, observed that the officers stormed Bwari with several Armoured Personnel Carriers, patrol vehicles and buses, and a helicopter.

The NPF had in late 2023 announced that the deployment of 40,000 operatives of the Special Intervention Squad who were undergoing training, would begin with Katsina and nine other states including the FCT.

The Force Headquarters also revealed that the proposed commanders, who would be in charge of the squad, would be trained in Mexico while noting that the deployment to the 10 carefully selected states was to pilot the activities of the SIS.

Following his assumption of office in June, Egbetokun announced the establishment of the SIS.

He noted that the SIS would be a standby team of specially trained officers to quickly intervene in large insecurity occurrences, adding that it was part of the a priority in his administration’s endeavour to combat the threat of violent crime.

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During a recent visit to Owerri, the Imo State capital, the IG stated that the other 27 states would immediately follow the 10 pilot states that were selected based on the recent violent crime assessment conducted in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Adejobi noted that the SIS would not operate like the defunct Special Anti-Kidnapping Squad which was notorious for human rights abuses.

The Force spokesperson also revealed that operatives of the SIS which were drawn from the Police Mobile Force would not be involved in escort duties, while noting that the squad’s commanders would operate under the command of commissioners of police in their respective states.

In June, Egbetokun announced plans to withdraw PMF personnel from VIP escort/guard duties.

The IG, who spoke during a meeting with squadron leaders and tactical commanders at the Force Headquarters, said the development was to allow the force to take back its place in the internal security architecture of the country.

Meanwhile, while clarifying the misunderstanding in regards to the IG’s directive concerning the proposed withdrawal of the PMF from specialised escort and services for VIPs, Adejobi noted that the NPF did not intend to strip VIPs (who are legally and statutorily entitled to police escorts) of their security details, noting that doing so would be unsafe and counterproductive.

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He said, “Get the message right: We understand that there has been some misunderstanding regarding the directive of IGP Olukayode Egbetokun about withdrawing members of the Police Mobile Force unit from specialised escort and services for VIPs. It’s crucial to provide clarifications to address this.

“First and foremost, let us be clear: at no point did the Force intend to strip VIPs (who are legally and statutorily entitled to Police escorts) of their security details. Doing so would be unsafe and counterproductive. Instead, the objective is to reassign the withdrawn PMF personnel to the recently established Special Intervention Squad.”

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Two divisional stations

Meanwhile, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, has directed the Commissioner of Police in the FCT to provide two new divisional police stations in the Gwagwalada community.

The minister also disclosed that from next week, police stations across the six area councils would receive new operational vehicles and communication gadgets to enhance the work of security agencies in the territory.

Wike made this known during the second in the series of security town hall meetings at the Gwagwalada Area Council on Friday.

While disclosing that some informants of kidnappers had been arrested, the minister vowed to chase criminals out of Gwagwalad, stating that their time had come.

He said, “Security is one thing the President has said he will give Nigerians, because his job is to make sure that he protects lives and property. If we cannot protect lives and property, then our being in government has no meaning. Criminals should get ready, their time has come.

“You all know that if I say something, I will do it. And as I have come here today, if you know you are one of the informants to these criminals, or you are one of the criminals too, your time has come. I and the security agencies will pursue you until you will not come near Gwagwalada again.”

Speaking earlier, the Chairman, Gwagwalada Area Council, Abubakar Giri, requested the establishment of two police divisions in Dobi and Giri to strengthen the fight against insecurity, while the Agumo of Gwagwalada, Muhammadu Magaji, also requested for the provision of a new patrol van for the police in the area.

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Meanwhile, human rights activist and convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, has blamed the displacement of individuals, including scavengers, and the destruction of shanties where disadvantaged people earned their livelihood for the current state of insecurity in the FCT.

He also berated the FCT minister over rising insecurity in Abuja.

Adeyanju said the distressing reality of the poor, who had been neglected and marginalised, had made them to resort to criminal acts such as kidnapping in their pursuit of survival.

“Rather than adequately relocating these individuals and providing them with alternative means of sustenance, the minister has callously sent them to the streets, exacerbating the desperation and criminal activities in the city,” he stated.

PUNCH

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Hoodlums break into Abuja warehouse, cart away food Items

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Some unidentified hoodlums raided a government storage facility in Gwagwa town within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Sunday morning, seizing stored food supplies.

According to accounts from locals, young individuals from the area forcibly entered the warehouse situated near the Tasha region of the community around 7 am, absconding with bags of maize and grain.

Jaafar Aminu, a resident, revealed that the looting persisted without interruption until 9 am when he spoke with our correspondent. He further explained that additional residents from nearby Jiwa and Karmo towns joined in the plunder.

The incursion resulted in heavy traffic congestion on the Gwagwa-Karmo road, affecting travel to the Dei-Dei and Jabi areas.

Aminu reported sustaining injuries before departing from the scene.

Another resident, Christopher Agbo said the looters did not spare even protectors used to barricade the site as they picked anything deemed useful from the warehouse.

Recall that the warehouse was also looted during the Covid-19 lockdown. Grain bags as well as pumping machines meant for intervention were stolen from the site by the looters.

After raiding the store, the rampaging youths headed towards Idu Industrial Estate, an area that hosts warehouses owned by individuals and also the government.

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There was no presence of security operatives to check the attacks at the time of filing this report.

But when contacted, FCT police spokesperson, SP Josephine Adeh said the police were already on ground trying to control the situation.

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Peter Obi mourns Mr Ibu

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Mr Ibu undergoes another leg surgery, hardly talks as condition worsens
Late John Okafor, Mr. Ibu
The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election, Mr. Peter Obi has mourned the demise of Nollywood actor, John Okafor popularly known as Mr. Ibu, saying that “his death is a huge loss, not just to the entertainment industry, but to the nation.

Mr. Ibu died on Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 at Evercare hospital, Lekki, Lagos state.

In a post via his X account, Obi said Ibu’s “death is very saddening” because “he was one legendary comic actor who embodied laughter, exuded joy and spread happiness.”

Obi’s post reads:

“Just as I tweeted my condolence on the death of Nollywood actor Sisi Quadri, a lot of people, through my comments section, called my attention to the death of veteran Nollywood actor, John Okafor, popularly known as Mr Ibu.

“His death is very saddening. He was one legendary comic actor who embodied laughter, exuded joy and spread happiness. When sadly he took ill, we all prayed for his quick recovery and hoped he would bounce back in good health.

His death is a huge loss, not just to the entertainment industry, but to the nation. Those artists who lighten the mood of the nation also perform a great task of helping us all to weather the dark storms of life.

“On behalf of my family, I commiserate with his bereaved family, the Actors Guild of Nigeria, who just lost two legendary actors within a few days and the entire Nollywood family. We share the pains of his death, but are comforted by the cherished moments of joy and happiness he left behind.

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“May God who called him home grant him eternal rest and grant his family, and all of us who mourn him, the fortitude to bear his sad irreplaceable loss. Rest in Peace Mr Ibu!”

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Japa: How Canadian-based Nigerian duped Jobseekers eyeing care jobs abroad of millions of naira

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How Canadian-based Nigerian duped Jobseekers eyeing care jobs abroad of millions of naira
Kayode Stephen

A Nigerian based in Canada, Kayode Stephen, has been accused of defrauding several people of millions of naira under the pretext of getting them certificates of sponsorship for care jobs in the United Kingdom.

A home learning website — www.ncchomelearning.co.uk— describes a care worker as ‘a trained professional who supports other people in all aspects of their daily life, including preparing and eating meals, socialising, physical activities, medical support, and toileting support’.

It explained that some care workers work in care homes, and others are employed on a contract basis in patient’s homes, while domiciliary carers travel to different people’s homes in the community.

Sunday PUNCH reports that of the constant wave of young Nigerians surging out of Nigeria in search of greener pastures abroad, especially in recent times, a significant portion of them are actually in search of care jobs in the UK.

For an immigrant who wants to secure such care jobs in the UK, they have to get a certificate of sponsorship, a document affirming that they have been offered employment as a carer in the country.

However, some Nigerians have found themselves at the short end of the stick, after paying Stephen, who used to be based in the UK, millions of naira, and not getting a CoS as the latter had promised.

Thousands duped over non-existent jobs

Indeed, many Nigerians desperate to escape the hardship in the country and seek better lives in the UK have been swindled out of their hard-earned money.

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In December 2023, an agency of the United Nations— International Organisation for Migration— stated that over 1,000 Nigerians had been duped with fake employment letters and other documents.

Speaking in Abuja in December 2023, IOM’s Chief of Mission, Laurent De Boeck, advised potential migrants to be cautious of syndicates that specialised in offering fake employment letters to Nigerians seeking to work in the United Kingdom.

Urging them to seek out proper information before migration, he stated that no fewer than 1,000 Nigerians were currently stranded in the UK, having got visas based on fake employment letters procured for them, only to get to the respective organisations in the UK and then be denied acceptance, because the letters did not emanate from those organisations.

In search of elusive CoS

An accountant trainee based in the UK, Anjola (surname withheld), told our correspondent that she paid Stephen the sum of £12,000 for training as well as a CoS for her boyfriend, who was in Turkey.

She alleged that upon the completion of the training, Stephen gave her boyfriend a fake CoS, which he submitted at the UK Embassy in Turkey in the course of seeking a visa, and was subsequently handed a ban of 10 years from entering the country.

Recalling the incident in a subdued tone, Anjola said, “I am in a dilemma as I was scammed of £12,000 by Stephen, who posed as a care home manager and claimed to allegedly issue certificates of sponsorship after one is done with training. He gave my boyfriend a fake CoS, which he used to unknowingly apply for a visa, and got a 10-year visa ban from the UK.

“He (Stephen) came in as a student from Nigeria, and now, he has absconded from the UK I have reported to the police but he has unfortunately not been found. Meanwhile, he has scammed other people as well, even from Nigeria, of over £100,000, and someone allegedly committed suicide because of his activities.

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“He is still actively defrauding people, as he is still posting ‘CoS available, cars available for export. Let’s deal,’ on his WhatsApp status.”

Narrating how she paid him for the training, the accountant trainee said, “I paid him in six installments. He gave me the account number of a person, who he claimed was his secretary. I later found out that the person I paid to was his accomplice.

“I contacted the bank to make complaints, and I was informed that the account had been closed because it had been flagged for fraud.”

She added that she became worried after the UK Home Office informed them that it needed more time, raising the suspicion that something was fishy about the document.

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“A month and three weeks after the training, he issued the CoS, and told us that we could go ahead and apply for the visa. I remember reaching out to him because an agent was handling the visa process for us, and I asked him for the licence number of the CoS. He told me it was there. But, I told him to highlight the place for me, because I could not see it.

“After my boyfriend applied for the visa, we later got a mail from the Home Office, saying that the application had not been straightforward and they would need more time. That usually happens when one’s document is not complete, and there seems to be something fishy.

“Another email was then sent, stating that he had been banned for submitting a fake document, which was identified as the CoS. I reached out to him (Stephen) after that, but he stopped taking my calls and did not respond to messages.

“He later told the person who referred me to him, Adeyinka Ajayi, that he would give me a refund if I stopped making noise about the issue,” she said.

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Anjola added that she had made a report to the Metropolitan Police in London, and they stated that they were still working on the case.

Yet another victim, simply identified as Adekoya, alleged that he paid Stephen the sum of £8,000. According to him, he was initially referred to a Nigeria-based lawyer, Peniela Akintujoye, by his brother-in-law, who told him that the latter could help him get a CoS.

“I was introduced to Peniela by my brother-in-law, that he could help my family with CoS. He (Peniela) also told me that his contact in the UK could get me a CoS.

“I told him I wanted the CoS to be for a care home in Birmingham (a city in England). But, he told me that he had already submitted four applications in Birmingham, and was waiting for confirmation. He assured me that it would be out in three days. So, I sent the naira equivalent to my sister-in-law in the UK to convert to £8,000 and give Peniela’s representative,” Adekoya told our correspondent.

“After two weeks, I called him and asked if the CoS was out, so I could proceed with the travel process. He replied that it was not out, so I asked him to refund my money, since it seemed that his contact was not very sure; and he promised to do so. However, he contacted me after three days and said he had another contact that could issue a CoS very fast in Wolverhampton and Manchester (also cities in England).

“After I did not hear from him in three weeks, I told Peniela that if the CoS was not issued after four weeks, they should refund my money. But, that was where the problem started. I later discovered that he gave my money to the same person I had advised him to withdraw the Birmingham application from,” he added.

Couple’s relocation plans truncated

Tosin Ojelabi, a Nigerian living in the United Arab Emirates, also alleged that he paid over N7m to Stephen for the same document to enable him to relocate to the UK with his wife and start a family, but never got what he paid for.

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Like Adekoya, Ojelabi told Sunday PUNCH that he came in contact with Stephen through Akintujoye.

Recounting his experience with Stephen to our correspondent, Ojelabi said, “I am one of the victims defrauded by Mr Kayode Stephen. I got to know him through a lawyer, Peniela Akintujoye. I gave him my hard-earned money so that he could help me get a CoS in the UK.

“The plan was to travel with my wife to the UK and start a family. Since Akintujoye is a lawyer and pastor, I felt that I could entrust him with my money. I paid him a total of N7,162,500. All the money was paid on the same day from two different accounts. As of the time I paid, that money was equivalent to about £6,006.”

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Showing our correspondent the receipts of the transfers, Ojelabi stressed that he felt even more confident because Akintujoye assured him that Stephen had procured CoS for several people through him.

He added, “After about four weeks and I did not get anything, I asked him what the update was, and he told me they were trying to get a CoS for me in Birmingham. Later, he stated that a CoS in Birmingham was not coming, and that they would get for me in another location.

“I was angry, but I decided to wait for another five weeks, yet I still got nothing. I then asked him to give me Stephen’s phone number, so I could communicate with him directly. When I sent him (Stephen) a message, he responded well initially, assuring me that everything would be sorted out soon.”

However, the UAE-based Nigerian stated that he suspected that Akintujoye was Stephen’s accomplice and not a victim.

He said, “I have a strong suspicion that Akintujoye is actually an accomplice, even if he says that he did not take a dime from the money. Throughout the process of waiting for the CoS, he kept defending Stephen and was showing me different CoS’s that Stephen had purportedly procured for some people.

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“He was constantly putting things like that on his WhatsApp status, and misleading people. I believe that as a barrister, what he did was very wrong; it was tantamount to using his platform to give people false information.”

Victims unite

United by their unpalatable experiences with Stephen, 26 of his victims later created a WhatsApp group where they discussed how to recover their money from him.

Our correspondent gathered that more cans of worms were opened when the victims started interacting with one another, as they realised to their chagrin that he had even fleeced more people than they had initially thought.

The middleman

Sunday PUNCH further gathered that many of the victims were linked to Stephen by Akintujoye, and some of them believed that the lawyer was Stephen’s accomplice.

However, in an interview with our correspondent, Akintujoye said he had no idea that Stephen would not fulfil his end of the bargain.

He said, “I am a travel agent, and Stephen told me he had links to secure CoS for my clients. I had actually known him (Stephen) before he left Nigeria, and had done some small businesses with him before he left the country; that was the basis of my trust in him. I did not know that he had become a fraudster in the UK.

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“Based on his assurances, I gave my clients his bank accounts to pay into. I also gave him about £58,000 for 10 CoS. Unfortunately, and perhaps not surprising to him knowing what he set out to do from the outset, he did not deliver even a single CoS out of the 10 I paid him for.”

The lawyer added that when the document was not forthcoming, he requested a refund from Stephen, who he said claimed that the monies were with the care homes. He also said that Stephen failed to provide any evidence of payment to the care homes.

“I also requested that he should put me on call with the said care homes, so I could speak with them personally, but he blatantly declined,” he added.

Akintujoye added that he suspected that Stephen’s girlfriend, Saratu Jubril, was in on the crime, as over £70,000 was paid to her account at the behest of her boyfriend.

Long road to justice

Akintujoye further stated that to get justice for the victims, he had written petitions to different law enforcement agencies. According to him, some of those who paid for the CoS were on the verge of being deported, because they needed to renew their visas, and they had given all their money to Stephen.

He said, “We have petitioned the Nigeria Police Force through the Inspector General of Police, Interpol, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, UK police, his former school — the University of Lincoln (in the UK), and the new school he has gone to (CAN College, Canada); as well as the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre.”

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The lawyer added that the National Cyber Crime Centre of the NPF had extended a letter of invitation to Stephen.

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A copy of the invitation letter dated January 2, 2024, and sighted by our correspondent read in part, “The Nigeria Police Force National Cyber Crime Centre is investigating a case of Advance Fee Fraud and Obtaining by False Pretence, in which your name prominently featured.

“In view of the above, you are requested to interview the Director of the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre…”

The letter, which was signed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Imam, directed Stephen to present himself at their office on January 16, 2024. However, Sunday PUNCH gathered that the invitation was not honoured.

Akintujoye also said he had been going through mental turmoil, as the alleged victims had been piling pressure on him and demanding a refund.

Promise for refund not fulfilled

One of the victims, Ojelabi, claimed that out of the over N7m he paid to Stephen, he (Stephen) refunded only N1,500,000 before going incommunicado. Akintujoye also said that out of about N90m paid by his clients to Stephen, only N6m was refunded.

However, when our correspondent reached out to Stephen over a month ago, he claimed that he was in the process of refunding all the funds that were paid to him.

Admitting that the victims indeed paid him to get certificates, he claimed, “But, my contact messed up the work, and I have started refunding them.”

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He thereafter sent receipts of the payments he claimed he made to the complainants.

But Akintujoye told Sunday PUNCH that Stephen was only trying to be clever by half.

“In my opinion, his (Stephen’s) approach to scam is that he would take a lot of money from people, later refund a part of it and keep the rest. By giving some of the money back, it would seem like he did not defraud the person.

“But, as long as the monies were diverted and not used for the purpose they were meant for, it has an element of fraud. Up till now, he has not provided any proof of his payment to the third parties he claimed to be dealing with.”

When our correspondent informed Stephen that the victims wanted their funds back in full and asked him to give them a specific timeline for the refunds to be made, he said, “They are getting refunds already. That is what I am explaining to you, but I cannot be specific on an exact time.

“However, I can keep updating you as I send the money to them. I am not employing delay tactics. I could not do anything before, but I have started returning their money.”

Stephen later told our correspondent that the victims were not being patient. He claimed that rapid changes in the immigration laws in the past few months had reduced the allocated slots employers in the UK got, as a means of regulating the inflow of immigrants into the country, hence, reducing the duration it took to secure a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer.

He said, “Nobody was scammed. A few locations had delays, and that is why I have not been able to deliver. I am in talk with my clients, but clearly, they are not being patient.”

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However, when Sunday PUNCH reached out to the policeman handling the case, ASP Victor Okeshola, he directed our correspondent to the Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, as he was not authorised to speak to the press on the issue.

But, calls and messages put through to the FPRO were not responded to as of the time of filing this report.

In a similar vein, calls put through to the spokesperson of the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, did not connect, and messages sent to him had not been responded to as of press time.

Source: Sunday PUNCH

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