By Ibrahim Jibril Ikowe
Five men, Anibaba Akeem(59), Adebayo Ademola(57), Olajide Abdulazeez Ademola(47), Mayowa Abolaji(45), and Mayowa Oyebola(45) are currently in police net for posing as officers of Nigerian Custom Service(NCS) to defraud one Alhaji Yusif Sani Yaro, a produce an agricultural produce buyer of N12 million on the pretext of selling 900 bags of rice warehoused by the Customs Service.
The incident happened on August 6, 2020 when three men approached Alhaji Yaro in his shop at Agege, Lagos, asking him whether he was interested in the purchase of a consignment of rice at the custom’s warehouse in Ilaro, Ogun State. “Three of them came to my shop, two in custom uniform, and one in mufty. The one In civilian dress held documents in his hands that indicated auction of items by the NCS.
He said there was rice in Ilaro Custom Warehouse, if you are interested? I replied of course I would like to buy it. They thereafter took me to ilaro to see the rice”, he narrated.
They negotiated the price per bag to N14,000.00 and they told him 900 bags of rice were available. The total amount was N12.190 million.
Unable to raise such an amount, Alhaji Yaro brought in Alhaji Shuaibu Amadu who was into the same business. Alhaji Amadu in turn contacted Hajiya Maryam, Mallam Usman, Hajiya Maimuna, Aunty Kande, and Alhaji Ibrahim Kano, who all jointly raised the funds for the rice.
Alhaji Yaro did not believe he could be scammed. “I did not think custom men can defraud me at all. And the price of the rice was 14.000 naira per bag , so I believe and trusted them because they were in the full uniform of my country Nigeria and so they gave me a Sterling bank account number of Mr Olajide Abdulazeez Ademola in which we paid the monies”, he said.
Trouble however started when after the payment, the defendants refused to supply the goods.
When every effort proved abortive, Malam Yaro informed his business partners and reported the case at the Ikeja Office of the Inspector General Monitoring Team. The IRT is led by Mr Abba Kyari, a Commissioner of Police.
The police team assigned for the job tracked and arrested the defendants. Police recovered four vehicles from the accused persons. They thereafter arraigned the defendants before an Ogba Chief Magistrate Court, at the Samuel Ilori Court building, Ogba, Lagos.
In Charge No MIK/F/28A/2020, the five defendants were arraigned on a seven count charge that bothers on stealing, obtaining by false pretence, and impersonation. One of the charges read as follows:
That you Anibaba Hakeem(m), Adebayo Ademola(m), Olajide Abdulazeez Ademola(m), Mayowa Abolaji(m), and Mayowa Oyebola(m) on the 6th day of August at about 14.00he’s at Alakuko area of Lagos State in the Lagos Magisterial District did conspire among yourself to commit felony to wit: stealing and obtaining money under false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 411 of Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2015.
Prior to filing the charges, the complainant claimed that some of the accused persons wanted to sell their seized cars to offset part of the money they collected from their victim but the men of IRT refused.
The complainant, Alhaji Yaro however was not satisfied with the way the case was conducted.
Not satisfied with the way the case was handled at the IRT and the Magistrate Court, the man who financed the purchase, Alhaji Shuaibu has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking a thorough investigation into the whole case.
In a letter dated March 22, 2021 and written by his lawyer, Gborigi Yisa, Alhaji Shuaibu alleged that the defendants diverted the N12 million meant for the purchase of the rice into acquiring four cars and landed properties. “They also assured the petitioner that the money’s gone and not recoverable by any law enforcement or court. We urge you to cause a detailed investigation into these allegations in order to reveal the criminal conduct involved and allow the law to take its natural course”, the petition reads.
Although the case is scheduled to come today, Tuesday April 27, the court did not seat due the current industrial action of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria(JUSUN).