Police hunt son over debt
A 73-year-old woman, Charity Odunuga, has been swindled out of N250,000 by a suspected fraudster at Odokekere, in the Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State.
It’s gathered that the grandmother was at home when a man, who claimed to be her daughter’s husband, identified as Baba Basit, called to say he was visiting her at home.
After the call, the woman said she prepared food and was waiting to receive her guest when she received another call from the “in-law” who stated that he had been arrested by the police.
The impostor claimed the arrest bordered on traffic violation around the Ikorodu Garage.
In a bid to settle the matter, the sexagenarian said the man claimed that he offered money to the policemen, but they refused to collect it because they were in a public place.
She, however, stated that the impostor said the policemen settled for a cash transfer into an account number.
“I never knew he was a scammer; I am old and don’t know how they operate. So, when he called back, claiming he was arrested and needed a cash transfer to bail himself, he told me to go to a PoS shop to do the transaction.
“He said he would make refunds when he gets to my place. I was still thinking he was my in-law when I instructed my son’s wife, Aminat, to help me go to the PoS shop in our area to do the transaction,” Charity added.
Aminat, who also thought she was talking to Baba Basit, told PUNCH Metro that she went to the PoS shop, explained the situation to the operator, who immediately commenced discussion with the fraudster.
She said, “But when I realised the operator had made a cash transfer amounting to N250,000, I told her to stop sending money. The operator started asking for the money and involved her boss, Edward.
“After deliberating with Edward, we visited the bank to trace the account number the money was transferred into, but the money had been withdrawn. We were advised to inform the police. When we got to the station, the operator and I were detained.”
Aminat’s husband, Abiodun, said when he visited the Sagamu Road Police Division to bail his wife, he was compelled to sign an undertaking to return the money.
The 49-year-old said, “The fraudster took advantage of my mother’s old age to perpetrate the crime. When the fraudster called her, she asked who was speaking but the person kept saying he was on his way to visit her.
“But when she heard the voice and asked if Baba Basit was the person speaking, the fraudster said yes and that was how the whole scam started. I had to visit the station to secure my wife’s release but signed an undertaking under duress to provide the money before my wife was released.
“The PoS operator is also at fault; before sending the money to the fraudster, she informed her boss, who asked if she had received the cash and she said yes when nobody had paid her.
“Edward and I intended to tell the police to track the suspect, but the police said since my family caused the funds to go missing, I would have to pay and Edward agreed.
“Since then, I have not been sleeping at home because the police are looking for me to pay the money without investigation.”
When contacted, Edward said, “The police took Abiodun’s wife into custody as the first suspect and my operator as an accomplice. Abiodun said he wanted his wife to be released and the police told him to sign an undertaking to pay the money.
“He said he would pay in September and it was documented and we both signed. He never signed under duress. But since he did not credit my account on the last day of September 2021, I informed the police and he was invited, but he did not show up on three separate occasions.”
Abiodun’s lawyer, Olanrewaju Kazeem, said an investigation ought to have commenced so the culprit would be arrested, adding that he petitioned the police command headquarters in Lagos for further investigation.
He added, “I am aware that the petition to the state command was assigned to the SIB section and a signal sent to the Sagamu Police Station to forward the case file, but they flatly refused on the grounds that the Commissioner of Police cannot assign the file to SIB.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, promised to get back to our correspondent after being briefed.
He had yet to do so as of the time this report was filed.