A gang of suspected fraudsters have been arrested for allegedly swindling swindled of victims in Ekiti State under the guise of facilitating overseas travels to Australia and Canada.
The alleged fraud, said to be in the realm of 300 million naira, was perpetrated under a fake arrangement of facilitating jobs in advance for applicants in the two countries upon a processing fee of 58,000 naira for an individual and 78,000 naira for a family.
As explained by one of the victims who identified himself simply as Mr. Daramola, the operators of the office in Ado Ekiti explained to them that a certain philanthropist with political ambition, Captain Kolapo Lawson Oturarebi, which later turned out to be a fictitious name, desired to help at least 2,000 people from Ekiti State travel abroad to make a better living.
He said the swindlers further claimed that the applicants will be given jobs according to their disciplines in the said countries, and will just make some affordable payments back to the company only after they have worked for two years.
The pseudo-Oturarebi was profiled as a retired aviation worker and the CEO of Vast Oturarebi Integrated Services ltd, a company with business registration number 1874974 confirmed on the website of Corporate Affairs Commission.
More than 4,000 applicants were said to have registered and paid the prescribed fees amounting to over 300 million naira.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the State, Sunday Abutu confirmed that the leader of the gang and some accomplices have been arrested after police burst into their office over a week ago.
He said they will be charged to court promising to provide more details later.
Meanwhile, the process of refunding those duped is said to have commenced under the supervision of the police leadership in the state.
But some of the victims they are displeased with the refund pattern, claiming the police did not disclose the amount recovered from the criminals thus leaving some victims with very meager refunds and many others with no refund at all.
They also alleged that the refund is selective and secretive as they wonder why the police failed to parade the alleged fraudsters or hold a formal meeting with all victims together.
According to community sources, some of the workers at the Vast Oturarebi rented office space at Tinuola axis, Housing Estate in Ado Ekiti claimed they never knew the arrangement was a fraud.
Some of the workforce of about 20 officials at the facility claimed a man often came around, usually wearing medical face masks claiming to come from Canada to represent Mr. Oturarebi and look after their welfare as workers.
Other activities carried out at the center included application for minimum of five million naira business loans upon payment of processing fee of five percent of loan applied for, real estate work and motorcycle purchase via installment payments among other deals which eventually turned out to be fraudulent.
Hundreds of medical doctors working in Ekiti State are said to have also fallen victim of this scam as massive brain drain due to unfavourable working conditions has been the bane of the Nigeria health sector in the past few years.
In recent time, the term ‘japa’ has become popular amid the mad rush by Nigerians to relocate to other countries considered more economically friendly and safer for living.