Chioma Igbokwe

A serving youth corps member, Blessing Nnenna Anari has given details of how she handed over jewelry and other valuables worth over N1.2billion to suspected fraudsters. She is alleged to have raided the home of her employer, a successful Lagos businesswoman, identified as Uju (other name withheld), who employed her 10 years ago as a domestic servant. The victim is the chief executive of a petroleum marketing company based in Lagos.

Anari was arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos Police Command, Ikeja along with Babalola Olaitan, one of the suspected fraudsters.

Saturday Sun gathered that the state Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu had received a complaint by Uju who alleged that her employee, Nnenna Anari carted away valuables worth N1.2billion while she was on a trip abroad.

Upon her arrest, Anari claimed that she was hypnotized by suspected fraudsters who gave her a free ride sometime in October 2018  to Igbo Efon area of Lekki where she normally attends her weekly Community Development Service (CDS).

They convinced her to bring all the jewelry in her employer’s home, an instruction she found the courage to carry out seven months later.

Saturday Sun learnt that as soon as the fraudsters learnt that their latest victim had been arrested, they fled from their various homes while their hideout in Ibafo area of Ogun State was locked up.

Luckily, detectives led by officer in charge of SARS, Peter Gana, a Chief Superintendent of Police, were able to track and arrest one of the suspects, Olaitan, in Ondo State where he was hiding. Olaitan, during interrogation told the police that they are a group of five men whose only job is to deceive and extort money from unsuspecting victims with the promise to make them rich.

A large quantity of the jewelry was also recovered from one of the Bureau de Change operators who bought part of the loot from the fraudsters.

Confirming the arrest, Lagos State Police spokesman, Bala Elkana said that detectives are still on the trail of the other fleeing suspects. He advised Lagosians to be wary of fraudsters who appear as desperate persons with bogus offers.

My story

Narrating her ordeal to Saturday Sun correspondent, Nnenna Anari who could not control her tears said that she had no reason on earth to steal from her employer who had treated her well for the past ten years.

“I am from Ikwor in Ebonyi State and ten years ago when I was still a teenager, my uncle took me to Lagos to serve Mummy Uju as her house keeper. She was so nice to me and sent me to Elizade University, Ondo State where I studied Accounting. I am currently serving in Lagos with the Batch B corps and my madam who is into oil and gas business promised to give me a good job as soon as I am done.

“Sometime in October 2018, I was on my way to Igbo Efon area in Lekki where I normally attend the weekly Community Development Service (CDS) which holds every Thursday. I was waiting for a bus when a Toyota Camry car stopped and asked me to pay N200 so that they will drop me at my bus top. In Lagos, most of the private car owners or their drivers normally pick people on the way for a certain fee.

“I assumed that this was one of them and entered. They were about three of them including the driver when I entered. A few meters away, they picked another man so I had to sit at the middle. Five minutes later, the man by my left introduced himself as Peter and said that he has two bags of dollars in the boot.

I was wondering why he is sharing such information when he knew that he can be robbed.

“He went ahead to say that he stole it from his boss who just died. He said that his boss, a Hausa man was very rich and as his servant he knew the password that opened his safe and took as much as he could and fled.

“He then said that the man is a cultist and that he was warned to take it to the priest for sacrifice. I pretended as if I did not hear and reminded the driver that I was to step down at the next bus stop.”

According to Nnenna, she was surprised when the man agreed to share the money. “At that point he said that he was willing to share the money with us if we will help him. All my life, I have not heard about this type of fraud so I never knew that they were fraudsters. This was how we all drove down to a shrine in Ibafo where the sacrifice was supposed to take place.

“As soon as I entered there, I saw four angels at a corner and they were prophesying. Three of them were women, although I did not see their faces, they sounded like women.

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“They said that I should comply with whatever they tell me as God was the one who sent them to change my destiny. I believed they were real angels and agreed to take an oath of secrecy. They listed all kinds of things to be bought and I told them that I had only N60, 000 in my account.

“They asked me to go home that they will keep in touch. They kept calling and demanding for money and whatever I have I gave them. I told them everything about my life and they assured me that my destiny will soon change.”

Hopeful that her destiny will change, Nnenna alleged that she gave every information about her employer to the fraudsters who kept demanding for more money. “It is now that I realized that everything was planned. I kept visiting the shrine to know if the sacrifice was over and each time, they will create a scene to show that the angels were not happy.

“I had already told them that my madam is very rich but since I am not her daughter, she will not be willing to give me money. They told me that I have to work for my destiny or remain a maid for the rest of my life. I told them that whatever we are doing, I couldn’t steal from my employer because she is too good.

“When I informed them that Mummy Uju, her husband and children have travelled, they told me to bring all the jewelry and money in the house. They assured me that after the prayer that the money will be returned intact.

It was when they collected my phone and asked me to leave that I realized there was trouble. I asked them to give me the jewelry and they told me that the angels were still working on it.

“They took my phone and asked me to lie to my boss that I was hypnotized. I rushed to the church and told the pastor what happened; he was the one that informed Mummy Uju. I was arrested by the police and luckily, they have picked one of them. He was the native doctor.”

Mummy, please forgive me

Crying uncontrollably, Nnenna pleaded with her boss to forgive her. “Mummy Uju is my God on earth and has the final say in this matter. I came to Lagos as a maid to serve my madam and along the line she was so happy with me and sent me to school. I do not have any reason to deceive her or steal from her. She had promised to give me a job in her company after my Youth Service. If I wanted to steal from her, I would have run away. I am sorry Mummy and I am ready to serve you for the rest of my life. Mummy, please forgive me,” she wept.

We have files on our victims

Narrating his role to Saturday Sun, Babalola Olaitan, whose responsibility is to pretend to be a native doctor, said that everything that happened was just cooked up to put fears in the heart of their victim. “I am a native of Ondo State and I live at No. 9 Titilayo Street, Ibafo with my family. I used to be a successful businessman till things changed and my business collapsed. I sold out everything and started doing menial jobs just to make ends meet. Some years ago, a friend from Ibadan taught me the job. Then I was only pretending to be ghost or any other available role once a target is gotten.

“Gradually, I was able to join other groups because I was so good at it. All we do is to convince our target that there is huge money to inherit and because most of them are greedy they will play along until they fall into our trap. Once you enter the shrine, it will take God to clear your eyes that all the things that you are seeing are not real.

“Sometime in October last year, Kayode called me that they were coming to Ibafo with a client. I quickly rushed to the shrine that we constructed; it is located around Alayo area in Ibafo. As soon as she arrived, the others who are part of the syndicate were already on ground and ready to play their role. We all took a blood oath and I told the girl that if she dares to tell anyone, she and her entire family would die.

“I assured her that it was spirits that directed her to enter the car as she will soon become a millionaire. All we needed was money to buy things that will be used for sacrifice. Already they have told her while in the car that the original owner of the money is a cultist.

“She was able to withdraw N60, 000 from her account and gave us. We told her that about N500, 000 is needed for the sacrifice. After that she was released to go home and an account number was given to her to pay in any amount that she has. Anytime we call her, she will pay some money but it was not much.

“We also got to know much about her and the people she was serving. The assurance we gave her was that very soon she will be as rich as her madam and will have more than enough money to take care of her family,” he said.

According to Olaitan, the syndicate kept tab on Nnenna to ascertain the best time to make a bigger move. “She told us that her madam has so much jewelry and most of them were gold. We convinced her to bring all the gold and currencies in the house since her madam has travelled.

“I assured her that they will be returned before they will come back. Luckily, she brought them. We sold the gold at a giveaway price of N12.7million in addition to 15,000 dollars cash she brought. The gold could be more expensive than the price we got it; I had to quickly sell it off at any available price. If the Bureau de Change people feel that it could be stolen, they collect it at a giveaway price. Every member of the group fled when information leaked that I have been arrested.”

On the female voice that was heard during the make-believe drama at the shrine, Olaitan said they were voices of men. “We are about eight and those who were covered in white are all men pretending to be women. We have a list of victims that we are working on, and as soon as we have a windfall, everyone will disappear until the matter dies down.”