By Ifeanyi Okolie
He looked visibly unrepentant as he was brought out of police custody to face anxious newsmen on how he smartly defrauded 127 persons seeking accommodation of a whopping N47m.
To show that he was not remorseful, before journalists started asking questions, he quickly identified himself as Adeyemo Abiodun and gave his age as 47 years. The building he allegedly used as a bait was located at No. 32, Adebisi Omotola Street, Isolo area of Lagos. While defending himself, the suspect Abiodun said he equally lost part of his loots to fraudsters in turn while trying to secure a five hundred acres of land in Badagry, Lagos.
The fair skinned man who is currently cooling off in the custody of the Special Fraud Units SFU Millverton, Ikoyi Lagos, is finding it difficult to admit his crime, but rather claimed he could accommodate all his victims in separate apartments if given more time.
Looking unperturbed as he walked into the briefing room at the SFU, the Ogun State born suspect who spoke in a much poise tone narrated to Crime Alert, how he got defrauded.
According to him, “I did not start the development of that building with the money I took from my clients, but I started collecting money from them when the building was near 85 percent completion, that was also when I wanted to invest in a landed property.
Some people came to me at my site with a deal of five hundred acres of land in Badagry. And they told me that they were estate agents and wanted us to invest jointly in the property.
We did not concluded the amount I needed to invest because we were still bargaining. But they took close to N25million from me while processing the deal, and afterwards they all disappeared into thin air”
Auguring for more time Abiodun said “I did not intend to defraud them I had only wanted to provide accommodations for them as agreed, but they were so uncooperative. I had planned to accommodate a few in this building and later build five more houses to accommodate the rest.
Even if I had collected money from over a thousand people I will give them houses batch by batch, but this people are putting pressure on me. My construction time on this project is still on, but this people gathered themselves around me and they are not giving me chance to do my job. All I need now is more time to complete the project”. He said.
Continuing, the suspect who operates a popular reactor firm known as Shoreyan Properties Nig. Ltd, said “If my plans had gone well, all I needed do was to build five more houses within one year and then accommodate all my clients in it. Perhaps it took me just five months to develop this building and with the N47 million I took from this people I will build five houses in one years. But the problem remains that this people are not ready to cooperate with me.” He lamented
Reacting to his claims, Ogonna Reginald, one of the victim who spoke to Crime Alert at the SFU premises during the weekend, described the suspect’s plans as unrealistic. “So, he was expecting us to wait for one more year before getting our apartments? That is completely impossible, I don’t think any reasonable person will subscribe to such. He is just a drowning man looking for what to hang his hands on.
Why did he not tell us of this at the start before collecting our money? I paid him N740, 000 for a 2 bed room flat for two years, in two installments and he collected it assuring me that at the completion of the build, I will move in peacefully; but all of a sudden, I learnt that the apartment I paid for has been paid for by more than fifteen people. He is just a fraudster looking for a way out.”
However, the question in the lips of the numerous victims is how and when they would get back their money. Those who paid various sums ranging from N740, 000 for a two bed room flat to N460,000, 500,000 for mini flat, to 380,000 and 360,000 for a one room self- contain are not in any way ready for the suspect’s long and unrealistic tales.
Rather, they are apparently urging the police to carry out a thorough investigation, which they said includes freezing of his accounts and seizure of his assets so that they could have part of their money if not all. One of the vitims who identified himself as Raymond Okoka said; “I commend the police for arresting this fraudster.
We had all given up when he absconded with our money, but now that he has bee arrested I want them to extend their investigations by freezing his bank accounts and seizing is assets. I am not sure whether we are not ready for a protracted trial like those we read on the news papers, because a lot of us are urgently in need of accommodations that was why we fell so easily to his antics.”
But the landlady of the house in question, Mrs. M.K. Adeleke, also commended the police for a job well done by arresting the fraudster whom she said had intended soiling his fingers over what she knew nothing about.
She said, “ I inherited the house from my mother whose remains was buried in that house. I did not know Abidoun had this evil plans after he signed an agreement with us to develop our house for one year and lease it for sixteen years. The building was at the completion stage when we leased it to him, but a mini flat was there already.
All he needed do was to do the decking and roofing, and we also agreed that he would give me one flat and mini flat up and one other flat down, which he did not give me. We bought the land from the Ikeni of Isolo and it was my aunty that was supervising the place.
It was one of the Ikeni’s sons that introduced Abiodun to us and we accepted him because we don’t want Omo-Onile to disturb us while developing the structure. We did not know that this man intended to defraud people with our house, put I and my sister in problem.
When he ran away, we looked for him at all the addresses he gave to us in Lagos State, we could not find him there. But one of his victims whom he had collected money from, called him some time last week and offer to pay more money and he told her that he was at passport office in Ikoyi, then the woman went with the police and they nabbed him.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in charge of SFU, CP. Chinwike Asadu has warned members of the public to be careful with who and how they give their hard earned money in desperate search for accommodation.