By Esther Onyegbula
A 34-year-old suspect, Ayo Kunle Ibikunle, who allegedly swindled an octogenarian of N2.7 million, says he used the money to process his travelling documents.
Ayo, who studied animal health and reproduction at Federal College of Animal Health, Ibadan, Oyo State, said: “I used N750, 000 from the money to process my travelling documents. I wanted to travel to South Africa. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. After it failed, I gave N400, 000 cash to Kasali to supply me cattle to enable me begin a little ranch, while I used the remaining money miscellaneous things like travelling to Abuja, Lagos and staying in hotels.”
Sunday Vanguard learned that the 80-year-old victim, Mrs Felicia Oketokun, popularly called Mama in Ibadan, is a poultry farm produce dealer. She buys poultry birds and eggs from farms and re-sells.
How it all started
It was gathered that on November 13, 2015, Mama received a call from one Ayo, who said he had 3,000 poultry birds for sale at Seion Farms in Olorunda, Ibadan. After negotiations, the octogenarian sent one of her workers to Seion’s Farms where he met with Ayo and inspected the birds.After inspecting the birds and certifying them okay for purchase, Oketokun’s staffer was said to have requested for Seion Farms account details to enable his boss make payment for the poultry birds. But the suspect allegedly convinced him to pay the money into the bank account of his friend, Saeed.
It was gathered that immediately after Mama Oketokun paid N2.7M in the said account for the birds, Ayo went with Saeed and withdrew the entire money without giving the money to Seion Farms or supplying the products to the victim. Thereafter, he went underground, living largely in hotels in Ibadan, Abuja and Lagos till he was arrested on March 29, 2016 at Ibadan after operatives of X-Squad tracked him down.
The suspect narrated his story to Sunday Vanguard: “I am from Ekiti State but I am based in Ibadan. I was arrested because I took N2.7M from a client. I knew her through an agent. I used to buy and sell old layers, boilers, point of lay and other kinds of poultry bird. I help farm owners to treat their sick birds. I have been in this business for over eight years. I studied animal health and reproduction at Federal College of Animal Health, Ibadan.
“I didn’t take her money intentionally. I paid Saeed N500, 000 to allow me use his bank account for the transaction as I didn’t want to use my personal account. He withdrew N2m for me and later gave me N200,000. He knew the money was from the proceeds of fraudulent transaction. I used N750,000 from the money to process my travelling documents as I wanted to travel to South Africa. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out; so I gave N400,000 cash to an acquaintance, Kasali, to supply me cattle to begin my cattle farm, while I spent the balance on miscellaneous things like travelling and staying in hotels.
“Although I have not seen her before now, this is not the first time I am doing transaction with Mama. Usually, we do transactions and negotiations on phone. When I saw Mama yesterday for the first time, I started weeping because I didn’t know she was very old. I know what I did is wrong. I feel very bad now that I have been arrested. Contrary to the allegation that I defrauded my fiancé’s father, I did not. We only had some business transaction that went sour.”