A ‘wonder bank’ operator identified as Ngozi Adline, who hails from Imo State had allegedly swindled traders at Warewa community of over N2million, in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
It was gathered that her whereabouts had been shrouded in mystery since August 2016 when she fled the neighbourhood with the N2m collected from some residents of the area.
The middle-aged woman had also relocated from her residence in Ibafo, a neighbouring community, while her children were said to be living with her brother in Abuja.
One of the workers, Adebayo, said the fraud was reported at the Warewa Police Station, adding that she and her colleague were under pressure from the angry customers to refund their money.
She said, “We collected money for her (Adline) daily and weekly from customers. She promised to give those that wanted to save for three months five to 10 per cent interest. We started in April and everything went well, while our customers were satisfied.
“However, after about four months, we started having problems with the customers. The issue was that at the end of that month, she refused to bring money for disbursement to customers that needed loans and wanted to collect their savings with interest.
“Sometime in August 2016, she absconded with over N2m. We are the ones that the customers know; they don’t really know her. So, we have been struggling to refund them. She has put us in trouble. She is from Imo State. Policemen followed us to her residence in Ibafo, where we were told that she had relocated.
“We learnt that she had earlier had problem over money with some residents and was arrested by policemen from the Ibafo Police Station. But she was later released. We spoke with her on the telephone until December 2016. Suddenly, we can no longer reach her on the line. We even pleaded with her to refund the money piecemeal, she refused. Some customers who saved N1,000 on a daily basis have not been refunded at all.”
Adebayo explained that she had contacted Adline’s brother, who lives in Abuja, on the telephone, but he said he did not know her whereabouts.
The other worker, Adelanwa, lamented that the police had not shown much commitment to tracking down the woman, saying about 60 customers were being owed.
“The woman ran away with more than N2m. Adline’s phone number has not been going through. Customers are embarrassing us. We owe about 60 people. They have locked up the office,” she said.
One of the creditors, Mrs. Amirat Salaudeen, who is into laundry services, stated that she saved between N1,000 and N2,000 at the firm on a daily basis.
“I started contributing sometime in April 2016. I paid between N1,000 and N2,000 every day, depending on the sales I made. I paid in for eight months. I have got only N50,000 out of my saving. I planned to use my saving to boost my business. It is painful and I am very disappointed,” she added.
A pepper seller, Jubril Awalu, said he saved about N50,000 at the firm, noting that he also needed the money to boost his trade.
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said it was difficult for the police to track down the woman as her operation was not formal.
He said, “They should do private investigation on their own and find out where the woman is. Then, they can inform the police and she will be arrested.
“If the victims had paid her through a bank, we would track her through her account. The police have done the right thing by going to her house. We are not to blame and cannot perform magic to find the woman.”