A developer, Mr. Ibrahim Ajayi, is on the run after allegedly duping 31 accommodation seekers using four apartments – a self-contained apartment, mini-flat, and two two-bedroom flats.
The victims all paid amounts ranging from N140,000 to N450,000 to rent the apartments at a storey-building at 10, Church Street, Ojodu-Abiodun, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.
One of the victims, Uwem Raymond, told PUNCH Metro that he had paid N130,000 out of the N140,000 he was supposed to pay, before the developer fled.
He said he could no longer locate the agent, known simply as Kunle, who took him to the house.
Raymond said, “When I approached the agent for a mini-flat, I was told to pay N100, 000 as the rent and N40,000 for agreement and commission.
“In August, I paid N130, 000 out of which I paid N20,000 to the agent as his commission. I was to pay the balance of N10, 000. At that time, work was still ongoing on the upper floor, which was being let out.
“But in September, I started noticing some delay in the work that was going on in the building. I approached a son of the landlord just to be sure the developer was genuine.
“The landlord’s son later told me that the developer had used the apartments to dupe many people and had fled. I am a student. I saved the money through hardwork. I failed an exam because of this problem because I was so disoriented.”
Another victim, Tajudeen Ibrahim, had a more bitter story to tell. He just wedded when he paid N400,000, with the hope of moving into his apartment with his wife.
He said, “I did not go through the agent. I paid N300,000 rent and N100,000 agreement fee directly to Ajayi. I went to the building one day to see whether the work going on on the upper floor had been completed when I saw a notice on the wall, warning people to stay off that there was a case on the building.”
Ubong Nyang also paid N350,000. Like other victims, he went to the house, hoping to pack into the house on September 1, when he discovered that the developer had fled.
Ubong said he was living temporarily with a family member.
However, the victims said when they reported the case at the Ojodu-Abiodun Police Division, the case was transferred to Police headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
They alleged that the police demanded N40, 000 for “mobilisation,” which they paid, but the police had since not done anything to apprehend the developer or to help them in anyway.
When our correspondent contacted the Investigative Police Officer in charge of the case at Eleweran, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, he confirmed that the victims were duped.
He said, “The money we collected was for mobilisation. When the case was reported, we mobilised to the house, but it seemed the developer had got wind of our coming and he fled before we got there.
“We then placed the house under surveillance but he has not turned up since. We live in Abeokuta, so they cannot expect us to be sleeping in the place.
“Right now, I am planning to go and spend a whole day there and visit MTN office if we can trace the developer through his cell phone, because his phone number no longer goes through.”
He said it was not true that the police had abandoned the case.
Our correspondent dialed Ajayi’s two numbers but they were switched off. The number of the agent went through, but the receiver insisted he was not Kunle (the agent).