Nigeria: Police Arrest Fake Property Agent

Hyacinth Chinweuba

The Police in Lagos has arrested a man for duping people desperately in search of accommodation.

Operatives attached to the Force Criminal Investigation Department Alagbon Lagos effected the arrest of the property developer for allegedly duping over 300 house seekers.

The suspect according to the victims, allegedly used various names and conniving with over 20 house agents duped them over N50million.

According to them, the property developer and his wife (Names withheld) renovated three houses in the Iponri, Aguda and Coker- Orile areas of Lagos state which they allegedly used in defrauding victims.

The chief executive officer of the International Centre For Human Rights Non-Violence and Safety ICHR , Barr. Ene Sarah Unobe , in a petition to the Deputy Inspector General of Police on behalf of the victims, urged the police to thoroughly investigate the matter adding that the scam involved a syndicate which specialised in defrauding house seekers in the state.

According to her ” I was in my office when over 100 people stormed my office that they have been duped by a property developer and his agents. I was shocked at their number. Some of them were weeping saying that they have become homeless and stranded.

The victims range from young people to the elderly and from what we gathered from them, they had already paid for apartments but getting to the house, they found other people occupying the apartments they have paid for. From our investigation, the developer in connivance with his wife and other agents, collected money from more than the number of tenants for the apartments and in some cases, eleven people claimed they were given the keys to one apartment.

We took up their complaints and petitioned the DIG Intelligence and Investigation Force Headquarters Abuja and he directed the DCP Administration FCID Alagbon Lagos to investigate the case.

From our estimation, the victims parted with over N50 million for decent accommodations but they have been rendered homeless. We have 316 of them complaining about this syndicate”, Unobe said.

One of the victims who identified herself as Mrs Johnson said ” I fled from my house in Ikorodu following incessant attacks from a notorious cult group called Badoo. I was stranded and a house agent whom I contacted to help me get a place took me to a house undergoing renovation at Mashalasi Street Iponri. I saw a woman called Mrs Fumilayo and one other guy called JJ. Mrs. Fumilayo told me that she and her husband are the developers that are renovating the house. My agent and I inquired about a mini flat and she said N250 per annum.

She told me to make one-year payment into her first Bank account and I did. I brought the teller to her and she gave me a receipt. She told me to come back in June with the remaining balance of N100,000 for agency and agreement but when I got to the house I found out that the room she showed me has been taken over by another family. I called her mobile line but it was switched off. I called her husband but someone picked his call told me he is a policeman that I should come to the station to write a statement that he has been arrested for defrauding people.

The police told me to come to write my statement at Alagbon and when I got to the station, I saw over 100 people crying that they have fallen victim to house scam”.

Another victim, who simply identified himself as Mr. Good Luck said ” I paid N260,000 for a room apartment.

I got a quit notice from my landlord that he is demolishing his house and we should all leave. I paid cash to one Mrs. Fumilayo Adeyemi and she gave me a receipt and asked me to come back for my key but I have been calling her line she is not picking her calls.

I decided to check the house but to my shock, I met a lot of people fighting over the room. Some of the people they duped include soldiers and naval personnel. The thugs in the area took advantage of the situation and barricaded the house and started collecting N50,000 from the tenants before they can allow them in over 100 of us are involved. I joined others to report at the Human Rights office at the International Centre for Human Rights Non-Violence and Safety. We have protested to the Lagos state government office at Alausa Ikeja and the government directed us to the Ministry of Housing.

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