Menu Close

‘Japa’: Police burst in on foreign travel scammers, arrest suspects over alleged N300m fraud in Ekiti

*The process of refunding about 4,000 defrauded Nigerians in the fake travel arrangements has commenced under the supervision of the Police authorities in Ekiti State, says report

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For purportedly scamming about 4,000 desperate Nigerians desiring to jet out of the West African country to foreign lands, the Police operatives have apprehended a gang of suspected fraudsters in Ekiti State.

The authorities nabbed the suspects for perpetrating the alleged crime under the guise of facilitating overseas travels to Australia and Canada.

Photo collage of Vast Oturarebi Integrated Services, in Ekiti State   Photo: Channels TV

The alleged fraud, said to be in the realm of N300 million was perpetrated under a fake arrangement of facilitating jobs in advance for applicants in the two countries upon a processing fee of N58,000 for an individual and N78,000 for a family, Channels TV report said.

Certain Mr. Daramola, one of the victims of the ‘Japa’ concept, disclosed the operators of the office in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, had explained to them that Captain Kolapo Lawson Oturarebi, said to be a philanthropist with a political ambition, desired to help about 2,000 people from South-West state travel abroad to make a better living abroad.

However, the so-called Captain Kolapo Lawson Oturarebi later turned out to be a fictitious name, report stated.

Daramola said the swindlers further claimed that the applicants would be given jobs according to their disciplines in the said countries.

Besides, he assured the prospective travellers that they would only make some affordable payments back to the company only after they have worked for two years overseas.

It was learnt that the pseudo-Oturarebi was profiled as a retired aviation worker and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vast Oturarebi Integrated Services Limited.

The company has business registration number 1874974, confirmed on the Web site of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), according to report.

Over 4,000 applicants have reportedly registered and paid the prescribed fees amounting to over N300million thus far.

Mr. Sunday Abutu, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ekiti State, also confirmed that the leader of the gang and some accomplices had been arrested after Police burst into their office over a week ago.

Abutu said the fraud suspects would be charged to court with more details later.

Victims complain as refund process begins

Meanwhile, the process of refunding those duped is said to have commenced under the supervision of the police leadership in the state.

Nonetheless, some of the victims were said to be displeased with the refund pattern.

They are claiming the police did not disclose the amount recovered from the fraudsters, thereby leaving some victims with very meager refunds and many others with no refund at all.

They also alleged that the refund is selective and secretive as they wonder why the Police have yet to parade the alleged scammers, or hold a formal meeting with all victims together so far.

Phone calls and messages to the Ekiti State PPRO to establish the veracity of these claims by the victims were not responded to, according to report.

Host community speaks

Meanwhile, community sources in the state have said some of the workers at the Vast Oturarebi rented office space in the Tinuola axis, Housing Estate, in Ado Ekiti, claimed they never knew the arrangement was a fraud.

Some of the workforce of about 20 officials at the facility claimed a man often came around, usually wearing medical facemasks claiming to come from Canada to represent Mr. Oturarebi and look after their welfare as workers.

Other activities carried out at the centre included application for minimum of five million Naira business loans upon payment of processing fee of five percent of loan applied for, real estate work and motorcycle purchase via installment payments among other deals which eventually turned out to be fraudulent.

Medical doctors most hit in ‘Japa’ scams: Report

Hundreds of medical doctors working in Ekiti State are said to have also fallen victim to this scam.

More so, massive brain drain due to reported unfavourable working conditions has been the bane of the Nigeria health sector in the past few years.

In recent times, the term ‘Japa’ has become popular amid the desperation by some Nigerians to relocate to other countries considered more economically friendly and safer for living, report noted.

Kindly Share This Story



Kindly share this story