A dramatic scene was recorded at 22, Anuoluwapo Street, in Ejigbo area of Lagos State, after about 200 house seekers who paid various sums of money for accommodation discovered they’ve been duped by the landlady of a one-storey building, identified only as Kudirat.
Punch reported that Kudirat connived with an agent, Tunde Nojeemdeen to perpetrate the fraud, by directing them to him when they enquired about the building.
However, upon getting to the house on Saturday, September 24, the house seekers discovered that the number of tenants outnumbered the 14 available flats.
Oluwakemi Sodiq, one of the victims told the publication that the matter was reported to reported at Ejigbo Police Station and was later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba. She also revealed that prospective tenants paid sums ranging from N300,000 to N500,000.
“On September 24, I was at my brother’s wedding when they told me that there was commotion at the house. On getting here, many had been injured; the police even came and arrested some people. All we want is justice; we need our money back. We can no longer hold the pain. As I speak to you, the wife of one of us just gave birth but he has nowhere to put both mother and child. They are currently staying at their pastor’s house. This is our reality. We are homeless.”
She however claimed that the SCID officers demanded N50,000 from each of the victims. Sodiq added;
“When we made the report, Nojeemdeen was arrested. We later went to the SCID, but the IPO told us to pay N50,000 each to write our statements. We refused to pay the money and went to a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole; he pitied us and took us to the Assistant Commissioner of Police at the SCID, who instructed the officers not to collect money from us.
“The ACP told us that he was not aware of the matter. Till now, we have not heard anything; all the agents working for the developer are nowhere to be found and have all switched off their phones.”
Another victim, who identified himself as Prophet E. Sunday, said they later found out that Nojeemdeen had defrauded many others in the past and that the SCID was allegedly covering up for him.
“When we found out we had been defrauded, I called the developer but I could not reach him. I came to the building and found out that a fight had broken out between the tenants. I eventually made enquiries and discovered that this has become a business for the developer; he is fond of defrauding people. He has another house on this same street that he is developing; the people there are also complaining of being defrauded.
“I got to know that when something like this happens, he’ll just rush to the SCID and pay off the police and that is how the case will die down. This is a profession for him and the police keep covering up for him. In fact for this case, he wasn’t arrested; he surrendered himself to the police because he knows that once he gets to the station, all he has to do is pay the officers.
“Please, we need the Lagos State Government to come to our aid. As I am talking to you, I am homeless; we are all homeless, the previous places where we stayed, we have been thrown out by our landlords.”
Many of the victims also claimed that they’ve been thrown out of their former houses.
Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin who confirmed the incident, said Nojeemdeem has been arrested.
“He is currently in custody.”