My Experience with Ibrahim Magu’s EFCC
By: Deji Yesufu
On the 9th of May, 2020, a friend, Sarah Emordi, got in touch with me that she had been duped of a sum of N12,000 by a syndicate on the internet. She had been trying to start off a business and she felt that the dried ponmo (cow hide) business was one she could key into. She had seen a page on Facebook that was into the business. She got in touch with the people and struck a deal. She sent the money to them on the 2nd of May and the rest was story. The guy would eventually no longer pick her call. 12k had gone down the drain.
In a bid to recover her money, Sarah began to search the internet and discovered that this syndicate had a lot of other Facebook pages that they were using to defraud Nigerians. These pages go by the name: Dried Ponmo Nigeria, Dried Ponmo Store, Dried Ponmo Business and others like those. This syndicate even fronted their pages with the pictures of a Redeemed Pastor based in Kaduna by the name Pastor Confidence Ikegwuoha. We would discover later that the clergy knew nothing of the whole fraud. Sarah also went further to discover that a lot of other women had been defrauded by these people. Some of them had lost up to N52,000 to these people. These ladies would eventually come together on a Whatsapp group to brainstorm on how they could recover their monies.
The first thing we did was to publish a story on my blog, telling the world of this evil syndicate. You can read the story here: www.textandpublishing.com/pastor-confidence-ikegwuoha-face-of-a-ponmo-thief/. When it was obvious that these people were still defrauding people of money, we got in touch with a Punch newspapers correspondent. This gentleman did a painstaking work of investigating this syndicate. He was the one that discovered that the pastor, whose name they were using, was actually not one of them. You can read the story published by Punch on this link: https://punchng.com/fraudster-fleeces-nigerians-on-facebook-with-ponmo-scheme/.
I would later tweet this story and tag the EFCC twitter handle, @officialEFCC), to this story. To our pleasant surprise, EFCC replied us and requested that we send a formal complaint to them via their email firstname.lastname@example.org. At this point, we were certain that this syndicate would be nabbed. However, even after Punch newspapers had published the story, these men were still defrauding members of the public of their hard earned money.
To my dismay and total disappointment despite sending a formal complaint to the EFCC, which was headed by Ibrahim Magu at the time, they did not reply the email; neither has any concrete moves been made to nab the culprits behind this evil organization. I would eventually reach a friend who is a bank chief in Nigeria and asked him for ways to recover funds back from accounts that one might have paid into by mistake or fraud. He explained that the ladies should go to the police and get a report on what had happened to them. They should then head to the courts and get a court order for the release of their funds from the bank.
Ladies and gentlemen, on the Whatsapp group that was created there are eight ladies that had lost money to this syndicate. Some of them approached the Nigerian police in their locality and none of these were able to get the police to give them a police report. Women who had been defrauded of money, were being asked by the police to pay N10,000 to have a report written for them. So at the moment the ladies have given up any hope of ever getting their money and this syndicate is still out there collecting money from unsuspecting members of the public. For example, a particular lady said she had completed transactions with this man and was just about paying into his account when she had a rethink. She did a google search on “ponmo fraud” and our story came out. She eventually got in touch with Sarah who told her not to send the money. The truth however is that there are hundreds of other people out there who would not be this lucky.
Following Ibrahim Magu’s arrest and the various allegations levelled against him, it then occurred to me that Nigeria is one cesspool of corruption. The problem is not even the fact that the nation’s number one ant-corruption czar has been found with his skeletons in his cupboard; the trouble is that the EFCC has long ceased to do its work as an anti-graft agency in this country. In the bid at nabbing big fish-criminals, the smaller ones are running around uninhibited in the country. This is the reason why economic crimes continue unabated in the country.
My experience with Ibrahim Magu’s EFCC tells me that the ordinary Nigerian is at the mercy of criminals in this country. Everybody and anybody are free to do whatever they like in this nation. That is why those who were calling for Hushpuppi to be prosecuted in Nigeria were just deceiving themselves. They forget that the same charges that convicted James Ibori in the United Kingdom were the same charges that were held against him but for which a court of competent jurisdiction acquitted him in Nigeria.
That ponmo story remains a terrible grief in my heart. Those ladies have still not recovered their monies and that evil syndicate is still defrauding people of money all around the internet.