A middle-aged man, Mr Onyenankeya Uzoma, has accused his nephew of fraud running into N43.7m and $1,000 (about N400,000). He said the nephew, one Okoro, exploited the involvement of his wife in fatal road accident to swindle him out of the sums of money under the guise that she was safe. It was learnt that the woman was not found at the scene of the crash, raising doubts about whether she was alive or dead. Uzoma claimed his nephew hypnotised him to perpetrate the alleged fraud. He stated that Okoro told him that his beloved wife “is alive in the spirit” and assured him that she would be found if he (Uzoma) could spend money. Uzoma, who lives in Garki, Abuja, said he had run into debts as a result of the fraud, adding that he borrowed money from his employer and sold his house to raise the funds.
In a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, dated January 14, 2019, Uzoma said his wife died in a crash involving a bus she was travelling in and a truck along Okene-Auchi Road, on May 25, 2016. He said he learnt that the bus caught fire after the collision and that all the passengers, except a woman and two men, were burnt to death. Uzoma said when he got to the scene, he was told by policemen that the survivors had been taken to an unknown hospital, which he could not locate. He said he did not know if the female survivor was his wife or not, adding that four months after the incident, Okoro came from Imo State to live with the family in Abuja. Uzoma said, “I thought his purpose of coming was to console us, unknown to me he had hatched evil plans to completely destroy my family in our moment of sorrow and agony. His criminal activities started when I could not find the $1,000 I kept in my room to complete my daughter’s tuition.
“The following day, I returned from work and saw my wedding picture on my bed with a note suggesting that the writer was my wife. She said in the note that she was alive and around me and that I should go to my car to see another message by the driver’s door. I rushed to the car and saw the note which warned me not to inform my children and my brother who lives nearby.” The petitioner said he was further cautioned in the note to stop complaining about the missing $1,000. “She said I should stop embarrassing the children over the missing $1,000 which she said was missing for a purpose. I was very confused and could not reconcile how she could be operating in the spirit,” Uzoma added. He explained further that his “living-in-spirit wife” purportedly sent other notes, saying she initiated Okoro’s visit to the house and had prepared him for the major role he would play in the processes that would lead to her return. He said, “I called my nephew and told him my experience and that I didn’t understand the mystery behind what was going on. I took him to my room and showed him the notes and the photos which were originally hung in the living room, but were now on my bed.
“Then I asked him if he ever had an encounter with my wife and he said she had been talking to him in dreams and sending messages. I never thought that he was the mastermind as the door to my house was locked and not broken into.” Uzoma said he subsequently received a typed message in which his wife purportedly asked him to send his nephew to Owerri, “where most of the activities leading to her reunion would take place”. He explained that Okoro relocated to Owerri and informed him that he had established physical contact with the wife. Uzoma said, “He continued demanding money from me. He said my wife had to undergo surgeries so she could be treated of burns she suffered in the crash. I borrowed N3.5m from the bank. I told him that I wanted to see her, but he said it was not the right time.
“I also borrowed money from my employer and sold my house in Owerri for N15m to meet up with the demands for my so-called wife’s treatment. He also collected my wife’s N6.7m pension and gratuity and I cannot count the number of times I transferred money to him.” The acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, said he was not familiar with the details of the petition. He, however, said the petition would be investigated if it had merit. He said, “I am not familiar with the details of the petition but we investigate every petition we get if there is merit in it. It would surely be investigated.”