25th August, 2010
A developer, Alhaji Kolawole Balogun, is now on the run after allegedly duping over 170 people of about N64.5 million under the pretext of renting to them 13 flats at 4b, Gilber Odion Crescent, Ajah, behind Ajiwe Police Station, Lagos State, Nigeria.
Some of the victims who spoke to P.M.NEWS confirmed that each of them paid N380,000 some months before the completion of the building, adding that efforts to take possession of the flats after completion proved unsuccessful.
One of the victims and a trader at Idumota, Stanley Odumu, told P.M.NEWS of his experience: “We noticed that Alhaji collected money from about 10 of us on a particular flat and this made it very difficult for us to move into our various flats.
“Alhaji has rendered many of us homeless because we have no other means of accommodation. One of us is an old woman with a child who also has nowhere to live.
“He promised to call us, but he did not. We made efforts to bring him down to the house but to no avail. He always promise to come to the house to settle all of us. But we are still waiting and nobody has seen him.
“We reported to the police. They didn’t take us serious. They told us to write our names and submit to them which we did. But nothing has so far come out of the report.
“I have always heard about things like this, but I have never experienced it. People will hear of this same case and say that it is a normal thing in this country.
“But I want to use this medium to alert the government to look into this situation. One of us who was duped just returned from the US. How do you expect him to invest in this country after undergoing this? What kind of impression are we creating in the minds of those abroad, that we cannot do business in Nigeria without fraud?”
P.M.NEWS learnt that fetish items like chewing sticks, a can of palm oil, black soap and a few others ritual items were found in front of the house.
Some of the victims also wrote boldly on the wall of the fence: 419 Is Real, Beware Of Alhaji, This House Is Not For Rent, Beware Of 419.
A source at the Ajiwe Police Station, Ajah described the runaway developer as a fraudster that is giving them serious concern.
“We are truly tired of that man. This is not the first time people are reporting him to us.
”There was a time he duped about 10 people seeking accommodation. When they reported at the police station, he refunded their money. We did not know that he was using the money he got from another set of victims to pay the previous ones,” he added.