Sunday , September 25 2022

I’ll sue Immigration officer who promised job, scammed me –Victim

An Ogun State job seeker identified Kay, who claimed that he paid the sum of N200,000 to a Nigerian Immigration Service officer, one Mr Nasiru, for job placement with the NIS in April 2021, tells GODFREY GEORGE how the officer allegedly failed to deliver on his promise or return his money after one year

It was reported that someone promised to get you a job for a fee but failed to do so. Is this true?

Yes, it is true.  I met an Immigration officer, who claimed to be a senior officer. We met through a mutual friend around the Immigration office at GRA Housing, Abeokuta. I had told that friend of mine how my wife needed a job and he promised to get me someone who could get her a job with the Federal Government. Seeing that the man was a senior Immigration officer, my friend approached him, spoke to him about my wife’s case, and he said there was a way he could help. He (officer) said there was a contact he had in Abuja that would help me get the job. After some days, I met him and he promised to get my wife the job but for a fee.

How much did he tell you to pay for the job?

He told me to pay N200,000 for the slot and said he would help us start the process. In all, we were expected to pay N350,000 once the job worked out. Immediately, I placed a call to one of my uncles in the United States and he agreed to help me. The next day, my uncle sent the money to my Sterling Bank account and I went to the bank and did the transfer to the officer. He (officer) later said his name was Nasiru.

When did the transaction take place?

That was in April 2021. Since then, Mr Nasiru has been giving excuses. He would tell me to call him on a particular day; when I do, his line would be switched off. When I sent him a text message, he did not respond. When I managed to get him, he would say, “We are on it. We are finalising. Just next month.” It has been over one year and this man has neither given me the job nor refunded the money. I am tired of begging him to return my money to me or fulfill the purpose for which the money was paid, but it has been a really difficult task. The man is tying my refund to the fact that he paid someone in Abuja who had to first pay him he would pay me. I don’t think that is my business because I didn’t deal with a third party. I dealt with him directly.

But you said he told you had someone in Abuja who could help out with the job placement. Don’t you believe he gave someone the money as promised for the job?

It is not my business. As a senior Immigration officer, I had no choice then but to believe him. The way he sounded was convincing. He also looked responsible. I had to believe there was a job initially but I started noticing some red flags when he kept promising to get me my money and didn’t do it. He would always say, “Don’t worry, next week, I will see you.” We are still in his ‘next week’ and it has been over a year. After six months, I even started losing hope, saying that this stuff(getting the job) was not going to work again. I put a lot of pressure on him. Up to this moment, I have not got my money nor the job placement he promised to get me.

Did he tell you when the job will be ready for your wife?

He initially said his contact in Abuja gave him three weeks and was rounding off with it. He was even rushing me to pay up very fast, which was why I had to seek outside intervention. When that time frame elapsed, I asked him and he said his contact traveled to check up on this or that. The next time, he said the contact was back and was actively processing the job. He kept giving me all these excuses for over six months. Being a senior Immigration officer, I didn’t understand what he was doing. I didn’t think he would defraud me because I had to meet him inside the officers’ mess in Abeokuta. I had no cause to fret or doubt it. Before someone gets such a post in the Immigration Service, it is believed that the person must have done due diligence and have contacts in many high places.

Do you still want the job?

I no longer want the job. He should just give me the N200,000 I paid for the job. All this talk about not being able to get the money from the person he paid it to is not tenable. According to him, he cannot even find the person he gave the money to in Abuja. He claimed to have contacted the police, army, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and others to help get the money back to me. I don’t believe all that because I dealt directly with him, not a third party. He said he was in Abuja trying to recover the money but that is not my business because I have to return the money to my uncle. That is all I care about now.

Did your uncle loan the money to you?

Exactly so. I have to return that money to my uncle so I don’t spoil the family relationship. He is my mother’s only brother. Before he could repose that kind of trust in me to send such an amount of money to me to facilitate my wife getting a job, he would have considered it very seriously. I don’t have to betray that trust. He is in the know. Nasiru knows how I got the money and the circumstances around it.

How is your wife taking this?

It is not funny at all, because I wanted it to be a surprise for my wife. But, the surprise started failing and finally failed. Even my wife was skeptical at that time, warning me not to give my money to anyone but I just risked it because I met him somewhere responsible.

For how long has your wife been unemployed?

She graduated in 2012. She has been hustling since then to survive, and it has not been easy. She is 33. She studied Chemistry at Olabisi Onabanjo University. She is a petty trader.

Did you report this matter to the police to register your grievances?

No, I haven’t. I felt I should use other means first before involving law enforcement agencies. Secondly, with the way I knew the man, I think reporting to the police might be an overkill. It may be something we can talk about ourselves and resolve but he seems to be playing games. He is insisting on collecting the N200,000 from the ‘invisible’ man he paid it to in Abuja before paying. Sometimes, he pleads for more time to track the man and collect my money. How long does he want me to wait?

Was your wife invited for any form of registration for this job or was the NIS recruiting at that you paid?

There was an advert in the papers during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NIS said it was recruiting. It hadn’t done the shortlisting as of the time I paid that money. So, that money was for the facilitation.

Did your wife register for the recruitment?

All Nasiru did was collect her credentials and claimed to have sent them to Abuja for the necessary details.

Did you consider that what you contracted Nasiru to do was criminal?

I know people are going to blame me. I also will blame that mutual friend who connected me to that man (Nasiru). But, when I think of it in another breath, he was only trying to help. I never knew it was going to come out like this. I know a lot of people will say a lot of things but sometimes, we need to take risks for the one we love. I know people who have taken that route and were lucky to get the job. I was thinking it was going to be the same, seeing his position in the Service. Unfortunately, we are here today. We have been doing it the seemingly right way for years and nothing came out. My wife has applied through the official websites and sent CVs to many offices but nothing came out of it since 2012. She has not been that lucky. That was why we felt we should use the right contacts to get this done.

What exactly are your demands?

I gave Mr Nasiru money and he has acknowledged collecting money from me. He should refund the money, which he promised to do. I don’t want the job anymore; he should just give me my money. From what he is saying, it is obvious that he is not being honest. I have written to my lawyer and we are planning to sue him.

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