The Lagos State Police Command and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission are currently investigating a landlord, Mr. Adeshina Bakare, for allegedly using his property to defraud over 20 accommodation seekers.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspect had been in and out of prison for allegedly defrauding many accommodation seekers at different times.
According to the victims, Bakare’s modus operandi was to put up vacancy posters in various parts of the state with attractive prices in order to lure accommodation seekers only to dupe them after collecting their money.
It was learnt that Bakare usually charged between N350, 000 and N600, 000 for his property at 13, Oyewole Street, Palmgrove.
One of the victims, Salau Ahmed, told our correspondent that Bakare also used agents to lure unsuspecting accommodation seekers to the said address.
Ahmed said, “In March this year, my uncle gave me some money to help him secure an accommodation. So, I met an agent who then introduced me to Bakare. The property has four flats. Some of the houses have two bedrooms while some have three bedrooms. I felt there was no reason for suspicion since his family lives in one of the flats and his wife even has a shop in front of the compound.
“Bakare told me to pay N840, 000 (N700, 000 for two years and N140, 000 as agreement fee and miscellaneous expenses) into his Diamond Bank account for the two-bedroom flat which I did. He said I should move in by June 1 but when I got there, he didn’t keep his promise. On July 9, I met about six other people there who said Bakare had promised to rent out the apartment to them. Bakare then said the house was no longer available and issued cheques with name Great Sibak Nigeria Enterprises, but all the cheques bounced.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that after Bakare was remanded in Kirikiri Medium Prison over the said offence, more victims had come forward making it difficult for police to carry out investigations.
“When I went to the prison to go and appeal to him, he said there was nothing anybody could do to him since he was already in prison,” Ahmed said.
Another victim, Kike Onaniyi, said Bakare sometimes returned part of the money to victims but thereafter would refuse to pay the balance.
She said another tactics that Bakare used was to order his security guard to refuse victims entry.
She said, “In May, a friend of mine, Adeyemi Adefola, told me to help him get an apartment. One day, I saw an agent’s telephone number on a poster and I dialled the number. The agent then referred me to Bakare and after negotiations, he told me to pay in N350, 000 into his account.
“When I got there in June to go and collect the key, I met other people there and his security guard refused to let us in. After sometime, Bakare gave some of us cheques. He was only able to pay me N100, 000 back.”
Another victim, Mr. Joseph Nwalieji, said he paid N500, 000 into the suspect’s account on May 10, 2012 for a two-bedroom flat but never got the house.
Another victim, Mr. Segun Sipe, was said to have paid N540, 000 into the suspect’s account while one Laide Oduwole paid N360, 000.
It was learnt that Bakare is standing trial in two different magistrate’s courts in Ikeja for similar offences.
When our correspondent visited courts 17 and 22, on Wednesday some workers confirmed that the suspect had cases relating to rent issues but declined further comments on the matter.
It was also learnt that two different departments at the state police command, the X Squad and Human Rights Department, were handling the cases.
The spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, confirmed the incident to our correspondent, saying the suspect is a serial fraudster.
“The Officer in charge of X Squad said the Human Rights Department had charged him to court but after the suspect was remanded in prison, five more victims came forward,” she said.