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How fake forex platform landed 27-yr-old student in prison



John Akpan Ode

How fake forex platform landed 27-yr-old student in prison

27-year-old John Akpan Ode is a native of Ogoja in Cross River State. After his secondary education, John relocated to Lagos in search of a better life since his poor parents could not afford his quest for further education.

Within a few years, John mastered the art of fixing tiles, roofing and forex trading and used the proceeds from both side hustles to see himself through school at the Lagos State Polytechnic.  John was doing well for himself and looking forward to a bright future until he stumbled on a fake forex platform, He started getting good returns on his investment and helped others to join. When the platform crashed a few months later and John lost all his investment, instead of being a victim, he became a prime suspect. In this edition, John tells Encounter how he spent months in Kirikiri prison over an alleged N6 million forex fraud he knew nothing about.


My name is Akpan John Ode. I am from Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State. I attended Obachime Community Primary School and St. Francis Meridian College in Yala Local Government Area. I am from a polygamous family. My father married four wives and my mother is his last wife. My father had 19 children and taking care of them was a big challenge for him. Only a few of my siblings attended primary school and we were always fighting amongst ourselves in the family. Immediately I managed to finish my secondary school and got my West African Examination Council, WAEC Certificate in 2015, I decided to relocate to Lagos and do something useful with my life. I stayed with one man from my village and learnt how to fix tiles and roofs. I was also helping the company to market their products. From the little money I made from the company, I enrolled into Lagos State Polytechnic to study marketing.


Side hustle

While studying for my OND in LASPOTECH, a friend introduced me to forex trading. I took a little training on the business and over time, I mastered the secrets and started making money from it. I joined quite a few platforms and made some good returns.


I was doing well until I started introducing others to the business. The first set of people I introduced on the platforms I use, did very well and made good money from their investments. For a long time, I didn’t have any problem with anyone until I decided to invest in a new platform last year.  My investment on the platform grew from $300 to about $5,700 and I was doing bi-weekly withdrawal of $200 to take care of my personal needs. One day, a sister introduced a lady based in Abuja to me. The lady said she was interested in forex so I introduced her to the new platform I was using. She had just $360 so I assisted her with an additional $300 to start off. I only offered assistance but she was doing the trading herself. The lady made $5,000 over time but chose to reinvest the profit instead of withdrawing it. We were all shocked one day when the site froze and we could not trade again. It was later that it dawned on us that we had been scammed. The lady called me and insisted that I must refund her $5,000 but I explained to her that I am also a victim. She made a lot of trouble until I stopped hearing from her.


I had forgotten everything until July when I returned from my village  where I had gone to visit my parents. My tiles and roofing work was not coming regularly so I tried to do other things to survive. In August, I got a call from a strange person who I later discovered was a police officer. Before that call, they had already arrested one of my brothers and his wife. They also arrested one of my sisters in Lekki who eventually led them to my house. The police officers initially told me that my arrest was in respect of a phone but when they took me to their office in Ikeja, they began to ask me a different question.

Bogus allegation

When we got to the Lagos State Police Command in Ikeja, the police officers asked me if I knew anyone called Ugochi. I replied that I knew her and told them how I introduced her into the forex trading platform which eventually crashed. They insisted that I was lying and threatened to beat the hell out of me if I continued lying. They showed me a petition that Ugochi had written alleging that she invested N6 million through me. When I maintained that I never defrauded the complainant, I was locked up in a cell for 11 days. My family didn’t know my whereabouts for those 11 days as my phone was seized. I was taken to the office of the Commissioner of Police where they took my statement. I showed them my WhatsApp conversations with the complainant and the $360 she sent to me for the investment.


Police insists on refund

Despite all my explanations, the police said I should refund the N6million. I told them that I didn’t have any money and that I also lost my all investments. When they realised that I didn’t have any money, they decided to file a charge against me before a Magistrate court.

Journey to Kirikiri

I was arraigned for fraud before an Ogba Magistrate Court. I pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone to stand surety for me so I was taken to Kirikiri prison pending when I could sort out my bail. The matter was adjourned to two subsequent dates but I still didn’t have anyone to stand as surety for me.

Ordeal in prison

The day I got into the prison, I was seriously beaten and punished inside the welcome cell where I spent two days. An inmate I met in court had explained to me the rules and regulations in the prison so I was a bit ready for the beating and punishment. I really suffered in the first few days of my arrival in the prison but after a while, I began to adapt to the environment. The prison environment was a strange world to me because of the different kinds of people I saw there. From murderers to kidnappers, rapists, yahoo yahoo boys, armed robbers and many other terrible criminals. The kind of people you find there are not normal.  I found it strange that I was among these kinds of people for what I didn’t do. The food was terrible. I tried not to eat my meal portion but it was very difficult. Once in a while, one of my sisters brings me food and money so I tried to survive on that. Some churches also bring us food occasionally. At some point, I had a serious health issue after I was infected by the environment.

Warders’ role in prolonged incarceration

I believe that warders are partly responsible for some inmates’ prolonged stay in prison. I spent just six months in prison but I was shocked to discover that some inmates had spent years for similar allegations simply because warders failed to disclose the date of their trial. Sometimes when we go to court and the magistrate fails to sit; it is only the warders that approach the registrar for the adjourned date. For those of us without lawyers, we are always at the mercy of the warders. If they don’t tell you the adjourned date for your matter, you will simply rot in prison.

Botched trial, NGO intervention

After my arraignment, I appeared in court twice without a lawyer and on those two occasions, the magistrate did not sit.  When I returned to the prison, an inmate told me about a non-governmental organisation, Anchor Heritage and how they have been assisting innocent inmates to regain their freedom. I waited until the day the NGO came and I presented my case to them. The head of the organisation, Mr. Bidemi Oladipupo assured me that they would look into my matter.

 On the next adjourned date, I was surprised when a lawyer from the organisation took over my case. Throughout the trial, the complainant who was resident in Abuja never showed up in court. Only one man who claimed to be her uncle appeared. The matter was adjourned four times until the magistrate decided to strike out the case. I guess it became clear to the police that the complainant lied to them and was unwilling to go ahead with the matter so they decided to withdraw the matter. I was happy that the case was withdrawn but the thought that I had to spend six months in prison for a lie made me feel bad.


Motivated by prison ordeal

Nigerian prison is not a good place to be but my six months in Kirkiri prison was an eye opener. Looking back, I would say the prison prepared me to face life with a motivated mindset. I have a different mindset now about helping people because of my experience. Before going to prison, I wasn’t close to God but that place became a blessing in a way for me. I experienced God’s mercy in prison and since I got out, I have been closer to God more than ever before. The help I also got from Anchor Heritage has also motivated me to aspire to establish a charity organisation to help people in need.

Why I fell victim

Forex is good when someone has funds and knows the intrigues of the business. I have used some platforms that were good. The truth, however, is that there is no guaranteed way of knowing a fake platform. If you join a platform early, even if it is fake, you would have made some significant gain on your investment if you cash out early. Unfortunately, I didn’t cash out early enough before this particular one that got me into trouble. The reason I got into that business was because I needed funds to pursue my education. What happened to me was a temporary setback which I believe has also strengthened me.

Appeal for assistance

Since I got out of prison, things have been difficult. I still want to return to school but the fund is not available. The tiles and roofing business is also not coming as regularly as it used to be. I am appealing for support from well-meaning Nigerians. I want a job so that I can further my education and become useful to myself and my country.

How fake forex platform landed 27-yr-old student in prison


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Uber, Bolt drivers insist on N2,000 minimum fare per trip



Uber, Bolt drivers insist on N2,000 minimum fare per trip

Drivers of Uber and Bolt have insisted on riders paying a minimum fare of N2,000 per trip.

This follows the hike in the pump price of petrol from N184 per litre to about N500 after the removal of fuel subsidy.

The drivers under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWN) also said they would not back down on their protest against the Federal Government’s removal of fuel subsidy until their demands are granted.

The union which rose from its national emergency meeting in Lagos on Wednesday said it would continue with its nationwide protest on Thursday (today).

The union said its members across the country would participate in the industrial action.

It said the demand for a 200 per cent increase in the fare per trip was justifiable after the fuel price hike.

The union’s National President Damola Adeniran, was quoted in a statement by Media and Publicity Committee Chairman, Jossy Olawale, that AUATWN members were beginning to run at a loss.

“We have overtimes been subjected to hardship, oppression and cowed in the name of wanting to survive as unemployed graduates who humbly undertake driving job,” he said.

Adeniran said Bolt had started blocking the account of members of the excos of the union over the protest.

The union leader asked for more equitable payment for AUATWN’s workers.

He said, “As a union, we have the right to protest and protect the right of our members for better welfare, as a result which we cannot be punished while undertaking this lawful path.”

The union leader said the demands of AUATWN’s members remained unchanged: increase in fares by 200 per cent and reduction of commission by 50 per cent, among others.

Uber, Bolt drivers insist on N2,000 minimum fare per trip 

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Fuel subsidy: We’re yet to seal any agreement with FG, says labour



Fuel subsidy: We’re yet to seal any agreement with FG, says labour

The organised labour says it has not reached any concrete agreement with the Federal Government on its demands after the removal of fuel subsidy.

It said all its demands had only been harmonised and presented to the government for deliberation.

President of the Trade Union Congress(TUC) Festus Osifo said this when he appeared on Sunrise Daily on Channels Television.

He was joined on the show by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Joe Ajaero.

Osifo said the items would be addressed at the June 19 meeting between the labour and government team.

The TUC president said, “We have not reached any agreement with the government. We have presented our demands to them and we expect that by our next meeting, we will harmonise, the government will tell us what they can do and we will also bring our own data to the table during the meeting.

“When we meet we are going to define each of those items and a timeline will be put on them. After the meeting on June 19, the timelines of each items are going to be revealed.

Some of the demands of labour are reversal to the old pump price of N184 per litre; the increase of minimum wage from N30,000 to N200,000; tax holiday for employees in the private and public sector that earn less than N200,000; introduction of petrol allowance for those earning less than N200,000; provision of mass transit for all categories of the populace and provision of subsidy for food items among others.

The NLC served a strike notice, the day after President Bola Tinubu, in his inauguration address, declared that “fuel subsidy is gone.”

The President’s announcement led to a price hike from petrol marketers.

But after a meeting with the government, the NLC and TUC shelved its planned strike.

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Police tortured me to lie about having affair with millionaire’s wife — Uber driver



Thirty-three-year-old Bright Izedomni almost choked on emotion as he recalled and narrated his ordeal in the hands of policemen and women at the Ajiwe Police Station under the Lagos State Police Command last year December. The Uber driver trembled in remembered fear as the words tumbled out of his memory, finding release from his mouth. This was an ordeal Izedomni has kept buried for months inside of him, leading to him quitting his job as a Uber driver and running away from Lagos.

He narrated his encounter with a millionaire, Ikechukwu David Onwukwe; his wife, Mrs. Adeola Onwukwe; and the Police at Ajiwe Police Station and how fear had become his constant companion. He looked unkempt, hungry, and harried. He has been in hiding and looking over his shoulders for weeks and months. He trusts nobody and worries that Ikechukwu will unleash the police or his boys on him.

Tears shimmered in Izedomni’s eyes. And even as he fought them to stay put, they defeated him and streamed down his cheeks. He sniffed and wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt.

He said: “I have never been so afraid in my life. Policemen and women tortured me with a cutlass, bottle and batons. I was slapped repeatedly and punched. They tied my hands and legs behind me and used the cutlass to beat me. The pain was unbearable for me.

“This happened in December, but till now I’m still having back pain and pains in different parts of my body. And while torturing me, the police kept shouting at me to confess that I had sex with Adeola and video-recorded everything.


“I cried and screamed in pain. I wrote a statement, and they wrote another statement, appended my name to it, saying all sorts of lies against me. It was when I saw the indicting statement written by the police that I decided to admit to the lies. I lied that I had an affair with Mrs. Adeola. I didn’t want to die. I needed to leave that police station.”

Izedomni is the Uber driver accused by Ikechukwu, a multimillionaire of having an affair with his wife, Adeola. However, the case between Adeola and Ikechukwu is the custody of their four children. Ikechukwu took the children and relocated with them to Owerri in Imo State without recourse to the Child Rights Law and without his wife’s consent.

According to Adeola, there was no sexual relationship between her and Izedomni. It will be recalled that Adeola repeatedly stated she never had a sexual relationship with Izedomni and had even demanded that her husband and his lawyer, Chimezie Onwuama, provide the evidence they claimed to have of the affair. How the fight for custody of four children between Ikechukwu and Adeola became a case of extramarital liaison is yet unclear.

Izedomni, petrified out of his wits, had bravely stepped out of his hiding to tell his side of the story to our reporter. He came out of hiding after finding out that members of the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network have stepped into the matter, fighting for justice for Adeola. He also demanded justice, further asking for protection.

This was even as he admitted to making sexual advances at Adeola, but she had told him that she was a married woman and has had five children. He had immediately stopped making further moves.

Recalling how he met Adeola, Izedomni said it was at Shoprite in the Sangotedo area of Lekki, Lagos State in December 2022. It was at midnight. And he noticed her walking dejectedly. He followed her, wondering where she was going at that hour. She initially ignored him, but later responded that she was going to church.

He recounted: “I asked her why she didn’t take an Uber. I am an Uber driver and most of us drivers used to park at that Shoprite for passengers. She said that she didn’t like driving far distances. I quickly sensed I could make money and told her that she could hire me to drive her anywhere. It was a good business sense. We exchanged phone numbers and we started having conversations.


“She would later tell me that she was going to church that night to pray because her husband secretly married another woman and had a child without telling her. She said that they started their relationship in a one-room apartment before the man started making money. The thought of her husband marrying another woman was just too much for her to handle.”

Izedomni said the first time Adeola called him to come and pick her at home, she did not allow him into her house. She asked him to wait at the estate gate. He said that the house was close to the gate and he noticed that the fence was low, thus was able to notice that the house had CCTV everywhere.

He said: “On that first day, she instructed me to take her to Alagbon Police in Obalende, where her husband’s brother’s wife was detained. The woman’s husband was wanted for defrauding a company and when police couldn’t get him, they arrested his wife.

“She was detained. Ikechukwu then sent N500,000 to Adeola to get the woman out of police detention. Adeola told me all this, but when we got there, it didn’t work out because there was no available guarantor. On that day, she paid me N15,000. And because she used to call me for car hire, I discovered that Mrs. Adeola’s movements were usually to hospital, Ajah Market and Shoprite.”

One day, Adeola felt she needed further prayers and a cleric intervention in her wobbling marriage. She asked Izedomni if he knew of any powerful pastor. He called a friend, who then linked Adeola to a woman attending a Celestial Church of Christ.

Izedomni, who said that he did not know what Adeola discussed with the woman after connecting them through his friend, further explained that soon, he received a call from his best friend asking him to come and take him to Ikeja. He drove down to meet his friend at an agreed venue.

He did not know that Police tracked his phone, got his friend’s phone number, and then arrested him. He would be used as bait to catch him.

He said: “When I got there, my friend entered the car and just as I was about to drive off, he said I should wait, that his brother was coming. That was how three men entered the car, saying that the car was a stolen one. I told them that it was a lie! I had been driving that car for long and it belonged to a company.

“I didn’t know they were policemen. They were not in uniform. They could have been thieves or kidnappers. I started shouting thief! Thief! One of them brought out his identity card, saying that they were policemen from Ajiwe Police Station. I wondered why policemen from Ajiwe Police Station came all the way to Ibeju Lekki to make frivolous allegations. It was Rapid Response Squad operatives that were driving past that intervened and asked me to go with the policemen to Ajiwe.


“When we got there, they took me to the back of the station and started hitting me with sticks. One of them told me that I was arrested because I slept with someone’s wife. I said it was not true. They asked me if I knew Chief David, and I said no. They asked if I knew Mrs. Adeola, I said yes.”

Izedomni said that he was tortured for days. He was arrested on December 18, 2022 and was not allowed to go home until December 24, 2022. The long detention of Izedomni without charging him to court and without a detention warrant are also against the law.

Izedomni recalled that the policemen and women used to bring him out to torture him.  The police collected his car documents and his phone and refused to allow him to make a call to anyone.

He said that after days of being in detention, Ikechukwu finally came to Ajiwe Police Station. Izedomni felt that the police detained him for that long because they were waiting for the arrival of Ikechukwu.

He stated: “There’s a small room the police used to keep me. On the day Ikechukwu arrived, he came to ask me if I was Bright. I said yes. He punched me in my mouth in the presence of one of my Investigating Police Officers and blood started gushing out. Yes, I have two IPOs. One is called Inspector Abiola Williams, the other is called Alhaja. Those women used to beat and slap me.

“There is a policeman, who is a tracker. When Ikechukwu came, they brought Adeola. Ikechukwu collected Adeola’s phone and mine and handed them over to the tracker. Adeola’s husband slapped her in the presence of the police, and nothing was done about the abuse.

“Ikechukwu came back to me. He said: ‘My brother you see at this police station, I’m spending naira. When we get to court, I will spend dollars.’ There was a man that was detained in the cell with me, someone came to visit him. He told me that he saw Ikechukwu throwing money around at the police people.

“This detainee told me to do anything to ensure I leave that police station immediately, that they had ‘finished my matter.’ The family of Adeola and of Ikechukwu came to see the Divisional Police Officer of Ajiwe Police Station. Adeola’s family members were mostly women, while Ikechukwu’s family were men.”

Izedomni was brought out of the cell and taken to the DPO’s office, where the confab was being held. He was made to stand right in front of the DPO’s desk, with his case file opened on the desk.


He glanced at the file and discovered that someone had rewritten his statement, putting lies as confessions that did not emanate from him. The DPO then asked the gathered people to tell their stories. Kemi, Adeola’s elder sister, decided to go first.

Izedomni added: “But the DPO shouted at her and ordered her to go out, that she was too forward. Right there in the DPO’s office, my IPOs and the tracker started slapping and hitting me, telling me to confess. The slaps were coming from different directions, and they were video recording me.

“When I saw the statement with my name, but not my words, I knew I was in deeper trouble. It was then and there I decided to lie that I had a sexual affair with Mrs. Adeola. I even lied that it was once, and they kept video recording me. Ikechukwu made more accusations against me, saying that he sent Adeola N5 million and she used it to buy a Toyota Camry car for me.

“He also accused me that I used to enter his wife’s bedroom. His house has CCTV everywhere, let him and the police bring the CCTV to prove I was ever there.

“I was still in detention when policemen went to Ikechukwu’s house, used Adeola’s car to pack her things out of her matrimonial home, and brought them to the station. Police also made me sign an undertaken.”

Izedomni said that after his release, Ikechukwu called him, asking for receipts of the hotels he and Adeola used to go to have sexual liaisons, adding: “I asked him what hotel receipts. I told him that I didn’t have time for his nonsense. He now said he would give me N2 million if I cooperated. I told him I was not interested. My wife and pastor bailed me with N40,000 and it was money I wanted to use to buy Christmas wear for my child.

“When Ikechukwu came to the station, about 10 young men came with him. They were his boys, and they all wore white. It was scary. He has boys everywhere. I don’t think I am safe, so I returned the car I was using for Uber because the police snapped it and its plate number. They could snatch it on the road. Anything was possible.

“I destroyed my SIM card and ran away from Lagos because Ikechukwu and Police have my house address. I ran away because I didn’t and couldn’t have a rest of my mind. Everything and every noise startle me. Incidentally, I was not the only driver arrested because of Adeola. There are two other drivers that were arrested before me.

“The funny thing is that one of my IPOs said that Ikechukwu still owed them money. Ikechukwu told me at the Police station that for years he has been looking for a way to divorce Adeola. Presently I am jobless, and my wife is pregnant. I don’t even know how we will manage with the coming baby.”

Izedomni had to borrow money for transportation fare from people in the Oshodi area in order to go back to where he had been hiding outside of Lagos State.


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