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Ovaioza: Another Ponzi scheme bites the dust

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Until her arrest, Imu Ovaioza Yunusa, who is the founder and CEO of Ovaioza Farm Produce Storage Business (OFPSB) was accused of being a ‘fake entrepreneur’ who defrauded unsuspecting Nigerians of billions of naira.

During the week, she was apprehended by operatives of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Abuja.

Her company claims to engage in processing, storage, distribution and retailing of farm produce such as garri and plantain. Ovaioza also co-owns Ovaioza Skills Acquisition Center (OSAC) and Relax and Chill.

The lady who is a verified Facebook influencer with over 140,000 followers allegedly scammed her people to the tune of N3 billion. She was alleged to have bought multiple houses.

Just like other Ponzi gurus in Nigeria, Ovaioza whose name never resonated before, suddenly had sudden lifestyle upgrade, lived lavishly in expensive apartments, and dressed in the best designer clothes.

She was given the nickname ‘Facebook Yahoo Girl’ on social media platforms after several billions of naira in the investment scheme went down the drain.

The entrepreneur allegedly hoodwinked millions of Nigerians to invest in her farm storage business.

Ovaioza was constantly on her social media pages – especially Facebook – disguising her real personality, preaching about love, kindness and other moral values. In one of her many posts, she talked about being a fan of love and kindness. “I am very big on love, loyalty, trust, and kindness,” she posted.

She started off disguising as a philanthropist, doing giveaways on social media. Then in 2017, Ovaioza released a gospel song titled ‘Holy Are You Lord’ under the stage name ‘Ovai4Jesus’.

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Her brief profile states she was born on 30 December, 1993, and started her academic journey at the College of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Okene, Kogi State. She furthered her education at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Nasarawa State, Bayero University, Kano, where she bagged a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology Education.

Ovaioza offered investors a huge return on investment, but in the past months, she defaulted, neither paying partners their profits nor returning their capital. She reportedly refused to answer enquiries, and this led to people reporting her to security operatives.

Responding, Ovaioza denied on allegations on her official Facebook page that she defrauded numerous investors to the tune of several billions of naira. She claimed that issues with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were affecting her business and her account.

“My lawyer duly reached out to SEC and reported back to me (I was not the one who went to SEC) that SEC said they don’t regulate buying and selling. I must also admit that maybe we should have made a written application requesting for SEC to register my business, but unfortunately, we did not do so,” the statement read in part.

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She claimed that ignorance as a trader made her not seek out SEC previously.

“I must admit my ignorance as to the extent of corporate compliance that is necessary for my buying and selling business, especially as the business grew, owing to funds sought from the public,” she said.

“Again, I am only a trader, versed in the craft of buying and selling, but a lay man in the legal expectations and commitment from such business.

“However, when it was brought to my notice my business requires registration with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), I asked my lawyer to reach out to SEC to ensure the needful was done. I did this to ensure that my interest and the collective interest of my partners are protected by law.”

Ovaioza also runs OFPSB, a food storage business, through which she crowdfunds to buy foodstuff during the harvest season, stores it and sells it during the planting season. According to her, partners’ profits are undefined and not fixed.

While her investment ‘business was still booming’, she ‘hired’ several social media influencers and content creators to help promote her ‘brand and business’.

In January, House of Representatives had warned that Ponzi scheme promoters risk jail term, the EFCC also warned Nigerians to steer clear of suspicious ‘investment opportunities’ that sound too good to be true.

THE NATION

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Thugs allegedly loyal to Governor Wike attack Rivers PDP presidential campaign boss’ residence, destroy vehicles

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Political thugs allegedly working for the Rivers state governor, Mr Nyesom Wike have invaded the residence of former Rivers South-East Senator, Lee Maeba.

The house located at GRA, Phase 3 axis in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was invaded by thugs on Thursday morning.

Maeba is the chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council in the state.

A source said the hoodlums, allegedly loyal to Governor Wike, destroyed many cars, including an SUV, while occupants of the house including Senator Maeba’s relations fled the scene.

It was learnt that the hoodlums also shot indiscriminately and injured some occupants of the building during the attack.

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“About 200 hoodlums loyal to Governor Wike attacked the residence of Senator Lee Maeba this morning. They destroyed vehicles and injured some occupants,” the source said.

Since Governor Wike lost the presidential ticket of the party to the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the party has been factionalised.

This followed allegations made by the governor that the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu manipulated the process to favour Atiku, a fellow northerner.

He subsequently asked Ayu to resign from office but the national chairman has refused to do so amid the attendant crisis in the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The Wike-led Rivers government earlier revoked the ownership of a landed property belonging to Maeba in Port Harcourt.

When contacted, DSP Grace Woyengikuro Iringe-Koko, spokesperson for the state police command said she wasn’t aware of the incident.

SR

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Over 100 injured in Spanish train collision

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At least 150 people have been injured after two trains collided in the Catalonia region of north-eastern Spain, emergency services have said.

The crash, which occurred around 07:50 (06:50 GMT), took place at a station on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Local media reported that the trains had been travelling in the same direction and collided while one was parked at the station.

It is unclear how the accident happened and officials have yet to comment.

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Emergency officials wrote on Twitter that the crash happened at the Montcada i Reixac – Manresa station, about 12km (7 miles) from the city centre.

Writing on Twitter, emergency services said that 150 people were “in a mild condition” and five others had been left with “in a less serious condition”.

They added that three people had been transferred to hospital.

Train traffic was briefly disrupted on several lines due to the accident, the national rail service Renfe said.

One passenger told RAC1, a local radio station, that “train was full and my carriage, which was the last one, was completely full” at the time of the collision.

BBC News
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ICPC Arraigns Rector, others over N6m fraud

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The Rector, Samuel Timi Johnson and the Acting Bursar, Werepere Martins Degbegha of the International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, as well as one Yerikema Tony Tombra have been arraigned for their complicity in a Six Million Naira (N6,000,000) fraud.

The defendants were brought before Honorable Justice M.A Ayemieye of High Court 2, sitting in Yenagoa, by ICPC, on allegations bordering on ‘using office to confer corrupt advantage, conspiracy & making false statement.’

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ICPC, in a 7-count charge, is accusing the Rector and the Acting Bursar of conspiring and using their offices to confer corrupt advantage on themselves when they withdrew the above sum from the confers of the institute under the guise of spending the money on renovations of a viewing centre in Tropani Community while investigation revealed otherwise.

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