By Okereke Wilson Ogbonnaya and Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
A middle aged man from Ikom LGA of Cross River State, Mr. Eramza Agbor popularly called “9ice” suspected to be one of the soldiers who absconded Nigeria Army following their encounter with Boko Haram insurgents recently was said to have become a dupe who regularly defraud unsuspecting members of the public in Abakaliki.
A victim of the man’s illegal activity and food vendor, Mrs. Agnes Nwokpuru told Citizens’ Advocate that one fateful day, she was attending to her customers in her restaurant situated at Azuiyiokwu area when suddenly the ex-soldier barged in, introduced himself and claimed that he was coming to Abakaliki with great quantity of food stuff for marketing but unluckily to him, his PICNIC bus filled with the wares broke down at the entrance to Abakaliki and thus he requested for N10,000 to enable him either repair the vehicle or reload the goods in another bus.
She said that following the man’s tactical method and some evidences showing that he was a military personnel coupled with his promise of giving her enough foodstuff at a giveaway price once he eventually arrives, she then offered the sum of five thousand naira to the man who allegedly ran away and refused stoutly from answering her calls.
Another victim at Nkaliki Azuiyiokwu, Mrs. Jacinta Nwiduma told Citizens’ Advocate reporter that the man approached her with the promise of supplying her with assorted bunches of plantain, tubers of yam and bags of rice, all at moderate prices while payments would be installment.
According to her, based on the suspected fraudster’s pathetic story which he claimed that he embarked on the business after he had escaped death from hands of the dreaded insurgents, she then assumed the intended transaction to be genuine and as a result paid an undisclosed sum of money to Mr. Agbor who left her shop and had not been traced till the time of this report.
“I was lured by the man’s cheap prices, his many promises of making my shop his depot in Abakaliki and the privilege of installment payment, unknown to me that he is a criminal in military camouflage” she explained.
Mr. Chika Eze, a restaurant operator was not left out as he lost over N800 worth of food eaten by the man whom he said promised him of making him his representative in Abakaliki town.
Following our investigations, it was gathered that the acclaimed military personnel could be among the troop that confronted the insurgents which was published in one of the national dailies on June 12, 2019.
Also learnt was that after his escape, he had refused to pass night in hotels so that he would not be tracked by other security men since he is still in possession of military gun, his private pistol and other hard wares, while the man’s phone numbers made available by the victims are: 09027431117 and 08032774019.
We also learnt that he introduced himself as the only survivor in his team during their peace keeping mission in Liberia, the feat which gave him the opportunity to be trained by Nigeria government as special rifle handler.
As at the time of filing this report, all our efforts to hear from the suspected self acclaimed soldier were not successful as he ignored our calls severally, but later turned off his mobile phone numbers.
The police image maker DSP Loveth Odah frowned at the gullibility of the victims who made advance payments over goods that they did not see and meanwhile advised that people should be wise so that they would not fall prey of unnecessary gimmick from unscrupulous elements.
She disclosed that though no official complaint had been made at Ebonyi State Police Command in connection to the alleged illegal transaction but notwithstanding her men would spread their tentacles to ensure that the alleged fraudster is fished out.