A man claiming to have a master’s degree, Aminu Yerima, has been arrested by the police for defrauding people via Facebook by lying that he was an aide to a former Vice-President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar. It was gathered that the suspect who was arrested by the operatives of the Inspector General of Police’s Special Intelligence Response Team, had defrauded about 50 people using the social media platform.
It was learnt that Yerima, who is a native of Jada Local Government Area of Adamawa State, where the former Vice-President, hails from, had duped his unsuspecting victims of large sums of money running into millions of naira.
He was said to have met his Waterloo when two of his female victims wrote a petition against him to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, detailing how he defrauded them.
However, in a chat with City Round, the 29-year-old said that he became a fraudster because he had once been a victim of fraudsters as well. According to him, since he was unable to secure a job, he decided to live a life of crime.
“I obtained my master’s degree from the University of Ghana, Accra, in 2014. In 2010, I got a bachelor’s degree from the Federal University Yola, Adamawa. I became a fraudster in 2016 after I could not secure a good job; also, I was equally duped by someone on Facebook. The fraudster told me that he could link me up with a sugar mummy who would be paying me for sex. The fraudster took N30,000 from me and blocked me from communicating with him on Facebook afterwards.
“After I was scammed, it occurred to me that I could do the same thing and make some money for myself since I had no job. I used the same sugar mummy tactics but it didn’t work. Since people didn’t believe me, I decided to create a new Facebook account using Manga Mubi as my profile name, then I uploaded several pictures of myself and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.”
The suspect further revealed to City Round how he was able to gain access to the former VP.
“He is from my local government area; also, Atiku is a very accessible and down-to-earth person. Whenever he is in town, he allows people into his house and they get to take pictures with him. I have taken several pictures with him over the years, including one during hajj. On the Facebook profile, I identified myself as his personal aide and that was how people started contacting me.
“A lot of them wanted to meet him while some others wanted contracts and financial assistance. Normally, I assured them that I could always facilitate a meeting between him and them, but it would come at a price. Then I would ask them to pay any amount above N500,000 and a lot of people paid huge amount of money to me.
“Whenever they insisted on seeing Atiku, I told them that he was out of the country and when they became troublesome, I blocked them from communicating with me on my Facebook account. I can’t remember the names of the people I have defrauded.”A
He further revealed that aside from impersonating Atiku’s aide, he also duped people by using fake bank alerts.
Yerima said, “I also learnt how to defraud people using fake bank alert. I did this while buying goods in Kano State before I was arrested. One of the women who wrote the petition to the police that got me arrested, Raliat, added me on Facebook and started chatting with me since she thought I was an aide to Atiku. She told me that she needed N15m for her business and I assured her that Atiku was going to give it to her but she would have to give me some money that I would use to process her request.
“I made her believe that Atiku was always travelling around the world and that reaching him wasn’t easy, so she was always providing money to facilitate my getting to see him. I took a total of N2.5m from her and I sent a picture of a bank deposit slip of N15m, which I said Atiku had approved to be paid into her account.
“When she waited endlessly for the money to no avail, she became too troublesome so I blocked her on Facebook. I didn’t know that she reported me to the police. I was in Kano when policemen came to arrest me.”
A police source told City Round that the IGP, after approving the petitions written against the suspect, directed the men of the IRT, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrator to book.
Yerima, was said to have been traced through information he provided on his Facebook page and he was subsequently arrested in Kano State.
The source said, “Yerima made his victims believe that the former Vice-President usually gives out financial assistance and awards contracts to people who need them and he assures them that he could always help to facilitate their requests. A lot of people had fallen for his tricks.
“After we arrested him, we found over 50 persons he had defrauded and blocked on Facebook. The women, who wrote separate petitions against him, were Raliat and Awa Maje. He told them that Atiku would give them N15m and he duped them into giving him N5m each.’’