Police have arraigned a travel agent, Ganiyu Olobi, of No 17, Olobi Compound, Adabata Area, Ilorin before an Ilorin Chief Magistrates’ Court over an alleged N7 million hajj fees’ scam.
The accused allegedly collected a sum of N3 million from one Wasiu Ganiyu Ajileye of No 1, Jooro Street, off Asa-Dam road, Ilorin to airlift him and his father to Mecca for the 2014 and 2015 Hajj Operations.
The accused was also said to have collected N4 million from one Mrs Oshun Oyinade of No 12, Church Street, Ojodu, Lagos State for the procurement of visas and travelling tickets for some of his clients but failed to refund her money.
Police arraigned the accused before the court for offences ranging from criminal breach of trust, cheating, intimidation and obtaining property by false pretence.
The accused was arrested by the police following a petition on July 2, 2018 at the commissioner of police’s surveillance office, Ilorin by one Wasiu Ganiyu Ajileye, who claimed that the accused swindled him of his money.
The petitioner alleged that sometime in the months of May and April 2014, the accused came to his office and introduced himself as an agent of Hajj and Umrah Tours Nigeria Limited and also gave him his UBA bank account to pay a sum of N1, 250,000 as fee for travelling to Mecca for Hajj operation.
According to the victim, immediately he paid the said amount, the accused issued payment receipt with pretense of flying him to the Holy Land for the 2014 pilgrimage.
The victim stated that when it was time to travel for the Hajj, the accused informed him that the government was removing some names from the list and that his name was also dropped.
The victim stated further that in the year 2015, he paid another N850, 000 to the accused to enable him and his father perform 2015 Hajj operation, but after payment, the accused started giving different excuses and demanding for additional money, which made him not to perform the 2015 Hajj again.
The victim added that when the accused returned from Mecca, he requested for the refund of his money since he was not interested in going to Hajj through him again but the accused started to intimidate him.
Police First Information Report (FIR) stated that during the course of investigation, the accused confessed in his statement that he actually collected the said amount of which a sum of N100, 000 was recovered from the accused by the police.
Meanwhile, in a separate charge, one Mrs Oshun Oyinade, lodged a complaint at the commissioner of police’s surveillance office, Ilorin that the accused collected a sum of N4, 480,000 from her for the procurement of visa and travelling tickets for some of his clients to enable them perform 2017 Hajj operation in Saudi Arabia but failed to refund her money.
According to the complainant, whenever she called the accused to demand for the refund of her money, the accused always threatened to deal with her.
The FIR stated that during the course of investigation, the accused confessed to having actually committed the offences, while the sum of N350, 000 was recovered from him by the police.
The FIR added that it was also revealed that it has been the habit of the accused to be collecting money for travelling tickets from innocent citizens.
The prosecutor, Inspector Nasir Yusuf, informed the court that investigation was yet to be completed, even as he did not oppose the bail of the accused.
The defence counsel, Barrister Abdulganiyu Bello, prayed the court to release the accused on bail pending the outcome of investigation.
Chief Magistrate Mohammed Ibrahim released the accused on bail at the sum of N200, 000 with two sureties in like sum.