To readers who may construe what follows as an abuse of forum, I plead guilty. But the character involved, Durojaiye Amos Gabriel Olukato, left me no other choice.
What follows is the substance of the two-part complaint I filed through my attorney, Dr Mike Obamero, with the Nigeria Police Area Command and Office, in Kabba, Kogi State, on August 23, 2021.
I engaged Duro Olukato, a self-employed electrical engineer of Kabba origin based in Abuja, to advise me on the purchase of a diesel engine for my residence in Kabba. I did so based on his excellent professional work in wiring the house in the final stage of its construction some ten years ago.
I was hoping he would guide me to secure the best generator for the amount I was willing to spend.
Olukato later informed me that he had sighted a decommissioned 24 KVA Caterpillar generator that would serve my purpose very well. It had been used only briefly; it was as good as new, sound-proofed, and would come with a one-year guarantee, and an additional personal guarantee of one year as indication of his good faith and of his confidence in the generator.
He said he had pleaded with executives at Julius Berger, from where he was making the purchase, that he was buying it for a person who was like a father to him, and that they had as a result agreed to sell it to me heavily discounted for N3.1 million. Transportation to Kabba would cost N60, 000. To allow for contingencies, I wrote him a cheque for depostedN3.2 million.
On August 17, a truck ferrying a cargo of tomatoes and pepper deposited the generator in my compound in the dead of night. It was accompanied by one of Olukato’s assistants, who had taken my cheque to him in Abuja.
The paint had not fully dried on the generator. It had no ignition and no kick-starter. The fuel tank had no cover. Far from being sound-proofed, it was noisier than my 6 KVA petrol engine generator when we finally got it to run. One problem surfaced after another, necessitating purchase after purchase and fix after fix.
The set came with no invoice, no purchase receipt, no guarantee, no documentation of any description, and no manual. Fuel had to be siphoned to the tank from a jerrycan.
As at this moment, Olukato is yet to deliver those materials. He has not even deemed it fit to come and see the generator and attend to its deficiencies. What he had done, I have reason to believe, was to salvage a generator from Berger’s junkyard in Abuja, retouch it here and there, and rush it to me as the genuine article.
After a great deal of pressure and charges of betrayal of trust, offered via text message to come to pick up the junk engine and refund my money.
And now, the gravamen of my second complaint.
When Olukato was not forthcoming, I served him notice via text message that I would have to report the matter to law enforcement unless he committed within 72 hours to a firm deadline for refunding my money.
His verbal response, on August 26, 2021, was that he would advise me not to follow that route because no one could tell where it might lead. He said he knew the kind of people he was working with and what they were capable of doing.
Given the current wave of banditry and kidnapping in the country, I perceive Olukato’s response as an unsubtle threat to my person and my well-being,
Until that moment, Olukato had never told me that there were any third parties to the transaction. The cheque I wrote was in his name. He was the one who cashed it. And now, he is warning me about what third parties might do if I reported the matter to the police.
I am writing to bring this threat to the attention of law enforcement and to request to be accorded every protection under the law. I would also like Olukato to be warned that he stands to be held personally responsible for any harm that might befall me.
The police have been on his trail, but there has been no significant movement on the matter.
Durojaiye Amos Gabriel Olukato has been on the run, incommunicado. I should add that, in law enforcement records, he is profiled as a serial scammer.
The author, Dare, a professor of Journalism and Mass Communication