So far, Ovaioza is still in detention.
So far, a lot of progress has been made tracing the various properties she allegedly refused to declare during the police search on her house earlier in April.
Moves are also being made to trace any accounts that may still be operating.
But this update is not necessarily about those developments.
Those in the know, are aware that a 10-man committee was formed, in order to streamline engagement with the Police at State CID where Ovaioza is currently being held.
Also, the different groups under which Ovaioza transacted with, have regrouped solely for the purpose of collating evidence of transactions for verification, and hopefully, repayment.
The Garri group, rice group and various other products have formed and are either collating, or have finished collating evidence of various amounts paid to Ovaioza.
I think these steps are about the most sensible considering the structure and volume of Ovaioza’s business transactions.
Moving forward, there was a need to continuously engage with the police via the 10-man committee.
I once said in a previous update, that in a sane country, all you have to do regarding a fraud case is to file a report and the state does the rest.
In Nigeria, this approach will not help you.
In order to have a chance at justice (and this includes even serious cases as murder), you will need to “motivate” policemen to see that the process is diligently followed.
Ovaioza’s case has proven to be no different.
I know how much those involved have spent so far, out of their pocket.
Fab Que, the first and primary complainant in this case, and in whose petition Ovaioza’s continued detention is apparently dependent, for a while was following up on her own.
Understandably, due to the seriousness of the case, the run around took its financial toll on her.
She complained personally to me on a few occasions and I fully understand.
I almost had to lend her the money she used to mobilise the policemen the day Ovaioza was arrested.
My impromptu trip to Abuja the night before her arrest, was to serve as a stand-by in case things went out of hand, as Fab was already broke.
If that arrest had not happened, it is very likely Ovaioza would have disappeared and things would have become much more difficult.
However, subsequent events regarding this police “follow up” leave some questions.
- Following the request for funds to “follow up” the case, some people donated money which ranged from 10,000 -50,000.
The rumour raged that these “donors” would be prioritised in the event of any negotiated settlement with Ovaioza.
Fab Que has since told me that while people are contributing money, it is a free will donation and nobody will be prioritised over another.
- I was surprised to find out, that payments were going into her private account, where she is apparently the sole signatory.
To me, this is grossly inappropriate.
I sincerely think an account of this nature should be multi-signatory, involving at least three widely known people in the 10-man committee.
- I fully agree, that the burden towards recovering payments should be shared as much as possible, even as donations should be voluntary.
It will be unfair for one person to do all the work, only for another to sit down somewhere only to show up when payments are being made.
- That being said, attempts at raising funds to this effect, should be seen to be undoubtedly transparent.
Now, I am not saying you should tell the public you gave Sergeant Lagbaja 100K for “sallah”, all I am saying is you should be seen to be above board.
Starting by opening a multi-signatory account will build some level of trust.
Rendering account from time to time using designated terms for certain “strange” expenditure is another.
I suggest a WhatsApp group be formed for this, where the 10 man committee are members, as well as the chief collators in each products group.
People have already been scammed by Ovaioza, and as a result anything suggesting a scam, even if false, will ring alarm bells and dim chances at cooperating.
- It must be reiterated that as regards these funds, no donor will be prioritised over non-donors in the event of recovery of funds, as this will be discriminatory.
Whether you like it or not, antecedents or not, I think we must all agree that Fab is still central to this case, even as we call for accountability and fairness.
If you read my first paragraph, a lot has been achieved.
If you read my second paragraph, you will agree that the most sensible structures regarding recovery are already in place.
You also will agree, that compared to other ponzzi schemes, victims of this scheme have done well so far.
In Nigeria of today, not only will these funds ensure the police are “motivated” to investigate, they will remain “motivated” to file a proper criminal case, should Ovaioza harden her heart and insist on further stupidity.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any other way.
We can still encourage Fab Que and others to continue their hard work, while making sure there is accountability.