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EFCC witness: How fake army general posed as Obasanjo’s son to defraud me of over N200m

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Bamidele Safiriyu, a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has told a special offences court in Ikeja how one Bolarinwa Abiodun allegedly defrauded him of almost N300 million.

Abiodun was arraigned on April 11 before Oluwatoyin Taiwo, a judge, on a 13-count charge bordering on “obtaining money by false pretence, forgery of documents and possession of documents containing false pretence to the tune of N266,500,000?.

Testifying as the first prosecution witness, Safiriyu, led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, narrated how the defendant defrauded him by pretending to be the son of Olusegun Obasanjo, former president.

Safiriyu, identified as a businessman involved in clearing and forwarding, said sometime in April 2017, one of his trucks which was loaded and heading to a customer’s cold room hit the defendant’s Honda Accord vehicle.

He detained the truck because he moves in a convoy of soldiers,” Safiriyu said.

“On Saturday, the following day, I got a call from my client that some soldiers have hijacked the container.

“I became troubled because it has never happened before, and that Saturday, I was to travel out. So, I was just praying because I didn’t know what to do.

Later in the day, I received a call from this young man, and he introduced himself as general Abiodun Bolarinwa, a general in the Nigerian Army and a son to Baba Olusegun Obasanjo, former president.

“He told me in that conversation that my truck was with him that the truck bashed his car, and his boys brought it to where he stays at Abule-Egba.

“Later, my team also met with him and they got the issue resolved after spending about N200,000.”

Safiriyu said Bolarinwa continued to communicate with him even after the issue was sorted out, and that the defendant visited his office in a convoy.

“Later, he sent me a message that he is going to be made the military assistant to the president at Aso Rock,” the EFCC witness said.

“He sent me the letter and he said he would need some assistance, claiming that in the army, you are going to provide everything you need.

“Later, he said he was vying for the chief of army staff, that he had been nominated by the president and that he needs money to process the appointment.

“I was reluctant at first and started asking myself questions. If he wants to become army chief and he claims to be Baba Obasanjo’s son, as a former president, will he not just need a call from him to press anything?

“So, I asked him, ‘you said you’re Baba’s son, why can’t he take care of this? He replied and said ‘you know that Baba doesn’t want to do that, because of the polygamous home and so he doesn’t want to be seen as the one financing him’.”

He said Bolarinwa called him one day claiming that Obasanjo wanted to talk to him.

“Then later, a number called me and it showed the name ‘Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR’ as the caller, and I picked up the call, it was exactly Baba’s voice and he said to me to help my brother financially to become COAS, that he would repay me,” he narrated.

“So, I said, ‘ok, sir’, and that was how at various times he kept requesting for money. He said he needed money to travel to go and meet emirs to make his intention known, that he has been nominated to become the next COAS.

“Anytime he needs money, he will use the number. Sometimes, he asks for N5 million, N6 million. I did not know that he was not even in the army and never even passed through the army; this I got to know much later.”

He further narrated that he later got to know that the defendant was a fraud after he met with the former president who denied knowing the defendant in 2020, adding that thereafter, he petitioned the EFCC.

The prosecution counsel also tendered various documents and other items, including the phone of the witness, which were admitted in evidence.

The case has been adjourned till April 29, 2022, for cross-examination.

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