Abraham was arrested for allegedly using deceit to swindle one Yusuf Abdulkareem of some money along the Dei-Dei/Zuba highway. It is a simple scam that is perpetrated in the name of being the keeper of one’s brother. Posing as innocent bystanders on the way, Joshua confessed that he and his gang usually tell motorists that their vehicles have developed a fault, usually a flat tyre or a tyre that is wobbling.
Joshua narrated to Weekly Trust thus: “We usually operate in two’s or three. We group ourselves on the road so that if a motorist does not stop at the alarm raised by the first person, he is likely to stop by that of the second person.” He went further to describe what has become a kind of trick where they pretend to be mechanics who can quickly rectify faults on vehicles only for them to tamper with the engine of the vehicle and in the process create a real fault that will put their victim at their mercy.
But Joshua was not lucky in his operation on Monday, June 15. Soon after he thought he had successfully got his victim to part with money under the false impression that he was going to fix his faulty car tyres, his victim later traced and got Joshua arrested but his gang members escaped.
“After I had collected the money from the man and gone back to Tungan Wakili where I repaired the man’s car, one of my friends came to tell me that the man whose car I repaired in the morning was looking for me. But as I was about to take another road out of the compound, I met the man with a policeman and I was brought to the station,” Joshua narrated.
He said although he got involved in the business not long ago he is not a mechanic as he claimed, he engaged in the shady deal because the money. He was receiving where he works as a carpenter in Abuja could not take care of his transportation fare.
“It was one of my friends who introduced me to this business. But the latest one that got me in trouble was because one of my brothers came to visit me and needed money to go back to school. But now, I know that what I have done to you” (addressing his victim) is bad and I want you to forgive me,” he said.
Hardly had he finished his statement than Yusuf interrupted him thus: “I can’t forgive you. When you collected the money and wasted my time, you did not have pity on me, so I will not listen to your pleas.”
Yusuf, a civil servant, narrated how he was in a hurry that morning to beat time and get to his office when suddenly he saw a pedestrian pointing towards his car, shouting, “Your tyre! Your tyre!!”
“I stopped abruptly to check what was wrong with my car wheels, but noticed no fault. So I got into my car, but after moving some meters, I was warned again by another pedestrian. Then I stopped again and tried to check the fault for the second time. The second pedestrian approached me and offered to help. He bent to look at my tyre and told me that my car tyres’ inner cups were damaged and needed to be replaced, and since he was a mechanic, he could help me.”
He said Abraham led him to a compound in Tunga Wakili where he dismantled one of the car’s wheels and came out with a part that he claimed got spoilt. He later took him to a person he said was a spare part seller and got a replacement for it at N3,000. Joshua now confessed that the so-called spare parts seller is also one of the syndicate members they do business with.
Narrating further, Yusuf said, “But after I had left the place and got to the office, I discovered the replaced spare part I asked him to put in the car for me was not there. That was when I became furious and went to several mechanics to check whether something was really changed in the wheel and they all told me no. Then I began to look for the man and luckily I caught and got him arrested.”
Another victim, Benjamin, said the activities of these fraudsters are not limited to the highways. According to him, they also operate within the town, especially in markets where they know they can easily get people’s attention.
“Sometime last year, I was at the Wuse market when a man came to tell me while I was about entering my car that something was wrong with my tyre, but before I could come out of my car to check, he had removed one of my handsets. I didn’t notice this until I got home.”
However, mechanics along Dei-Dei junction have dissociated themselves from the activities of the fraudsters. One of the mechanics, Aremu Jimoh, said the fraudsters have been causing a lot of embarrassment to them.
“Whenever they arrest any of them, they will say they have a workshop in Dei-Dei. There are times policemen come to pick some mechanics from this area thinking they are involved in the business with them,” he said.
Despite Abraham’s several phone calls to get his friends to bail him out, none of them came to either bail him or pay the damages of N11,500 that his victim is claiming even though he had spent over 12 hours in the police cell. While his victim sat facing him and fuming with anger, Joshua looked up at the ceiling and said, “It is the work of the devil.”