The Nigerian media is replete with shocking stories of fake professionals who defraud Nigerians and jeopardize their finances, health and security on a daily basis. Consumer Life Nigeria brings to the fore some of the classic cases of fake professionals who defraud people, organisations, and even government, for a living and cautions consumers to be on the alert
Nigerian consumers have expressed worry over the growing cases of fake professionals in the country whose preoccupation is to hoodwink people and establishments into parting with their money or compromising their health, safety and security. There is hardly any profession that these fake professionals are not found. There have been reported cases of fake medical doctors, journalists, lawyers, pastors, military men/women, diplomats, lecturers, nurses, architects, engineers, lecturers, pharmacists and businessmen/women, politicians, civil servants, and a host of others.
Experts have warned consumers to be cautious about the professionals whose services they are seeking in order to protect themselves. A simple investigation about the background of the professionals whose services are required could go a long way in helping to detect the fake ones.
Many lives have been maimed or lost in the hands of counterfeit doctors through wrong diagnosis and treatment and even surgery. Some qualified nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians have been found to operate beyond the level of their professional competence by doubling as medical doctors thus jeopardising lives put under their care.
Cases of fake military men abound who defraud people, rob them of their belongings and carry out other nefarious activities while posing as genuine military men. Many cases of building collapse have been traced to the activities of fake professionals in the sector. Fake lawyers collect huge sums of money from their victims and actually appear in courts to represent them. The journalism profession is one that is easily infiltrated by fake professionals. Cases abound of fake journalists who cover events, conduct interviews and carry out other journalistic activities without any intention of publishing their stories in any print, electronic or even online media. Their only interest is in the brown envelops they collect from organisers of the events they ‘cover’ or the personalities they interview. The cases are endless.
Some of these impostors and charlatans often manage to fool people for a long time because they exude confidence and understand the lingoes of the profession they are impersonating. They disguise as respected professionals but their intentions are criminal. Below are some of them:
Opeyemi Adesina, fake consultant gynaecologist
Opeyemi Adesina had always wanted to be a medical doctor and according to him, he was studying Medicine at the university before he dropped out for lack of funds. But the qualification he could not get through the ivory tower, Adesina obtained through the back door. He allegedly purchased seven forged certificates, converted his home in Ketu to a clinic and claimed to be a consultant gynaecologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos State.
For this, he is set to keep a date with the courts. Adesina was arrested after his landlord blew the whistle on him in a petition to the management of LUTH some weeks ago that his tenant brought home female patients to treat in his house and did abortions for them, among other unwholesome practices which could implicate him as the landlord. According to the police, he has “practiced” for three years before the bubble burst on him.
Martins Ugwu Okpe, fake medical doctor
For almost a decade, Martins Ugwu Okpe, 44, an indigene of Benue State and a father of five, disguised as a medical doctor. He was employed in the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, the Nigerian capital city, as a Senior Medical Officer in 2006 and rose to Grade Level 12. Okpe who was employed as Dr Daniel Davidson George even became the branch chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in 2008.
The impersonator whose highest qualification is the West African School Certificate (WASC) allegedly stole a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) certificate issued by the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate, both property of one Dr Daniel Davidson George, his childhood friend, to secure the job. He later returned the certificates to the owner who had assumed he misplaced them having made photocopies for his personal use. The real Dr George is on residency training with the University Teaching Hospital, Jos in Plateau State. The fake Dr George had illegally collected monthly salaries and allowances, as well as other fringe benefits for almost 10 years. He was due for promotion as Assistant Director in the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health when the long arm of the law caught up with him in June 2015.
Angela Njide Nwosu, fake female medical doctor
Angela Njide Nwosu, holds the unenviable record of the first female fake medical doctor on the record of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN). Nwosu confessed to have worked in different places, including the clinic of British American Tobacco Company (BAT) in Ibadan, Oyo State; Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH); and Rauz Hospital, Apo in Abuja; using forged documents. Nwosu’s claim of being a 2005 graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Medical College, was found to be false. The impostor was apprehended in September last year when she went to the MDCN, Abuja, to apply for a new folio number, unique to every practicing doctor in Nigeria as a requirement for full registration.
Celina Etomi, fake female doctor, IVF specialist
For impostors, age is no barrier. Celina Etomi, 62, posed as a medical doctor and defrauded four barren women of the sum of ₦7.8 million claiming she could get them pregnant through InVitro Fertilization (IVF). She also collected ₦900,000 from a family to treat their blind daughter who was suffering from malignant brain tumour. Etomi was, however, apprehended by the police in Edo State following reports by her clients when they noticed they were not responding to treatment. Etomi, who claimed to be a medical practitioner with a British-owned hospital located in Ondo State, was allegedly administering drugs and injections on her victims which made their stomachs to protrude, simulating pregnancy, even though medical reports proved otherwise.
Godwin Akhenamen, fake police constable
When Godwin Akhenamen’s attempt to join the Nigeria Police Force in 2003 failed, he did the unthinkable – he made a police uniform with the material be bought from the market.
For 12 years he paraded himself as a police constable until recently when he was accosted by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command, X-Squad, who suspected him to be a fake because of the irregularity of the service number on the SPY police uniform he was wearing. He insisted he was a policeman but when asked if he knew Solomon Arase, he said he did not have any friend or relation bearing that name. He did not know that Arase was and still is the Inspector-General of Police and so his ignorance gave him away.
Ayodele Adedeji, fake soldier
For many years, Ayodele Adedeji paraded himself as a soldier and fooled his community. Eventually the community members suspected he was not a genuine soldier and reported him. Adedeji told the police when he was arrested that the uniform and other Nigerian Army accoutrements he has been using belonged to his late brother who was in the Army. His activities are still being investigated.
Segun Odofin, fake journalist
Segun Odofin, a fake journalist in Ogun State, claimed to be an assistant editor with The News magazine for many years. He even had a self printed identity card of the media house on him as at the time he was arrested in August this year at a reception in honour of the immediate past Controller-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ade Abolurin, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. His modus operandi was to demand and collect gratification for covering events or interviewing people. However, such stories never got published.
Edwin Akenzua, fake VOA journalist
Edwin Akenzua surfaced at the Iwe-Iroyin Press Centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State in 2013, disguised as a journalist in distress. The fake journalist who claimed to be working for the Voice of America (VOA) concocted a story of how he was robbed in the vehicle he boarded alongside other passengers along Benin-Ore Expressway. Akenzua who told the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) officials that he was in the state on a special assignment to do a documentary on democracy and governance requested for help to enable him secure accommodation for the one week he planned to spend working on his assignment. However, while the council officials were investigating his claims, he sneaked away and was later arrested and taken to the police station where he confessed to being a fake journalist.
Fake United Nations recruitment agents
Michael Abraham, Lemmy Odogwu, and Innocent Prosper were members of a recruitment syndicate, Universal Rescue Response Support Foundation (URRSF), purported to belong to the Economic and Social Council of the UN. These fraudsters who claimed to be in charge of recruitment for the world body established an illegal training camp in Lagos with branches in Cross River, Ekiti and Imo states, as well as Abuja, the federal capital territory for the training of those ‘recruited’. They even had a website www.universalrescuecorps.com which they used to perpetrate their crime. It was estimated that the fake UN agents had extorted about ₦7 million from unsuspecting applicants before the bubble burst on them last year.
Robinson Agbonifoayetan, fake diplomat
Robinson Agbonifoayetan, a United Kingdom-based Nigerian, while posing as an American general and diplomat named Christopher Williams, swindled about £300,000 from two women he promised to marry. The 32-year-old used a forged United Nations diplomat card to convince the women to hand over their retirement money during multiple meetings in London. Police were alerted to the scam after one of the victims, a 60-year-old woman became suspicious and contacted officers. He was subsequently arrested at Heathrow Airport as he tried to flee to Nigeria. He was jailed for three years.
Daniel Ikhidenor Ikhuoria, fake lawyer
Daniel Ikhidenor began his fake legal practice in 2011 and had represented clients at the magistrate, state and federal high courts regularly without any incident. Surprisingly, he never attended any law school but was called to the bar with the help of a source he met at a high court in 2011. Ikhidenor then bought a gown and wig in the open market and started practicing as a lawyer. He was arrested last year at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, Lagos Island, where he had gone to attend court proceedings. He confessed to being a fake lawyer.
Kabiru John, fake army major
For many years, Kabiru John of Nasarawa State claimed he joined the army in 2003 but was dismissed in 2006 as a private. He then went to Edo State and disguised himself as a major serving in 4 Brigade as the Officer Commanding the Provost Company. He was always seen around dressed in full military gear. Before his arrest, he had duped several persons under the pretext of helping them to join the Nigerian Army or securing admissions for their children into the Nigerian Defence Academy. He had defrauded persons of over ₦10 million and other properties, including vehicles.
Akpere Desmond, fake banker
Akpere Desmond defrauded many people in Delta State while posing as a First Bank staff. When he was nabbed early last year by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) he had in his possession 44 ATM cards with which he perpetrated various financial crimes. He was accused of stealing ₦6 million from a First Bank customer’s account after fraudulently collecting his token, phone and corporate identity numbers under the guise of updating customers’ security information.
Olawale Falola, fake lawyer
Olawale Falola allegedly duped more than 100 people while parading himself as a lawyer. He promised to get them jobs at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He confessed to the police in Oyo State where he was nabbed that he had made up to ₦4 million from his victims.
Adeshina Adams, fake Channels TV journalist
Adeshina Adams, a fake journalist was allegedly parading himself as a staff of Channels Television, covering events on behalf of the television station and defrauding unsuspecting people of their hard-earned money. Channels TV has been on his tail following several reports. In August last year, Adams allegedly arranged a personality interview with someone in Lagos from whom he demanded ₦300,000 to be paid at the venue of the interview. When he arrived the venue with his crew members, he was picked up by operatives of the State Investigation Bureau.
Adeyemi Akintolure, fake LUTH surgeon
Adeyemi Stephen Akintolure, was arrested by the Lagos State Police Command 2013 for impersonation. He claimed to be a staff of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and possessed an ID card No. 13541 identifying him as a surgeon and gynaecologist. The police had written a letter to LUTH in July 2013 to authenticate his claims of being a staff of the institution. LUTH responded after three months, disclaiming the doctor. Thereafter, he confessed to being a fake doctor treating patients illegally for four years. He operated a mobile clinic. Akintolure said he studied Marketing at the Obafemi Awolowo University and graduated in 1997.
Fake farmers in Delta State
Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, made a shocking disclosure recently – Over 70 per cent of applicants in the multinational agricultural empowerment scheme who claimed to be farmers were fakes. He said a verification exercise conducted revealed that only 25 per cent of the applicants for the agriculture loans were real farmers. There are concerns that if such exercise is carried out in other states, the result will likely be the same. This perhaps explains why many laudable agric schemes fail to yield the desired results. Genuine farmers don’t have access to loans because most of the beneficiaries are usually fake farmers.
Abdusalam Isiaka, fake Air Force personnel
Abdusalam Isiaka, an indigene of Kano State was arrested in Oron, Akwa Ibom State for impersonating Air Force personnel. He was in possession of fake identity card and dangerous weapons such as knife, daggers, handcuff, tear gas canisters, etc. Isiaka said he was a civilian driver with the Nigerian Air Force Logistic Command in Lagos but was sacked for improper conduct. He said he got his uniform from a friend and he has been using it to provide private security for people during occasions and getting paid.
Angela Omieh, fake soldier
Angela Omieh is a serial impersonator who has had brushes with the law. She was first arrested in April 2014 and charged to court for impersonation. While on bail she continued in her nefarious acts. She was re-arrested months later at a military check-point in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State wearing the same army uniform. To her, impersonation is her only means of livelihood.
Alpha Judge, fake lawyer
Alpha Judge operated as a lawyer in Rivers and Bayelsa states for many years. However, the bubble burst on him on September 29, 2015 when he appeared as a defence counsel to one Chief Mark Egwea before Justice Aldolphus Enebeli of Rivers State High Court. The manner of presentation in a motion he moved for his client’s bail aroused suspicion. The judge then probed further and faulted his claim to be a lawyer even though he was fully robed with gown and wig. Enebeli then ordered that he be remanded in prison for three months for contempt of court. He was handed over to the police after serving three months in jail to face charges of impersonation.
Olayinka Michael, fake police officer
Olayinka Michael was accosted by some police officers recently while he was trying to arrest someone at the Iwo Road Shopping Complex, Ibadan. In the process he was discovered to be a fake police officer. He was subsequently arrested. Items found on him included a fake police warrant card and a portrait of himself in full police uniform with the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
Kunle Adeshola, fake police commissioner
Kunle Adeshola who had also presented himself as Dr Kunle Shola, Dr K. Adeshola and Sunday Mealayeshe Adekunle was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) when he presented himself as an assistant commissioner of police to curry favour from unsuspecting government agencies in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory. At the time of his arrest in 2013, he had in his possession two identification cards – the first, APF No. 02576 identified him as Dr Kunle Adeshola while the second identified him as a staff of a non-existent EFCC Monitoring Unit. He had in his apartment, copies of NYSC exemption certificates and blank copies of University of Jos certificate.
Ramoni Raji, fake customs officer
Ramoni Raji swindled unsuspecting members of the public with bogus customs auction sales while posing as a Chief Superintendent of Customs (CSC) and Deputy Superintendent of Customs (DSC). He was arrested by detectives of the State Anti Robbery Squad on February 17, 2015 following a petition filed by one of his victims. Raji’s accomplices in the crime were named as Adekunle Thomas who posed as his driver and Usman Ibrahim (a.k.a Galadima) who provided the account numbers to which their victims paid various sums of money into.
Raji and his gang used to take their victims to Apapa Wharf and Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa, Lagos to show them goods and vehicles allegedly meant for auctioning. He claimed to be the officer in charge of auctioning vehicles and containerized goods. Thereafter, the victims would be asked to pay the agreed amount for the items of their choice into an account number given to them. But those goods were never delivered to the victims.
Don’t Be A Victim
Fake professionals are still on the prowl across the country, taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers of the services they offer. In view of this, employers of labour in both private and public sectors should always check the background of their prospective employees to avoid engaging fake professionals. Regulatory agencies and professional associations in the various sectors should also rise to the occasion not only to safeguard the integrity of their profession but also prevent the commission of crime against law abiding people. Above all, consumers who are the major target of this crime should be wary of the professionals whose services they seek so as not to endanger their lives, finances, safety and security.