•Involved in a multi-million naira fraud allegation
•Impersonates Kogi State First Lady
•Names Aisha Buhari’s sister, Babachir Lawal as collaborators
•How she evaded security checks, defrauded her victims–DSS
There was a mild drama on Monday at the National Headquarters of the Department of State Service (DSS), when an alleged imposter and fraudster was paraded for a multi-million naira fraud allegations and gaining unauthorised access to the Presidential Villa Abuja.
The DSS had at a press briefing said one Ms. Amina Mohammed, was being interrogated as an impersonator who uses false identifies to gain unauthorised access to the Presidential villa from where she defraud her victims under the guise that she was a close associate of Aisha Buhari.
But the suspect who was also accused of posing as the First Lady of Kogi State, claimed to be an associate of the sister to the wife of Nigeria’s President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari. She also alleged that the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) is in the know of her dealings, which she insisted was not fraudulent.
How she defrauded her victims–DSS
Prior to being paraded, the DSS Spokesperson, Mr. Peter Afunanya, had at the briefing explained that the aim was to “unveil the identity of a suspect that had an unauthorized access to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa and used the Office of the First Lady to engage in a fraudulent act”.
Afunanya stated that the light complexioned and middle aged woman who was to be paraded had adopted various aliases and used the same false identities to defraud several unsuspecting persons before she was discovered.
According to him, “Amina Mohammed’, also known as Justina Oluoha, Amina Villa had on November 22, 2017, paraded herself as the First Lady of Kogi State”.
“She used the false identity to evade protocol and scrutiny thus gaining unauthorized access into the Villa and particularly the residence of the First Lady and Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari. She took advantage of the fact that personalities as First Ladies, Ministers and certain categories of Officials are not taken through rigorous protocol and security checks at the Villa posts.”
Chicason deal that exposed the fraud
The DSS Spokesperson disclosed that Amina, whose phone number is registered with the name, Amina Villa had on the said November 22, 2017 invited one Dr. Alexander Chika Okafor (aka Chicason) into the Villa wherein she made him believe the invitation was at the instance of the First Lady.
He however, stressed that investigation revealed that the First Lady was away on Lesser Hajj and not in the Villa during the period.
According to him, Okafor had complained that he was fleeced of over N150m in respect of a Court of Appeal property in Lagos which Amina had promised to help him buy through the First Lady.
Afunanya further explained that the property was said to have been part of those under the Presidential Implementation Committee on Lease of Federal Government Properties.
“Investigation has shown that this unholy enterprise is not to the knowledge of the First Lady. What Amina simply did was to use the First Lady’s name and Office as bait to lure and defraud her victims.
“Members of the Public are advised to be wary of individuals or groups that drop names and offices of high government officials to defraud them,”
Not going down alone, Amina names collaborators
‘Amina Mohammed’ who was physically agitated while listening to the weight of allegations being reeled out against her, was impatient to allow Afunanya to round up his briefing to allow questions from journalists.
Furious, she started shouting and interrupting the DSS Spokesperson, saying: “I am not a fraud, they cannot do this to me.”
Seizing the momentum in a dramatic fashion with the full attention of journalists who wanted to hear her on side of the story, Amina went on a tirade with suggestive remarks that she was being scapegoated.
Screaming, she said: “The DSS did not arrest me, I came here on their invitation. I am not a fraudster, the sisters of the First Lady is involved in this business. I cannot accept this allegation.
“The former SGF, Babachir Lawal is involved in this fraud. Mariatu Aisha’s sister is involved. I did not dupe Chikason because he usually give bribe to buy federal government property. The Directors in the ministry have been involved in getting bribe before bidding is concluded.”
“Chikason knows the process and taking him into Villa was not an attempt to defraud him but because Mariatu, Aisha’s sister was involved. I cannot allow anybody to put me to shame to the whole world.”
Asked if she has entered the Villa, she replied: “Ask the First Lady’s sisters, Babachir is involved. Leave me alone.”
Controversy: arrest, interrogation or detention
There was another controversial moment, when ‘Amina Mohammed’ whose state of origin is shrouded in secrecy, claimed she has been in DSS’ detention when she first turned herself in for four months .
This was after barrage of questions from journalists, which she initially admitted to have reported voluntarily to the DSS office for questioning on the matter.
“SSS has been keeping me in this office for four months,” she told reporters by the time she was being taken away by the DSS operatives as her screaming was creating pandemonium at the briefing.
But debunking her latest claims, Afunanya, explained that ‘Amina Mohammed’ had always been invited for interrogation after which she would be allowed to go on each ocassion as the investigation was going on, noting that “arrest for questioning is different from detention”.
Afunanya noted that the suspect only turned herself in about the first week in November 2018, having also been granted administrative bail and allowed to report at the Nigeria’s secret police office on schedules.
“Her cantankerous behaviour before the press further speaks to the dubious personality,” he said.
What about her collaborators? DSS still investigating
When asked if there were any identified collaborators in the alleged fraud, Afunanya said the matter is still being investigated.
The DSS was also cautious to corroborate Amina Mohammed’s claims of being part of a larger syndicate, insisting there are no conclusive investigation in that regard.
Global Sentinel also gathered that DSS is yet to verify the claims by the prime suspect of Babachir Lawal or Aisha Buhari and other prominent figures she was not able to mention as her co-conspirators.
The scandalous office of the First Lady (PT)
The latest scandal, which is coming less than three months after Mrs Buhari accused her security aide of dropping her name to receive humongous financial benefits from people seeking to curry favour at the top levels of Nigeria’s presidency has once again put Office of the First Lady of Nigeria on the spot.
Its worth reminding that office of Nigeria’s first lady, although not constitutionally or administratively recognised, has long been a major feature of presidential tenures, and with it have come multiple financial scandals.
During successive military juntas between mid-1980s and late 1990s, wives of heads of state were known to have been involved in unbridled lavishness, aided largely by questionable wealth they often hit upon assumption of office.
The culture dovetailed when Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1999, with unconscionable opulence often associated with first ladies in a country consistently ranked amongst the top poorest in the world.
For Aisha Buhari, the aide, who is a police officer, denied the allegations. His family alleged that Mrs Buhari was only throwing her aide under the bus after using him to amass illicit income since moving into the State House with her husband in 2015.
In the same vein, ‘Amina Mohammed’s claims mirrors that of the Police aide, especially on the claim that she was being singled out for punishment.
Also, the exit of Patience Jonathan as Nigeria’s first lady in 2015 was characterised by allegations of corruption.
The EFCC claimed to has discovered billions in questionable and primitive accumulation of wealth during a cursory look into her finances.
Consequently, one of Patient Jonathan’s accounts, which was frozen by the EFCC had over $15 million in it.
But she has strongly denied all allegations of fraud, saying she inherited from her late mother who was a petty trader while the rest came as gifts from some of her husband’s associates.