By Salim Yunusa
Security operatives have arrested three men behind a job scam that almost led to the death of 42 Northern youths in Ondo last week.
Last week, there was palpable tension among the residents of Okitipupa, the headquarters of the Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state as over 40 youths from the northern part of the country were arrested by the Amotekun Corps.
It was gathered that the youths, conveyed in a truck, were intercepted in front of the Okitipupa Army Barracks around 10 pm on Thursday and were taken to Akure, the state capital.
Many residents of the town, who gathered at the scene, expressed apprehension that the northern youths were in the town to cause havoc.
The youths, who had claimed they were given jobs approved by the state government, were turned back after the governor refuted their claims.
However, fresh indications over the weekend have proved that the 42 Northern youths were victims of a job scam, according to an investigation by the Department of State Services.
In a video obtained by reporters, three men suspected to be masterminds of the scam were being interviewed by a security operative.
The prime suspect, one Ayo who had claimed he was Reverend Bayo and at the same time, Doctor Folajimi Williams had allegedly written a letter seeking the mobilisation of young men from all over the country for a training at Ondo State Army Barracks (including the 42 Northern youths).
He also allegedly alerted some people that the Northern youths, who had arrived earlier than other aspirants, were terrorists, an act which almost led to their deaths.
His accomplices, a POS (Point of Sale) operator by the name Desmond and another who uses Desmond as a pseudonym, were seen being questioned by the officer.
According to Tribune Online, apart from the youths, a non-governmental organisation, Harmony Corps, that organised the training for the youths from about nine states across the country was also scammed.
A source who spoke with the paper disclosed that the scam was unravelled by the officials of the DSS in Ondo State, leading to the arrest of the arrowhead of the syndicate in Asaba, Delta State.
He explained that some men who claimed to be consultants to an oil company from Eagle Eye, approached the Harmony Corps to help in the recruitment of young men who will be employed by an oil company for the security of its facilities.
He said, “These men approached us and collected money running into millions of naira from the interested youths. The youths paid N10,000 each which was meant for capturing the information of the interested youths.
“The money was paid into the personal account of one Desmond who collected all the data of the interested youths, who claimed it would be inputted to the card reader for easy access.
“They directed the youths from Lagos, Ondo, Osun, Delta, Kano, Cross River, Anambra, Jigawa, and Imo states to come to Ondo State for the training. But people from Kano and Jigawa states came earlier because of their distance.
“They lied to us that letters had been sent to all the security agencies in the state concerning the training in Ondo State only to find out at the last minute that it was not true but the youths from Kano and Jigawa states were already here.
“But it was late before we found out that the men had scammed us and we could not halt the young men’s movement as they had arrived at the Army Barracks where they said the training would take place.
“It was this development that helped to throw more light on the activities of the scammers while those behind the scam were investigated and the leader of the syndicate was arrested in Delta State through the DSS intelligence gathering.
“The invasion of the men who said they were in the state for security training created tension in the state but it was later discovered that they were scammed and not on any other mission than for the training.”
He, however, noted that the biggest issue is that scammers advertise jobs the same way that legitimate employers do, and warned individuals and companies to be wary of these scammers