Sometime ago, I wrote a poem titled “The Con Man Himself” it was directed specifically on relationships, how some guys con ladies in relationship. This time around, I met con men in the state of Lagos. This is the first time in my life that I witnessed such and it is quite alarming.
Two days back, I got a text message from one Zeolite Plus stating that I had a referral from Unilag, for an oral interview at Ikeja. It seemed logical and as a fresh graduate who had dropped CVs here and there and walked through different job sessions, handling small tasks and earning small cash, I looked up with hope that this was another trial period, what was on my mind was that somewhere along sending in my CVs, I was finally been selected for another interview but the question was, did I submit my stuff to these guys?
No. but still,while waiting for one job call, I decided to check it out, I wasn’t doing anything at the moment. It’s a pretty long discovery, so please stay with me as I take you through .
I got to Akinremi street by quarter to 9 as opposed to the 8am I was asked to come. I thought I was going to see one company with their name boldly written for all to see but I didn’t see any, infact, I was tempted to call the number that came with the text. I had been calling this same number and it just rang, nobody picked it up. Midway through the call, I looked across the house number 16 and some people plus a car was entering the house to park, I cut the call and crossed over to see if it was actually the place.
I asked the gateman, “is there any office here called Zeolite?” he replied in the affirmative. I went further and saw a guy whom I told I was scheduled for an interview. He asked me to show him the text which I did and told me to write down my details along with the number attached to the text, there after he told me to go sit with some other guys. I sat down and started to read a book I brought along.
Shortly after, i listened to the conversation between the two guys, It was about job searching, I was not interested, a lady arrived and sat beside me, she asked me what it was all about and I told her “I didn’t even know”. I turned to the most chatty of the guys and asked him that I overheard him saying he had been here before, just as I was about to start a conversation, he was called and left. I turned to the other guy and started to ask him what it entails and what the other guy was talking about all this while when he claimed he had been here before. He seemed not to have much answers.
There was a guy standing across watching us and as someone, let me say two to three persons came by, he told us not to chat, that they wouldn’t like it. And I wondered, hey! There is freedom of speech, which one is we shouldn’t talk. But we kept quiet.
Afterwards, they moved us, just as we were about to enter the small building, a lady dressed in native attire with heels met us and told us that as we are entering, we have to be very patient, I looked at her amused wondering what she meant.
I entered the small room along with others and found a place to sit at the third front roll, on the right. A lady was talking and pointing to a board, the projector was poor, she was talking so loudly and forcefully that it irritated me. She had this coarseness in her voice that made me wondered if she would fight everybody in the room especially when she sees that you are not paying attention.
Once, she caught a lady pressing her phone and said “hello?” her face was taut, the lady stopped texting and concentrated on her. The room was crowded and the slim lady talking was sweating, they brought her an handkerchief.
She kept talking and talking, she talked about the cash flow quadrant of Robert Kiyosaki in Rich dad, Poor dad. A book I was familiar with. Perhaps that was why I paid attention because I could relate with it. She wanted all eyes fixed on her and had a catch phrase of saying “it’s crazy” ( the same catch phrase she must have inherited from her boss at the top for he was said it too) when she tells a supposedly remarkable story.
Somewhere in my mind, a thought nudged me saying, “ I thought this was supposed to be an interview? Why all this talk about job search, being big and rich by being a business owner and not an employee who would later be forced to either resign, retrench or retire?” everything she said made sense and I had my eyes fixed on her.
Then she started to talk about the company Zeolite Plus and what they do, that was after she had talked and talked and shifted to talk on cellular nutrition, making presentations by visiting places to sell tests, like check blood pressure. She talked about a leadership development board grant that one would be receiving money monthly for training others.
What she didn’t say was WHO WAS GOING TO GIVE SUCH MONEY? HEAVENS? She called a witness to talk about his “presentations” the guy claimed to earn 98,000naira at his first presentation in a church! HOW? DID THE WHOLE CHURCH BUY THE PRODUCT OR DID HE SOUND SO CONVINCING?
The lady speaker herself said she earned 105,000naira on her own presentation which she had to watch her leader do because she was still in training but she would own the money for getting the place. DOES THAT EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE? Earlier she had said the blood test was free, but to check sugar level and do one other stuff was not free, people would have to pay. SHE DIDN’T TELL US HOW MUCH IT COST.
And they never mentioned sale of any products either, so they make all these money from tests? I never thought about all these until now because I had developed an headache and I couldn’t think much, all thoughts that occurred to me were pushed aside, all what was on my mind was I wanted to see where it would end. I was too inquisitive to leave.
Some people started to leave and it got the lady upset, saying some people lacked patience and thanked the new comers for their patience. SO THERE WERE “OLD COMERS?”
She called her boss whom she hailed to the podium and another long talk started. By this time, my headache had intensified. I wondered what he wanted to talk about. He started to talk about the LDB,
Leadership dev board and his earnings which were thousands of naira, he mentioned incentives given to him for his hardwork, GIVEN BY WHO? How he had opportunities to travel with his wife as next of kin, sighted lots of examples, showed us pictures and called one alhaja to testify how she left the UK for this business, LIKE SERIOUSLY, SHE LEFT THE UK?
He talked about a woman who is his boss earning millions and just bought the latest car, a source of his inspiration, especially because she fought to learn to speak English for her presentations. He brought a kind of receipt( two for different months) and called someone to read out loud the amount on it, his earnings from the business, he brought a kind of scroll, called it his incentives for hardwork done and called someone again to read it, a lady I came in with sitting at the second roll asked to see the scroll and he got vexed saying if he could allow someone to read it for us, why should she ask that it be shown openly to everyone? That she was stubborn and a doubting Thomas.
I wondered later WHY SHOULD HE BE VEXED THAT THE LADY WANTED US ALL TO SEE THE SCROLL AND THE AMOUNT? Few minutes later, the same lady took a picture of him and he sent her out, he told her to go and called someone to attend to her, he said it was funny, he told them to call the police ( POLICE NEVER CAME, A SCARE MECHANISM) if she didn’t delete the picture and lamented saying “how can she be taking pictures”, AND AM LIKE, WHAT IS BAD AND FUNNY IN TAKING A PICTURE UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE? IN SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES I ATTENDED OVER TIME, WE TAKE PICTURES OF SPEAKERS AND IT WENT FINE. The lady was shocked and embarrassed as she walked out, I could read confusion on her face.
All this seem safe enough and made sense in a way at first, then he started talking about registration fee, ID card with electronic ID card to have access to some offices. WHAT OFFICES? And study kit, all totaled 19,000naira. He explained smartly why we should pay even when the cash is not ready, we could still start.
He gingered us to stand up if we were going for it, the guy who later filled up the two empty chairs beside me( some guys left) was slow to stand up, he had scribbling and making notes, the speaker man looked at him and said he was the last to stand up, it showed he was not serious. He told us to stand up again, still the guy stood up slowly, he sent him out. I thought that was the criteria for selection or something and wondered what he would say next.
Furthermore, He said we would be selected after being interviewed by some of their people before we can proceed to start registration, he held some forms and called two categories of people, WHY DID HE WANT TO GIVE US THE FORM? I THOUGHT HE SAID WE WOULD BE INTERVIEWED FIRST AND THOSE SELECTED WOULD BE THE ONES TO REGISTER? by this time, a pretty light skinned lady had been standing outside, I watched her pretty face, little did I know she was kind of upset.
The speaker man who called himself Mr Dele asked her to come in and sit, she obeyed. He called people who could start payment right that instant so they can proceed to training and induction the next day. Before this, he rounded up his speech by saying when we get out there, we should not insult or curse them or God will punish us. I MEAN WHO DOES THIS? WHY SHOULD HE SAY WE SHOULD NOT INSULT THEM UNLESS THERE WAS SOMETHING UP? Two guys came out. ( I perceived later that one out of the guys that came out ( who read the scroll) was part of them or maybe both guys)
At this point, the pretty light skinned lady walked up to him and whispered something into his ears, he told her to go meet another lady, the girl refused, she stubbornly stood rooted to the spot and folded her arms. the speaker man, Mr Dele was getting pissed, his voice rose,” I said go and meet that lady over there, you are distracting me” she didn’t move, instead she said, “have been waiting since and I went to meet her and she didn’t attend to me, let her come here and attend to me”
she was really vexed and I wondered how daunting and stubborn she was, some of the audience were also surprised at her behavior, little did we know what’s up. Mr Dele persisted, telling her to go out and be attended to, she went out and came back right in, stood at the back and watched. Mr Dele proceeded to call people that could pay some or half of the money and only one guy came out. The third category of people he called ( where I also came out) were people who would like to start but would pay later during the course of the training. Almost everybody came out except for three persons who were told to excuse us.
Immediately as he started to handed over the form to people on queue, I heard a shout from the back and I knew it was the pretty light skinned lady. She said “ it’s a scam, you people be going to pay, ok?” she had had enough and immediately she said that everyone turned and I felt a sudden lift of change in the atmosphere, like everyone were now aware of the real deal. I felt relieved inside that finally, this was it. Something that didn’t feel quite alright. my headache nudged me on and i started to put the pieces together.
“call the police and she must not go” he shouted. THE POLICE THING AGAIN. They refused to let her leave and he desperately tried to tell others that she had paid 5000naira and demanded for her money to be paid back, she had started training. She later said she didn’t want and wanted to go but they wouldn’t allow her, she started to make a call saying they are kidnapping her, she struggled. People started to leave, I submitted the form to one other Alhaja and was ushered into a room for the supposed interview but there was none.
The only thing the interviewer asked was “ why are you not paying today?” NA BY FORCE? And I said,” because I don’t have any money, until I do” he said “ok” and I was like, IS THAT ALL? I left the building along with some others. A guy said he didn’t like the way they were treating the light skinned lady and if he had his way he would call the army to come and scatter the place. The other guy whom followed me to the bus stop, the same guy who was slow to stand up started to tell me how he had been there since the day before and had suspected them to be scammers but just wanted to see the outcome.
He said they had written a test and was surprised they gave the same lecture as the previous day, he also said he was surprised to see new members like myself who never wrote the test. He said he studied psychology and has been watching them, when they sent him out, something told him to pick his bag and leave. AND AM LIKE OHO! SO IF YOU KNEW THEY WERE SCAMMERS SINCE YESTERDAY, WHY STAY? AND WHY DID HE STAND UP SLOWLY IN THE CLASS TWO TIMES LIKE SOMETHING PREMEDITATED? WHY WAS HE BRINGING SO MUCH VIBE, JOTTING DOWN NOTES IN THE CLASS ONLY TO SAY THIS?
I was suspicious of this guy, he offered to get me a job, says an air hostess, that his sis works in an airline. He was schedule to travel to the USA by july, he just wanted to not stay idle and came when he heard. He followed me all the way, till I told him I wanted to cross to the other side and he pointed to where he was going and said he wanted to buy something just near where we passed( very suspicious), he turned left and I bade him goodbye. I never bothered to add him on BBM.
These guys are smart and would stop at nothing to achieve their dirty aims. I decided to call the number attached to the text I got and the receiver picked this time, cut it as I started to speak, I called again and he asked who I was, I said I should be asking him that since I got a message bla bla.. he said do I know who he was, that he is HR and his line is confidential, and I told him what did he mean, he sent a message and he is now saying… he cut the call. IF HIS LINE IS CONFIDENTIAL, WHY ATTACH IT TO THE TEXT? MUMU.
I tried calling again to give him a piece of my mind but he wouldn’t pick. So I sent him a message of how as an HR, he is a complete idiot!
AND THAT WAS MY JOURNEY IN THE SCAMMER’S NET IN NIGERIA. MAY GOD DELIVER US FROM THEM ALL. PLEASE BEWARE.
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