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Unemployment: As 419 Invade Abuja Churches

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There is the saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, likewise a jobless man is an agent of criminality, which is the reason that there is the clamour for the government to create employment for the teeming youths in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and entire Nigeria, in order to put an end to youths indulging in negatives vices.

It is of the opinion that most of the negative vices which the creation of jobs should put an end to,  are pick pocketing,  armed robbery, Internet scam and 419, which are been indulged in on daily basis by Nigerian youths with the excuse of lack of job opportunities.

However,  to the surprise of most residents of the FCT,  the thought that 419 is being done by fraudsters within the city and nqot  worship centres like Mosques and Churches has been defeated by the existence of 419ners presently in most churches in the FCT.

Following an investigation carried out by FCT Watch, most residents of  FCT have had their own share of encounter with scammers popularly known by 419ners. Despite the fact that the scammers have usually been encountered at market places, along the road, in the office and other places, it is difficult to imagine that scammers have invaded the church.

Many young people inside the church, especially the ones desperately looking for jobs have been duped of their little savings and these 419ners have chosen the church,  where they pretend to be members of the church, while they carry out their investigations to know those that can easily fall prey to their new method of duping their victims.

Miss Mercy Omeni, a desperate lady in search of job narrated her ordeal that she decided to visit the church where she worships, to do her normal activities, but did not expect what hit her and her best friends, Ndidi Okeke and Angel Nwaiwu on that faithful day.

Omeni, a member of a Catholic Church, who with her friends work in the decorating unit in the church, had just completed her secondary school education and was desperately looking for a job to keep her busy,  until she could get her admission into the university.

According to Omeni, as she entered the church, her friends were already in the church, decorating the altar,  that Ndidi is an OND holder, while Angel has also just completed her  secondary school, so, she joined them as they chat and sing, to make the tedious job of the decoration easy,

She explained that as they were busying doing their work in church, they did not know, there was a 419ner who had found her way into the church and was scheming on how to dupe them.

“The 419ner came through a right source, the choir master of the church, Ikenna David. The unsuspecting choir master was busy cleaning up the music instrument when she approached him. She called him ‘Choir Master’, and Ikenna, thinking it was one of the parishioners, turned to give her his attention.

“She told the choir master that she has a job for three members of the church. That she believed that the choir master will be familiar with people who are desperately looking for job. That she was an insider in the place, so when she heard about the job, she told her superiors that she has people that can fill the position, that they needed SSCE, OND and HND holders. The  she asked the choir master is he knew any interested person.

“Ikenna, with thought that the offer was genuine, immediately thought of us at the altar. He knew we were looking for a job. Mercy is his sister. He called us out to intimate us about the ‘parishioner’ who wanted to help us in the goodness of her heart, he thought.

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“We were quite excited and approached the lady 419ner about the job. That was when she revealed that the job came with a financial commitment, that we had to pay N10,000 each for her to facilitate the job. Thinking that the person we were dealing with was genuine, we rushed to the cyber cafe to print our CV and the 419 lady was there with us waiting to collect the money.

Omeni explained that when they have gotten the money, together with their CVs, the lady ran away, with no trace of her till date. “She had duped us of a hard earned N30,000 which we have borrowed in anticipation of getting the job. No one knows where to look for her.

“She gave a fake name, Mrs Faith Mmadu and had said to have been in a society in the church. There have been no time to verify all this because she said the job was urgent. There was no way we would have suspected that the everything was a lie. She sounded genuine. She knew a lot about the church. We thought she was a member. I think this is what she does, going from church to church and duping innocent people. One day, she will be caught, I know,” Mercy had said.

It is obvious that it is either, the fake Mrs Mmadu has not been caught or that someone else was using her mode of operation, because another person was duped last week, similar to Omeni and her friends’ case.

The Catechist who announced the incident during mass, explained that the 419 lady approached another young girl who prefered anonymity, who she found cleaning the church, with the same pretence to get her a job if she could afford the financial commitment that was attached to it.

“She told the young girl that she had two slots for a job in a government agency. That she will need to pay N25,000 to facilitate the job. The young girl who was desperate for a job went in search of money. She even contacted her sisters and raised N20,000, and she rushed to ATM to get the balance N5, 000.

“However, on her way, she started thinking about the whole thing and thought that it might be a scam. The young lady had called  the 419ner that she could not get the complete money. She then told the young woman to call me to collect money from me.

“When I was called and I told them I had no money with me, she suggested that the young lady called the Priest of the church and appeal for money. As this was going on, it dawned on the young girl that she was on the verge of been scammed. The 419 lady noticed that she has become suspicious of her dubious acts,  so she ran away before she was confronted,” he said.

The catechist urged the youths in the church not to be desperate in their quest to get jobs, but that they should leave everything in the hands of God, as he will provide jobs for them and they will avoid falling into the hands of fraudsters, who parade themselves as job agents.

“So, it is advisable that when we attend church, everyone should be careful, because it is not all the people that attend churches that are really there to worship God. Some are there planning the downfall of  others,” he said.

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