A soldier, Chidera Okoro, has absconded after allegedly tricking the owner of a betting shop, Agbai Matthew, into staking the sum of N146,000 on some games for him on credit in his shop at No. 51 Efians-Okereke Road, Aba, in the Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State.
Our agency gathered that Okoro, who visited Matthew’s shop, promised to refund the money that same day, but refused to fulfil his promise after he lost the entire amount to gambling.
When Okoro was done staking on the games, our correspondent learnt that Matthew and his friend, Samuel Ajike, followed the soldier to his parent’s house in the hope of getting paid, but he reportedly escaped through the back door.
Matthew said, “I run a Bet9ja shop and Okoro came to my shop to stake money on some games on credit. When I asked for the money, he promised to transfer it to my account immediately and so we proceeded. He tricked me into funding the account so that he could stake money on the games. At first, I funded the account with N40,000, but when he lost the money, he asked me to fund the account again and I declined.
“I demanded that he transferred the amount he borrowed from me and he asked for my account number. After I gave him, he made an attempt to transfer the money but it wasn’t successful. It was at that point that he suggested that I should follow him home to get my money. I was still contemplating whether to follow him or not when he asked for additional funding of N50,000. Since I would be following him home, I funded the account.
“Later, he demanded more funding of N20,000 and N36,000, which I obliged. I became heartbroken when he ran away through the back door after Ajike and I had followed him to his parent’s house in Umule to get my money as agreed. I have not seen him since then.”
The 31-year-old said efforts to get back his money had proved abortive.
The case, however, took another dimension as Okoro allegedly threatened to kill Matthew because of his persistent demand for his money.
Matthew stated, “Ajike and I waited for hours but we did not see him; but when we saw his mother, she said I had to settle the matter with Okoro. The most painful thing is that whenever I call him to demand my money, he usually threatens to torture and kill me. If anything happens to me, people should hold Okoro liable.
“I want those in authority to please caution him and intervene so that he can refund my money, because the betting company I trade with has blocked my account as a result of the transaction. I have been suffering in silence and have no one to give me money to start all over again.”
Ajike told our correspondent that he was surprised that Okoro decided to run away.
The 25-year-old said, “When we got to his parents’ house, Okoro asked us to wait in the parlour and ran away through the back door. We went back the next day but didn’t see him, but we saw his brother, who told us that Okoro owed another person. I was there when he was staking money on some games on credit at Matthew’s shop.”
When contacted, Okoro, said he left Aba after spending six months there on special duty, adding that he did not owe anybody.
“I don’t owe anybody. How do you think somebody can willingly play a game on credit for somebody else? Does that make any sense? I don’t know the person you are talking about; I do not owe anybody and I don’t have any business with anybody. I spent six months in Aba, because I was on special duty there, and when I was done, I went back to my base in Port Harcourt,” he told our agency.
However, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, said Okoro was not from the division, adding that efforts were being made to fish him out.
Iliyasu stated, “We have done a thorough search in the 6 Division consisting of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states for the name, Chidera Okoro, which you provided, and I can authoritatively confirm to you that he is not from the 6 Division.
“Despite this, we are determined to fish out this man (Okoro), who has given you information that is wrong. We have a clue and we are determined to fish him out.”