Friday, June 3, 2016 10:35 am
Truth, it is said, will eventually catch up with a lie. This seems to be the case for 19 years old Ifeoma Nelly, a student of Delta State University who had, until yesterday lived a glamorous life, donning expensive accessories like Rolex wrist watches.
Nelly who must have been one of the “happening babes,” in the campus of her university where she is studying Industrial Chemistry owed her jet set life to passing herself off as one of the most popular Nigeria and if you like, Africa’s hip hop artiste, Ayodele Balogun. Or the one you will fondly referred to as Wizkid, especially if you are a fan of hip hop music. With a complexion and haircut similar to that of Wizkid, the elaborate scam scheme of Nelly was complete.
And she had actually gone to town ripping off fans of the hip hop star – in Nigeria and abroad. Nelly was said to have earned at least N13 million from passing herself off as Wizkid before she was eventually arrested by Lagos State Police Command.
The arrest, it was learned, followed complaints by Wizkid that someone has been impersonating him and collecting money for musical performances on his behalf.
The arrest of the impersonator, Wizkid’s manager, Sunday Are said in a statement is a tripartite effort involving him, the Police and an Australian who was lucky not to fall “mugun” to Nelly schemes.
The Wizkid impersonator was arrested when she came to Lagos to collect part payment of $25,000 from the Australian at a hotel in Lagos- part payment for proposed performance of the hip hop musician in Australia.
The suspect, it was gathered preferred collecting payment through electronic means, but got greedy and agreed to come to Lagos to personally collect the “part performance fee,” from the Australian because of the huge amount involved.
Read Are’s narration detailing how Nelly’s activities have been source of pain to Wizkid and how a trap was set to catch her below:
“The lady said she had been posing on Facebook and defrauding people for three years, using Wizkid.”
“Nelly, when asked if she had other members assisting her, insisted that she was the only one running the show.
“She has collected money from different people. If you don’t have evidence against her, she would deny it but if you show her evidence, she would tell you the truth. There was the case of the $53,000, which we had to refund to the owner. She confirmed that she was the one who collected it.
“There was another payment of $12,500 from Germany. The German people sent details of how they paid the money to her. She couldn’t deny it.
“We had to start refunding money to different victims when the nefarious activities of the suspect became embarrassing.
“We had been having problems with different clients because of this. We keep refunding all the money. It was an issue.
“When it became serious, we had to refund the money to victims. Some people will just go, write in papers that Wikzid disappointed them. They would say Wizkid and his manager collected money and didn’t come to perform.
“Meanwhile, we didn’t know about those shows. The lady, not only use Wizkid’s name to open the Facebook accounts, but also used Wizkid’s name to register the phone she was using.
“Whenever someone calls her or she calls someone, its Wizkid’s name that would show.
“True caller shows Wizkid. We need everybody to help us fight this. We’ve started working towards doing something about the fake accounts.
“I and Wizkid went to Zambia for a show. We were there when I received a call from some people in Australia.
“The caller said he wanted to know if he was speaking with Sunday Are, Wizkid’s manager. The Australian said that he had been speaking with someone, pretending to be Are.
“The Australian said that he had almost concluded negotiation for Wizkid to come to Australia to perform and was just about to pay $25,000 part payment, when he heard that Wizkid was in Zambia.
“They said someone wanted to collect money from them in Lagos, Nigeria, for Wizkid to come and perform. They now found out that I was in Zambia.
“I planned with them on how to make this arrest. I talked to them to convince the suspect to come and collect cash in a hotel in Lagos. That was how I managed to arrest her.
“She came along with two friends. They were two ladies and a guy. She looked like a guy.
“It took us three to four hours before we could believe she was a lady. She wore native clothes and spotted low cut, like she is Sunday Are.
“She wore Rolex wrist watch. She bought clothes for the lady that came with her because that one said she didn’t have any clothes good enough to wear to come and collect the money.
“The arrest happened in a hotel in Lagos.
“I planted policemen inside the hotel room. The people gave the lady an Australian number, saying the Australian didn’t have a Nigerian number.
“Everything looked genuine. The show was to be in Australia, the phone number was an Australian number and the man she was speaking with, was a white man. But the man was actually in Australia, directing them to come to the hotel to collect cash.
“They entered the room and we arrested them,” Are concluded
This magazine however gathered that there are many of such impersonators of Wizkid and indeed, other popular hip hop artistes. Here is hoping they all meet their comeuppance too very soon.
The writer of this story can be contacted at [email protected]