A boutique operator at 5 Education Close, UNILAG Estate, Magodo, Lagos, Mrs. Bola Omidiji, says her business is on the brink of collapse after a customer paid N496,000 dud cheques for goods bought from her.
The debtor, Babatope Adeeso, had reportedly bought pairs of shoes, wristwatches, perfumes and clothes, for himself, his wife and children from Omidiji sometime in April 2017.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Adeeso, who is an executive member of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Ore depot, had wanted to pay for the items through PoS, which was not available at the shop.
He reportedly asked the woman to follow him to a branch of Guaranty Trust Bank in the area to transfer the money via an Automated Teller Machine.
Omidiji told our correspondent that after failed attempts to transfer the money, Adeeso collected her account number and promised to effect the payment later that day.
She said she became apprehensive when Adeeso did not pay the money into her account several days later and she called him on the telephone.
She said, “We knew each other about a year ago through an online platform where I advertised my products. He had bought some items from me a couple of times before the April 2017 transaction.
“He said he had wanted to do shopping for his family abroad, but he aborted his travelling for some reasons. He bought shoes, wristwatches, perfumes and clothes worth N496,000 for himself, wife and children. After collecting the items, he wanted to use PoS for payment. I told him I didn’t have and we went to GTB around my shop, so he could transfer the money.
“The transfer was not successful. We also went to Skye Bank without success. He collected my account number and promised to do the transfer later that day. Days went by without receiving any credit alert from him.
“When I called him, he said he was having issues with his business and pleaded with me to give him some time. After some weeks, I started calling him again. In July, he gave me cheques of N496,000. My mother died at that time and I needed part of the money to do her burial.
“He split the payment arrangements into three tranches dated July 17, July 21 and August 18, 2017. I presented the cheques at the bank twice, but they were dishonoured.”
Omidiji said afterwards, Adeeso hardly picked her calls, adding that she eventually learnt that the bank account on which he made the cheques out to her was his late father’s company account.
She said later in August 2017, she met with an IPMAN executive and boss to Adeeso at Monsimi depot, Ogun State, where he (Adeeso) is currently based.
She added that the man urged him to pay the money by September.
“After the meeting, he (Adeeso) stopped picking my calls. I then reported the case at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, Lagos, in September. The police got an order from the Ogun State Police Command to arrest him. They went there, but could not find him. I also reported at the Isheri Police Station. They advised me to let the SCIID continue with the matter.
“The police told me to be monitoring him, but for how long can I do that? My business has been seriously affected.
“When I called him early December, he said he had travelled out of the country. He said he would return on December 20. When I called him on December 21, he said he was back and promised to pay me that week. He reneged on his promise and has refused to pick my calls since then,” she added.
In a telephone interview with PUNCH Metro, Adeeso admitted that he owed Omidiji the sum. He explained that he paid by the dud cheques because the woman continually pestered him for the money.
He, however, said he intended to pay the debt by the end of February 2018.
Adeeso said, “It is true I owe her. I have not said I will not pay her. I have the intention of offsetting the debt, maybe by next month because my business has not been moving. By the special grace of God before the end of February, I will pay. Any time I call her, she is always nagging.
“What happened is more than what she told you. But that is not the issue for now. As of the time I bought those goods from her, I never had any intention of issuing cheques. It was when she kept pressurising me that I gave her the cheques under duress.
“The cheques were just an assurance that I would give her the money. The issue between us is a business transaction. She calls my relatives who were not there when we were transacting and keeps threatening me with abusive words. Business is not moving this time, but any time I try to communicate that with her, she flares up. She should give me till the end of February, but if she wants to take it up, IPMAN cannot cough up money from my pockets and heaven will not fall.”
But Omidiji expressed doubts on Adeeso’s pledge, saying he would not pay at the end of February.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, promised to get back to our correspondent with comment, but had yet to do so as of press time.