A director at the Federal University, Otuoke in Bayelsa state, has been accused of swindling some job seekers.
More than 10 people allegedly paid N100,000 each to him in an effort to secure jobs in the institution.
Sometime in 2015, a member of staff identified as Katsina Odu, had reportedly gone to town with information that there were vacancies in various departments across the school, and all that was needed was payment of N100,000.
These employment slots, according to Odu, were shared among the vice-chancellor, registrar, directors and others in same level of hierarchy at the university.
Odu told the job seekers he was serving as middleman for Freddy Bonny, the school’s director of works/physical planning, who claimed he was allotted about 100 slots.
‘WE’VE WAITED FOR YEARS WITH THE JOBS NOT COMING’
The agreement was that after the payment, those who have paid, would be invited for interview and, subsequently, employed.
It’s been three years and tired of recurrent tales of having patience, they all want their money returned.
“I was hinted that there’s a vacancy in the works department of the Federal University, Otuoke and that I pay the sum of N100,000 to get the job, and after getting the job, I will pay a balance of N150, 000 from my salary,” one of the job seekers told TheCable.
He said they paid through Odu, as Bonny wouldn’t collect money from them directly.
“In our family, we were about five who paid. We paid by cash. After we paid, we waited for about two years and we weren’t hearing anything. Then, we started disturbing Odu and he was forced to take us to Bonny,” he said.
“When we got to his house on INEC road, Bonny actually told us he was the one in charge. But the delay was due to the change in the school’s registrar and some other prominent personnel in the system. He then assured us that things are fixed and soon the jobs would be out. He also told us money was given to him and a list of the job seekers who had paid.”
Odu fell sick and, eventually, died, and when the job seekers returned to Bonny, he, again, assured them there was no need to worry as he already had their list of names.
“He told us whether or not the man was dead, he already has the list with him, and we shouldn’t bother that he would get us the job,” another job seeker told TheCable.
“But, we waited again that we had even forgotten about the whole thing.
“Surprisingly, five months ago, we found that some persons had gone to him and he had refunded them. When I reached out to one of them, he told me they actually reported the case to the state CID and Bonny was threatened with an arrest. He pleaded and then paid those guys, about five of them.
“We then returned to his house, so we can get our own money, too. When we got there, he first denied, saying he had returned all the money. He, however, pleaded that we give me a month to sort this. I kept putting pressure on him until he returned half of the money. Till now, he’s yet to pay the balance. He has been saying he has debt on his neck to clear and we should give him more time.”
‘I WARNED HIM NOT TO TAKE MONEY UNTIL THE EMPLOYMENT IS SECURED’
When contacted by TheCable, Bonny denied collecting money from anyone and he also said Odu wasn’t his agent.
“The person (Odu) whom they gave money came to me and said he had some people he wanted to get employment for. And I told him don’t take anything from them until they get the employment, and they can come and show appreciation with any amount. I didn’t know that he went ahead collecting money on my behalf,” he said.
He explained that some people had come to him that they paid N100, 000 each to him through the late Odu.
“I didn’t collect this money, but I had promised to see what I can do for these people, because the man who collected the money is late now. They have been disturbing me, and I have refunded some and I asked for others to be patient,” he said.
“I like helping people, the employment is not about money. Cleaners and garners, I’ve been employing them, assisting a lot of them, and I didn’t collect money from anybody, but after they get the employment and return to me to show appreciation, I collect.”
He added that some of the job seekers had been interviewed at the time the vice-chancellor instructed him to employ people.
“After the interview, the VC was changed, and this affected the chances of those on his list whom he said would have been employed by now,” he said.
Established in 2011 and having a staff strength of over 1, 000, the university is yet to respond to an enquiry sent over this matter.