The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Benin Zonal Office has arrested a Bishop and suspected fraudster, Giniko Obi, for allegedly defrauding thousands of people of various sums of money running into millions of naira, in the guise of helping them “fight poverty”.
A statement released by the acting spokesperson of the antigraft agency, Tony Orilade, says Obi who is the founder of Beloved Gideon Foundation, based in Agbor, Delta State, with outreaches in Bayelsa, Onitsha, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Benin City, denied any involvement in fraud claiming that he was only “doing the will of God by trying to help the people fight poverty”.
According to Obi, it was his desire and God’s will to see people prosper that led him into operating what appears to be a Ponzi Scheme. Obi who claim to be a consecrated Bishop, possessing a diploma in theology explains thus:
“We write books such as ‘24 Nuggets for Successful Living’, ‘36 Nuggets for Successful Living’, ‘48 Nuggets for Successful Living’. We organise seminars and conferences on how to be successful. We tell the people to subscribe to these publications. If you subscribe with N10, 800, we give you N15, 000. If you subscribe with N18, 000, we give you N23, 000. I had about 30,000 subscribers and I was paying them”.
According to him, when he left Agbor for Lagos, his desire was to expand his subscription base but his subscribers were impatient.
“If they allowed me to hold the conference in Lagos, I would have paid them,” he claimed. However, some of his victims who have continued to throng the EFCC office, since his arrest, described his as a “fraud”.
One of them, Janet Amaka Okafor, said the Bishop sold a dummy to them by claiming that he was from the famous Gideons International, based in the United States.
According to her
“He organised seminars in Agbor market that he was from Gideons International and that their mission was to help eradicate poverty in Nigeria. “He told us that unlike in the past when Gideons International distributed Bibles and Christian literature, their mission now was to eradicate poverty”.
On how she became a victim of the scheme, Okafor, 35, who claims she has never participated in any ponzi scheme in the past said she fell for his tricks because the “Bishop” swore with the bible.