Some jobseekers in Ogun State have been allegedly defrauded by officials of a direct selling and e-commerce company, QNet Infinity Millennial of Nigeria.
The firm, located on Oke Celestial Avenue, Ibafo, in the Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, was alleged to have defrauded the victims of sums ranging from N100, 000 to N500,000.
Some of the victims said they were promised jobs and food with a weekly bonus of $225 if they met certain targets.
It was learnt that the company rented a building, separate from its office, where some of the youths were accommodated.
A victim, Ezeosika Chinonso, 28, said he first paid N50,000 to the company’s manager, Emmanuel Njoku, in July 2020, when he joined the firm and later N450,000, adding that he was issued a receipt indicating he had N1m balance to pay.
He said, “I met many young people like me there and I was taken to a house called The Lodge, where over 200 people shared rooms and parlours in a building comprising three-bedroom flats in four units.
“We were promised that after our training with the company, the management would open domiciliary accounts for us where we would receive $225 every week. The feeding which we were told would be three times a day became once, and it was only eba and watery soup we were served.
“After some time, some of the managers — Ugochukwu, Vincent, Abel, Andrew, and Wisdom, who was in charge of the company — took us to a room called Paradigm Shift.
“In the Paradigm Shift, we were told that we should forget our previous lives and as we entered that room, our mentality should be geared towards making the company grow by bringing other people to join the company.”
Chinonso said when he discovered that the group was only collecting money from jobseekers, he reported the matter to the Ibafo Police Station.
He claimed that after some officials of the company visited the station, the police detained him.
“After beating me, I suffered a broken arm. The DPO later gave me N20,000 to treat myself but he said we should never come to the station again over QNet,” he added.
Another victim, Emmanuel Nwoma, said he paid N400,000 and was invited for training where he was told to bring two others to enable him to access the $225 weekly bonus.
He said, “I was introduced to QNet as a company that provides jobseekers opportunities. The form that I filled stated that the company was a direct-selling company and that it partnered DHL, Manchester City, hotels and travel agencies.
“What got me interested in the company was that I was told that they would pay $225 per week after being selected and that we would travel for jobs abroad and in Nigeria with top organisations.
“When I got there, I saw over 250 people in a building where I was taken to and shown a spot to keep my bags and sleep. They later took me to a room called Paradigm Shift. That was in October when I joined them.
“I was told to introduce two of my people to the company for me to access the $225 weekly bonus. This was after I asked them what exactly the company was selling and they said that they helped other companies produce and sell their products.
“I asked them if it was the marketing of products that they were doing and I was told that we were the products. This was when I started to suspect that they were fraudulent. I and some of the people here went to Ibafo Police Station and reported.
“When we got there, one Inspector Muri and Inspector Joseph asked us to give them N30,000 before they would do anything. Later, we saw one of the management staff at the police station and he was counting money, which he gave to the policemen. They detained us on Monday, January 9, 2023, and released us on the morning of the following day.
“Now, I cannot go back to Enugu because I borrowed money for this work without being aware that it’s a fraudulent company.
“Those I introduced to this work in my village are already fighting and threatening my mother that if I don’t get their money for them, they will kill her. I have been branded an outcast in my village because of QNet.”
A resident, Ayadi Moniaye, who made a hall available to some of the victims after they were ejected from the building that the company rented for them, said a petition on the matter had been sent to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2.
A victim from Taraba State, Abdurahman Ahmadu, and his brother, Salisu, told our correspondent that they paid N230,000 and when they saw the situation, they demanded a refund.
They said since then, the company had been harassing them with policemen from Ibafo.
It was observed that two of the accounts the victims claimed they paid into belonged to one Awoda Ugochukwu Kpakpando (0090030058 Access Bank) and Emmanuel Destiny Njoku (0091441738 Diamond Bank).
Our correspondents visited the firm’s operation base at Ibafo.
A landlord, Akinola Anibaba, whose building QNET rented to lodge some of the victims, said he was deceived.
He said, “When the men (QNET officials) came to rent our flat, they deceived us into thinking that they were the only ones who would stay in the two apartments that the company paid for.
“I was surprised to see a lot of boys in the compound after handing the keys to them when they paid fully. There are over 80 boys in my compound alone. We also learnt that the company rented different buildings aside from ours and the boys are just there idle without doing anything.
“It was when the rent of the first apartment elapsed that we refused to continue with QNET Infinity and Millennium Nigeria again and by March, this other apartment would also be taken from them. If there is anything that the Ogun State Government can do about this matter, it is better because if not, some of these boys may become security threats to our community. Presently, some of them have started engaging in bricklaying around the community.”
During a visit to the company’s office on Sunday, one of our correspondents discovered a Cooperate Affairs Commission certificate with registration number BN2987154 dated September 30, 2019, hanged in one of the offices.
It was observed that QNet Infinity Millennial of Nigeria was registered as a trading and general merchandise business with 17, Ndike Street, Obawole, Lagos State, as its address.
The owner of the Ibafo complex denied knowing the activities of the company.
The landlord looked confused, as six of the victims narrated their ordeals.
Speaking with one of our correspondents, the landlord, who refused to mention his name, said the company claimed to be a multi-player marketing firm.
He said, “The points they (victims) have made are strong points. I will also ask them what is happening when I see them tomorrow (Monday).
“Once I go in the morning, I don’t come back till late in the night. So, I don’t know what is happening here.
“These are the first six persons to come here with this kind of allegation; nobody has come here to complain about their activities.”
Checks by our correspondent showed that QNet is a global multi-level marketing company based in Hong Kong, China.
According to reports, the firm entered the Nigerian market after partnering another company in April 2022.
Further checks on the website of the company showed it had been inundated with calls of scams.
A disclaimer, titled, ‘Fake employment offers using QNet’s Name,’ read in part, “The fake, false and misleading job offers in the name of QNet are being posted in online forums and social media. People are invited for interviews and subsequently asked for money.
“QNet does not offer job or travel opportunities in exchange for payment. If you or someone you know is approached with a ‘QNet job opportunity,’ do not engage.
“QNet is a direct-selling company which allows aspiring entrepreneurs to build their own business by becoming independent representatives of QNet.
“QNet condemns these scams and urges everyone not to engage with anyone who makes these fake offers. If you or someone you know is approached with such a QNet job opportunity, please immediately report it to the police and to our hotline e-mail.”
The firm, while responding to an e-mail from one of our correspondents, vowed to sanction the representatives who “misrepresented” the company.
“QNET uses a compensation plan that calculates commissions payable to you based on the sales volume generated through your referrals in our e-commerce portal.
“Please also note that our company rejects any kind of misrepresentation of its business by its representatives. Please note that telling lies about QNet, its products, or its compensation plan and scamming IRs/prospects is prohibited and sanctioned.” the In-Service Network Integrity Department stated.
Our correspondents contacted the Manager of the Ibafo office, Njoku, on the phone, but he declined to comment.
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, after some days of calls and a text message from our correspondents, on Monday, said two of the workers had been arraigned.
He said, “Two of the workers at QNet were arrested and they were charged to court today (Monday). They were arraigned at Owode Magistrates’ Court on two counts of conspiracy and stealing.
“Four other workers are on the run; the two were charged alongside those at large. The police are doing everything to get the other four arrested so that they can face the wrath of the law.”
The police spokesman said he was not aware if any of the victims was beaten or detained.
The Zonal Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 2, Hauwa Idris, confirmed that the command received a petition on the matter.
She said, “Yes a man came to Zone 2 to report the activities of a company of the name you mentioned. But since then, the man and the victims have not come back to enable proper investigations to start.”
He said, “How did you get my number? Who gave you this number? Look, we are just a business.”
A man, who claimed to be the General Manager of QNet Infinity Millennial of Nigeria and identified himself as Wabara, said the company would never collect cash from jobseekers.
Wabara insisted that all company activities were done online.
He said, “We have different offices, and I am not in charge of all the offices. I know one of our offices is at Ibafo, but I don’t know those working there or the manager they are working under.
“The company does not demand money from people, but the company will ask you to register where you buy products.
“They get products for the money they paid. You help someone to buy a product, when you buy the product, the company will open an entrant dollar account for you. When you sell the product, you will get a commission, but everything is done online. I started this business in 2016, and I brought this business to Nigeria in 2019.”
The Divisional Police Officer, Ibafo, Ayinde Abiodun, did not take his calls or respond to text messages from our reporter.
NAUTH Resident Doctors Suspend Strike
Resident doctors under the aegis of the Association of Resident Doctors, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, have suspended its five-day warning strike.
The group said it considered the plight of stranded patients who are in need of critical and emergency care before arriving at the decision to suspend the strike after an emergency meeting on Friday.
The doctors had embarked on a five-day warning strike on Wednesday to express displeasure over the assault meted out on one of its members by relatives of a deceased patient, whom the doctor was helping to resuscitate.
According to a statement signed by its President, Dr Ndukwe Chinwe, and General Secretary, Dr Egbue Obiora, on Saturday, the body said it unanimously resolved to suspend the strike, resume emergency services by 8 am on Saturday and routine clinic services/activities by Monday.
The doctors said it observed that the hospital’s management has shown commitment by ensuring the arrest of the culprits and has promised to follow the matter to a logical conclusion.
They also noted the commitment of the hospital towards fulfilling all the other demands outlined by the doctors.
The statement read, “Recall that on January 25, doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi embarked on a five-day warning strike to express displeasure over the assault meted out on one of our members by relatives of a deceased patient, whom the doctor was helping to resuscitate.
“In an emergency general meeting held on Friday, January 27, 2023, the members observed that the hospital management has shown commitment by ensuring the arrest of the culprits and have promised to follow the matter to a logical conclusion.
“The management has begun the enforcement of compliance to visiting hours in the wards and has put measures to ensure that patient relatives are not found inside the wards at odd hours. A memo has been issued to that effect.
“The Hospital Management has also reiterated their commitment to fulfil all the other demands outlined by ARD.
“Congress observed the lamentations of patients who could not assess healthcare during the period of the industrial action since resident doctors make up the bulk of the doctors in the teaching hospital.
“The body unanimously agreed that the hospital management has shown a quick response to their demands which led to a total shutdown of services offered by Resident Doctors in NAUTH.
“The congress unanimously resolved to suspend the strike, resume emergency services by 8 am on Saturday and routine clinic services/activities by Monday 8 am.
“Congress also resolved that the exco should continue to engage the hospital management until other demands are met. That any other form of assault on any doctor will be met with stringent measures.
“That a rapid response team be instituted to quickly tackle this menace on the spot in the event of any re-occurrence.”
The group, therefore, commended the management of NAUTH for its swift response towards putting measures to forestall a future repeat of this condemnable act and ensuring that the majority of our demands received the needed attention.
NIPOST Workers To Begin Strike On Monday
Workers of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) staff are threatening to embark on industrial action from Monday, January 30th over alleged abandonment by the Federal Government.
The protesting staff urged the Federal Government to urgently intervene before the industrial action commences.
The General Secretary of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies, Ayo Olorunfemi, led the protest on Friday.
According to Olorunfemi, several staff members of the service have not been receiving any form of capital funding from Federal Government in the last 15 years.
He also asked the government to beam its searchlight on the finances of the agency.
“All we are saying is this: Reform must be open; [it] must be clear. Our fear must be addressed and the reform must be in the overall interest of Nigeria. Any reform that is targeting some individuals will not be accepted.
“Therefore, this is another process. We have been going on strike and they have been talking to us to suspend them,” he said.
But this time around, according to Olorunfemi, the industrial action is targeted solely at actualising a much-needed reform process.
“We expect a suspension of the process. Let the next government come and follow due process in ensuring that we have a sustainable reform procedure.
“We’re expecting that a percentage, even if it is not more than two percent of that fund, be released to NIPOST for infrastructure and the welfare of staff.
“Immediately the so-called Finance Bill was passed into law, the money was packed away. One naira has not been given to NIPOST and NIPOST is not on any capital budget of the Federal Government,” he said.
Lagos Estate Residents Lament Ordeal With Popular Gospel Singer, Testimony Jaga
Residents of Alagbado Estate Road in Lagos state have raised alarm over threats to their lives by a popular Nigerian gospel singer, Mr. Salau Olayiwola, known by the stage name, Testimony Jaga alleging that he has been unleashing terror on them.
One of the victims identified as Mrs. Agbede Abimbola alleged that the singer poured urine and water on her after she accused him of obstructing vehicular movement in the estate.
The victim, Mrs. Abimbola, told Vanguard that her trouble with him started after she invited her friend to deliver frozen foods to her in preparation for her son’s 15th birthday, last week.
According to her, when I confronted him over the way the whole streets are blocked during his church sessions, he unleashed his church boys on me and I was beaten and bathed in urine.
Speaking further, Mrs. Abimbola said she was still on the ground after being beaten when water was poured on her and also urine which splashed on some of the neighbors who tried to help her get up. “Jaga walked up to me and said it was women like me that would molest me. Immediately he said that with little strength left in me, I was about holding his clothes when he moved back and my hand grabbed his necklace. He stepped back further while my hand was at the chain and the chain cut. Immediately, his members took the chain from me.
“Jaga told his members not to let me go until I provide the chain. They also descended on my friend Agnes and held her on the ground. After the confrontation, we reported he case to the police.
Recounting the incident, Mrs. Abimbola’s friend, who gave her name as Agnes John narrated that when she entered the street, the road was blocked. “I was honking so that I could drive in; no one was ready to move. So, someone walked up to me and said that they were holding a programme and I should park my car.
“I parked, locked my car and walked to my friend’s house to inform her that I could not drive in because a programme was being held on the road and she would need to go and get the frozen foods from the car herself. She told me it must be Jaga because he holds his street gospel movement every Tuesday. So, I went along with her to the car to pack the frozen foods. It was while we were going that we met Jaga on the road and because I don’t know him, my friend pointed at him, showing me that it was him.
“Immediately, I called his attention. I thought he would walk out of the crowd to answer me but he said I should come, which I did. I told him whenever he is holding his programme he should create a space for others because we all are road users and it won’t be nice for him to disturb others with his programme. While I was leaving, I heard noise and when I turned back, I saw my friend on the ground with a crowd descending on her. I had to call people nearby to join them in the commotion and in the process of explaining to them what happened, the police arrived with their patrol vehicle and took me and my friend away for interrogation, leaving Jaga behind.
When contacted, the singer denied the story stating that he had nothing more to say as the case is with the police.
Lagos State police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin told Vanguard when called on phone: : “I am not aware of the incident but I will contact Alagbado DPO and get back to you.”