Published On: Wed, Apr 19th, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Everybody From Onitcha-Ugbo Knows Victor Uwajeh Is A 419 Kingpin, Con Artist -Former Aide

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Victor Osita Uwajeh has many faces. When he isn’t a pilot, he is a political chieftain. When he isn’t claiming to be a private investigator, he is a lawyer. One constant about Uwajeh, however, is that he isn’t new to controversies bordering on blackmail and extortion. The latest accusation was from Senator Andy Uba.  Uwajeh had accused the senator of forging academic certificates. The Senator representing Anambra South senatorial district quickly fired back, accusing Uwajeh of lying against him having failed to fall for the latter’s blackmail. The senator has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim asking that Uwajeh be investigated for attempted blackmail with the aim to extort. Meanwhile, police sources have hinted that the documents published by Uwajeh may have been a forgery of Andy Uba’s certificates.

‎While the ding-dong lasted, News Investigators’ Jackson Udeani, in search for in-depth report on this latest controversy ran into Chika Okeke, who served as Personal Assistant to Uwajeh for nearly two decades. Getting Okeke to open up was a herculean task, his insight into the world of Uwajeh, relationship with Ubah, Farida Waziri, former Vice President, Tinubu among others is quite revealing. It is a must read.

Can you please introduce yourself.?

‎My name is Mazi Chika Okeke, Ndiokpara Eze town in Orumba North LGA. I am currently a contractor, based in Port Harcourt.

What is your relationship with Chief Victor Osita Uwajeh?

I know him very well. He was my boss for close to 20 years. I was his personal assistant for close to 20 years.

How did you begin working for him‎?

I first met him in 1993 in Maza-Maza, Lagos‎, I was working with a car dealer at the time. He brought a car to my office and begged me to sell for him.

What type of car was that?

A Honda Accord. He then took me to where he was staying, at Durbar hotel., FESTAC. He told me he was a pilot, the reason he was staying in such an expensive hotel. That his airline was footing the bill. He said he liked me and would like me to work with him as a PA. He convinced me to stop selling cars and come and begin working for him. That since he was hardly in Nigeria, I would be taking care of his business interests. That was how I left all and began working for him.

When was that?

That same 1993. Initially, he told me I would be based in Lagos. However, soon after I left my car business, he said Port Harcourt would be a better place to stay to work for him. It was not until we got to Port Harcourt that I discovered that that was his real base. A few weeks later, he asked me to relocate to his village in Onitcha Ugbo, Delta State‎. He told me business was down and that to justify my salary, I should begin taking care of his aged mother.

What is the name of his village?

Agba village in Onitcha Ugbo. He told me my stay would be brief and that I would soon rejoin him in Port Harcourt. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months.

What is his mother’s name?

Mrs Elizabeth Uwajeh. She is now late.

How long did you spend in Uwajeh”s village?

I spent over three years.

Didn’t Uwajeh have siblings? I mean why were you detailed to cater for his mother?

He had brothers and sisters. There is Matthew Uwajeh, a lecturer in University of Benin. We had Johnson Uwajeh‎, now late, who also was a lecturer in University of Jos. There is Rita Uwajeh, his immediate senior sister. There is Rose who married an air force officer. He has another sister we called Maggie. She’s based in Lagos. At the time, mama (Madam Elizabeth) was old and sick. He gave me a car to drive her to and from hospital and do other general runs to Anambra State. After mama died, he took me back to Port Harcourt. The house was on. 11 Okoa Street, Rumuokwuta. It was after my return to Port Harcourt that I began to realise what he really does for a living.

How do you mean?

Like I said, he would always introduce me to people as his PA. This meant that I was always going out with him. He would make me carry huge briefcase with files of several foreign companies. Sometimes we would travel to Lagos to meet some white men he told me were his business partners. ‎At some point, he would introduce himself as a lawyer, sometimes as a military officer, yet other times he would claim to be General Ibrahim Babaginda’s brother in-law. This was when I began to suspect that he was a fraudster.

Why do you say so?

Why? This was a man who told me he was a pilot. Telling other people he was a lawyer or military officer. I did not see him with any reasonable means of livelihood, but he was never in short supply of US dollars.  On several occasions, I would eavesdrop on several telephone conversations with supposed foreign business partners. Usually, such calls would be followed by fax messages which he forbade anybody from receiving on his behalf. After such fax messages, Chief Uwajeh would visit Bureau de Change and smile home with wads of US dollars.

About what year was this?

Several years. Like between 1997 up till about 2001. See, nobody close to Chief Victor Uwajeh ‎needed to go to Sunday school to know he was an advance fee fraudster. His boss at the time was Oka Omee of Awkuzu, Anambra State, Nebeolisa popularly known as Joneb. Remember I told you I used to run errands to Anambra State. He used to send me to Joneb’s place in Akwuzu, as well as to Ihiala to deliver documents to the late Eze-ego. Recall that the two men were the cream of notorious 419ners at the time.

Can you substantiate this allegation?

Allegation? You call this allegation?

Of course, it’s an allegation.

See, apart from sending me on several occasions to see Joneb and Eze-Ego, Chief Uwajeh and I made several trips to see both 419 kingpins. But his main boss was Joneb. ‎He (Joneb) was physically present at Chief’s (Uwajeh) wedding in 2001. Joneb was also there when Uwajeh was honoured with the title Olika eze 1 of Onitcha Ugbo (One who eats like the king).

You spoke about Uwajeh’s wedding in his village. What was the bride’s name?

Her name was Caroline, from Bonny, Rivers State. They divorced shortly after.

You must have made a lot of money having witnessed, as you said, several business transactions with foreigners?

Sadly and incredibly, he never put me on a salary. He would always give me handouts with several promises to “make me a big man”. Of course he never did.

Why then did you stay with him that long having realised, as you claimed, a man of decent means?

The truth is that I was in a dilemma. Here was a man who made me leave all I had, making all the money from foreigners and yet giving me peanuts. Some confidants advised me to stay, that probably the man was trying to test me loyalty.

Who else was working for Uwajeh?

We were many. There was Chidu, from Delta State. We had Jerome, Emeka, Emma. We were about nine people working for him.

You’ve said you were his PA. What were the others doing for him?

They were the ones who receive Fax messages for him.

What Fax messages?

Like I told you, he was a 419. At the time there was no Internet, so all the messages from his victims usually came as fax. Each boy was detailed to a fax machine. We called them beats.

Soon after GSM came, my boss began targeting top politicians.

How do you mean?

In 1999, the military gave way to civilians. Remember that Advance fee fraudsters suffered under Abacha. At the time my boss went underground. So, when the civilians came, he found a softer target. The icing on the cake came when Obasanjo created EFCC. Uwajeh, having lived in the UK, would cook up documents purportedly from Scotland Yard on governors and ministers. Some of them being crooks, and some others, not ready for any embarrassment, would part with huge sums of money in foreign currencies.

Can you give instances?

Oh, yes!

He tried to extort money from the Late Governor Alamieyeisiegha in Dubai at the time the man was having a running battle with Ribadu. Charles Soludo, Nasir el’Rufai, Bode George, Cecelia Ibru, and Rotimi Amaechi are some of the persons he tried to blackmail and extort.  But for Mother Luck, the late Alamieyeisiegha would have had him arrested in Dubai. His strategy is to approach anybody he feels is being hunted by the government of the day. Yes, he tried the same thing with Senator Bola Tinubu. When Tinubu chased him away, he ran to Senate Bukola Saraki with documents he said could nail Tinubu.

How did you know all this?

I was always with him. Most people don’t realize that Uwajeh is a coward. He is so afraid of everything around him. He can be indoors for months. He hates traffic jams. He’s always looking across his shoulder as if he’s expect somebody to harm him. The only times he likes going out is to collect money from his numerous victims. It was his indoor habit that made Farida Waziri boys arrest him ‎in January 2010.

The arrest generated so much controversy. At a point, EFCC said it arrested a fake official. Uwajeh on the other hand claimed Farida Waziri employed him as an undercover agent. As an insider, what is the truth?

Both versions are correct. Uwajeh is a very intelligent conman. When Farida became EFCC chairman, Uwajeh became close to one of her sisters. The lady’s name was Mimi. Uwajeh, having divorced his first wife, married Mimi. With Mimi, Uwajeh was able to get very close to Farida-Waziri and so, penetrated EFCC. As a brother in-law to the EFCC chairman, Uwajeh had unfettered access‎ to top secret files and dossiers on top politicians, especially governors. Aside Uwajeh, there was this top-flying Tiv socialite who to some extent, used his connections to Farida-Waziri to extort money from top politicians. However, Uwajeh’s strategy was bizzare. He would tell you he sourced the information from an MI5 agent in London. This is the fake certificate he parades as a private investigator (brandishes a copy). Given his access to classified EFCC files, Uwajeh was able to crack the strongest politicians. At a time, he tried to use Andy Uba to penetrate some top politicians. When Andy refused, he turned against the man.

How did you know he wanted to use Andy Uba to penetrate some politicians?

I was in the picture. Remember I told you that he approached Saraki. When the man refused, he turned to Andy to help talk to Saraki to give him $300,000. I once heard him begging somebody I believe was Andy to talk to the man to give him the money he said was chicken feed. At a point, Andy Uba stopped picking his calls. On two occasions, we went to Andy Uba’s house and the security man refused to let us in. My boss said he was sure the idiot was at home and told me he was going to teach him a lesson.

Are you insinuating that Uwajeh’s recent allegations that Andy Uba forged his certificates may be linked to an earlier disagreement?

Of course! Let me tell you how Uwajeh operates. I told you he approached Tinubu with claims he has documents to stop Saraki when the latter was planning on running for Senate Presidency. When Tinubu didn’t give him attention, he moved to Saraki. At a time, he tried to use Timi Frank. When Saraki refused to give him a dime, he ran to Andy Uba to help convince Saraki to give him $300,000. When Andy Uba failed to play ball, he told Andy to give him the money as a loan, that he had some pressing issues. He always has.

That Uwajeh have access to Andy Uba’s certificates, doesn’t that suggest that they have something in common?

You don’t understand Uwajeh’s capacity to forge anything. The house he has in Wuse 2, Abuja was from the money he extorted from a former Vice President. This is a man who can clone any document. He has the capacity to forge even your (the reporter’s) birth certificate. Don’t forget that the man has been a fraudster and blackmailer all his life. Apparently, his calculation was that a top politician like Andy Uba would bite the bullet and beg him to stop the embarrassment. Did you see what Uwajeh filed in court? That Andy Uba was owing him 1.2 million British Pounds for negotiation with the British government to lift the no-entry ban. I laugh. Even the Nigerian government won’t give such money to a negotiator who secured the release of over 200 Chibok girls. If I were Andy, I would send him to jail. One good thing is that Uwajeh’s people are not happy with him. Recently, he bought an SUV for one of his brothers. The man rejected it. Even when his mother was alive, she used to warn Chief to stop playing tricks on people. Mama Elizabeth used to tell me that Uwajeh began playing tricks on people from a tender age, that she had been begging God to change his ways.

Everybody from Onitcha-Ugbo and environs knows Uwajeh to be a fraudster.

When was the last time you spoke with him?

We last spoke in 2015. I called to ask for the money he was owing me. ‎He owed me salaries for the better part of the time I worked for him. I even reported the matter to his elder sister and she pleaded with me to be patient.  I am still waiting.

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