Desperate single ladies have been warned to look before they leap into any marriage as a fraudulent marriage cartel is said to be on the prowl in Lagos State.
This follows the arrest last month of a middle age man, Chris Agonna Alatu, by officers of the Special Anti-robbery Squad, Ikeja for allegedly defrauding single female bankers with the promise of marrying them.
Alatu was alleged to have fleeced at least five single bankers before he was exposed by his purported wife, Chizoba Igwilo.
Igwilo said he defrauded her of N3.7 million.
Igwilo, a staff of Zenith Bank, said she was lured into a false marriage by, Alatu, a tile apprentice.
She said: “I and my family footed the bill of our purported marriage but I found out that the marriage certificate which we conducted at a registry was fake.
“I decided to check out the marriage certificate because a lady called Stella, a staff of Diamond Bank, called me that I should leave Chris alone, because they are married.
“I was shocked but when I confronted Chris, he became violent.”
Igwilo also alleged that her investigations revealed that Chris had defrauded other bankers in Abuja and Port Harcourt by luring them into marriage.
She added: “I paid for our accommodation at Abule-Ado, but when I confronted Chris about his late night, he threatened to kill me with a machete and his younger ones came to the house and sent me packing.
“Chris also deceived me to part with my N1.7 million, which he used to buy a house in his name.
“I have discovered that Chris is a fraud and I want my money back.
“I lost my pregnancy due to the stress and since the marriage is fake, I would like the police to assist me to recover my money and jewelries, which Chris, his brother and sister stole from me.
“As if this was not enough, Chris will not allow me into the house I paid for as since December.
“I have been living in an hotel and with friends.”
Alatu, however, denied the allegation, saying that Chizoba is under a spell.
Alatu said: “I regret knowing Chizoba because since I met her, she has cost me nothing but pains.
“She was the one who packed her things and left the house.
“I told her I cannot afford the house at Abule-Ado as I was managing myself at Okokomiako but she said it was too far from her work.
“She agreed to everything that we did, including the house we bought.
“I brought part of the money and she lend me the rest, which was N1.7 million and I promised to pay her back.
“For her to come out and report me to the police over what I don’t is a gimmick to spoil my reputation, as she is the one going about gossiping about me.
“Since she has packed her things and left the house.
“That is the end and I am ready to let her go.
“The allegation that I am fleecing women into marriage is all in her bid to rubbish my name as the lady she mentioned at Diamond Bank is my account officer and she knows her but she has been going there to embarrass her.
“It is all lies that our marriage is a fraud.
“The photographs and family members are all here to attest to the marriage as I spent huge money to marry her.
“I still love her and I feel my wife need deliverance from marine spirits who are bent on destroying our marriage.”