A High Court in the Adamawa State capital, Yola, has jailed one woman, Fatima Bello, for posing as a famous politician and extorting money from members of the public.
The same Court, sitting on Thursday, sentenced another woman, Mercy Elder, for pretending to be an operative of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) and swindling people of their money.
In the first judgement, involving Mercy Elder, Justice Nathan Musa of State High Court I, Jimeta, said Mercy would go to jail because taking money from people under false pretenses is a heinous offence.
Throwing further light on the case after the verdict, the Prosecution Council, Abdulrahman Aliyu, told newsmen that Mercy Elder was a serial swindler who was caught in the act after he tried a local council boss.
He said Mercy had earlier approached the family of a deceased former justice of the state to claim that she was an assistant director with the DSS and that she had the connections to influence payment of the entitlements of the deceased justice if the family would give her N200, 000.
The family paid out the money, according to Abdulrahman, following the frustration of failed attempts to get the entitlement through established channel, only for Mercy to also fail them as she pocketed their money and did nothing.
Mercy found herself in court, however, after she went to the Chairman of the Guyuk Local Government Council to say that the DSS were planning to arrest him in response to a petition against him.
The prosecution counsel said Mercy asked the council chairman for money to block the arrest, only for the chairman to refer her to the Guyuk Council Head of Service who in turn chose to ascertain whether Mercy was indeed a DSS operative.
“The DSS detailed their operatives who went and arrested her and she was arraigned in court,” the prosecution explained.
On the second case, Justice Nathan Musa, giving his judgment on Fatima Bello, said he would be lenient on her because she was a first offender who did not waste the court’s time by pleading not guilty.
He also said he was taking into consideration the fact that Fatima is a nursing mother to a child who is just one year and six months old.
He consequently ruled that Fatima should spend 10 years in jail or pay a fine of N200, 000
Fatima had been charged with passing herself off as Sen Binta Masi on social media and extorting money from people on false promises.