An aerial view of Lagos business district/Photo: Tayo Aina

Nigerians abroad warned to beware of shady companies

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has sent out a warning to Nigerians living abroad to be wary of some companies canvassing for business dealings with them.

An advisory message issued in Abuja by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Director of Media and Public Relations of the Commission, on Tuesday pointed to a group, Optiva Capital Partners Limited, which claims that it’s targeting $5bn with the launch of a new product tagged ‘Diaspora Investor Direct Investment’, asking Nigerians abroad to send monies to them directly for investment purposes.

NIDCOM warns Nigerians especially those in the diaspora to be cautious in dealing with Optiva Capital Partners Limited and similar groups as its office was inundated with reports of fraudulent activities of some groups, some of which are now subjects of investigations by the EFCC.

“It is equally important to say here that this group is not known to the Commission and that, it is only NIDCOM in line with the Act of the Parliament (2017) and National Diaspora Policy of 2021 that has the mandate to engage with the Nigerians in the Diaspora in relation to all the services the group highlighted it’s providing for the Diaspora,” the statement said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, there is the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS), Nigeria Diaspora Trust Fund (NDTF), Nigeria Diaspora Housing Scheme, Diaspora Mortgage Scheme, National Diaspora Day, and Diaspora Focal Persons appointed by the State Governors to deal with issues relating to the diaspora, among several others geared towards National development.”

NiDCOM said it has a register of diaspora groups promoting investments to Nigeria but Optiva Capital Partners Limited and its Chairman, Franklin Nechi, who recently called an elaborate press conference a few days ago, was not one of them and the product tagged ‘Diaspora Investor Direct Investment (DIDI)’ was not officially registered with the appropriate authorities and unknown to NIDCOM.

“It must be pointed out here that even NIDCOM will not ask any Diaspora groups or individuals to send money through it for any development purposes, adding that this is a red flag,” the Commission said, cautioning diaspora Nigerians to beware of such organisations.

“NIDCOM will continue to do all it can to protect Nigerians in the diaspora from being victims of fraud and again calls on all Ministries, Department, Agencies, groups and individuals, embassies etc to verify any diaspora related activities with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to avoid being scammed.”

A day after issuing its warning message, NIDCOM released a second statement that the management of Optival Capital Partners Limited had reached out to it and had promised to disclose details of its diaspora investment product which it plans to launch in May 2024.

“NiDCOM looks forward to engaging further with the management but our main aim is to ensure we protect hard working Nigerians in diaspora from being victims of fraud, who despite all odds are investing in and impacting positively on the Nigeria economy,” the statement added.

Kola Tella

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