The son of Young Shall Grow Group, Obiora Vincent Obianodo, who also doubles as the Managing Director of the company, was friday arrested by the police alongside the company’s IT manager, Ani Marcellus Chukwuemeka, for alleged blackmail and defamation.
The duo were arrested by the police authorities in Abuja, for allegedly blackmailing and circulating false defamatory messages on the internet and social media, against Chief Patrick Chidolue, the Executive Chairman, of Chelsea Group Limited and his family, within a period of two years.
The suspects were picked up in Lagos State, by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), after six-month investigation and trailing.
THISDAY gathered that the duo were alleged to have circulated tons of false defamatory messages, blogs and social media sites, where they defamed the complainant and his family.
According to the complainant, the duo had sent malicious messages to his business associates and banks funding his businesses, thereby making him loose businesses, worth over N40billion.
In his statement, he said most of his foreign business associates, also terminated their contracts, when they received messages on their mobile phones, while some banks, which have shown interests in funding his business proposals, backed off.
Chidolue, was said to have made several complaints to the police at the Zone 7 Command Abuja, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and the US Federal Bureau of Investigating (FBI), to help unravel the individuals behind the blackmail.
Unsatisfied with the process, he had approached the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in December 2016, over the issue and the IGP, ordered his operatives at the IRT to investigate the matter.
Within six months, a mobile phone which was used in circulating the malicious messages was traced to the IT manager and when he was arrested and interrogated he confessed that he was working on the instructions of the managing director.
According to him, Obianodo had given him a branded mobile phone, a Glo sim card, money for recharge cards and over 200 phone numbers believed to be friends, relatives and business associates of Chidolue and directed him to circulate the false defamatory messages to those contacts.
The 31-year-old suspect, who is a native of Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State said, “ I worked with Young Shall Grow Motors. I have been working with the company in the last eight years.
” I built the company’s first website and I was a contract staff then but in July 2009, the MD offered me a full time job and since then we have been working together and I earn N100,000 monthly.
“On the Chelsea Group issue, I don’t know the owner of the company. I only know that his daughter was a wife to my MD and they all hail from Neni in Anambra State.
“I don’t know what may have gone wrong between my MD and his wife, but sometime last year, we were in the office when news came that the father of MD’s wife returned the bride price on his daughter.
“My MD confirmed the the news to be true. There was also a publication then on the internet that my MD impregnated one Ada or so. It was after that publication that my MD called me and said there was a message he wants me to send to some people.
“He gave me the numbers but there was no name attached to the numbers. The message was to some banks to stop giving loans to Mr. Patrick because he is a bad debtor and he does not pay back.
“He also sent me another message that Mr. Patrick was defiling his granddaughter and then another message asking politicians to be wary of Mr. Patrick. He also asked me to send those messages to several other blogs.”
Following his confessions, the IRT operatives invited Obianodo and it was discovered that all the defamatory messages emanated from his cell phone and the company’s email addresses.
Confronted with the evidence, Obianodo pleaded with the police avail him three weeks grace to look for a peaceful means of settling the dispute and with that they were both granted bail.
Confirming the incident, Chidolue said Obianodo rather wrote a petition against him and the matter was transferred from the IRT to the IGP monitoring team.
He said, ” I don’t know what I did to that young man. He was my son in-law, and I and his father were close friends. I don’t understand where Obiora developed the level of hatred he has for my family and I.
“Few months after his marriage to my daughter, this blackmail and threats started. He told my daughter that he would kill her and would claim he did it on provocation.
“It wasn’t an easy experience. I approached his father, Chief Vincent, who is like a friend and brother to me, after I traced the source of the emails to Young Shall Grow Group’s server.
“I was so helpless until now that the police has finally tracked the real perpetrators to their company. I want the law to take its full course because what we lost is too much. In cash alone, We lost over N40billion.”