THE Police in Abuja, is reportedly investigating the role played by the Managing Director of Young Shall Grow Motors Group, Obiora Vincent Obianodo, and the company’s IT Manager, Ani Marcellus Chukwuemeka, over allegations that they blackmailed and circulated 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.
Vanguard gathered that the suspects were picked up in Lagos State by operatives of the Inspector -General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, following a six -month investigation. They were alleged to have circulated false defamatory messages on popular gossip blogs and social media sites, where they allegedly defamed Chief Chidolu and his household.
It was also learned that the malicious messages were sent to many of Chief Chidolue’s business associates and banks that are funding his businesses around the country and the world thereby, making him lose over N 40billion. Most of his foreign business associates, dealing with him, were allegedly made to terminate their contracts when they received messages on their mobile phones, while some banks, which had shown interests in funding his business proposals, backed off.
Police source disclosed that Chidolue, 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, in the United States of America, to help unravel the individuals behind the blackmail but made little progress until he 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.
Vanguard gathered that six months into the investigation, a mobile phone which was used in circulating the malicious messages against Chief Chidolue and his family was traced to the IT Manager of Young Shall Grow Group, Chukwuemeka and when he was arrested and interrogated, he confessed that his boss, contracted him to do the dirty job.
He further explained that his boss provided a Young Shall Grow branded mobile phone, a Glo sim card, money for recharge cards and over 200 phone numbers believed to be those of friends, relatives and business associates of Chief 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 told Vanguard when he was interviewed; “ I work with Young Shall Grow Motors. I have been working with the company for the last eight years. I was in my final year in school when I started work with them. I built the company’s first website. I was a contract staff then but in July 2009, the Managing Director offered me a full time job and by August of that same year, I joined them and since then we have been working together and I work basically at the IT section.
“I earn N100,000 monthly, but on the Chelsea Group issue, I don’t know Mr Patrick the owner of the company. If he comes here, I can’t recognize him. I only knew that Mr. Patrick’s daughter married to my MD and they are all from Neni Town in Anambra State.
“I don’t know what may have gone wrong between my MD and his wife, but some time last year, we were in the office when news came in that the father of MD’s wife returned the bride price on his daughter.
My MD wasn’t in the office when the news broke and when he came back, he confirmed the news to be true.
Later, my MD called me and said there was a message he wanted me to send to some people. At that point, I did not know what the message was and he also told me that he was going to send me some phone numbers. He gave me the numbers and wrote some on a piece of paper. He did not attach names to the message. He also asked me to go to our operations office at Anchorage Estate in Amuwo, to collect a Y-Uni Smart Phone. I stored all the phone numbers he gave me numerically since there was no name attached to it. I can’t ‘ remember the first message I sent clearly, but the message was to some banks which he urged to stop giving loans to Mr Patrick because he is a bad debtor and he does not pay back.
He also sent me another very damaging message about his daughter. He further sent another message asking politicians to be wary of Mr Patrick.
“When he was sending me these messages, I told him that this would lead us into trouble and tarnish his family’s reputation, but he ignored my advice and insisted I should follow his orders. He also asked me to send those massages to Nairaland.com, and several other blogs. I followed his instruction and circulated the messages as sent,” he narrated.
Following his confessions, the IRT operatives were said to have invited the Young Shall Grow MD, Obiora for interrogations and it was discovered that all the defamatory messages against Chief Chidolue and his house hold emanated from his cell phone and Young Shall Grow Group email addresses.
Sources disclosed that Obiora at that point pleaded that the police should avail him three weeks grace to look for a peaceful means of settling the dispute. Based on that, they were granted bail.
Reacting to the development Chief Chidolue in an interview told vanguard that Obiora, rather than look for a peaceful way of settling the dispute wrote a petition against him to the same police investigating his case and the matter was transferred from the IRT to the IGP monitoring team.
According to him; “ I have suffered terribly and 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. There was nothing any one could do for a father, friend and brother that I haven’t done for his father but I can’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 claim he did it on provocation. He also threatened to destroy our family reputation and business as well as kill my wife and I.
“He recruited my then Personal Assistant and sent him to me to be employed. I employed him without knowing that he had an ulterior motive. While he worked for me, I suspected my PA gave out phone numbers and email addresses of my contacts and all my business associates and friends to Obiora and they started to circulate malicious stories against my family, business associates and myself. It wasn’t an easy experience. I approached his father who is like a brother and friend but nothing positive came out of it. I was so helpless until now that police has finally tracked the real perpetrators to their company.”
However, when contacted, the Managing Director of Young Shall Grow Motors, Obiora Obianodo, debunked his claims alledging that Chief Chidolue is wanted by the police for given false information. According to him;”for records, there has been a feud betwen myself and Chief Patrick Chidolue as a fall out of my frosty marriage with his daughter, Chidimma.
He wrote a petition against me to the IGP. Equally, I wrote my own petition agaist his person bordering on threat to life, character defamation by sponsoring publication of falsehood against me on the internet and knowing more about the failed attempt on my father’s life by unknown gun men in 2014.
Accordingly, the IGP directed his monitoring unit to take over both petitions, harmonize, investigate and report findings. Therefore, I wish not to comment on such sensitive matter under police high command investigation. This is a matter of principle unlike Chief Patrick who might decide otherwise and make sensational reports.
Äbove all, the genesis of the marital issue between myself and his daughter that led to the crashed marriage was due to sexual sacriledge which I considered a taboo accordidng to Igbo customs and tradition. We, the Obianodo’s argued for proper cleansing so that no harm will befall our grandchildren.”