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In the present Nigeria when the prices of cooking gas and kerosene are beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerians, to find an alternative in the supplies of charcoal stove is a welcome alternative.

Apart from the ones hawked about in the neighbourhood, it was not unexpected to jump at people selling modernized charcoal stoves, and they came in good number through the Social Media of Facebook.

Thy came in different names and brands – Charcoal Coal Promotion,  Jikokoa Charcoal Stove, Chikokoa Stove, Charcoal Stove Groups, with different promoters or self-acclaimed agencies: Queen Nana, Muhammadu Suleiman, Edoka Doris, Mr. Clement Desmond, Blessing Ayo, Rukkayat Bint Mohammed, Sampere Nwa, Ejiro Umukoro Glory, Abubakar Bello Shira and a host of other real or imaginary names.

They massively roll out these stoves on free advert on Facebook where unsuspecting customers fall victims.

My Encounter

When I saw their promotion I made my contact, with one of the self-acclaimed agents purportedly based in Alaba Market of Lagos. My plan was not only to buy one for keeps but also sell the good news to my friends and neighbours.  So I thought of paying visit to their acclaimed office.

I made a contact with one Ademola Stella, which might not have been her true name, but that was proved by True Caller.

I thought we had a very useful discussion. She even persuaded me to buy two and they would give me a smaller one for free but I insisted on seeing the products before making payment. She insisted it was not their company policy to send the products until advanced payments were made.

I did not send the money immediately. It took me more than 24 hours.

So I told her to send the payment’s account details and it came with the name of Nuhu Abdulmumini with the GTBank number 0903300204, so I made payment and she told me they were sending an order to my area. She also sent a video message of their dispatch to a supposed customer, and she promised my order would be sent with those of hers.

I even tried to know if they had any representative in Egbeda or Iyana Ipaja area, but she said they were selling directly to customers. I didn’t doubt any more but was expecting my stove.

I had even started making some boasts of how it would work before friends and neighbours. They could not bring it the first day, she told me they could not bring it due to logistic problem and she pleaded it would be brought the following day.

The following day came, despite my other important appointments I gave theirs a priority because I thought I would use the opportunity to see their representatives.

When it was 12 noon, I sent her a message, she told me the dispatch rider was on his way, that he would soon get to my place. I kept on waiting.

Then a message came that the driver Mr. Bankole Ojo with this number 09138903782 was around but I should balance up my payment and get my pick up code before receiving my order.

I asked her why I should pay without seeing my product, she said that was their company policy. I responded that that was not right. Later the supposed driver called me, that if I could not balance up to get my dispatch code I should stop calling him. That was when I was beginning to realize that it was all fraudulent, and I asked her, “Have I just been duped?”

She replied, “Duped of how much.”

I responded again, “Thanks for this lesson”.

She replied, “You are welcome” I told her to send my ‘Stove’ and get their balance, ‘if it was truly available’, and I promised that they would make their suspicious company and products regret their dubious actions.

I went ahead to send her DP, which could also be faked, she asked what about it, and replied, “Thank God that you know.” I asked her, that she was still talking about God.

That was it.

Having learnt this lesson, thank God the loss was not much, just N6,000, I said I would not only suffer it but make others to know and be wary of their fraudulent activities. Hence this note.

My appeal to all our unsuspecting Nigerians that need alternative Charcoal Stove for their kitchens, is to make sure that that see their products before making payments, whether it is about this charcoal pot, or any online items.

I am also here to create the awareness that even though there are Charcoal stoves one must be sure of where he is buying from, and all those who have similar experiences must not fail in sharing the experience to minimize loss cash an invaluable items to online thieves and dubious elements who pose as genuine online marketers and advertisers. With this I believe such frauds would be minimized.     

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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