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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

*“Fraud” Unlimited Rocks Globacom Telecommunications
*As 4 Winners Of “Win A Trip To Dubai” In 2011 Are Left Without Even A Glo(w) Of Smile Almost 2 Years After
“Globacom Has Refused To Take Us To Dubai After Giving Us Dummy Tickets And Using Our Pictures In National Dailies As Winners”—Victim
“I Was Not Here When The Promo Was Done. Are You Sure This Is Not Photoshop…?”—Confused Glo Official
When you listen to radio or watch television these days, you are sure to see the new Globacom Telecommunications advert which moved from using “Rule Your World” as their pay off line to using “Glo Unlimited”. But the one million dollar question here is: Is Glo Truly Unlimited? If it is, how unlimited it is? By the time you are through with this story you would form your own opinion. But as far as this magazine is concerned in the context of this story and his findings, it is a clear case of “Fraud Unlimited”.
Lasisi Alliu Olasunkanmi is a hard-working bricklayer in his late 20s and a Glo mobile subscriber. He is based in Ayobo-Ipaja, a Lagos suburb. Sometime in September 2011, he was on site working when his phone rang and on looking at the display the caller’s number was 121. Impulsively, he picked the call and he could not believe what the caller said. He was told his number had emerged as one of the lucky winners in the on-going Glo promotion at that time for an all expenses paid “ Trip To Dubai’’ for three days and that he should come to Glo office. At first, as a Nigerian, he wanted to dismiss the call as one of the usual tricks by fraudsters looking for unsuspecting victims to exploit. So, he intelligently asked that how much should he bring along and he was told that he didn’t need to bring any money. He was asked whether he has International Passport and Driver’s License. And he responded that he has only the International Passport. He was told to come all the same to their Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island Headquarters.
So, when he got home from work he went straight to his pastor, Rev. T.A. Babatunde who also as Nigerian told him that the caller must be a fraudster but promised go with him all the same to Glo office on the appointed date to confirm. Mean while, he had been given this number: 08055570212 when he was called with 121, said to belong to one Mr. Bankole in the Glo Marketing Communication Department for him to call when he get to their office. And when he and his pastor got to Glo office, they called and met with the said Mr. Bankole who cross-checked his number on their data base. His number was the first on the “Trip To Dubai” list and he was congratulated by Mr. Bankole. He didn’t know that the congratulations was all he was going to get as the dream of travelling to Dubai for three days began to “glow” on the screen of his mind.
He was later told to bring his International Passport few days after which he did on a Monday. And afterwards, he was given an appointment, like they must have told other winners to come on a particular day for the formalities. On the appointed date, all the Glo ambassadors were reportedly on ground with other winners and they were all given either dummy checks or dummy tickets as applicable. There were three different categories of winners in the promotion. First category won one million naira, second category won Trip to Dubai and third category won Watch Man. United Live in the UK. And that was when the part of the fraud called promotion was committed against the whole Nigerians. The pictures of the winners were all taken and the next day it hit the centre spread of some national dailies to convince everyone that it was real. But Alliu’s case as you read this and three other established cases: Adediran Folashade in Osun state, Adebola Olasimbo in Yaba Lagos and Taiwo Ariyo Nurudeen in Osun state, has proven otherwise. If anything, it has been “Fraud Unlimited” since 2011.
After their images had been fraudulently used to project the image of Glo as socially responsible organization in the national dailies and making other Nigerians to believe the national lie, they were told to keep calling Mr. Bankole who told them they would be travelling by January, 2012. But when they called him in January, he said there was a fuel subsidy removal crisis and that flight could not operate. So, he urged to tarry a little till after the crisis would be resolved. But alas, when the “Occupy Nigeria” was over, it became “Occupy Mr. Bankole’s Phone” as he constantly refused to pick their calls any more. Each time they tried his line with another phone, the line would go off once he realized it was any of them calling.
In the course of investigating this story, our reporter also tried Mr. Bankole’s line and the response was constantly that the line had been diverted to another line which did not have enough credit to receive calls. A Glo official in the marketing “communications” department not having enough credit on his line to receive calls? That smacks of another fraud on its own. But not satisfied yet, the reporter paid a visit to Glo office on Victoria Island to get the other side of the story. On getting to the gilded Mike Adenuga Tower, on Mike Adenuga Close, Off Adeola Odeku street, this reporter was redirected by one of the security guys to 3, Ologun Agbeje street, just adjacent to the Mike Adenuga Close where the Marketing Communication arm of the company was said to be located.
And the drama began. First, the ill-trained security guys said they could not direct our reporter to anyone who could speak for Glo. But not satisfied, this reporter insisted he had to see someone due to the magnitude of the story. And when the security guys realized that this reporter was not ready to give up, they told him to approach a particular averagely tall Ibo man with a little heavy moustache said to be in the PR section who was about to make his way in from the gate. And that’s what this reporter did.
“Who told you to ask for me,” he fired. “Nobody. I only need someone I can speak with over a story of fraud involving Glo that I’m working on.” This reporter replied. But he kept moving away towards the entrance into their office without saying a word and this reporter needed to ask him whether he should follow him before he reluctantly gestured yes. On entering the reception and the facts of the case were presented to him by way of printed copies of Alliu carrying their dummy ticket and his picture appearing as number one winner in the Sun newspaper. The PR man, who said he was not with Glo when the promo was staged in 2011, asked a dumb question. “Are you sure this in not photoshop?’’ And this reporter almost responded that: “no, it’s photosupermarket!”
And as if that folly of his was not enough, when he requested to go and make photocopies of the exhibits, he later came out with one of the security guys at the gate who had gone in to ask this reporter: “what did you tell him at the gate (gesturing to the security guy)?” And looking very embarrassed, this reporter responded: “what did he tell you I told him?” “I’m asking you a question,” he said authoritatively. And being well prepared for a situation like that, “I’m asking you a question too,” this reporter responded. And when he realized this dude is a hard nut to crack, “he said you told him you are a student carrying out a research on Glo,” he challenged. Isn’t that funny? Would a student brandish a press ID card to enter a place where he has not come to seek a favour but assist them in telling their own side of a reputation damaging story? Besides what is that compared to the issue on ground. And here is a PR man for that matter who also said it was a crime for a journalist to possess the ID card of a media house he freelances for. Glo is truly a Nigerian company.
However, he made the photocopies he requested and returned the original copies. He asked for full name of this reporter, email address and phone number which were all written on the back of his photocopies including this blog’s address. Few minutes later, this reporter took his leave after the rain that was falling had subsided. And that was on Thursday, 18th July, 2013. By the morning of Friday, 19th July around 10 am, the PR man called this reporter with this number: 08055578671 asking for the phone number with which Alliu won his Trip to Dubai. And he was told it was not only Alliu that is in that situation. He responded that others number should be sent as a text message too. He was sent two of the four numbers on Saturday, 20th July, 2013.
Later in the evening, he replied with a text message that he had forwarded the numbers to the person who would verify them. But it’s been a week after; no response has come from Glo. A call was put to the PR man on Thursday, 25th July, and he said the person carrying out the cross-checking had not got back to him. And he even promised to text the number of the “slow” verifier to this reporter which he has refused to do as you read this. The question here is: doesn’t Glo have a data base from which the verification could be done in few minutes, if they really want to do it. That smacks of a conspiracy of silence within the Marketing Communication arm of Glo because the PR man during his rude encounter with our reporter hinted that the said Mr. Bankole “is still in the system”. Perhaps, he must have substituted Alliu and others with members of his own family thinking they would remain voiceless forever. But now that our reporter is on it, there is no resting for the bad egg until these four winners get their deliverables as deserved.
PS: Probably due to printer’s devil, Alliu’s name is mistakenly written as Olasunkanmi Taofeek (Lagos) in the Sun publication. But his face is unmistakably on it. The story continues and it’s ready to “go unlimited” not “Glo unlimited”…



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