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Trans-Atlantic love costs American lady $50,000 … Duped by Nigerian fraudster
By JULIANA FRANCIS
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Photo: THE SUN PUBLISHING
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A 42-year-old American lady, who came to Nigeria from Texas, United States, with her wedding accessories to tie the nuptial knot with a supposed male American Muslim she met on the internet has gone back home heartbroken.
This followed the discovery that the man she had travelled to Africa to be joined to in wedlock was not the one in the photograph sent to her, but a 24-year-old Nigerian posing as an expatriate engineer, working in an oil company.
The victim, Thumbelina Henshaw, a Muslim, did not only lose her heart to the fraudster but also lost more than 50,000 dollars, as well as several gift items she had been sending to the con man through courier services.
When Henshaw met the fraudster identified as Abdulakeem Yekini, rather than yell at him for fooling her, she was said to have calmly handed him a copy of the Holy Quran and told him to seek Allah’s forgiveness. Already, Yekini has become a guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
One of the precious things Henshaw salvaged from the relationship was a 20,000 dollars worth of jewelry she brought to Nigeria. She had initially planned to present it to her heart-throb and his Muslim brothers to sell and then add the proceeds to the funds for the wedding preparation.
Daily Sun gathered that Yekini allegedly found Henshaw, a nurse, on a website for singles and began to chat her up.
Within a few days of chatting, Yekini knew the lady was a dedicated Muslim and decided to use her religion to ensnare her. He told her he was a staunch Muslim named William Phillips, an American, working in an oil company in Nigeria.
Yekini further told Henshaw that he has two children, named Hakim and Jane. Pretending to be Phillips, he also said his wife died in an automobile accident. The fraudster finally hoodwinked her when he told Henshaw he loved her and was looking for a dedicated Muslim wife, who would be a mother to his children.
When Henshaw asked him to send his picture, Yekini downloaded a white man’s picture from the internet and forwarded it to her. The chatting, which started in June 2005, snowballed into talks about marriage.
In the course of the discussions, Yekini told the lovesick woman that the mosque he attends in Nigeria needed renovation and that good Muslims were contributing funds towards the repairs. He also introduced her to the Imam at the non-existent mosque. But operatives of the EFCC believe that Yekini was also the person posing as Imam and chatting with Henshaw on the internet. When Yekini told Henshaw that the mosque was where they would get married when she comes to Nigeria, she immediately sent him 1,500 dollars. After sending the first dollars, Henshaw continued sending more money whenever Yekini told her about any Muslim project. Aside from the money, she never relented in sending valuable items.
To further fool her into believing his lies, Yekini said he would be coming home to America. Trying to assist him in reducing cost, Henshaw sent a return ticket to Nigeria for him at N1,700 dollars, but he never showed up. When Henshaw said she would like to come to Nigeria for the wedding as agreed, Yekini asked for postponement of the ceremony, claiming he needed urgently to go to Liberia for a job.
After two postponements of the wedding, Henshaw felt it was better to just come to Nigeria herself for the wedding. She went shopping. She called the Imam and told him she was coming to Nigeria.
She met another Muslim on the flight to Nigeria and became friendly with him. She told him her story and he hinted her that she could be dealing with fraudsters. They had contacted EFCC, which agreed to set a trap for the fraudster.
Having arrived Nigeria, December 2, 2005, she called Yekini and asked him to come to a hotel in Ikeja. A trap was set for Yekini, who came, thinking he could still deceive the woman.
When it dawned on him that he had walked into a trap, he tried to jump a fence, but EFCC operatives caught him. Recovered from him was a cellular phone that Henshaw identified as one of the items she sent to the supposed American, called William Phillips.
The EFCC spokesman, Mr Osita Nwajah, told Daily Sun that the suspect would soon be charged to court.
He said: “We are sure to get a clean conviction
Issues are interpreted variously by people who see things differently. There have been concerns as to which could possibly be the right interpretation of a text in various religions. Focusing on just Islam and Christianity at the present, what views would readers offer to the question:
Should Women Be Ordained As Heads/Clerics in Churches and Mosques?
The Bible seems to reserve a not-so-public role for women in ecclesiastical matters, according to such texts as 1 Cor. 14:34 ('Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law') and 1 Tim. 2:12 - ('But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.') However, some are persuaded that whatever the texts may imply, women can still be ordained into the Christian ministry with the same roles and functions as the men. This has become a matter of concern in some large Christian churches, as is the case with the present deadlocks in both the Anglican Church and Roman Catholic impassé (an example here from a BBC report).
On the other hand, for women to assume any leading roles in public life seems to generate an equally heated concern among the Muslim community. Some have expressed the view that women are not to share the same roles as the men in public life, and particularly in religious activities - to the extent that in some Muslim quarters, women are not welcome to attend Mosques as do the men. Consequently, one could understand how very controversial was a recent event in the US in which a woman led a mixed-gender Islamic prayer service early last year (click here for a preview).
What do readers think about this issue - should women be ordained as clerics in churches and mosques on the same pedestal as the men?
There are some of us (Nigerians) who actually don't believe in God. We don't go to church, we don't go to mosques. Some of us can be quite moral, gentlemen, and not players. We are as faithful and honest (or dishonest) as the average Christians, and sometimes more so. But we just don't believe in God. At all.
Suppose you meet someone who is so sweet, so loving, so gentle, so understanding, so caring, so attractive, so charming, etc. Someone who is everything you have ever wanted in a husband or wife. But that person just doesn't believe in God and despite all your efforts cannot believe (or refuses to believe).
If that non-believer in God asks you to marry him/her, will you oblidge, and under what conditions (if any)?
Thanks a million!
If you're married, you probably share the same religious faith with your spouse; you go to church, mosque, or religious meeting-place together and take your children along. You probably have prayer time once in a while or every day.
Now let's say you've been running your Muslim household, Christian family, or family of believers in whatever you believe for a while. You've been teaching your children in the path you believe they should go.
Then one day one of your children (probably your teenage firstborn) says "I have given my life to Christ" (and you're Muslims), or "I'm not going to church anymore" (and you're Christians) or "I don't believe in God anymore" or something along that line. Something that is contrary to all you've taught your child to believe in religion, faith, spirituality. Your child rejects your family religion!
How would you respond?
This is a thread where Nigerian muslims can share what they learnt about Islam during recent khutbas at their respective mosques recently. You can also share what you learnt in personal study of the holy books.