Over 250 investors may have lost their life savings after the collapse of a buiness scheme run by an agro firm, Eatrich Farms and Food Limited, Lagos State.
They expressed worry over their unpaid dividends and capital and the disappearance of the company founder, Sam Afolabi.
The investors, who noted that the company promised certain returns on investment for a particular duration of period, said the founder used some celebrities and Nollywood actors to lure people to the scheme.
Among the promoters were a Nollywood actor, Muyiwa Ademola, and a social media influencer, Blessing Akuakanwa.
One of the victims, Emeka Asoegwu, said he invested N1m after he learnt that the firm was insured.
He said, “In May 2021, I invested N1m into their water plant production, which was supposed to run for six months, after which I should get my capital and return on investment, which was about 30 to 35 per cent. Around July, there was a call out by one of the investors, who had breast cancer and needed urgent treatment, but she could not access her funds. I started asking questions from their brand influencers why she could not access her funds and I was told that nothing happened. I was reassured that all was well with the company.
“I was relaxed because my investment had not matured; but when a similar thing happened to another investor that he could not access his money when the investment matured, people got alerted that something was wrong with the company and a Telegram page was created. Many affected investors joined and that was when we got to know how serious the issue was.”
Asoegwu said the investors became worried after the founder went silent, adding that attempts to reach him on the phone were abortive as he switched off his line.
The 32-year-old noted that it dawned on the investors that they might have been defrauded when they discovered that the Ikoyi office of the company was locked.
“Sam (Afolabi) said the company was insured with Leadway Assurance and when we checked Leadway Assurance database, we saw that Eatrich Farms was actually insured. But in the middle of this crisis, Leadway came out to make a disclaimer disassociating themselves from the company.
“I’m just trying not to let the whole incident overwhelm me because that is the money I want to use to further my studies,” he added.
PUNCH Metro learnt that some of the investors wrote a petition to the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, Ikoyi, and some of the celebrities were invited, but none of them showed up.
Another investor, who identified himself simply as Olu, said he invested N2m in two different agro schemes.
He noted that all efforts to contact the company owner had been abortive.