On May 6, businessman and resident of Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja, Benedict Emmanuel, noticed that a stack of foreign currency he kept in his house had disappeared.
But little did he know that his good-natured security guard, 40-year-old Alfred Andrew, a Bauchi State indigene, had suddenly become a millionaire, while keeping his home safe.
At 40, Andrew, who studied Mass Communication and Information Technology, went from joblessness to enrolling in an evangelical school, through which he became a pastor.
Yet, he said he needed more out of life.
Andrew said he moved to Plateau State to look for a job until the poor condition of the job forced him to move to Abuja where he took up a security job on a N25,000 salary in 2014.
But three years down the line, Andrew thought fate had finally smiled upon him when bundles of foreign currency fell on him while he was rifling through his boss’ belongings one day when the latter was out of the house.
He said, “That day, I was sweeping when I saw a key on the floor. I tried it on the padlock on my boss’ apartment and it opened. I went inside the house and was searching through his belongings when something fell on me from the top of his wardrobe.
“I then realised it was foreign currency. I climbed on a chair to see what was on the top of the wardrobe and noticed that there were currencies from different countries. They were so much. That was the first time I would see so much dollars. I have only seen such large amount in movies.
“I was tempted to take the money. Before, I had been hearing of whistle-blowers but I was not sure who to contact. I didn’t know who to report to. I didn’t have the number of the whistle-blowers (sic). I was scared. I didn’t know who to trust in Nigeria. I might tell someone and the person may turn things around against me.”
Andrew said he started to pick out of the bundles of currencies gradually whenever his boss was out of the house.
Then, he took the step of counting how many wrapped bundles of currency were on the wardrobe.
“I confirmed from someone the amount in the bundles. He said it was N130m after it was converted. I didn’t touch that one because it was sealed. I was only taking from those bundles,” he said.
According to him, for over a month after he started stealing out of the currencies, his boss did not notice.
He said he noticed that each time his boss travelled out, he came back with more foreign currencies.
He said he only checked whenever his boss was away from home to see if the money had increased or decreased. But every time he went into the room, he was always tempted to take part of it.
“If you just pulled a small amount, by the time you count it, there might be more than thirty dollar notes,” he said.
At a point, Andrew went beyond just pulling little amounts of cash from the bundles and took a few million-naira worth.
He said, “I took some amount and converted it to N24.4m and put it in my account.
When Andrew’s boss, Emmanuel, first noticed a huge part of his cash was gone, he became suspicious of his security only when he discovered that the latter was using an iPhone 7 cell phone even though his salary was just N25,000.
When Andrew’s room was searched, expensive designer clothes were also found there.
He was apprehended when Emmanuel informed the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team.
At the police station, he confessed and N24 million was found in his account.
He also took the police to an apartment that he rented in town where expensive phones were recovered from his girlfriend.
Andrew said, “I bought clothes and mobile phones. I was not even able to wear any of the clothes because I bought them recently. Part of the money I had recently changed to naira was in my bag when I was searched.
“Last Friday when my boss discovered the cash missing, he ordered that nobody should go out of the compound and started searching everybody. His sister who is an official with the Department of State Services came also and checked my phone and bags.
“They took my passport, ATM cards and everything I had before handing me over to SARS. I told my oga I would implicate him by reporting him to EFCC. He said he had been good to me, but I told him his wife had not given me food over the last three years. It is part of the reasons why I did what I did.
“Even when I was employed, I was told my salary would be increased every four months. I was told I would also be fed but that promise was not kept. My boss said the money was not his.”
Andrew said he knew that what he did was wrong but anytime he asked his boss for money, he always told him he had no money even though he knew about the huge cash in the house.
Police said the suspect would be charged to court soon.