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Infamous ‘419 Pioneer’ Fred Ajudua Arrested in Abuja for Land Fraud

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Fred Ajudua, a figure recognised as one of the pioneers of Nigeria’s infamous ‘419’ advance fee fraud, has been detained by the Nigeria Police Force in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

According to reports from SaharaReporters, Ajudua has been held for days on charges related to land fraud and forgery.

Fred Ajudua, a figure notoriously recognized as one of the pioneers of Nigeria's infamous '419' advance fee fraud pictured in court in an undated photo

Police sources revealed to the online news platform on Friday, May 3, 2024, that Ajudua, who has a notorious history of scamming numerous individuals, particularly in Delta State, was taken into custody due to new allegations against him.

The arrest marks another significant legal battle for Ajudua, following his most recent fraud trial in December 2021.

During that trial, the Lagos High Court had mandated that he undergo a COVID-19 test to verify claims that prevented his court appearances.

Fred Ajudua, a native of Ibusa in Delta State, studied law at the University of Benin, Edo State. He has a lengthy history of legal troubles, having been in and out of Kirikiri Prisons since 2000.

His criminal record includes multiple charges over the years, as outlined by Nuhu Ribadu, the then Chairman of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in October 2003.

Ribadu reported that Ajudua faced twelve cases, including advance fee frauds amounting to 1.6 million Euros and $1.5 million, both committed in 2001.

Victims of his scams include Nelson Allen from Canada who lost $250,000, and a German individual defrauded of $350,000.

Between 1999 and 2000, Ajudua also tricked two Dutch nationals out of more than $1.69 million.

In a notable case, German victim Frieda Springer-Beck reached an out-of-court settlement with Ajudua on July 26, 2005, after years of protracted and inconclusive court hearings dating back to 1993.

The ongoing legal issues surrounding Ajudua underscore a larger problem of financial fraud in Nigeria, where ‘419’ scams have notoriously plagued the nation’s international reputation.

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