By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Oyo State Government on Tuesday raised the alarm of the existence of “phony travel agencies, job scams and illegal tax collections” organisations in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun while raising the alarm in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan advised the people of the state to steer clear of such organization and as well alerted the security agencies of the existence of such an organization.
Mr Arulogun stated that the state government has been inundated with calls on its ” Ajumose Feedback Centre by victims of numerous scams in the state, and that the victims had been urged to report their cases to the security agencies while the government also investigate on its part.
“Recently, numerous callers from across the state have been seeking for government help to retrieve money paid to some phony travel agencies for pilgrimage and employment abroad. The callers disclosed that these agencies asked them to pay large sums to facilitate their sojourn abroad for paid employment with no positive outcome over time.”, he said
The Commissioner added that some of these callers also “asked the state government to investigate some recruitment firms who have swindled thousands of unsuspecting job seekers. They claimed that the scammers collected money from them and made them write exams and attend interviews.
“Our media organisations in the state have a major role to play in saving people from the hands of these scammers. They advertise their phony businesses in the media to the unsuspecting public. The media needs to verify the legitimacy of such business and make them sign indemnities” Arulogun added.
He maintained ” that the state government is addressing and investigating complaints raised by callers concerning the extortion by Principals and officials of some public secondary schools in state in the name of collecting tax from students, assuring that any individual found guilty would be dealt with according to civil service rules.”
Mr Arulogun emphasized that “Oyo state government did not tax students but rather the students were asked to produce the tax clearance of their parents.”
He stressed that initial investigations revealed that some school officials were allegedly accused wrongly while there are further investigations on the ones which needed follow up findings.
He urged the citizens to do background checks on travel agencies, recruitment firms and other service rendering firms before engaging them, noting that some of these firms engage in legitimate business and deliver on their promise.
The Comnissioner assuref that the bad eggs among them are the ones denting the reputation of the credible ones, calling on media agencies to sieve the good ones from the bad ones whenever they need to promote such businesses