A major scammer and professional fraudster, Matthew Obobo Solomon, has duped the Nigerian government into offering him a top job at the Ministry of Niger Delta after posing as a son of retired Army General and former Minister of Defence, TY Danjuma.
Mr. Danjuma, a billionaire philanthropist and chairman of Intervention Programmes for the North East, commands the respect of Nigerian authorities, including President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Solomon began hatching the identity theft plan on June 11, 2013, when he placed a classified advert (Change of Name) in a Nigerian newspaper, wishing to be known and addressed as Matthew Theophilus Danjuma.
Few readers who noticed the classified advert drew the attention of Mr. Danjuma, who simply dismissed Mr. Solomon’s claims as spurious and puerile without issuing a disclaimer in the national dailies.
Daily Nigerian gathered that in order to perfect his plan, Mr. Solomon established contact with one the distant relatives of Mr. Danjuma and told him that Mr. Danjuma was his father, and that he was born out of wedlock.
According to some of Mr. Danjuma’s relatives, Mr. Solomon, who moves around with siren and bodyguards in the Niger Delta region, claimed that he decided to trace his roots after his dying grandmother told him that TY Danjuma was his father.
“When we asked him why he made no attempt to confront TY Danjuma with the issue, he said Danjuma will kill him. Based on that premise, we took him to the village without Danjuma’s knowledge and organised a homecoming, where he was renamed Tikari,” said a source who craved anonymity.
After the baptism of Mr. Solomon at a Takum village in Taraba State, he again changed his name to Tikari.
Sources told Daily Nigerian that a year or so after the placement of the classified advert, Mr. Danjuma started receiving torrents of complaints on one Matthew TY Danjuma duping government agencies and individuals, while parading himself as his son.
“It was after the embarrassment became out of hand that TY Danjuma decided to issue a disclaimer,” said a family source.
It was gathered that Mr. Danjuma’s disclaimer did not stop Mr. Solomon from name-dropping and seeking government contracts, appointment and favours until after securing a lucrative job.
On October 14, 2016, a statement by the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, announced the appointment of Mr. Tikari T.Y. Danjuma as the Coordinator of Niger Delta Riverine Protection Programme.
But a month after Mr. Solomon’s appointment, several groups in the region petitioned the ministry that he was a fraudster, and that Mr. Danjuma was not his father.
“Even if TY Danjuma were his father, the job is ideally not for people from Taraba State,” said one of the petitioners.
But Mr. Solomon’s job at the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs suddenly came to an end a few months after his appointment. A statement by Mr. Usani’s spokesman on January 6 said, “The Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has alerted the general public to be wary of the activities of Mr. Tikari T.Y Danjuma whose appointment as the coordinator of the Niger Delta Riverine Protection Programme was terminated in December, 2016”.
The statement continues, “According to the Minister, in spite of his sack by the Federal Government, Mr. Tikari has been parading himself as the Coordinator of the Niger Delta Riverine Protection Programme.
“Usani reiterated that anyone who relates with Mr. Tikari in such capacity is doing so at his or her own risk. The Minister stressed that Tikari was no longer operating on behalf of the Government and any action of his in such capacity is illegal.
“In a letter addressed to Tikari and personally signed by the Minister to this effect, The Minister said: ‘Recall that you were appointed as Coordinator of the Niger Delta Riverine Protection Programme with a mandate to recover arms from the Niger Delta militants, three months after this assignment, there has been no visible outcome, to this effect, your appointment is hereby terminated forthwith.”
It was reliably gathered that apart from receiving several petitions against Mr. Solomon (Tikari), Mr. Danjuma personally wrote to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, disclaiming him as his son.
Investigations show that Mr. Solomon’s parents are all alive, and he had a history of duping individuals, including governors, ministers and other heads of government agencies.
Sources said Mr. Solomon was a militant and renowned oil bunkerer before deciding to change his identity to gain favours. Efforts to speak with Mr. Solomon proved unsuccessful as his mobile number was not getting through.