Rice has become the most sought after food in Nigeria. It is found in every home and is the number one food that is common in all occasions from birthday parties, weddings, burials etc. In some events party rice as it is commonly known can cause a strong rift between the celebrant and their guests when it did not go round or some didn’t get enough as expected.
Since the border closure between Nigeria and her other West-African neighbors the prices of rice has become higher hence the new strategy of stealing practiced in Warri, Delta State. There is the popular saying of “Warri no dey carry last (Warri never comes last in anything)”. According to a friend based in Warri, he said “It is true that Warri no dey carry last but only in negative things”.
In Warri, rice sellers have fallen victims to a new set of gang who pretend as serious buyers. According one of the victims, he was in his shop when four men came in two cars – an SUV and a van. They ordered for 30 bags of rice and then paid in cash. The cash was in a black nylon bag. He said when he viewed the black nylon and counted his money, it was short of five thousand naira. So he told the buyer that it was short of the agreed price. The buyer started begging but he insisted that it was not the deal. So the buyer collected the black nylon and walked to his car. He counted the money and put it inside the bag meanwhile they had started loading the van with the bags of rice.
He said he did not bother to view look into the nylon bag because he did not suspect any fowl play and also he was busy supervising the loading of the car. It was when the buyer had left that he decided to open the bag. The only real money that he could see was the balance of five thousand naira that was added, The nylon filled with money were now loaded with wrapped bundle of paper cut to size. It then dawn on him that there was a switch of nylon bags when the buyer went to get the money in the SUV.
These gangs were moving from one unsuspecting rice seller to another and stealing bag of rice between 20 to 50 bags on a daily basis. One of the rice sellers was lucky when she received the nylon had to open to check well before she ordered the rice to be loaded. As soon as she discovered fowl play she raised alarm but the men had quickly dashed into their vehicles and zoomed off. Barely a week later, had the gang come in a different style. This time the buyer told her he would transfer money to her account for 50 bags and once she gets an alert that she should call him. The seller said, an hour later she received an alert of N1.015M. She decided to check her balance via the bank app but it did not reflect. She said the buyer called if he had seen the alert and she told him yes but until it reflected in her account that was when she would call. She then called her account officer who told her that it was a cheque the buyer dropped. The next day when she called her account officer for update, she was informed that the cheque was rejected. She said she has been trying the number of the buyer since then but it has been switched off.
A lot of people are falling victims to these guys because of the element of surprise and higher requests. They are so smart that they distract you to believe that you are actually making good sales for more than 20 bags of rice whereas you are losing money to thieves.
Be careful. Confirm your cash first before parting with your products.