Politics

Festus Keyamo opens up on relationship with Jerry Ikogho, Fraudster nabbed by FBI

Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Festus Keyamo, has described suspected fraud kingpin, jerry Ikogho, as a brother and friend from a good home. The newly appointed minister said this in an interview with newsmen after pictures of the two men appeared on the Internet.

Ikogho is one of the 77 Nigerians charged for massive fraud and money laundering in the United States of America following an extensive FBI operation. The suspects allegedly conspired to scam at least $46 million from victims via romance scams, business email compromises and other online fraud schemes.

A grand jury indictment was filed in the Central District of California back in October 2018 and unsealed last week after the arrest of 14 defendants in the US. The remaining 63 individuals are believed to be abroad, with most in Nigeria.

Keyamo began a relationship with Ikogho as a child in the 70s in Ughelli, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State. They were classmates at Government College Ughelli and were children of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

While Keyamo’s family barely managed to make ends meet, Ikogho’s father was a major car dealer in the area. Speaking in the interview, Keyamo said he did not know the kind of business Ikogho was doing in America.

“We were born together in the same town at Ughelli in Delta State. His parents and my parents are close friends up till tomorrow. We were both raised in the Jehovahs Witnesses sect. It is a whole family union. If he has legal issues, I handled them for him free of charge. I didn’t know him as a client but as a family friend with whom we both grew up together,” Keyamo was quoted as saying.

Asked if he was aware that his friend was into shady business, Keyamo asked: “How would I know? He has not been proven guilty. Have you concluded that he is into massive fraud and money laundering?”

The lawyer who once prosecuted cases on behalf of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), added that he needs to hear from Ikogho what transpired in America before he takes a position.

Hear him: “If his explanations are not satisfactory, I will scold him. I have spoken with the wife since this issue broke out, but I have been unable to get in touch with him. But I need to hear from him.”

Describing what happened to his friend as “very unfortunate”, Keyamo added that Ikogho grew up and did his youth service in Nigeria.

“I used to stay with him when I first came to Abuja. He is my brother and friend, though I am just a month older than him. Anybody can be in trouble. I am praying for him. If he has valid explanations I will help him legally. I can’t run away from him,” he concluded.

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9 Comments

  1. Keyamo raised by Jehovah’s witnesses parents but grew up to become an apostate and thus disowned by the organization long long time ago.

  2. A thief can not run from a thief..they belong to one family….crocodile and lizard….what a shame

  3. That’s the right thing to do, Mr. Keyamo. People can change over time. What influence can u have over them especially if you don’t know what they are doing.

  4. Most of us grew up in respectable homes, and somewhere along the line, some old friends deviated. When we meet and make merry together, have snap shots together etc doesn’t mean we share the same ideologies or philosophy. The fact that he had one or two snapshots with an old pal doesn’t mean they have the same philosophy. This sounds to me, rather fallacious & illogical. Could we please play politics with truth & decorum? Your statement to me sounds a bit biased, even as I know you know the truth.

  5. This is one of the reasons why one needs to be very careful with friends you don’t know what they do for a living. People will just jump into conclusions that birds of the same feather fly together. Many young ones of these age easily forget their Christian background and plunge into un imaginable acts. If at the end of FBI investigations all these Nigerian boys are found guilty they should be made to face the music both in America and here Nigeria.

  6. Don’t blame these fast lane guys.They were
    driven from Nigeria,due to bad leadership
    that caused all sorts of untold hardship.Hunger
    kidnapping,assassinations,prostitution’s,military
    Police harrasment,lack of comfortable transportationNo
    proper education.Compound illiterates,voted
    into power,to rule the enlightened powerhouse
    of Africa?These guys steal peanuts compared
    to the billions and billions being stolen by
    Americans,Europeans,Chinese,Japanese
    etc.

  7. Hmmm, politics! So out of 77 its only 1 that stands out! What if another member of the cartel is an aethist and son of a common man?

  8. The so called fraudsters, yes, their activities are condemnable. However, they are still far better than the people in governments in Nigeria and politicians who steal our money blatantly and act with impunity. Without regards to the people who trust them with their votes to represent them and still impudently flaunt the money before the people. Idiots! Pot calling kettle black.

  9. Festus Keyamo was my classmate and maintained unblemished records in all aspects of life. He has explained his true position with the kingpin we close to him believe this.
    He is a rare gem as he never denied his relationship with childhood friend in difficult times as most people would do. We all have relationships with close family members and friends we should not be held responsible for their bad deeds. The fact that they have snapshots together does not warrant Festus K being linked with his bad deeds!!
    Festus is very outspoken that is all he is since i have known him but will never indulge in fraudulent activities he has no set mind for that.
    My advise is he should now be very careful with who he associates with being now a public figure as to who much is given much is expected.

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