My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.
For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a 40-year-old man who lost his father’s pension to a fraudster. He tells us how it happened and the lessons he learnt from the experience.
Could you tell me about your money mistake?
When my dad retired from the Nigerian Police Force, he sent his pension money to my account and asked me to invest it in a business. I took the money and headed into town to meet a friend who runs a grain business. It seemed to be a very profitable business and I wanted in.
Our plan was to buy a bunch of grains, like maize and beans, and then sell them to local buyers.
That seems like a decent plan.
But things didn’t go as planned. I ended up getting duped in the process.
I’m so sorry about that. How much was your father’s pension?
About ₦2.5 million. This was years ago.
That’s a lot of money. What happened exactly?
Well, I didn’t know much about the grain business because I work at a digital photo lab. But my friend was experienced in it, so we talked about the business, and we figured out how much grain I could buy with the money I had.
He was the one who knew how to get supplies from the village and then arrange transportation. We agreed he’d help me with my first batch of orders. It was a good plan and I trusted him. I handed over the money and that was the last I heard from him.
I waited for about three days without hearing from him. His phone was switched off. I then decided to pay him a visit. I was surprised to find that all of his belongings had disappeared from his compound. That’s when I realised I’d been scammed.
It must have been hard.
I was upset. I felt stupid. I still feel hurt even. When I got back home, I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I couldn’t eat for a long time. It got so bad that I had to go to the hospital. I was having heart palpitations. It was only then that I finally told my family what had happened.
What was your father’s response?
He told me to let it go. He said that is how life can be sometimes. It’s not like he couldn’t take action, especially since he had just retired from the Police Force, but he’s a simple man. He stays away from conflict.
But why didn’t you invest the money in your photography business?
That was my big mistake. It was after everything happened that we realised I could’ve invested the money in my photo lab business.
What did you learn from that experience?
I learnt that when it comes to financial investments, I should be cautious about trusting people and prioritise protecting myself. I also learnt not to put all my money into a single investment. If I had invested my father’s pension in both the grain business and my photo lab, my loss wouldn’t be as much. The experience wouldn’t have hurt as much as it did.