A group of cunning individuals executed a meticulously planned scheme that resulted in significant losses for numerous investors. In 2012, they established themselves as a “value chain development firm” with a focus on revolutionizing Nigeria’s agriculture sector. Through extensive media coverage on various platforms such as newspapers, radio, television, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, they showcased their activities, even claiming affiliation with a European agro-allied company. Their website, http://www.farmforte.com, boasted a creative, visually appealing, and mobile-friendly design.
Over the course of five years, Osazuwa Osayi and Uyi Osayimwense, the co-founders and co-CEOs of Farmforte Agro Allied, gained influence and attracted patrons from government circles and the community. They acquired a state-of-the-art cashew processing facility in Edo State and organized a grand commissioning ceremony, graced by influential figures including the state governor, Godwin Obaseki.
With their foundation firmly established, the perpetrators expanded their operations beyond agricultural trading and launched Agropartnerships Technology Limited, a digital investment subsidiary of Farmforte. They claimed that this fund and portfolio management company was licensed by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Simultaneously, they announced the acquisition of Kayvee Microfinance Bank by another Farmforte subsidiary named Forest Capital, aiming to create synergy between socioeconomic empowerment, agriculture, and the finance sector.
As a result, Farmforte transformed into a digital investment platform where investors were lured by the prospect of investing in agricultural products with enticing returns on investment (ROI). According to the company’s website, Agropartnerships offered a simple and secure collaborative platform for engaging in profitable agribusiness opportunities from the comfort of one’s home. Investors were enticed to invest significant amounts, expecting their investments to double within a few months.
These investors ranged from professionals such as bankers, doctors, civil servants, teachers, accountants, to retirees. However, in December 2021, Farmforte abruptly halted capital and ROI payments, citing unspecified challenges. Two months later, they attempted to allay investors’ fears through a Zoom conference, but that turned out to be the last communication anyone received from the joint CEOs.
Farmforte closed down their Lagos office, shut down their plants, froze investors’ accounts, and disappeared without a trace, taking billions of naira from unsuspecting investors.
One victim, Olukanmi Ayoola, a retired accountant, shared his heartbreaking story of losing his retirement benefit of N21.6 million to the scam. Ayoola, who had been respected in his community and sought after for investment advice due to his accounting background, could not fathom how he fell prey to the deceitful young men behind the scam. He had initially invested small amounts in the Agropartnerships digital platform and received substantial profits on his capital. Encouraged by the returns, he decided to invest his entire retirement benefit into the business, only to lose everything.
Similar stories emerged from other victims like John, who had N40 million locked up in Agropartnerships, and David, who invested over a million naira in three portfolios and experienced a sudden halt in capital and interest payments by the end of 2021. Another investor, Serah Lawal, lost N300,000 after investing in the Agropartnerships Potato Scheme.
Multiple attempts to contact Farmforte proved futile as the company vanished, leaving investors in despair. The victims were left grappling with significant financial losses and a sense of betrayal from placing their trust in a seemingly legitimate venture that turned out to be an elaborate scam.
Source: website/ leaders.ng