03.03.2024 Featured 2 Nigerian Cousins Refuse to Refund £3,000 to UK Student After Failing to Get Him CoS

Published 3rd Mar, 2024

By Daniel Ojukwu

Dolapo Sonibare (not real name) has accused Stephen Orowole of refusing to refund the £3,000 initial payment he made to him to process a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) to extend his stay in the UK.

Sonibare told FIJ he left Nigeria for the UK on a study visa in December 2022 and was to stay until June 24, but things turned sour when he could not afford to complete his school fee payment.

He paid £6,000 of his £17,000 tuition, and when the school came calling for the £11,000 balance, he did not have it. This school (name redacted to protect Sonibare’s identity) withdrew him in August 2023.

Sonibare’s stay, which was supposed to expire in June 2024, was cut to April 2024. On realising this, he turned to his friend, Stephen.

“I have my family here,” Sonibare told FIJ. “When we came, my wife was pregnant with our second child; as such, the burden was overwhelming. So, instead of fulfilling tuition, I chose my family’s welfare.

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“I called Stephen after the school withdrew me, and he told me about Zidaan Consultancy. He said Olawale, his cousin, worked with them, and if I paid a £3,000 initial payment, they would process the CoS.

“After I transferred the money to Olawale on February 7 and 9, Stephen gave me the phone number of one John, and they told me my application would be flagged because I was owing the school, so they could not process it.

First payment to Olawale. Sender’s name redacted to conceal identity
Second payment to Olawale

“I requested a refund, and they said they could only refund £1,000. Stephen and John have both refused to communicate since February 8. Stephen only responds once in a while, while John blocked me.”

Sonibare would later learn that Olawale did not work with Zidaan Consultancy, and neither did John, but Stephen used Olawale’s account to receive the £3,000 and then sent £2,000 to John, who acted as an agent.

L – Olawale Orowole, R – Stephen Orowole

FIJ called Stephen, and he confirmed Sonibare’s statements. Stephen, however, claimed the money was paid to Zidaan Consultancy and the company had begun processing before realising they could not go ahead.

“The company cannot refund everything,” Stephen told FIJ. “He was supposed to pay £6,000, but they collected £3,000 as an initial deposit so they could start the work. They can give him £1,000.”

After speaking with Stephen, FIJ called Zidaan Consultancy’s official number. We got no response, but after the newspaper sent a WhatsApp message to the UK number, someone responded.

The response read: “Zidaan is unavailable on medical leave right now, he’s been in hospital for weeks and I’m his mom. His assistant and employees have been taking care of things. Zidaan has not taken that fee, you would need to speak to your agent regarding that matter. Those are agent fees nothing to do with Zidaan.”

This claim contradicts Stephen’s earlier position on where the money went.

FIJ called John, but he did not take calls. He also did not respond to text messages sent to him.

Olawale contacted Sonibare on Saturday to claim he only collected the money on Stephen’s behalf and did not keep or send it to Zidaan but to John, while retaining £1,000 in his account on Stephen’s instruction.

Subsequent calls and messages to Stephen have not been responded to.

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Published 3rd Mar, 2024

By Daniel Ojukwu


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