In this report, SAMSON FOLARIN examines the travails of two women who were allegedly blackmailed by a businessman with their nudes after their romance went sour
Kester lost her husband in a fatal motor accident in 2015. She was only 31 at the time and the union was barely three years.
The tragedy dealt a brutal blow to her lofty dreams of building a home with her loving husband, who bore a chunk of their family responsibilities.
She was inconsolable as the burden of catering to their two daughters fell squarely on her fragile frame.
The Anambra State indigene never believed she would become a widow at such a young age.
But since life could be cruel at times, she picked up herself and soldiered on.
After eight years of loneliness, she thought it was time to move on with life, so she joined a WhatsApp group for singles.
That was where she met Amarah Kennedy, a businessman who claimed to be resident in the Apapa area of Lagos State.
It was in January 2023 and their hearts fluttered, as Kennedy showered Kester and her kids with gifts and money.
“He supported me sometimes with N10,000 and other times N5,000,” Kester added, as she recalled the start of the relationship.
What she, however, did not know was that trouble was lurking.
According to her, in March, Kennedy requested to borrow N30,000 from her, promising to pay back the following day.
Kester said because of his benevolence towards her, she was quick to respond to his need.
However, she became worried when he did not send back the money the following day until she initiated a call to demand a refund.
Two days afterwards, he sent back the money.
Kester said she observed that despite his regular visits to her house, he did not allow her to visit him at his purported residence at Apapa.
“He would say I should not bother coming. I did not push further because I was also a busy person,” she added.
Trouble started on May 2 when Kester said she got a voice note from Kennedy seeking a loan of N80,000 to make some supplies.
According to her, he promised to return the money the following day.
She noted that although she did not have such an amount of money, she decided to borrow funds meant for her sister’s surgical operation.
On the due date, she said Kennedy did not return the money; instead, he started making excuses.
Kester told our correspondent that she became worried and reported to a mutual friend, urging the person to talk to her lover.
Shortly afterwards, Kennedy fired her text message, describing her as “ungrateful and wicked”.
“He said he had spent a lot of money on me and I could not forfeit the N80,000.
“I said it was a loan, not a gift and I did not have that kind of money.
“He started repaying me till he finished the loan on May 7.
“That was when I was supposed to run for my life. But he begged me that we should give the relationship another chance,” she added.
The sex set-up
Kester said instead of listening to her instinct, she forgave Kennedy and agreed to continue with the affair.
On June 4, the businessman then called and asked her to meet him at a hotel in Agege.
Ruth said she went and they had consensual sex.
However, while the widow was dressing up after the steamy coitus, Kennedy, who appeared to have planned his moves, took her snapshots.
About two days later, he reportedly sent another text message to Kester, requesting a loan of N18,000.
“I told him that I did not have it. He said I was lying. We argued back and forth.
“Then he sent a message to me that night that I would regret my action.
“The next thing, I saw 52 of my nude pictures. He said if I did not give him N100,000, he would send the pictures to my male friends on Facebook. Out of panic, I sent the money to him,” she added.
Kester explained that she was still in shock of seeing herself butt naked when she demanded from Kennedy if he had deleted the photos from his phone after the payment.
However, the businessman demanded another N40,000.
The widow said she raised the money and sent to him and he replied by saying he had deleted the nudes from his phone.
The suicide attempts
But Kester’s reprieve was brief.
In early June, she said she received a call from an old friend who received the nudes from Kennedy on Facebook.
Saturday PUNCH obtained screenshots of a chat between two Facebook users in which Kester’s nudes were shared.
In the blurred photos sent to this reporter, the widow appeared to be sitting on a bed.
Another set of screenshots seen by our correspondent showed a WhatsApp conversation between Kennedy and Kester, as he threatened to circulate her nudes, which he shared with her.
He shared the profile of one Abakpa, Kester’s Facebook friend, and vowed to send the photos to him.
“I will shock you. Better still, do it this night and avoid any embarrassment tomorrow. Send my money back. N100k. I have sent you over N400k; the receipts are there,” he wrote.
In another chat, he wrote, “You collected N40k from me last week as conditions for one useless sex. Return the N40k, then I will delete it permanently from my phone.”
The widow said the threats drove her to the edge of a precipice.
“He caused me so much emotional pain that I nearly committed suicide. When he sent out my nudes even after I paid N140,000 for him to delete them, people started calling me. I then went out and stood in the middle of the road, yet no car hit me.
“At another time, I got an insecticide and was about to drink it when my daughters woke up and screamed. That night, I cried and wished I could just die,” she added.
She said when she asked Kennedy why he was bent on destroying her, he vowed to lie against her that he kept money with her, which he was demanding.
“This is not true. Everything he sent to me had descriptions — breakfast, lunch, provisions, my kids. Because he was tormenting my life, I blocked him on WhatsApp.
“Shortly after that, he opened another WhatsApp number and sent the pictures to me. He said he would make sure I die,” Kester said.
A sex maniac
Findings by Saturday PUNCH showed that Kester is not the first woman to fall victim to Kennedy, who used to work with a new generation bank.
Indeed the ordeal of Kester went viral on Facebook in June 2023 after she reached out to some female activists, who launched a vicious campaign against Kennedy on the platform.
Our correspondent gathered that no fewer than three widows and a single mother alleged that he blackmailed them.
The single mother, Temi, who spoke to our correspondent, said she regretted having anything to do with Kennedy, whom she described as a sex maniac.
“It was part of what made me call it quit because it appeared he wanted to destroy my life,” she added.
She recalled meeting Kennedy on a Facebook group for singles in June 2022.
The trader said he sent a message to her inbox and promised to care for her kids and “be a friend”.
“Because I am only a single mother with no helper, we became friends and chatting partners. He was nice and helped with little money to feed my kids. I was so attached to him that I quickly developed emotions.
“He asked me out and I accepted. We met sometimes in a hotel. However, whenever we met, he always had sex like an addict. I guess he was on drugs or something.
“Immediately I noticed that, I told him I was not used to that type of sex life.
“He would have sex with me for two to three hours. I got tired and I told him I could not continue,” she added.
The Oyo State indigene said she made up her mind to end the affair in November 2022 when she observed that he was not serious.
Temi said most times, he sent her N1,000 or N2,000 as transport fares after all the sexual rounds in the hotel.
She noted that the highest amount the suspect sent to her was N3,000 for “upkeep”.
“I did not bother him so as not to appear as a gold digger. But he always promised to send something to me. But he would not send anything and when I tried to call him, he would not pick up.
“Before we started, I told him that I wanted a relationship that would lead to marriage and he said he was ready to marry me. I asked him to come and see my parents, but he kept making excuses,” she said.
She also noted that Kennedy kept her away from his house.
Temi said after she became frustrated, she demanded that they part ways.
A sinister plot
The victim said she stopped taking his calls or replying to his messages in determination to end the tortuous affair.
“But one day, he said we should meet for the last time to iron things out and know where we were heading.
“I initially refused, but when he persisted, I agreed to meet him just for discussion.
“We met at a hotel in Olodi Apapa. He said he wanted to collect some money from a thrift society (ajo), and he would give me part of it for my business.
“He said his business had been down and that was why he had not been able to fulfil his promises to me. So, that day, we made up and had sex in the hotel. That was around September/October 2022.
“But when I got home and he still did not fulfil his promise, I called him and said, ‘Kennedy, it is over between us.’ Then he started threatening me.
“He said he loved me but I wanted to dump him. Before I knew it, he started sending all my nudes to me; pictures he had taken since the first day to show his action was intentional. Even during video calls when he would ask me to open my body because he was missing me, I did not know he was taking screenshots. I started crying.
“Even the last time we went to the hotel, I did not know he had set a camera to film me.”
Temi said her pleas for mercy were rebuffed by the businessman, who demanded a refund of all the money he had spent on her.
“So, I wondered if it was the N1,000 he was sending to me he was talking about; what about all the things he had done to me? So, everything will just go like that? He said it was not his concern. He threatened to send the nudes to all my Facebook contacts and family members.
“I asked how much was everything he had spent on me and he said N30,000.
“I told him that I was not working and I did not have the money. I promised to send him N15,000 even though it was not up to what he sent to me during the relationship,” she added.
The woman said before she sent the money, she went on Facebook to look for Kennedy’s sister, who was based abroad.
During their past discussion, the businessman was said to have mentioned having a sister overseas.
According to Temi, when she chatted the sister, she refused to give her audience, saying several ladies had made similar complaints against Kennedy to her.
“I begged her to help me tell him to delete the photos. She said she would block me and my best bet was to report to the police. She said she had disowned him. She, however, gave me the contact of another relative that I should call the person.
“I was about to call the relative when Kennedy called me and started insulting me for reporting him. He then sent me a screenshot of my chats with his sister. He said for daring him, he would start posting my nudes. I begged him, but he refused.
“He sent me a screenshot of two of my Facebook friends he had sent the nudes to. This was in November 2022. I was alarmed because I knew those two people very well,” she added.
Temi said she went to borrow money and sent the N15,000 he requested, while she begged him to delete the photos.
She stated, “The two people he sent my nudes to messaged me and started asking questions. I was in shock. One of them sent screenshots of his chat with Kennedy to me, as he called me a slut.
“The man asked me to make peace with him before the pictures go viral. I called him (Kennedy) to tell him people had started calling me and he said it was none of his business.”
In December 2022, the victim said he called her again, demanding more money.
She noted that Kennedy threatened to deal with her if she reported to the police, as he regularly chatted with her to extort money from her.
According to the mother of two, anytime she refused to take his calls, he would begin another round of threats.
“One day, I had to look for N5,000 to send to him. He said because I was a good girl, he would delete the nudes.
“In January 2023, one of the people he sent the nudes to earlier, who was just opening his Facebook Messenger, called me and after I explained what happened to the person, he promised to use a soldier to track him for me.
“After that time, he (Kennedy) started messaging me, saying, ‘Temi, send me money, I am hungry.’ He now talks as if it is his right to ask me for money,” she said.
Our correspondent obtained screenshots of a Facebook messenger with the name ‘Kennedy’ who posted nudes of the single mother to another user.
Under the chat, ‘Kennedy’ wrote, ‘Your friend; she is a slut.”
Saturday PUNCH gathered that the complaints had been reported to the police in Lagos.
Kester in particular said she reported the matter to the Pen Cinema Police Station on June 17, 2023, but claimed that the cops demanded N50,000 from her.
However, after the intervention of a senior police officer, she said the case was transferred to the Gender Unit of the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
They took my money– Kennedy
Kennedy, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said Kester collected over N600,000 from him for safe-keeping but she refused to return the money.
While not denying taking her nudes, he insisted that he did not post or share them.
He said, “In the course of our relationship, we had fun. Then, she told me to be saving money with her. So, she was keeping money for me. I have all the receipts of our transactions, over N600,000.
“We had an issue last month (May) and I told her I needed money from my savings for my business. Because we had issues, she said no, that she would not send it because I would not send the money back (to her). She said I already had an agreement with her that on no condition should she give me the savings, you know that kind of agreement…
“When she said she would not give me, I became angry. The mistake I made was that I said these pictures (nudes), I am going to blackmail you (with them). That was where I made a mistake. But I did not blackmail her.
“She then sent the money back to me. She sent N140,000. That was where the conversation ended before she went to her friends to tag me on Facebook and call me names. They even wrote to my bank where I had previous employment. My employers sent me an email that I should respond in writing because they placed my account on lien, and after I responded, they ‘unlien’ the account.
“I have been sending money to her up to N600,000. I have receipts for the transfers. They tagged me to a post on Facebook, defaming me.”
Kennedy sent 22 snapshots to Saturday PUNCH showing receipts of transfers he made to Kester.
Some of the receipts had the following narration: Lunch (N5,000); My Queens (N15,000); Safe (N60,000); My boo (N10,000, N5,000); Drugs (N5,000); Save it for me (N100,000).
A list of the payments, however, had no narration and ranged from N2,000 to N30,000.
“For Temi, we were both in a relationship. She was the one sending her nudes to me. I have already deleted them; they are no longer on my phone.
“She was staying in Sango Ota (Ogun State). So, on weekends when we did not see, she would send the photos to me. At a time when we had issues because I was broke, I needed some money and she sent N15,000 to me and that was it. That was the only money she sent to me. I also have receipts of all the money I sent to her. Temi sent the nudes to me,” he added.
Our correspondent, however, queried why he shared photos, sent to him in trust and love, with third parties.
He replied, “To be very honest with you my brother, because you are a man like me, that was unfair. Very unfair. But that is behind me because I have already apologised. I am very unhappy that this is happening now and she (Temi) is trying to bring it up. If I want to demand the money I gave to her, it is in excess of N300,000.”
On the allegation of being a serial blackmailer who fed on vulnerable women, Kennedy said he was doing well in business and could not do such a thing.
He insisted that he had issues with only the two women.
Kester, while denying saving money for Kennedy, said the N100,000 bulk he sent to her in March was for distribution to certain people.
“Most of the bulk money was the money I loaned him, which he was paying back in instalments. He already had plans to add me to his list of victims; that was why he was assisting me financially so he could say what he is saying now,” she added.
Nine widows, three single mothers affected – NGO
The founder of a non-governmental organisation, Black Diamonds Support Foundation, Adewumi Adefunke, said her group got a report on the activities of Kennedy, a “serial revenge porno blackmailer that is on the loose” and decided to get justice for the women.
According to her, four ladies claimed to have been blackmailed by him.
“When we had a call out to research if there were more victims, we recorded over 12 victims of Kennedy: nine widows and three single mothers. He has several Facebook and Twitter accounts to distribute his criminal activities and he never stops. His victims are really traumatised and some as of now are extremely depressed and suicidal,” she added.
She said the case was reported to the state Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, who referred it to the Gender Unit of the command.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the incident but said the victims did not know the whereabouts of the suspect.
He said, “So, it’s too early to start asking questions about a case that just commenced where the suspect is yet to be apprehended. So, it’s too early to start asking questions about a case that just commenced where suspects have yet to be apprehended.
“As for the N50,000 attempted extortion. I commend them for not giving in. I equally charge them to report such to police authorities through dedicated lines in addition to reaching out to the press.”
Revenge porn, a worrisome criminal trend, says govt
The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, said there was an upsurge in revenge porn cases in the state.
She said, “This issue of revenge porn is a worrisome trend because in our offices, we have got several of such reports, where a relationship has gone sour and the lady decides to move on, but unknown to the woman, the man took her nude pictures and is now threatening to release them. Some actually go ahead to post on their websites or on social media. These are criminal allegations and there are relevant laws of Lagos State that address them. I want to believe that this person will be brought to book by the police because it appears he is a serial offender.”
She said the victims could not be blamed because they acted based on trust.
A human rights lawyer, Effiong Inibehe, said blackmail should be condemned by society.
He said, “Blackmail is using someone’s nudes, either video or photographs, with threats that if the person does not succumb to something, the nudes will be published or circulated on the Internet. That constitutes an offence under the criminal law of Lagos State. The conduct itself is appalling and must be condemned by society.
“Any man that takes advantage of vulnerable single mothers to sleep with them and even take their nudes without their consent deserves to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“However, it is not an offence that can be sustained without the cooperation of the victims because of the personal nature of the crime. So, it is important that they come forward. If they have come forward and reported to the police and the suspect has not been arrested, the police are not serious. In so far the person has a name and verifiable phone number, it should be easy to locate him and have him arrested.
“It is for the police to be responsive. But I am hoping my suspicion is not true, which is that the police are expecting the victims to give them money. I am saying this because I know the police in Nigeria don’t and hardly track criminal suspects without getting payment from complainants. This is wrong. If that is true, it is an indictment on the police.”
A Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Ilorin, Onimisi Abdullahi, said the victims needed help to recover from the experiences.
Abdullahi, while urging rights organisations to come to their aid, also advised the women to visit the nearest counselling centres and change their environment, if necessary.
“Women activists should be relating with them now, because they will be scared of men. However, they need to know that this is not the end of their lives,” he added.