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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Featured stories - I was once picked up by Anti-Fraud Unit over an outstanding sum of N190,000 - Linda Ikeji, CEO, Lindaikijisblog

Linda Ikeji  is Arguably Nigeria’s number one “miss independence" in Neyo’s voice, her obvious talent, persistence, and business ingenuity leaves many in utter awe. Apart from having a pretty face and a coca cola figure, However, like every human being, she has a story to tell.

From being admitted into a course she didn’t want (English) at the University of Lagos, to struggling in newsrooms as a writer, to modeling, and finally selling beer as a waiter in hotels. Linda has shown the strength of the woman to surmount the sundry challenges that life throws on a daily.

In her own words,

“I’d leave lectures, go to a hotel and sell beer from 1 pm till 10 pm. I did this for a few months. It wasn’t easy but I had to survive”. Today the story is different.

How early struggle in business.

Linda Ikeji was once picked up by officers of the Nigeria Police’s Anti-Fraud Unit over an outstanding sum of N190,000 on a loan that she had taken from a Community Bank. Before then, she had struggled with her modeling outfit. Then she tried her hands at publishing a magazine, which was what led to her taking a loan of N350,000 from a Community Bank.

Things went sour when she was unable to repay in full. One thing led to the other, and months later, the police came to pick her up in a marked Police vehicle. I cannot even begin to imagine how horrible that must have felt. Here is an excerpt:

If I tried to describe to you how I felt at that moment, I wouldn’t be able. I stopped breathing for at least 3 seconds. I told her not to let my parents or any other member of our family know the men were outside (Only she knew about the loan and actually went with me to get it). I found something to wear and went to meet the men outside. To be honest, I was hoping they were from the bank and not police men but when they introduced themselves to me (three of them) I froze.

They said they were men from the Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi, and they had been sent to bring me to their office to answer for a loan I took from a community bank and refused to pay back. I was going to ride in their marked anti-fraud unit car – sandwiched between two men.

I didn’t want my parents to know what was going on (it would have killed my mum) so I quickly went back in, put on more appropriate clothes, told Sandra to follow their car in my car so she would go with me to their office.

I remember sitting in that vehicle as they took me to their office in Ikoyi, and wondering how I got to that point. It was like a nightmare. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I got to their office and they made me sit down in front an officer who was handling the case (Sandra was allowed in but she was sitting in another area.).

The officer brought out my case file, and said I was owing the bank N190k for almost a year and I wasn’t going to leave their custody until the money was made available. You know, I’ve had bad days in my life…I mean, who hasn’t? But up until that point, I’d never felt worse in my life. Nothing I’d ever experienced up until that day, sitting in front of this man, and beside other offenders/debtors, was anything close to this. Nothing!

Even now, I can’t even express how I felt that day, what was going through my mind. I felt like a failure. I remember my eyes welled up, because I knew I didn’t have N190k and I didn’t know anyone who could loan me. I started to explain to the officer, then I began to beg and I talked and talked and then I began to cry. I couldn’t believe the situation I was in. I knew it would break my parents hearts if they found out where I was.

She also later tried her hands at a fashion, modeling and beauty school. That didn’t go too well either. Eventually, she shut down her office after she could no longer afford to pay the rent and ran business from home instead. Linda says that her saving grace was that she never stopped blogging. Hear her:

But you see, in all of it, no matter how bad a day I had, no matter how tough it was, no matter the other dreams I gave up on, there was something I never stopped doing, I never stopped blogging. I would cry, wipe my tears, pick up my laptop and blog. If I didn’t have internet at home, I would go to a cybercafe, pay for time and blog there. This work/passion ultimately changed my life.

Nothing in life comes easy, with hard work, determination and prayers, you can achieve anything.

Stay tuned as we bring in more featured stories of successful people to inspire you... What's your thoughts on this?

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