Danjuma, a 25-year-old Nigerian left home to fulfil his dream of studying abroad. The post-graduate student of Griffith College looked forward to having his best days away from home, but he never thought he would be homeless, and having to stay in hostels.
He moved in with a host family on arrival. Unknown to him, that would be his last stay in a real home for a long while. “Now I don’t know what it feels like to live in a home. I might have to go back to Nigeria before I have that experience again”, he says. His host family had strict rules. “I was given shower time, and my friends could not come visiting. I felt uncomfortable”. After the third week, he was asked to leave. “She told me her daughter would return to Ireland soon. It felt like she wanted me to leave so she can get someone else,” Danjuma said.
“I should have listened to my guts. I had a bad feeling about it. I felt terrible, broken and shattered.“
Some victims of scam are usually suspicious, but the pressing need at hand makes them ignore all the signs. It was not so different in Danjuma’s case. He had his fair share of doubts, but he was desperate to get a place as soon as possible.
Danjuma placed a request on Gumtree.ie. A man claiming to be Alan Bryne contacted him that he had a two-bedroom apartment available for €850 per month at No 1A, Sundale Avenue, Tallaght. “We did the viewing the same day he contacted me. The apartment is in a far side of the city, but I considered it because it would afford me privacy,” Danjuma said.
He met with Alan at Parnell Square, where he paid him €3,400 cash for deposit and 3-month rent then got the keys. He moved into the apartment the following day to discover that electricity in the apartment was out. His neighbours, a new couple who had the same issue called the Landlord on their behalf, and at this point, he realised he had been scammed. Not knowing who he was, the Landlord ordered him out of the house, unbothered about how he got the keys to the apartment.
Danjuma tried reaching Alan to no avail. He then reported at the Garda station that night and was told he had been given a fake lease form.
“I should have listened to my guts. I had a bad feeling about it. I felt terrible, broken and scattered. I decided to start living every day as it comes, and that is how I have survived. It has affected my school work a lot. I can’t even concentrate. There are days I wake up, I don’t know where to sleep, I don’t know what to do with myself, I don’t even know how I will survive. There are days that I can’t even make it to school”.
Danjuma thought he would be home away from home. Unfortunately for the self-sponsored student, his new environment has not been favourable. He now sustains himself with a part-time job. “I made a mistake of coming here on my own”, he said.
To anyone looking to rent a place, once suspicion sets in, take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. Life sometimes warns us of impending danger.