This sounds like the stuff of thrillers, a story line that you would find in a best-seller or a top-grossing Hollywood flick. One very vocal Twitter handle posing as a lady, makes a guy fall in love and start a “relationship” with her, sells a story about having kidney problems, heads for the US to get medical treatment, fixes a date when she will return to Nigeria, even fixes a date to celebrate her birthday at a Karaoke event in Lagos this Christmas, so everyone is looking forward to meeting her, then a few days to her return date, news of her sudden death is announced. On all sides, people wail, gnash their teeth and pour eulogies over her.
Today is a few days later the announcement of her death, and I wake up to fresh news starts filtering in that Royal Amebo was one huge scam. A ghost tweep. Like Jason Bourne. Bourne was an alias. A creation of someone’s imagination. That came to me as a shock. In all my detachment from the whole public mourning drama, not for once did it occur to me that something could be fishy. I was just being my detached self. We had followed one another and exchanged banters, but there was no way I could claim that I knew her.
So, I got to asking questions. I was shocked to find out that no one seemed to have ever met her, not even any of those who elegantly eulogised her. I read eulogies on Twitter that should belong to Jesus Ghost Himself and wondered. There were a few blogposts here and there that were dedicated to her too. It is natural to feel sad at the loss of a human, but some of those eulogies were lines I would reserve for someone I personally knew.
In principle, I find it hard to mourn someone I have never met. I couldn’t even mourn Nelson Mandela, though I had followed his story from my teenage years till his death. Besides that, I didn’t know him in person. Call me a monster. Maybe I am. Anyway, back to Royal Amebo, I did send a private DM to the gentleman who was supposed to be her boyfriend to console him. It was the best I could do.
I remember that after news of her death broke and someone gave me what was supposed to be her real name, I ran a Google search for it and came up with nothing on her. Ifeoluwa Ojikutu. Nothing on Facebook, Google Plus, or LinkedIn. That was odd. As a rule, if someone does not turn up in search engine results at all, that is a red flag. Chances are that they really do not want to be found. Or they do not exist. Apart from a male person on Facebook, the only mentions of Ifeoluwa Ojikutu that you will find in a Google search now are of the eulogies and articles dedicated to her after her supposed passing.
Someone I spoke with said that she was told that Royal Amebo had said she was receiving treatment for Kidney failure at the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. She says she has personally called John Hopkins to ask:
I personally contacted John Hopkins Hospital Nephrology Department… there is nothing about her.. no one with her name checked in or died
— N?gusä Nägäst Lita (@SheCrownLita) December 14, 2013
An interesting angle was that the day before her supposed passing, Royal Amebo went tweeting about death and leaving legacies. A few people must have supposed that was her having premonitions of her death. Now, it looks like a perfect setup by a master planner – someone who had her exit well planned out.
Do we have anything conclusive here? No; I do not believe so. But we do have lots of red flags and nothing to prove her identity. Nothing at all. Someone having been to her residence or met a family member would have helped, for example. That would give us a link to her family. But all we have are dead ends. I would hate to trivialise the death of a human or the pain of those who mourn her. Still, there are questions that we all want answered. What were the intentions of the person behind the handle? Were those intentions achieved? It would also be interesting to find out how many guys attempted to set P with her. How many people shared private or sensitive information with her? And lastly, who really was behind the Royal Amebo Twitter handle?
Here is a call to the public: if you have information to verify the person of Royal Amebo, please come forward with it. My heart especially goes out to the young man who fell in love with her and was looking forward to meeting her. This upheaval must make things even harder for him. I contacted him too, but he had nothing further to say other than that he wants to wait and see how this whole thing pans out. This must be a horrible time for him. He certainly needs closure, and the earlier things are sorted out, the better.
However, all indications are that whoever was behind Royal Amebo is perhaps watching now and having a good laugh at a script well executed. While there is a very slim chance that one Ifeoluwa Ojikutu is really dead, I fear that we have all been royally punked. However this plays out, this is the stuff that best-sellers are made of. One can only also hope that lessons have been learned. If anything new turns up, you can expect a follow-up post to this one .