US Bank Jails Nigerian Because He’s Black
A United States of America (US)-based Nigerian, and a construction worker in Auburn, Washington, Ikenna Njoku, was thrown into jail over a certified cheque of $8, 463. 21, his bank had earlier issued to him.
His lawyer, Morgan Clusters, in a telephone chat with our Correspondent said that “the story goes to show how you could be jailed for banking just because you are black.”
He stated further that it all started in 2010, after the Nigerian construction worker, Ikenna Njoku, had qualified for the homebuyer rebate on his tax return.
Clusters stated further that, Njoku had asked the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) to deposit his rebate directly to his account at JPChase Bank. “Njoku wanted to use the money to buy a dream home, as well as 2001 silver Infinity 1-30 , which was his favourite car,” said the lawyer.
But when the IRS cheque arrived at Chase Bank, they had already closed his account, so Chase Bank charged him $600 including overdraft he had made, and then issued a certified cashier’s cheque for $8, 463. 21, which the bank mailed to him.”
But when Njoku showed up at Chase bank near his home, he was in for a huge surprise. Even though the cheque did have Njoku’s name and address on it, the Chase Bank’s Customer clerk was immediately suspicious of Njoku.
“I was immediately embarrassed,” Njoku had told his lawyer. “She asked me what I do for a living, she asked me where I got the cheque from, she looked at me up and down like, you just bought a house in Auburn, really? She didn’t believe me,” he said.
The Chase bank lady told him the cheque looked faked, forgetting that same Cheque was issued by Chase Bank. Of course at the back of her mind was, here is this black man with this huge amount of money and seeing his name, would immediately think it was fraudulent. Njoku tendered his driver’s license and the cheque, but as he had other errands, he left and by the time he was back the bank had closed.”
“The next day, according the Clusters, he returned only to be met by the police who immediately arrested him. Despite Njoku’s pleas to the police that he was the rightful owner of the cheque, and that they should not take him to jail, still the police disregarded his pleas and took him to jail.”
When the Chase Bank officials cross-checked further and discovered that the cheque was genuine, they called the police, but the investigating police officer had left for the weekend. The message left by the bank that a mistake had been made was not conveyed to the Police Chief either, and Njoku stayed in jail for four days.
But the most egregious insult was that Chase Bank has refused to apologize to Ikenna Njoku, for more than a year until he retained a legal counsel last week.
“And to add insult to injury, the Infinity 1-30 he drove to the bank, and left at the parking lot was towed and sold by the tow company for non-payment of towing fees as he had no money to pay for towing at that time. Njoku, was fired from his well-paying construction job. All this happened because he is black. I must state here that, till this moment they didn’t even know he was Nigerian,” the lawyer said.