It is an incredible story, a Kim Kardashian type of glamorous life that quickly turns into a nightmare, and a sweet dream again.
Two Canadian sisters, Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo, who sought fame on social media by flaunting what nature and men gave them, get locked up in an infested Nigerian cell in the commercial city of Lagos.
Born and raised in Toronto, by middle-class parents who had immigrated from India, the sisters’ lives changed abruptly 10 years ago, when Jyoti, fresh out of college, met a Nigerian petroleum magnate.
Femi Otedola, the billionaire in question, is a Nigerian businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and chairman of Forte Oil PLC, an importer of fuel products. Otedola is also the founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, and the owner of a number of other businesses across shipping, real estate and finance.
Things would move so fast with Otedola that as The New York Times wrote “He flew both sisters on private jets to France and Greece and eventually to Nigeria, a destination they did not disclose to their strict parents. Upon landing, a convoy of Mercedes-Benz G-Class S.U.V.s drove them to his home, a heavily marbled mansion with a pool and a litany of servants. Kiran lazed away poolside while Jyoti accompanied her lover to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to play polo with a prince”.
The Times added: “After years of romances with a series of fabulously wealthy Nigerian boyfriends, the flamboyant Canadian sisters Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo needed somewhere to store the pricey spoils of their dating careers. So they converted a bedroom in their Toronto home into a large walk-in closet that resembles a luxury boutique”.
“An entire wall is lined with more than 70 pairs of designer high-heeled shoes. Glass wardrobes display dozens of handbags and purses from brands like Hermès, Celine, Gucci and Saint Laurent. Equally pricey clothing drapes tightly from hangers and fills trunks stacked up to the ceiling.
“There are separate drawers for belts, rings, earrings, bracelets, silver necklaces and gold ones. They own a collection of rose gold and diamond-encrusted watches easily worth several cars. And the white Mercedes-Benz sedan parked outside? It’s their third paid for by a wealthy paramour”.
But then things would turn into a nightmare and they would wind up locked up for weeks in Lagos and on Interpol watchlist.
Click to read full report in The New York Times.
Simon is a renowned international journalist, founder and publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.