Wednesday, September 10, 2014 8:19 am
Abiodun Onafuye/ Abeokuta
Four suspected fraudsters; Shehu Salam, Mrs Risikat Oriyomi, Mrs Sola Babalola and a disabled man, Wasiu Ajani were yesterday arrested by the Ogun State Police Command, after duping a couple of N14.5 million.
The suspects were arrested at their den at Omusorin village in Obafemi- Owode local government area of the State.
The fifth suspect, simply identified as Baba Awotola, who was believed to be the ring leader of the gang fled when the men of the Special Anti-robbery Squad closed in on them at their den.
Our correspondent gathered that it was the physically challenged man, Ajani, a native of Ilorin, Kwara State, who claimed to be an Islamic Cleric that got the couple into the net of the fraudsters, who hoodwinked gullible members of the public, promising special cure-all prayers.
The State Police Commissioner, CP Ikemefuna Okoye, who on Tuesday led the police team to the fraudsters shrine, which they were using as their operational base, said Ajani admitted he lured the couple, who are rice merchants, to the gang.
He presented himself as ‘Sheik Bulala’ , an Islamic Cleric from Offa, Kwara State.
According to the CP, “Ajani on the fateful day dressed in an Islamic cassock and hung about 9 different praying rosaries on his neck. He accosted the couple around Owode Onirin market in Lagos. He later told them that a revelation he saw was that problems are before them and they needed to urgently ward it off through special prayers.
“Ajani also told them to buy some measure of salt and give it as alms to three beggars. He later told the husband to buy a local egg, pray with them and return them to him. He later used the egg as a bait to lure the couple to their den, where they began to swindle them”, the CP quoted Ajani to have revealed to him.
It was further gathered that Ajani got the man’s wife mobile number and called them to bring the eggs to their den for special prayer.
The couple, who pleaded anonymity, revealed that the syndicate, under the pretence of assisting them to ward off their problems, dubiously collected N14.5m from them in three instalments.
They stated that the syndicate used the two women in their gang, Risiqat and Sola, as ‘white witches’, who claimed to offer prayers to ward off evils.
The ‘witches’ who claimed to have descended from ‘heaven’ reportedly said they needed money to fly back to ‘heaven’.
While speaking with journalists, Ajani said, he got the information about the couple from their fleeing leader, Baba Awotola.
According to him, “It was Baba Awotola who introduced me to this shady business. He asked me whether I want to die as a wretched man. He was the one who gave the information that the couple had a problem and that they are a bit comfortable. He promised me a car and a sum of N300,000, but he only gave me and Shehu N100,000 each”, Ajani narrated.
The State Commissioner of Police,Okoye Ikemefuna,however warned residents to be wary of fraudsters, who parade themselves as Clerics.
He urged the people to report any shady activities they noticed in their communities to the police.