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Our victims are very greedy 'Fraudsters

Published by Tribune on Sun, 25 May 2014

Different antics employed by fraudsters to dupe their victims have become known to many. From pretending to have goods like laptops and phones to sell, to possession of thousands of dollars with a charm placed on it, several people had fallen victims, losing various amount of money to the different syndicates which engaged in this practice.The syndicate members play different roles. Among them are passengers, a driver and a pastor or an herbalist. But the strange thing is that as old as these tricks are, many more victims become preys on a daily basis.Mrs Temitope Ojo, a fashion designer from Saki, Oyo State was no exception, as she lost N10,000 to some fraudsters in Ibadan, Oyo State, recently. However, she quickly came back to her senses before they would fleece her of more cash. In the process, she alerted some mobile policemen she saw and they succeeded in bursting the scene of crime on Tuesday, April 15 and arrested four suspects. The names of the suspects were given as Temitope Morakinyo (43), Ikenna Chukwudi (40), Sunday Eze (34) and Taofeek Ahmed (40).Crime Reports gathered from the victim, who resides at Agbaje-Ijokodo area of Ibadan that 'on Wednesday April 9, I boarded a taxi at Total Garden area of Ibadan en route Sango. Two passengers were in the vehicle. At a point, one of them said he would soon get down, demanding for his change. He also notified the driver of his luggage in the boot. They were all speaking English but had Igbo accent.'The driver told us he was taking the passenger to a police station because he had already opened the bag and discovered dollars. The passenger confessed to being in possession of the dollars and said he stole it from his master in the North when the man died. He also said that a charm was placed on it and he used to fall down whenever he attempted to take from it.'They asked for my contribution, suggesting that the money should be taken to a pastor for prayer. I told them that it was not my business but the driver asked me to cooperate. By then, I suspected I was in the midst of fraudsters but I decided to play along with them to prevent being harmed. The passenger sitting on the front seat suggested his pastor and we were driven to Oke Adu area. The car was parked and we were taken to a dilapidated mud brick house. A man came out of a room with red eyes and asked us in. They told him that they needed anointing oil to pour on a piece of land. The pastor brought a bowl of water and lit some candles.He told the men that they were liars, saying that he saw a ghost in the water who turned his back against him. The pastor said that the indication of this was that one of us stole the ghost's money and others wanted to share in it. He went on to say the money was good money and God destined it that we should partake of the money.'He said he would need to do a spiritual bath for the man who brought the money. Aside this, he said the driver, the second passenger and I should look for over N100,000 to remove the charm on the money. He made us to swear an oath that we would not reveal what transpired among us to anyone. I promised to bring N20,000 and I was led out of the house through another route.'I borrowed N10,000 and took it to the man who claimed to own the money that same evening. The pastor kept calling me for the balance. I told a mobile policeman and he mobilised other to arrest the suspects.'Temitope Morakinyo, who played the role of a pastor among other gang members, told Crime Reports that the name of his church was Come Back To Jesus Christ Church, Ode Aje area of Ibadan. He said he recently started the church and other arrested suspects were the only church members he had. He later admitted to being a fraudster, saying that he was left with no choice than to be one after he was also duped. He said he was duped of N65,000 by the gang which the driver (Chukwudi) belonged to, and he decided to join them afterwards.'The lady was brought to me by others. It is true I told the group to look for N50,000 for me to remove the charm on the money. She brought N10,000 and I said it could not buy the materials needed to remove the charm. The four of us who did the job shared the money equally. I told her to look for more money. She called me on Tuesday, April 15 that she already had her own share of N10,000. I was in my office with another girl who was brought by other syndicate members when mobile policemen came in with her'.The suspect said the woman was the second job he was involved in, adding that he did not get anything from the first victim as she had no money.In his own account, Chukwudi from Abia State, said: 'I was a driver but couldn't get a vehicle to drive again. We used to call the pastor 'Sola'. I met him at a drink joint at Ajegede area. He used to buy ogogoro for me and when I told him I needed something to do, he asked me to join him in the fraud business. He is the owner of the taxi we used to pick our victims. We have different groups within the syndicate.'When we told the woman that we should take the money to police station, she rejected the idea and expressed the desire to share out of the money. That was why she brought N10,000 to destroy the charm.Sunday Eze from Imo State also stated: 'Before I joined the fraud syndicate, I had a quarry in Ondo State. I lost all my property to fraudsters and when all efforts to recover my property through legal means failed, I started visiting where they used to gather to enjoy themselves. After some time, I joined them. When I made about N40,000, I left Akure for Ibadan and started selling fairly used clothes. Unfortunately for me, again, I fell into the hands of another group of fraudsters because they employ different means of getting victims. After they duped me, I started business with them and this is my third year. The person who took me into his syndicate died, that was why I joined 'Pastor' in 2014.'What I know is that anyone who falls victim to us must be a greedy person who wants to share out of what does not belong to him/her.'Ahmed Taofeek said he came from Lagos State three days before his arrest to relieve the man acting as driver. He stated further that he was arrested with others when they brought the victim they got to the 'pastor' on the day of their arrest . 'I knew 'pastor' in Badagry when he came to do this job there some time ago,' he said.The Tuesday victim, Adefara Idowu, told Crime Reports that she was on her way to Ado Ekiti from Lagos State and was at C.A.C. Agbala Itura junction when a taxi pulled up by her side, heading for Ado-Ekiti. She revealed that she was taken to a house where the fraudsters collected N2,500 before policemen came to arrest them. Reacting to the story, the Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Police Command, Olabisi Okuwobi-Ilobanafor, advised members of the public to be wary of criminals who go about town in commercial vehicles to get their victims, pointing out that the tricks being used were age-long.She added that the suspects had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku, Ibadan, for further investigation.
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