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Senior Police Officer accused of running fraud syndicate in Lagos

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Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi

A Lagos State-based businesswoman, Osuji Onyedikanne, has accused an unknown Senior Police Officer of running a fraud syndicate in Lagos State and assisting suspected members of such syndicates to evade justice.

This much was contained in a petitioned addressed to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi.

The CP, who is aware of the incident following the petition, appeared to be helpless as it has become apparent that an unknown Senior Police Officer is calling the shot.

It was alleged that this officer, immediately suspected syndicate members are arrested, would call and the Investigating Police Officers would start running and scampering about in fright and obeisance and before one could say Jack Robison, these members would saunter out of the police station.

In the petition dated April 8, 2022, addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Onyedikanne, who  runs a travels and tours company, alleged that the unfortunate incident which led going to her going to the police, seeking for justice and closure, started in February 2022.

This was the period when one Mrs. Stephens colluded with others to defraud her in the guise of involving her in her business.

Onyedikanne said that she met Stephens at an event in Lagos in 2019 and they had chatted and had since remained in communication.

In April 2022, Stephens came to her with four men, including a self-proclaimed lawyer, identified simply as Emeka, and lured her into funding a business which she was meant to believe she would be part of.

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They used the name of a dubious company given as Golden Knights Ltd/Golden Knights International Sports Ltd, and claimed that they use the company to recruit upcoming football stars for trial in Spain.

They printed and distributed fliers and made claims of collaborating with the Nasarawa State Government as well as the Embassy of Spain, for which they tendered several documents that made her feel convinced about the genuineness of the business.

They collected from her the initial sum of N6 million and seeing that they had won her confidence, Stephens later came back and collected another sum of N4.5 million in the pretense that she was investing it in another business for her.

The Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, Okechukwu Nwanguma, who is fighting for justice for the victim, said: “She informed us that what convinced her to facilitate the last loan of N6million for them was because they showed her a document written in Spanish which they claimed was an MOU they reached and signed with the Consular, Spanish Embassy Lagos. They claimed that the Consular had agreed to be issuing them visas if they register the company in Spain and then fund the account with about €10,000 – €20,000 and leave the money in the account for two weeks as proof of funds.

“After receiving the money, they absconded and were no longer taking her calls. It was then she realised that they were a syndicate of fraudsters which specialise in defrauding innocent citizens in the guise of investments in importation, exportation, and business establishment. She said she later found out that there were other victims who had been defrauded by this same syndicate and who are still making efforts to recover their money but to no avail as they seem to be enjoying the cover of a particular senior police officer who always intervenes to get them released whenever they were arrested by the police. This has emboldened them to continue in their criminal activities. One of the syndicate members, Emeka, who laid doubtful claims to being a lawyer always boasts of being a member of the Buccaneers secret cult and threatened to send his cult member after victims if they pressed too much for refund. This has been the fate of Onyedikanne.”

Nwanguma stated that when the complainant eventually got them, they threatened her life and those of her beloved ones.

Within this period, her aged father was kidnapped and because she was in dire financial straits as a result of the huge losses she had incurred to these fraudsters, she had to borrow to pay the ransom demanded by the kidnappers to free her aged father from captivity.

All this has combined to put her in serious debts and pressure from clients whom she collected money from to procure visas and travel documents for.

Onyedikanne attached all the relevant documents to her petition evidencing the transactions and communications between her and Stephens, including evidences of payments into the two bank accounts provided by Stephens.

CP Alabi was said to have promptly responded to her appeal to use his good offices to ensure that the fraudsters were arrested and brought to book before they executed their threats to eliminate her and her family members.

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The CP approved the petition and directed it to the Special Investigation Bureau to investigate.

The suspects were arrested on April 13, 2022 at about 6:45pm.

But to her chagrin, they were released as soon as she left the police station without any communication to her or any commitment of payment or any investigation.

The police team promise to obtain a search warrant to be executed on the suspects’ residences is yet to be fulfilled.

As soon as they were released, the suspects went to parade themselves in front of the complainant’s office in a show of being untouchable.

Onyedikanne called the two Investigating Police Officers identified as Wale and the other simply called ‘Accountant’ and later also called the team leader, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dominic Amechi, but none of them picked her calls.

After the Easter holidays, she went to the Command headquarters to inquire what transpired and the IPOs told her that “one Oga called for their release on the grounds that they were to pay N1,000,000, that same day and bring N2,000,000.00 the next four days.”

Nwanguma said: “They placated her and assured her that they were on top of the matter. By the time she went back to the Command four days later, which was on 19th April, the suspects had not dropped any money at all and IPO Dominic was nowhere to be found. She then went to the Officer in charge of Special Investigation Bureau (SIB), a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mohammed Alkasim, who, after listening to her, ordered that the suspects should be re-arrested and detained since they did not keep to their promise.

“He directed Superintendent of Police (SP), named Justice, to stand in brief for Dominic since he was not around.

“Justice reminded Emeka, the self-acclaimed lawyer and a member of the syndicate that they had promised, in his presence, to pay N2million before their release and up to that date they were yet to bring any money.

“Emeka responded that the money was intact in their account and that it would not take them an hour to bring out the money.

“Justice asked why they did not want to give the woman her money and instead subjecting her to stress. Emeka kept mum.

“Justice then said they were to be detained and Onyedikanne left the command at about 9:45pm. When she called in the morning, to find out if they had brought some money, she was informed that they had been released again, on the intervention of the same faceless ‘Oga’ and that the ‘Oga’ facilitated the suspects’ release at 12am.”

While this was still going on, Onyedikanne said IPOs Dominic and ‘Accountant’ called and asked her to bring Stephens’ passport, which the woman had dropped with her as part of the collateral for the loan.

The police threatened her that if she did not return the passport, she would become an accused in her own case.

Onyedikanne, who was shocked to her bone marrows, asked what they were talking about, to which they responded that it was another order from the same “Oga.”

The human rights activist said: “She asked them ‘what about my N9.5m and my clients’ passports which the same syndicate is holding?’ They said it didn’t matter. She said that because the fraudsters believed they had fully compromised the police, they have refused to bring the six passports of her clients till now, insisting that they would only bring the passports on the condition that she returns Stephen’s passport. She decided to go back to the CP, and after explaining her predicaments, she said the CP was angry but held back his reservations and asked her to go and see the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of Operations, Mohammed Kontagora, which she did.

“Kontagora instructed the O/C SIB to invite the suspects back to the command. Till date, the suspects are yet to show up after three appointments and invitations for them to come even on the orders of the DC Ops.

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“The IPOs would say the suspects changed the date to a convenient date and yet they would not show up at the next date.”

“Onyedinanne said she informed the police that Stephens and her son, Desmond, who is also a member of the syndicate, have been living at Dohela Hotels & Suites, 6, Ijero Street by Kilo Bus Stop, Ikate, Surulere, Lagos since June 2021, without any defined means of livelihood, but they refused to do anything about it, rather they pass all the information to the suspects thereby endangering her life.”

Nwanguma noted that owing to the indication that the investigators at the SIB, Lagos State Police Command might have been compromised by allowing the fraud syndicate suspects to dictate the pace of investigation for asking the complainant to return the prime suspect’s passport which she dropped as part of collateral, while she was still holding six of her clients’ passports, and was yet to pay back the money she fraudulently obtained from her, and with the investigators threatening to “turn the complainant into the accused” if she failed to return the accused person’s passport, Onyedikanne stated that she had lost confidence in the SIB  team.

The complainant appealed to the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba, to urgently direct the Assistant Inspector General of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Alagbon, Lagos to take over the investigation with a view to ensuring a prompt, impartial and exhaustive investigation, ensuring that these fraudsters pay back her money, release her clients’ passports, and are also fully unraveled to identify other crimes they had perpetrated against other unsuspecting citizens.

EAGLE

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Toddler’s death: Delta police dismiss suspect’s bail report

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A teacher, Emeka Joshua, alleged to have flogged  a 19-month-old child, Adaeze Obinna, to death, has been granted bail, The Nation has learnt.

He was said to have been granted bail alongside his mother, the proprietress of Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School, Camp 74, Asaba, Delta State.

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The Nation also learnt that the school, which was closed by the state government, was being renovated in preparation for reopening.

A post by one Harrison Gwamnishu, a human rights activist, on his Facebook page, said the suspects had been released on bail.

But police spokesman Edafe Bright debunked the claim.

“That case was charged to court. So what release are you talking about?” he queried.

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75-year-old American dies in Nigeria 24 hours after arriving to meet 36-year-old husband

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Homicide detectives attached to the Victoria Island Police Station, have launched investigations into the mysterious death of a 75-year-old American identified as Doris Samuel, who died moments after coming to Nigeria to join her 36-year-old husband, Okelue Kingsley.

It was gathered that the deceased came to Nigeria to meet Kingsley so that they would both go to the American Embassy to facilitate his travel documents.

It was learned that on the way to the embassy, the woman suddenly slumped and died inside the Uber car that was taking her and Kingsley to the embassy.

The situation compelled the distraught Kingsley and the Uber driver, identified as Ayodeji Adebisi, 49, to detour to the United States Consulate, Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, to present the dead body.

According to a Situation Report sighted by our reporter, the incident occurred on May 23, 2022.

However, Samuel was said to have arrived in Nigeria on May 22, 2022.

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Thus, she died less than 24 hours after landing on the shores of Nigeria.

According to a police source, an internal investigator of the United States Consulate, Obayuwana Jelterson, is already investigating the death of Samuel.

Jelterson had escalated the matter to the Victoria Island Police Station, where Kingsley and the Uber driver were detained for further questioning.

The police SITREP states: “On May 23, about 9:30 am, one Obayuwana Jelterson, an internal investigator of United States Consulate, Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, reported at the station that on the same day about 5:30 am, Okelue Kingsley, 36 years old, brought a corpse of one Doris Samuel, 75 years, an American to the consulate, in a Uber Toyota Corolla Saloon car, with registration number, AKD 494 HH, driven by one Ayodeji Adebisi, 49. The said Kingsley Okelue claimed that the deceased was his wife who arrived in the country on May 22, 2022,  to accompany him to US Embassy for a visa interview.

“However, the woman died in the vehicle while on their way to the embassy for the exercise. Based on the report, a team of detectives visited and photographed the scene. The victim was taken to St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos Island, where she was confirmed dead by the doctor.

“The corpse was evacuated to Marina General Hospital morgue for autopsy. Meanwhile, the driver and the deceased husband have been taken into custody and an investigation is in progress.”

EAGLE

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Soludo ‘Moves Against IPOB’, Declares Curfew In 7 LGAs

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Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State

Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State has declared curfew in seven Local Government Areas of the State to checkmate the excesses of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

They are Aguata, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Orumba North and Orumba South.

The governor made the declaration in a statewide broadcast on Wednesday.

He said the curfew, which takes effect from Friday , will be in force until normalcy returns to the affected areas.

“With effect from tomorrow, Friday, 26th May, 2022, a 6pm to 6am curfew is hereby placed on motorcycles (okada), tricycles (keke), and shuttle buses in Aguata, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru, Orumba North and Orumba South Local Governments until further notice.”

“Also, motorcycles, keke and shuttle buses are banned from operating in these local governments on Mondays until the Sit-at-Home completely stops,” he said.

He directed the youths in every community in the zone to assist the security agencies in the implementation of the policy, mandating them to seize any such motorcycle or tricycle on the spot.

“The Okada, Keke, and shuttle bus union leaders must take responsibility to report their members who are involved in criminal activities. We shall review this after two weeks, and if members of these unions continue to be involved in criminal activities, the government will have no choice but to either disband the Unions and/or ban them out rightly in the state.

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“No part of Anambra State (house, bush or forest) shall be used as camps for these criminals. Anyone with a gun in a camp is considered a criminal in Anambra State, and the government and people will work with security agencies to flush them out. The State Government shall pursuant to its powers under the Land Use Act revoke and acquire any land found to be harboring these criminals, for public purpose. Henceforth, every community is required to provide information on any part of their land occupied by these criminals as camps. If the community fails to do so, the government will take over such land.

“All communities are hereby charged to take over their communities completely and through the leadership of their Town Unions and Traditional Rulers give weekly security reports (submitted every Friday) to the State Government on the state of security in their communities. The cooperation of the youths in that regard is now imperative. I charge the vigilantes of each community to rise to the occasion and contend with these criminals in your locality whether they are in your bush or the houses in your community. The State Government expects the report of any progress made in this regard and shall support and reward you accordingly.

“Any buildings found to be harboring these kidnappers and murderers who have laid siege on our State will, as provided by Criminal Code (Amendment No.3) Law 2013, be forfeited to the State Government. To that extent, all landlords are hereby directed to proceed on “Operation Know Your Tenant” by keeping appropriate records of their tenants and report anyone suspected of being involved in criminal activities. Each community leadership must keep full register of all tenants in their communities, their occupation, etc and keep an eye on their activities. The State Government shall as an emergency measure, disband the leadership of any community which fails to report criminal activities in their communities or immediately respond to the requests contained in this address.

“All market leaders and stakeholders are hereby charged to join the communities in taking back their territory and monitor the activities in their markets. They are all required to return weekly security reports to the State Government.

“Everybody who either in person or through telephone calls demands cash support or ransom from anyone in furtherance of any criminal activities or groups should immediately be reported to the government via the telephone lines provided.”

DAILY TRUST

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