Operatives of the Lagos State Taskforce have arrested three members of a fraud syndicate who operate in Ikeja, Egbeda and Igando parts of Lagos.
The three members of the gang, two male and one female are Bola Tony, 38; Eddie Okoro, 48, and Tochi Ikeji, 40.
They were arrested on Friday at Ikeja Under the Bridge when the trio was identified by one of their victims who saw them driving in traffic, and drew the attention of Task Force officers stationed around the Bridge to them.
The victim, who craved anonymity was accosted by the gang the previous day and was dispossessed of the sum of N20,000 under the guise of purchasing prayer materials to be used in neutralizing a purported charm laced to a fake sum of money in the boot of the gang’s vehicle.
Speaking on the arrest of the notorious suspects, the Chairman of the Agency, CSP Shola Jejeloye disclosed that this set of suspects were known for lurking in the shadows, searching for innocent victims to prey on.
He said that though the technique adopted by the gang was an old one, people still fall victim.
“The three of them set out in their vehicle searching for victims as passengers. The driver starts up a conversation about a large sum of money belonging to the female accomplice in the car who poses as a passenger and then she claims she stole the money from her diabolic husband who is out to destroy her.
“They now engage the innocent passenger in the scheme of getting to share the purported amount and the third passenger suggests a pastor who has the ability to neutralize whatever spiritual curse has been placed on the large sum of money. When they get to the location of the pastor, the extortion begins. The victim is compelled to part with various sums of money and this scheme could last for weeks,” he explained.
In his confession to the Police, Ejike, the leader of the gang disclosed that he had been into the dubious act for over 3 years right after he lost his Danfo bus.
He confessed to swindling the latest victim of N25,000 and also claimed that the highest amount of money he ever made was N250,000 which was unevenly split among all gang members.
The female suspect, Bola Tony confessed to joining the gang three weeks ago, stating that she got only N2,500 out of the N25,000 bounties.
“I was introduced to this gang by the leader of another Gang, Tony, who wanted me to join his gang but unfortunately his squad was complete. I didn’t make a dime throughout the three weeks of working except for the 25,000 Naira made yesterday which has landed us in trouble today”
CSP Jejeloye urged Lagosians to be watchful and observant, especially when in unregistered and unmarked commercial vehicles as it is one of the major tools criminals use in perpetrating these crimes.
“Once conversations concerning illicit dealing over money commence in such a vehicle, please alert immediately and draw the attention of any law enforcement agent around”
He warned all criminal elements in the metropolis to turn over a new leaf or risk being arrested and prosecuted. “Fraudsters are not welcome here” he noted.