Magistrate Lateef Layeni of the Special Offences (Mobile) Court over the weekend at Bolade, Oshodi remanded four men in prison custody for impersonating environmental officials and extorting unsuspecting members of the public.
A release issued by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Kunle Adeshina, stated that the four men, Afolayan Nurudeen (41), Fowowe Oluseyi (40), Kayode Olaleye (47) and Muibi Babatunde (50), arraigned on a four-count charge pleaded not guilty when their pleas were taken.
The statement said the men were arraigned for impersonating public officers by representing themselves as staff of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources to the public; fraudulently using false documents with the intention that the documents shall be used and acted upon as genuine; conspiring to commit a felony, and conducting themselves in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace.
He added that the presiding Magistrate thereafter fixed Tuesday, March 30 for commencement of the trial of the accused persons and ruled that they be remanded at the Badagry Prison.
Adeshina explained that the four men were arrested on Wednesday, 17th March at about 3.45 pm at Golden Face Hotels, Orile Iganmu, by Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Officials with assistance from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources officials following surveillance.
“Items found on the men included fake inspection letters, identification cards, Abatement Notices of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Lagos State Wastewater Management Office (LSMWO), copy of court summons and stickers for certification of decontamination, all bearing the logo of Lagos State Government”, he said.
Informing that the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources had been inundated with complaints and reports from members of the public about the activities of some men, who usually extort money on the pretext of enforcing sanitation laws in different parts of the State, Adeshina added that the situation prompted the Ministry to liaise with officials of Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps to lay siege for the men who had been operating in the Orile Iganmu area for a while before they were apprehended.