The operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State police Command have arrested four suspects for allegedly swindling members of the public of huge sums of money.
They were apprehended separately by the operatives in three cases of fraud in Maryland, Ojodu Berger and Ajegunle between Tuesday and Thursday last week.
The suspects, Kenneth Umukoro, 36; Uba Utokcha, 41; Joseph Onuoha, 40 and Ikechukwu Okeke, 25, individually confessed to RRS officers during interrogation.
According to one of the victims, Ibeh Chiwenu, she was going to Ojodu Berger from Ojota when Kenneth Umukoro, driving an ash colour Toyota Camry 1997 model with the Registration Number SMK 886 DK stopped at the bus stop to pick her.
“As he drove along, he picked another passenger on Kudirat Abiola Way. We were still on Kudirat Abiola Way when the new passenger started a conversation in a language that looked like French with the driver”, she stated.
She added, “The driver now pleaded that he wanted to take the new passenger to Custom’s Office on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, where his goods were seized. It was here that their story changed and I became the subject of their manipulation in connivance with a Customs agent and a pastor”.
She further explained, “under the pretext that the four of us should assist the man, whose goods were trapped with the Custom over export duties, they brainwashed me into releasing my ATM card and subsequent withdrawal of the last N9, 000 from my account.
“After this, the pastor prayed for me and told me to go home and get more money my family kept at home. All these happened last week.
Today, Thursday, my husband and I were standing at the Maryland Bus Stop. I saw the same Toyota Camry with the same number plate and a new driver, but beside him was the former driver that defrauded me, pretending to be passenger. I alerted RRS officers stationed in Maryland and they arrested them.”
The two other suspects, Joseph Onuoha and Ikechukwu Okeke were arrested separately but in similar circumstances on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
Onuoha disclosed to interrogators that he belonged to a fraud syndicate led by one man simply identified as Toronto, adding that their leader, who is now at large, trained over 40 of them to go out daily in search of would-be victims.
“When we hit jackpot, we share it into five parts. Toronto takes two parts. Two of us in a team share two and we would share the remaining part to others.
“At present, our office in Ajegunle has been busted by the police. Toronto, as I was told has relocated to somewhere in Surulere. Whenever we have issues with the police, he comes around to secure our bail”, he disclosed.
Responding to the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of Police said that the police wouldn’t relent on their duties of making the state crime free but warned members of the public to be wary of suspicious dealings.
The four suspects have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti.