A suspected kingpin of a syndicate of fraudsters, one Segun (surname withheld), whose members specialised in defrauding unsuspecting Nigerians, has been arrested by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command.
Metro learnt that the suspect, popularly known as Okadigbo, was apprehended last weekend by the decoy team of the RRS in his shrine at Ijora area of the state in connection with fraud allegedly perpetrated by the four-man gang under him.
The syndicate, headed by the suspect, was reported to have duped a lady (names withheld) about a year ago on her way from Ikorodu towards Mile 12 to purchase some goods. The fraud was said to have been supervised by the kingpin’s suspected accomplice, Christian (surname withheld).
Through the preliminary investigation carried out by the RRS, it was discovered that Segun had been the arrowhead of a number of fraud syndicates operating in different parts of Lagos and Ogun states, with members of his syndicate reporting to his shrine regularly to plan their activities.
Metro further gathered that four of Segun’s accomplices had earlier been arrested by the operatives of RRS and they had mentioned him as their syndicate leader, leading to his arrest last weekend after he had been evasive for about a year.
In his confession to the police, Segun admitted being a fraudster, disclosing that he used to act as a herb-seller in parts of Lagos, but denied being the syndicate leader.
According to him, “it is true that other fraudsters used my shrine and office. They brought their victims there but everybody operated individually. Although, the fake dollar notes they used were mine, I don’t know anything about the operation for which they were arrested.
“I operated by selling herbs but I used to sell the idea of quick-money rituals to people, as well as herbs for people looking for fruit of the womb. I used to do spiritual bath for clients and that was how I defrauded people and made my money.”
In his confessional statement, Christian, said to be the leader of the syndicate that duped the female victim, said: “We robbed her about a year ago. We took all she had from her, including N300,000 and recharge cards of all networks worth N120,000. Okadigbo (Segun) is our master whom most of us report to at least thrice in a week.”
“All of us, about nine groups that I know, reported to him. We operated in different parts of the metropolis. He was so powerful and fiery that no police dared arrest him. Now, I am shocked seeing him here with us in police custody.”
Another syndicate member, Toyin (surname withheld) also told the police that it was greed which made her join the gang two years ago. “I was a stylist and doing well before I joined them. When I saw how they were spending money on ladies like me, I moved closer to them to know their secret.
“Initially, they were reluctant to tell me, but I pressed on until one of them asked me if I could keep a secret. He opened up and I joined them.”
Speaking further, she said: “My main assignment was to act as someone carrying foreign currencies who didn’t know her destination.”
Recounting her ordeal, the victim said: “It was on a Wednesday afternoon, January 13, 2016 to be precise, and I was on my way to the market. The lady among them flagged me down by calling Sabo passengers from Ikorodu garage.
“When I saw the lady in the bus calling for prospective passengers, I didn’t have any doubt. Immediately I jumped in and sat beside her. I saw three other men inside the bus.
“Suddenly, as we were progressing, the lady begged me to help her with my phone to make phone calls, giving the excuse that she had no credit on hers.
“As a lady, I handed over my phone to her and she made two separate calls on my phone. As we moved, the driver took another route which I didn’t know.
“I queried the driver, asking him where he was taking me to, but he refused to respond. Suddenly, they pulled over in the middle of the way, the driver pointed a gun at me and the lady showed me a knife, asking me to cooperate.
“They ransacked my bag and removed all the money I had with me, including the recharge cards. They dropped me and spedoff.”
Confirming the incident, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Police Dolapo Badmos, said that the suspects had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation, adding that they would be charged to court upon completion of investigation.