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Monday, October 6, 2014

Police Uncover Fake Healing Homes In Ogun State

Residents of Erukun community in Itori, Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State, were jolted over the weekend after detectives stormed the area and arrested suspected members of a syndicate that hide under the cover of spiritualists to swindle unsuspecting members of the public.

At the end of the operation which lasted for hours, 11 members of the syndicate including four women whose ages range between 35 and 52 years, were reportedly arrested in three buildings located inside the forest. Boldly written in front of one of the buildings is the inscription; Heritage Naturalist Car Limited a.k.a Isese Ajogunba. It is commonly believed to be a spiritual healing home where people with varying ailments visited from far and near, for treatment.

Communicating with the dead

Crime Guard learnt that Operators of the shrine had reportedly boasted of their ability to communicate with the dead, a feat they claimed aided the healing process.

However, behind the curtains, the suspects were alleged to hypnotize their innocent victims and thereafter, demand for money. If their victims failed to succumb to their demand, they would allegedly detain them inside the shrine until their demands were met.

Sometimes, they reportedly allowed stubborn victims to leave the shrine unconscious, apparently to prevent them from blowing open the lid on their nefarious activities. This is done after dispossessing such victims of their valuables which include phones and cash.

However, the bubble burst last Saturday after the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikemefuna Okoye, detailed men of the State Anti-Robbery Squad to be on the trail of the syndicate. The operatives reportedly stormed the shrine at about 3pm and succeeded in rescuing some victims.

Some of the rescued victims, as gathered, were unconscious as a result of the concoction that was allegedly administered on them. One of the victims, a woman of about 35 years was reportedly found in a secluded room where she was awaiting a message from her late mother. Strange as this may sound, the woman was reportedly convinced that her late mother would appear to her with vital information on the way out of her predicament.

However on closer look, the operatives noticed that a rubber pipe was connected from the shrine to the room where the woman was kept. The same pipe was also connected to another room where a member of the syndicate usually stays. Unknown to the unsuspecting solution seekers, a member of the syndicate would speak through the pipe which echoes inside the communication room and the shrine. Several questions would reportedly be asked by the supposed deceased, to the hearing of the fake prophet inside the shrine.

After the session, the client will report to the prophet in the shrine. But before he would say anything, the prophet would reportedly call for a five-minute silence to enable him have his session of communication, at the end of which he would narrate every conversation that transpired between the client and his supposed relative.

Spokes person for the Ogun State Police Command, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police gave identities of the 11 suspects, as Ako Abiola(46),Kolawole Wasiu( 43), Akin Olatunji(37 ),Adeyemi Samuel(38),Adewole Jamiu(32 ),Saheed Lateefa(40) and Oriyomi Hussain(29), all men

The female suspects included Sekifat Anwo(50 ),Bobola Yusuf(47 ),Adebisi Shoyonde(35) and Titilayo Adigunde 52 years.

The syndicate, according to Adejobi, had been operating in the village since 2005,and unspecified number of persons had fallen victims. He said each suspect had a specific role to play in the business, while majority of them act as 'marketers' who go out to source for gullible victims.

The marketers, as gathered, shared stories of some unfounded 'miraculous' healing to prospective clients with a view to convincing them to patronize the shrine. They would even volunteer to take their 'converts' to the shrine after getting first hand information from them.

Adejobi hinted that: "The detectives swooped on the suspects at their shrine and arrested 11 of them while trying to dupe some victims (names withheld) who were hypnotized. Many fetish objects and figurines were displayed at the shrine for their dirty deals. Fake currency notes and money-making materials were recovered at the scene of crime.

Suspected leader collected N400, 000 from a client.
One of the suspects, Wasiu Kolawole, who claimed to be an Arabic teacher, told Crime Guard that he was introduced to the alleged leader of the syndicate, Akoje Abiola, by a Prophet (names withheld).

The 43-year-old suspect said: "I own a spiritual home in Agbara, Ado-Odo/Otta Local Government Area of Ogun State. I was in my shrine when one Taiwo Omotayo approached me on behalf of his twin brother, Kehinde, who had problem at his workplace in Port- Harcourt. He said some people wanted to kill him and that he had visited several spiritual homes but was told that a sacrifice was needed to appease his late mother.

"I told him that I was not into such but promised to speak to my colleagues on his behalf. I approached Prophet Bolaji who stays at Igbanla area of Badagry, Lagos State. He said he could not do it and introduced me to one Akeem, an Islamic spiritualist. From there we were introduced to Akoje Abiola, owner of Heritage Naturalist Care Limited, at Ekunru Village, in Itori.

"The first day we met Akoje, he informed us that N400, 000 would be needed for a cleansing sacrifice for the twins. Taiwo immediately gave him a deposit of N100, 000 to start the process. In my presence, Abiola sent one of his boys to buy a ram, two cartoons of gin, ten hens, two bottles of palm oil and other spiritual items.

"The balance of N300, 000 was later given to him, following which he fixed an appointment last Saturday, with the twins. I went with them but waited outside the shrine while Abiola who was joined with other priests and priestesses were inside appeasing the twins' late mother. Before I knew what was happening, the police stormed the shrine and arrested us."

When owner of the shrine and suspected leader of the syndicate, Akoje Abiola was approached, he simply stated that his shrine was not used to defraud people.

The suspects, according to the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye, who visited the scene Monday, in the company of other senior police officers, would be charged to court.

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