A fraud syndicate, which has been in operation for years, finally crumpled like a pack of cards after two of its members started fighting over a lady called ‘Precious.’ The division in the syndicate, which had offices in different states and communities, led operatives of the Inspector- General of Police Special Intelligence Team (IRT), to smash the gang. The smashing of the gang followed a series of letters to the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, in Abuja, from some victims, detailing how they were defrauded.
The IGP instructed IRT operatives, led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari, to lead the investigation. At least, 11 members of the syndicate are currently in police custody. The suspects include a 28-year-old woman, Peace Eje.
Others are Frank Pius, Nduka Innocent, Okechukwu John, Nicholas Nwosu, Chikezie Uwandu, Amos Eze, Ikechukwu John, Michael Ali, Usman Ladan and Lawrence Adams. One of the members, Ladan, 60, said that trouble started after the overall leader, Adams, made moves to snatch his lover, Precious, from him. He believed that the split in the gang was the genesis of their waterloo. He said: “It was Mr. Lawrence that led the police to arrest me because we had a fight over Precious, who is my girlfriend.
As chairman, I coordinated all operations and I have all the materials that were used for operations.” According to the police, the syndicate specialised in defrauding unsuspecting residents of Kaduna State and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Abuja, of their money. The suspects were all arrested in Kabala area of Kaduna State and Jabi area of Abuja. A police source said: “The syndicate operated, using cabs. When they have a target in their cab, they start a conversation about a bag filled with foreign currencies in the boot of the car.
The cab driver will accuse the supposed owner of the bag of trying to get him and other passengers into trouble by not informing him about the content in the bag. “The (supposed) owner of the bag will confess that the money was stolen from a very powerful Alhaji. The owner will claim to be looking for a spiritualist, to help take away the charm or juju on the money. The owner will offer to share the money with everyone in the vehicle that can help in getting a powerful medicine man or woman to cleanse the money.
“If the victim is a greedy person, he will show interest in the story and from that point, he’ll be taken to a fake native doctor. At the native doctor’s place, the victim will be asked to take an oath that he will not reveal the secret and event to anyone or he would die.
From that point, the victim will be swindled.” The alleged leader of the syndicate, Adams, 45, said that he joined the syndicate and rose to become its leader. He explained that he provided details on how the syndicate carried out operations.
Adams, married to two wives, blessed with nine children, said: “I reside in Abuja metropolis, but I was formerly into tomatoes business. I would buy from Zaria and supply to different parts of the country. I fell into the hands of fraudsters and lost N850, 000. I later joined another syndicate in 2007. Members of the syndicate taught me how to do the job.”
Explaining the syndicate’s modus operandi, Adams said: “I usually sit at the front seat of the car, while other members seat at the back with the victim. When we get to a point, a member at the back will tell the driver that he wants to stop to carry his bag in the boot.
The driver will tell him that he saw that the bag or carton contained money. The owner will tell the driver that the carton or bag contained $1million and that he was trying to take the money to his sister to help him remove the charm. “The driver will start shouting that he’ll take the money to the police.
My role is to beg the driver not to call the police. I would suggest that we help the owner of the money, on the promise that we’ll share out of it.
The driver will accept our pleadings. We’ll then ask our victim, if he knows any herbalist that can remove the charm. “If he says no, I’ll mention that I have an herbalist. We’ll go there and the herbalist, who is part of us, will ask each of us to pay N80,000 for cleansing of the money. After we have achieved that, the herbalist will ask us to bring 500, 000 dollars each and then we would ask him to change the money in the bag to naira. I have lost count of the number of people I have defrauded.
We have offices in Jabi and Zango, close to Turkish hospital and at old Karimo.” Ladan on his part explained that he coordinated the Kaduna State arm of the syndicate. He said: “I was formerly a trader. I became a fraudster in 2008 after I was defrauded. My office is in Kaduna. It was formerly owned by Yusuf, who had died. I took over as the chairman. I have four boys working for me. Alex was our driver, but he had died. He was the person that used to hunt for victims. “We scout for victims along Nnamdi Azikiwe Road. Our shrine is located at Kabala area of Kaduna State.
I have lost count of the number of people I had swindled.” Amos Eze, 38, a fake native doctor of the syndicate, said: “I’m one of the group’s native doctors. When they bring a victim to my shrine, I pretend I don’t know members of our syndicate.
They’ll ask for mama, I tell them that mama was dead. I will tell them that I’m in charge of mama’s shrine.” Eze continued: “I’ll ask what brought them to my shrine, they’ll claim they have family problems and needed solutions. I will consult my oracle and tell them that they were all liars and that they all met 30 minutes ago.
I will tell them that one of them was a thief, but not a good one. I will tell them that I saw money and charms. They’ll start begging me to remove the charms for them. “I’ll ask them to go and buy an Akpobiki skin, a blind man’s walking stick with oil and water in it, and Sarri water. These are things I know they couldn’t get by themselves.
They’ll ask me to get them. I’ll ask each of them to pay N30,000, so that I can get the items to prepare the cleansing of the money.
“When the victim pays his own share of the money, I make them take an oath not to allow anyone outside their circle to know what was going on and from there, I’ll ask him to pray for long life and prosperity so that the money will not harm him.
I’ll tell the victim that the charm to cleanse the money, was prepared by seven Islamic clerics. That it was prepared around 12 midnight. And from that point, I then start extorting money from the victim.”