A 43-year-old cleric is in police net in Lagos for charming his U.S.-based friend to collect N105 million from the latter by false pretence.
Parading the suspect before newsmen on Monday, Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone-2, Mr Ali Mohammed, said the cleric also charmed his friend’s wife and three children and took them over as his own.
He said the cleric’s wife assisted her husband in the escapade.
Mohammed said aside the money and the friend’s family, the cleric and his wife also took over five vehicles and landed property belonging to the U.S.-based friend.
He told newsmen that that the suspect confessed using spiritual means to take over his friend’s family, more than N105 million and several landed properties in Lagos.
He said the cleric admitted to have bewitched the friend into changing his children’s names and land documents into his.
Mohammed said a complaint was lodged with the police on July 17, 2023, leading to the arrest of the cleric and his wife.
He added that other accomplices of the cleric and his wife were currently at large, but that five persons had been arrested over the crime.
He said also that one white Toyota Venza 2009 model, one Ashok Leland Bus and various landed properties had been recovered from the suspects.
“The suspect abducted the petitioner’s wife and children for more than 10 years; subsequently changed their names to his through the help of his wife.
“He converted all the petitioner’s properties to his own, claiming that God directed him to do so.
“It was God that opened the petitioner’s eyes 10 years after when he realised what he was doing and returned to Nigeria to file his petition,’’ Mohammed said.
He added that the cleric’s wife confessed to the alteration of the birth documents of the complainant’s children to bear the cleric’s name.
He said that the cleric’s wife also admitted to have received more than 17,000 dollars (about to N11.8 million) from the complainant.
“Investigation showed that the suspect met the complainant at a religious place in Lagos after which they became friends.
“The complainant is based in the U.S.A and became close to the suspect about 16 years ago. While they were friends the complainant started to send the suspect money to execute a project.
“Instead, the suspect converted the complainant’s entire savings amounting to more than N105 million to his own,’’ Mohammed said.