A 36-year-old man, Olalekan Kazeem, has been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for alleged fraud and theft.
According to police authorities, the suspect’s modus operandi was to either impersonate a popular person on facebook and defraud unsuspecting people or to offer women free rides with his car only to make away with their valuables.
PUNCH Metro learnt that five women had fallen victim to his tricks, three of whom were National Youth Service Corps members.
The police also said the suspect was five years ago arrested and paraded before journalists.
The victims told journalists at the office of the Police Public Relations Officer that the suspect made away with cash, documents, ATM cards and their handbags.
One of the victims, Adenike Odubiyi, said Kazeem posed as Prince Adekunle Oyekan on facebook.
She said, “On facebook, someone with the name Prince Adekunle Oyekan, sent me a friend request. He never used his own personal picture rather; he used the Nigerian Coat of Arms logo as his picture.
“I accepted his request and he was able to get my BlackBerry PIN on my profile page and we used to chat a lot.
“One day he asked me what I was doing for living but I told him that I completed my NYSC in February but had no job. He told me he had connections with the Nigerian Customs Service and that he could help me get a job there.”
Odubiyi said the suspect demanded for N235,000 and told her that they would need to travel to the NCS Headquarters, Abuja together.
She said on November 15, 2012, she met the suspect at Motorways Plaza, and she got into his car.
She said, “My husband dropped me off at Motorways where I met Kazeem. Kazeem later told me that he was a surgeon and that his real name was Babs Adegoroye.
“On our way to the Ikeja Airport, he stopped to buy fuel at Mobolaji Johnson Avenue. After buying fuel, he said his car was faulty and asked me to help push it (car) so he could kick start it.
“I alighted from the vehicle, leaving all my money (N235, 000), my original credentials and other valuables in his car. Immediately I pushed the car, Kazeem started it and sped off.”
Three NYSC members, who also fell victim to the suspect, said Kazeem offered them a free ride in Oyo State but made away with their belongings.
The victims – Fadeke Adefemi, Ganiyat Ibrahim and Folashade Okunola – were on their way from their Community Development Service when they met the suspect.
Adefemi said, “On December 20, 2012, my colleagues and I were on our way back from CDS on Ishara end of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway when Kazeem saw us in our uniform. He offered us a ride and we boarded his car.
“When we got to Guru Maraji area, he said his car was faulty and asked us to alight and push it. As we were pushing it, the car started and he sped off. All our belongings were in his vehicle, including phones.”
Another victim, Janet Akinbo, said she had a similar experience with Kazeem when he picked her up at Berger end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
She said, “My ATM card, phone and my original credentials were left in Kazeem’s car. My ATM PIN was my date of birth and Kazeem was able to obtain this information from my curriculum vitae.
“He was able to withdraw all the money in my bank account which was N104, 000.”
The suspect, who claimed to be a graduate of Civil Engineering, Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, told PUNCH Metrothat he took to crime because he needed to take care of his wife and four children.
“I became a fraudster because I had fallen victim to fraudsters before. I used to be a foreman for a building construction company but needed more money to take care of my family,” he said.
When quizzed about how he escaped being sent to jail five years ago, the suspect said he was acquitted of all charges.
The PPRO, Ngozi Braide, seized the opportunity to warn members of the public, especially women, to be very careful when dealing with strangers.
“The case of Cynthia Osokogu should serve as a lesson to young women that meeting strangers on social networks or getting into a car with a strange man is dangerous,” she said, adding that the suspect was arrested through intelligence gathering.
She said, “After the lady he met on facebook (Odubiyi) reported at Ogudu Police Station, detectives were able to find him and when his place was searched, some belongings of the other victims were found.
“Through their items, we were able to contact them. However, we couldn’t recover their certificates.”