Crime

Lagos Doctor Narrates Ordeals How Spiritualist Enchanted Him Of N127 Million

LAGOS – Lateef Oladimeji Bello, a medical doctor, has narrated to a Lagos Special Offences Court, sitting in Ikeja, how he was enchanted out of N127 million by alleged spiritualists.

Bello told Justice Rahman Oshodi that he, and his wife, was defrauded by supposed Spiritual-cleansing practitioners.

The doctor claimed that at “that time we (Bello and his wife) [were] not in our right senses.”

“We were under their spell,” Bello told the court.

The defendants were re-arraigned in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

During Bello’s cross-examination, Tuesday, the defense sought to tender the Zenith Bank account statement (of the doctor) as evidence.

The prosecution did not object to the admission of the document as evidence.

The defendants, include Morufu Adewale Yahaya, Omitogun Ajayi, and Ajisegiri Abiodun.

Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka, Taiwo Olamilekan Ahmed, Rauf Wale Raheem, and Owolabi Teslim Sanlabiu, were arraigned on an amended three-count charge.

The defendants were initially arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo who eventually retired.

Justice Taiwo’s retirement caused the case to get transferred to the court presided over by Justice Oshodi.

The EFCC’s prosecution of the defendants was started de novo (afresh).

The EFCC alleged that the defendants obtained the sum of £1 million from Dr. and Dr. (Mrs.) Lateef Oladimeji Bello, to conduct prayers for spiritual cleansing of the (victim’s) family.

Also, the defendants claimed they would refund the couple’s money, after the purported cleansing prayers, within one week.

All of the defendants engaged with the couple under pretenses, according to the EFCC.

By allegedly obtaining the sum of N175 million from the couple, between August and September 2018, the defendants committed offenses that border on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretense.

Conspiracy to obtain money by false pretense is contrary to the provision of Section 1(1)(a) and 1(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.

The offense is also contrary to the provision of Section 410 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the amended charge.

Justice Rahman subsequently adjourned the court proceedings to July 7, 2023, for a continuation of cross-examination.

Earlier, on Monday, Bello (the EFCC witness) narrated to the court how he and his wife were led to a shrine in a bid to carry out spiritual cleansing.

Bello began to recount how he, his driver, and Sanlabiu, one of the defendants, went to the shrine with a ram they bought at Ijebu-Ode for prayers on behalf of his family.

“Two days later, myself, Ajayi, the Alfa, Sanlabiu, and my driver, went there (the shrine) with the ram, which we bought at Ijebu-Ode – that we needed some other prayers for the family.

“On getting there, they slaughtered the ram and some other things, after which they said I should remove my dress. And [they] gave me a wrapper to cover myself,” the doctor said.

Bello narrated how he was taken to a place where he witnessed a container of water boil, from which the spiritual cleansing workers poured some of the water on his head, but it was very cold.

“They did the same to my wife,” he said.

Afterwards, the couple was taken to a different room where they met about nine women who were dressed in white clothes.

“They (the white-clad women) claimed to be White witches, and said that they were there to help us.”

“They said; though they have finished with my son, that we have a lot of spiritual problems in my family, and my extended family,” he continued.

The doctor narrated how he was prophesied concerning events; from his wife’s retirement to a better position in the future.

“They now demand ‘Oropo kan’ (which roughly translates to One Million in the English language),” the witness said.

Bello said it was his first time hearing such words.

However, the couple would go on to a different room and meet Yahaya (another defendant) who gave them a different interpretation, effectively raising the amount demanded by the White witches to One million British Pounds.

The couple was asked to deposit One million pounds in a box. They finally deposited £800,000.

The sum was to be refunded in a week, in addition to an ornament, Oluomo, that they would find underneath the money which Bello’s wife was meant to have on her.

The doctor told the court that “under total control of our senses,” he paid N1 million into the account number of one Gbegulerin Adelana (the alias of Morufu Yahaya),

He said that the defendant; Yahaya, had instructed Taiwo to buy some things the shrine needed, before the actual payment of £ 1 million.

The couple subsequently paid N200,000 for purported pigeons.

According to Bello, “They said that those witches only drink the blood of pigeons, and so collected N200,000 to buy pigeons for those witches, and N10,000 for the cage as they said they’ll buy them at Sagamu.”

Eventually, the fraud victim figured out they had been defrauded.

The prosecution counsel, U.K Ukoha revealed to the court that on the day the witness went to Ijebu-Ode and discovered that the £800,000 was no longer in the box, he called his wife to let inform her there was no money in the box, as well as no “Oluomo” ornament.

On returning to Lagos, Bello and his wife put a call across to the defendant, Alaka, and learned that they had been defrauded.

According to the witness, Alaka told them that his share was N250 million and that if they loved their lives, they should not report to anybody and move on with their life.

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