By Evelyn Usman
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
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
of their ability to
the dead, a feat they
claimed aided the
the curtains, the
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
The female suspects included Sekifat Anwo(50 ),Bobola
Yusuf(47 ),Adebisi Shoyonde(35) and Titilayo Adigunde 52
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
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.
By Evelyn Usman