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Lagos police bursts five-man blackmail syndicate

By The Citizen

The police in Lagos State has bursted a five-man syndicate that specializes in blackmailing perceived wealthy suspects with threat to publish their nude photographs.

The antics of the group, made up of a husband and wife and three other accomplices, came to an end when they attempted blackmailing a senior prophet of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Special Apostle Prophet T. I. Adewoye.

Adewoye was said to have been invited for a prayer session by the only woman in the group, Mrs. Latifat Balogun.

The prayer session was scheduled for Balogun’s matrimonial home.

On getting there, Adewoye was said to have been accosted by the four men in the group, including Balogun’s husband, who is said to be on the run.

They forcefully took Adewoye’s nude photograph.

They then demanded for a N10 million settlement for them not to make the photographs public.

After paying N2.150 million, Adewoye was said to have refused parting with more money and subsequently told some key members of the church about the development.

When the matter was reported to the police, it was easy for the detectives to trace the suspects because they already had a similar case on their hands.

The suspects were said to have also blackmailed a prominent banker the same way, using Latifat Balogun as the bait.

When the detectives went to pick up the suspect, three of them, including Balogun’s husband, fled.

They are yet to be apprehended.

Only Latifat Balogun and Makanjuola Olagunja were arrested.

The police on Monday filed charges against Latifat Balogun and Olagunja in suit No. MM/E/7/2014.

The Ejigbo Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State, where the case is being heard, remanded Balogun and Olagunja in prison for blackmail.

Olagunja, 50, and Balogun, 54, both of Akowonjo area of Lagos State, are facing a six-count charge of conspiracy, assault, threatening violence, obtaining money under false pretence and stealing.

The prosecutor, ASP Nicholas Atumonye, told the court that the accused committed the offence on November 13, 2013 at 11 Shagari Estate, Ipaja, a suburb of Lagos State.

Atumonye said that the accused conspired with others now at large to assault one Prophet Adewoye by forcefully pulling off his clothes and taking nude photographs of him.

He said that the accused threatened to publish the nude pictures of the prophet and unlawfully obtained N2.15 million from him to prevent the publication of the pictures.

The prosecutor said that the accused also threatened the life of their victim by making several phone calls demanding for money.

He said that the offences contravened Sections 56, 170, 285, 312 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Section 312 stipulates 15 years imprisonment for convicted offenders.

The accused however, denied the charges.

The prosecutor objected to bail for the accused on the grounds that several members of their gang had not been arrested.

The Magistrate, Mrs. M.B. Folami, adjourned the case till February 14 to consider the request of the accused for bail.