A 56-year-old Celestial Church prophet Peter Onanuju has been arrested by the anti-fraud command of the Federal Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Alagbon for alleged N18million fraud.
Ononuju, a resident of 41, Jubril Martins Street, Lawanson in Surulere was paraded on Tuesday by Police Commissioner Nkem Okoro at the FCIID, Alagbon, Ikoyi.
He was said to have collected the money from a widow, Oluchi Dillion in the guise of acquiring a plot of land for her son at Ibeju-Lekki.
According to the victim, the incident occurred in April last year but she realised she had been duped when the suspect started threatening to wipe off her entire family.
She said it was at the point of demanding for documents of the land that she discovered it belonged to the suspect’s ex-wife.
She said: “I have known him for over 30 years. He was my lover then. He used to sleep in my father’s house when we were young. I gave him the money in trust and I never knew he could do this to me.
“As a man of God, I confided in him that I need to buy a property and he told me he knew someone that has one. He told me he had seen the one of N12 million and he said I should not pay him the money through the bank. I paid the first N2million into his account and then he said his account was bad that I should not pay in there again.
“I paid him the money onn installments. He collected N12 million for the land and N6 million for Governor’s consent. I later discovered that the land in question belongs to the prophet’s ex-wife who has remarried and was based in the United States with her husband.
“My son discovered her contact from her Facebook and when we contacted her, she told us that she was not selling.
In fact she rained abuses on us. When the prophet realized that the game was up, he started threatening to kill us. That was why I ran to the police. He told me that he can defend himself but we cannot.”
Okoro said: “When the lady discovered the fraud, she reported to my office and I detailed detectives to go after the prophet and he was promptly arrested.
“During investigation detectives discovered that the suspect collected N16 million cash and N2million into his bank account. This goes to show the suspect had another intention.
“He is currently in court remand in our custody. We are still investigating this case and at the end of the process, the suspect would be charged to court.
“I use this medium to warn fraudulent minded people, organisations to change their ways or face the wrath. People should also be wary of those who claim to be pastors when transacting business because they tend to cash into gullible nature of true believers to swindle them.
“The so called prophet took advantage of the relationship he has with the widow to swindle her. From the beginning he had the intention of defrauding the woman.
“He started threatening to kill the woman and her children when they discovered that he had swindled them,” said Okoro.
But the suspect denied defrauding the widow insisting that he had genuine business deal with her, adding that problem broke out when one of the woman’s sons demanded for a refund.
Ononuju, who said he did not need Power of Attorney to sell his ex-wife’s property, claimed that she was aware he sold it.
He however refused to mention her name nor provide her contact details for verification of his claims.
Ononuju said: “I acted as a middle man. She came to me to say that I should help look for a land. Because of the existing relationship between the two families, I went all out to ensure that I get her a good land but look at where it has landed me.
Culled: The Nation