Religious leaders are supposed to be role models in the society but there are some bad eggs amongst them who tarnish the image of their sect.
A fake cleric, Mohammed Mohammed, 42, was on Tuesday arraigned before an Ilorin Magistrates’ Court, Kwara for allegedly defrauding one Abdulkareem Abiodun of N17 million under false pretext.
The accused was arrested following a petition written on Sept. 5 to the Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Command, by Abiodun of No. 78, Salami Zubairu Street, Ilorin that the accused defrauded him.
According to the victim, the accused introduced himself as an
Alfa and also claimed that he has a connection with the Saudi Arabian Government.
The victim alleged that the accused told him that he won a contract with the department in charge of displaced people in the Northern part of Nigeria and needed money to execute it.
Thereafter, the accused was said to have collected N17 million from the victim under the pretext of making him his business associate.
The Prosecutor, Insp. Alhassan Jubri,l said that the accused was one of the notorious criminals who went around the state and swindled unsuspecting citizens of their hard earned money.
He added that on hearing the arrest of the accused, others whom he had defrauded came to the police station to report similar cases against him.
Jubril said that the accused appeared before the court on a charge of obtaining money under false pretence, contrary to Section 1(3) of the Penal Code.
He objected to the bail of the accused and urged the court to remand him in prison custody pending the outcome of the investigation.
But the defence counsel, Mrs. Aisha Jimoh, begged the court to admit the accused to bail pending the outcome of the investigation.
She submitted that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria still presumed the accused innocent of the allegation until he is found guilty.
The Judge, Mrs. Afusat Alege, who refused to take the plea of the accused for lack of jurisdiction, ordered that the accused be held at the Federal Medium Security Prison, Mandala in Ilorin. The court adjourned the case till October 8 for further investigation.
The Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) on Thursday said it had arrested a cleric with his four children (names withheld) for allegedly being in possession of fake traveling documents.
PSFU Public Relations Officer, Lawal Audu, said that luck ran out on the pastor when he visited the U.S. Embassy with the fake documents for visa.
He said that the suspect, who was handed over to the unit by the embassy, would soon be charged to court.
Similarly, Audu said that a newly-married couple (names withheld) was also arrested at the Italian Embassy for processing their visas with fake documents.
According to him, the couple have valid Egyptian, Malaysian and Chinese visas but was arrested for using fake documents in processing their Italian visas.
He advised prospective visa applicants to desist from patronising agents using fake documents to procure visas.
In his statement , he said, “
Those who parade themselves as agents or visa procurement officers are criminals and should be avoided at all times. An applicant stands to be prosecuted for any fraudulent act associated with visa procurement no matter how highly placed such a person is.”
He noted that applicants using fake traveling documents were damaging the image of Nigeria. Audu said that PSFU had zero tolerance for fraudulent visa applicants, promising that the unit would put in place necessary strategies to curtail the act.