Three individuals belonging to a notorious syndicate specialized in the theft and diversion of goods from unsuspecting dealers across the country were apprehended by detectives from the Special Enquiry Bureau, Force Criminal Investigations Department, located in Alagbon, Lagos.
The suspects, namely Shoyombo Olutoyin, Taiwo Adeyemo, and John Nma were taken into custody after allegedly diverting bags of rice valued at N9.5 million from a seller based in Edo State. They used the pretense of taking the rice to their church for a seed offering.
The syndicate members were accused of diverting a total of 280 bags of rice obtained from Isah Abdullahi. Out of these, they donated 50 bags to a branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Benin City, passing it off as a seed offering, while they kept the remaining 230 bags to sell in the Mushin market, Lagos. However, before they could carry out the sale, they were apprehended.
During the parade of the suspects in Lagos, Commissioner of Police Godwin Eze, who oversees the Special Enquiry Bureau in Alagbon, disclosed that one of the suspects impersonated the General Overseer of the church and deceived the seller by issuing a fraudulent check as payment for the rice.
According to him: “The suspects went to a rice market in Benin City, convinced the seller that they would buy 280 bags, and lured him to the church, where they gave him the cheque.
“The story took a different dimension after the seller suspected that the cheque they gave him may not be genuine and came to the church, where they packed the bags of rice and saw just 50 bags. On inquiry, he was told that the people that brought the rice left with other bags. He reported to the incident police in Benin, and they started an investigation.
“Fortunately, while they were busy working round the clock with Edo Police command, they did not know that the fraudsters were already at a popular market in Mushin, Lagos, negotiating to sell the bags of rice at N5 million.
“However, based on intelligence report, detectives at SEB, Alagbon, Lagos led by Ovie Akpoyibo tracked and arrested them at the market. They also recovered the 230 bags of rice. The investigation is ongoing to apprehend other members of the syndicate.”