How ‘River goddess’ defrauded me of N36m, Woman tells Court

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An 88-year-old woman, Tawakalitu Ilumoka, has told Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting at Ikeja, Lagos State, how she was allegedly defrauded of N36m by one Olorunfemi Ayodeji.

According to her, Ayodeji introduced her to some people when she informed him that her son based in the United States of America was sick.

She said this was after she sold a piece of land for N100m out of which she gave Ayodeji N100,000.

She said, “I called Otunba (Ayodeji) and told him about my son’s health challenge. He said I had to bring him to Ondo State.

“Though I complained that Ondo is some distance from Lagos, I agreed because he insisted my son could only be treated in Ondo.

“He, therefore, linked me up with some persons, namely Fakunle and Fabummi.”

Ilumoka said Fakunle and Fabunmi took her to a place where she met a woman, whom they said was a river goddess.

She said, “They eventually took me to a thick bush, where there was a well-fenced house. I was scared and I asked them why I was brought there.

“They then led me to a room in the house, filled with a pool of water. A woman came out of the water and they told me she was Olokun (river goddess).

“I was asked to lower my head and was warned not to look at the goddess in the face.

 “They said Olokun wanted to give me money, but I declined, insisting that all I wanted was for my son to recover from the illness.

“I couldn’t comprehend all that Olokun was saying, so they were the ones interpreting her words to me.

“They later took me to another room, and they all entered one after the other.

“They covered their faces with pieces of white clothes. When they mentioned my father’s and mother’s names, I was confounded.”

She said after she got home, the trio of Fakunle, Fabunmi and Ayodeji started making monetary demands from her.

“Subsequently, they would call me as early as 7am and instruct me to pay money into a certain account. I paid the sums of N5m, N11m and N10m at different times into the account. I eventually paid them N36m,” she said.

The mother of nine and former trader at Oke-Arin Market, Lagos Island, burst into tears as she told the court that her son later died.

She said she reported the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which arrested Ayodeji and recovered N1.8m from him.

Ayodeji is facing three counts of obtaining money by false pretences, contrary to Section 1 (1)(a) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006, and stealing, contrary to sections 278 (1), (2) and 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The case was adjourned till September 30, 2022, for continuation of trial.

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