Lagos – The Network On Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), an NGO, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, over the unlawful detention of two sisters, Ngozi Nzieredi and Rita Okoro without trial.
NOPRIN’s National Coordinator Okechukwu Nwaguma, said in a statement on Monday in Lagos that the body wanted the inspector-general to intervene in the case by ensuring proper investigation.
The statement said that sometime in June, it received a complaint from Ms Rita Okoro, a Lagos-based businesswoman, that one clergyman allegedly defrauded her family of N5 million.
It said that Rita alleged that the clergyman was one Prophet David Babalola, the General Overseer of her former church, His Presence Redemption Ministry.
According to the statement, the man of God fraudulently obtained from them the said money under false pretences of assisting them to hire a lawyer to secure the release or arraignment of their brother.
It said that their brother was being detained at SARS, Ikeja, since January 2015 for an undisclosed offence.
It noted that the prophet’s fraudulent scheme was eventually exposed on one of the occasions after he had collected another instalment of money from Rita Okoro to go to Abuja to see the inspector-general on their behalf.
“On that day, he had just finished speaking with Rita on phone during which he claimed he was speaking from the office of the inspector-general.
“Shortly after, and to her utter shock, Rita suddenly ran into him in Lagos.
“He attempted to dodge, but realising that his game was up, he muttered some incoherent explanation, claiming that he was just coming from the airport — less than one hour after the telephone conversation.
“Upon being convinced that he has been exploiting their desperation to have their brother granted bail or charged to court, they approached NOPRIN for assistance to get the prophet to refund the money,’’ it stated.
The statement explained that Babalola’s attention was drawn to the petition from the victims and was given two weeks to respond.
It said that instead of Babalola responding to their request, he petitioned against the two women, alleging threat to his life at Idumu Police Station in Lagos.
The statement said the two women and their pastor friend who formerly worked with Babalola were arrested.
It noted that Rita was, however, released on health ground, while Ngozi and their pastor-friend Lanre were taken to Abuja.
“They were taken to Abuja on Friday and are currently detained at the Criminal Investigation Department (X Squad Unit) Force Headquarters, Abuja,’’ the statement said.
The statement appealed to the inspector-general of police to investigate the case immediately.
However, when the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) tried to contact the Force public Relations Officer, CP Emmanuel Ojukwu, he could not be reached on telephone. (NAN)