By ALBERT AKPOR
…We didn’t know it’s an offense – Suspects
Two brothers sent detectives attached to X-squad, Lagos State Police Command reeling with laughter recently when, they confessed that they were unaware of the criminal implications of forging documents and car plate numbers.
However, the police was on hand to quickly remind them that ignorance was not an excuse to breach the law and that their professed ignorance or otherwise would be determined in the court.
Oriyomi Odutagbe, 41, and Yinka Odutagbe, 20, were recently rounded up after a raid at their PWD office, Ikeja, Lagos, following a tip-off that the two brothers were into forgery. Reports said the two brothers could clone anything under the sun for paltry sum of money and they enjoyed high patronage from gullible Nigerians. At the end of the raid, detectives were shocked at what they saw in the make-shift office; about 700 metres from the Police Command headquarters.
Items recovered from the suspects included; 364 pieces of forged Federal Government vehicle proof of ownership certificates, 88 pieces of Lagos State licensing payment card also known as auto-reg; and 27 pieces of Federal Government of Nigeria certificate of road worthiness.
Others includes; 200 pieces of the Ogun State vehicle license, 400 pieces of Federal Capital Territory Abuja vehicle licence, 100 pieces of the Ogun State road traffic regulation Hackney carriage license and one Lagos State MOT seal.
The two brothers who insisted that they were not informed of the criminal implications of their nefarious activities however, blamed their involvement in crime on the harsh economic reality.
First to speak was Oriyomi, the eldest: “I use to print sign-age for people but the business was not lucrative and I could not fend for myself. So one day, I met a guy called Adamu, he was the one who introduced me to the business of making fake documents, I normally hang around the Shogunle vehicle licensing office where I called out to people that are coming to do documents to patronize me. I usually tell them I can help get the document faster and cheaper so they will trust me and then I will get the fake documents for them.”
Continuing, he said, “You know people do not want to wait and they do not want to pay so much for their job, so what I normally do is to persuade them to patronize me with a token and before you know it, their documents are ready. Except you are an expert, you may never know that what I give is fake. For example, the auto-reg is worth like N1, 500 but we can sell the fake ones for N200; we usually sell our fake documents between N200 and N250 as the case may be whereas the official amount can be as much as N1,500”.