By Esther Onyegbula
LAGOS—A 35-year-old man arrested by operatives of Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of Lagos State Police Command has revealed how his pastor’s prayers made him accept a stolen car for sale.
The suspect, Olawale Olabinwonnu, who works with Cherubim and Seraphim Church in Igbogbo, Ikorodu, as an administrative officer, was arrested by RRS intelligence team last week for trying to sell a Nissan Sentra, 2015 Model, stolen at gunpoint.
The vehicle, whose original number plates were changed to a fake one, APP 510 DW, was recovered last week Monday at a car lot in Lekki, Lagos.
Olabinwonnu, who revealed that the car was given to him to dispose off by a friend, Ahmed Abbey, said he consulted his pastor twice if he should accept the car for sale and he was assured by the pastor to go ahead.
According to Olawale, “the vehicle was given to me to sell by Ahmed Abbey, who I met at Dammy Jay Hotel, Ikorodu. He came to my table and bought drinks for everybody. That was how I liked him. When I was going home, he gave me N2,000. It was at a time I had no job.
“I saw Abbey later on the same week and asked him to help me get a job. That was when he asked me if I could help his sister travelling overseas to sell her car. I said I would try.
“I consulted my pastor twice on the issue of helping him sell a car. First, the pastor told me to go ahead and collect the car from him and sell it. I took the car from Abbey and began to market it, but after about three weeks, I couldn’t get a buyer. He took the car from me.
“Weeks later, I ran into him again. I consulted my pastor again for him to pray about it. This time, the pastor introduced me to somebody in Lekki, who has a car lot at a very conspicuous place, where we can put the car for sale.”
It was learned that RRS operatives, on seeing the vehicle on a popular online shopping platform, called its marketer to indicate their interest in buying the car, pretending to be a couple.
Enthusiastically, the man who took the custody of the stolen Nissan Sentra came forward to welcome the buyers and was arrested. He, however, assisted police in the arrest of its marketer in Ikorodu several days later.
Olawale, apparently sensing danger, parked out of his Ikorodu residence with his family to evade arrest. But police tracked him to another church in Ikorodu, where he was arrested last Sunday after church service.
The vehicle, property of one of the first generation banks, was reportedly stolen at gunpoint when robbers invaded a hotel in Iju-Ishaga area where the manager of the bank was lodging.
Olawale said: “Since my arrest, I have been calling Abbey to come and explain to the police that he gave me the car to sell. But he now avoids my calls; at times, he switches off his phone.”
Confirming the arrest, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmus, said the suspect was helping police with investigations, adding that efforts are ongoing to arrest the man that gave him the car to sell.