By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
The sudden release from police custody in Lagos of a suspect, who allegedly obtained N15 million from his friend in 2009 under the guise of purchasing land for him at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has generated controversy.
It was gathered that the suspect, Ikechukwu Odogwu, a businessman at the popular International Trade Fair market, Lagos, allegedly collected of N15, 170,000 to purchase land for his friend, Callistus Okafor, who was residing outside the country then, but ended up presenting fake documents of a land he purportedly bought in Abuja.
The complainant stated in a petition he sent to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 headquarters, Onikan, Lagos in 2017 that the suspect convinced him that the land was situated within Lugbe 1, Extension Layout, Abuja Municipal Area council and later presented him with a document entitled “Irrevocable Power of Attorney,” purported to have been given to his company by another company called Demco Textile International and receipts as well as offer of the term of grant/conveyance of approval purported to have emanated from Abuja Municipal Area Council.
According to the complainant, when he got to the aforesaid office in Abuja to confirm the authenticity of the documents, he was told the documents were fake and all efforts to recover his money from the businessman 10 years after failed.
Police sources at Zone 2, Onikan, intimated that after investigations, the suspect who was earlier arrested after he refused to honour Police invitation, confessed that he was involved in the deal but stated that he was also duped by land agents in Abuja and wrote an undertaken to refund the money.
It was learned that after the suspect failed to refund the money, the case was subsequently taken to a Lagos High Court where the suspect was granted bail, pending the hearing of the case.
However, the case took a dramatic turn when a telephone call from a Commissioner of Police in one of the states in the South-West and a man that claimed to be a Special Adviser to the President ordered the immediate release of the suspect with threats to arrest members of the IRT that arrested him.
Contacted on phone, the suspect, Ikechukwu Odogwu told Vanguard: “I swear, I am also a victim. We bought the hectares of land together. Mine is 3.5 while the complainant is 2.5. When we discovered that something was amiss, I was the person who reported the woman we bought the land from to the police. We were quarrelling over this issue until I contested for the president of Balogun Market Association, Trade Fair Complex, Ojo.
“As for the allegations that I jumped bail, it is a lie. I have slept in prisons many times for the sin I did not commit. He did not want me to get a lawyer. I had to get one that was my offence. As for IRT, I have been in touch and the IPO is aware that I am not on the run. I will still report next week.”