…I took advantage of people’s desperation
By Ifeanyi Okolie
Operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, have arrested a fake Indian Spiritualist, Raphael Ekechi, alias Raghdra Anandra, who operates a fake Hindu Ancient Monk Temple in Alagbado area of Lagos State, where he has been defrauding unsuspecting members of the public of their hard earned money.
Vanguard gathered that Ekechi’s victims were people seeking powers for protection, progress in business, securing of contracts, do-as-i-say, winning betting games, dating rich men, getting successful marriages, winning elections and powers to perform miracles.
He was said to have also pasted posters advertising his temple and its activities across streets and highways of Lagos, Ogun and other parts of the country urging people seeking spiritual help to contact his phone number which is on the posters.
Police sources disclosed that most of the victims who had approached his temple were given forms to fill after which they would be made to pay the sum of N7.700 as registration, they will then relate their spiritual needs or problems to him and he would ask them to pay certain amount of money for solution to their problems.
The police source added that several of Ekechi’s victims have lost millions to him in their quest to secure spiritual help or powers from him and he has always threatened his victims with death whenever they requested a refund of their money. He was however said to have ran into trouble recently when one of his victims Emmanuel Ekpe, whom he defrauded of the sum of N167,000, alerted the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed who directed operatives of the IRT headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to investigate and bring the fraudster to book.
It was gathered that when Ekpe visited the IRT Annex office in Sango area of Ogun State, a crack team of detectives was deployed to raid Ekechi’s temple where the sum of $3,700 which was suspected to be fake was recovered. Other items recovered from his temple included consultation forms, statue of Shiva, which he claimed was his master general, Hindu goddess frame, fake International Metaphysical/ Mystic Science Certificate from the University of India, various religious books, prayer posters, pink and red robes and statue of his god.
It was gathered that Ekpe, who was arrested during the raid admitted that he was a fraudster when he was interrogated stating that he went into fraud because he lost all his money in a failed business transaction and he discovered that Nigerians are seeking spiritual powers for healing, marriages and money making. He said he saw an opportunity in their desperation and took advantage of it. He also said he surfed the internet and learned about mysticism while he adopted the Idian Hindu worship as a means to defraud his victim.
When he was interviewed, the 50-year-old self confessed fraudster who is from Ebonyi State and a father of four said; “Let me tell you two things that made me to become a fraudster. I was trading at Alaba International market on electrical parts and my goods were seized by the customs which got me disorganized as I lost N3million.
While I was looking for a way out, I discovered that many Nigerians are gullible in their bid to get rich quick and I decided to use my brain instead of a gun to get what I wanted. I lied to all my clients or should I call them victims? I lied to them that I had powers and learnt metaphysical science from an Indian University and that was how I became a fraudster.
I started by pasting posters advertising Ragen Hindu Monk Temple on the roads across the country and on commercial buses stating that peoples’ desires would be achieved when they visit my temple. I charged N7,700 for consultation and opened a file for each client. I also charged the sum of N500,000 for people seeking spiritual powers, N2 million for those who wished to see my Master General to state their needs and I charge N1million for people who want to win contracts”.
“There was this Emmanuel Ekpe, who came to my office some time ago and complained that his business wasn’t booming and he needed power as an evangelist to pray for people which will work. I asked him to pay the sum of N167,000 and he made a deposit of N57,000 and promised to pay the balance after one month. I told him that he must pay the complete sum to make his prayers work and that he should not think of cheating the spirit.
Unfortunately, the prayers and sacrifices we performed didn’t work and he started demanding a refund of his money. But I told him that he should run away in order to avoid the wrath of the mystic gods. This was the same threat I usually issued to my victims whenever I wanted to send them away, but Ekpe’s case was different, he was fearless and brought the police from IRT to arrest me. I plead for forgiveness, I will never defraud anyone again.”
How I was defrauded—Ekpe
When Vanguard interviewed Ekpe, he said that he was frustrated with the output of his business when he stumbled on the Indian Hindu Temple poster that was offering spiritual solutions to all problems.
The 36-year-old Cross Rivers State victim, said; “My business got crumbled and I was desperate looking for what to do to improve it, then I found a poster around Abule Egba area of Lagos that he could boost my business. I called the phone number on the poster and he directed me on how to get to his temple. When I got there, I met Ekechi and narrated my story to him.
He gave me a consultation form which cost me N7,700. He then opened a box with a ring in it and asked me to pick it up with my left hand. He asked me to pay N18,000 instantly for the ring, which I did. Then he said I would perform some sacrifices that would cost N120,000. At that time, I felt I was going to get solution for my problems, I then made a deposit of N80,000, and later paid additional N18,000 as spiritual tax fee. But the whole thing didn’t work.
My business kept crumbling and nothing was working. I asked for an explanation but he demanded more money. I refused and when I asked for a refund of my money he threatened me with death. I quickly wrote a petition against him to the Inspector General of Police and the IRT men were sent in and arrested him. He has since refunded the sum of N54,000 of my money to the police with a promise to refund the balance. I hope his other victims will come down here and get back their money.”