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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Seun Egbegbe iphone Theft Charge: Conspiracy of Silence in Lagos Computer Village?

Following the controversy, accusation and denials that has trailed the case of Seun Egbegbe and stolen iphones, a reporter explores the conspiracy of silence that has soon followed.
Yoruba film-maker, Seun Egbegbe is a highly celebrated figure among Yoruba movie people, but he became a public bride when his romance with popular Yoruba actress, Toyin Aimakhu made news headlines in every medium.

In fact, the lovebirds only became public item when they fell apart, with Seun threatening to ostracise  Toyin from movie making unless she did his bidding. Their secrets became public knowledge and it slipped out that Seun had presented a Range Rover SUV to Toyin as gift.

It was a romance story that went bust, especially, when one considers that this episode ensued almost immediately after the actress put paid to her marriage of less than 2 years to another actor, Adeniyi Johnson. But for Seun and Toyin, they hugged the limelight for some months and fizzled out, especially after Seun publicly pronounced he had forgiven Toyin, not without police intervention, some voices whispered though.

Then, one black Tuesday afternoon, Seun’s name cropped up in the media again with a picture of him, looking like a man who had had a few rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson in his hay days. Bloodied mouth, dropping jaw, smashed teeth, roughened up, Seun’s picture lit up every medium with a screaming headline “ M0ovie maker beaten to pulp for phone theft”.

Unbelievable! How could a rich movie maker, with a fleet of cars, suddenly turned a common mobile phone thief even if the phones are nine Apple iphones 7, worth over N500k each.

In the media melee, his PR people quickly released a statement, “Prior to the news filtering into the social media about Seun Egbegbe accused of stealing iphones on Tuesday 22nd November at computer village, Ikeja; this is to inform the general public to debunk all negative stories published about him which is not true. Seun Egbegbe was at Keelcech shop, located at no 9, Medical Road, Ikeja, to purchase some phones. Egbegbe and Toyin

After making his order from the shop sales rep & walking towards his car to pay up the balance of the phones, the sales rep claimed he’s bolting away with the phones which was never true.

Before Seun Egbegbe could say a word to the angry mob around, he was attacked and lynched with no explanation. It was a known fact that; Mr Seun Egbegbe can afford to buy thousands of iphones if needed.

So why would he go to steal iphones? He is a philanthropist who helps pople in our society today with his riches from God. We will authoritatively inform you that, the issue has been settled and resolved by the two parties amicably,”

Contrary to the statement of the PR people, Potpourri found out that the issue was far from being resolved. And this was corroborated by the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmus, who on Wednesday told journalists the matter was still under investigation. Commenting on the initial online denial by Egbegbe’s Publicist, the PPRO said, “You are aware that he was arrested. "

"If an online publication is saying he was not arrested, and the police said he was arrested, which one do you want to believe? The case is still under investigation. We will properly brief the press on the stand of the command on the case today (Thursday),”  she concluded. Potpourri also found out he was in detention for three days.

Following the Police investigation, Seun was arraigned on Thursday before an Ikeja Magistrate Court before Magistrate Aje Afunwa on a one-count charge of stealing. Seun pleaded not guilty to the charge but was ordered to be remanded in Kirikiri prisons, having failed to meet his bail conditions.  

Potpourri findings at Computer Village

As a norm in a every criminal investigation, the first move is to return to the scene of the crime and it was exactly what Potpourri did. On Thursday, before Seun’s arraignment in court, one of our reporters who visited the popular mobile phones market was greeted with silence from everyone he sought cooperation in the investigation.

It was as if, a wall of silence had been  built since the event took place on Tuesday. Nobody wanted to talk any more on the issue. One concerned witness told our reporter to desist from asking questions around as he might land himself in big trouble. Law of Omerta? We soon found out there is a sort of order in the Computer Village.

With further probing and some deep connection, we got lucky. A big fish in the Computer Village Association, CAMPAN, talked to Potpourri under strict order of  anonymity. The sourced told us in plain words that the case against the movie-maker may come to nothing as most of the people who could come forward as witnesses are either involved in the matter or had been scared off.

He posited that it was not the first time the movie-maker had scammed somebody in the market, saying it is a standard ploy employed by scammers to dispossess sellers of phones of their phones.

“The only person that could have sealed this case is a guy called Assaulted, a phone seller, Seun Egbegbe scammed four years ago. When Assaulted visited the police station to complain he had experienced the same thing four years ago, claiming Seun obtained phones worth over N1.5 million from him, he was approached by some Computer Village ‘Ikeja Boys’ who told him to back off.

The ‘Ikeja Boys’ told him not to get involved or they would fight him. Even the man’s wife had called the man to back off because she had been receiving threats on phone to warn his husband not to make any case against Seun. The ‘Ikeja Boys’ told Assaulted that they were the ones that helped him collected N950k from the N1.5 million he was duped.

The source went on to say the so-called “Ikeja Boys” control the Computer Village underworld, and it is believed that they are in accord with Seun Egbegbe. At the court on Thursday, these boys openly threatened anyone who dared to take pictures of the movie-maker being escorted into the Prison van.

“The real truth now is that if Seun is convicted, most of the ‘Ikeja Boys’ will also have a taste of it because they are the unseen hands who receive phones from the stolen sources and resell at ridiculous prices to phone sellers in the Village. Everyone knows this fact but there is nothing anyone can do. You will hardly find anyone that will talk now for fear of being marked by these boys. Only our Association can do something and I doubt if they will want to take up the case for the same fear of these boys”, said the source

- Vanguard

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