Johnson, 22, was apprehended along with his accomplice, 28-year-old Emmanuel Emmana, at a hotel they reportedly used as their hideout in the neighborhood.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that Johnson had approached the girl, Bilkis, at her mother’s shop in Akinyemi Market, Ajah, while he was hawking herbs.
He was said to have told Bilkis that he had a vision that some enemies were going after her and that she needed prayers to fortify herself against any spiritual attacks.
The suspect reportedly asked her to buy coconut and salt for the prayer which she quickly bought around the market.
It was gathered that Johnson subsequently lured her to the hotel for the fortification. He was about to take her into the hotel when her neighbour, who was passing by, saw her and raised the alarm.
Our correspondent learnt that the case was reported to the police at the Elemoro division and Johnson was arrested on July 8, 2018. He led the operatives to apprehend Emmana.
Saturday PUNCH was told that a woman, whom the suspects had defrauded on the same spurious vision, was at the hotel that day on an appointment with the suspects.
Johnson, an indigene of Ondo State, said he had carried out five fraudulent operations in the Ajah area before luck ran out on him.
He said, “I started selling herbs in January 2018. Emmana later joined me and we hawked together. We made people to believe that we have spiritual powers. We have defrauded five persons. There was a woman I collected N30,000 from in May 2018. I took the woman to a village called Kosilu, Ogun State, to meet one man. I was planning to collect N1.5m from her for special prayers, but she later discovered that it was a fraud.”
Emmana, a native of Calabar, Cross River State, said Johnson introduced him to the fraud, adding he only got N9,500 share from the fraud proceeds.
One of the victims, who did not want her name in print, said she had an encounter with Johnson on July 6, 2018 while parading himself as an alfa – an Islamic cleric. She stated that Johnson hoodwinked her into believing that she was plagued with spiritual problems, lamenting that he had sex with her after defrauding her of N5,000.
She said, “We met each other around 9pm that day along the road. He told me some spiritual things about my life and asked me to see him at the hotel the following morning. I went there and he collected N5,000 from me for special prayers. He had sex with me as part of the cleansing and collected N1,000 when I was leaving. He said I owed him N2,000 balance and asked me to come back on Sunday, July 8. I didn’t meet him when I got to the hotel that day. I was waiting for him when some policemen brought him to the hotel.”
The suspects were consequently arraigned before a Tinubu Magistrate’s Court on three counts bordering on fraud and abduction.
The police prosecutor, Sergeant Oluwafemi Adeleye, told the court that the offences contravened sections 130, 268 and 412 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.
The charges read in part, “That you, John Johnson and Emmanuel Emmana, on July 8, 2018, at about 10am, at Ajah, Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire to commit felony to with; obtaining money under false pretences.
“That you on the same date time and place, in the aforementioned magisterial district, did abduct one Bilkis, 17 years old, to New Star Hotel, Ajah, where you told her to buy coconut and salt for prayers with the aim of having sex with her and obtaining money from her, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 268 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.”
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty before the presiding magistrate, Mrs. F. M. Dalley, who granted them bail in the sum of N50,000 with two sureties each in the like sum.
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