The Special Fraud Unit (SFU) in Lagos has arrested a suspected fraudster, one Babatunde Oyebode, for allegedly attempting not only to blackmail oil moguls, Femi Otedola and Wale Tinubu, but to also swindle them.
While Tinubu is the Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc and Otedola is the Chairman of Forte Oil Plc, other victims of the syndicate are a lawyer, one Ivie Omoregia and one Dapo Balogun.
The suspect was arrested based on three different petitions made to the SFU by different persons who had in one way or the other, fallen victim to their wiles.
According to information made available to THISDAY, the suspect, who paraded himself as a website designer, along with several others who are on the run, were engaged in the act of blackmailing high profile individuals.
The 23-year-old school certificate holder who resides at Sixth Avenue, FESTAC town, Lagos, was accused by the petitioners of fraudulently running a website, naijagistlive.com to send threat messages to high profile businessmen and Nigerians, demanding money to pull down negative stories about them from the website.
Police investigations had revealed that the modus operandi of the syndicate was to publish unsavoury stories about high profile personalities on their website to force them to part with large sums of money before they pull the story down.
On Otedola’s case, the website had published a story painting him as a serial cheat, who turned his office into a brothel.
Thus, in his petition to the SFU, Otedola said the story portrayed him as an irresponsible man who cheats on his wife, adding that other parts of the story talking about his wealth, led to threat to his life by kidnappers.
The police also said preliminary investigations had revealed that the suspect, in conjunction with others, were in the business of using photoshop, an editing tool, to superimpose nude pictures of unidentified persons with high profile persons in the society.
One of such cases was that of a lawyer, Mrs. Ivie Omoregia, who was accused of sleeping around with her boss and any willing man around.
The allegations coupled with the superimposed pictures was said to have caused a great disaffection between the lawyer and her husband and also resulted to her sack from her work place.
The syndicate were said to have contacted her, asking for N3.5million to pull down the story and the pictures, but she refused to part with the money since the damage had been done already.
Another petition had emanated from Balogun, who said the story by the website alleging that he worked for the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Madueke and looted 100million dollars, had made him a prime victim for kidnappers , who keep making attempts to abduct him.
Confirming the incident, SFU Public Relations Officer, Lawal Audu, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the suspect has three different cases pending before the unit of the force.
Based on the strength of the petitions, he said operatives of the unit swung into action and arrested the suspect, adding that the suspect has another fraud case pending at the Federal High Court.
But in a swift reaction, the suspect alleged that he was framed by the owners of the website.
According to him, he only designed the website for an unknown client whom he only had dealings with via email.
He said: “I design websites for people and after designing the site I will include my contacts in the website to attract other customers. I was arrested through my contact on naijagistlive.com. I don’t know the face behind the website,” he said.