Two years after he jumped bail in murder case, suspect back in police custody over robbery, fraud allegations

Two years after he jumped bail in murder case, suspect back in police custody over robbery, fraud allegations

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SALIU, a.k.a. Oluomo (first name withheld), was charged to court two years ago for allegedly robbing and killing a Point of Sale (PoS) operator. He was, however, able to get out of prison custody as he reportedly jumped bail.

Now the chicken has come home to roost as the 48-year-old is back in police net after a car stolen in Lagos was tracked by the police to his residence in Ota, Ogun State.

A case of fraud is now also in the cards for him as a former mistress of his showed up at the police station where he is being detained, claiming to have been defrauded by the suspect through an international business agreement to the tune of N8 million.

The spokesperson of the Ogun State police command, SP Omolola Odutola, said Saliu was taken into custody recently by the state Criminal Investigation Department, Eleweran, Abeokuta, on suspicion of being in possession of a stolen car.

Saturday Tribune learnt that the owner reported the theft of his car to the police following which operatives swung into action and tracked the vehicle to Saliu’s residence in Ota. While still being questioned by law enforcement officers, his former mistress showed up at the police station and levelled her own allegation, claiming that she had been looking for him since he disappeared from jail.

The lady who claimed to be a widow, police sources said, explained that she and Saliu had met on Facebook and they soon struck up conversations around getting into a romantic relationship. According to her, Saliu claimed to be based in the United States with his family.

She said after a while, Saliu asked what she did for a living and she told him that she dealt in building materials. She said Saliu then persuaded her to be getting her stocks from abroad so that she could make more profits.

She was quoted by police sources to have told the police that Saliu persuaded her to send N4 million to him to purchase her first stock from abroad which she did. She said she became worried after she could not reach him again afterwards. She said when she was able to reach Saliu again, he told her that upon entering Nigeria, he was arrested and thrown into prison on the allegation that he was a member of the Yoruba Nation agitators’ group and in solidarity with Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.

According to her, she visited the prison where Saliu said he was being held and there, he told her that her goods were on the sea, bound for Nigeria, and that he would need another N4 million to wrap up things about the expected merchandise. She, however, said that was the last she heard of him after Saliu mysteriously disappeared from prison and his whereabouts unknown.

The woman said she visited the police station after hearing that that Saliu was being detained there for another crime.

 

The 2021 murder case

It will be recalled that Saliu was arrested in August 2021 for allegedly conniving with three others in killing and setting ablaze a PoS operator, Abiodun Odebunmi, after luring him for business transaction and collecting N4 million from him. The state command said that the syndicate to which Saliu belonged also specialised in robbing and killing Uber operators.

The suspects arrested with Saliu included Abiodun Akinola, Johnson Fakeye and Jamiu Akinola. Information gathered by Saturday Tribune had it that a report was lodged at the same Onipanu divisional headquarters in April 2021 by one Aanu Salaudeen, a PoS attendant to the deceased, Abiodun Odebunmi. She told the police that her boss left his office at Aparadija the previous day, to meet a customer with a cash sum of N4 million to be used for POS transaction, but the boss had not been seen since then. She stated further that all calls put to her boss’s line did not go through.

She disclosed an earlier N1.5 million transaction with the same person who invited his boss the previous day, and that it was the same person who called his boss to meet him at Ojuore in Sango Ota area to do another PoS transaction of N4 million.

Acting on the report, policemen at Onipanu Division commenced investgation into the sudden disappearance of the man, and their efforts paid off when the dead and burnt body of the victim was discovered in an uncompleted building at Arobieye area of Ota without a trace of his assailant(s).

The case was transferred to the Homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Eleweran, Abeokuta,

on the order of the then Commissioner of Police, Edward Awolowo Ajogun, who mandated the team to get the perpetrators.

Efforts of the CSP Femi Olabode-led homicide team yielded fruits after a technical and intelligence-based investigation, as they got to know that Saliu was hibernating in Ekiti State.

On getting to the state, the detectives discovered that the suspect had fled to Offa in Kwara State when he got wind of their presence. Undeterred, the team continued to trail him and they later got information that he was in Benin Republic, where he had gone to attend the court session of Sunday Igboho, and would soon be back in Nigeria.

On the day of his return, the team laid an ambush for him and got him arrested at the boundary between Ogun and Lagos states.

When interrogated, Saliu confessed to the kiling the victim and told detectives that he purposely lured the victim to Ota where he and his gang members were waiting for him. He disclosed that they matcheted him to death after collecting the money from him and burnt the victim›s body in order to cover their tracks.

He confessed further that their targeted victims were always Uber and POS operators, with one of the gang members disguising as a passenger to the Uber driver. He said that they usually lured such driver to where his members were waiting. and as soon as he got to the place, the driver would be hacked to death and the car taken away to their receiver, Abiodun Akinola, who was also arrested.

Also, the suspect confessed that he and his gang members attacked another victim, one Idowu Ademiluyi, at Itori area and snatched his Toyota Corolla car, having inflicted him with machete cuts to the point of death.

The confessional statement led to the arrest of other suspects at Atan Ota and Owode Yewa.

Recovered were a Toyota Camry, a Toyota Corolla and a Toyota Rav 4, whose owners had been gruesomely murdered.

 

Suspect speaks on new allegations

In an interview with the suspect, who said he hailed from Ikire, Osun State, but resided in Agbado area in Ogun, confirmed that he was arrested based on his lover’s report to the police, but said it was prompted by altercation between her and his wife.

“I had a case of murder in 2021, and my lady friend sold her property to get me out of prison. What happened was that me and my gang members deceived a Point of Sale (PoS) operator to bring N4million for us in exchange of dollars. We told him to bring the money to us at Iju in Ota. His gain would have been N25,000. After collecting the money, we killed and set him ablaze so that he would be unrecognisable. I got N800,000 as my share. We were four that planned the operation.”

 

How I got out of prison

“It was my woman friend who made the moves. I deceived her into believing that I was framed with murder whereas I was a member of Yoruba nation and attended court in Republic of Benin to solidarise with Sunday Igboho. When she came to court and heard that it was a murder case, she started making moves, gathering a lot of money to get me out. She was a textile dealer living at Lafenwa in Ota.

“I was in prison for four months before I was released.

“My woman friend went to report me at police station that I refused to pay back the N8 million she spent in getting me out of prison. However, I made her to know the money was not up to that as she told me when I was still prison that she spent N5 million, but surprisingly, she turned it to N8 million when I came out. She also wanted me to marry her, but I refused, telling her that I already had a wife.”

The suspect, who said he continued his love affair with the woman, admitted that he had yet to pay any amount out of the money she spent on his case.

 

Why I was reported to the police

“My woman friend had a quarrel with my wife over her incessant calls to me, even in the middle of the night. My wife didn’t know her as my lover until when I was in prison.

“They had an altercation, exchanging words, so my lover went to the police to tell them that she wanted her money back.

“Before my first arrest, I was a member of National Union of Road Transport Workers. I was expelled when others learnt of the murder case.

“After I came out of prison, I used to smuggle petrol from Nigeria to Ilari in Porto-Novo, Republic of Benin. I started almost a year ago. I bought Acura SUV from the proceeds. I have seven children from three women. I was living at Agbado before my initial arrest by the police.”

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, has ordered further investigation into the suspect’s criminal activities before his arraignment.

 

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