How teenagers fall victims to fraudulent fake pastors in Abuja
The Kubwa Police Division, Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory has drawn the attention of residents to a group of suspected self-acclaimed pastors who are often seen hanging around commercial banks in corporate attires.
According to the police, their dressing is not in any way suspicious as it makes them look like pastors or even the bankers.
DAILY POST gathered that their prime targets are mostly teenagers, who visit the banks either to deposit or withdraw money.
The Kubwa Divisional Police Officer, Chief Superintendent Nurrudeen Sabo, who confirmed the arrest of one of the fraudsters, James Silver, said that 10 mobile phones and a fake camouflage cap belonging to the Immigration Service were recovered from him.
Silver, who confessed to be a member of the gang, said he specializes in swindling residents of Kubwa, using spiritual means.
While he was paraded at the division, he revealed he was introduced to the business by one of his friends who claimed to be a paint dealer in Abuja.
According to him, he was deceived into joining the gang after giving his friend the sum of N50, 000 to help him procure a pickup van for his work, which he waited for three months without delivery.
“One day, I called him to return my money since the goods were no longer available, but he promised to introduce me to another business which would pay better than the painting work I was doing. That was how I found myself in Abuja two weeks later,” the 39-year-old painter said, adding that it took him few weeks to learn the tricks of the fraud before he finally joined the syndicate.
“We always stand by the gate of banks to lay ambush on our victims. As soon as we sight a customer, most of who are teenagers, going towards the ATM point to withdraw money, one of us would approach him
and start prophesying to him that he has a bright future but that the devil wants to truncate it.”
The suspect said they would promise the victims to take them to a certain place where prayers would be conducted on them for cleansing, but only on the condition that they would be ready to offer some amount of money and their phones collected from them.
“Once the boy withdraws money from the machine and hands it over to any of us, we carry him in our car which is already waiting within the bank premises to a lonely place where we drop him and disappear.”
“I was still talking with the boy when my colleague sighted the police officer and he left me and drove off with the car. That was how I got caught,” Silver lamented.
The suspect also added that they do not use any charm to operate, describing their tricks as mere psychology.
“Since I joined them, I have not seen them making any incantation before embarking on any operation. Besides, it is not every person we approach that succumbs to our tricks. Some would say they are not interested, and we don’t force them,” he noted.
One of the victims, who simply identified himself as Tochi, recounted his ordeal, saying he lost the sum of N25, 000 to the swindlers.
“It was like a movie. Their appearance was so deceptive that before they even opened their mouth to start talking to you, you are already attracted to their discussion,” Tochi added.
Reacting further on the arrest of the suspect, the DPO urged parents and guardians to avoid sending their vulnerable under-aged wards, who the criminals always take advantage of, to the banks, especially to lodge in or withdraw money.
He also advised residents to be wary of the presence of these fraudsters within bank premises so as not to fall preys to their stunts.