An alleged serial fraudster, Raphael Okah Ekechi, aged 50, has given details on how he successfully convinced Nigerians that he is an Indian man, popularly known as Raghdra Anandra, with mystical powers.
Ekechi who was arrested by Ogun State annex of the Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), confessed to the police that he trained himself through online research on how people with mystical power behave in India, and crowned himself a master.
Armed with that information, he established a mobile temple and advertised his services across Lagos and Ogun states. On several of his posters were solutions for those seeking protection, business boom, do-as-I-say, winning big contracts, winning pool-betting, wanting to be initiated into mysticism, wanting to see the master general for mystical powers, marriage proposal, powers to perform miracle and so many others. He was alleged to have scared most of his victims from reporting him to the police by threatening them with mysterious attack that will lead to their death.
Fortunately, one of his latest victims, Emmanuel Ekpe Effiong summoned the courage and reported him to the police on July 8, 2019. Detectives, who discovered that he had relocated from his usual temple site, later found him a week later at his new temple located at Alagbado area of Lagos.
Operatives recovered from him $3,700 suspected to be counterfeit, Hindu ancient monk temple consultation forms, statue of Shiva which he claimed was his master general, Hindu goddess frame, fake international metaphysical/ mystic science, University of India certificate, various religious books, prayer posters, pink and red robes and statues of his god and that of one of his gods that smokes cigarette twenty four hours daily.
Journey to scam
At the police station, Ekechi told Saturday Sun reporter that he decided to become a spiritualist after a fake Indian spiritualist in Lagos defrauded him. “My real name is Okah Raphael Ekechi but my supernatural name as a master is Raghdra Anandra. Raghdra Anandra is an Indian name that most of their spiritual heads bear. I am from Izza, Ebonyi State, a father of four and currently reading Law at the Open University of Nigeria.
“I used to be a very successful trader at Alaba International Market where I bought and sold electrical spare parts. One day I traveled to Accra, Ghana and customs operatives came and seized my goods and it wrecked me because I borrowed money for that transaction. I still remember, it was in 1997 during the military era. I lost about three million naira, which was a lot of money those days. I had to sell everything including my house in order to pay back that loan. I was devastated and desperate. I was on my way to Alaba market when I saw a poster at Mile 2 Bridge. It was get-rich-quick advert and I traced the man to his temple in Okokomaiko. He was a whiteman but those working for him were Nigerians.
“I ended up poorer by the time they finished with me. Before I realized that they were fake, they disappeared. At that point I made up my mind that I would get my money back. I started preparing myself by attending Indian prayer meetings and got access to their books. I learnt their language especially the one that I need to sound convincing.
“While I was getting prepared, I started selling sachet water and I was making N400 daily. I have followed these people who sell drugs in open market with loudspeaker and they used to give me N500 after sales. It was the activities of these fake drugs sellers that helped to sharpen my mind.”
According to him, after about two years of preparation, he started pasting posters around Lagos. “I lied to all my clients that I got power and learnt metaphysical science from an Indian university. Because of the colour of my skin, you will think that I am an Indian because of the way that I dress while in the temple. I pasted posters on the road with Ragen Hindu monk temple boldly written with the inscription of people’s desires that can be achieved when one visits my temple.
“Surprisingly, the response was too much. I used the address of an uncompleted building in Mile 2 area and I hid close by and observed how several persons came looking for me. Then there was no GSM, so I had to put only an address. After some weeks, I decided to go and start work.
“All I did was to keep changing location so that those who have realized that it’s fraud will not find me. I also got to realize that some of my customers were mysteriously succeeding when they wear the fake ring that I normally sell to them. I also started selling Indian herbal drinks, which can increase a man or woman’s ability to produce children. It worked for so many people and they assumed that it was the ring or my prayers that gave them solution. If police arrest me, they will either release me after paying back the money or charge me to court. I have been arrested severally in Lagos and Ogun.
“Gradually with the change in economy, I increased my consultation fee to N7, 700. Other charges include N500, 000 for power, N200, 000 to get rich husband, N1million to win contract and N2million to see my master general. It was only once that I got a customer who wanted to see my master general. All I did was to go to Apapa and convince one of those hungry Indians in the country to pretend to be a spiritualist. The person dressed up and spoke their language and that was it. I still attend church service every Sunday because I believe in God and I know that He is the one bringing all the customers to me. During incantation, I do not make reference to the Bible because I know that what I am doing is fake,” he said.
On what transpired between him and the complainant, Ekechi said that his latest victim asked for power to be an evangelist. “He wanted to make money by starting a ministry. I told him to bring N167, 000 for the job to be done and he deposited N57, 000. I warned him that he must pay the complete amount for the ring to be potent and he did not. After months of trying to make money, he came back. I warned him that the gods that I worship will deal with him for owing them. Normally, others will run away but he reported me to the police. I am currently studying law because I want to create a better life for myself and family. I am tired of running from people because of fraud,” he pleaded.
I thought I could change my destiny
His latest victim, Emmanuel, aged 36, told Saturday Sun that it was frustration that led him into seeking alternative means to find solution to his problem. “I am a trader and married with three children. I buy and sell fairly-used cloths. I started from Katangowa market in Lagos to Lafenwa market and Kuto market in Abeokuta, Ogun State. In the past, I normally buy at least three bags of cloths and sell them all within a week.
“Gradually, things became bad and I can barely raise money to buy a bag of fairly-used cloths without borrowing money. The demands at home worsened the matter, but as a man I am not supposed to make excuses. Dangote started small and today he is very rich. I tried to secure loans from banks and co-operatives but failed.
“I started changing churches but my situation refused to improve. I am a native of Ikore village, Yako area of Cross River State and from where I come from, we believe in spiritual attack. I have gone for several family deliverance prayers with the hope that my life will be better.
“I was on my way home when I saw a poster at Abule Egba area of Lagos, on the activities of a spiritualist who could turn my life around. I called him on phone and he directed me to take a motorbike to his temple at Alagbado area of Lagos.
“I paid N7, 700 for the consultation form where I stated why I was there and what I wanted him to do for me. I told him specifically that if it involves bringing the head of anyone that I am not interested. He assured me that all he will do is to go to the spiritual realm and rewrite my destiny.
“After saying some strange words, he opened a black box and asked me to pick a ring with my left hand. I paid N18, 000 for that ring while I was asked to raise N120, 000 for the sacrifice. I deposited N80, 000 and promised to bring the balance. The day I brought the balance, he also asked me to pay N18, 000 for spiritual tax.
“Weeks after wearing the ring, I discovered that my life was not getting better rather I was in debt because of the money I gave him. All I want is my money; I was so stupid to believe that he has power to prosper my businesses.”