Christopher Oji, Lagos
The Zone 2 Command of the Nigeria Police Force in Onikan, Lagos State, has launched a manhunt for a man falsely posing as the lawyer and Personal Assistant (PA) to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, among other prominent Nigerians.
The man, identified as Ikechukwu, is also alleged to have falsely presented himself as a lawyer and PA to All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, and other high profile Nigerians.
The impostor was alleged by the police to have used his fake identity to swindle victims out of millions of naira.
A senior police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not supposed to speak to the press, said the case was being investigated by the monitoring unit of Zone 2 Command, led by SP Toafiq Tijani.
According to the police, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) had petitioned the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Shehu Adamu, on the alleged atrocities being committed by the said Ikechukwu who directed the Monitoring Unit to invite him for questioning.
The police source said:
“The suspect claimed that he was a lawyer and personal assistant and attorney to many prominent Nigerians, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, APC leader Senator Ahmed Tinubu, and former governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Arigbesola. Because of the names of the important personalities whose assistants he claimed [to be], many people were deceived, believing him to be real. He used the opportunity to swindle the unsuspecting victims of several millions of naira. The suspect also perfected his dubious business by acquiring a police orderly who used to escort him anywhere he went. With the police orderly on his side, he was able to convince his victims further that he was genuine.
“However, the bubble burst when he collected money from many people in Ikorodu area of the state to file civil cases for them, but failed to deliver. One of his victims, from whom he allegedly swindled N1.4 million, reported him to the Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu branch, Prince Adetayo Ladega, who investigated and found out that Ikechukwu is not a lawyer. The NBA Chairman immediately petitioned the AIG Zone 2, who ordered the monitoring unit to investigate the matter.
“The monitoring unit served Ikechukwu a letter of invitation, but he refused to honour it and the unit went further to procure a warrant of arrest and also to search his house. When the unit went to his house, Ikechukwu took to his heels and escaped by jumping the fence. Following the action of the suspect, the police decided to conduct a search in his house. During the search, many incriminating documents were discovered. Some of them were written documents where he claimed he was PA to Osinbajo, Tinubu and Aregbesola.
“The question is why should he take to his heels and go into hiding if he is a lawyer? His police orderly has been withdrawn, and we have declared a manhunt for him,” the police source told Daily Sun.
Zone 2 Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Hauwa Idris Adamu, said: “We are investigating a case of conspiracy, forgery, impersonation, false information and obtaining money by false pretence against Ikechukwu who claimed to be a lawyer and PA to some prominent Nigerians. The case of impersonation and obtaining money by false pretence was reported by the Ikorodu branch of NBA. Investigation so far has revealed that Ikechukwu was parading himself as a lawyer. He was alleged to have used his false identity as a lawyer to swindle people of huge amounts of money.
“He is presently on the run, but we have declared a serious manhunt for him. We are calling on victims of Ikechukwu to come to the monitoring unit and tell their ordeal.”