Cleric, wife, herbalist arrested for allegedly abducting woman, children for 13 yrs
A Muslim cleric, Alhaji Afeez Imoleayo, his wife and a herbalist have been arrested by men of the Zone 2 Command of Nigeria police, Onikan, Lagos, for allegedly kidnapping the wife and children of a United States-based Nigerian.
Before they were kept, the herbalist and his accomplices have reportedly kept the abducted woman and her children for 13 years in his apartment in the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
The cleric popularly called Alfa Imoleayo, was alleged to have hypnotised the US-based Nigerian, identified simply as Mr. Animasaun and compelled him to change his name to Imoleayo.
He was also said to have compelled the abducted woman to also change her name and her children’s names from Animashaun to his, Imoleayo.
The 43-year-old Imoleayo was further alleged to have incurred an accumulated debt of N15 million in Mr. Animasaun’s name and compelled him to pay from the United States.
Imoleayo was paraded alongside four other accomplices identified as Ramon Uthman, Saidi Ajayi, Alhaja Monsurat Salami and Kikelomo, by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Ali, at the zonal headquarters.
The AIG explained that the arrest was made following a petition received from the US-based Nigerian last month. He said the petitioner explained that he met the cleric, after listening to his sermon during one of his visits to Nigeria.
According to the AIG, the petitioner said: “He exchanged numbers with the cleric and at the end of the day, he was brainwashed.”
He said the Alfa told him to change his name, his wife’s and children’s names to his (Alhaji Afeez Imoleayo).
His international passport and those of his family members were changed to bear that of Alhaji Imoleayo instead of their original surname, Animasuan.
“After that was done, Alfa (Imoleayo) would collect a loan here in Nigeria on the US-based Nigerian’s name, while he (US-based Nigerian) will be working over there to service the loan here in Nigeria. This went on for over 13 years before God Almighty opened his eyes and he came back to Nigeria to report.
“As I speak, the victim’s travelling documents no longer bear his name as well as his wife and children’s birth certificates. They all bear the Alfa’s name.
“I am using this medium to advise members of the public to be very careful of the kind of people they meet in religious gatherings, be it Islam or Christian crusades as some of them are evil in disguise.”
However, speaking with journalists, the 43-year-old main suspect, Imoleayo, described the allegation as false.
He said: “I lived with the boy (Animasaun) in the same building in Ikorodu. He used to assist me whenever we were having any Islamic crusade. He at various times donated to the success of the crusade.
“But at the end of the day, the Police came to my house to conduct a search but found nothing. They said he alleged I defrauded him but I did not.”
Asked why the complainant, his wife and children changed their names to his, he replied: “He did it on his own. He did not only change his surname from Animasaun to Uthman Imoleayo, he also changed his wife’s and children’s names to mine and when I asked why he did it, he said he wanted it that way.”
He also denied abducting the complainant’s wife and children. According to him, “I did not abduct her. He brought his wife to me when she was sick. We treated her and when she was well, he told me to allow his wife and children to live with me because she was always having issues in Ibadan where she lived. His family has been staying with me for 10 to 13 years now.
“As for the car they said I took from him, I never did. Another person gave me the car. I also never threatened to kill him like he claimed.
“The herbalist they said I worked with does not have anything to do with this. The last time I saw the herbalist was seven or eight years ago. He was the one that taught me how to treat people with herbs.”
The suspects, according to the AIG, would be charged in court at the end of the investigation.