Mr. Chiuba Obinani is among several parents, who have lost millions of naira to ATM thieves parading a particular Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) gallery point at the Ejigbo area of Lagos State.
Like other parents, he had never felt that sending youngsters to ATM gallery to get money was a big deal, until some of the kids started losing the ATM cards to thieves.
Obinani, like other affected parents, described the situation as weird, even alleging the use of spell on their children.
On April 11, when a stranger attempted to collect an ATM card from a 13-year-old boy called Peter, the boy raised the alarm. The stranger was caught and almost lynched.
The stranger, who introduced himself as Mr Echefu Aku, 28, a journalist, formerly working with Silverbird Television, denied being a thief.
Sadly, Aku’s situation worsens after an 11-year-old boy, who had earlier lost his father’s ATM card through similar drama, identified him.
Obinani told our correspondent that he lost a whooping sum of N1.5 million in March through thieves like Aku, who hangs around ATM gallery points, looking for young kids to prey on.
Obinani said: “I’m still in shock over what happened to me last month. I sent my 11-year-old son to withdraw money for me from the ATM.
That wouldn’t be the first time. But last month, someone collected my ATM card from him. The person also collected the N10,000 he had already withdrawn.
My son also disclosed my Personal Identification Number (PIN) to the thief. I’m sure my son was hypnotised. He’s a brilliant boy.”
Obinani said that he was still waiting for his son to return with the N10, 000 when he started receiving several withdrawal alerts. He quickly made a beeline for his bank.
He recollected: “Before I was through with my complaint at the bank, N1.5 million had left my account.
The bankers blamed me for giving my son the ATM card. They said that several people had been coming to complain that someone collected ATM cards from their children and used it to empty their accounts.”
He said that on that fateful day that Aku was caught, he was preparing to leave for his office, when he heard that the man, who specialised in stealing cards from children at ATM points, had been caught.
He said: “I immediately went there with my son; he identified Aku as the person that collected my ATM card from him in March.”
Aku was alleged to have been caught red-handed, attempting to steal an ATM card from Peter.
The incident occurred at the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), by Forte Oil Filling Station, Egbe-Ikotun road, Iyana Ejigbo, Lagos State. Aku was alleged to have tried to convince Peter to allow him to change his ATM card with an old one.
When Aku was searched, four ATM cards were found in his pocket. He couldn’t give account on how he got the cards. An angry mob pounced, beating him black and blue. If not for the intervention of GTB security guards, Aku would have been lynched.
Peter explained that while using the ATM dispenser, he was distracted by the suspect, who spoke to him and later collected his father’s ATM card from him. As the suspect ran, Peter screamed, calling for help. The screams of Peter alerted people, who immediately chased Aku.
Peter explained that Aku lighted from a tricycle and approached him at the ATM gallery.
He narrated: “He collected my father’s ATM card from me and gave me an old one, which I rejected. He jumped into the parked tricycle and I shouted for help. People close by were fast enough to catch him.”
The boy said that his father gave him the ATM card to go and withdrew N5000.
The money was meant for his brother, who was about leaving home to write an examination.
Peter’s father, Pastor Austin Obinezie, who rushed to the scene, said that he was holding Morning Prayer Session when he sent Peter to the ATM gallery.
Obinezie said: “I shocked when I received a call that a thief collected my ATM card from my son. I left my church programme and quickly rushed down to see what was going on. I saw people beating the thief.”
Aku told our correspondent that he was innocent of the accusation levelled against him.
Aku further explained: “I lodged at a hotel close to the filling station. This morning, I came to make a withdrawal. I don’t know what the boy was saying.”
Then Aku asked our correspondent: “Are you a journalist? I’m a journalist too; I worked with Silverbird Television in Port Harcourt before coming to Lagos. My friend please assists me.
I’m not a thief! They should go to the hotel and find out if I lodged there or not.”
Mr. Chinedun Nwagbo, one of the people, who invited the police to the scene, said that on September 22, 2017, he lost over N100, 000 in his bank account.
Nwagbo said: “I sent my boy to this particular ATM to get money for me. Some body stopped him and sent him to buy biscuit.
I still don’t understand what really happened, because my boy gave the thief my ATM card. He left to buy the biscuit. When he came back, he couldn’t find the man.
The boy said he didn’t give the stranger my PIN. I don’t know how they got my PIN and withdrew money.”
He said that when the boy got home and narrated his encounter with the stranger, he had immediately dashed to his bank to block his account. Unfortunately, N100, 000 had disappeared.
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Kwara Governor, Abdulrazaq Declares 24-hour Curfew
Following the outbreak of violence in some quarters of the State, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has declared a 24-hour Curfew on the state starting on Saturday.
Governor Abdulrazaq made this known in a statewide broadcast on Friday night.
Recall that on Friday some residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital stormed the warehouses where the government stored COVID-19 palliatives expected to be distributed to citizens.
Also Read: BREAKING: Lagos Government Relaxes Curfew
The warehouses, located at the cargo warehouse of the International airport in Ilorin as well as the agro-mall located in the Sango area of the state were totally ransacked as residents struggled to pack as much food items as they could.
Abdulrazaq said, “Lives are being threatened. Businesses are being looted. Public properties have been targeted. This is unacceptable. It is not who we are.
“To curb these acts of criminalities, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew in Ilorin metropolis from midnight today October 23rd, 2020. This is in line with Sections 1, 2, and 4 of the Public Order Act Chapter 382 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“People are urged to stay indoors in compliance with this curfew. This will be reviewed as we watch developments.
“Our observation is that what has happened today is not a protest, it cannot be defended under any guide, it was a pure act of criminality as some people are hiding under the guise of nationwide protest.”
Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest
Two PUNCH journalists, Femi Dawodu and Segun Odunayo, were on Wednesday brutalised by policemen guarding the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja.
The duo had gone to cover events around the Alausa area, a major demonstration ground of the #EndSARS protesters calling for a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the PUNCH, both Odunayo and Dawodu were recording a live video of activities in the area when the policemen accosted them and ordered them to stop the recording.
After showing the policemen their identity cards, indicating that they are journalists covering #EndSARS protests and monitoring compliance with the government-imposed curfew, the policemen became annoyed and pounced on them.
Odunayo said the policemen tortured them for four hours, adding that they stripped them of their clothes, laid them on the floor, beat them with a stick and guns, and took a video recording of them while torturing them at the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Odunayo said, “Femi and I were at the Secretariat in Alausa around 7 am and were doing a live video of the activities going on in the area. We were heading back to the expressway when a group of armed policemen accosted us at the Lagos State House of Assembly roundabout and immediately collected our phones. We showed them our ID cards, but they refused to let us go.
“What got the policemen annoyed was that we saw them using a stick and a rubber to beat a young man, and during the live video, they heard me saying that they were beating someone. So, after they arrested us, they tortured us and demanded that we should do another live video denying the statement, but we refused.
“Each Time we refused, they slapped us, used a stick to beat us, used the butt of their guns to hit our heads and bodies after stripping us of our clothes. All they wanted was for us to do another live broadcast to claim that we lied and we didn’t because we told the truth.”
Dawodu said it took the intervention of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi before they were released at the Alausa Police Station, adding that before their release, the policemen took their details, including their addresses, took a video record of them and threatened to go after them if any negative report was published about what happened.
He said, “The policemen were transferring the aggression of what is happening regarding the #EndSARS protest on us. They later took us to the Divisional Police Station in Alausa, and if not for the DPO, the policemen guarding the LSHA that arrested us would have done more grievous things to us.
“The PPRO and the DPO later spoke with them, and we were released.
“But despite his intervention, we were told to write statements. They collected our details, address, took video recordings of us making false statements during the torture, and threatened to use it to blackmail and go after us if we end up doing any bad report against them.”
CCTV At Lekki Toll Gate Was Not Removed -Lekki Concession Company Says
Lekki Concession Company in their press release has debunked the rumour that the Lekki Toll Gate CCTV camera was not removed.
According to the press release by the company which condemns the unlawful killings of the peaceful protesters said no one gave the order for the removal of the Closed Circuit Television System as the CCTV is still intact as of the time of this report.
Speaking further, the concession company revealed that if the CCTV was to be removed, it would require the use of machinery to reach the heights that they have been installed.
Read the release report below;
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