Prophet Peter Ononuju of the Celestial Church of Christ, Alpha and Omega Parish, Cotonou, Republic of Benin, has been arrested for allegedly defrauding a widow of N18million.
Ononuju is being quizzed at the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID), Alagbon Close, Ikoyi.
He was alleged to have swindled the widow under the pretence of procuring land for her in the Lekki area of the state.
Parading the suspect at the FCIID, Commissioner of Police, Dan Okoro, said the victim later discovered that the land belonged to Ononuju’s ex-wife.
“When the lady discovered the fraud, she reported to my office and I detailed detectives to go after the prophet and he was promptly arrested,” Okoro said.
He added that detectives discovered that the suspect collected N16million cash and asked the widow to pay the other N2million into his bank account.
The FCIID boss advised people to be wary of those who claimed to be pastors during business transaction, saying that they tend to take advantage of the gullible nature of believers to swindle them of their hard earned money.
“The so-called prophet took advantage of the relationship he has with the widow to swindle her. From the beginning, he had the intention of defrauding the woman.
“He started threatening to kill the woman and her children when they discovered that he had swindled them,” Okoro said.
The victim, Oluchi Grace, said that she has known Ononuju for over two decades and trusted him as a man of God.
“As a man of God, I confided in him that I needed to buy a property and he told me he knew someone that has one. He told me he had seen the one of N12million and said I should not pay him the money through the bank.
“As a man of God, I paid him cash. After the N12million, he started giving me reasons to pay him more money. He said he needed money for omo onile (land grabbers) and certificate of occupancy from the Lagos State government. I paid him another N6million. He did not give me any document.
“I later discovered that the land in question belongs to his ex-wife who is remarried and based in the US with her husband. My son discovered her contact from Facebook. When we contacted her she told us that she was not selling. In fact, she rained abuses on us. When the prophet realised that the game was up he started threatening to kill us. That was why I ran to the police,” she said.
In his statement, Ononuju said the transaction he had with the widow was genuine until one of her sons advised her to collect back the money paid.
He said the land was still there, adding that all documents concerning the land is in hands of the lady.
“I acted as a middleman. She came to me to say that I should help look for a land. Because of the existing relationship between the two families, I went all out to ensure that I get her a good land but look at where it has landed me,” he said.