The police in Lagos on Wednesday arraigned a 27-year-old businessman, Yusuf Atanda, charged with impersonating Pastor Enoch Adeboye and two other church general overseers to defraud members of the public.
According to the police, Mr Atanda created fake Facebook accounts of Mr Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor D.K. Olukoya of Mountain Of Fire and Miracle Ministry and Pastor T.B. Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, to dupe people.
The defendant, who resides at Okokomaiko, Lagos, is being tried for cybercrime before Magistrate M.O Tanimola in Ikeja.
Mr Atanda, however, denied committing the offence, and was admitted to bail in the sum of N100, 000 with two sureties in like sum.
Tanimola said the sureties should be gainfully employed and show evidence of two years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government.
The Prosecutor, Aondohemba Koti, a police inspector, told the court that the defendant committed the alleged offence in October 2018 at Okokomaiko.
He added that the defendant used the names of the three general overseers on the internet without their consents.
“Atanda created a fake Facebook accounts of Pastor E.A Adeboye of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor D.K Olukoya of Mountain Of Fire and Miracle Ministry and Pastor T.B Joshua of Synagogue Church of All Nations.
“He posed as the pastors and sent electronic messages to the public to deposit either N1, 000 or N2, 000 into a bank account to get N3, 000 or N5, 000, respectively, in four days.
“If they pay and it is four days, he will block the persons’ numbers so they would not be able to reach him anymore.
“Upon receipt of a written petition from one of the complainant’s legal counsel, the police swung into action, and the defendant was tracked and arrested.
“The amount of money the defendant got from over 100 members of the public was yet to be ascertained,” the prosecutor said.
The alleged offence violates Section 20 (1) of Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, Law of Federation, 2015.
The case was adjourned until April 17 for mention.