A 35-year-old man, Isaac Salau, who claimed to have the powers to exorcise evil spirits, was on Tuesday charged with N600, 000 fraud before a Yaba Magistrates’ Court, Lagos.
The accused appeared before Magistrate S.K. Matepo for allegedly defrauding Franca Iboi of N600,000 under the guise of offering prayers to cleanse her business centre of evil charms.
Mr. Salau, standing trial on a two-count charge of conspiracy and fraud, however, pleaded not guilty.
The prosecutor, Victor Eruada, told the court that the accused had no fixed address and was unemployed.
He said that the alleged offences were committed between February 11 and 16, at No. 17, Onilewura St., Ikotun area of Lagos.
He told the court that there was another suspect, still at large, that conspired with the accused to commit the alleged offences.
He said that the complainant owned a car wash business of which Mr. Salau claimed was infested with evil charms.
Mr. Eruada told the court that the accused and his accomplice claimed to be prophets, “whereas, their intention was to defraud”.
“They asked the complainant to pray and fast and that in three days they were going to remove the evil charms.
“On one of the days, the accused and his accomplice offered some prayers in her car wash and when fire gushed out from a corner of the compound, she believed in them.
“This made her to give them N600, 000 to purchase items for the cleansing of her car wash centre,” he said.
Mr. Eruada said that the complainant was also asked to sell her car in addition to the amount already collected from her.
“The request for additional money made things clear to the complainant that she was being duped.
“She informed the police who laid in wait for the accused when they came to collect the proceeds from the sale of the car.
“When they came, Salau was arrested, but the other culprit escaped,” he said.
The prosecutor told the court that the alleged offences contravened Sections 278, 285, and 409 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State.
The magistrate granted the accused bail in the sum of N200, 000, with two sureties in like sum.
The case was adjourned to May 4.