The Lagos State police command has arrested a four man gang of suspected fake currency dealers in the Magodo area of Lagos. The suspects who specialise in procuring and circulating fake N1000 notes in Lagos Metropolis were arrested on Saturday 28 May 2016.
The suspects whose names were given as Ifeanyi Ihesiabia 28, Simeon Joseph 29, Hope Ihesiabia 33 and Chioma Ndubisi were said to have been in possession of 78 pieces of N1000 notes before they were arrested.
The Lagos State Commission of Police, Fatai Owoseni who paraded the suspects recently in Lagos, said that the fake naira notes which were procured from Aba in Abia State by Hope was distributed to the gang members who subsequently made purchases with it from unsuspecting members of the public.
Lucky however ran out on the gang when Ifeanyi tried to buy recharge card from a woman in his neighbourhood, but the woman was said to have raised alarm after noticing the note was fake. He was caught and handed over to the police.
On getting to their hideout in Magodo, and after a thorough search, a cutlass, two laptops and fives phones were recovered.
On his part, Ifeanyi, from Ngwa in Abia state said he was innocent. He said he had collected the money from his brother Hope, but did not know it was fake. “My elder brother Hope had come to visit me in Lagos from Aba. He came back with lots of N1000 notes which he said a friend had given to him. On that Saturday, when I wanted to go and buy recharge card, I asked him to give me money and he gave me N1000.
When I got to where I wanted to buy the recharge card, the woman gave me the card and I gave her the money. She suddenly noticed it was fake and she started shouting thief thief thief. People gathered and some policemen were passing at that time. They were stopped and I was handed over to them.
After interrogating me, I was taken to the house where they got my brother and two others. Sincerely I am not a thief and have never stolen.
Hope on his part affirmed he knew the naira notes were fake but got them cheap and felt it was an easy way to make some more money. He said. “I am a laundry man based in Port-Harcourt. I had travelled to Aba to see some family members there. While at Aba I visited Ariaria Market to buy a few things. While in the market, I saw a man with some N1000 notes, he was giving me signs and when I drew closer, he told me the notes were for sale.
I was afraid at first but he assured me that though the notes were fake, people will not notice easily. And then I decided to give it a try. I bought 80 pieces for N18, 000. The phones that you see belong to us and the cutlass is used for clearing grass in our compound.
Chioma and Simeon however say they are friends to the Ihesiabia brothers. They claim they had come for a visit when the police stormed the house and picked them too. They say they know nothing about the fake naira notes.