SAMSON FOLARIN writes on how a man running from his family woes fell into the hands of a sex worker who took advantage of his amorous cravings
Tunde was exhausted. He looked pale with his eyeballs bloodshot as he collapsed into a chair in a restaurant, where he agreed to meet this reporter.
His threadbare flip-flop had piles of sand, which littered the spot where he sat in the eatery. With the dirt that settled on his scanty moustache and rough dark face, it appeared he had also yet to have a good bath in days.
But all these mattered less to Tunde, who had just escaped death by a whisker after being allegedly drugged and robbed by a sex worker.
“I fumbled,” he started, as he leaned forward and gripped this reporter’s arm while staring with pain into his face.
For some seconds, our eyeballs were locked.
Then he withdrew slowly, dropped his head and heaved.
“I regret my action. I am yet to get over the shock that I could have been killed because of N544,000.
“Assuming she poisoned me, I would have been gone forever. What would have happened to my children and my family?” he added and heaved again, deeply.
Tunde was a well-known businessman in Alimosho, the largest council in Lagos State, South-West, Nigeria.
He had a thriving secondary school and a big supermarket that ensured regular cash flow to his bank accounts. Life was treating him well.
A few years ago, he was embroiled in a bitter divorce case with his first wife that led to his unjust incarceration.
After the intervention of some rights activists, he was freed and won the custody of his three children.
Tunde moved on with his life and remarried.
His business boomed as he made an average of N7m per month in sales at his supermarket alone.
He expanded with a bakery and employed about a dozen workers.
Everything was smooth-sailing until June 2022, when some of his workers started stealing from his supermarket.
The thievery went on until April 2023, when the supermarket went down and he called auditors, who discovered that more than N6m had been stolen by the workers.
According to the 50-year-old, he was more disappointed in his two nieces who also participated in the fraud.
The Ondo State indigene said it was at this point he decided to bring his wife into the business to monitor the accounts.
In less than a month, Tunde said he discovered that his wife had also stolen N450,000 from the business.
“She said it was the devil that caused it. I developed high blood pressure and almost suffered stroke as my mouth started shifting sideways.
“My workers disappointed me, my nieces disappointed me, my wife, whom I feed and care for, disappointed me.
“I had a serious crisis with my first marriage that led to a divorce. But in reflection, my first wife is better than my second wife 10 times. In fact, they cannot be compared.
“As my health started failing, a doctor advised me to go to a hotel to rest. That was when I moved to Ehi Guest House for two weeks and was paying N18,000 per night. I was going to work from the guest house,” Tunde added.
The businessman said on Friday, May 12, 2023, an acquaintance, Femi Omosebi, who also worked with the Lagos Neighbourhood Security Corps, visited him at the guest house and suggested they go out to ‘flex’, that is, to catch fun.
Both Tunde and Omosebi drove to De Dems, a nightclub at Akowonjo, where sex workers usually line up on the road for customers.
This was where they picked Queen, a 22-year-old sex worker.
Omosebi, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH, said Tunde immediately warmed up to the prostitute as they embraced and chatted freely.
The time was 10pm.
“We all sat together to have fun. I ordered a bottle of beer, but egbon (Tunde) took a soft drink.
“The girl also asked for the same soft drink with egbon. We later gave the girl money to buy suya for us.
“I then asked egbon to leave the place and let us go home. He said he left his house over stress and he wanted to return to the guest house with the girl. I then agreed with him.
“Meanwhile, when we finished eating the suya, he excused himself, maybe to withdraw money or something else. When he returned, the girl asked him to finish her drink. He collected the drink and took it. I was surprised he would consent to such a request from a total stranger,” he added.
The security officer said he, however, observed that as Tunde drove back to the guest house, he staggered and almost hit other vehicles on the road.
He noted that when they got to the guest house, the situation got worse as the businessman was close to falling into a ditch.
“He was staggering and I was even joking that I was the one that took the beer, but he was the one that was intoxicated, and he abused me.
“The lady supported him till they got to the reception. I took the car key to drive out and promised I would come back the following morning,” Omosebi added.
By the following morning, Tunde woke up to discover that the Isoko, Delta State prostitute had vanished into thin air.
He was also oblivious of his environment until Omosebi returned.
Tunde said, “That was when I remembered that while we were at the bar, I excused myself to go and ease myself. It was around that time she drugged my drink and switched it with hers.
“I sensed something was wrong with me after taking the drink. But instead of asking Femi (Omosebi) to drive me away, I did not. This girl took me to my room, where she emptied my bank account.”
A statement of account of Tunde obtained by Saturday PUNCH revealed that a total of N544,000 was transferred in tranches of N100,000, N50,000, N30,000, N70,000, N4,000, N50,000, N10,000, N5,000, N20,000 and N200,000.
The money was sent to different bank account numbers.
The victim said Queen left only N620 in the account before escaping.
“But I am surprised that this girl left the hotel without anyone informing me. They have four receptionists and two gatemen, how did she evade their vigilance?
“I met the hotel owner and demanded that they should play the CCTV so we could see the lady’s face because I did not know her; I met her that night. But they said their camera was not working. I was speechless,” he added.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that the case was reported at the Area M Police Command, Idimu, where the victim made a statement.
Tunde said after getting a lead from the police, he and Omosebi returned to De Dems and showed one of the people there his bank account statement to indicate that he had been defrauded.
At this point, one of the men identified Faith, a 20-year-old sex worker who benefitted from the illicit transfer.
She was subsequently picked up and handed over to the police.
Our correspondent gathered that the other two suspects were lured out and arrested in a hotel where they were lodging.
Omosebi and his commanding officer, Ijadola Olewashola, led the hunt that led to the arrests.
The sex workers, however, claimed that they had spent the money.
“I fumbled big time. I want to tell Nigerians that when you have a problem in your home, you should try to manage it yourself; walking out is not the best. I regret my action.
“I am not a saint; I feel bad that I fell into the hands of this Jezebel. I am yet to get over the shock that I could have been killed because of N544,000. Assuming she poisoned me, I would be gone forever. What would happen to my children and my family? Did you know that if the lady saw more than that amount, she could have killed me? And I never had anything with this girl,” Tunde added.
The guest house
On Wednesday, our correspondent visited Ehi Guest House at Egbeda and met the manager, Matthew Olaitan.
Olaitan later led Saturday PUNCH to a clubhouse, which serves as an extension of the guest house.
There, the owner of the facility, Lucky Omokhodion, and his General Manager, Omang Williams, were waiting.
Saturday PUNCH noted that a group of men were painting the bar ceilings as the smell of the gloss combined with heavy cigarette smoke to suffuse the atmosphere.
The hall appeared to be undergoing renovation.
A group of boys fixated their attention on a hanging plasma television where a European football match appeared to be ongoing.
After some minutes of preparing a space for the interview, this reporter sat on a plastic chair and introduced himself and the allegations against the guest house.
Omokhodion, a middle-aged man with white beard, said in the 20 years of his operation of the business, he had never had any issues with his customers.
He said for the two weeks Tunde stayed in the facility, different kinds of people visited him, including girls.
The hotelier said on Saturday morning, he was surprised when the customer came with a policeman to report his ordeal.
Omokhodion said, “The man said he woke up and discovered the girl was nowhere. He came to see me here around 10am. Even while he was talking, he was dozing and appeared intoxicated. He could not stand properly.
“I wondered how she got the PIN of his phone and the password of his banking app. It appeared they had known each other for a while. The man said whenever he wanted to transfer money to the girl, she always watched him. That was too childish of him.
“Then he said he wanted to watch our CCTV. We tried to play it back, but it did not work. I told him we had invited an engineer. When the engineer came, they started playing it, but it became stuck.
“They said we need to call the company that installed it. The man flared up. I told him he picked the girl in a club and she looked like an armed robber. She could have been smarter than all of us and knowing what she did in the room, she could have come out by 2am or 3am. My receptionist may have been asleep, she is a human being too. She might have peeped and beat the security.”
The manager of the guest house, Olaitan, said when he asked Tunde for the bank details of the suspect and her phone number, he refused to release them.
“He insisted he wanted to watch the CCTV. When we went to the police station on Monday, he refused to show up. The police called him, but he refused to take his calls. The police promised to call us anytime he showed up, and till now, they have not called us,” he added.
Williams, on his part, said the guest house was interested in the safety of its customers and would never do anything to compromise their security.
‘I aborted for Tunde twice’
Queen, in her statement to the police, confessed to taking the money from Tunde’s bank account.
The 22-year-old, however, claimed that she was in a relationship with the businessman and had aborted twice for him in the past.
She said, “I got to know him last year at De Dems. He approached me for a night hangout, which I agreed to. But on getting to the hotel close to De Dems, he changed his mind that he wanted me as his normal girlfriend, so we had sex that night without protection.
“So, that was how we continued until I got pregnant for him. I told him about it, but he quickly rebuked me that he was not interested and then I got rid of that. The relationship continued until I got pregnant the second time, which he also denied and I did the same thing I did the first time.
“However, he made many promises that he would give me money to establish myself because we talked as husband and wife; I know many things about him. This is a relationship of almost two years.
“On Friday, May 12, 2023, we met at De Dems as usual because our usual meeting is every Wednesday and Friday of the week.”
She explained that after they both drank, Tunde drove her to his room and wanted to sleep with her, but she refused because he did not establish a business for her as promised.
In response to her complaint, Queen said Tunde promised to surprise her that night.
“After much argument and fight for denying him sex, he demanded an account number and I gave him my friend’s Access Bank account number. He transferred N200,000 to that account and he showed me the proof, but I still complained that the money was not enough for the clothing business I wanted to start.
“He said he could not add to it as giving a woman N200,000 this period was big money. Then he started pressing his phone, but later started touching me that he needed to have sex with me, hence I considered him to have his way,” she added.
The sex worker said after the sex romp, Tunde slept off and she took his phone.
According to her, she knew his phone PIN and account details because they had been dating for a while.
She said she transferred money to her friends and also bought N5,000 worth of recharge cards.
“I did all these out of aggression and frustration and his wickedness because he had been sleeping with me without protection with promises of establishing a clothing business for me, which he failed to do for more than a year and eight months. He said he does not sleep with other ladies without protection except me and his wife, and he fears his wife a lot,” Queen added.
She denied drugging Tunde’s drink at the bar.
Her friends Chizoba, 23, and Faith, 20, said they only woke up to see their accounts credited with money without knowing the source.
Chizoba, a native of Isoko, Delta State, said Queen always used her (Chizoba) bank account for transactions because she did not have any of her own.
“She called me to know if I saw any money she transferred to my account while I was sleeping and when I checked, I then told her yes. But I asked her how did she get it and she said the man she had been dating for long and refused to take care of her just sent her only N200,000 and that what would the money do for her and because of that, she transferred another one by herself,” she added.
Faith, who was the first to be arrested, said the sum of N50,000 was sent to her account and she was asked to keep N40,000 for Queen, while she could spend the remaining N10,000.
She said Tunde promised to pay her if she assisted with the arrest of Queen.
“On May 13, Tunde came to De Dems club and he was searching for the said Chinaza and Chizoba. Fortunately, I came across him and I said this is my own name (among beneficiaries).
“Mr Tunde promised me that if I can help them to locate her that he would pay me, but he did not state the actual amount. On the same date, Mr Tunde carried me for ‘service’ from 1am to 5am and he paid me the sum of N12,000,” she stated.
Saturday PUNCH crosschecked the claim of payment for ‘service’ from the account statement of Tunde.
It was confirmed that the sum of N12,000 was indeed paid to her, but it was on May 15, 2023.
Tunde, while reacting, said Queen saw his PIN when he was paying for their food at the bar.
He explained that she wrapped her arms around his shoulders in pretentious friendliness while spying as he punched his PIN for the payment.
He said he used the same code for his phone PIN and banking app password, which made it easier for the suspect to unlock.
The businessman expressed shock at the claim that he impregnated Queen twice, saying it was not true.
“I am very sick as I speak with you. I feel weaker with each passing day. I don’t know what she put in my drink. When you hear people fall and die suddenly, it could be because of things like this. I don’t smoke, drink or sleep outside. It was family frustration that pushed me out. And I have learnt my lesson. That girl was never my girlfriend; I met her that night and I did not even sleep with her,” he added.
According to Tunde, he gave Faith the N12,000 when she insisted on getting paid to assist in the arrest of the prime suspect.
He said the sex worker, whom he promised N50,000 for her help, was speaking with Queen until she suddenly backed out of the plan.
Aside from Tunde, there have also been men and women who were reportedly drugged and robbed in their pursuit of pleasure or relationships.
In February 2017, operatives of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad arrested a woman, Mitchel Harrold, for drugging a medical doctor in a hotel in the Ojodu area of the state.
The 37-year-old Agbor, Delta State indigene, was alleged to have carted away the victim’s car, laptop and phone.
She was arrested after the police traced her through a car dealer in Lagos, whom she engaged to help perfect papers for the stolen Volkswagen Passat Wagon, 2001 model.
In a statement, the police said the suspect and the medical doctor had on January 19 around 5.30pm checked into a popular hotel in the Ojodu Berger area of Lagos with a plan to spend the night together.
Harrold had, after settling down, gone to get a malt drink and yoghurt, while the boyfriend was taking his bath.
The victim, identified as Daniel Biyi, said, “I went in to take a bath and when I returned, she had gone to buy some drinks. I took the malt drink and yoghurt and I slept off. I slept off at 6pm and woke up around 2pm (the following day).
“Behold, when I woke up, my personal effects such as phone and laptop had gone.
“Unfortunately for me, I do not know any of her relatives. We only met on a social media dating site, Badoo, about a year ago.
“As I woke up, I rushed straight to meet with the receptionist and gateman to ask for her whereabouts, that was when I realised my car had been taken away too.
“They told me someone came to pick the car for her. And, she said she was going to get food. Immediately, I reported the incident at Omole Police Station.”
The victim said he was just aware of the lady’s real name as Mitchel Harrold after the arrest because she gave him Aisha Ibrahim.
In June 2021, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, was murdered in a service apartment in the Lekki area of Lagos State, where he lodged with a 300-level University of Lagos student, Chidinma Ojukwu.
The lovers after drinking and taking drugs, had a disagreement over money before having sex.
Ataga, 50, was said to have been stabbed seven times in the neck and killed.
The then 23-year-old Ojukwu allegedly withdrew N5m from the victim’s bank accounts.
She is currently facing murder charges in a Lagos court.
But not only men fall victim to such devilish plots.
In May 2022, men of the Ogun State Police Command arrested a 25-year-old suspect, Ebenezer Adeshina, for drugging and raping a 16-year-old girl.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the teenager reported that she met the suspect on Facebook in 2021 and they started chatting.
Oyeyemi said the victim’s phone became faulty and she couldn’t chat with the suspect again.
“But in March 2022, the suspect called her and asked why she didn’t chat with him anymore, of which she informed him of her spoilt phone.
“The suspect there and then asked her to come to his house to collect the sum of N3,000 for the repair of the phone. On getting there, the suspect offered her a drink, which she took. Unknown to her that the drink had been laced with a sedative drug.
“Immediately she took the drink, she became unconscious and the suspect used the opportunity to have unlawful carnal knowledge of her against her wish.
“After having sex with her in the state of unconsciousness, the suspect took her nude pictures and started threatening to upload the pictures on social media if she didn’t pay him the sum of N50,000,” he added.
The police later apprehended the suspect and he confessed to the crime.
In November 2022, a 34-year-old man, Ifeanyi Ezenagu, was accused of robbing a lady, identified simply as Amarachi, of her valuables after they met in a hotel in Owerri, Imo State.
The duo were said to be on a date on Thursday, November 4, 2022, when the incident happened.
Amarachi slept off after taking a drink laced with a drug.
She woke up and discovered that Ezenagu had disappeared with her iPhone 12 ProMax and cleared the N320,000 in her bank account.
It was later gathered that the suspect had earlier been arrested in August 2022 for allegedly robbing different women in the Surulere area of Lagos State.
The suspect was said to have lured his victims into hotels, where he drugged them to sleep before stealing their valuables.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, in a release in August 2022, stated that Ezenagu robbed 30 women of valuables estimated at N2,368,000.
He was on bail for the case when he allegedly robbed Amarachi.
Experts urge caution, suspects remanded
A Senior Consultant with the Lagos State Health Service Commission, Sylvester Ikhisemojie, said criminals always drugged their victims to ensure there was no resistance to their operation.
He said, “People who find themselves in such circumstances with total strangers should exercise utmost caution; don’t allow anyone open your bottled or canned drink. Don’t leave any food or drink out of your sight and if you happen to do so deliberately or accidentally, don’t go back to it.”
On the harmful effect of the sleeping drug, the doctor said, “Many of the drugs in common use for this purpose can cause catastrophic drop in blood pressure and immediate death.”
The Chairman of Transworld Security Systems Limited, Dr Victoria Ekhomu, said Tunde should be grateful he escaped with his life.
“When you go out with a sex worker, you should be prepared for the consequences as well. Doing such a thing is a big risk. The Ataga case should have been enough warning for men. This man is lucky that he was only drugged and his valuables taken.
“There can be suspicion that the guest house is culpable for not releasing the footage. An expert might need to examine their CCTV to know if their action was deliberate or indeed the camera was faulty,” she added.
The Lagos police spokesperson, Hundeyin, said the three sex workers had been arraigned.
He said, “The suspects have been arraigned and remanded in prison, three of them: the main girl and those she transferred the money to.”
The suspects were taken to court by the Investigating Police Officer, Inspector Akeem Faleye, and a Superintendent of Police, Abiodun Omisore.
Findings by our correspondent showed that they were charged with four counts of stealing, ‘stupefying’ and receiving stolen money.
They were remanded pending the perfection of their bail conditions of N100,000 each with two sureties in like sum.