By Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—Plans by a 25-year-old company driver to divert the company’s vehicle from Lagos State to Ogun State has been foiled by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, following his arrest alongside an alleged accomplice.
On interrogation, the suspect, Daniel Oguntade, alleged that he was hypnotized by his pastor (names withheld), to divert the company’s vehicle, a Toyota Hiace, 2014 model, with number plates EKY 463 DM.
Vanguard gathered that Oguntade was directed to pick up a client at the airport and, thereafter, drop N150,000 with other people on December 24, 2015.
Apprehension, however, set in when he did not return at 8p.m. as expected, with the visiting client stranded at the airport. Efforts to reach him proved abortive as he reportedly ignored several calls to his phone.
When the information reached Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, he reportedly directed the Commander, RRS, Olatunji Disu, to unearth the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the driver and the company’s vehicle.
With the collaboration of policemen at the Sango Area Command, Ogun State, the car was said to have been traced to Ifo in Sango, where the driver and a man, later discovered to be an electrician, were allegedly trying to disconnect the tracking device in the car.
Oguntade told Vanguard: “I had no intention of diverting the vehicle. My pastor talked me into doing it.
“I have been working for the company for three years without any soiled record. My salary is N60,000.
“I suspect I was hypnotized by my pastor (names withheld) because while I was on the Third Mainland Bridge at 11.30a.m., heading for the airport, I received two calls; one from my dad, informing that my mother was sick and the other from my Pastor, ordering me to report immediately at the church located at Adiyan, Ogun State.
“As if propelled by forces beyond me, I proceeded to the church in the company’s vehicle.
“On arrival, my pastor told me to drop the hampers in the church, even when I told him that my boss directed me to give them to some clients.
“He reminded me that that day was Imoke day, a special service day and asked me to join the service.
“A church member, Oyetade Ade, accompanied me to the fuel station to fill the tank. But to my surprise, the car refused to start while at the fuel station. Time was 7.30p.m.
“When I called my pastor to inform him about the development, he said I should tell my boss that the vehicle had been snatched by robbers, including the hampers and cash. I could not pick my calls when my boss called and when I eventually picked it, I could not talk.
“I never knew the vehicle had a tracking device. I thought it had an electrical fault that was why I called an electrician to repair it. To my surprise, RRS men swoop on us.”
Police sources told Vanguard that when invited, that the Pastor denied Oguntade’s claim.
The suspects were, yesterday, transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.