Estimated reading time: 15 minute(s)
A victim of the raid of Conference hotel, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Shomide Abayomi has narrated how he and his friend were arrested in the hotel parking lot, right inside their car at gun point.
It would be recalled that the hotel which belongs to a former governor in the State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel was reportedly raided on Saturday nigh tthrough Sunday morning by some gunmen suspected to be operatives of the EFCC.
The reported raid and eventual arrest was said to have led to the taking away of some of the hotel guests while their phones, laptops, other electronic gadgets and vehicles were reportedly carted away.
But the Lagos Zone of the Commission in a statement signed by its spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren took credit for the raid and claimed that 60 internet fraudsters were arrested at an event in the hotel tagged “peer youths Awards”.
According to the Statement the event was organized to reward high level internet fraudsters in the State.
Abayomi while narrating his ordeal told PLATFORM TIMES that he and his friend who owned a bar in Abeokuta were only in the hotel that night to scout for musicians who they needed to perform in the friends bar which was getting low patronage.
He also said that they had been planning to go to the hotel for a while to scout for the musicians but decided to go that night because they were told that a show was happening in the hotel.
According to him they decided to go because they knew musicians will be available at the show and so it was an opportunity to meet the artist and negotiate what it will take for them to get the musicians to perform at his friends bar .
He said “On getting to the hotel around 11: 30pm, the victim narrated that they were still at the parking lot of the hotel when the EFCC officers stormed the hotel shooting sporadically in the air.
He said he and his friend were left alone at first in the car but were later asked to come down by one of the EFCC officers who was fully armed.
Abayomi said he and his friend were not given a chance to explain themselves and were only ordered to bring their phones and postrate alongside other arrested guests which they complied.
His words ” I was at conference hotel in company of a friend of mine who happens to own a bar at Nawairudeen, in Abeokuta here, due to low patronage, he is a very good friend of mine, so we decided together to go to conference hotel to scout for artist that performs there so that they can perform at my friend’s bar to improve sales there.
“Fortunately we heard around 9 o’clock that day that there was a show in the hotel, so we decided that since we had it in mind to go there to scout for musicians who will perform at our bar, so we decided to go to the show before it starts to meet the artists there and convince them and negotiate with them on how much it will cost and make arrangements on how they will come down to the friend’s bar to perform.
“We got to Conference hotel around 11:30pm, on getting there we were still at the parking lot when operatives of the EFCC stormed at first they didn’t touch us but later they just told us to come down from the car.
“we were still at the parking lot when one of them came to challenge us what we are doing there and he didn’t listen to our response before he asked us to come down and join those that have been asked to postrate, they asked us for our phone, we dropped it along with others and they were shooting sporadically, they didn’t give us any opportunity to talk, it was there they disposses us of our phones”.
Abayomi furthered narrated that “They later drove us to their head office in Ikoyi and I made it known to them there that I am a journalist, they asked for a surety to come and stand in for me, upon the arrival of my surety after the necessary forms and every other thing I was allowed to go with my phone and they told us to come to their office on Tuesday which is today.
“We arrived at Ikoyi around 4am on Sunday morning and investigation started immediately, I was interrogated and I also wrote statement, it was from my interrogation that they got to know that I was a journalist and they actually let me go after I provided a surety, I actually called a cousin of mine and he brought the necessary requirements and the necessary documents.
“We were more than 50 that were arrested. I understood there was a show there but I don’t know what the show was all about.
“Only me and my friend were picked up in the parking lot inside the car, others were arrested inside the compound but not exactly were we were, I was told to return today, to come and meet some of their bosses there but I was busy at work, I had to do some sales collection today at Ijebu and so I will be going there tommorow.
On the reported reinforcement of military men into the hotel to protect the suspected internet fraudsters the victim said that “there was presence of some soldiers who were there on their own, I don’t know but there was an issue that night, I didn’t know what the issue was between the operatives of the EFCC and the Soldiers, they wanted to arrest the Soldiers but with the help of reinforcement by other military men.
“About two or three Soldiers were there that night all on Uniform and they wanted to arrest them with their uniforms, I don’t know what transpired between them but what I could here them saying was that the Soldiers were trying to impede their activities, they were trying to stop them from doing their job.