Homicide detectives from the Lagos State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (SCIID) Lagos on Sunday revealed that they have tracked a phone belonging to a 29-year-old man, Olatunfe Anthony Oluwafemi, who was declared missing in December 2019, to a 45-year-old Celestial Church pastor, Ejiro Ologonla, at the Oniru beach, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Other items belonging to Oluwafemi, undergraduate of the National Open University of Nigeria, allegedly found in possession of the pastor included his clothes, shoes and an undisclosed sum of money.
Olongola was alleged to have sold the phone to one Tolu Olurotimi, 20, for N1,500.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, who spoke yesterday on the arrest, said that on December 20, 2019 at about 10.30am, the Command received a complaint that on December 12, 2019 at about 2pm, Oluwafemi, of No. 27, Owode Street, Alapere, Ketu, who was sent on an errand to Ilupeju, had not returned and his whereabouts remained unknown.
Elkana said that all efforts made by Oluwafemi’s family members to trace him were unsuccessful.
He added that, however, one Itel phone belonging to the missing person was electronically analysed by police forensic experts, which led to the arrest of the user of the phone, Monsurat Gbadegeshin, 23.
The Lagos State Police spokesman said that In her statement, Gbadegeshin alleged that her fiancé, Abiodun Abiola, gave her the phone, adding that the statement led homicide detectives to apprehend Abiola.
Elkana said, “During questioning, Abiola said it was Olurotimi who sold the phone to him, thereby leading the operatives to him.
Rotimi, in turn, said he bought the phone from Pastor Ologonla.
“During questioning, Ologonla said he was at Oniru beach for spiritual cleansing when he met Olatunfe Anthony Oluwafemi, whom he claimed had arrived there drunk and had started chasing people around.
“Ologonla further alleged that at a point, he saw Oluwafemi climbing a fisherman’s boat, and later he saw the missing person pulling off his clothes and shoes, and then dropping his phone and jumping into the sea.
“He claimed that he informed the security men on guard duty at the beach and also called a police officer, as well as one Princess Arike Oniru on phone to intimate them of the incident.
“He said he finally picked up Oluwafemi’s clothes, shoes and phone and sold the phone to Tolu Olurotimi for N1,500 only.”
The police PRO further said that the police invited the Oniru beach security guards, the fishermen, the princess and other witnesses mentioned for questioning.
He said, “The fisherman confirmed that he was alerted and that when he arrived, he saw the missing person hanging. He also claimed that he promised to give him fish but that when he came back the following day he did not see the man again.
“The princess also confirmed that the pastor called her to inform that somebody jumped into the sea and she advised him to report the incident to the nearest police station,” the police spokesman stated.
Elkana said that further investigation by the police revealed that the security guards on duty at the beach denied receiving any report of anybody jumping into the sea about that period.
“The clothes and shoes of the missing person were found in possession of the pastor. It is established that the missing person was actually at Oniru beach before his disappearance.
“The pastor was the last person that had contact with the missing person. It is not yet established, though, whether the missing person is dead or still alive.
“But circumstantial evidences gathered so far are strongly pointing towards the pastor.
“The pastor did not just sell the phone belonging to the missing person, he also converted the money he found in the trouser of the missing person to his own use.
“There is no record showing that the pastor reported the incident to any police station,” Elkana claimed.