The Osun State Police command has come out to say that an Osun State lawmaker, Timothy Owoeye, reportedly seen on a viral video depicting him as bathing in the market square for ritual purposes was a victim of blackmail.
It can be recalled that the lawmaker was caught by the local security operatives while taking his bath in the midnight at the market Square.
The state commissioner of Police, Adeoye Fimihan, told Premium Times on Sunday, that the lawmaker representing Ilesa west for the All Progressives Congress, APC, was duped by some persons who specialise in blackmail racket.
“The fellow is a victim of some fraudsters who duped him of some amount of money. They tricked him to that place and did that to blackmail him so that he will not be able to lodge complaint in the public,” the police boss said.
The newspaper reported that Owoeye’s ordeal began about six months ago when he agreed to have a midnight bath in a market as recommended by herbalists he had been consulting for traditional prayers.
The location of the said market chosen for the ritual bath was rumoured to be located in Osun Jela, between Osogbo, the state capital, and Ijesa.
It was reported that as the lawmaker undressed himself and started having his bath, some persons – whom the police suspect had been in hiding in the dark – emerged from the nearby bush, turned on lights and focused cameras on the lawmaker.
Sources close to Owoeye said the fraudsters who had been parading themselves to the lawmaker as herbalists had arranged with the group that caught the lawmaker while he was about to bath in the market learnt that the fraudsters then threatened to make the video public if the lawmaker failed to heed their demands for cash.
The lawmaker was said to have paid the fraudsters to hush the scandal, but such payments became regular.
After the lawmaker ran out of cash, he reportedly wanted to sell a filling station he owned to prevent the fraudsters from circulating the video.
It was reported that when Mr Owoeye was trying to raise money by selling his filling station, an associate advised him to disclosed what his crisis was about.
He was then asked to take the matter to the governor and subsequently to the police.
“We are happy that he summoned the courage to complain and the police succeeded in arresting some of those fellows and they were charged to court. Whatever is being circulated is just a way of ensuring that he will not be able to complain,” the Osun state commissioner said.
The commissioner said the police had so far recovered the N10 million from the amount paid to the syndicate by the lawmaker. He said the video was leaked by other members of the syndicate who were yet to be arrested.