A church protocol officer, Victor Duru, 23, has been arrested by the police for allegedly luring his female church members to hotels and taking their nude pictures, which he used to blackmail them into giving him money.
Duru, who is a Madonna University dropout, was said to have blackmailed not only his girlfriends in the church, but also other girls, who were not members of the church, before he was apprehended by the police in Surulere, Lagos State, last Thursday.
One of his girlfriends, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Duru took her nude pictures and those of another of his girlfriends at a hotel in Ijeshatedo at gunpoint.
She added that she had to call the Rapid Response Squad headquarters to report her experience.
It was learnt that Duru, who is based in Oregun, Ikeja, was investigated and discovered to have been using the nude pictures of the victim to blackmail her into giving him money.
He was also alleged to be keeping the nude pictures of other girls, whom he lodged in hotels and his apartment in Ijeshatedo.
A source added that the suspect obtained the nude pictures of the victims at gunpoint with the assistance of an accomplice.
It was gathered that there was a growing suspicion that Duru also laced the drink of another girl with a sleeping drug as the photographs obtained from one of his mobile phones revealed.
Duru, in his confessional statement, stated, “The victim, who reported me was my girlfriend. We are members of the same church. We have been dating for almost two years. We were having breakup issues.
“So, I invited her to a hotel in Ijeshatedo. I excused myself and invited my friend, Frank Obinna, to meet me in the hotel. Obinna and I had planned this together.
“The gun was a toy gun. Obinna entered the hotel room and held the lady at gunpoint. I told her to cooperate and strip naked for Obinna to take her pictures. We took seven different nude shots of her with my phone. I discharged her that day. That was in September.
“By early October, I called her to give me N80,000 or I would post the nude photographs on the Internet. She was only able to offer me N10,000, which she transferred into my brother’s account.
“Last week, Obinna called her again and requested N40,000. She promised to send something. She was a wonderful girl, who had been assisting me before the problem started. On many occasions, she had assisted me financially.”
It was learnt that Duru attempted to escape from custody in handcuffs, while the police were trying to arrest his accomplice, Obinna, in Ijeshatedo.
According to the victim’s statement, she thought Duru’s friend was a waiter when he entered the hotel room.
She said, “He brought out his phone and I asked my boyfriend what was going on, but he slapped me and told me to remove the blanket covering my body.
“I refused. He yanked it off my body and told me to cooperate. I refused again. He asked his friend for the gun, threatening that if I didn’t cooperate, they would waste me.
“His friend took several shots of my nudity. Both of them abandoned me in the hotel room afterwards.
“I asked him almost a week after what he wanted to do with my pictures and he told me that was the beginning.
“The following Saturday, he threatened to post the pictures on the Internet unless I paid N80,000 in order to delete them. I paid N10,000 with a promise to pay the balance later.
“After a week, his friend called and offered me another option of paying him N40,000 and a night out with him. I refused. He threatened that I would hear from them very soon.”
The source noted that some of the ladies, whose nude pictures were found on Duru’s mobile phones, when contacted by the police to come forward as prosecution witnesses, declined.
The suspect, along with some of the exhibits recovered from him, has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, for further investigation.
The police boss in charge of the state Command, Assistant Inspector-General Zubairu Muazu, asked parents to keep watch over their children and know the kind of company they keep.