CONSPIRACY OF LIES THROUGH ENVY: ‘I served Nigerian A-list Comedian, I GO DYE for 12 years, he sold me out to Nigeria Police that I hired assassins to kill him over phony N36million’-TUNDE Biletiri, former publicist, entertainment journalist * ‘He ruined my hard-earned reputation, labeled me a common criminal, a fraudster, a swindler, yahoo boy in street parlance’ * ‘I was picked up by police team from Zonal Investigative Bureau Zone 5. They allegedly called me a Notorious cultist, Assassins’ patron’ * ‘I was forced to write false statements under duress and tortured severely in police custody’ *’In Police custody, I was forced to write a cheque of N25million by Corporal Lazarus despite pleas by Inspector Ebilayefa not to allow me write it since the case was not fraud related. They vowed to use dud cheque to rope me in. They tortured me with a cutlass and threatened to kill me assuring nothing will ever happen to them’ * ‘My unlawful detention and remand in prison for three months was a set up’ *BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN Foreign Bureau


CONSPIRACY OF LIES THROUGH ENVY:

‘I served Nigerian A-list Comedian, I GO DYE for 12 years, he sold me out to Nigeria Police that I hired assassins to kill him over phony N36million’-TUNDE Biletiri, former publicist, entertainment journalist

* ‘He ruined my hard-earned reputation, labeled me a common criminal, a fraudster, a swindler, yahoo boy in street parlance’

* ‘I was picked up by police team from Zonal Investigative Bureau Zone 5. They allegedly called me a Notorious cultist, Assassins’ patron’

* ‘I was forced to write false statements under duress and tortured severely in police custody’

* ‘In Police custody, I was forced to write a cheque of N25million by Corporal Lazarus despite pleas by Inspector Ebilayefa not to allow me write it since the case was not fraud related. They vowed to use dud cheque to rope me in. They tortured me with a cutlass and threatened to kill me assuring nothing will ever happen to them’

* ‘My unlawful detention and remand in prison for three months was a set up’

NOT MANY Nigerians knew the challenges he had faced for 12 years where he worked as the image maker for an A-list NigerianComedian, Francis Agoda otherwise called ‘I GO DYE.’ In this revealing interview with BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN Foreign Bureau, this publicist, TUNDE BILETIRI takes us through the crisis, face-off with the rib-cracking entertainer, how he was set-up and other problems in trusting in people:

NAIJA STANDARD: What really happened between you and ‘I GO DYE’?

Friendship is all about trust and betrayal. Sometimes, one is lucky to be blessed with friends that could be relied on at any given time while there are many others whose ultimate plans are to bring someone down to the lowest level. Being one of Nigeria’s most successful, creative and ideological minds in the spheres of the country’s entertainment industry, I have a sad story to tell which will serve as a deterrent to other aspiring young entrepreneurs in order for them to know the kind of friends, business associates they could rely on. One of my most trusted allies and supposed reliable business partners in the person of a comedy icon and rib cracker of repute, Francis Agoda popularly known as ‘I Go Dye’ vehemently ignored the words of an American soul singer that says: “lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on” when he allegedly sold me out to the Nigerian Police as a common criminal.

This development flabbergasted many who knew my antecedent both in the journalism industry and the entertainment cycle in Nigeria. The many allegations of fraud laid against me were perceived to be a grand plot to bring my hard earned reputation down and send my career into an everlasting doldrums. It also came as a surprise that the whole scenario which akin to a perfectly scripted Nollywood movie was spare headed by ‘I Go Dye’ who is renowned as an A-Class comedian in Nigeria and who, in any way is not expected to be envious about other young hustlers’ successes.

‘I Go Dye’ stooped so low to bring his reputation down and re-brand me a common criminal, a fraudster and a swindler, yahoo boy in street parlance. This comedian connived with his own business associates to fabricate lies against me in order to get me enmeshed in a phantom breach of contracts. My unlawful detention and remand in prison was a set up by ‘I Go Dye’. The police stole my properties, deleted evidence in my phone.

NAIJA STANDARD: Can you be specific about the details?

Trouble started when ‘I go Dye’ told his friend to attack me in Bayelsa state after he claimed he was told I was to be given a huge contract. He now went to team up with my business associates that we were to do a show together, compelled them to write fictitious petitions against me. ‘I Go Dye’ petitioned against me that I used his name to defraud people of N36million. He lied that I sent assassins to kill him, while my business associates also petitioned that I defrauded them. Their petition claimed I was a notorious cultist and I was threatening violence. What surprised me the most was both petitions were written on September 19th 2019. The petitions were approved same day, they got a warrant of arrest same day, came to pick me up in Port Harcourt same day.

NAIJA STANDARD: How were the police involved?

The Zonal Investigative Bureau of Zone 5 team that came to pick me came in a Hilux van belongs to one Joseph Osawaru. His driver drove the police team consisting of Inspector Ebilayefa Agagowei, Sergeant Armstrong and Corporal Lazarus Ejechi. Those officers came to arrest me claimed me to be a notorious cultist, assassins’ patron. This came without me holding any ammunition. When we got to Asaba around 7:30pm, they told me they are scared they can’t continue the journey because Benin-Agbor Expressway is a dangerous road at night due to robbers. So they now detained me in Asaba A Division where l spent the night. As I was in the vehicle, they called one Evidence Obi that I have been captured and even took video of me and sent to him for confirmation.

On September 20th 2019, I was then moved to Zone 5 where I was asked to make a statement. I told the police that I have to call my lawyer, since DCP Frank Mba, the police PRO said a suspect has right to call his or her lawyer before making a statement. Corporal Lazarus Ejechi asked why I had to listen to the police in Abuja who sit down inside the comfort of their air conditioned office, start giving orders.

I insisted on calling my lawyers before making the statement. They refused, brought out a cutlass that I was tortured with as they threatened to kill me and nothing will happen. Corporal Lazarus bragged that he has strong connections in the police force. Lazarus told me he was very brutal as a member of the Anti- Kidnapping squad where he served for five years. I was forced to write statements under duress and was tortured severely. What pained me the most was the female police Inspector Ebilayefa Agagowei who slapped me several times and even gave me knocks on my head alongside Corporal Okenye Francis. Despite the police brutality, Inspector Lucky Oyomon and Sgt Armstrong never raised their hands on me all through my three months in police custody.

On Monday September 23rd, 2019 I was taken to Lagos State Command Headquarters where they went to notify them of their investigation activities. They later took me to Area F in Ikeja for detention, but due to their rough handling me and the wounds garnered through their physical brutality, the Police at Area F rejected me and told the ZIB police that they don’t have right to be treating me like me like this even though I was an armed robber, I am still a suspect and that Lagos state command doesn’t behave like that and for their information there are CCTV cameras everywhere.

The ZIB people called one Supol from IRT. When the officer came, he asked them for my offense and asked me what did I do. I explained to him, mentioned some officers’ names in Area F and Ikeja division. He now asked them to take me to Ikeja division where they met an officer who knows me very well and the officer told them that he knows me as a big boy who even had a transport company, that this allegation they are making against me can’t be true. I was later detained at Ikeja division.

NAIJA STANDARD: After that, what happened?

On Tuesday September 24th, 2019, they(the police) came to pick me in the morning and we went to IRT. Supol there told them to take us back to Benin since they were the ones handling the case. We got back to Benin and everybody gave their statements while I was detained back in the cell, the rest people were allowed to stay at the counter. We were brought to the cell around 5:30am on Wednesday September 25th. On Thursday September 26th, 2019 they hurriedly took me to some courts to collect remand order.

All the Magistrates and Judges told them they were not sitting that they were having a valedictory session for one of their colleagues. They took me back to the cell and later took me to another state High Court 2 in GRA and the police prosecutor went to the Judge chambers to collect the remand order. Out of curiosity, I asked why didn’t they bring me before the Judge, the prosecutor N A Ukpebor Esq told me I better cooperate that with just N10,000, so they can get any remand order insisting that I can see that the Judge did not even asked to see me. He confirmed that the police and the court work together. All the while I was in custody, the police took my phone, my luggages to their various houses. They were exchanging my personal belongings reading my chats, accessing my bank account through my mobile apps.

Some nice people supported me and told me to be wary of ‘I Go Dye’ that he was behind the whole set up. They alleged ‘I Go Dye’ to have bribed the ZIB officers that they should delete the post I made about him sending someone to attack me and that he was envious of me, that the officers are with my belongings as they are not in the counter. I didn’t have access to a lawyer all the while. I couldn’t make calls, my phones were confiscated. The Ministry of Justice took up the case in October when they got wind of my illegal detention, arresting me for fraud for an event that was to hold November 17, 23rd, December 23rd 2019.

They ( The Ministry of Justice) came for my bail. The police refused and they had to sue them for violation of fundamental human rights. Corporal Lazarus even boasted to me that na Yahoo na dey make Police work sweet. Evidence Obi is an internet fraudster. ‘I Go Dye’ repeatedly told people who were close to me, saying “nor mind am na yahoo boy dey deal with am so, see as dem arrest for show wey never reach, dem don humble am”. The police later said I should bail myself after they have forcefully recovered millions of Naira from everybody. They said they need someone with international passport. When I got it, they said they needed a landed property owner. When I met up with the conditions they said I should drop a landed property, I gave them a landed property document which they have seized and converted to personal use. They needed someone with C of O that can surety me.

They later said ‘I Go Dye’ should come and surety me, I Go Dye don’t even have C of O, some people told me not to agree that ‘I Go Dye’ wanted to be the one who set me up and set me free. On November 15, I was ill and after pleas from the lawyer from ministry of Justice to one of DCP in Zone 5, I was taken to Police Cottage Hospital for treatment, after conducting tests and drugs prescribed, I told the doctor that I have Sensodyne toothpaste and a mouth wash in my luggage.

The police doctor asked them to give me the Sensodyne toothpaste since some people have sensitive teeth. To my surprise, Corporal Lazarus inside the Police Cottage Hospital opened his booth and behold my luggage was there. The two times he went to court, Lazarus brought my luggage from his house which I know is a wrong ethics of the police: a suspect belongings are supposed to be registered in the station’s counter, but they refused. By the time the police finally gave my family my properties at the Federal High Court on December 11, they have stolen my hard drive, one of my recorders, some shoes and some palm slippers, my gold chain and the most painful of all they deleted evidences I will use in court as my defense from my phone.

NAIJA STANDARD: How about your family position on this matter?

All pictures and videos where me and Evidence Obi confirmed the date of the show were deleted. My post on ‘I Go Dye’ was also deleted. I and my family were threatened when I raised the alarm of my missing items. They said we were lucky we were in court if not they would have beaten us to a pulp. My landed documents are still with the police, I can’t talk about what transpired at the court because the case is already in court. While in Police custody, I was forced to write a cheque of N10million and N15million by Lazarus despite Inspector Ebilayefa pleading with him not to allow me write it. Lazarus said since the case is not a fraud case, they should use dud cheque to rope me in, while I was in detention. Sadly, ‘I Go Save’ went to do show at Exquisite Hotel owned by one of the complainants. My then heavily pregnant woman went through a lot. She was stressed and even gave birth in my absence.

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