Two brothers, 41-year-old Oriyomi Odutagbe and 20-year-old Yinka Odutagbe, are in police custody for alleged forgery.
The brothers were arrested recently by officers attached to the X Squad unit of the Lagos State police command, following a tip off.
Fake vehicle licencing documents and other equipment used by the suspects in the printing and sale of fake documents were also recovered by the police.
The fake documents recovered during the police raid include: 364 pieces of forged federal government vehicle proof of ownership certificate; 88 pieces of the state licencing payment card, also known as auto reg; 27 pieces of Federal government of Nigeria certificate of road worthiness; 200 pieces of Ogun State vehicle licence; 400 pieces of Federal Capital Territory Abuja vehicle licence; 100 pieces of Ogun State road traffic regulation Hackney carriage license and one Lagos State MOT seal.
The suspects blamed their involvement in counterfeiting on poverty, saying that they prey on people’s impatience to get things done quickly.
“I used to hang around the Shogunle vehicle licencing office, where I call out to people that are coming to do documents to patronise me,” Oriyomi said.
“I usually tell them I can help them get the document faster and cheaper so they will trust me and then I will get the fake document for them.”
Oriyomi added that people patronise them because “they don’t want to wait or pay too much for documents.”
According to him, a document which officially costs N1,500 could go for as low as N200 when counterfeited.
Yinka, however, said he was ignorant that his brother’s business was illegal.
He explained that he was looking to make some money after his secondary school education, when his brother invited him to work for him.
“I never knew it was an illegal business, I have just worked with him for like three weeks before I was arrested,” he said.
Oriyomi also claimed that he was only trying to make a living and did not know that it was a chargeable offence.
He said he was surprised to hear that he could be sent to jail for counterfeiting.
One of the officers, who requested anonymity, said that the suspects would be charged to court after a “thorough” investigation.
“It is not easy to track this level of forgery, we are looking for other members of the gang and they will be arrested soon and charged to court,” he added.