***IG charges NCCC Directorate to intensify efforts
***Calls for stakeholders’ collaboration
The National Cybercrime Centre unit of the Nigeria Police Force has successfully uncovered and dismantled a sophisticated cybercrime syndicate operating a cybercrime recruitment and mentoring hub in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The PUNCH reports that during police interrogation, the arrested suspects – Bernard Joseph, 27, Emmanuel Joseph, 22, Obasi Ikechukwu, 19, Anijiofor Tobechuckwu, 26, Andrew Moses, 19, and Israel Ezekiel, 19, confessed to their various degrees of involvement in cybercrime including identity theft, hacking and trading of hacked Facebook accounts, romance scam, computer-related forgery and other computer-related fraud.
The Force Headquarters made the development known on Wednesday, noting that an investigation and operation were initiated in response to a series of intelligence reports that indicated a deep involvement of the syndicate in various cybercrimes, including Business Email Compromise, Romance Scams, and High Yield Investment Program Fraud.
The acting Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, while reiterating the commitment of the Force to combatting crime at all fronts irrespective of its dynamics, has directed the Director, NPF-NCCC, Uche Ifeanyi, to take no break in ensuring the safety of individuals and enterprises online.
The Force spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in a statement, said, “Upon receiving the intelligence, a team of Cybercrime Forensic Experts and Investigators were detailed on the case, painstaking effort expended in clinically investigating the case which led to the arrest of six (6) suspects at their hideout in the Dantata estate area of the FCT and the recovery of several digital gadgets and effects used in perpetrating their criminal enterprise on the 13th of September, 2023.
“The suspects namely Bernard Joseph aged 27, Emmanuel Joseph aged 22, Obasi Ikechukwu aged 19, Anijiofor Tobechuckwu aged 26, Andrew Moses aged 19, and Israel Ezekiel aged 19, summarily confessed to their various degrees of involvement in cybercrime including identity theft, hacking and trading of hacked Facebook accounts, romance scam, computer-related forgery, and other computer related fraud punishable under the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015.
“It is pertinent to state that the investigation is ongoing and efforts to apprehend the fleeing members of this criminal network are underway. Meanwhile, the arrested suspects will be charged in court upon the conclusion of the investigation.
“The Inspector-General of Police, Ag. Olukayode Egbetokun, while reiterating the commitment of the Force to combatting crime at all fronts irrespective of its dynamics, has directed the Director, NPF-NCCC, Uche Ifeanyi Henry, to take no break in ensuring the safety of individuals and enterprises online. He also urges parents, wards, thought leaders and social/religious institutions to outrightly condemn this menace and partner with the Police in ensuring a safer digital space for all.”
Adejobi stated that the police force urges “landlords/landladies, facility owners, to expose any such cybercrime recruitment centre and mentoring hubs noticed in their areas or houses. We need to break the conspiracy of silence and expose the evil doers in our society.
“We want to reassure the public that we will continually work with partners, stakeholders, and other relevant security agencies to decimate activities of cyber criminals and other criminals across the country.”
The FPRO added, “The Nigeria Police Force, therefore, counts on your support and unwavering commitment to tackling crimes and criminality in the country. Finally, members of the public are enjoined to remain vigilant and report any suspicious online activities through our dedicated e-reporting portal at www.incb.npf.gov.ng, and via email at [email protected].”