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Police smash cybercrime syndicate in Abuja, arrest six suspects

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Nigeria police said it has smashed sophisticated cybercrime syndicate operating in a cybercrime recruitment and mentoring hub in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This was disclosed in a statement made by the spokesman of the police, ACP Olumiyiwa Adejobi on Wednesday.

According to him, their arrest was made possible after investigation and operation was 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.

Part of the statement reads, “In a significant stride against cybercrime and cyber-related offences, the Nigeria Police Force – National Cybercrime Center (NPF-NCCC) has successfully uncovered and dismantled a sophisticated cybercrime syndicate operating in a Cybercrime recruitment and mentoring hub in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The investigation and operation was 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. 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 to court upon the conclusion of the investigation.

“The Inspector General of Police Ag. IGP Olukayode Egbetokun, NPM, Ph.D., 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.

“In addition, the NPF wishes to urge 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 Nigeria Police Force therefore counts on your support and unwavering commitment in 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 policecyberunit@pf.cybersecurity.gov.ng.”

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