The Police in Lagos has smashed an organised crime ring through which Nigerians buying phones on the internet were being robbed on a daily basis.
Thirty-five-year-old Alade Olalekan and Olumide Oluwole, 31, contrived a means of returning fake money to those who they lure to the Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos, to make payment for iPhones advertised on Jiji.
According to the suspects, more victims fall into the trap at the end of every month when workers had just received salaries.
Lagos State Police Commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, while parading the suspects on Thursday, told reporters how his men smashed the syndicate.
Edgal said in a statement: “On Monday October 30, 2017 at about 15:00hrs through the Trust-Built Community Police & Safety Partnership, intelligence report was received from a concerned citizen who had previously been defrauded.
“The victim, who was defrauded through a phone contact number 08081273170 gotten online at www.jiji.ng website after purchasing an iPhone6 (64gb) for the sum of N70,000 and was to make a physical payment before receiving the product, was lured to make the payment to one of the suspects at Awolowo way around computer village, Ikeja.
“After the victim had made the payment, she was manipulated to believe that task force officials were after them. In that confused state, the cash she handed over to suspected fraudsters was later exchanged with neatly cut-to-size papers covered with three genuine N1000 notes presented as the complete money. It was hurriedly refunded to her. On further confirmation of the money, it was discovered to be a scam of ordinary paper notes.
“The victim reported to the police and gave full information which led to the tracking of suspected online fraud syndicate by Lagos police personnel of the SIB who staged a covert operation on the 31st of October 2014 with another would-be victim.
“This led to the arrest of their kingpin and leader of the gang, Alade Olalekan (m) age 35 years, and Olumide Oluwole (m) age 31 years. Upon arrest, police recovered a bundle of neatly cut-to-size paper wrapped with N1000 notes in their possession.
“The suspects have confessed to the crime and are helping with the progress of identifying other members of the gang at large.”
One of the suspects, Oluwole, told reporters that they usually collect phones from dealers who want us to scout for buyers.
Olalekan said, “We started by buying China phones and passing it as original. We buy the China phones for N17, 000 and we’ll hold it like original and sell at high price. Most people don’t know the difference.
“After many people have reported us, government started paying attention and the market chairman banned hawking. Then, things became tough because they were just packing everybody. So, we started this online method that has been on at the Computer Village.”
Expressing faith in what he described as the new partnership with members of the public and their continuous support to the police, Edgal said that the police would perform better when members of the public give useful information to aid investigation and arrest of suspects committing crime in the state.
He said that the suspects would be charged to court, as he urged Lagosians to be more vigilant and security conscious at all times in order not to fall victim to fraudulent and criminal activities.