Monday, 16 January 2017

Abuja Residents Cry Out Against Instagram Scammers!

Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are concerned over the rise in use of Instagram, a social media platform, to defraud unsuspecting users.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports on Saturday that the platform, which is popularly used to connect friends and family by sharing personal photos and videos on the internet, has gradually become a hob for business activities.

Large-scale businesses have used the site to showcase goods and services available for sale inspiring start-up entrepreneurs to follow suit with an online market that does not require an official website or established shop.

However, the business concept has been observed to have been soiled by individuals that create fake business accounts to acquire money from users fraudulently.

Some of the residents claimed they had been victims to some of the fake business accounts available on the social media website.

Hope Idemudia, told NAN, a Nigerian youth service corps member serving in Abuja, said that she had lost a lot of money to the owner of a fake business account on Instagram.

“Instagram is known to be a market place, where people market themselves and their products so it’s not just for making friends and sharing pictures with social circles.

“There are a number of accounts I have successfully purchased goods from and I got the orders in perfect condition.

“However, the last order I placed was highly unsuccessful, causing me a loss of N24,000 and I was very bitter about it.

“I came across an Instagram account known as @Empire_ladies_store which like other accounts looked very legitimate and I decided to order for clothes and shoes.

“I paid the money as requested and I still haven’t received my goods until this very moment.’’

The account owner, he complained, stopped picking his phone calls and not responding to messages after the transaction was entered.

Tosin Oloruntoba, an entrepreneur said she had come across a number of fake business accounts that she almost fell victim to.

“The Instagram business pages have become very popular and it seems to be odd if you’re a business owner and you don’t have a business page on Instagram.

“Many of these sellers prove their legitimacy by posting pictures of feedback from customers they have deals with in the past and having people review their goods.

“I require the same for my business pages and I came across a business page called @dressupclothier which had thousands of posts and followers so I believed the page was legitimate.’’

She explained that she placed an order for shoes for her daughter but was not delivered.

“I knew I was scammed when the owner refused to answer my calls, but always read my messages in WhatsApp without replying.

“I am just saddened by the fact that these scam artists will destroy the reputation of other businesses that are actually legitimate.”

George Ogba, an accountant, said “it is sad that these people are committing such crimes and there really isn’t anyway to directly block their accounts from the public as the account has to be reported to Instagram first.”

“As much as we try to trust our fellow Nigerians, there are bad people who are making that impossible by committing these grievous crimes so we have to stop acting na├»ve.

“There is no reason why you should make payments for a commodity you have not seen or received, although it has worked with many other legitimate accounts.

“If you want to purchase something online, ensure you are protecting yourself by having a middle man of some sort or ensure you pay for the commodity on delivery,” he said.

Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Chibok Girls: BBOG Chickens Out of Operational Tour of Sambisa!

The Federal Government has rejected the conditions given by the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group for joining a day search sorties for missing Chibok girls to Sambisa Forest.

In a letter addressed to the convener of the group, Obiageli Ezekwesili, which was made available to the media on Sunday, the government said it was unable to postpone the trip as scheduled (January 16).

The letter dated January 14 was signed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

“Thank you for your letter, dated Jan. 13, which is in response to ours of Jan. 11, requesting that we change the date of the proposed guided tour of the North-East to accommodate a Pre-Tour Meeting between your organisation and some top officials of the Federal Government.

We have also noted the conditions you gave for embarking on the trip which include the said Pre-Tour Meeting and the retraction of some remarks allegedly made by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, which the #BBOG finds to be slanderous.

‘We regret, however, to inform you that we are unable to postpone the trip as scheduled,” the letter read.

The government insisted the team would proceed on the trip on Monday as scheduled because of the narrow window available to have a good weather on the day.

It said that payment for the satellite downlink streaming of the mission had been made for the day and shifting the date will require another round of booking to secure such a slot.

The government added that apart from the BBOG members, local and international journalists had been invited for the trip, while some preparations had been made by the Nigerian military.

It noted that the remarks purportedly made by the Chief of Army Staff and the request for a meeting with its certain top officials were irrelevant to its request for the BBOG to join in the search mission.

The government stressed that it extended the invitation to the BBOG in recognition of the group’s commitment to the safe release of the Chibok girls in captivity and interest in the welfare of those who had been released.

“We hope that the BBOG will drop its conditions and join the trip which shows the commitment of the Federal Government to securing freedom for the Chibok girls and its transparency in handling the issues of the girls.”

The government had, in a letter of January 11, invited members of BBOG to a short trip in a military operational flight into Sambisa forest in search of the missing Chibok girls.

In the letter, the government asked the BBOG to nominate three of its members to join on the guided trip out of which two would join the sorties due to limited seats on the search plane.

The government had stated that the trip would avail the BBOG the opportunity to witness and better understand the efforts being made to secure the freedom of the girls and other victims of Book Haram terrorists.

The BBOG had in its reply to the invitation letter requested the government to meet certain conditions before the tour and also demanded for a change in the scheduled date.

Specifically, the group requested a Pre-Tour Meeting with some officials of government and a retraction of some remarks allegedly made by the Chief of Army Staff, which it alleged are defamatory.

They said that Buratai should retract and apologize to BBOG for receiving and endorsing a group at the Army Headquarters, who had accused BBOG of engaging in “social advocacy terrorism.”


Gunmen Kidnap 5 Students & 5 Staff of Turkish International School, Ogun State

Three students and five staff of Nigerian-Turkish International College (NTIC), Ogun State, have been kidnapped by armed men.

According to reports, two other students who had enrolled for Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) coaching were also kidnapped.

A statement issued on Saturday by the school’s spokesman Cemal Yigit read:

We wish to notify the general public of the unfortunate incident that occurred on January 13, 2017, at the premises of the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) Ogun state,” he said.

At about 9.30pm local time, a group of people armed with dangerous weapons gained entrance to the girls’ section through different means and held hostage three female supervisors, a female cook, a female teacher (Turkish) and three students.

The school security noticed some movement on the CCTV camera at the girls’ section and promptly deployed security personnel and alerted the relevant security agencies in the area as customary. Upon hearing the security alarm activated and sighting our security personnel, the armed invaders opened fire on the security staff and managed to escape through a very dangerous route with the hostages.

The security agencies are currently on their trail as the whole area has been cordoned off.

Yigit also said that resources have been been deployed “to ensure that our teachers and students return unhurt by God’s grace.”

PUNCH reports that on Saturday, parents were seen entering the school in a continuous stream of vehicles and leading their wards, carrying suitcases, into waiting cars.

They also asked that the school be shut down for a week.

While the kidnappers had not yet contacted the parents or school, PUNCH reports that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has deployed the IG Intelligence Response Team, led by an ACP, Abba Kyari, in creeks around Ogun and Lagos states to rescue the victims.

A police source said that the kidnappers may be members of the gang who abducted three pupils of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Ikorodu on March 1, 2016.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure the safe return of the pupils and the school’s employees who were kidnapped on Friday night. The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the Anti-Kidnapping Squad and other security agencies had been deployed,” Ogun State Police Spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi said.


The Chinese Restaurant and Bar, opposite Cluster A Gate, at 1004 Estates, Victoria Island, Lagos suffered a fire incident at about 5AM on Sunday.

A BNer, who was an eyewitness disclosed this, adding that officers of the fire service arrived the scene and have contained the fire.

See photos below:


Notorious Lagos Fraudster & Gang Arrested!

Segun Akintola

Segun Akintola, a suspected leader of a syndicate that specializes in defrauding innocent citizens has been arrested by officers of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command.

The suspect, popularly known as Okadigbo, was apprehended by the Decoy Team of the squad at his shrine in the Ijora area of the state, over his involvement in a fraudulent operation perpetrated by the 4-man gang under him.

The fraud, which was perpetrated in Ikorodu about a year ago was supervised by an accomplice, Christian Odokor, 43. The syndicate had duped a lady known as Joy (not real name) while in transit from Ikorodu towards Mile 12, where the victim had planned to buy some goods.

Preliminary investigation conducted by the Decoy Team of RRS revealed that Okadigbo is the arrow head of several syndicates of fraudsters operating in different parts of Lagos State and some parts of Ogun State.

The gang members

The members of his syndicate, it was learnt, report to his shrine regularly where their nefarious activities were always planned.

Until his arrest over the weekend, four of his accomplices earlier arrested by the operatives of RRS have given him out as their ring-leader.

The operatives were reported to have been on the lookout for him, but he has remained evasive throughout 2016.

Okadigbo, while confessing to being a fraudster who operated by pretending to be a herb seller in parts of the metropolis, denied being the leader of the syndicate traced to him.

According to him, “it is true they used my shrine and office. They bring their victims there but everybody operated on their own. They all assemble there but everybody managed their group…. Although, the fake dollar they use is mine but I don’t know anything about this job for which they have been arrested.”

“I operated by selling herbs, but I market quick money rituals to people as well as herbs for people looking for children. I do spiritual bath for clients and that is how I defraud people and make my money,” he disclosed.

Christain Odokor, the leader of the Ikorodu fraudsters, in his confessional statement said: “We robbed her (Joy) about a year ago…. We took all she had from her including the sum of N300,000 and recharge cards of all networks worth N120,000. Okadigbo is our master whom most of us report to at least thrice in a week.”

“All of us, about nine groups that I know report to him. We operated in different parts of the metropolis…. He is so powerful and fiery that no police dare to arrest him. Now, I was shocked seeing him here with us in your custody,” he added.

Another member of the team, Toyin Idebi, 25, said that greed made her join the gang two years ago.

“I was a stylist and doing well before I joined them. When I saw how they were spending money on ladies like me, then I moved closer to them to know their secret…. Initially, they were reluctant to tell me their job as they just told me they were into export and import business. I pressed on till one of them asked me if I can keep a secret. He opened up and I joined them.”

“My main job was to act as someone who was carrying foreign currencies who didn’t know her destination. Those currencies were fake (and) I didn’t how Okadigbo got them.”

The fake dollars

While recounting her ordeal, the victim said:

It was on Wednesday afternoon, January 13th 2016 on my way to market. The lady amongst them flagged me down by calling Sabo passengers from Ikorodu garage.… When I saw the lady sitting and calling for prospective passengers I never thought otherwise. Immediately I hopped in and sat down beside her. I saw three other men inside the car.

Suddenly as we were progressing, the lady begged me to help her with my phone to make phone calls giving excuse that she had no call card on her.

As a lady, I handed over my phone to her and she made two separate calls with my phone.

As we moved a bit (further), the driver detoured the journey to unknown destination…. I queried the driver where he was taken me to, he refused to respond.

Suddenly, they pulled over in the middle of the way, the driver pointed gun at me and the lady showed me knife to cooperate.

They ransacked my bag and removed the whole money with the recharge cards, and they sped off.

Confirming the incident, the State’s Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmus, said that the Command will not rest on its oars until it rids the state of bad elements and reduce the criminal activities in the state to the bearest minimum.

She added that the kingpin and his gang members would be charged to court upon completion of investigation.

The suspects have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation.