Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command on Tuesday paraded 40 suspected criminals who have been terrorizing residents of Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
The suspects were arrested for various offences, including car snatching, employment racketeering, armed robbery, ATM card swapping, drug dealing, mobile phone theft, hand bag snatchers, among others.
Parading the suspects before the media, Police Commissioner Bala Ciroma said anti-crime ‘Operation Puff Adder’ launched in the Command was beginning to yield positive results with the arrests of the criminals operating in different parts of the FCT.
He said nine persons specializing in swapping Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards were arrested at a petrol station located along the Kubwa express road, where the fuel attendants gave a whopping N900,000 to a member of the gang who frequents the station.
Those arrested include the fuel station manager, Mrs Elizabeth Okeagu, 43, Henry O. Elvis, 34, Taiwo Aderinto ‘36, Solomon Ojuola 35 Mary Igoh 26, Ernest Mensah 23, Obiuwevbi Ogheneovo, 23 and Urunmatsoma Hendrix.
The suspect, according to the Commissioner, had stolen the ATM card from one Alhaji Usman Ahmadu after his card got stuck in the ATM machine.
According to the CP, the victim reported the matter to the police after he received an alert debiting his account of N950,000.
“Upon receipt of the complaint,” the Commissioner said,” our detectives with the cooperation of the bank officials got the identity of the suspects and had them arrested.
“The suspects, who admitted to the crime, stated that on that fateful day, the victim who went to withdraw some money at the ATM found it difficult and asked them (the suspects)for assistance. In the process, they swapped his card with their own fake card.
“On how they got his pin number they said the gang leader stood directly behind the victim and since the card is fake, he had to enter the pin severally. They then moved to the filling station on the Kubwa Expressway where they have an accomplice by the name of Henry who used a POS (device) to transfer the money into their account and remitted cash equivalent to the company.
“When asked how many times they have operated, they (the suspects) said this is their 4th operation around Gwarimpa area, and on weekends.”
The following fuel attendants attached to a filling station in Kubwa suspected to be conniving with suspects have also been arrested:
1. Henry O. Elvis ‘m’ aged 34 years
2. Taiwo Aderinto ‘f’ aged 36 years
3. Solomon Ojuola ‘m’ aged 35 years
4. Mary Igoh ‘f’ 26 years and the manger by name
5. Elizabeth Okeagu ‘f’ age 43 years”
The Commissioner said the police also arrested armed robbery gang/’one chance’ operators, drug dealers, and ecovered cutlasses, iron bar, hacksaws, vehicle plate numbers, and various drugs ranging from diazepam, reaches, super appetite, soda mint, two vehicles and four mobile handsets.
The police arrested one Egbunu Vicent Onuche, male, 25, who specializes in employment racketeering after he duped one Ijeoma Ebenje of N200,000, with a promise of employment with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
According to the Commissioner, the suspect, who confessed to the crime during interrogation, “explained he met one Alhaji Sanusi Musa sometime back, who told him that if he had anybody looking for employment he can assist. Vincent then informed his friend Ekene, Ijeoma’s brother, who then told her about the offer. She was asked to pay the sum of two hundred thousand (N200,000) naira, which she did and even got a confirmation email from the fraudster created Immigration e-mail address. He said sixteen (16) other people paid him the sums ranging from two hundred thousand (N200,000) naira to three hundred thousand (N300, 000) naira for employment into the Nigeria Prison Service and placement into the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“He (the suspect) explained that the crisis started when on the date of the said interview and collection of appointment letters, one Mamman, who was supposed to facilitate the process, asked for an additional four hundred and fifty thousand (N450,000) naira collectively from all of them.
“All his victims came forward with their proof of payment to Vincent for employment into the Nigeria Prison Service. Investigation is still ongoing to arrest the said Mamman and Alhaji Sanusi Musa,” the Commissioner said.
He added that all the arrested suspects have made useful confessional statements and would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.