Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor Mr Moses Ekpo has raised alarm over attempts by fraudsters to use his name to dupe members of the public in the pretext of giving them palliatives to ease the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
Ekpo warned members of the public not to succumb to the tricks of the fraudsters, online scammers who are using his name to defraud innocent people of their hard-earned money.
In a press release signed by Mr Ekikere Umoh, the deputy governor’s press secretary, Ekpo said the warning became necessary as some criminal elements who specialise in online fraud and identity theft are currently luring people to send their account details to the number of an alleged account officer to benefit from COVID-19 palliatives of N50,000 each allegedly floated by him.
A screenshot of the message taken from the fake Facebook account with Mr Ekpo’s identity states:
“Due to the current situation (COVID-19) causing the economic breakdown, am (sic) using this medium to support Nigerians and empower them with the sum of N50,000 only. Call my Account Officer on 08081679628, Mr Kingsley Udo for the transaction, only FCMB bank, unity bank, union bank, Jaiz bank users.
“Note: don’t send your bank details here, send it to the number above for your transaction”.
But Ekpo, in the statement released by his office, said he had neither a private nor an official Facebook account, and therefore could not have originated such a message.
“His Excellency has not mandated anybody or an organization to organize a COVID-19 andemic palliative or any form of welfare based program in respect of the pandemic, at any given time on his behalf,” Mr Umoh stated.
According to him, the deputy governor has no idea of the identity of the alleged account officer, “nor does he have any account in any of the various banks mentioned in the said messages. As a matter of fact, he does not have any form of financial transactions in the said banks.”
The press secretary noted that the deputy governor empathises with the public, especially the most vulnerable, over the current hardships occasioned by the pandemic lockdown.
The deputy governor said: “Within my limited means, I will continue, without any publicity, to reach out directly to the poorest of the poor who abound in our villages, churches and communities, those who cannot afford bank accounts instead of dealing with faceless names with bank accounts.”
He used the opportunity to commend the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for identifying with the plight of the people and his efforts at ameliorating the impact of the situation in the state through a number of palliatives.