Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Police Force Headquarters in Abuja has announced the rescue of an American lady held hostage in a Lagos hotel by her Nigerian Facebook lover for 16 months.
The victim, a retired civil servant, who hails from Washington DC, USA was said to have arrived Nigeria on February, 13, 2019 on a visit to one Chukwuebuka Kasi Obiaku, 34, a native of Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, who had promised to marry her on May 15, 2019.
But instead of keeping to his promise, he held her captive in a hotel, extorted from her money totaling 48,000-USD, and took control of her credit and debit cards as well as the operation of her bank accounts, including the receipt of her monthly retirement benefits and allowances over the period he held her hostage. He was also said to have used the victim as a front to defraud her associates and other foreign personalities and companies.
Force public relations officer, Frank Mba, who made this known in Abuja, said the victim was rescued by men of the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Ogun State Annex following information received from a patriotic Nigerian in the Meran area of Lagos State.
He said the victim was held against her wish by her so-called lover. Her rescue is coming few weeks after a Philippino lady lured to Nigeria by her Facebook lover held her hostage and raped, beat and duped her .
The suspect, Chukwuebuka Kasi Obiaku a graduate of Business Administration and Management, is said to be a known internet fraudster and have defrauded many unsuspecting members of the public both locally and internationally.
Mba said Chukwuebuka deliberately lured the victim into the country under the pretext of love and deceitfully married her on May 15, 2019.
Mba also said the police operatives arrested three suspects, Samson Inegbenesun, 30, Blessed Junior, 32, and Muhammed Zakari, 36, all from Uromi in Edo State, for cyber-related offences, including advance fee fraud, money laundering and romance scam.
Mba, in a statement, said: “Investigations reveal that Samson Inegbenosun is an internet fraudster and a member of a Turkey-based online scamming syndicate. He supplies foreign and local bank accounts to receive fraudulent funds and use same as conduit to other feeder accounts. Meanwhile, the police have recovered from him, a building apartment worth N20million, a Toyota RAV-4 2015 model worth N6,5million and a Toyota Matrix 2002 model valued N2million, which he procured with the proceeds of the crime.
“The second suspect, Blessed Junior, returned to Nigeria from Italy in February, 2020 but maintains close contacts and illicit dealings with his Italian associates. Investigations reveal that he has made over N120 million from internet fraud and other cybercrime dealings. He also received 52,000 euros recently from his criminal associates in Italy as commission for his active involvement in an international cybercrime deal. He also owns a filling station established with the proceeds of the crime.
“Mohammed Zakari, an expert in internet fraud, identity theft and impersonation, falsely claims to be a British citizen. He also poses to be one Kelly Galk on online dating apps, which he uses to carry out romance scams and to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, locally and internationally. Investigation reveals he has made millions of naira from his illicit cybercrime transactions since he joined the syndicate.”
Mba said all the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.