EFCC Raid: Niger Delta Fraudsters Go Underground to Avoid Arrest
Internet fraudsters (Yahoo Boys) in the Niger Delta have gone underground, following last weekend raid on their colleagues by security operatives in Calabar and other parts of Cross River State.
The raid by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the police command resulted in the arrest of suspected fraudsters, including one of their suspected kingpins, Akpojivi Onoriode, 29, a graduate of Fine and Applied Arts from the Delta State University, Abraka.
EFCC officials arrested Akpojivi, who claimed to be a shareholder of Eleme Petrochemical Company. His fate sent shockwave down the Internet underworld in the region.
Our findings yesterday showed streets of major towns devoid of flashy cars, especially Mercedes Benz cars and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), which are usually the trademark of operators of 419 rackets.
Akpojivi, who goes by a number of sobriquets, including ‘Onos B’, ‘Mr. Blinks’, and ‘Mr. White’, because of his love for white cars, clothes, houses, etc, was described as one of the ‘most highly connected operators’.
He claimed on his Instagram page to be the chief executive officer of companies, and also a shareholder of ERPC, Port Harcourt, but security operatives and sources at the EFCC said they were just façade for illegitimate businesses.
Those who knew him from his DELSU days told our reporter on the phone that he was a very bright student and a good painter, but made his mark as a blinker (wearer of flashy and expensive jewellery) during his undergraduate days.
“We did not expect that he could be found out in a faraway place like Calabar, where he has being living for years now,” a source told our reporter.
The suspect, it was gathered, left Asaba, Delta State, for Calabar and settled in the serene satellite town, a growing suburban settlement adjoining the University of Calabar shortly after he got married in 2014. He lived there with his wife and two children before his arrest last Saturday.
“During his days in Abraka, he was very popular, along with some of his friends because of his expensive lifestyle and love for white clothes, cars and houses – his best friend (name withheld) was also popular, but his choice was red cars.
“To celebrate his engagement to his then girlfriend (now wife) in December 2014, he bought her a white Toyota Rav4 SUV.
“Last year, to commemorate the engagement, he bought his wife a N20million Mercedes Benz GLE and flaunted it on his Instagram page, just as he did the Toyota Corolla he bought for his mother,” the source said.
Akpojivi’s social media pages tell the story of wealth, taste for luxurious clothes, jewellery, white cars and houses, for himself and his wife, popularly called LePosh.
He, his wife and two daughters made regular vacation trips to exotic locations in Africa and the Middle East.
However, yesterday in Calabar, ‘Mr. White’s house, a white duplex located in a developing area of Calabar, was deserted, as only a guard was seen loitering in an uncompleted bungalow.
The gate was locked and it appeared no one was in, but the guard would not be drawn into discussion about the fate of the house owner.
A resident in the area, who preferred anonymity, said the suspect’s luxurious lifestyle had always piqued his curiosity.
“He was very quiet, but we suspected he was into something fraudulent. This is because of the kind of life we saw him living. But based on the kind of life he lived, it was not easy for him not to be noticed. I mean he is a very young man, in fact a boy, who owns such a big and fine house in an area considered a highbrow.
”He drives expensive cars. He has expensive items and so on. We wonder what kind of job he is doing that he has such money at such a young age. It was not really our business, so we did not go about probing. We only suspected that he was into this kind of business.
“Most times we ran into him at a popular hotel around here and this further fuelled our suspicion of him, because of the way he spent money. As I said, he is a quiet person. We know that other boys who we suspect do these kinds of business are always loud, pouring expensive drinks and making noise. But he is not like that. He is always calm and gentle. But he is always spending money freely.”
Police spokesperson Irene Ugbo said eight boys were arrested last week in the same area for alleged involvement in Internet fraud.
She said they got intelligence report on the activities of the suspected fraudsters and carried out a sting operation where the boys were arrested.
Ugbo said they were being profiled and investigations were ongoing, after which they would be arraigned.
She said laptops and other items were recovered from them.
It was learnt that similar raids have been planned for major cities, especially Asaba, Warri and other parts of the region where the illicit trade is prevalent.
Source: The Nation
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