They are young, desperate, and unhappy with the society. Like every young adult, they crave for the best life can offer. However, choosing the wrong path of Internet Fraud, they end up getting arrested and paraded among others by men of the State Edo Police command, recently.PATRICK OCHOGA (Benin City) writes.
It was like celebration of a sort among officers of the Edo State Police command in Benin City, last week, when they paraded what can be described as the largest number of suspected criminals at one single parade in recent time.
The command had paraded 103 suspected criminals currently assisting investigators to unravel their level of involvement in kidnapping, armed robbery, advance free fraud (419), murder, pick pocketing, land speculating, dealeing in Cannabis among others.
åçOne shocking encounter was the confession of three Internet fraudsters, popularly referred to as yahoo-yahoo boys. The ages of the cyber crime suspects range from 18 to 23.
They confessed to have engaged in the crime to break away from the circle of poverty, which they said, was responsible for their ordeal. Without any signs of remorse, they narrated many attempts to scam their victims.
In a separate account, the trio narrated how they conned unsuspecting victims by signing up to a Facebook account with fictitious data and uploaded attractive pictures on their pages to scam their victims.
Otis Destiny, 27, said after he graduated from the University in 2014, he traversed the length and breadth of the country in search of a job but to no avail, adding that Internet crime was the only available option for him to make money from his one-room apartment, which he shared with a friend.
According to Otis, “I am a graduate of Electrical Electronic Engineering. I have always dreamt of making it big in life. My parents are very poor and I don’t want the circle of poverty to continue.
“I was arrested for cultism and yahoo- yahoo. I entered early into yahoo because there is no job. I started January this year. I graduated in 2014 and since then, I have had no job. It was my brother that introduced me into yahoo-yahoo. We do it through Facebook. I am also into cultism. They found a live cartridge in my ceiling.
“Though the live cartridge wasn’t mine, it was my friend who kept it in the ceiling. I am not an armed robber. I started by using my laptop to sign up for a new Facebook account where I added up unsuspecting victims, pretending to be female. I engaged such a person in chat over a period of time and in the process, I made different excuses to defraud them. Most of my victims are females who are looking for relationships.
For Nelson Aiogba, also a graduate, his story is not different. He said he was forced to join illegal Internet business for lack of job after he graduated from School of Health Technology in 2017.
He said some of his contemporaries, who had taken to yahoo-yahoo, are doing very well and he does not want to continue a life of penury.
“I graduated from School of Health Technology in 2017. I applied twice and didn’t get a job. Since there was no job, my brother introduced me into it and I started. We use Facebook. What I did was to create an account and use foreign pictures. You now start chatting with the person and tell the man that you are not allowed to make calls, only chat.
“Sometimes, I could even send him naked pictures of females which I had saved, pretending to be a girl. I have received some money, though, I was yet to hit it big before I was arrested by the police.
Destiny Osagie, 17, said he was nabbed alongside his friend. He confessed that he used his phone to scam people, adding that he had not collected money from any of his victims yet.
“I just started doing yahoo. I use my phone. I am also into cultism. I was picked up alongside my friends. Most times, you tell your clients your children are sick and ask for their assistance. I have not collected anything.
Also paraded was a 14-year-old girl, Hannah (other name withheld), who confessed how she killed her mistress, Mrs Helen Adodo, a 76-year-old woman in her apartment, a fortnight ago.
She said on the day the incident happened, her mistress asked her to give her another dress to change into because the one she was wearing was smeared with kerosene.
She said she hurriedly did that and when she was done with it, she demanded for food and water to bath before she went to bed to sleep.
“There is one of her friends that usually comes around and when she comes, she sends me on errand. She used to go to a native doctor’s house. She comes at night and when she does, she passes the night in our house.
“She asked me to follow her one certain night but I refused. So, when we came back, the woman I am staying with asked me to put on the light, which was around 12:00am.
“She called me to give her another set of clothes that the one she was putting on was smelling because of the kerosene that poured on it. She changed into another dress.
“So, I dropped the clothes that were stained with kerosene on the floor. She later asked me to prepare food and boil water for her to bath. Before I came out, her friend had already gone to the native doctor’s house.
“Some uncontrollable force came upon me like breeze and immediately, I lost sense of what I was doing. I left the dishes I was about to wash and went straight to pick a stone outside. I later went inside the room where I discovered that my mistress was still sleeping, I hit the stone on her head and she died.
“So, I scratched my head and turned around four times before I regained my sense. When I saw that I had killed her, I held her and started crying in her pool of blood,” she said.
The JSS II Itohan Girls Grammar School student, who was brought from Abuja to assist Mrs Helen Adodo (now deceased), said the spirit warned her not to tell anyone and that if she did, she would die.
The suspect, who has barely spent five months in Benin with her mistress, said she has never killed anybody before and that she regretted her action.
Speaking on the parade, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Johnson Kokumo, reiterated the command’s commitment to rid the state of criminal elements, noting that some of the criminals came in from neighbouring states.
“Several of them were arrested within and some from outside the state. Some of these criminals are however resident criminals in Edo State, while some actually make incursion into Edo State from neighbouring states.
“Several of them have robbed innocent citizens and of course, their arms and ammunition have been recovered. Equally, articles of value that were stolen from innocent citizens were recovered from them. Many of them were equally into cultism, Internet fraud and kidnapping.
“You will agree with me that cultism has been a great issue that has constituted a great malady leading to the death of law abiding citizens. The command has launched war against cultists and cultism, and the war is spearheaded by the command’s special anti-cultism unit and has yielded positive results.
“We want to use this opportunity to appeal to members of the public to partner with us to rid the public of these criminals. You see something, you say something. The collaboration and synergy with security agents has helped us in no small measure,” he added.
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