By Evelyn Usman, Austine Anozie and Ifeanyin Okolie
The Lagos State Police Command has smashed a syndicate that specialised in swindling unsuspecting foreign nationals through the internet, arresting a suspected member of the syndicate, a Nigerian who claimed to be an American.
The arrested suspect was said to have cajoled a Luxemburg-based lady into an affair through communication on the net and succeeded in collecting $1,200 from her .
The suspect, identified as Opeyemi Shittu, who claimed to be a graduate of Creative Arts from the University of Lagos, reportedly introduced himself as Michael Harry, an American to the lady, one Marie Ketter, during chance contact on the net which thereafter developed into an affair.
Opeyemi, it was gathered, informed Ketter in July 2009, that he travelled from Cyprus to Nigeria on a tourist visit, only to be attacked by robbers.
He was said to have thereafter, demanded $1,200 for court processes as well as to travel to meet Ketter in Luxemburg.
But the bubble burst after the money was sent to â€˜Michael Harryâ€™ but nothing was heard from him by his desperate lover, who reportedly put a call through to the Nigeria Police informing them of her boyfriendâ€™s predicament in Nigeria.
Explaining the circumstance that eventually led to his arrest, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, said, â€œon receipt of the information, the suspect was ensnared through a series of simulated telephone conversations with an undercover detective and was lured to an eatery in the Alakija area of Amuwo-Odofin , Lagos where he was apprehended.
â€œOn interrogation, he confessed to the crime and gave his actual name as Opeyemi Shittu and mentioned one Rasaq who is currently studying in Cyprus as an accomplice. He stated further that of the money, $700 was paid into his account by Rasaq which he said has been used to purchase sewing machines.â€
The 30-year-old Ogun State suspect, said, â€œ I met her while chatting on dating site on the net about a month ago. I told her I live in Cyprus and that I am an American and she believed me. I also told her I was coming to Nigeria to transact business and later said I was robbed and needed some money.
â€œBut I am not the only one involved in this, Rasaq, my class mate in the university lured me into this. I only got $700 and not the amount she claimed and I used the money to buy sewing machines because I am a fashion designer. I feel very embarrassed this day,â€ he stated.