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N2.9m windfall exposes kidnap, Internet fraud syndicate

By Ebere Aham & Clarybell Charles

LAGOS—The Lagos State Police Command has arrested suspected leader of a kidnap syndicate alleged to be responsible for series of abductions in Lagos State and Asaba in Delta State.

The suspect, identified as Kenneth Okogba, 31, allegedly abducted his victims in Lagos and collected ransom in Asaba.

For those kidnapped in Asaba, Okogba, a graduate of Philosophy from Delta State University, allegedly collected the ransom in Lagos State.

He was arrested after one of his alleged partners in crime, Henry Simon, reported him to the police, following disagreement over sharing formula.

However, during interrogation, Okogba, popularly called Biggy, said he was no longer into kidnapping, saying rather that he was an internet fraudster.

criminal

He said: “I stopped kidnapping a long time ago; that was after I was arrested and sent to jail. When I came out of prison, I started yahoo yahoo (Internet fraud) business. Henry was also involved.

“However, something went wrong and instead of him to allow us settle it amicably, he went to the police. The SIM cards recovered from me were used for Facebook subscription because there is the need to have different phone numbers in yahoo yahoo business.

“One of the recovered laptops is mine, while others were stolen.”

N2.9m clash
On his part, Henry Simon, 38, a Diploma in Business Education holder from Ebonyi State University, disclosed that the cause of the rift between him and Biggy followed attempts by the latter to siphon N2.9 million that was defrauded from an American through the internet.

He said: “I am not a kidnapper and had never been. I have been into yahoo business since 2006 and everybody in my area in Ajah knows. I went into it to survive and take care of my family.

“Biggy is a picker. His responsibility is to withdraw any money paid by any client and hand it over to the owner of the business. But when one of my clients, an American paid in $7,090 dollars (N2,977.800) into a phony account, Biggy withdrew the money but refused to give me my 70 percent share.

“When I insisted, he threatened to deal with me. I had no option than to report to the Police, with a proof of payment. When he was arrested, he insisted he was not going to pay. That was when I opened up that he was a kidnapper because I knew he was.”

Six persons were also arrested alongside the duo. One of them was discovered to be Simon’s younger brother. Asked what was his brother’s role, Simon disclosed that he implicated him because he was working with Kenneth.

He said: “Nobody can steal from me and go free, not even my blood. Since I have been into this business, this is the first time I would realise such a huge amount.”

Parading the suspects before journalists at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, the command’s boss, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said items recovered from the suspects included 1,000 unused Etisalat SIM cards, 30 pieces of used Etisalat SIM cards, six laptops, a skull, international passports, different identity cards, an iphone 5s, four Android phones and two Blackberry phones.

He disclosed that they were among 20 suspects arrested last week in Lagos, adding that they would be charged to court.


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