BY CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA — STATE Security Service, SSS, yesterday, paraded seven suspects belonging to four syndicates, that allegedly specialised in sending panic messages to the members of the public, foreign embassies and corporate organisations under the pretence of being members of the dreaded religion sect, Boko Haram, for fraudulent purposes.
Parading the suspects in Abuja, spokesperson of the Service, Marilyn Ogar, said the suspects capitalised on issues of insecurity in the country to exploit, threaten and stir apprehension amongst members of the public, especially during the last Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
According to SSS, the first syndicate is made up of four members operating from Suleja in Niger State and Zuba, FCT.
The second syndicate operated from Kaduna by Haruna Alhaji Hassan whose operational name was Alhaji Madu Gana.
The third and fourth syndicates are Maurice Efe Lawrence, from Delta State which operated from Calabar in Cross River State. Chinwendu Josiah, an indigene of Imo State worked in a cyber café in Benin City, who specialised in sending messages to foreign embassies that caused panic and anxiety which led to the travel alert issued during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
Ogar who noted that their sole intent was to instill fear and cause panic with the aim of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public with text messages, added that Chinwendu Josiah who was said to have been in the act since 1998 confessed that issuing terrorist threats became an attractive option, because some Nigerians are not bold and courageous.
The SSS image-maker added that the suspects “claimed that telephone numbers of their victims were often obtained from refuse dumps of ministries, Departments and agencies (MDAs), memos, correspondents, complimentary cards and the internet”, warning the general public to be conscious of how and where they keep their personal and official data.
“It is glaring that improper disposal of official and personal documents provide another avenue with which these fraudsters exploit Nigerians. Hence the need for the public to be circumspect on how personal, official documents or issues are handled.
“We assure Nigerians as well as foreign nationals that the service and other security agencies have in place measures which are progressively improving national security and the protection of lives and property. We therefore call on all to continue to cooperate with law enforcement agencies as we jointly combat the various security challenges confronting our nation”. Ogar