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Italian Embassy detects 1,185 fake visas

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Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos State, has expressed worry over the unrelenting attitude of Nigerians in patronising visa vendors, which end up packaging them with fake travelling documents.
This was even as SFU disclosed that it has received over 1,185 applicants with fake documents from Italian Embassy, with many of them being charged to courts.
Speaking on this, the SFU Public Relations Officer, Mr Lawal Audu, said that many of the embassies, partnering with the unit, had zero tolerance for forgery. According to him, the embassies are mainly interested in issuing visas to credible Nigerians.
Audu, who said that SFU had a good working relationship with American, Italian and the British embassies, noted that each of the embassies had its peculiarities.
He said: “The American consulate general for instance; every day we receive complaints of fake visa applicants. But the most disturbing is the fake visas, fake stamps, both arrival and departure stamps. Most of these applicants appear at the consulate with passports covered with fake visas and fake travel history.”
According to Audu, the major issue is that Nigerians, seeking to travel out, prefer to go to a visa vendor, who may end up defrauding them.
He said: “These visa vendors are everywhere. They will tell prospective customers or clients that they had assisted over 100 people to get the American visa. They will promise to help. And because these visa seekers are vulnerable or don’t care to know how they can apply for visa, they fall prey.
“If you want to know how to apply for visas, just go to the internet. You don’t need to pay anyone or give money to anyone. But rather, many Nigerians prefer to give money to touts, visa agents and visa vendors. Nobody is appointed to be a visa vendor by any embassy or high commission. If these vendors are claiming to be agents of any embassy, or that they have someone working with them inside the embassy; it’s all lies. They prepare fake visa for these gullible Nigerians. Most passports of these applicants are okay, but other things are fake. These applicants appeared before the consulate, but the workers at such places are very detailed.
“They check and see the extent the applicant has gone to, in desperation to get visas. When the visas are detected to be fake, they are sent to us for proper investigation and prosecutions. We have a lot of them in the courts. The difference between the British and American embassies is that for the US, you will appear in person. You will be interviewed. But for the British Embassy you are expected to submit all your documents through the visa submission centre.
“These desperate visa seekers will procure fake bank statements, fake employment letter and sometimes fake visas. They put fake arrival and departure stamps and submit. The British sometimes, when they get such applications, will invite the applicant for an interview. After the interviewing, they might be held and handed over to us. For the Italian consulate, you submit application.”

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Metro and Crime

17 herdsmen held over Benue massacre

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Police: We lost nine officers

Detectives attached to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), have arrested 17 men in connection with the murder of some indigenes of Benue and Nasarawa states and nine policemen.

 

One of the suspects, Alhaji Laggi (40), is the alleged mastermind of the killings and acclaimed leader of the alleged killers. Police described him as head of the herdsmen group.

 

Others included Mallam Mumini Abdullahi (34), Muhammed Adamu (30) and Ibrahim Sule (32).

 

According to a police source, the downfall of the suspects started after the IG, Ibrahim Idris, instructed the IRT, headed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), to fish out those involved in the Benue State killings.

 

The suspects were said to have been arrested at Tunga forest, Nasarawa State between February16 and 19. The suspects were also alleged to be behind the murder of Sergeant Solomon Dung and eight other police officers in Benue and Nasarawa states.

 

 

A police source said: “The suspects have confessed to the killings and mentioned names of gang members in possession of the police rifles, which they took from the slain police officers.”
It was learnt that serious follow up was in progress in Benue, Taraba and Benue states.

 

The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Joshak Habila, confirmed that 17 suspects were arrested in connection with the January 31, Gboko mayhem.

 

According to Habila, nine policemen were killed but no policeman is missing any longer as everyone deployed in the troubled areas returned either dead or alive.

 

He said: “As we speak, the IG deployed 15 units of Police Mobile Force, Special Forces who were trained in special ways outside the country. The intelligence platform and monitoring units of the IG were also deployed.

 

“You are aware that people resorted to setting houses ablaze and destroying communities and foodstuffs. Police deployed its men in communities under threat. We decided to plant men in communities and to respond to distress calls. Some mobile police officers ran into ambush and counter-ambush but rather than discourage us, we summoned courage and those who have been linked with the gruesome murder of these policemen have been rounded up.”

 

According to him, the list of arrested suspects is swelling by the day.

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Banker, others hack customers’ accounts, steal N20m

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A banker, Mr. Christian Amechi, working with a new generation bank has been arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and Rapid Response Squad (RRS) for allegedly assisting suspected fraudsters to hack into bank customers’ accounts and stealing millions.

 

The accused, until his arrest, was serving at the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) customer’s care unit of the bank, located on Victoria Island, Lagos State.

 

Those arrested along with Amechi are Oyozoje Joseph (30), Nelson Matthew Eugari, Henry Omogbemi (31) and Ene Mona Gabriel.

 

 

Police said that Amechi was arrested penultimate Wednesday along with four other members of the syndicate.

 

The state Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, said the syndicate had allegedly removed over N20 million from accounts belonging to different customers.

 

Amechi was said to have been arrested after the police team arrested the leader of a gang of pickpockets, Mr. Akeem Apejoye, at the Ajegunle area of the metropolis.

 

Singing like a bird after his arrest, Apejoye revealed how Amechi and his syndicate encouraged him to steal phones. He further disclosed that Amechi and others’ interest was mainly the SIM cards of the stolen phones.

 

Apejoye led policemen to the homes of those encouraging him to steal phones.

 

He said: “Honestly, I didn’t know Amechi and his friends used the SIM cards to remove money from the accounts of customers. They, however, used to buy drinks at joints for me. Amechi and I grew up together at Ajegunle. I enjoy being with them, especially at the weekends.”

Apejoye said that through picking victims’ pockets, he had been able to establish a boutique at Ajegunle.
“My shop is located on Ojo Road.”

 

Amechi, who attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), said that he read Banking and Finance. The suspect introduced himself as ATM Card System Analyst.

 

He said: “All that was needed for the transfer to succeed is the customer’s SIM card. Any account holder, who does online transaction, has his or her BVN number stored on his or her phone. I grew up in Ajegunle and I know almost all members of the syndicate. I know them on the street; I was introduced into the business by one of my friends known as Ose boy and DJ.”

 

According to him, aside from assisting the syndicate to generate information of account holders, he also provided telephone numbers of victims.

 

He added: “Sometimes, we would do a ‘welcome back’ of some of these telephone numbers. What happens in this case is that the original owner of the line would not be able to make or receive calls. All calls or text messages on such numbers can only be accessed by the person who did the welcome back. Members of the syndicate are mostly staff of telecommunication providers. These set of people are the ones who do the ‘welcome back’ on any number to be profiled. My greatest regret was when my aged mother came to see me while I was in police custody. I pray that God will give her the health and courage to bear the pains. I can’t even begin to imagine what she would be going through right now.”

 

Another member of the gang, Joseph (30), an engineer who graduated from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said the he had made well over N10 million from the fraud. Joseph said that he joined the syndicate out of frustration.
As at the time of Joseph’s arrest, he had over N5 million in one of his accounts.

 

It was learnt that Joseph is presently on the Wanted List of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

Another account, which he operated with one of the new generation banks, has been frozen.

 

The role of Omagbemi, 31, is to operate a network of bogus names, in order to launder the proceeds, while Amechi, allegedly launders the cash.

 

 

 

Edgal said: “Members of the gang were all involved in a scheme to defraud account holders of millions of naira. These men used to target accounts with huge sums of money. To identify those rich accounts, Amechi, an employee of a bank, was recruited to assist the syndicate. He would then assist in breaching the security protocols in order to steal the money. The money would be transferred to accomplices who would swiftly transfer the money through a number of bogus businesses before the money would eventually disappear.

 

“Once the syndicate transfers the money from a victim’s account, the money would then be laundered through series of bogus names before being moved into individual accounts to prevent it being recovered. One of the victims lost more than N2 million after the gang member used of a fake ‘welcome back’ telephone number in the account holder’s name to set up two transfers over three days. A customer with N200 million in the bank only escaped becoming a victim after they were arrested.

 

“The syndicate comprised of three splinter groups visiting choice locations in the state to rob members of the public of their phones. The six suspects were arrested by the Decoy Team of RRS. The group handed over the SIMs to another set of people that would through special computer Apps get the bank account details of the owners and thereafter get the account balances. The balance of the account is now transferred into different accounts sourced by another set of suspects. Nwanze Ifeanyi (27), Martins Achi (27) and Solomon Dike (31) rob people of their phones and fled the scene on motor cycle. Muritala Mohammed (28) aka Swallow through computer Apps retrieved the names, bank details of the original owner of the SIM, including BVN. The recovered details are used to determine the account balance.

 

“Moneys in the account are transferred into different accounts sourced by the third group involving Shamson Mustapha (25) and Ali Hassan (27). The activities of the group were brought to the attention of RRS after they stole the phone of one Yinka at a birthday party in Egbeda area. The group worked on Yinka’s SIM card and transferred N1,153,000 from her FCMB account into the following accounts; FCMB-Account number 1888032010 belonging to Ikechukwu Enyadike; Diamond Bank-Account number 00706675464 belonging to Oyinuro Victor and UBA-Account number 2096578968 belonging to Joseph Blessing Benita. The owner of the account only got to know of the transactions when she inserted the replaced SIM into a new phone.”

 

Edgal disclosed that further investigations into the activities of the group revealed that the gang also transferred N120,000 from the Diamond account 2000050986 belonging to Chima Mbakwe of No.3, BM Anyawu Close, Iba New Site.

 

Muhammed, a senior secondary school (SS 2) dropout, confessed to have started hacking into bank accounts in June 2017.

 

He said: “My first hit was N20,000 and the banks accounts that I hacked were UBA, GTB and Access banks. All the SIMs that I have worked on should be up to 47.”

 

Exhibits recovered from the gang included two laptops, 10 SIM cards among other things.

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Metro and Crime

Lagos blames filth on population, sabotage

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…arrests PSP operators for frustrating CLI

Lagos State government yesterday blamed refuse on major roads and streets on ever increasing population of residents and sabotage of the government’s new environmental policy.

 

This came as even security agents arrested four officials of a Private Sector Participant (PSP) operator in waste management, Ayomide Olayinka Ventures, for dumping refuse on the street along the Central Business District (CBD), Lagos Island, in the middle of the night.

 

Briefing journalists on the challenges of managing the waste in the state, the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, said despite efforts to manage the waste, saboteurs were working to disrupt the efforts.

 

According to Durosinmi-Etti, Lagos generates 13,000 tons of waste daily with more and more people coming into the state without plans to return.

 

The commissioner added that residents had been urged to patronise the PSP operators in some areas for a while.

 

He also said that talks were still ongoing with the operators.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, said the four officials of the PSP operator were arrested for dumping refuse on the road by the security operatives on Tuesday while using their compactor with registration number FST 908 XG to dump refuse on the street.

 

Bamigbetan said the driver of the compactor, Oloruntele Adekunle and three others were arrested.

 

According to him, the company is located at No 1A, Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun, Ikeja.

 

The arrest, Bamigbetan said, brought the number of PSP operators arrested for similar offence in the last one week to five, while hundreds of cart pushers and wheel barrow operators were also apprehended for dumping waste in public places and canals.

 

He said in a statement that the arrest was a clear confirmation of the suspicion of government that the new environmental waste management policy encapsulated in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) was being sabotaged by vested interests.

 

He said: “A PSP operator was caught along Lagos Island Central Business District discharging refuse on the street. He was arrested by security operatives in the middle of the night which shows the institutional corruption that has been lingering in the sector which the state government intends to fight with the reforms put in place.

 

“The arrest of the PSP operator is a clear example of the deliberate efforts to sabotage what the state government is doing. The PSP operators are not being driven out of their businesses with the reforms as they are making the public to believe.

 

“Under CLI, government has made provision for the PSP operators to handle collection of commercial waste and there are over 15,000 companies in Lagos that can serve the over 200 PSP operators in the state. So far, the CLI has been able to get over 50,000 new employees out of the labour market.”

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