A suspected internet fraudster, Ugochukwu Loveday, has been arrested for allegedly impersonating the Acting Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, on a social media site, Facebook.
Loveday was said to have posed as the IGP to defraud unsuspecting members of the public of their hard earned money.
The 31-year-old, who was arrested alongside a Taxi driver, Ugochukwu Ohia, by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, ran into trouble after he allegedly defrauded a police contractor, Shuiabu Semion, of the sum of N800,000, under the guise of helping him to renew his contract of supplying gas to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), which was terminated in the year, 2002.
Semion, sources revealed, started communicating with Loveday on Facebook, from January 23, 2019, a few days after President Mohammadu Buhari appointed and decorated the new IGP, pleading for his gas renewal contract with the police.
Loveday quickly asked Semion to call his accomplice, Luka Abraham, who introduced himself as the IGP’s Protocol Officer, and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP).
The suspect, who was also the person acting as the protocol officer, then told Semion to pay the sum of N800,000 for paper work and documentation and an account number was sent to Semion, who quickly made the payments as agreed.
But trouble started shortly after Semion made the payment and the ‘protocol officer’ kept on asking for more money to perfect the papers work and when Semion informed the fake IGP about the development, he insisted that Semion should deal with his ‘protocol officer’.
The development made Semion to report the incident to the IRT office in Abuja, where he met the officer in-charge, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, who advised him to play along with the suspects with a view to luring them out for arrest.
A few days later, Loveday was said to have demanded additional money and he told him that the only money he had with him was just N30, 000 cash.
Semion then advised Loveday to send his boys to collect the money on his behalf.
Loveday was said to have quickly called out his accomplice, Ohia, and they headed straight into Abuja Central Business District, where they were supposed to meet Semion.
With joy that his plan had worked out perfectly,the suspect and his accomplice arrived at the agreed location to collect the money not knowing that an ambush had been laid for them.
They made attempts to escape after they sensed that danger was lurking around the location, but were quickly apprehended at the Abuja City Gate, after a hot chase by IRT’s operatives.
The Imo State-born suspect, who is married with a child, said:” I am a gym instructor, but I went into internet fraud because my wife was delivered of a baby through caesarian section but we later lost the baby after I paid the sum of N320,000, which eventually made me broke.
One of my wife’s friends, one Ihuoma, who came to sympathise with me over the death of my child, lured me into internet fraud. I started by using DIG Peace Igbokwe’s photographs on Facebook and people were coming to look for job through me, while many others, including policemen, came to seek for opportunity to attend peacekeeping missions; others came to seek for promotions.
‘’I charged between N70,000 to 60,000 for people seeking for peace keeping missions and N200,000 for policemen seeking promotions. Whenever they started chatting with me, I usually referred them to my ‘protocol officer’ that would help them process it. I usually gave them the name of the officer, which was ACP Luka Abraham, with this phone number 08098306171 which was my phone number and when the person called and we were done with negotiation on how to assist them, I would then send an account name bearing Sunday Aduyikodu with account number 2083471724 and then they would pay me.
“But after DIG Igbokwe retired, I opened another account because I knew people would no longer want to do business with her again. I later set up an account with the photographs of the new IGP Abubakar Adamu and with it, I started using the profile on January23, 2019 and it was just two persons that have paid into that account.
Continuing, Loveday said: ‘’One of them who requested for peacekeeping paid me N15,000, while another person, who is one Mr. Semion,was requesting for the renewal of his gas contract with the police and he paid N20,000 only .
‘’I went further to demand an additional N30,000 from the man for general processing and the man told me he had no money with him but he had a brother who lives in Abuja who can get me the money in cash. I told him that I was going to send my orderly to his filling station and then hired a taxi driver to take me to that location.
‘’When I got there, I asked the driver to call the man with his (phone) line and when he did, the man came to me with an envelope and I asked the driver to receive it. Surprisingly, a vehicle showed up from nowhere and it wanted to block my way. Then I sensed danger and people were also coming to surround the car; then I asked the driver to move out of that place and we zoomed off immediately.
‘’While we were running, our vehicle had a minor accident at the City Gate; we stopped to check it but some mobile policemen at that place saw us, arrested us and handed us over to the policemen who were chasing us,” he added.
In his confession, the 38-year-old Ugochukwu Ohai, said: “I am a taxi driver and I reside in Lugbe area of Abuja. Ugochukwu (Loveday) is my friend; we have known each other since 2012 and he told me that he is a gym instructor.
‘’I am aware that Loveday was also into internet fraud, but penultimate Tuesday, he told me that someone was owing him money and that the person who was owing him wanted him to come to a filling station within the area and that when we got there, I would be the one to call the person with my own phone and when the person showed up, he would receive the money from the person.
‘’When we got there, I made the call and when the person came out, he came towards our car with an envelope and when he sighted us, he shouted and people came out and their vehicle tried to block us, but I drove dangerously and escaped from the scene, but, unfortunately I had an accident and we were arrested.’’