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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

SECURITY: O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G: FCID (ANNEX) LAGOS’ RECENT INVESTIGATION BREAKTHROUGHS, DETECTIVES GIANT STRIDES

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By Emeagi Emeka Williams

The FCID (Annex), Lagos has in recent weeks investigated and successfully cracked a number of high-profile criminal cases, some of which are of public and internal security interest according to a press release signed by the FCID (Annex) Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Aminat Mayegun on 16 Jan. 2024 .

Major among these include the following:
1. Bursting of a syndicate involved in Conspiracy, Infringement on the Intellectual Property, Piracy and Cyber-related Crimes in relation to the unlawful utilization of the cyberspace to broadcast Toyin Abraham’s Movie titled ‘Malaika’

On the 11th of January, 2024 a criminal complaint was lodged by popular actress, Mrs. Toyin Abraham and Seun Olayemi, the co-producers of a movie titled ‘Malaika’. The petitioners alleged that some elements believed to include one Kehinde Iyanda and had criminally pirated their latest movie which was originally released for cinema viewing only on the 21st December 2023. It was alleged that the elements unlawfully and fraudulently accessed the movie, uploaded it on their website and created a streaming weblink for their social media followers worldwide to freely view the movie, thereby infringing on their intellectual rights and denying them of their movie profits while unlawfully profiting from therefrom.
Following the receipt of the petition, a joint investigation involving the Special Investigation Units of the Anti-Fraud and Cybercrime Sections of the Department was launched, while the unique intelligence and cybercrime assets of the Force were optimally deployed. Through these initiatives, the websites of origin of the crime were narrowed down to www.noregret.com.ng which was registered, owned and operated by one Lagos-based Kehinde Iyanda and www.naijajoy.com.ng owned and maintained by one Ogun State -based Adekunle Segun

Follow up coordinated actions by crack detectives on the case led to the apprehension of the Kehinde Iyanda, the principal suspect and following the execution of a search warrant at his residence, a laptop, two phones and some certificates of business registration of companies linked to his offensive website and criminal activities were recovered. During investigation, he indicated that the www.noregret.com.ng website which heutilized for the online piracy was designed for him for that purpose by Sodiq Adebiyi and that he has been receiving technical support from him in administering it. He additionally acknowledged that the website was, as alleged, utilized to pirate several movies including the ‘Malaika’ movie as alleged by the complainants. He claimed to be a contract staff at Eco Bank Plc, Orile –Iganmu and identified one Adebiyi Sodiq and Sodiq Oseni Akano as his co-conspirators in the perfection of the crime.

Follow-up investigation also indicated that Adebiyi Sodiq also owns and operate his own independent streaming platform identified as www.36vibes.com.ng which he also utilized for advancing similar cybercrimes including the online piracy and unlawful broadcast of ‘Malaika’ of Toyin Abraham and the blockbuster Funke Akindele’s movie entitled ‘A Tribe Called Judah’. Indeed, Funke Akindele had earlier reported the crime against the suspect at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Lagos State Police Command and a consolidated investigation is, accordingly, being undertaken by this Department.

On the strength of these pieces of allegations, detectives from this Department arrested Adebiyi Sodiq in Osogbo, Osun State. It is pertinent to mention that during his arrest, and as part of well-orchestrated actions directed at covering up his criminal signature, Adebiyi Sodi conspired with his mother, Mrs Adebiyi Suliat to remove and hide the laptop he utilized in perfecting the crime in an effort to conceal vital electronic evidence and frustrate conclusive and credible police investigation. Drawing on their rich experiences in the investigation of cases of this nature, and supported by intelligence actions, detectives arrested the said Adebiyi Suliat and recovered the concealed laptop from her custody. Also recovered directly from his suspect son, Adebiyi Sodiq were two (2) Mobile phones both of which were linked to his criminal activities aside the laptop computer.
In similar vein, one Agboola Sadiat Motunrayo, girlfriend of Adebiyi Sodiq was also arrested for frustrating police investigation by consistently passing information on police investigative actions that are directed at arresting Sodiq Oseni Akano to him, thereby aiding him to evade police arrest. While both Mrs Adebiyi Suliat and Agboola Motunrayo are being arrested and will be prosecuted for being accessories after the fact of a crime, arrangements are being perfected to declare Sodiq Oseni Akano wanted, should he fail to voluntarily submit himself.
Also arrested in the investigation process is Adekunle Segun, the owner, promoter, and administrator of www.naijajoy.com.ng whose website was also involved in the online movie piracy network. He was arrested at his Sango Ota, Ogun State base while the weblink to access the ‘Malaika’ movie was also found on his website. On interrogation, he also confessed to pirating and unlawfully uploading the ‘Malaika’ movie and other Nigerian movies on his website.

The painstaking and technically-driven Investigation into this case have established the depth of the criminal activities of a net-based syndicate whose modus is to utilise their websites to pirate, upload and share movies and other intellectual properties in the cyberspace to generate traffic and obtain undue financial gains to themselves at the detriment of the Movie Producers and in negation of extant criminal laws.
In guiding this investigation to conclusion and in engendering a credible prosecution of all suspects involved in the crime, the leadership of FCID, (Annex) Lagos wishes to appreciate the cooperation of the Movie Industry players, particularly, Toyin Abraham, Film One, and her Team as well as Funke Akindele and her Team.

AIG Idowu Owohunwa, the AIG, FCID (Annex), Alagbon, Lagos assures of his firm determination to continue to collaborate effectively with the Movie Industry actors and the Nigeria Copyrights Commission to rid the space of criminal elements that are bent on threatening the survival of the vibrant Nigerian Movie industry.
2. Conspiracy and Forgery:
Following growing reports of the existence of a criminal syndicate involved in forgery, extortion and counterfeiting of the Nigeria Police Character Certificate, a special sting operation was launched on 16th November, 2023 with a view to bursting the criminal network. The special operation became expedient following the receipt of a report from an innocent victim who presented such counterfeited document for the processing of her Visa application at the U.K Embassy and upon being identified as fake was refused the Visa and banned from entering the country for ten years.
Consequent upon the operation, three (3) suspects were initially arrested. They include Chinedu Agbosim who is the owner of the shop and the principal suspect. Other include Mariam Dauda and Ebighose Anderson who are the computer operators recruited by Chinedu Agbosin to perfect the crime. All the suspects admitted to their individual and common roles in processing the fake Police Character Certificates at a side shop around the Federal Training Center, Ikoyi, Lagos. Upon executing a search warrant in the shop, the following items were recovered therein:
1. Three counterfeit Police Character Certificates and other relevant documents belonging to various Nigerian citizens.
2. A computer-generated signature specimen bearing the name of CP CCR, CP Olaolu Adegbite and dated November 16, 2023.
3. A computer-generalted document bearing the super-imposed signature of CP Ndu, I.M., the former CCR, CP Ndu I.M.
4. The Desktop computer used by the syndicate to perfect the crime.
While the special operation continues, the arrested suspects will in due course be charged to court.
3. Recovery of Stolen Vehicle and arrest of suspects:

On 1st January, 2024, at about 0800hrs, the operatives of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (Annex) Lagos, conducted an intelligence-led undercover operation which led to the arrest of one Ibrahim Babangida, a 35year old suspect from Bida, Niger State in the course of finalizing the disposal of a stolen Toyota Pick-up van in Lagos. Upon his arrest, Ibrahim Babangida confessed to intending to dispose the vehicle through his contact whom he identified as Emmanuel Olalekan, a Mechanic at Epe, Lagos State who is currently at large. He also indicated that Emmanuel Olalekan who had knowledge of his crime, linked him with Wilson Onobukoko and Daniel Paul for purpose of sourcing buyers for the stolen vehicle. It was in the course of colluding with the duo to find appropriate buyers that undercover police detectives from FCID (Annex) Lagos swooped on him, arrested him and recovered the stolen vehicle from him.
Ibrahim Babangida was employed as a driver at SKECC Nigeria Limited, Warri-based construction company on the 31st December 2023 and one of his first tasks by his employers was for him to convey company items to Sapele Staff Quarters. Upon delivering the goods, however, he stole the vehicle in his charge and headed to Epe, Lagos State to link up with his syndicate members with intent to sell the vehicle off for =N=10M (Ten Million Naira).
Wilson Onobukoko and Daniel Paul have been arrested and they also confessed to the crime. The stolen vehicle with Reg. No. WWR 846 AH along with its original documents were also recovered. Detectives of this Department are in contact with Delta State Police Command towards transferring the suspects and the stolen vehicle to them for conclusive investigation and prosecution.

AIG Idowu Owohunwa assures that under his watch, FCID Alagbon, Lagos will continue to deploy intelligence-led policing model in the advancement of the investigation, crime detection and crime prevention mandates of the Department in line with the charge of the Inspector General of Police.

SECURITY ADVISORIES:
Following recent investigative activities of the Department certain dynamics of crime have been noticed and it is considered expedient that citizens be sensitized on these evolving pattern and trends of in order to raise their awareness and offer security advisories to protect them from falling victims of crimes or potential security threats. In this context, these Crime Prevention Advisories are hereby issued as follows:
Cybercriminals’ Intrusion
There is a noticeable intrusion into the whatsapp application and other social media platforms of unsuspecting citizens by cybercriminals. The modus of the criminals is to falsely present themselves as the administrators or members of a whatsapp group which the target belongs to. Under such pretense, the hacker will deceive the unsuspecting whatsapp account holder that the group was planning to hold a conference call and that in order to access the conference call, a code will be sent to him/her. This will be followed up with an instruction that as soon as the target receives the code to be sent to his/her box, it should be resent to the hacker to ‘enable utilize in activating his/her participation’ in the false conference call. Once the code is sent, the hacker will utilize it to change the access codes to the target’s whatsapp and they, thereby, take full administration control which they will use to send phony distress messages to all on in the whatsapp contact demanding for money in the name of the victim.
To safeguard against such scams, we strongly recommend the following precautions:
• Beware of Unsolicited Communication: Exercise caution when receiving unexpected calls, messages, or emails requesting personal information, sensitive data, or asking you to perform specific actions related to your Whatsapp or other social media platforms.
• Avoid Sharing Personal Details: Refrain from disclosing personal information like SIM card numbers, IMSI numbers, PUK codes, or any other confidential details to unknown or unverified sources, especially over the phone or through unfamiliar websites or links. Always verify such requests directly with your mobile service provider through their official contact channels.
• Avoid Sharing Codes – NEVER share any code with any third party and never utilize any unsolicited whatsapp code for any purpose. Be wary of scam calls inviting you to join conference calls. In such circumstance, call your accredited group administrators to verify rather than fall victim. Note that the more gullible,unsuspecting or careless that you are, the more vulnerable you will become.
• Secure Your Personal Devices: Ensure your mobile devices are protected with up-to-date security software, strong passwords, and enable multi-layers authentication wherever possible to add an extra layer of security. Activate your 2-way security authentication on your whatsapp setting to strengthen your resistance to security breaches by scammers.
• Report Suspicious Activities: If you suspect any unauthorized access or fraudulent attempts related to your SIM card, social network platforms or mobile services, immediately report it to the Police to enable you benefit from the unique cybersecurity and cybercrime support assets of the State-of-the-art Nigeria Police National Cybercrime Centre at the Force Headquarters Abuja and at the FCID Annex, Alagbon, Lagos.
• Educate yourself and others: Stay informed about the latest cyber security threats and educate family members, friends, and colleagues about these potential scams to collectively enhance awareness and vigilance.
Advisory On Obtaining/Issuance of Police Character Certificate:
The attention of Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Lagos, has been drawn to some unscrupulous elements whose stock in trade is faking/counterfeiting the police character certificates being issued by the central criminal registry section of Force CID, the despicable practice is still festering despite several attempt to permanently halt the activities.
It is important to reiterate for the umpteenth time, that it is in the best interest of applicants to personally visit our self- service at the official portal www.possap.gov.ng and follow the instructions provided therein to obtain the authentic police character certificate. POSSAP customer care can also be contacted through phone 018884040 for further enquires and clarification. Members of the public are enjoined to take advantage of the information and warning provided in this bulletin to avoid playing into the hands of desperate undesirable individuals who masquerade as staff of the CCR to fleece them of their hard-earned money in addition to the accompanied embarrassment at the foreign Embassies.

The AIG FCID, Annex Lagos, AIG Idowu Owohunwa appreciates citizens for their trust and cooperation which have combined to enhance the attainment of our mandates. While committing to the course of criminal justice delivery and crime prevention and detection, he assures of his commitment to sustenance of the practice of routine issuance of Crime and Security Advisories as the pattern and trend of investigations in the Department may assure to unearth overtime.

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