Blackbox Nigeria


EFCC warns hoteliers against accommodating internet fraudsters, nabs 56 suspects in Ogun

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Leshi Adebayo




The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has warned hotel owners nationwide against permitting internet fraudsters to gather or hide around their facilities.

The anti-graft agency gave the warning on Tuesday, after an operation by its Ibadan Zonal Command, that led to the arrest of 56 suspected internet fraudsters in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, in a statement, said the suspects were caught at their hideouts, located in popular hotels in the ancient city.

Some of the suspects include Garfar Olamide Taiwo, Fadimaye Habeeb, Badmus Idris, Samuel Victor, Seun Fuad, Alli Isaac, Oyeleke Mubarak, Bolu Soetan, Koleosho Eniola, Saheed Abidemi, Olaewe Tosin, Ayedun Idowu, Oniyitan Ayomide, Akinlabi Precious, Gbadebo Sultan, Adeyemi Habeeb, Balogun Hassan, Sulaimon Ayub Damilare, Akinsola Usman.

Others were Ajibola Femi Shodiya, Ridwan Alani, Olusesi Lanre, Eniatimo Oludare, Taiwo Opeyemi, Akindele Kabiru Johnson Hammed, Idowu Gabriel, Adekanmi Adejumo, Peter Babatunde, Okeowo Sunday, Abudu Habeeb, Sabair Rasaq, Ademuyiwa Basit, Toriola Opeyemi, Babayode Abiola, Agbaje Habeeb, Sorinola Oluwatobiloba, Abiodun Elegbede, Kayode Daniel, Lawal Alabi, Oyewole Korede, Aberuagba Gafar, Adekunle Emmanuel, Okunade Azeez and Ojediran Sodiq.

Uwujaren revealed that the operation was almost frustrated by the hotel owners who used various antics, such as shutting down the power supply, to facilitate the suspects to escape. The operation was based on verified intelligence with weeks of surveillance.

“Despite the lack of cooperation by the hotel owners, the operatives demonstrated professionalism in ensuring that no one was hurt or property damaged during the operations, contrary to the narrative in a section of the media,” he said.

The EFCC spokesperson condemned the hoteliers’ actions, saying it was a “deliberate sabotage and obstruction of law enforcement officers, an offence punishable by Section 38 (2) (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.”

He said, “The Commission has observed a worrying pattern of cold complicity by hospitality entrepreneurs who appear to be hands-in-gloves with suspected fraudsters by housing them over long spells and making internet facilities available to them.

“While the argument is being made in certain quarters that hoteliers as business people have no means of determining who a fraudster is before allowing them to lodge in their facilities, that position runs counter to the law.

“Section 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud And Other Related Offences Act, 2006 provides for a prison term of between five and 15 years without option of fine for any person who permits his premises to be used for any offence under the Act.”

Uwujaren added, “EFCC will therefore not tolerate situations where hotel owners or managers not only permit fraudsters to use their facilities but also deliberately shield them from arrest by frustrating law enforcement on such premises.

“If the hoteliers are not enablers of the alleged crimes, as some have demonstrated by offering information to the Commission, they are under obligation to cooperate with law enforcement officers carrying out their lawful duties. To act otherwise would tantamount to willingly becoming enablers to fraud.”

The EFCC spokesperson said that 10 exotic cars, dozens of mobile phones, laptops and several incriminating documents were recovered from the suspected fraudsters arrested in Abeokuta, adding that they would be arraigned in court as soon as the investigation had been concluded.


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