The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced what appears to be a renewed crackdown on Internet fraudsters, popularly knows as yahoo boys, a situation that has forced the boys to go into hiding. In the last one week, the EFCC has arrested over 100 yahoo boys in different parts of the country, even as it secured conviction for over 30. The arrest of suspected fraudsters seems to have become an everyday occurrence as EFCC, arrested two suspected fraudsters, Chinedu Okeke and Patrick Odjegba in Benin, Edo State.
Operatives of the Commission sequel to information and intelligence gathering arrested 34-year-old Okeke, a purported businessman and Odjegba, 42, who claims to be an Okada rider.
EFCC spokesperson, Tony Orilade, explained that “the fraudsters’ modus operandi is to pretend to be dealers of agro chemical products on social media platforms especially Facebook. Through the platforms, they solicit for customers and request would-be buyers to make deposit payment including freight before the products are supplied. The suspects have made useful statements and will be arraigned in court as soon as investigations are complete.
This is even as the Ibadan zonal office, on Thursday, secured the conviction of four Internet fraudsters. Three of the convicts – Alimi Azeez Oluwadamilare, Paul Opeyemi Omotunde and Igberase Hope Odianosen – were tried in the Federal High Court, Abeokuta Division, while the other, Okuneye Opeyemi James, got the reward for his criminal act at the Ibadan division of the court. Alimi, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and Omotunde, a 2019 graduate from the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), were convicted and sentenced to four months in prison by Justice Ibrahim Watilat of Federal High Court 1, Abeokuta.
The trio was re-arraigned on a one-count amended charge of criminal impersonation, contrary to Section 22 (2)(b)(iv) of the Cyber Crime Prohibition Prevention Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Act. The fresh arraignments were sequel to the plea bargain arrangements between them and the EFCC, which reduced the number of charges in the initial charge sheets to one.
Besides sending them to jail, the presiding judges also ordered that they refund sums of money in United States dollars to their respective victims as restitution. All items recovered from them during their interrogation are equally to be forfeited to the federal government. It would be noted that in the last one month, over 70 suspected Internet fraudsters have been arrested with most notable, been a Nigerian artiste, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, also known as Naira Marley.