By Nwangwu Uba
Between last year and now, there have been rumours making the rounds of fraudsters faking officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to swindle unsuspecting Nigerians of millions of naira. Indeed, the Commission ought to have been convinced about rumours because of the arrests that had been made by the police of fake EFCC operatives but the matter , according to sources could not go beyond the police station that made the arrest, thus giving the suspects more time to continue defrauding Nigerians using fake EFCC identity card .
The Commission may have taken the rumour of the fraudsters serious this time around, with the recent impersonation of Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman, of the Commission , by one Felix Idowu. The Impersonnation of Magu, the acting Chairman of the Commission with the intention to defraud a victim may have convinced the Commission that the rumour of faking operatives was real and the need to investigate it to the root of the matter.
Idowu may have penetrated the ranks of the EFCC operatives which may have made it possible to operate with ease without being caught over the years. .Wilson Uwu jarem, the EFCC, Spokes person disclosed that before his arrest on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 , the agency had received an intelligence report that the suspect while posing as one of its operatives had requested for money from an undisclosed victim in order to kill a petition allegedly written against the complainant. The undisclosed victim may not have found the financial demand of the alleged EFCC official funny as he was said to have taken up it the matter with the Authority to confirm whether he was actually a staff before dealing with him.
The report of the complainant may have forced Magu and his operatives to swung into action to arrest Idowu by asking the victim to play along. Unknown to the suspect , it was a set up and he fell into the EFCC trap.
Given an insider information, Uwujarem, explained that in the process , the suspect was asked to liaise with the complainant’s personal Assistant , who was the anti-graft agency undercover agent. Without reading their body language , he was said to have been lured to a popular supermarket in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, where he was promptly arrested on Monday, January, 28, 2019. That marked the end of the extortion of unsuspecting Nigerians as he ended up in EFCC custody, awaiting when he would be charged to Court.
The EFCC Image maker revealed that upon the search of the suspect’s exotic Lexus Jeep, lots of documents were recovered including a letter of investigation activities on the Commission fake letter- headed- paper with” ref. No. CTGI/6/Vol. 1 and a letter of a petition written to the agency with stamp received bearing Magu’s forged signature”.
The arrest of Idowu,the EFCC fraudster, may have forced Magu to look out for other former Staff of the Commission still parading themselves as still being in the employ of the agency ostensibly to dupe unsuspecting Nigerians. Given the dent on its operations by the action of such people, the Commission on Thursday issued a Statement ”condemning the means through which the fraudsters are using to defraud unsuspecting members of the public”.
According to the Commission,” preliminary investigation revealed that that the fraudsters brandish seemingly authentic identity cards as staff of the EFCC to prey or their prospective victim”. It further revealed that some of the identity cards being paraded by the hoodlums are those of members of staff who have earlier reported them as lost or stolen at a gunpoint and got police report to be able to get replacement from the Human Resources Unit of the Commission”.
Note that many Nigerians who had fallen victims to the hoodlums over the years had looked forward to Magu, regarded as an action man in the Presidency to save the situation from getting worse. He may have listened to their cry going by his assurance that measures have been put in place to curtail the activities of the fraudsters
one of such measures, was advising the public to stop patronising those who drop the name of EFCC officials with a promise to resolve an going fraud case or employment purposes which they cannot do. Another measure was a plea with Nigerians to report such extortion cases to the nearest police station for investigation .
Recall that even before Magu could ask Nigerians to report any suspected case of EFCC fraudsters to the police for investigation , the Lagos state police Command under Edgal Imihimi, have made some arrests of fake EFCC operatives . Take for instance the arrest of Pascal Ugwu who was said to have allegedly posed as an EFCC operative ostensibly for defrauding Wire – My Cake Company of N805, 000.00.
According to the police boss the fraudster was said to have connived with one Sodiq Ibrahim , a former employee of the Company to defraud the Company’s Managing Director but luck ran out of them as they were arrested by the police.
Security experts believe that if Magau had being serious in tackling the fraudsters, he would have put the necessary measures in place from the day David Lobhbut Nimdul, an alleged police Constable posing as a staff of the Commission was arrested. Nimdul was said to have been arrested by the anti-graft agency in February 2018 in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
His arrest may have forced the Commission into investigations which confirmed that he was a Mobile Policeman who was dismissed in 2012 after an Orderly room trial occasioned by allegations of corrupt practices imputed on him and for which he was found guilty.
A Statement issued by the Commission, Nimdul was engaged to assist in the recovery of N15.3 million but was introduced as an EFCC operative to the victim, forcing him to petition the Commission for which led to his arrest and further investigation on him.
there is no gain saying the fact that other idows and Nimdul who are well acquainted with the operations of the EFCC , may be forced to quit the illegal business when they see Idowu, particular, heading to jail. A lawyer who spoke to The Value News averred that Idowu has reached the end of the road as nothing would save him from being convicted because of the overwhelming evidence against him as a fraudster.