Police Nab Facebook Scammer Using Ngozi Braide’s Identity

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Chiemelie Ezeobi
 

The State Investigation and Intelligence Bureau (SIIB) of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested a serial Facebook scammer, one Peter Ajani, for using the name of former Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ngozi Braide, a Superintendent of Police, to defraud people.

Recall that similar incidents happened in 2013 when Braide held sway as the command’s first female PPRO, where about seven fake Facebook accounts were opened in her name and used to defraud innocent citizens.

So far, no fewer than 22 fake Facebook accounts have been opened with her name with different introductions.

The fraudulent accounts have since been yielding money for the perpetrators, who demand for monetary gains from their unsuspecting victims.

In this present case, the 29-year-old from Yemetu Ataadorin, Ibadan, Egbeda Local Government Area, Oyo State, was said to have successfully defrauded several people of thousands of Naira before he was arrested.

The suspect was said to have been operating several accounts in Braide’s name, even though she does not operate any social media account.

Although they have been operating the accounts successfully, Ajani was arrested after he duped a teacher (name withheld) with the Benue State Government of the sum of N80, 000.

The teacher was said to have made contact with one of the dubious Facebook account and was told to bring money to influence his appointment in the ongoing police recruitment scheme.

The victim said he never doubted their authenticity because they had apparently registered the number they called him with Ngozi Braide’s identity.

According to him, he had used Truecaller (a social media application that reveals the identity of a caller) to check out the number and it showed that it purportedly belonged to Braide.

However, when they sent an account number, it was bearing a Yoruba woman’s name, but again he said that didn’t arouse his suspicion as they explained it was a front.

It was only until they demanded for extra N60, 000 that he balked and reported the incident as a likely fraud case.

Using the number he was given, the SIB of the Lagos State Police Command headed by Vera Ameh, a Superintendent of Police, were able to track the suspect to Ibadan, where he was arrested.

In a confessional statement, Ajani, who lives at no 52 Maku, Ebenezeri Iyana Church, Ibadan, said he was formerly working at C.Gate Hotel Ibadan before he was sacked.

While pleading for mercy, he claimed that he was only able to make money from two people, although  that there were still other potential victims.

However, police sources who spoke on anonymity told THISDAY that the suspect had defrauded several people using either the police recruitment or fake auction of cars.

Already, they have been able to track down another victim from Akwa Ibom, who said he paid N350, 000 for an auctioned car but later discovered that he was defrauded.

When contacted, Braide who declined to speak so as not to jeopardise ongoing investigations by the SIB, however stressed she was not on any social media platform.

But police sources again told THISDAY that the investigations would unravel if it was a syndicate operating all 22 accounts or if they were different groups of fraudsters.