- IG urges anti-graft agencies to key into INTERPOL’s crime database
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is collating a comprehensive data on Nigerians indicted on money laundering and cybercrime offences in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The data collation by the EFCC came just as the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, yesterday urged the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other law enforcement agencies to key into the crime database of the International Police (INTERPOL) in order to enhance their crime management capabilities.
Also yesterday, the Nigerian Embassy in the United States said the federal government would cooperate with Washington in dealing with the allegations of fraud against Nigerians in accordance with the “laid-down universal human rights and due legal processes in the interest of our nationals.”
Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, told journalists at a news conference in Ibadan that the agency was collating comprehensive data on the Nigerians indicted for money laundering and cybercrime offences in the US.
Eighty suspects, mostly Nigerians, were allegedly involved in the crimes investigated by the FBI.
Magu, represented by the Head of the Ibadan Zonal office, Mr. Friday Ebelo, said the massive data collation was part of the collaborative activities between the EFCC and FBI to ensure that suspected criminals were exposed and made to pay for their crimes.
The EFCC boss took journalists through the intricate connections between the local Yahoo boys and their offshore criminal collaborators.
According to him, the essence of the data mining is to establish any form of relationship the indicted individuals may have with Nigeria-based suspects and how this could help in furthering the fight against economic and financial crimes in the country.
He said some of the information earlier collected led to the arrest of many Internet fraudsters, adding that one of the kingpins was nabbed during a recent raid in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
A statement by the commission said: “The kingpin, Ajayi Gbenga Festus, was found to be deeply involved in many Internet-related frauds from which he had benefited up to N75 million in the last eight months.
“We were able to establish a number of illicit transactions through his Nigerian bank account amounting to over N223 million. Ajayi serves as conduit pipe through which proceeds of crime reach members of the syndicate,” he stated.
Ebelo added that during the year, the zone arrested 263 suspects for cybercrimes and of the number, 111 were convicted.
Apart from landed property, vehicles, laptops and other valuables forfeited on the order of court, huge sums of money in local and foreign currencies traced to Internet fraud were also recovered.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Embassy in Washington wednesday reacted for the first time to indictment of Nigerians in US.
The embassy said in a statement that the federal government “condemns such criminal acts in all ramifications.”
Senior Counselor of the Embassy, Mohammed Suleiman, who signed the statement on behalf of the Ambassador, retired Justice Sylvanus Nsofor, said Nigerians were generally law-abiding and hardworking people, warning against stereotyping on the basis of a few bad eggs.
“The embassy wishes to reaffirm that Nigerians are generally law-abiding and hardworking people wherever they are, including in the US.
“We wish to reiterate her willingness to cooperate with the government of the U.S. in accordance with the laid-down universal human rights and due legal processes in the interest of our nationals.
“The embassy, therefore, appeals to her citizens in the US to remain calm and continue to observe the laws of the host country at all times,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the IG wednesday urged law enforcement agencies to key into the crime database of INTERPOL in order to enhance their crime management capabilities.
Adamu, while handing over the access code of the database to the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede, at the closing ceremony of the INTERPOL week in Abuja, said the I-24/7 database developed by global police communications system to connect law enforcement officers in all INTERPOL-member countries, was a tool that would assist Nigerian law enforcement agencies in crime detection and management.
The IG, who was a former Vice President of INTERPOL, said: “the data has many domains related to financial crime, drug offences all of which have to do with policing. We are giving the access code to the Nigerian Immigration Service and we are calling on other law enforcement agencies to follow suit.”