•Sources confirm five freed, four in captivity
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The nine police officers, who were abducted by gunmen during their journey from Borno State Police Command to Zamfara State, embarked on the trip in mufti and were unarmed, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.
The police officers, it was learnt, also embarked on the journey without notifying their command.
Police sources told THISDAY that five of the newly-promoted Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs) had been set free by their captors while four remained in captivity.
It was not clear if they met the demands of the kidnappers, who made an initial ransom demand of N10 million and later raised it to N100 million.
But police sources said four officers remained in captivity as negotiations were still ongoing.
THISDAY gathered that the nine officers travelled to Zamfara by night without informing the command about their movement.
It was also gathered that they travelled in mufti and were unarmed when they were taken.
“The truth is they are nine and not 12 as the media has reported. They left their command and travelled by night.
“They did not inform the Commissioner of Police about their departure. If you recalled, the Borno CP said he was not aware of any kidnap of his officers because he wasn’t in the picture of their movement,” one of the police sources told THISDAY.
“They travelled by night and were in mufti when they were taken and they were unarmed,” the source added.
Another source confirmed that five of the kidnapped officers have regained their freedom.
“Two were released initially. Three were released between Wednesday and Thursday. Between now and tomorrow, we hope to get others released,” the source, who is privy to negotiations with the kidnappers, said.
Meanwhile, three suspects, namely Onwuka Emmanuel Chidiebere a.k.a Ceeceeboss TMT 32years, currently residing at Lekki, Lagos State and native of Aro-Ikpa in Abia State; Ikechukwu Ohanedozie a.k.a Dozzy 34 years and Onuegwu Ifeanyi a.k.a SSG Toolz 35years of Prof’s Avenue, Umudagu, Mbieri, Mba-itolu LGA, Imo State have been arrested by the Nigeria Police Cybercrime Unit, INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja.
The three suspects were arrested following intelligence report received from INTERPOL Cybercrime Directorate in Singapore on global attacks by Nigerian cyber gangs who engage in mass email phishing campaigns and distribution of malwares aimed at stealing authentication data from browsers and email headers.
Findings so far revealed that of the three suspects, Onuegwu Ifeanyi specialises in creating, designing, selling of phishing links and hosting malwares on website used by the gang for phishing and hacking purposes.
A statement by Force Headquarters said the suspect collected charges running into several millions of naira from other fraudsters he mentored and improved their phishing capabilities.
Onwuka Emmanuel Chidiebere, a graduate of Business Administration from Imo State University, specialises in business email compromise and hacking.
A comprehensive forensic analysis reveals that he had in his laptop computer over 50,000 email accounts and websites, including passwords of various individuals and corporate entities across the world.
He recruited the third suspect, Ikechukwu Ohanedozie, a medical student of Imo State University, into the gang.
Ikechukwu Ohanedozie sorts and profiles e-mail accounts to determine financial strengths of prospective victims and passes on information obtained therefrom to Onwuka Emmanuel Chidiebere.
The statement said the suspects would be charged to court on conclusion of investigation and prosecuted in line with the Cybercrime Prevention/Prohibition Act, 2015.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force has unveiled a cybercrime reporting web portal.
The portal which could be accessed by clicking on the link https://incb.police.gov.ng/ is part of efforts directed at ensuring ease of crime reportage by members of the public to enable prompt investigation, arrest and prosecution of perpetrators of cybercrime and other related offences.
It said the portal caters for complaints pertaining to cybercrimes.
“With this, victims and complainants can now report cases of cybercrime online at any time and from any part of the world.
“The cases are promptly attended to by the Cybercrime Unit of the Force domiciled with the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB), Force Headquarters, Abuja and the newly created Cybercrime Unit at the INTERPOL Annex, Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, Lagos,” it said.
The Force Headquarters said the new portal would provide updates on achievements being recorded by the police and would, among other things, avail the citizens knowledge of basic cyber-related issues such as emerging cybercrime trends, the modus operandi of the cyber crooks and offer tips on how citizens could make themselves less vulnerable within the cyberspace.
It urged potential users of the portal to ensure that only correct and accurate information, devoid of deliberate falsehood, misrepresentation and misinformation are provided when filing their complaints.