Against the backdrop of rising collaboration between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI, in tackling internet- related offences, the Acting Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has called for greater public support in tackling the menace of cyber crimes.
This call was made on Tuesday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State at a Press Conference convened to update the Media on the nefarious activities of some suspected internet fraudsters in the Niger Delta region. Magu, who was represented by the Head of the EFCC in Port Harcourt, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, stressed that nothing short of public ownership of the fight against corrupt practices can curtail the menace of internet- related offences.
“…The rising tempo of internet- related offences and other acts of economic and financial crimes, call for enhanced cooperation of all stakeholders in the anti-corruption fight. .. We have never pretended that the fight can be won by EFCC alone, there is need for public ownership of the fight to ensure that our development as a nation is accelerated”, he said.
Bawa said that in the last eight months, 105 arrests were made by the Zonal Office on internet-related offences. He added that the Zone is working on 13 different cases of cyber crimes in collaboration with the FBI. Two of such cases involve the arrest of Ogbonnah Atoukaritou, formerly based in London and Alpha Chidi Egbeoni, formerly based in Japan.
“Generally, the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office is peculiar on the investigation of crude oil theft and illegal dealing in oil- related products. The last eight months have been months of intensive and extensive investigations and prosecution of oil- related and several internet- related in which the Zone has recorded 149 convictions, made N268,934,375.75 , $2, 012,568.00 and £15,000.00 recoveries and have 162 cases in court”, he said.
Bawa also disclosed that the Port Harcourt’s Zone secured the final forfeiture of 242 trucks and vehicles to the Federal Government in July, 2019 and was on the verge of securing final forfeiture of another 11 Vessels and Barges. He decried the rampant rate of internet- related offences, saying that they have grave economic, social and negative consequences.