The state security services issued the statement below regarding several syndicate it claimed were behind sms threat messages to some prominent Nigerian politicians:
Recall that on 2nd November, 2011, the Service in a press release informed that two (2) secondary school students in Niger State had been apprehended for sending false threat messages of purported plans by Boko Haram to attack the Presidential Villa and National Assembly on 28th October, 2011.
2. On 14th November, 2011, Government had assured the public that the activities of such syndicates that specialize in sending threat text messages to members of the pubic, including key Government officials, foreign embassies, and other strategic corporations in the country will be quashed.
3. Against this backdrop, the Service would again like to draw the attention of the public to the criminal and subversive intents of devious elements who threaten unsuspecting individuals, organizations and groups for fraudulent purposes: Accordingly, we wish to inform Nigerians
that a major breakthrough has been recorded as members of four (4) groups of criminal syndicates engaged in this trend were recently arrested.
Highlights of the activities of each of the syndicates are:
4. The group is made up of four (4) members namely, Stanley OCHUWA, Emmanuel Ogbonna CHINONYEREM, Onyedikachi AKPASUE, and Mathias AKUEGBO.
They operated from Suleja in Niger State and Zuba, FCT, under the code names Col. MURPHY, Col. ADAMS, Col. MORDI, and Engr. Emma NWACHUKWU.
Their sole intent was to instill fear and cause panic with the aim of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public, with text messages like "Someone wants me to assassinate
you, but I will spare your life if you pay a ransom to my Intercontinental Bank account". Amongst the GSM lines used during their criminal exploits are: 08033832929 and 07038867338. They claimed that telephone numbers of their victims were often obtained from refuse dumps of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), memos, correspondents, complimentary cards, and the internet. Many highly placed Nigerians have been victims of the syndicate.
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5. This cell was operated from Kaduna by Haruna Alhaji HASSA~ whose operational name was Alhaji Madu GANA, purported Secretary of Boko Haram. He had threatened a former Governor now a serving Senator, a Federal Permanent Secretary, a political party woman leader in Maiduguri, another Senator and a Bauchi State Party Chairman. He threatened them to donate money for the propagation of Islam or risk being bombed. He received various sums of money ranging from N30,000 to N100, 000 through a Union Bank account. One of such threat text
messages read: "We are still aware with you we will soon get back to you Isha Allah expect us". He used GSM No. 08052611833, for his nefarious activities.
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6. Maurice Efe LAWRENCE, an indigene of Delta State, operated this cell from Calabar, Cross River State. He had widely circulated text messages through three (3) GSM Nos: 08100428701, 08080468686, and 070383912813 on plans by his syndicate to attack or bomb some cities in
Nigeria. On his hit list were) Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Port Harcourt, Jos, Kaisina, Damaturu, Maiduquri, Lagos, Dutse and Akure.
On 9th November, 2011, he sent a text message to a senior Director in the Ministry of Information. Its reads: "A bomb attack is to take place on Friday and 1 have every detail even if you don't want to involve send me number of any SA or PA to Information Minister". He also
claimed in some of the text messages to have information on plans to assassinate a Governorship candidate in Kogi State, and an armed robbery incident in Ondo State. He has telephone numbers of some prominent politicians, public servants and private individuals which he claimed he got from the internet and which he also used to defraud unsuspecting victims.
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7. Chinwendu JOSIAH, an indigene of Imo State worked in a cyber cafe in Benin City. He it was that sent emails to foreign embassies that caused panic and anxiety which led to the travel alert issued during the Eid-el- Kabir celebrations. The threat messages were sent through the following email addresses which contained a cloned GSM no: 081881916038, which he used for the scam and intent to extort money from his victims. The email addresses are:
[email protected], boko-haram-al-
[email protected], [email protected]:gmail.com and [email protected]
Below is the full text of some of the messages sent:
i."WE ARE BOKO HARAM, WE ARE COMING FOR YOU"
ii. "THE BROTHERHOOD REMAINS ONE INDIVISIBLE
ENTITY. THERE IS NO SPLIT AND THERE IS NO SPLINTER
GROUP. STORIES OF SPLIT ARE TISSUES OF LIES BY
THE STATE SECURITY SERVICE TO DISCREDIT US. CALL
ON ALL TRUE FAITHFULS WHO BELIEVE IN OUR CAUSE
TO JOIN US BY ENLISTING AS A FOLLOWER AND BECOME
A MEMBER OF THE BROTHERHOOD IN OUR SITE"
8. He has confessed to the crime and disclosed further that he has been involved in internet scam since 1998. To him, exploiting terrorist threats became an attractive option he could not resist.
9. The Service wishes to reiterate its earlier position that some unscrupulous, unpatriotic and criminal elements have capitalized on issues of national security interest to exploit, threaten and stir apprehension amongst members of the public. It is glaring that improper disposal of official and personal documents also provide another avenue with which these fraudsters exploit Nigerians. Hence the need for the public to be circumspect on how personal, official documents or issues are handled.
10. We hereby assure Nigerians as well as foreign nationals that the Service and other security agencies have emplaced measures which are progressively improving national security and the protection of lives and property. We therefore call on all to continue to cooperate with law
enforcement agencies as we Jointly combat the various security challenges confronting our nation.
MARILYN OGAR, msi
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, PUBLIC RELA TIONS
DEPARTMENT OF STATE SERVICES, ABUJA
30TH NOVEMBER, 2011