By Stephen Ubanna
Muhammed Uba Garba, Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, tough stance on smugglers and fraudulent agents at the seaports, airport and land border stations appears to have placed him on the list of prominent uniform officers on positions of trusts for impersonation by desperate impersonators who are out to swindle unsuspecting Nigerians.
The Magazine learnt that Muhammed got to know that some people wwere impersonating him when information filtered out that he has a Face book account. The Customs Comptroller was said to have found it embarrassing. This because he has no Face book account.
The scammers may have impersonated him ostensibly to extort money from unsuspecting smugglers and fraudulent agents at the port with the intention of helping them by releasing their seized goods. The Customs Comptroller may have his reasons not to create a Face book account because it is very distracting and smugglers may use it as an opportunity to be sending threat messages to him.
insiders told the Magazine that he has never considered it necessary to open a Face book account because he is a household name in the fight against smugglers in the country. It is not surprising why the scammers found it so easy to impersonate him because his image carries weight. os . The impersonators may have had the ulterior motive as well to turn the table against him in Customs circles and project him as someone using his exalted position to fleece people. They got it wrong.
This is because close associates, friends and relates of the Comptroller who may have received friend requests from him in the guise of being the FOU, Zone A, already knew the Comptroller does not operate a Face book account.
This may have forced him to put up a disclaimer to reassure his numerous admirers and friends that what they see in the Face book account purporting to be Muhammed Uba was the handiwork of Impersonators out to smear his name and image which took years to build.
In a Statement issued by Atta Jerry, an Assistant Superintendent of Customs and the Command Image maker, he disclosed that the Customs Comptroller ”does not have any Face book account , bearing his name or using his image”.
Appealing to the public to be on the alert and be aware that any Face book account (s) bearing Comptroller Muhammed Uba is fraudulent being operated by impersonators”, to mislead unsuspecting members of the public.
Going by the Nigeria Cyber Crime law, impersonation for fraudulent reasons , for instance , to ”’obtain money, goods or services amount to a criminal activity, and thismay have been the ulterior motive of the saidMuhammed Uba in the Face book account. The international Community are not finding it funny about these impersonators and scammers and different countries including Nigeria are coming out with stiffer penalties laws to deal with such Cyber Crimes.
This is a big challenge to Edgar Imohimi, Commissioner of Police, Lagos state police Command to save the name and image of prominent Nigerians being impersonated by fraudsters . Security analysts posits that impersonation in Face book is a regular occurrence in security cycles because of the level of poverty and unemployment in the country. The Source reporter had also fallen victims to these fraudsters twice where he lost over N150,000.00. 00 for undelivered services.
In spite of efforts by Imohimi, to state curb Criminal activities in Lagos including Cyber crime, criminal activities are still on the rise in the given security operatives a cause for concern. This is evident going by the arms and ammunitions regularly recovered from Criminals caught in the act.
Acting on a call from a Hotelier at Oshodi, on April 7, 2018, the Police Commissioner was said to have directed the Federal Anti-robbery Squad,FSARS, based in Mushin, were directed to fish out the suspects immediately. True to the Commisssioner’s directive the officer in-charge of the anti-robbery squad was to have mobilized his men into action. He confirmed that on April 8, 2018, one of the suspects in the robbery operation a 27-year old Damilola Oluwole was arrested by the team.
It was gathered that the confessions made by the suspect may have led to the arrest of two other members of the robbery gang, one Seyi Adebayo , Olasupo Jeremiah and the recovery of one locally made pistol, five live Cartridges and one expended Cartridge at their hideout at Akala, Mushi.
The police Commissioner explained that the Command has stepped up its investigation into the robbery incident, stressing that that the suspects would soon be arraigned in Court. The arrest of the Oshodi robbery suspects may have encouraged the FARS to step up its operation stop and search in different parts of Lagos.
The efforts may have paid off . On friday, April 20, 2018, one Ralph Oluwanishola, was said to have been arrested along ile-iwe road meiran during a” polite stop and search” by an anti-robbery team from meiran Division of the state police Command. The team was said to have flagged down a man carrying a bag on a motorcycle . Despite the initial resistance, the motor cyclists was said to have stopped and the man apprehended.
On interrogation, the man was said to have claimed to be a thrift collector (Esusu). The Police operatives may have been suspicious of the man when he offered them N5,000.00 bribe to let him go.
The money was said to have been turned down by the officers, forcing the man to jump down from the motorcycle and ran for his dear life but was caught by the vigilant police officers.
Eye witness, account said the man’s bag was searched and three locally made cut to sized pistols and 11 Cartridges were recovered. As it is the tradition with the Police, Imohimi, the Lagos state Commissioner of Police said the ”suspect is currently aiding the police in their investigation.
Prior to the stop and search operation of the meiran police Division, the FSARS operatives at Ladipo annex, was said to have neutralized plans by robbers to strike at Ijora Badia area of Lagos, based on a credible information . The FSARS operation was said to have yielded results as about four suspects were arrested including and the recovery of one locally made cut to sized pistol and one expended Cartridge.
On 31, March, 2018, the police Squad , led by one Inspector Yemi Ojumola, in another operation was said to have led to the arrest of two suspects: Olarewanju Ibrahi and Rasheed Adeyemi, who were said to have attacked one Adeba Olusi and Ilesanmi Babatunde and dispossessed them of their GSM Techno Cannon C8 phone and N48,000.00 including other valuable items.
The police Commissioner confirmed that the team recovered one locally made pistol, four expended Cartridges and one Bajaj motorcycle with Reg. No. DE992-Xe used during the robbery incident.
Given an insider information,, the Lagos state police Command boss revealed that the suspects on interrogation confessed that the guns used in the operation was given to them by one Archibong Kufre.
The confession, the police Commissioner confirmed led to his arrest. ”The case is still under investigation”, he said.
With the arrest of Archibong, who , the police boss said is currently helping the police in their investigation , he is optimistic that more members of the robbery gang would be nabbed soon.
The police Commissioner had said that the Command would not relent in the fight against Criminals in the state until they are completely smoked out from their hideouts and rendered ineffective.
Additional reports by Chibuike Osuji