The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is set to arraign a 34 year-old graduate of the Lagos State University, Anthony Ezechukwu, who allegedly used the names of political figures to dupe unsuspecting members of the public via Facebook.
Ezechukwu was said to have cloned the Facebook accounts of the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the wife of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Aisha Bala Muhammed, wife of the Lagos State governor, Abimbola Fashola as well as the director of the Abuja Geographical Information Systems, AGIS, Jamilah Tangaza and cleverly used them to solicit for funds from members of the public.
According to a statement from the EFCC, once Ezechukwu successfully opened a Facebook account with the false identity, he sends out messages and soon requests for friendship flooded his account.
“He exploited the frenzy by the unwary Facebook crowd that wanted to be friends with a first lady, by directing some of them to meet with ‘her personal assistant’, who in turn demanded for various sums of money from them in order to connect them with influential people in government and the society,” the statement said.
On the Facebook account he opened using the name and photograph of Okonjo-Iweala, the suspect claimed he had job offers and directed interested job seekers to her schedule officer for subsequent payments into a designated bank account.
However, luck ran out on him when he cloned Tangaza’s Facebook account and set about using her office to exploit those desperate to own land or houses in Abuja, by making them pay up to N100,000 to access soft loans worth N10 million being given to Nigerians by the FCT administration.
The message he posted on the Facebook account read: “In my certified, endorsed and approved capacity, as the director general of Abuja Geographical Information system, AGIS, officially appointed by FCT minister (Senator Bala Mohammed) and his administration on presidency acceptance and approvals (sic) to take control of all lands and houses sales (sic) in FCT Abuja. Then I warned, using this medium to advised (sic) the general public those who wish to buy land and houses in FCT Abuja to channel all there inquiries, consultation and payment to me…”
The poorly constructed message notwithstanding, this bait still managed to hoodwink many gullible Nigerians, one of them being a certain Usman Ahmed who paid the sum of N100, 000 into a designed account with a new generation bank.
Ezechukwu was, however, nabbed following a complaint by Tangaza and he is currently assisting investigators probing the scam.
The commission says he will be arraigned in court as soon as investigation is concluded and has warned members of the public to be wary of relationships on the social media where solicitations for funds are made.