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COVID-19: Police alerts Nigerians on new crime trends devised by internet fraudsters

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Mohammed Adamu

As the dreaded coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread, with fear and panic on the rise, fraudsters have reportedly devised new methods on how to defraud unsuspecting persons, the office of the Inspector General of Police warns Nigerians to be on alert.

In a statement released, the police spokesperson, Frank Mba, said intelligence at the disposal of the Force indicates that fraud and cybercrime are expected to rise at this time owing to the lockdown emplaced by Government at all levels to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mba said intelligence obtained from the INTERPOL Headquarters shows that scammers in Nigeria and other parts of the globe have begun to create and set up fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, fake social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver (COVID-19) medical products. He noted that in some cases, the fraudsters use the names of prominent companies involved in the production and distribution of these items. Victims are then asked to pay via bank transfer.

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According to Mbah, the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, has enjoined all Nigerians to strictly adhere to the following security tips:

i. Avoid opening suspicious emails and clicking on links in unrecognized emails and attachments;

ii. Ensure proper back-up of online and offline files regularly and securely;

iii. Use strong passwords for securing your emails and social media handles;

iv. Keep your software updated, including antivirus software;

v. Manage your social media settings and review your privacy and security settings;

vi. You are advised to be wary of scammers who use names of prominent companies to create fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver medical products;

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vii. You are advised to ignore and report calls purportedly emanating from a caller who pretends to be a relative currently being treated at the hospital asking you to pay for the cost of the medical treatment by transferring money or by paying cash to fake public health representatives;

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viii. Do not open letters or emails related to the pandemic from unknown persons who claim to be health authorities. Often times criminals access sensitive information, steal personal information and steal funds of victims by tricking them into connecting to a specific webpage and logging-in with their credentials;

ix. Be mindful of fake news, deliberate misinformation/disinformation and avoid circulating untrusted and unverified messages on your social media handles;

x. Educate your family, especially your children, about how to stay safe online and offline;

xi. If you become a victim, ensure prompt report to the police.

The statement added that the IGP has placed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja – Nigeria on red alert.

“The NCB which houses the cybercrime unit of the Force shall in the coming days and beyond work closely with other Interpol member states across the globe particularly to carry out intense monitoring of the internet highway in the most legitimate and ethical manner. This is to engender concerted efforts in cracking down on any individual or all forms of organized criminal gangs that may want to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to perpetrate crimes.

The Force also enjoins commercial bank operators to strengthen their online banking security systems and report promptly any suspected case of fraud and other cybercrime-related activities in their banks.

While reaffirming the determination of the Nigeria Police Force in providing support services to relevant agencies saddled with the task of curtailing and containing the COVID-19 pandemic, the IGP assures the public that the Force is unrelenting in clamping down on criminals who may want to take advantage of the situation to perpetrate criminal acts” the statement read.

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Ondo inaugurates Operation Amotekun (Photos)

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The Ondo State Government on Tuesday inaugurated the Ondo State Security Network Agency also known as Operation Amotekun.

A few months ago, the bill setting up the security agency was passed into law by the state House of Assembly and shortly after, it was signed into law by the state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

At the inauguration ceremony of the agency, held at the Gani Fawehimi Arcade, in Akure, the state capital, Governor Akeredolu said with the Amotekun in operation there would be no more room for all kinds criminalities in the state, warning the criminals to steer clear of the state.

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No fewer than 192 recruited members of the corps were inaugurated at the ceremony.

The governor expressed optimism that no criminal element would trouble the relative peace enjoyed in the state as the agency had commenced operations.

He said,

“It was so horrible that marauders laid siege to the highways as well as in the farmlands waiting to kidnap or devour anyone insight. With the launch of the Amotekun, we resolved that it shall be no retreat, no surrender. We are not going to be intimidated or blackmailed.

”It is incontrovertible that the existing security framework is being overstretched and we had to device a means of confronting the challenge of insecurity head-on. That was when the concept of Amotekun came up. As Yorubas, we are not known to surrender to our adversaries and if our forebears did not, we should not.

“On 4th March, this year, just two months after the launch of Amotekun in Ibadan, the Bill setting up the Corps was signed into law, after diligent and thorough work by the State House of Assembly. The import of this is that Amotekun Corps is now a legal entity not just the idea of an individual.”

The governor, however, noted that the agency was not inaugurated to pursue his second term agenda.

” I am saying it again, that my ambition is not worth the insecurities that our people are confronted with, where at some point, people were afraid of travelling out of the state,” Akeredolu declared.

The Amotekun corps Commander, Mr Adetunji Adeleye, said the personnel were trained in collaboration with experienced hands drawn from the various security agencies in the state.

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He reiterated the corps resolved on zero-tolerance to the crime through robust intelligence sharing with security agencies to reduce the spate of criminality in the state.

 

See Photos below;

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Sanwo-Olu commissions Oshodi-Abule-Egba BRT corridor

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday commissioned the 13.65km Oshodi-Abule-Egba Bus Rapid Transit corridor, deployed additional 550 high and medium capacity buses on the road and launched the extended E-ticketing system.

The governor said the 13.65-kilometre journey to Abule-Egba from Oshodi, which used to take over an hour, would now be completed in less than 30 minutes.

Speaking during the inauguration of the BRT system infrastructure at the Dopemu bus shelter, Sanwo-Olu said the ceremony was a fulfilment of his administration’s pledge to significantly improve traffic management and transportation system in the state.

“This is the very first of our six-point development agenda encapsulated as T-H-E-M-E-S. This administration made the pledge knowing that you, our people, are the main reason we have been entrusted with the management of your commonwealth”.

“Although our promise was to deliver this project in May this year, it had to be shifted forward due to the disruption brought about by COVID-19”.

According to the governor, the bus transit system had proven to be an effective means of achieving a fast, reliable and efficient movement of large number of people across the state.

“Since March 2008, when the first phase of this new initiative was launched, thousands of Lagosians have continued to enjoy improved travel experience along the designated routes every day.

In order to ensure that the BRT service is accessible to a greater number of our people and in line with the Lagos state strategic transport master plan which seeks to integrate road, water and rail transportation, new corridors and routes are being opened”.

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The governor said the project was very significant because of its immense benefits to Lagosians in the different communities it straddles and to visitors.

“This new BRT corridor will bring great relief to over 60,000 commuters who will use this facility daily. Travel time, which is estimated at an average of two hours during peak periods, will be significantly reduced to an average of about thirty minutes. This will translate to improved health of our people, a safer environment, and increased value of socio economic activities in our state.”

While acknowledging that the project was started by his predecessor, Sanwo-Olu said it was one of the dividends of his administration’s investment in the transport sector for efficient traffic management and transportation.

“The completion of this project which was commenced by the past administration is one of the dividends of this administration’s investment in the transport sector for efficient traffic management and transportation which we believe is crucial to facilitating the emergence of a smart and 21st-century economy.

“All our actions are geared towards birthing a new commuting order through seamless travel in a near congestion-free state. This administration is very keen to see all transport modes integrated through all our intervention in traffic management and transportation,” Sanwo-Olu said.

In her welcome address earlier, the Managing Director of Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, Engr. Abimbola Akinajo said the four projects rolled into one attest to the commitment of the Governor to live up to his promise to reform traffic management and public transportation, which is the first pillar of the THEMES agenda of the Governor.

“Mr. Governor, permit me to state that the socio-economic importance of the project cannot be over-emphasized. The Oshodi – Abule-Egba Corridor is undoubtedly one of the busiest 13.65km long bus corridors in West Africa, with over 5,500 mini-buses moving passengers per day.

“It is a major link for millions of Lagosians who commute in and out of Alimosho, Egbeda, Ijaiye, Iyana-Ipaja and other places to other parts of Lagos or to neighbouring Ogun state and the Republic of Benin.

“This new BRT corridor will bring about an improved mobility with the capacity to move over 350, 000 passengers per day, reduce travel time by at least 35%, enhance social and economic development along the corridor and enhance the projection of Lagos as a world class society amongst others,” she said.

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Kwara records eight new cases of COVID-19

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Kwara has recorded eight new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as at 11.45p.m on Monday, Aug 10.

The state now has a total of 865 confirmed cases of the virus, while one patient was discharged.

Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Spokesman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, made this known in a statement on Tuesday day in Ilorin.

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According to him, out of the 865 confirmed cases, 516 patients were discharged leaving 330 active cases in the state.

Ajakaye said 19 deaths have been recorded out of the 3, 853 people tested for the virus.

He added that 2, 922 tested negative for coronavirus with 66 tests being awaited.

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(NAN)

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