OPERATIVES of State Security Service, SSS, thought in 201 1 that they have successfully put to an end, a syndicate that specialized in cloning telephone lines of serving state governors, which they use in defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
Unfortunately, the reverse turned out to be the case when a 32-year-old member of the syndicate, Kelvin Igho, was arrested for committing the same offence.
The suspect who turned out to be an ex-police officer was arrested after he and members of his syndicate cloned the phone number of Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola. They also allegedly attempted to defraud a lawyer after making him place a call to one of their members who pretended to be the governor.
Owner of the account
They asked the lawyer to pay the sum of N500, 000 into an account. The lawyer reportedly paid the said sum but operatives of SSS were tipped-off and they rounded up the owner of the account, Igho and others.
Crime Alert gathered that after this encounter, the operatives concluded that the crime was solved and all the suspects were charged to court in Oshogbo. But unknown to them, the main suspect, Igho, jumped bail and return to his crime.
On December 20, 2011, Igho and some new recruits swung into action again by cloning the phone line of Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomole. They used it in deceiving one of his aides into paying N50, 000 into Igho’s Intercontinental Bank account.
•The suspect, Kelvin Igho
Unfortunately, the account was placed on alert and when Igho attempted to withdraw the money from the Ikotun branch of the bank, he was arrested and detained at Ikotun Police Division.
While in police detention, Igho managed to escape from police detention again and fled to an unknown destination. His sudden escape caused a major embarrassment to the police and the State Commissioner of police at that time, Yakubu Alkali, ordered the arrest of all the police officers on duty the day he escaped. Alkali did not stop at that, he also mandated operatives at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, to track and arrest the fleeing Igho, dead or alive.
A source who was close to the investigation team at SARS told Crime Alert that, “following the CP’s order, we swung into action and began a trail for the suspects. First we retrieved his mobile phone from the Divisional Police Officer at Ikotun Police Station and we took it to the network providers to retrieve all data saved in them. But while we were to tracking down the suspects, the four police officers who were arrested over his escape at Ikotun were detained in our cell.
“In fact, they were detained for over three months before we were able to apprehend Igho. After several communications with him, we laid a trap somewhere around Ikotun and he ran into it, there we arrested him.”
When Crime Alert met with the suspect at the Police Command headquarters, Ikeja, he narrated how members of his syndicate cloned phone lines of serving governors. He also explained why he left the police force and what led him to crime.
“I was a police officer before I was dismissed in 2005. I joined the police in 2000 and served for five years before I was dismissed. Before my dismissal, I was serving at Ikoyi police station and while I was there, someone accused me of trying to steal his motorcycle and the report got to the station.
“The DPO placed me in an orderly room trial. But I actually did not intend to steal the bike. The motorcycle rider who owned the bike carried me and when we got to Obalende, he started demanding for more money, more than we bargained. I gave him money and he did not give me my correct balance, and then we started fighting.
“I dragged the bike with him when he attempted to run away with it, then he started shouting thief! Thief! People gathered and he told them that I was trying to steal his motorbike. They dragged me to the station and the DPO detained me.
The next day, the DPO instituted an orderly room trial and the bike rider came to the station and testified against me. After that, I was dismissed and charged to court. When I was arraigned, I pleaded not guilty to the charges and the magistrate remanded me in prison.
I was then remanded at Ikoyi prison for some months before the case was later struck out. I didn’t go back to the police to protest my illegal dismissal; I took the dismissal as an affront. I felt that the police betrayed me. When I regained freedom, I started driving commercial bus.
I was plying Oshodi to CMS and I did that for a while before the driver of the bus took it from me. The owner of the bus told me that the vehicle was due for repair. I didn’t know that it was a ploy to take it from me.
“When I was out of work one of my friends called to say that we can clone phone lines of serving state governors and use them to defraud members of the public. We started by getting some phone numbers. Then we swiped the SIM cards. We called the network providers of with each of the numbers and told them that the lines were stolen and we want a welcome back.
“They asked me the PUK numbers of the new line and they gave me the governor’s number. When I swapped Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola’s number, I used it for one week and when I was using it, a lawyer called and I asked him to call back that I was busy.
When he did, I asked him to pay the sum of N500,000 to a relative of mine that was sick. I also gave him account number of the person I wanted him to pay the money to.
“After sometime, I got a call from the person whose account was used that the money has being paid but before we could withdraw it, the SSS came. They arrested the account holder and he led them to me. I was arrested and taken to court in Oshogbo and later granted bail.
I left Oshogo and came back to Lagos. Last December, my friend who introduced me into the scam called me and said N50,000 had been paid into my account by an aide to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole. I went straight to the bank to withdraw, but I was inside the banking hall, I didn’t know that policemen were waiting. They picked me and whisked me away. I was detained at Ikotun police station. On the night of my arrest, I escaped from the police station and fled.
“But last week, I got a call from someone who wanted to do business with me and we agreed to meet at Ikotun. When I went there, I was arrested by the police. I regretted that those police officers at Ikotun were arrested and detained for months over my escape. I didn’t know I was going to cause them so much trouble. But the truth is that the devil caused all this.”
- IG disarms, arrests, anti-kidnapping squad for aiding, abetting [Vanguard News] (transformationwatch.com)
- SSS parades 6 over alleged forgery of vehicle licences – Vanguard News (transformationwatch.com)
- Watching Police: IG gives out phone numbers – Vanguard News (transformationwatch.wordpress.com)