A manager in Shell Development Petroleum Company (SDPC) Nigeria and a businessman have been allegedly killed in Rivers State by fraudsters impersonating as women on a dating site. The corpses of the victims and one other unidentified person have been recovered in a bush by the police in the state.
The late Shell manager, Mr. Progress Benin Disi, went missing on March 7, while Shola Olaseinde, the businessman got missing on March 26. Police, it was gathered, were initially working on kidnap until investigation led them to the discovery of a syndicate said to specialise in luring people, especially rich men through dating sites with a view to ripping them off.
The detectives reportedly opened communication with the gang and were able to arrest five of them including a pregnant woman. The expectant mother, it was learnt, was the bait used by the gang to engage their victims in sweet talks by phone.
The leader of the group identified as, Micheal Eneji a 27 year- old footballer said they were unaware of Olaseinde’s death until their arrest. Asked how they killed their victims, he said: “We will take their ATM cards and go to the bank with the pin number they gave us and begin to withdraw N100, 000 every day until the account is blocked.
“We did not know that Olaseinde and Disi were unable to untie themselves like others before them and escape”.
He blamed his involvement in crime on hard times. “When I couldn’t afford to pay my school fees, I decided to go into love dating scam. I dwell mainly on Badoo that many Nigerian men visit regularly.
“I surf the net and select pictures of black models and impersonate them by using them as my own so that the men will think they are dealing with a woman. As soon as they see the picture, some send a message to me and I will respond.
“ They will ask for my number and I will give them. I have a Techno phone that has a special voice prompt that allows a man to sound like a woman.
“Once I establish contact, I will go to the next step which is to convince them that I will satisfy their sexual urge. Pretending to be a big girl, I will tell them to meet me at a petrol station on Eleme Road while one of my boys, Chibueze, will go there and meet them as my domestic servant and direct them to my house.
“To convince them to come, I will claim that I live in one of the estates alone and it will be safer to meet there so that they will not be caught by their wives or girlfriends. While in their cars, Chibueze will tell them to drive towards a deserted place where we would lay ambush for them, dressed in police uniforms. We will stop them and demand to know what they are doing in such a deserted place.
“We will over power them and tie their hands and legs while we take their valuables including their ATM card.
“Two of us will go the bank and withdraw money from their account through their ATM. If there no much money in the account, we will release loosen the rope and disappear this will enable the person to untie himself and go home.”
Eneji confessed that the gang had defrauded a lot of men before they were arrested. He said that the gang kept Olaseinde and Disi for several days to enable them (gang) deplete their ‘huge’ accounts. On how Olaseinde was killed,he said: “I told him to come around 7pm and he told me that it was the perfect time to hang out. At about that time, he drove to the spot with his driver and Chibueze who was on ground joined him.
“He directed them to the spot and we took over the car, tied him and his driver up. He did not have much cash with unlike the others. When we got to the bank, I realized that he had about N4.5million naira in his account.
“Blindfolded, we took him further into the bush and decided to keep there for some days to enable us empty that account. A few days later we were arrested. I never knew that he did not escape.
“The second victim, Mr Disi was not my contract. It was Elijah the leader of another group that contracted me to help execute the job. I became interested when he told me that the maga (late Disi) worked in Shell Petroleum.
“All I did was to lure him to visit by promising him good sex. I do not know if they killed him because of the huge amount that was found in his account. The truth is that we do not kill, but rob them of their valuables. We will sell the car, withdraw as much as we can from their accounts and disappear. We know that such crime might not be reported because the man will not tell his family or the police why he was robbed to protect his image. “It is unfortunate that they died; they were still breathing when we left them there. The only difference is that we did not loosen the rope so that they could easily escape.”
On the role of the lady in their midst, Eneji said: “She is my fiancée and I normally use her to further convince our target to assume that we are real. If the target insists that I should come and see him, I will send my girl to go and meet him. She would be the one that will lure them to the spot where we can take over.”
He goes by the names Cindy and Empress on Badoo. “Once you search for beautiful models on Goggle search, you will have so many options. If you want so many toasters, select the ones that expose their breast. I am terribly sorry that these men died in the process. We found out that it is easier to collect money in exchange for sex. I dropped out of school because my rich relatives refused to help my mother to train us. I can only get money from them if I send a woman to go and seduce them. I am terribly sorry.”
A member of the gang , Lekia Emmaden Isaac, said his own duty was to tie their victims. He said: “We have done that severally and when we return, we found that they have escaped. “I did not kill Olaseinde. All I did was to tie him up very well so that he would not escape immediately. I was shocked when I heard that he was found dead. It is possible that a snake attacked him since he was kept in a deserted area.”
Chibueze, a 17 year-old, who acted as domestic servant said his duty was just to take the victim to a spot where they would be attacked by the other members of the gang.
“I did not participate in the main robbery; all I did was to take the suspect to the point where he would be robbed.” Gift Princess, the expectant mother said: “Olaseinde called, requesting that I should direct him. I then told him that my domestic servant would wait for him at the agreed spot.
“He later called back complaining that he was not comfortable with the route that they passed through. Unfortunately, he was already at the spot and my fiancé, Eneji and others took over from there.
“ I was only helping my husband to raise enough money to pay for my bride price.”
The State Command Commissioner of Police, Tunde Ogunsakin said operatives acted based on a report by the family of one of their victims, Olaseinde that he had been kidnapped.
“When his family waited for him and could not reach him,they lodged a complaint and I instructed the officer in charge of Anti Kidnapping, CSP Akan to hunt for the missing father of two. Through Intelligence gathering, we were able to arrest the gang . They led us to Ebubu, Eleme, in Rivers state at an abandoned Shell pipeline borrowed pit where the corpse of Shola was lying decomposed.
Ogunsakin said the suspects posed as women in most of these love dating site. As soon as they lured their victim, they would arrange a meeting. The lady’s duty is to meet with the men who are normally very rich. As soon as they get them, she will lure them to a secluded place and alert members of their gang. They would come and tie the person and then go ahead to withdraw money from his account through ATM”.