‘I graduated from credit card fraud in Saudi to drugging cyclists’

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TRACKING>>Detectives attached to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have arrested a Saudi Arabian returnee.
The suspect, Afolabi Akande (49), who specialised in Credit Card Fraud (CCF) in Saudi Arabia, returned to Nigeria to start befriending cyclists, only to later drug them in order to steal their motorcycles.
Akande’s arrest in Ogun State was led by a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Philips Rieninwa, of IRT.
The suspect, who has been singing like a bird since his arrest, disclosed that he used to lure his victims to drinking joints, where he would buy drinks for them and then lace the drinks with drugs. The drug makes them to fall asleep, making it easier for him to disappear with their motorcycles.
He said: “In 2011, I returned to Nigeria. I had no job. Last December, I met Mukalia Hamza at Bariga area. He told me that he would give me N5,000. He said that I should use the money to look for any man; I should offer him a drink. Hamza said that when we start drinking, we would become friends. He said that I should ask the cyclist to tell me how to operate a motorcycle and how the business works. When the cyclist starts teaching me how to operate it, I should just rode off. I succeeded in stealing two motorcycles using this method. I took the motorcycles to Hamza.
“Hamza paid me N72,000 for the first one, which I stole from its owner at Surulere. I stole the second motorcycle at Omole area of Lagos and Hamza paid me N80,000. When this method stopped working, I started drugging their drinks. Once they sleep off, I will calmly ride the motorcycles away. I was arrested because I erroneously gave my phone number to one of my victims. He gave the phone number to police, who tracked and arrested me.”
Investigations have revealed that Akande operates in different parts of Lagos State. After making away with these motorcycles, he hands them over to Hamza, who pays him. Hamza, who is presently on the run, moves the motorcycles to the northern part of the country, where he sells them off.
A police source said: “Akande ran into trouble after some motorcycle operators in Lagos State wrote a petition to the IG, Mohammed Adamu, informing him about a serial motorcycle thief. The operators described the suspect as evasive. The IG ordered IRT, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari, to ensure that the thief or thieves were tracked down and brought to book.”
A crack team of operatives, led by Rieninwa, trailed the suspect to his abode at the Arepo axis of Ogun State, through information. During interrogations, Akande admitted to the crime and later led policemen to recover two of the stolen motorcycles.
Akande claimed to have gone into the crime because he couldn’t get a decent job. He further said that his inability to get a job, made his wife of 15 years to abandon him. The woman, when she was walking out of the marriage, left with all his kids.
Akande said: “I came to Lagos from Ondo State in 1989. I secured a job at Panaphina office at Apapa, where I worked until 1995 before I travelled to Saudi Arabia. It was in Saudi Arabia that I started dealing in Credit Card Fraud. I usually buy stolen credit cards from some Somalians and Lebanese living in that country. I would use them in buying goods from shops in Saudi Arabia. I sell the goods at the black market in Saudi Arabia. I send the proceeds to my wife in Nigeria. I did it for a long time. When I was about being caught, I fled to Nigeria and then I travelled to Dubai, where I also met some Indians and Somalians also dealing on Credit Cards Fraud. I started shopping with fake credit cards. I returned to Nigeria. There was no job. Then I met Hamza.”