Two Nigerians arrested in India over online fraud, victimizing 50

Two Nigerian citizens have been nabbed by the Sitapur Police for allegedly duping over 50 persons of several lakhs of rupees in Uttar Pradesh, India.

The suspects, identified as Emanuel Anidke and Uzona Ajij, were reportedly arrested on Sunday evening, April 2, from Noida.

According to the Police, the accused allegedly contacted naive targets through social media posing as US nationals who wanted to set up bases in India and were stranded at the airport for clearance of their consignments caught in customs.

The Sitapur additional SP (south) NP Singh said the accused would later ask money from individuals, promising them to repay the amount in dollars and would do the disappearing act once they help them.

However, the two were staying in India after their study visa had expired last year, carrying out some criminal activities in order to make money. They attested to having duped 50 Indian residents scattered across various states like Delhi, Rajasthan, MP, Bihar and Maharashtra.

The Sitapur police had got on the case after local constable Padam Prakash deployed in Khairabad was swindled of Rs. 75,000 by the gang.

The Police tracked the location of the caller based on surveillance, local tip-off and the bank where the cop had deposited the money, and the location was traced to Sikkim.

“We rounded him up and he spilled the beans that he was asked by the two Nigerians to use his bank account for which he was also given commission. A team reached and nabbed the two from Sector-18, Noida,” said a source privy to the probe.

The Police also said that the Nigerian fraudsters often use the bank accounts of those from the North-East because they have names similar to theirs.

In his complaint to the police, constable Prakash said that he got a friend request on his Instagram account by a businessman named Frank from Houston in US in January 2023.

After Prakash confirmed the request, he disclosed that he was a native of the United States and wanted to settle in India.

“Over a period they became good friends and on March 17, I received a call from Frank that he had arrived at Delhi airport carrying a lot of US dollar bills, for which a clearance fee of Rs 75,000 had to be paid, to the customs,” Prakash stated in his complaint.

Later, Prakash said that he got a call from an Indian number, and the caller who identified himself as a customs official told him that his friend needs to be given Rs. 75,000 for a clearance.

“I was so assured that I paid the amount and thereafter, the account and the phone numbers got blocked,” he said. “Sensing foul play, I informed the cyber cell and got an FIR lodged.” 

On March 6, the Noida police had busted a Nigerian gang of six who were operating from a call centre and were cheating women through dating apps.

Superintendent of police, cyber cell, Triveni Singh, who has been working on the Nigerian gangs for the past 10 years, said that gangs make their profile on social media posing as American citizens.

He said about their technique: “They have developed a trick to dupe Indian citizens by forging emotional bonds and winning the trust of gullible victims they meet on dating and matrimonial apps.”