The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reacted to a report by an online publication that it breaks into private hotel rooms and sometimes arrest occupants unclad, in the process.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwajaren, told The Punch that the commission has observed that some of its targets use naked women as shields during raids, hence the operatives often move in nonetheless to prevent them from destroying evidence.
On Tuesday, Peoples Gazette reported that dozens of hotel guests were left traumatised after EFCC operatives breached their privacy in the early hours of the day at Parktonian Hotel in Lagos.
They told the publication that some guests were naked when the agents who claimed to be on a manhunt for suspected internet fraudsters broke in and prevented them from dressing up before being interrogated.
“They broke into the hotel and threatened to shoot the receptionists and management if they didn’t immediately release the master access card to them. So the hotel workers had to comply immediately,” an eyewitness said.
“They continued to search other rooms. They went away with about 13 occupants. I was naked, and I had to beg them (for me) to put something on. I am actually hypertensive, but I put myself together because I am not a criminal in any way,” another witness said.
However, defending the action, Uwujaren explained that cybercrime suspects deploy ladies to fake nudity to distract operatives, so as to destroy incriminating evidence.
“But the commission observes a disturbing trend in which cybercrime suspects now employ kept ladies who feign nakedness as a decoy to distract operatives of the commission to enable them to destroy incriminating evidence before arrest,” Punch quoted the EFCC spokesman have said.
He claimed that the officers acted on verified intelligence targeted at suspected internet fraudsters in the hotel, just as he noted that 30 suspects were arrested.
According to him, 24 have been established to be involved in internet-related fraud.
Uwujaren explained that “the operation was executed without incident as the facility had been under surveillance for weeks during which the commission was able to isolate the rooms where the suspects were lodged.
“Access to the rooms was seamless as the commission has a standard procedure for accessing such facilities without application of force or discomfort to guests. No guest of the hotel was molested.”