The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has provided a detailed account of the raid at the Parktonian Hotel in Lagos’ Lekki neighborhood.
After receiving intelligence on the activities of a suspected internet fraud syndicate, agents stormed the hotel in the early hours of Tuesday.
In a statement released on Wednesday, EFCC Head of Media Wilson Uwujaren said the sting operation was the culmination of weeks of surveillance during which the suspects’ rooms were identified.
He said that a total of 30 people were arrested, with 24 of them already confessing to being involved in cybercrime and related activities.
The agency stated that no incident occurred because the hotel management, after being served with the relevant warrant, allowed agents to carry out their lawful duties.
The women in some of the rooms, according to Uwujaren, pleaded nudity to prevent the EFCC from arresting their targets.
According to the spokesman, the excuse has become a favorite of cyber fraudsters who pay women to claim nudity in order to buy time to delete incriminating items from their devices before being arrested.
“The commission will not fall for such a ruse designed to prevent it from carrying out its legal responsibilities. During the operation, there was no break-in, no molestation, and no violence of any kind.”
Uwujaren expressed regret that a section of the media presented a narrative of a Gestapo operation, complete with a forceful break-in and invasion of nude guests’ privacy.
According to reports filed against the EFCC, the hotel owner and his manager refused to speak about what happened.
“However, the claim is clearly a game of ostrich, as their role in spreading the false narrative can be seen.
“Perhaps the hotel owner is unaware that allowing his premises to be used for cybercrime, in violation of section 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, could make him an accomplice and make him liable.”
The EFCC also warned hoteliers against making their properties and facilities havens for cybercrime.