A software engineer, Mumuni Rilwan, who specialized in making stolen smart phones and those used for ransom negotiations by kidnappers untraceable, has been arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), at the popular Computer Village market, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Guardian gathered that the suspect who is a graduate of Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo State, was arrested alongside a notorious stolen phone dealer, one Gbolahan Osho, also operating at the Computer Village market, who has been arrested serially by the police for dealing on stolen phones.
Sources at the IRT disclosed to that Rilwan’s arrest came following difficulties experienced by operatives of the IRT and other units of the police while conducting investigations into heinous crimes such as murder, armed robbery and kidnappings. It was gathered that most robbed phones or those used for ransom negotiation have been discovered to have been deactivated from the database of network providers across the country.
A source who spoke to newsmen on the condition of anonymity explained that the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, while acting on the development, directed operatives at the IRT headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to investigate the development and it was discovered that some software engineers operating at the Computer Village, have been configuring smart phones for stolen phones receivers, armed robbers and kidnappers with software that have made them untraceable.
The source added that the operatives, trailed Osho, who they said have been arrested severally for receiving and selling stolen mobile phones during its investigation and Osho, who confessed when he was interrogated, stated that Rilwan has helped him confirm most of the stolen mobile phones, which he has received from armed robbers across the state with software that has made them untraceable.
Osho, was said to have disclosed that Rilwan, usually changes the phones original International Mobile Equipment Identify, IMEI number into a new one, whenever he gives him a stolen phone to configure, after which he would make the phone untraceable. He said he paid the sum of N2500, for each phone that would be configured, adding that Rilwan was aware that the phones he worked on were robbed phones.
It was gathered that Osho, led the IRT to Rilwan’s office inside the computer village market and he was arrested with two laptops, which he used in configuring the phones, was recovered, but when interrogated he confessed that he was using the upgraded version of a software known as Octopuses, which he said he bought from the internet. The 25-year-old suspect, who is a native of Oyo State said, “I am a software engineer and I learned it online through Google search engine and GSM Forum.
I normally charge the sum of N2, 500 to change the IMEI number for my customers phones and I knew that the phones were stolen and I can only change the IMEI of only Techo and Infinix phones and I can’t change those of Samsung, Iphone and Blackberry.
“I can corrupt the IMEI of Techno and Infinix using of upgraded version of a software known as Octopus which is used mainly in unlocking phones and it would automatically make the phones untraceable for a period of three months and by then, the owner of the robbed phones may have stopped looking for it and this would not put the seller of the phone in danger.
“I want you to know the new IMEI is not permanent, it reverses back to its original IMEI number after three months and if the user want to change it again we will still change it for him. Osho is not the only person I change the IMEI numbers of stolen phones for, there are other people who came to me to change their IMEI numbers for them, and I don’t know where they usually get the phones. I don’t usually change the IMEI for people I don’t know but all the people I change it for are known to me and all the phones were all stolen.
Osho, 31, a native of Ikorodu area of Lagos State said he was buying only stolen Techno and Infix phones.
According to him,
“I sell used and new phones at the Computer village Ikeja and I normally source my phones from people who buy from UK and I also buy stolen or robbed phones from Mustapha, Baba Iyabo, Lucky and Ope.
I buy mainly Techo and Infinix phones from these people because they couldn’t be sourced from people importing phones from the UK. I knew these people were selling robbed or stolen phones to me and I buy them for N15, 000 and N17, 000 depending on the grade.
I was arrested by policemen from Ipakodu, when a customer who bought one of my stolen phones was arrested and he led them to arrest me. After I was released, I went back to the market and I told people how the police arrested my customer who led them to arrest me, then they told me that I was foolish not to have changed the IMEI of the stolen phone before selling it.
Then they linked me to one Rilwan, who is a software engineer and he changed the IMEI for me at N1, 500. After then, I had taken four phones to him and since I can now change the IMEI number, I thought it would not be easy for the police not to arrest me again. But with this arrest, I will not get myself involved again in dealing on stolen properties.”