The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibadan Zonal Office, on Monday raided a nightclub in Osogbo, Osun State, arresting 94 suspected internet fraudsters.
The anti-corruption body also recovered 19 exotic cars, laptops, scores of mobile phones and other items from the suspects.
The nightclub, popularly known as Club Secret Underground, is located on the Ibadan-Iwo Expressway.
Spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement the operation followed intelligence report that suspected internet fraudsters were having a party to celebrate their loot.
He said, “A discreet operation on the club had earlier been carried out to ascertain the authenticity of the intelligence. The confirmation led to the mega raid effected on Monday.”
Uwujaren said the suspects were undergoing further interrogation, adding that those indicted would be charged after investigation.
However, an Osogbo-based lawyer, Bukola Onifade, condemned the manner the EFCC swooped on the suspects.
He said if the EFCC was looking for criminals, the officers should have done their investigations well, adding that many of those apprehended might not be criminals.
He said the owner of the club should approach the court to seek redress.
Onifade said, “I am a lawyer. Once in a while, I go clubbing. If I were at the club on the day the raid was carried out, I would have been apprehended.
“I believe such illegality on display by the EFCC was imported to the organisation by the police that are working in the anti-graft body.”
The Convener of Dialogue 365, a rights group based in Osogbo, Saka Waheed, said the EFCC officers that carried out the raid should be identified and punished.
He recalled the arrest of 21 students of Osun State University in Osogbo in July 25 on the belief that they were internet fraudsters, only for the commission not to press charges against them.
Waheed said, “From what I was told, none of the 21 students arrested was eventually a Yahoo Yahoo person after they had been beaten like common criminals by the EFCC officers that came from Ibadan.
“With the manner the latest raid was carried out, the probability is high that the majority of those nabbed would be mere revellers. I urge Federal Government to check excesses of the operatives from Ibadan zonal office of the EFCC.”
But Uwujaren said it would be difficult to identify a particular suspect, hence the decision to apprehend all those present for profiling.
He disclosed that the screening would expose those with cases to answer based on the evidence obtained from their phones and the documents found on them.
He said, “People were many at the club, so you have to arrest them and then carry out screening. Our screening is not manual; it is an evidence-based investigation which will be based on what we find on them (suspects).
“It is also possible that those that our intelligence didn’t identify initially may also be part of those perpetrating the crime and they may be identified based on the evidence found on them.
“The commission will know those who were part of the cyber scammers. We are going to do a screening and that was why we didn’t release the names and photographs of those we arrested.”
Asked if the rights of the suspects would not be breached, the commission promised that the screening won’t take long.