* Harp on discretion and vigilance in virtual interactions
By John Odunjo
The Nigeria Police Force has advised on the need for vigilance in online relationships, saying the recent cases of sextortion, cyberbullying, character defamation and blackmail serve as a stark reminder of the need for caution while navigating the world of online dating.
The NPF, in a statement, condemns these acts of sextortion, cyberbullying, character defamation and blackmail in the strongest terms and emphasizes the importance of exercising discretion and vigilance while navigating online platforms, especially when personal and intimate information is involved.
Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, stated that to protect yourself from potential threats, we (NPF) offer the following guidelines:
“Maintain Privacy: Protect your personal information, including your home address, financial details and intimate content. Do not share sensitive data with individuals you meet online until you are certain of their trustworthiness.
“Consent is Key: Always seek and respect explicit consent in any online or offline interactions, especially when it comes to intimate matters.
“Trust Your Instincts: If someone’s behavior raises concerns or seems suspicious, trust your instincts and proceed with caution. It’s perfectly necessary to prioritize your safety and well-being.
“Report Suspicious Activity: If you experience or witness any form of cyberbullying, sextortion or blackmail, do not hesitate to report it to the appropriate authorities. Your action could prevent others from falling victim to such crimes.
“Education and Awareness: Stay informed about online safety and educate yourself about potential threats. Awareness is your best defense against cybercrimes.
“The Nigeria Police Force remains committed to protecting the safety and dignity of all citizens. We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who engage in these reprehensible acts to the fullest extent of the law”.
Adejobi who gave the tips against the backdrop of a recent incident, said, “In a digital age where connections and relationships are often forged through online platforms, we are increasingly aware of the importance of discretion and vigilance in our virtual interactions.
“The incident in question involves a complainant who, like many, sought companionship through a dating app. After months of communication, he agreed to meet a young lady who insisted on visiting his home. Their encounter resulted in consensual activities. Little did he know that his trust would be betrayed in a most invasive manner.
“The individual he met, Opara Joan Chizaram, ‘f’ 26, recorded him without consent during an intimate moment and discreetly captured images of his home surroundings. These actions, conducted in secrecy, were intended to manipulate and exploit the complainant’s trust.
“Subsequently, this individual demanded a significant sum of money from the complainant. When the request was not met, she resorted to an alarming and reprehensible act: She threatened to expose private and intimate content, including explicit images and videos of the complainant, with the intent to blackmail him.
“Upon the complainant’s courageous decision to report this heinous act to the NPF – National Cybercrime Centre, investigators took swift action, leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.
“During the investigation, it was discovered that this was not an isolated incident. The suspect had engaged in similar actions with other individuals she met through the dating app, revealing a disturbing pattern of behavior,” the police spokesman said.