A Nigerien, Abdullahi Ali, has been arrested by the police for the crime of changing the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of stolen mobile phones.
All mobile phones ever made have IMEI numbers. The IMEI is a unique set of 15-digit numbers to identify GSM phones and can be used to track stolen phones and to lock them out of the networks.
The criminal, Ali who is 29 years old, hails from the Maradi region of Niger Republic. When quizzed on how he is able to alter phone IMEI numbers, he said (in Hausa) he was was able to do that by making use of an app, a speciality he learned from some persons.
He explained, “I was taught how to change phone IMEI numbers by some people and I also repair and sell phones and chargers.”
The 29 year old was nabbed by the Intelligence Response Team alongside 108 other criminals, some of which were suspected kidnappers, gunrunners, armed robbers, drug traffickers and bandits. They were paraded by the force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, in Abuja on Wednesday.
One Mr. Adamu Numan, a gunrunner, who was said to be selling firearms to criminal gangs, confessed that he had supplied over seven AK-47 rifles to bandits, adding that he made a profit of about N150,000 on each rifle.
“I buy each AK-47 rifle for N450,000 and sell for between N650,000 and N700,000. I have sold over seven rifles and 200 pieces of ammunition to bandits. I buy them from Muhammadu Halilu in Niger Republic; this is the second time I would be arrested,” he stated.
DCP Mba said 30 firearms, including rifles and locally-made pistols; illicit drugs and 1,520 pieces of various ammunitions were recovered from many gangs last week.