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Stay at home orders could return for ALL of Victoria if coronavirus cases continue to rise

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The entire state of Victoria could be forced back into lockdown if the number of new coronvirus cases continues to rise.

‘If we don’t get control of this really quickly we will end up with … a whole state shutdown,’ Mr Andrews said on 3AW radio. 

Victoria has a population of 6.4 million, the second biggest state in terms of population behind NSW.

Mr Andrews is putting 10 postcodes into lockdown from 11.59pm on Wednesday as the number of coronavirus cases keeps rising in the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews speaking to the media on Tuesday as he announced 10 postcodes - comprising a population of about 311,000 - would be locked down to slow a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. He has warned the entire state of Victoria could be forced back into lockdown if the number of new coronvirus cases continues to rise

Premier Daniel Andrews speaking to the media on Tuesday as he announced 10 postcodes - comprising a population of about 311,000 - would be locked down to slow a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. He has warned the entire state of Victoria could be forced back into lockdown if the number of new coronvirus cases continues to rise

Premier Daniel Andrews speaking to the media on Tuesday as he announced 10 postcodes – comprising a population of about 311,000 – would be locked down to slow a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. He has warned the entire state of Victoria could be forced back into lockdown if the number of new coronvirus cases continues to rise

He said his public health advisors told him the move was necessary to stop ‘shutting down all postcodes later’.

‘This is not over. This is so wildly infectious that even minor breaches of the rules can lead to this random movement of the virus around the community,’ he said.

Mr Andrews added a ‘booze bus-type arrangement’ on main roads through the area would enforce the lockdown. 

‘There will be random checks about why people are out of their house and if they have a valid reason,’ he said.

The curve in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks as coronavirus infections continue to grow from within the suburbs of Melbourne

The curve in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks as coronavirus infections continue to grow from within the suburbs of Melbourne

The curve in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks as coronavirus infections continue to grow from within the suburbs of Melbourne

‘I hope we don’t have to issue any fines but unless you enforce these rules they won’t be followed.’ 

The warning by the Victorian premier comes as the New South Wales government announced on Wednesday morning it will ban people entering the state from the 36 Melbourne suburbs which have been locked down. 

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said anyone from those areas caught in NSW could face six months in jail and an $11,000 fine from 11.59pm tonight.  

New South Wales residents coming back from those hotspots are allowed to return home but must isolate at home for 14 days. 

Military personnel are seen conducting testing at the new mobile testing site in Melbourne

Military personnel are seen conducting testing at the new mobile testing site in Melbourne

Military personnel are seen conducting testing at the new mobile testing site in Melbourne

Mr Hazzard said he was ‘still working through’ how police will enforced the rule – but said one option would be to quiz drivers with Victorian licence plates on where they have been. 

Queensland announced a similar policy on Tuesday and went further by requiring residents returning from those hotspots to pay for their own two-week quarantine before being allowed home. 

‘Victorians living in virus hotspots have to take the Victorian and NSW health orders seriously and should be very aware that NSW will impose penalties if they seek to leave hotspot suburbs to enter NSW,’ Mr Hazzard said today.

There will be exemptions such as to obtain urgent medical care or for compassionate reasons. 

COVID rules are eased in NSW 

The following COVID-19 restrictions have been eased from today, July 1:

· The number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the ‘one person per 4 square metre’ rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres.

· Kids’ and adult community sport can recommence.

· Cultural and sporting events at large stadiums, racecourses and motor racing tracks will be allowed up to 25 per cent of their normal seated capacity to a maximum of 10,000. These events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines.

· Alcohol can still be served to seated patrons only, including at conference and function venues.

· Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can reopen subject to the one person per 4 square metre rule.

The rules on gathering remain the same: 20 guests inside the home and 20 for gatherings in a public place.  

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Meanwhile, restrictions on entertainment venues, weddings, community sport and other gatherings will be eased in NSW from today but strict physical distancing measures remain in place.

Mr Hazzard said businesses should ensure they have a COVID Safety Plan outlining exactly how they will maintain a safe environment for their staff and customers.

‘Until we have a vaccine, everyone has a role to play keeping the community safe, whether that is mum and dad at their kid’s soccer match or your local café operator,’ Mr Hazzard said.

‘The NSW Government has always said with the easing of restrictions comes risk, so I urge everyone to maintain physical distancing, get tested if you feel unwell and stay home if sick.’ 

More to come 

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Rescued US woman held hostage by Nigerian scammer for a year

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An American woman who was lured to Nigeria by a man she met on Facebook has been rescued after spending more than a year in captivity, authorities said. 

Chukwuebuka Kasi Obiaku, 34, persuaded the retired civil servant to go to Nigeria ‘under the pretext of love’ but when she arrived from Washington DC on February 13, 2019, she was held hostage.

The suspect who sexually abused her, ‘deceitfully married her on May 15, 2019, and extorted $48,000 from her while she was was held in a Lagos hotel. 

Chukwuebuka Obiaku, 34, persuaded the woman to come to Nigeria 'under the pretext of love' They 'deceitfully married' and she was sexually abused in Lagos while he extorted $48,000

Chukwuebuka Obiaku, 34, persuaded the woman to come to Nigeria 'under the pretext of love' They 'deceitfully married' and she was sexually abused in Lagos while he extorted $48,000

Chukwuebuka Obiaku, 34, persuaded the woman to come to Nigeria ‘under the pretext of love’ They ‘deceitfully married’ and she was sexually abused in Lagos while he extorted $48,000

‘He also forcefully collected and took control of her credit and debit cards as well as the operation of her bank accounts including the receipt of her monthly retirement benefits and allowances over the period of 15 months,’ national police spokesperson Frank Mba announced on Sunday. 

The victim, who has not been identified, was rescued by a Police Intelligence Response Team of the Ogun State Annex.

The Nigerian Police Force said the operation was successful following information received from a ‘civic minded’ person. 

Obiaku is reported to be a native of Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State and a Business Administration and Management graduate. 

The American woman who was lured to Nigeria after they met on Facebook (file image). She has been rescued after spending more than a year in captivity

He was described as ‘an internet fraudster who has defrauded many people locally and internationally’. 

‘Chukwuebuka also used the victim as a front to defraud her associates and other foreign personalities and companies,’ police said.  

Police said Obiaku will be charged at a later date under the Cybercrime Prevention/Prohibition Act, 2015.

The rescue followed what police called a similar case where a Filipino lady was lured to Nigeria by her supposed lover who she too met on Facebook. 

She was abducted and held captive for six months before she was rescued.

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Coronavirus Australia: NSW cuts pub numbers TODAY

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New South Wales will fight to avoid plunging back into lockdown and instead focus on its economic recovery, as Victorians are told to brace for unprecedented Stage Four restrictions if it can’t stop a spiralling breakout.

The NSW Cabinet met on Monday to discuss how to cut infection rates without shutting down the economy in the wake of an outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s south-west which has infected 21 people since July 3.

It is understood the Berejiklian Government will slash the number of patrons allowed in group bookings at pubs and hotels from 20 people down to 10.

Large venues will not be allowed to have more than 300 patrons on the premises at one time under the new rules, expected to be unveiled today.

Two women are seen wearing masks in Melbourne's CBD on Monday

Two women are seen wearing masks in Melbourne's CBD on Monday

Two women are seen wearing masks in Melbourne’s CBD on Monday 

Pictured: The Sydney venues feared to be at the centre of COVID-19 outbreaks

Pictured: The Sydney venues feared to be at the centre of COVID-19 outbreaks

Pictured: The Sydney venues feared to be at the centre of COVID-19 outbreaks

Coronavirus ‘enforcement squads’ will monitor social distancing at large venues. 

Stricter requirements will be placed on venues to collect every patron’s details for contact tracing.

Previously, pubs only needed to take details for one person in the party when people booked in groups. 

At this stage the changes only apply to pubs, Daily Mail Australia understands, and do not include restaurants and clubs. 

Some senior ministers in the Berejiklian Government want to keep the NSW economy open even if that meant a sharp rise in cases for the state’s hospital system – after businesses complained they can’t afford a Victorian-style lockdown, The Australian reported.

The Crossroads Hotel, Casula, on Monday - the epicentre of the latest coronavirus cluster

The Crossroads Hotel, Casula, on Monday - the epicentre of the latest coronavirus cluster

The Crossroads Hotel, Casula, on Monday – the epicentre of the latest coronavirus cluster

Victorian police outside a public housing tower in Alfred Street, North Melbourne on Monday. The tower is the only one of nine still to be sealed off. The other eight blocks are on Stage Three restrictions just like the rest of Melbourne

Victorian police outside a public housing tower in Alfred Street, North Melbourne on Monday. The tower is the only one of nine still to be sealed off. The other eight blocks are on Stage Three restrictions just like the rest of Melbourne

Victorian police outside a public housing tower in Alfred Street, North Melbourne on Monday. The tower is the only one of nine still to be sealed off. The other eight blocks are on Stage Three restrictions just like the rest of Melbourne

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned on Monday the unemployment rate could be much higher than official figures, reaching 13.3 per cent, when people on government support were included. 

The New South Wales economy makes up roughly one third of Australia’s gross domestic product.

New South Wales residents are on edge as the cluster of coronavirus cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula ballooned by seven on Monday to reach 21.

Coronavirus testing in at the Crossroads Hotel, Casula, in southwest Sydney on Monday. At least 21 infections have been linked to the outbreak

Coronavirus testing in at the Crossroads Hotel, Casula, in southwest Sydney on Monday. At least 21 infections have been linked to the outbreak

Coronavirus testing in at the Crossroads Hotel, Casula, in southwest Sydney on Monday. At least 21 infections have been linked to the outbreak

Locals are temperature tested at Casula Central Medical Centre in Sydney's south-west

Locals are temperature tested at Casula Central Medical Centre in Sydney's south-west

Locals are temperature tested at Casula Central Medical Centre in Sydney’s south-west 

Ten of the infected people attended the hotel while 11 are their close contacts. Police are investigating whether the Crossroads Hotel breached any guidelines. 

It is understood one of the infected people went to The Star casino in Sydney’s CBD which was seen being disinfected on Monday. 

The same day, Liquor and Gaming NSW fined $5000 for breaching COVID-19 health orders in allowing people to stand and mingle while drinking alcohol.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said other venues across Sydney may have been exposed to the virus between June 27 and July 10 after visits from people linked to the outbreak.

These include Picton Hotel, Planet Fitness gym in Casula, Canterbury Leagues Club, Narellan Town Centre and Zone Bowling in Villawood. 

People who visited between these dates have been urged to get tested.  

Reports have also surfaced of 30 Villawood Immigration Detention Centre guards who are now self-isolating after attending a party at the Crossroads Hotel. 

‘Staff employed at VIDC who have recently been to the Crossroads Hotel are following advice from NSW Health and all are currently self-quarantining,’ an Australian Border Force spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

Pictured: A pop-up testing clinic at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula

Pictured: A pop-up testing clinic at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula

Pictured: A pop-up testing clinic at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula 

Pictured: Melbourne's Chinatown was deserted on Monday. Stage Three lockdown restrictions brought in on Thursday mean restaurants and cafes can only open for takeaway and delivery

Pictured: Melbourne's Chinatown was deserted on Monday. Stage Three lockdown restrictions brought in on Thursday mean restaurants and cafes can only open for takeaway and delivery

Pictured: Melbourne’s Chinatown was deserted on Monday. Stage Three lockdown restrictions brought in on Thursday mean restaurants and cafes can only open for takeaway and delivery

Queues stretched for kilometres at Casula as people came to be tested at the Crossroads Hotel, while other testing stations in Sydney’s west had wait times of 45 minutes.

Experts said Victoria’s horror second wave could be replicated in New South Wales as the virus spreads ‘like wildfire’.

‘We should be taking this very seriously, in the scenario of a pandemic these cases are like wildfire, small spots can spread very quickly if they aren’t put out,’ University of NSW epidemiologist Abrar Ahmad Chughtai told The Sydney Morning Herald

‘At this point in time, we can’t say it’s a second wave but we should be ready for it. We can easily contain these cases but, on the other hand, they could easily spread.’

Professor Raina MacIntyre, the head of Biosecurity at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute, told Daily Mail Australia NSW should be concerned.

‘There would have been a lot of people travelling between Victoria and NSW in the weeks before the the border was closed,’ she said. 

Police and SES volunteers outside housing commission towers in Alfred Street, Melbourne, where the coronavirus hard lockdown is still in force until Thursday night

Police and SES volunteers outside housing commission towers in Alfred Street, Melbourne, where the coronavirus hard lockdown is still in force until Thursday night

Police and SES volunteers outside housing commission towers in Alfred Street, Melbourne, where the coronavirus hard lockdown is still in force until Thursday night

‘There could even be other chains of transmission in the community in NSW that we do not yet know of.’

Australian National University Associate Professor of Medicine Sanjaya Senanayake said early localised lockdowns, the Covid-safe app and face masks could prevent a Victoria-style second wave in Sydney.

‘In Sydney, if you get hotspots then early lockdowns can be very effective. Not city-wide, if you can get to it early it may just be the local areas,’ he said.

‘(People in) south-west Sydney should wear face masks until the extent of the outbreak becomes known, and get the government coronavirus app.’

Australian National University Medical School Professor Peter Collignon said NSW could still avoid a mass outbreak.

Sydneysiders on edge. Pictured: People queued for hours to get a coronavirus test at the Crossroads Hotel, Casula, on Monday as the New South Wales outbreak spreads

Sydneysiders on edge. Pictured: People queued for hours to get a coronavirus test at the Crossroads Hotel, Casula, on Monday as the New South Wales outbreak spreads

Sydneysiders on edge. Pictured: People queued for hours to get a coronavirus test at the Crossroads Hotel, Casula, on Monday as the New South Wales outbreak spreads

Pictured: women walking in Melbourne's CBD on Monday. Facemasks are being encouraged as the community spread of the coroanvirus is now out of control in the Victorian capital

Pictured: women walking in Melbourne's CBD on Monday. Facemasks are being encouraged as the community spread of the coroanvirus is now out of control in the Victorian capital

Pictured: women walking in Melbourne’s CBD on Monday. Facemasks are being encouraged as the community spread of the coroanvirus is now out of control in the Victorian capital

‘What we don’t want is large numbers of people who are highly infectious transmitting it and that’s why we have to concentrate on these outbreaks and concentrate on the most likely people who have it so that we can minimise the chance of large numbers of other people getting it,’ he said. 

Australia’s total coronavirus cases approached 10,000 on Monday, with only Victoria and New South Wales regularly showing new cases of community transmission.

Of the 9980 Australians who have had coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, 7769 have recovered, 1661 are sick right now while 108 have died.

Victoria’s second wave has brought 1612 active cases – more than 97 per cent of all the active cases in Australia, and 641 of them are from community transmission, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday.

Victoria recorded 177 new cases on Monday brought the state’s total to 3967, surpassing New South Wales as the highest in the nation.

About 1000 Australian Defence Force personnel are heading to Victoria to help enforce the state’s lockdown and testing. 

Doctor Norman Swan told ABC’s 7.30 Report on Monday that the next four to five weeks were critical for Australia and would shape how people live until a vaccine is available.

Sydney man comes home to find hazmat-suited workers spraying his apartment building 

A Sydney man came home to find four people in biohazard suits spraying his apartment complex as experts fear the New South Wales coronavirus outbreak may build into a horror second wave.

The 34-year-old financial services worker returned from a doctor’s appointment on Monday to find workers spraying disinfectant in the corridor of his complex at Breakfast Point, in Sydney’s inner west.

‘Hazmat people were spraying the walls this afternoon and the carpet, in the lifts.

The covid warning notice placed in the lifts at the Breakfast Point apartment complex on Monday. Building managers immediately hired specialists to spray the building after being told on Monday that a coronavirus infected woman had visited a resident for a couple of hours

The covid warning notice placed in the lifts at the Breakfast Point apartment complex on Monday. Building managers immediately hired specialists to spray the building after being told on Monday that a coronavirus infected woman had visited a resident for a couple of hours

The covid warning notice placed in the lifts at the Breakfast Point apartment complex on Monday. Building managers immediately hired specialists to spray the building after being told on Monday that a coronavirus infected woman had visited a resident for a couple of hours

‘People peered out and quickly closed their doors.’ 

The man, who did not want to be named, is an asthmatic and said he was frightened.

‘Definitely – I’m classed as a high-risk person,’ he said. 

He immediately went to Summer Hill in Sydney’s west to take a coronavirus test, and waited 45 minutes in the queue with other Sydneysiders who are on edge, getting tested to prevent the Casula outbreak turning into a wave. 

The Breakfast Point apartment complex in Sydney's west that was decontaminated on Monday

The Breakfast Point apartment complex in Sydney's west that was decontaminated on Monday

The Breakfast Point apartment complex in Sydney’s west that was decontaminated on Monday

He must now wait 24 to 72 hours for a result.

Breakfast Point Realty Principal Alison Beveridge said property managers were told at 8.30am Monday that a person who tested positive had visited the Nantucket building at Breakfast Point.

Building managers immediately hired forensic cleaners who sprayed the apartment complex within hours.

‘The building has a very efficient manager,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘The moment they found out they organised the building to be cleaned.’ 

The infected visitor was a woman aged in her 40s from southwest Sydney, who ate dinner at the Crossroads Hotel, Casula, last Tuesday night, Ms Beveridge said.

She visited a resident at Breakfast Point for a couple of hours around midday on Wednesday before being tested for coronavirus on Friday, with the positive results coming through Monday morning, Ms Beveridge said.

Ms Beveridge said the floors, lifts and common areas had all been sprayed and residents notified with signs.

 

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Dr Swan said the biggest decision is whether Australia continues to try to suppress the virus or tries instead to eliminate it – and that in a month’s time it would be too late.

Elimination would mean zero community spread in NSW and Victoria to match the other states. 

Six out of eight Australian states and territories have eliminated coronavirus community transmission so far, leaving only NSW and Victoria.

University of Melbourne Professor Tony Blakely said the policy of suppression had gone wrong in Victoria.

‘That is a big outbreak happening. That will keep happening in the future if the virus keeps circulating which is incredibly disruptive for society and the economy,’ he said.

Cleaners sanitise Star Casino, Sydney, on Monday after a man who visited tested positive

Cleaners sanitise Star Casino, Sydney, on Monday after a man who visited tested positive

Cleaners sanitise Star Casino, Sydney, on Monday after a man who visited tested positive 

Pictured: The Star casino in Sydney's CBD on Monday. A man who visited has tested positive to coronavirus prompting a deep clean of the gambling den

Pictured: The Star casino in Sydney's CBD on Monday. A man who visited has tested positive to coronavirus prompting a deep clean of the gambling den

Pictured: The Star casino in Sydney’s CBD on Monday. A man who visited has tested positive to coronavirus prompting a deep clean of the gambling den 

Victoria’s chief medical officer Brett Sutton said he was in favour of an elimination strategy but that was not the national view.  

The Federal Government has instead been focusing on suppression instead of elimination.

Dr Swan said it was not clear how the government came to that decision and that more transparency was needed on such an important issue. 

Pictured: Military checkpoint outside Melbourne on Monday. Victoria Police and the Australian Defence Force are working together to enforce the Stage Three lockdown

Pictured: Military checkpoint outside Melbourne on Monday. Victoria Police and the Australian Defence Force are working together to enforce the Stage Three lockdown

Pictured: Military checkpoint outside Melbourne on Monday. Victoria Police and the Australian Defence Force are working together to enforce the Stage Three lockdown

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday that even tougher restrictions – Stage Four – had not been ruled out. 

Melbourne’s metropolitan area and the Mitchell Shire are currently under Stage Three restrictions introduced Thursday after sharp increases in cases. 

Restaurants and cafes are only open for takeaway and delivery.

Beauty and personal service businesses are closed as are entertainment and cultural venues.

People are also banned from community sport.

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 9,980

Victoria: 3,967

New South Wales: 3,492 

Queensland: 1,071

Western Australia: 635

South Australia: 443

Tasmania: 228

Australian Capital Territory: 113

Northern Territory: 30

TOTAL CASES: 9,980

CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 1,661

DEATHS: 108

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There is no official definition of Stage Four restrictions in Australia but it is believed it would look like the elimination strategy successfully used in New Zealand. 

New Zealand’s Level Four restrictions included closing schools as well as all businesses except essential grocery and medical outlets.

Premier Andrews said on Monday that even tougher restrictions were on the way if the second wave wasn’t contained. 

‘I can’t rule out we have further limits placed on people’s movement,’ he said. 

Mr Andrews said it was the behaviour of Victorians that would determine whether tougher restrictions were put in place.

‘If you don’t want a stage 4, if you don’t want the lockdown to last a moment longer, then please follow the rules. Do the right thing by your family, your community, and every family,’ he said. 

Eight of the nine ‘hot zone’ housing commission towers in North Melbourne and Flemington have had their lockdowns eased now that residents have been tested.

Eight towers are back at the same stage three restrictions as the rest of Melbourne.

Residents of the ninth tower at 33 Alfred Street are still trapped, however without a release date yet announced.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) confirmed 32 infections had been found across at least five public housing towers at Carlton in the city’s inner north on Monday. 

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American woman is rescued after being held hostage in Nigeria hotel room for A YEAR by scammer

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An American woman who was lured to Nigeria by a man she met on Facebook has been rescued after spending more than a year in captivity, authorities said. 

Chukwuebuka Kasi Obiaku, 34, persuaded the retired civil servant to go to Nigeria ‘under the pretext of love’ but when she arrived from Washington DC on February 13, 2019, she was held hostage.

The suspect who sexually abused her, ‘deceitfully married her on May 15, 2019, and extorted $48,000 from her while she was was held in a Lagos hotel. 

Chukwuebuka Obiaku, 34, persuaded the woman to come to Nigeria 'under the pretext of love' They 'deceitfully married' and she was sexually abused in Lagos while he extorted $48,000

Chukwuebuka Obiaku, 34, persuaded the woman to come to Nigeria 'under the pretext of love' They 'deceitfully married' and she was sexually abused in Lagos while he extorted $48,000

Chukwuebuka Obiaku, 34, persuaded the woman to come to Nigeria ‘under the pretext of love’ They ‘deceitfully married’ and she was sexually abused in Lagos while he extorted $48,000

‘He also forcefully collected and took control of her credit and debit cards as well as the operation of her bank accounts including the receipt of her monthly retirement benefits and allowances over the period of 15 months,’ national police spokesperson Frank Mba announced on Sunday. 

The victim, who has not been identified, was rescued by a Police Intelligence Response Team of the Ogun State Annex.

The Nigerian Police Force said the operation was successful following information received from a ‘civic minded’ person. 

Obiaku is reported to be a native of Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State and a Business Administration and Management graduate. 

The American woman who was lured to Nigeria after they met on Facebook (file image). She has been rescued after spending more than a year in captivity

He was described as ‘an internet fraudster who has defrauded many people locally and internationally’. 

‘Chukwuebuka also used the victim as a front to defraud her associates and other foreign personalities and companies,’ police said.  

Police said Obiaku will be charged at a later date under the Cybercrime Prevention/Prohibition Act, 2015.

The rescue followed what police called a similar case where a Filipino lady was lured to Nigeria by her supposed lover who she too met on Facebook. 

She was abducted and held captive for six months before she was rescued.

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