The 64-year-old woman, who hasn’t been named, said she met Chukwuebuka Kasi Obiaku, 34, on Facebook, police spokesman Frank Mba said. He invited her to Nigeria under the “pretext of love and marriage.”
The woman, a retired government worker, arrived in Nigeria from Washington, DC, in February 2019, and they married three months later.
However, the relationship deteriorated soon after the wedding, and Obiaku kept her captive in a Lagos hotel for more than a year, Mba told CNN.
Obiaku used the woman’s identity to extort her associates and swindle international companies.
He forced her “to use her American accent to ask associates and organizations for money. He made her assume several characters and in a particular case, he told her to act as a nanny on the phone to swindle some people,” Mba told CNN.
He also took over her credit cards and collected her retirement payments for 15 months, a statement said.
CNN has not been able to reach Obiaku, who is still being held by police, to determine if he has a lawyer.
Mba said police are still investigating the accusations against Obiaku and they may bring cybercrime charges against him.
Social media warning
Mba said the suspect admitted to the police that the wedding in Lagos was a ruse to gain her confidence and later extort money from her.
The woman was eventually rescued after police received a tip-off about the case from another Nigerian.
The police said the arrest came after a similar case where they rescued a 40-year-old Filipino woman held captive by her lover whom she also met on Facebook.
He had kept her for six months and prevented her from returning to the Philippines, according to the police.
The man lured the Filipino national to Nigeria with the intention of “confining her, sexually abusing, and extorting money from her,” Mba said in the statement, warning people to be more cautious when interacting with those they have only met on social media.