A recall of Cynthia Osokogu’s tragic death
By Anuoluwa Omotosho
Sexual predators have found ways of victimizing users online even when we interact on social media sites from the safety of our homes. By hiding behind fake profiles to lure victims, using profile information to stalk their victims in real life or hacking into accounts to blackmail victims, sexual predators pose very serious dangers for users on social media sites like Facebook.
Taking a drive through memory lane, we recall the tragic story of how 24 year old Cynthia Osokogu was strangled to death at a hotel in Festac in July 2012, by her Facebook “Friends” identified to be Okwumo Nwabufo, Olisaeloka Ezike, Orji Osita, and Ezike Nonso. These men were said to have lured Cynthia to Lagos, where she was taken to a hotel, drugged, beaten, sexually assaulted and finally, murdered, according to police.
However, recent news report that a Lagos state High Court in Igbosere has fixed March 23, 2017, for judgment day in the murder trial of the suspected killers of Cynthia Osokogu. We only hope that these men pay fair and nice for the death of Cynthia and the sorrow they have caused her family.
Nowadays, as soon as two people meet, access to social networking comes into play. While it is still important to ask for someone’s phone number if you meet them at a bar, club or event, “are you on Facebook?” has quickly become the new “can I call you sometime?” said Nancy Slotnick, a dating coach and self-proclaimed Facebook matchmaker.
“If you give them access to Facebook, you give them your life on a webpage,” Jared, a New Yorker who sells advertising on a website, said.
Other ladies victimized by Facebook predators
Teenager Ashleigh Hall was murdered by serial rapist Peter Chapman after he groomed her on Facebook.Chapman, 35, posed as a handsome teenager called Peter Cartwright to lure 17-year-old trainee nurse Ashleigh into his trap in September 2009.
He sent her a series of text messages and arranged to meet some weeks later, claiming to be ‘Peter’s dad’ to explain why he looked nothing like his photo.
Chapman drove Ashleigh to a secluded area called Thorpe Larches, near Sedgefield in County Durham.
Once there, he forced her to perform a sex act before binding and gagging her with duct tape, wrapping so much around her head that she suffocated to death.
He then dumped her body in a ditch and drove off.In March 2010, Chapman was sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in jail for Ashleigh’s kidnap, rape and murder.
Romanian Eliza Dragne, 30 year old Woman was raped, stabbed and left for dead but survived long enough to name ‘killer’ as Facebook date. When she met 29 year old Nicu Alin Cristeaon on Facebook, she kept it a secret.During the alleged attack, Cristea is also said to have strangled Eliza and stabbed her in the neck with a screwdriver.
Convinced she was dead, police said he took Eliza’s mobile phone and logged into her Facebook account to delete all trace that they had ever contacted each other.
He’s then accused of driving off, leaving her in the field.
However, unknown to Eliza’s alleged attacker, she was still alive and managed to crawl back to the road, where she was spotted before police were called.
Officers said her injuries were so severe and the spot so remote it had taken her hours to get to the road and be found.
Privacy Settings and Precautions
Let those who have read of Cynthia Osokogu’s death reconsider how trusting they are of strangers online. Kindly keep yourselves safe as a result.
- Protect your personal information. Be skeptical about what people say about themselves over the internet and never accept Facebook friend requests from people you don’t know, even if you have mutual friends.
- If you have met someone online and you want to meet up in person, it is worth remembering to exercise caution however well you feel you know their online persona.
- Meet them in a public place, and tell someone where you’ll be and when you will be returning home.
- According to Cybercrime news, follow smart tech security practices. For instance, be wary of scammers who attempt to direct you to look-alike dating sites. Click on the wrong link, and you could be downloading malware that records your sensitive information. Never click on links in emails or messages. Don’t sign on to your dating profiles from public computers. And keep your security software updated. While there is no way to entirely eliminate the danger of sexual predators searching for victims on Facebook and MySpace, users can take steps to protect themselves. By ensuring they have strict privacy settings that limit access to their profile to people they know, users can reduce the risk of stalkers targeting them. By using a secure password and changing it regularly, users reduce the chance of their account being compromised. Additionally, users can protect themselves by only interacting with people on social networking sites they already know.
And please, spread the word to others who are vulnerable to predation, be it online or off. Let us keep Cynthia Osokogu in our thoughts, and keep ourselves and others safe.