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Court grants Sunday Igboho’s aides bail after 34 days in DSS detention

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The 12 detained aides and supporters of the Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Igboho, have been granted bail by Justice Obiora Egwatu of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

The bail was granted on Wednesday in a suit filed by the applicants’ lawyer, Olajengbesi Pelumi, against the Director-General of the Department of States Services.

The application had sought an order for the DSS to produce the detainees and show cause why they should not be granted bail.

Recall that Justice Obiora Egwatu of the said court had on July 23 and July 29 ordered the DSS to produce the applicants after its failure to bring them for hearing of the Fundamental Human Rights case filed against the state service.

DSS had told the judge that it had secured a court order to detain the plaintiffs arrested during its operatives’ invasion of Sunday Igboho’s home in Ibadan on July 1.

The judge, however, demanded that the security agency must produce the applicants in line with the order of court.

On Wednesday, the 12 applicants were in court and Pelumi urged the judge to grant them bail.

“On the last adjourned date, the court ordered that we file our amendment and same has been done….

“It is proper at this time to pray this honorable court to admit the applicant to bail. There will be no need to keep the applicants with the Respondents.”

In his reply, DSS Counsel, I. Awo said only 8 of the 12 applicants should be granted bail.

He argued that the other 4 persons were allegedly complicit in stock piling ammunitions and that the DSS needed more days to interrogate them and subsequently charge them to court.

“My lord, on the issue of bail, we will not be opposing bail to the following applicants: 1, 3, 4, 7,8,9,10,11…

“This is because, so far, investigation conducted by the DSS revealed that the level of their involvement in the offense of arms stock piling and other criminal activities are minimal while the other 4 applicants (2,12,6,5) have high level of complicity on their part.”

He said the DSS was still investigating their involvement in crime.

Awo further contended that ammunitions were recovered from 4 of them and that they might run away like their leader, Igboho.

He also accused the family members of the applicants of attempting to influence the witnesses the DSS was planning to bring to court.

“The said Sunday Igboho, the leader of the applicants is currently standing criminal trial in Benin Republic; my lord, he was declared wanted by the service but rather than turning himself in, he decided to leave this country.

“My lord, there is no guarantee that this four applicants will not follow suit.

“My lord, there are credible information on how friends, family, associates with these four applicants are making contacts with potential witnesses identified by the DSS. They have started pressurizing some of them not to turn in, in the event that they will be tried.

“We strongly believe that these four applicants who are still needed for further investigation, will jeopardize ungoing investigation if released.

“It is our submission that once investigation is concluded, the respondents will not hesitate to charge them to court. We urge your lordship to refuse bail to these isolated 4 applicants,” he said.

Awo also made an oral application to further detain the 4 persons since the earlier court order it obtained had elapsed.

But Pelumi prayed the court to discountenance the submission of the respondents, adding that the law stated that anyone arrested should be produced in court within 24 hours.

“My lord, it took the order of this court for the respondents to allow even the legal representatives to meet with them.

“My lord, after 34 days in the respondent’s detention, the applicants should have been charged…to continue to keep the applicants with the respondents will amount to an affront to our constitution and a violation of their fundamental human right.

“The position of the court is that investigation cannot be indefinite…the Respondents allegations is not before this court in form of any charge.

“We pray this court to admit all the 12 applicants on bail unconditionally as the respondents has not shown any charge or reasonable intention to prosecute this matter,” he said.

“The applicants should be allowed to go in peace and enjoy the benefit of the constitution and we shall ensure on our part as legal practitioners, that a reasonable surety will ensure that the applicants will be available,” he added.

After taking note of their arguments, Justice Egwatu ruled that the 12 applicants be granted bail.

“No doubt, the administration of bail is at the discretion of the court.

“It is clear that no charge has been preferred against the applicants and they have been kept in detention for 34 days.

“I grant bail to the 8 applicants in sum of 5 million naira with surety…,” he said.

For the 4 other applicants, he ruled that the DSS had no charge against them, thereby granting them N10 million bail with two sureties.

He said one of the surety must be a civil servant not below grade 12 and he or she must reside in Abuja.

“The fear by the respondents has not been linked to the four applicants and has not been captured in the affidavit by the DSS.

“For 2,5,12,6, applicants, since no charge has been filed… bail is granted to them in sum of 10 million naira and two sureties.

“Each of the respondents shall report at the office of the respondents for 3 months every first day,” he said.

The applicants are to remain in DSS custody pending perfection of their bail conditions.

Names of the applicants are:

Abdullateef Ademola Onaolapo
Amudat Habibat Babatunde
Tajudeen Irinloye
Diekola Jubril Ademola
Abideen Shittu
6.Jamiu Noah Oyetunji

Ayobami Donald
Uthman Opeyemi Adelabu
9.Olakunle Oluwapelumi

Raji Kazeem
Taiwo Opeyemi Tajudeen
Bamidele Sunday

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Crypto is a danger to world economy, tool for money laundry- EFCC Boss

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Advancement in digital assets such as cryptocurrencies increasingly portends huge risks to the world economy, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said.

This, according to Bawa, is partly because, many criminals now play significant roles in crypto-currency markets. He said the virtual currencies had become their preferred mediums of exchange.

Bawa spoke while delivering his keynote address Monday at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, themed, ‘Economic Crime-Who pays and who should pay?’

The event was organised by the Centre for International Documentation on Organised and Economic Crime (CIDOEC), Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, who captured some highlights of the event in a statement, quoting Bawa as saying, “The developments in new technologies and the growth of cryptocurrencies portrays a far greater danger to the world economy than ever before with many criminals playing significant roles in crypto-currency markets.

“Criminals now elect to transact or receive illegal monies (such as ransom money) for

cyber-attacks in cryptocurrencies with Bitcoins and Ethereum as the most commonly used mediums for these exchanges.”

He lamented that “the sophistication and complexity that defines the dynamics of economic crime in the 21st Century continues to evolve, spurred by technological advancement in the global economy that has become borderless and transnational.”

This he said had “inevitably led to the prioritisation of law enforcement action on crimes that drive Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) across the globe”.

‘No nation is immune’

According to the EFCC Boss, “economic crimes which are largely illegal acts committed for private gain affect the vital structures of global economies, causing significant damage to the Global Financial System and depriving developing nations of the needed resources for sustainable development”.

He noted that developed countries are not immune to the scourge, which, according to him, has “magnified with the proliferation of cyber-crimes which threatens the stability of Global Financial Institutions.”

Bawa said the platform of the event provided an opportunity to interrogate the challenges of economic crimes.

“As the victims of crime continue to suffer globally from the effects of financial crimes, either directly or indirectly as part of a social system, the determination of who pays or who should pay becomes a critical measure of the criminal justice system in place.”

He underlined the imperatives of an impartial judiciary in ensuring that “the perpetrators of acts and not the victims pay for their crimes.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had barred commercial banks and other financial institutions from transacting with cryptocurrency in fear of the risks it poses to investments and the economy at large.

Despite these actions, there have been reports over the use of these digital or virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and others, with criminals turning it to a haven to launder proceeds of corruption, fraud, drug trafficking, and other heinous crimes.

PRecall that last month that the United States Department of Justice training over 50 Nigerian investigators and prosecutors to tackle cryptocurrency-enabled organised crimes.

Efforts to fight crypto-related crimes

While highlighting some of the transparency and accountability achievements of the current administration by President Muhammadu Buhari, Bawa pointed out that the EFCC, as the rallying point in the fight against economic crimes in Nigeria, has recorded important milestones in investigations, prosecutions and assets recovery.

“Since its establishment in 2003, the Commission has recorded no less than 3,500 convictions and recovered assets of significant value including properties in Nigeria, the UK, USA, and the UAE. All these have measurably contributed to the national efforts against economic crimes in Nigeria,” he said.

The EFCC charged participants to come up with practical solutions to curb the international threat of economic crimes.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the symposium, Saul Froomkin, thanked the EFCC boss for his insightful presentation, and the support received from Nigeria in organising the event.

Participants at the symposium were drawn from law enforcement and security agencies, accountability institutions and partners across the world.

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SuperTV CEO: Lagos DPP to charge Chidinma Ojukwu, two others

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A Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State has adjourned to sept 29, further hearing in the murder of Usifo Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV.

A 21-year-old student, Chidinma Ojukwu and one Adedapo Quadri were again presented. before the Chief Magistrate, Adeola Adedayo on Monday after they were ordered to be remanded for thirty days at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre last month.

Police Prosecutor, Cyril Ejiofor, informed the court that the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution had issued a legal advice on the case, recommending their trial for murder which implies that the case will now be heard at the high court of Lagos state which has jurisdiction to hear matters of this nature

She, however, adjourned the case to await further Information from the DPP as to the status of the case at the high court that will now hear the matter.

The News Beat also gathered that the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Olayinka Adeyemi, recommended the release of four persons who are also standing trial at the Magistrate court for obstruction of justice and dishonestly receiving stolen belongings of the deceased .

The four persons are Babalola Disu, Olowu Ifeoluwa, Olutayo Abayomi, Nkechi Mogbo, Ojukwu Onoh, who is said to be Chidinma’s adopted father.

One Egbuchu Chioma who was allegedly found in possession of the deceased’s iPhone 7, and who had initially refused to release the phone on demand, is however to continue her trial.

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Omoyele Sowore’s younger brother shot dead

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A file combo photo of Omoyele and Olajide Sowore

Sahara Reporters Publisher and ex-presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, has narrated how kidnappers shot dead his brother in the Okada area of Edo State on Saturday.

According to him, Olajide was killed in the early hours of Saturday on his way from the Igbinedion University where he was studying Pharmacy.

Sowore, in a tribute on his Facebook page, described his deceased brother who almost clocked 50 as an “out-of-the-box thinker”

He wrote, “My immediate younger brother, Olajide Sowore was today shot and killed near Okada in Edo state by reportedly herdsmen /kidnappers on his way from Igbinedion University in Edo sate where he is studying Pharmacy.

“They snuffed out the life yet another real human being!

“Rest In Power, “Dr. Mamiye!”

“This act in itself will not delay their day of justice.

“I travelled widely with you and our father as a little kid. You were the most loved robust kid I ever first knew. You, Mr. magnet had no enemy!

“You, Mr. Sunshine Foundation who made everyone happy.

“You, the boy who snuck out his older ones to parties, taking all the blames when our disciplinarian father found out.

“You, the guy who was an out-of-the-box thinker who decided school wasn’t for you and created you own genre of music and then turned around to go to school after you almost turned 50!

“You lived your life so that everyone could be alright but now assassinated by everything that’s not alright!

“Saddest day yet!”

Details later…

 

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