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Alleged Gang-rape: Court Denies Babcock Varsity student Bail

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Justice Abiola Soladoye of an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court has denied bail to a student of Babcock University, James Aguedo, accused of involvement in gang-rape of a student of the University of Lagos, Unilag.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Soladoye in a ruling on Thursday said Aguedo, 20, did not provide compelling circumstances as to why the court should grant him bail.

“The essence of bail is to ensure the defendant’s attendance at trial. In deciding an application for bail, certain factors must be taken into consideration such as the nature of the charge and the evidence adduced.

“Grant of bail of a defendant in a criminal offence is not automatic, it is at the discretion of the court.

“I am, therefore, of the view that the application before the court has not shown any compelling or exceptional circumstances to warrant the court exercising its discretion in favour of the applicant.

“The application for bail is hereby refused, and the court shall give this case accelerated trial; I so hold,” the judge said.

NAN reports that Aguedo’s counsel, Mr Lawal Pedro, SAN, had on March 25 prayed the court to grant him bail to enable him to write examination at the Babcock University in April.

He also submitted that the undergraduate suffered from ill-health and needed constant medical attention.

“He has a recurring back ailment. We brought not just a medical report but the history, because he has been attending an orthopaedic hospital.

“The prison facility is not conducive for him,” the SAN said.

Pedro had attached Aguedo’s school identity card and admission letter to the bail application dated March 13.

Also attached were a National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Yaba, Lagos, appointment card, history of medical examination and a St Dominic’s Catholic Church’s letter of recommendation.

NAN reports that the student is standing trial alongside Moboluwaji Omowole, 19, Chuka Chukwu, 19, Peace Nwankama, 19 and Osemeka Josephine, 20.

The defendants were charged with serial gang-rape of a Unilag student (name withheld).

According to prosecution counsel, Mrs Fehinti Ogbemudia, the defendants committed the gang rape sometime in 2017 within the premises of Unilag.

The alleged victim had on Feb. 26 testified that she was lured by Nwankama who was her roommate to High Rise, a staff quarters hostel, in Unilag.

She said she was gang-raped at High Rise by eight students, and that the sexual assault was video- taped.

According to the alleged victim, she was also blackmailed with the video and further gang-raped on other occasions by the defendants and their accomplices who are now at large.

The five defendants have been remanded in the Kirikiri Prisons since Feb. 26, when they were arraigned.

The case has been adjourned until May 2 for continuation of trial.

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Crime

Togolese cook seeks plea bargain in Credit Switch CEO’s murder…as wife gives own account

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30-year-old Togolese cook, Sunday Anani, charged with the murder of the Chief Executive Officer of Credit Switch Ltd, Chief Opeyemi Bademosi, yesterday Tuesday May 21st, asked the Lagos state High Court in Igbosere to grant him a plea bargain agreement with the government.

Recall that 67-year-old Bademosi was stabbed to death at his home in Parkview estate, Lagos state in October last year. Anani fled the scene of the incident and was later arrested in his hideout in Ondo state.

At the commencement of proceedings on Tuesday, Anani’s counsel, the Director of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Mrs Aderenra Adeyemi, informed the court of his decision to a plea bargain. Adeyemi told Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile that Anani would be opting for a plea bargain deal and that the defence had approached the prosecutor, Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bay, to that effect.

Meanwhile the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Ebunoluwa Bademosi, yesterday, gave her own account of what transpired on the sad day her husband was gruesomely murdered. Mrs Bademosi told the gory story of how she returend from work to find her husband in a pool of blood.

“I went through the kitchen door to gain access to the building. The kitchen door was locked. I knocked several times, calling on the defendant (Anani), but he didn’t come to open the door. My husband’s bedroom and the kitchen door was a distance, so I felt he (Anani) must be doing something for him, so I waited by the kitchen door, for a while. While i was waiting, I got a call from my sister, at Ibadan and we spoke for about 5-6 minutes. ’At some point, I brought out my phone from my bag and called my husband, I realised that the phone was being picked but he was not responding. I called him twice and it was the same thing. It was showing minutes counting but nobody was talking.

‘’I went downstairs and decided to pass through the front door, thinking if I got there, there would be somebody at the door. By the time i got to the front door, I realised that the door was left ajar.”

Mrs Bademosi said she immediately suspected something bad had happened.

“I entered the apartment. By the time I got in, I looked up and saw blood flowing out of my husband’s bedroom. I couldn’t enter my husband’s bedroom because the door was only partially open but I could see his body lying on the floor. I wasn’t sure of what could be happening inside the bedroom, so, I ran out of the building and started screaming, calling neighbours to help. A couple of people came. I told them to go up and check that something was happening, that I didn’t know what exactly it was” she said

Mrs. Bademosi told the court that she ran to the gate and asked the security man,

“Where is that guy that oga brought into the house? What is happening? Who is inside the house?”

The guard said the defendant informed him the deceased sent him on an errand.

“People started coming, my next door neighbours and her driver were going upstairs and I followed them but i stood at a distance. They came out and said he was gone (sobbing), my husband was gone, and the defendant was not inside the house, then i passed out. When I woke up, I saw a crowd around me, inside the house, my husband’s corpse was lying down there. They took me downstairs because they didn’t want me to see the corpse. The police later came and took his corpse in an ambulance, he was buried on November 21, 2018? she said

Mrs Bademosi refuted claims that she had a strained relationship with her deceased husband.

“I had a very cordial relationship with my husband. I cooked for my husband”.

The case was adjourned till June 11 for continuation of trial.

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Crime

£1m fraudsters who funded notorious Nigerian organised crime gang convicted

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Three siblings who were working directly for the leader of a notorious Nigerian crime gang have been convicted of laundering nearly £1m for the Black Axe organised crime syndicate through UK bank accounts.

Okemiorukaye Nakpodia, 56, was found guilty of conspiracy to money launder at Woolwich Crown Court today (8 May 2019). Esther Nakpodia, 35, Unuakpotovo Nakpodia, 46, both pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

All three siblings, who live in Greenwich in London, will next appear at the same court on 24 May 2019 for sentencing.

They laundered the proceeds of hundreds of frauds between 2007 and 2015.

Police identified 174 suspicious transactions entering bank accounts. Money from a number of the victims of the original frauds ended up in the defendants’ bank accounts and was then laundered by the Nakpodias.

The leader of the Black Axe, Augustus Bemigho-Eyeoyibo, is the brother-in-law of the three defendants. Black Axe is a banned organisation in Nigeria and has been linked to decades of murders, rapes, extortion and drug dealing in Nigeria and across the world, with members allegedly swearing a ‘blood oath’ to join.

Esther and Unuakpotovo Nakpodia are also subject to extradition proceedings concerning advance fee frauds in Greece, to be held at Westminster Magistrates Court at a later date.

Philip Slough, for the CPS, said: “We were able to show the Nakpodias were talking to Augustus Bemigho-Eyeoyibo, the leader of Black Axe, based on conversations found on their devices.  They talked about the amounts, and what to do with the funds after they arrived, including how much to keep for themselves.

“This strong evidence confirmed that the Nakpodias had been actively involved for a number of years in a conspiracy to launder money which had been stolen by others using phone and email scams.

“This prosecution will play a role in starving a dangerous criminal gang of funds and we will seek to recover their proceeds of crime at a later hearing.”

Building the case

Philip Slough, for the CPS, said: “Esther Nakpodia claimed to have never heard of Black Axe, denying links to the organisation – this despite the fact her sister has been married to the group’s leader for 14 years.

“Esther denied knowing that Augustus Bemigho-Eyeoyibo is involved in gang activity, and said she believed he was a reputable business man. She accepted being in possession of £28,000 when arrested – this was money withdrawn from her bank account and was taking it with her to Nigeria to give to her sister and brother-in-law in person. A number of incriminating text messages were found on her mobile phone seized from her upon arrest, revealing her deep involvement in the laundering of these funds.

“Unuakpotovo Nakpodia admitted opening and controlling numerous bank accounts – between January 2007 and February 2015, she received over £700,000 of suspicious payments from between 65-70 unconnected parties in 16 different countries. Unuakpotovo also denied being part of a conspiracy to money launder the proceeds of crime.

“Okemiorukaye Nakpodia accepted all transactions relating to the bank accounts attributed to him – he received nearly £50,000 of direct suspicious payments from eight unconnected third parties in three different countries. He claimed not know the source of these transfers.”

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Crime

Naira Marley remanded in prison for alleged internet fraud

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The federal high court in Lagos has ordered that Naira Marley be remanded in prison over allegations of internet fraud.

The singer was arraigned in court on Monday following his arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency charged the singer with 11-counts fraud offence to which he pleaded not guilty.

The judge adjourned until May 30 for the hearing of his bail application adding that he should be remanded till the next hearing.

Zlatan and Tiamiu Abdulrahman Kayode; Adewunmi Adeyanju Moses; and Abubakar Musa, who were arrested alongside the ‘Japa’ singer have since been released.

They were arrested for allegations of advanced fee fraud and related cybercrimes on May 10.

Before his arrest, Naira Marley has been in the news recently for advocating the cause of internet fraudsters.

Naira Marley in court on Monday

During an Instagram live session in April, he had urged Nigerians to pray for internet fraudsters (Yahoo boys) “as they are crucial to the circulation of money in the economy.”

In the suit before the court, EFCC is using section 33 (2) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

The charges against the singer read in part: “That you, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, aka Naira Marley, and Raze (still at large), on or about the 11th day of December 2018, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to use Access card 42658840359191132 issued to persons other than you in a bid to obtain gain and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27(1)(b) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 33(2) of the Same Act.

“That you, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, aka Naira Marley, and Raze (still at large), on or about the 10th day of May 2019, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, with intent to defraud possessed, counterfeit card 4921819410257431 issued to Timea Fedorne Tatar and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 33(9) of Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act 2015.”

Marley risks seven years in jail if found guilty.

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