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Ekiti community officially renounces practice of female genital mutilation (FGM)

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The people of Ilawe-Ekiti, Ekiti South West Local Government Area of Ekiti State, on Friday officially renounced the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Oba Adebanji Alabi, the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, who is also the Chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, described the act as unlawful and promised that the community would no longer be involved in the act.

Alabi spoke in Ilawe-Ekiti, during an event, organised by the state chapter of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in conjunction with United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) on FGM elimination.

“I want to declare today, on behalf of my people, that we will no longer be involved in the act of Female Genital Mutilation, because it is highly despicable and unlawful. Oba Alabi said.

“Henceforth, it is now a taboo for anyone to do it to our kids. I am surprised that at this age people are still into this act that has sent many of our children to early grave; and even those that survived it, are left impotent.’’

The state Director of NOA, Mr Dayo Famosaya, regretted that the FGM was on the increase in the state, especially in Ilawe community, describing it as an outdated act.

He assured that the agency would continue to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders in a bid to put an end to the menace in the state.

The UNICEF South West Consultant on FGM elimination, Mrs Aderonke Olutayo, disclosed that Ekiti State ranked third in FGM prevalence rate in the country.
Olutayo reiterated that the act was a violation of the fundamental rights of girls and women, and was compromising their health and psycho-social well-being.

She advised the government to demonstrate more political will in ending the act, by making budgetary provisions that would enhance advocacy.

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Society News

Pastor who embarked on 40 days dry fasting dies in Imo

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Evangelist Chidi Eke, a 46 year old clergyman, who was fasting to seek God’s face as he plans to open his own ministry, has died while fasting for 40 days and nights in Eziala Nguru in Ngor Okpala council area of Imo State.

Eke who reportedly left his wife and children in Lagos after he claimed he got the call from God asking him to go into minsitry, relocated to Imo state where he said he would be seeking the face and power of God inside the ”Wilderness”. He had successfully concluded a 21 days fast and decided to go ahead to do a 40-days dry fast.

“During the first and second week of his fast, people who had gone to their farms heard him singing and praying loudly. But after the third week nobody heard his voice again and most people thought that perhaps he must have gone deep into meditation. But one of his church members, one Cyriacus Opara who became worried and insisted that he needed to visit him at the forest.

“When Opara approached the family that he wanted to visit Chidi Eke in the “Wilderness”, they told him that they don’t actually know the exact location where he was and that Eke had earlier issued a stern warning that he did not want any visitors because he had left his phone and money at home and had only gone with his Bible and gown.” a resident of the village told The Nation

Opara was told to contact one Cajethan Nwaneri as the only person who knew the location of the “Wilderness” since he had assisted the deceased evangelist in clearing it. Nwaneri led Opara to the place where they found out Eke had long died.

“Eke had abandoned his wife and two children, a boy and girl in Lagos and returned back to the village saying that he has come to answer the call of God. His corpse was discovered by one of his members who had gone to check on him in the bush where he had gone. Eke is the only son of his mother. In fact it was members of the community under the leadership of Tochukwu Ekeh (Angle 90) who are going to bear the burden of burying him” a relative said

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Society News

COZA: Busola Dakolo Vows To Appeal Court judgement

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Following the Federal Capital Territory High Court ruling on the rape case filed by Busola Dakolo against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly COZA, the celebrity photographer has vowed to appeal the court judgement.

It was earlier reported that Justice O. A. Musa of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja threw out the case against the popular pastor, saying it was a total waste of time for the court and she was fined 1,000,000 naira.

Reacting to the court judgement, Busola’s lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi said, “We have received several calls after the ruling of the high court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Bwari this morning seeking our view on the decision of the court, hence, this statement.

“The court ruled that the matter is statute-barred because the events that crystallised to the cause of action took place 16 years ago and that the claimant Mrs Busola Dakolo has only six years within which to seek redress in court in line with the statute of limitation.

“We are mindful of the decision as delivered by the court, presided over by the Hon. Justice A.O Musa. We are equally observant of the fact that the Court omitted to address the cause of action, the subject matter of the suit in determining whether it has jurisdiction to entertain the said matter.

“While we acknowledge the time of the court, we know in accordance with the Nigerian judicial system that the Court’s decision is not final as it is glaringly contestable.

“For all intent and purposes, having seen several sponsored misleading news reports in the media, we are duty-bound to state that the court has not and did not exonerate Biodun Fatoyinbo. As it stands, the substance of the matter has not received any judicial attention.

“Biodun Fatoyinbo through his lawyers have only argued that the court should not allow the matter to proceed to trial because it is an event that occurred long ago and hence out of time.

“We shall therefore in this circumstance approach a superior court to intervene for a better appreciation, and take a more expansive view of the suit considering that the subject matter is one that is novel in our clime.”

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Crime

Temitope Ayeni Olaiya Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking and Fraud Schemes

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A Nigerian woman pleaded guilty today to leading a conspiracy to import more than five kilograms of cocaine, as well as to her role in a separate bank fraud scheme, and to making false statements relating to fraudulent claims submitted to Medicaid for reimbursement.

“Tammy Olaiya is a ‘triple threat’ of criminality – drug trafficker, a fraudster, and a liar,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Olaiya, a Nigerian immigrant who has spent the last two decades with the privilege of living in the United States as lawful permanent resident, clearly has zero respect for American laws pertaining to our borders, controlled substances, our financial system, or our health care system.”

According to court documents, Temitope Ayoni Olaiya, aka “Tammy”, 40, a Nigerian national residing in Hyattsville, Maryland, recruited men from the greater Washington, D.C. area to act as drug courier; i.e., to travel to foreign countries to obtain drugs to bring back into the United States.  Olaiya opened bank accounts in the couriers’ names, assisted them in obtaining passports and visas, and booked their travel arrangements. The couriers that Olaiya recruited traveled primarily to São Paulo, Brazil, where they picked up kilogram quantities of cocaine hidden in the lining of soft-sided briefcases or attaché cases. Altogether, law enforcement seized nearly seven kilograms of cocaine at three different U.S. airports from three separate couriers recruited by Olaiya.

“Every single Medicaid dollar is precious and must be carefully guarded,” said Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Accordingly we will continue working with all our law enforcement partners to preserve these vital funds.”

In addition to the cocaine importation scheme, Olaiya also submitted falsified and fraudulent claims to the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), a health care benefit program funded by Medicaid. Olaiya worked as a personal care aide for various home health agencies in the Washington D.C. area, and in order to receive payment for services rendered, Olaiya was required to submit timesheets signed by her clients documenting the services rendered. Instead of submitting time sheets for time actually worked providing health care services, Olaiya recruited Medicaid recipients to act as her “patients” and to sign her falsified timesheets in return for a small amount of money as a kickback. On at least two occasions, Olaiya billed DHCF for home health services she claimed to have provided while she was out of the country.

Separate and apart from the cocaine importation and the home health services scheme, Olaiya also used her African goods business in Maryland to carry out a bank fraud. Olaiya used accounts with payment platforms Square and Stripe to make fraudulent charges on stolen credit card numbers. Between June and December 2017, Olaiya submitted, or caused to be submitted, $381,500 in fraudulent credit card charges to the Stripe account. Thereafter, Olaiya switched over to Square, and in the course of about two months, racked up more than $100,000 in fraudulent charges. When Square informed Olaiya that the true account holder had challenged the transaction, Olaiya created handwritten, falsified invoices documenting items purportedly purchased by the account holder, and provided the fake invoices to Square.

Olaiya pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine, bank fraud, and making false statements relating to health care matters. She faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison for the cocaine importation charge when sentenced on Feb. 28, 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case was prosecuted as part of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Girl From Ipanema. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine E. Rumbaugh is prosecuting the case.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the DC Office of Inspector General provided significant assistance with the investigation.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-294 and 1:19-cr-323.

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