A Customs officer has killed a civilian, Godwin Onoja, while allegedly trying to extort N5,000 bribe from travellers coming from Europe on the Sagamu end of the Lagos-Ore-Benin Expressway.
It was gathered that the victim was shot during an altercation between the officers of the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ikeja, Lagos, and some travellers, who boarded an Iyare Motors’ passenger bus travelling to Benin City from Lagos on Sunday.
One of the passengers, Mr Oliver Joseph, who lives in France, said he and the other passengers in the bus arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on Saturday evening.
According to him, whenever he and his co-travellers get into Nigeria, they usually contract Iyare Motors to convey them to Benin from the Lagos airport.
He added that they booked the vehicle when they got to Nigeria, adding that the driver came to the airport on Sunday morning as arranged to convey them to Benin.
Joseph stated that when they got to the Sagamu intersection of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, some Customs officials asked the driver to stop.
He stated, “The driver stopped and asked them what the matter was. The driver told them that the bus belonged to Iyare Motors and it was pointless to ask him to stop. Immediately the driver parked, one of the officers came and asked who owned the luggage. The driver told him that the luggage belonged to the passengers. The customs officer asked us where we were coming from and we told him that we were coming from overseas and that we were here on a visit.
“He said he had interest in the luggage and needed to check them one by one. We told him that they had been checked at the airport. He replied that he must carry out his job and ordered us to alight from the bus. One of them then called the driver and asked him to give them N5,000 for them to allow us to go. We heard the driver saying that he did not have the money and that we did not have anything illegal. The driver then told us that the Customs officers demanded N5,000 from us.
“We eventually agreed that our luggage be searched and one of us insisted that he would record it so that they won’t place contraband in our bags. So, the guy brought out his iPhone 6, but one of the officers demanded to have the phone but the passenger refused, saying that the price of the phone could pay his salary.
“The officer just took some steps back, cocked his gun and fired. Immediately he fired, a man fell down. Before we knew it, one of the two Customs officers in green sweater ran into the bush, leaving the others. We were 10 passengers in the bus and when we took a headcount, we were complete. There was blood all over the victim’s face, so we could not recognise him.
“The officer tried to run away, but we held him by the uniform insisting that he had to follow us to the nearest police station.”
The manager of Iyare Motors, Benin City, Mr Aghimien Osahon, thanked God that none of the passengers lost their lives in the process.
He explained that the Customs officers were angered by the driver’s refusal to give them N5,000, adding that he did not know why they behaved the way they did.
“It was one of their men that they mistakenly shot dead and not any of our passengers. The officer, who fired the gun, wanted to shoot one of the passengers; as he cocked the gun, he opened fire on one of his men in mufti. We give God the glory,” Osahon added.
The Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr Joseph Attah, described the incident as quite unfortunate, adding that the victim was not one of the passengers, but a friend to the Customs men.
He said that the victim was from the neighbourhood and used to supply water to the Customs base on the road, adding that he happened to come around when there was an altercation between the passengers of the bus and the operatives.
According to him, the incident happened when the Customs operatives flagged down a passenger bus, adding that instead of the driver and the passengers to allow the operatives to conduct a routine check on the vehicle, they were cursing and calling them thieves.
He said in a statement that it was in the process of filming the Customs personnel at work by the passengers and also struggling to disarm an officer that a rifle carried by one of the operatives accidentally discharged and the bullet hit the man.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service has been drawn to a disturbing video going viral with conflicting narratives.
“While it is painful and totally unnecessary to lose a life in anti-smuggling operations, today at the Sagamu interchange along Ijebu Ode, an attempt to obstruct the lawful performance of duty by passengers of a commercial bus suspected to be carrying bales of used clothing led to the death of a young man, Godwin, and serious injuries to a Customs officer, Destiny Onebamho.
“Contrary to some narratives, the young man was not a passenger of the bus but a good citizen, who always come to fetch water for the Customs patrol men anytime they return to the base.
“Preliminary findings indicate that it was during the skirmishes and struggle to disarm the officer that the riffle discharged and the bullet hit the friend of the Customs, who lost his life.”
He said the service had already contacted the bereaved family, adding that the Customs personnel had been recalled to the office for further investigation.
The statement added, “It should be noted that while attention shifted to the dead and the wounded, the passengers, who filmed with inciting commentaries boarded their vehicle and left, leaving the wrong impression that it was one of them that was killed.
“While the wounded officer is in intensive care at the hospital, the patrol team has been recalled to the office for further investigation.”
When the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, was contacted, he said operatives of the command were able to rescue the Customs officer from being lynched by the angry mob, adding that the case would be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Eleweran, Abeokuta.
He said, “After the incident, a distress call was sent to the Divisional Police Officer of the Sagamu Police Station, who moved in with his men. When they got to the scene of the incident, they met the body of the deceased and the angry mob attacking a Customs officer. The police were able to rescue him and he has been taken to the hospital.
“The Customs vehicle has been taken to the police station and the case will be transferred to the SCIID on the order of the Commissioner of Police for investigation.”
Court Convicts Former NIMASA DG, Obi over N136million Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, secured the conviction of a former acting Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Callistus Obi. Also convicted was Alu Dimas, an aide to Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of NIMASA. They were convicted by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi.
The duo were arraigned alongside two companies, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment, on April 12, 2016 on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, conversion, and money laundering to the tune of N136million (One Hundred and Thirty Six Million Naira).
The prosecution proved that the convicts converted the sum of money, N136million, belonging to the Agency to their personal use on August 5, 2014.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Callistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismas Alu Adoon, on or about the 5th day of August 2014, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: Conversion of the sums of N111, 000, 000.00 (One Hundred and Eleven Million naira) property of NIMASA, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby commited an offence.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them, thereby leading to their trial.
In the cause of the trial, the prosecution called eight witnesses and tendered several documents, which were admitted in evidence by the court.
At the resumed hearing today, Justice Olatoregun discharged and acquitted the defendants of the charge of conspiracy preferred against them.
The Judge, however, convicted them of conversion and money laundering.
The Judge said: “The prosecution has proved the charges preferred against you beyond reasonable doubt with evident conversion and money laundering of N136million”.
Justice Olatoregun, however, deferred sentencing to May 28, 2019 and ordered that the convicts be remanded in prison custody.
Togolese cook seeks plea bargain in Credit Switch CEO’s murder…as wife gives own account
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.
£1m fraudsters who funded notorious Nigerian organised crime gang convicted
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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