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Crime & Court

51 suspects on trial for kidnapping, other offences in Oke-Ogun, Ibarapa – Oyo govt. reveals

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Oyo state government on Sunday revealed that no fewer than 51 suspected criminals linked to kidnapping and other crimes committed in Oke – Ogun and Ibarapa areas of the state are already in Police net.

The government disclosed further that some are already charged to court, while others would soon have their days in court.

The Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security, Commissioner of Police Fatai Owoseni (rtd), who led the government’s delegation, alongside the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko to the trouble spots of Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun areas where they conducted on-the-spot assessment of the tenson-soaked communities, also assured that the government would ensure justice prevails in the cases involving the arrested lot, adding, however, that the people must remain vigilant.

Communities visited include, Igangan, Tede and Ago-Are.

Owoseni, who debunked insinuations that the Seyi Makinde -led administration has abandoned the people to their fate, disclosed that government has been working closely with the Police to fish out criminal elements in the state.

He urged the people to be vigilant and ensure they identify the criminal elements among them for prosecution by the Police, declaring that no one should take laws into their hands.

“If you see something, say something,” Owoseni advised residents of the visited communities.

The delegation also visited the razed home of the Seriki Fulani in Igangan, where it assessed the extent of damage and promised thorough investigation.

“Let us put sentiment and politics aside, from what we heard, it is not as if the Ibarapa community is against one ethnic group. What they are claiming and the allegation they have made is that a particular person, who they are now seeing to symbolise an entire ethnic group, has been misbehaving. It is just like what the governor has been saying; that there is trust-deficit between the people and the government, mistrust between the people and law enforcement agencies.

“If you look at the catalogue of what has been said, they feel they have not been given justice and they feel that someone has been stalling justice.

“They feel that someone has been dropping names in order to oppress the community. I believe that with the steps that have been taken to mend all these gaps and with the assurance that the Commissioner of Police has given that they will look at all the cases again, there will be a change”, he said.

Speaking specifically on investigations and arrests, the retired Police Commissioner said: “There are a lot of narratives that have not been given out.

“Everybody believes that kidnapping, assasination had taken place in Igangan and it seems the government was not doing anything.

“Truth is, 51 suspects have been in detention for various offences that bother on this kidnapping.

“Arrests were made. Some have been arraigned in court. Some are awaiting trial. For some, investigation are still ongoing, which we made them know.

“Everyone will learn lessons, especially the police officer that was accused of complicity in some of these cases.

“The CP has given that assurance that every victim will get justice and all the allegations they have made as to the Seriki colluding with criminals, will be looked into”, the former Commissioner of Police submitted.

Owoseni added that it was wrong for anyone to take laws into his hands, adding that the people must learn to trust security agencies to achieve peace in their areas.

He said of the communal clash between Tede and Ago Are: “This is an evidence of what the governor is doing on the security situation in the state. While the crisis in Igangan was brewing, that was when we heard that these two communities – Tede and Ago-Are – were also at war.

“The purpose of coming here today is to nip in the bud this communal fight. There is an immediate and remote cause but in order to quickly make it not to fester, we are here.”

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Crime & Court

Oyo tailor assaulted by DPO gets justice

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Months after he was assaulted by the Divisional Police Officer (now former DPO) in charge of Iyaganku division, Ibadan, Alex Gwazah, Lukman Adeniyi, an Ibadan based fashion designer; has finally gotten justice.

Justice Rachael Boyede Akintola, sitting over Court 4, of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan, has awarded a sum of N150,000 as damages and costs against a former Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Iyaganku, Ibadan, CSP Alex Gwazah, for infringing on rights of Lukman Adeniyi.

Delivering the judgement on Tuesday, Justice Akintola ruled that the act of the first respondent was unlawful in respect of the things he did to the applicant.

It will be recalled that Lukman Adeniyi had taken the matter to the High Court in December 2020 to enforce his fundamental human rights, after he was discharged by the magistrates’ court he was initially charged to.

The High Court awarded N50,000 as damages against the first respondent, while N100,000 was awarded in favour of the applicant.

In an affidavit sworn to by the applicant, the former DPO was named as the first respondent and the state commissioner of police was the second respondent.

He added that the second respondent had refused to take any step on the matter, despite his writing a letter of complaint through his lawyer.

But there was no award of damages against the second respondent.

The judge ruled that the second respondent could not be vicariously liable to act on the first respondent, saying that all the first respondent did were of his own volition.

According to the information scooped from the Nigerian Tribune,  after the furore raised over the initial arraignment of the fashion designer, Gwazah was redeployed from Iyaganku division to Quick Intervention Unit as the head.

In the affidavit, Adeniyi narrated how he was contacted by the DPO to sew clothes for him, but ended up being physically assaulted, detained in the cell and arraigned in court over accusation that he damaged his clothes.

He added that the charge was eventually struck off by a magistrate, Mrs Olajumoke Akande, sitting over Court 8, at Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court, for want of diligent prosecution.

This, the applicant said, was because the first respondent failed to attend court proceedings the two times the matter came up for hearing.

Adeniyi also pointed out in the affidavit that Gwazah failed to pay him his professional fee of N60,000, which he legitimately earned through mutual agreement, despite several demands.

He stated that since the matter was struck off the magistrates’ court’s list, he had been receiving threats from the first respondent on his rearrest and being dealt with, unless he dropped his demand for payment of the professional fee.

This, Adeniyi said, had made him to abandon his workplace at Oke Bola area of Ibadan.

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Crime & Court

Bawa outlines his vision for the EFCC

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The newly confirmed Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdurasheed Bawa has revealed his vision for the anti graft agency.

The EFCC Chief promised to lead the anti- corruption agency by example and cut down discretion in the conduct of its affairs through institutionalizing a Standard Operating Procedure.

According to him,”What I envisage the EFCC to do is to ensure that we work on our own Standard Operational Procedure, to improve on our Standard Operational Procedures so much so that, all that is expected of us is written down somewhere in a document to curtail the use of discretion from the office of the Executive Chairman down to the ordinary investigator.

“We are looking forward to an EFCC whereby I as the Executive Chairman if I give an instruction to a junior officer, he will look at my face and say, Sir I understand your instruction but I will not be able to do it because of so and so Section governing the rules and regulations of the EFCC”.

He also stated that he was interested in establishing synergy with other law enforcement organizations, both nationally and internationally, and aggressively pursue the repatriation of seized assets.

“I have talked on the issue of synergy between the EFCC and sister security agencies in the country as well as the work I envisage to do together with our foreign strategic partners. We are going to work on that, we are going to strengthen it. The EFCC is not a lone ranger, we are going to reach out. The job of fighting economic and financial crimes is for everybody to be on board, and we will ensure that because we don’t have monopoly of knowledge.”

The new EFCC boss further expressed his desire to upgrade the skills of staff of the Commission through training, while also seeking the support of the lawmakers by way of appropriation.

In his words, “regarding the issue of repositioning, I have talked about processes and procedures and the law, but the backbone of every organization is its human resource. I hope and pray that we will still come back to this chamber for proper appropriation to enable us build the capacity of our staff at the EFCC and to meet up with the current challenges and new typologies of crime as well as trends in money laundering so that, at the end of the day, our vision of ridding this country of economic and financial crimes is actualized”.

On the vexed issue of management of recovered assets, the new EFCC Chairman said that going forward, the Commission will be more transparent and accountable, and  ensure that finally forfeited assets are disposed of immediately instead of leaving them dormant.

He equally pledged to work with the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Disposal of Federal Government Forfeited Assets, to ensure the success of their assignment, while also pursuing a programme of digitalization to guarantee the fidelity of assets record.

“We have, of course, the lingering problem or issues bothering on management of assets, etc. We will embark on the digitalization of the processes in the EFCC. In essence, what I am saying is that we are going to embrace technology to enable us keep our records properly so that anytime Nigerians are asking questions, it will just be a matter of pressing a button”,  Bawa continued.

In answer to a question, Bawa dispelled the allegation of illegally selling forfeited properties during his time as Head of the Port Harcourt Office of the Commission.

“I never sold a single truck at the Port Harcourt office, the head office handled that at the time.

“Anybody that is familiar with the processes of the EFCC knows that the chairman doesn’t have the power to sell an asset but the secretary of the agency. The former secretary and two directors came from the head office to conduct the sale”, he explained.

The EFCC boss assured that he would live to the expectation of the appointing authorities and teeming Nigerian youths who now look up to him as a model and ambassador.

“I am not unaware of the fact that my nomination has caused a lot of hope for millions of youths around the country, I want to state here that I am going to give them a good representation in the governance of this country so that at the end of the day, more youths will be given huge responsibilities in this country.

“Let me thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for finding me competent and deserving as the chairman of the EFCC and to also assure him and indeed Nigerians that the confidence he has in me will be proven beyond doubt at the end of my term in office,” he stated.

Bawa who is a certified fraud examiner and member of the prestigious America -based Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, has also been trained by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI and the UK National Crime Agency.

As the fourth executive chairman of the EFCC, he is the first core staff of the Commission to occupy the office.

 

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By Idowu Ayodele 

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Crime & Court

Ogun socialite remanded for N35.5m scam

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Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on Monday arraigned one Mary Maisirat Akerele on a five count charge bordering on stealing to the tune of  Thirty Five Million Five Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira (N35,520,000:00) before Justice Abiodun Akinyemi of the Ogun State High Court 4,Abeokuta.

It was learnt that trouble started for the 46-years-old socialite, who resides in Aseko area of Idiroko Ogun State, when the EFCC received a petition, alleging that she collected the said sum in installments from one Alhaja Oladoja Abike for the purpose of supplying four truck-load of rice from a rice milling company at Bida, Niger state but diverted the funds.

One of the charge reads: ” That you Mary Masirat Akerele (trading under the name and style of Goodness of Jesus Global Ventures) on or about the 19th day of September, 2018 at Abeokuta within the Abeokuta Judicial Division of the Honourable Court, fraudulently converted to your own use the sum of Eleven Million Naira (N11, 000,000.00) only property of Fausia Abike Oladoja and thereby committed an offence of stealing contrary to  Section 390 (9) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 30, laws of Ogun State, 2006”.

But, the defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ when the charge was read to her.

Counsel to the defendant, H. A Omikunle  made an oral application for his client’s bail. However, Shamsuddeen Bashir, counsel to EFCC, opposed the application due to  the defendant’s failure to keep the terms  of the administrative bail earlier granted her.

Justice Akinyemi adjourned the case till March 4 for determination of the bail application and ordered the remand of the defendant in the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Ibara,Abeokuta

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