Benin NBA Battles State At Mobile Court, Rescue 2, 3 Unlucky
As part of it pro bono service to the members of the public and fight against human rights abuse, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Benin Branch, Tuesday, April 28 made sudden appearance at Uroukpota mobile court, Benin, to defend five persons who were accused of violating the curfew imposed by Edo State government.
The state government had on Sunday imposed a statewide dusk-to-dawn curfew, which commenced on Monday from 7p.m. to 6a.m. daily.
The defendants, Success Peter, 32,
Peace Doonior, 25, Tunde Mustapha, 35, Monday Ukpowa, 38 and one were accused of violating the curfew imposed by the state government.
Police prosecutor, Linda said three of the defendants were arrested while driving on the highway around 7:55p.m.
READ ALSO: Lockdown: Mobile Court Sentences 5 For Mask, Curfew Violation
She further said the other two of the defendants were arrested inside a brothel located at Erediawa street, Benin City, at around 8:00pm in the night.
She told the court that the offence contravened the movement restriction order put in place by the state government.
The accused, however, all pleaded not guilty to the charge level against them.
Doonior and Success told the court that they were in their Hotel room at Erediawa street when some police men bursted into their room and arrested them.
READ ALSO: 29 Persons Convicted For Violating Curfew In Benin
The duo told the court that the police prosecutor who claimed to be among the squad that made the arrest was not actually there, adding that they were sighting her for the first time.
Barrister Douglas Ogbankwa, lead counsel to the defendants, and also Public Relations Officer of NBA Task Force on CIVID-19 prayed the court to strike out the charge on no case basis.
He argued that there was no any report or investigation from the prosecutor as of why his clients were arrested, and that there is no where in the Edo State ‘Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020’, where it’s forbidden that two persons cannot stay in a Hotel, hence the case should be struck out.
On the other hand, defending other three persons who were accused of driving on the high during the curfew hours, Barrister Dennis Osaritin, argued that there was contradiction between the charge file and the evidence as presented by the prosecutor.
READ ALSO: Mobile Court Sentences 29 For Mask, Curfew Violation In Edo
He told the court that his clients were arrested 6:15pm as against the claim by the prosecutor, adding that the three defendants were arrested separately as against claim that they were arrest together on the highway inside a vehicle.
He further argued that going by the contradictions and lies in the charge and the evidence, it will be difficult to rely on such and do justice to the charge hence the charge should be struck out.
Barr. Orobosa Okunbo, State Counsel, however, argued that the case should not be base on charge and evidence, stressing that it’s just an emergency court and not the rugular court where such is taken into cogniaance.
Magistrate Friday Okunbo, find the three suspects guilty of the offence and thereafter convicted them of same offence.
READ ALSO: COVID-19: Edo C.J. Frees Another 11 Inmates From Benin Custodial Centre
He sentenced the three offenders who violated the state curfew to two days non-custodial community service with the option of payment of N5,000 fine each.
Barrister Matthew Edaghese, chairman of the NBA Task Force however pleaded to the Magistrate to temper justice with mercy by allowing them to go free, stressing that they must have learnt there lessons with their stay in police custody since the previous day.
Magistrate Okunbo therefore reduced the community service to one day or an option of N3,000 fan payment each, he added that this was to serve as a deterrent to others.
Magistrate Okunbo, however, struck out the charge leveled against Success and Doonior (1st and 2nd defendants respectively) on ‘no case ground’.
Mobile Court set up by Edo State government to hear cases of violation of the Edo State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020’, has sentencing violators virtually on daily basis until the NBA came to the rescue of these ones.
READ ALSO: COVID-19: Edo CJ Frees 11 Inmates From Correctional Centre
The NBA Task Force that made the appearance was led by Barr. Matthew Edaghese, chairman of the Task Force; Barr. Douglas Ogbankwa, PRO; Barr. Dennis Osaritin; Barr. Victoria, etc.
Evans Re-arraigned For Kidnapping, Attempted Murder
Convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, has been re-arraigned over the alleged kidnapping and attempted murder before a Lagos State High Court sitting in the Tafawa Balewa Square area.
Evans’ re-arraignment on Thursday follows the transfer of the case file from Justice Adedayo Akintoye, who is the initial trial judge.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court in September 2022 sentenced Evans and his co-defendant, Victor Aduba, to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping one Sylvanus Hafia.
READ ALSO: Evans Sentenced To 21-year Imprisonment For Kidnapping
They were convicted of conspiring and kidnapping Hafia around 5:30 pm on June 23, 2014, at Kara Street, Amuwo Odofin, in Lagos and to have captured and detained Hafia and demanded a ransom of $2m.
However, the matter started afresh before Justice Ibironke Harrison, where Evans was again arraigned alongside Joseph Emeka, Victor Aduba and Okapara Linus.
The four are facing five counts bordering on conspiracy, kidnapping, and attempted murder, preferred against them by Lagos State.
Evans and his co-defendants were arraigned for allegedly kidnapping Chief James Uduji and collecting a ransom of $1.2m dollars.
They, and others at large, allegedly committed the offence on September 7, 2015 at 7th Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos.
The defendants were also accused of attempted murder by allegedly firing shots at Uduji and Donatus Nwoye which hit him on the hand and again shot one Mr Jereome Okezie on the hand and head.
READ ALSO: Billionaire Kidnapper: Court Sentences Evans Co-defendant To Five Years
According to the prosecution, the offences committed contravened Sections 411, 271 (3) and 230 (A), of the criminal laws of Lagos State 2015.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Harrison subsequently adjourned that matter till May 3 and 4, 2023 for trial.
Prof Facing N1.4bn Fraud Case Gets N1m Bail
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned a Professor, Uche Edwin, before the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on charges of alleged N1.4 billion fraud.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the EFCC’s Spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren on Thursday.
Edwin was arraigned alongside his companies, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, NEMAD Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention and conversion of funds to the tune of N1, 473,367,046.04 belonging to Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.
He, however, pleaded “not guilty” to the 11-count charge.
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One of the counts reads: “ That you, Professor Uche Chigozie Edwin, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, Nemad Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, sometime in 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court , conspired amongst yourselves to use the sum of N1, 473,367,046.04, property of the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: fraud; and you thereby committed an offence , contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The prosecution counsel, C.C. Okezie, asked the court for a trial date and also asked that the defendant be remanded.
The defence counsel, Mobolaji Akintunde, in response, made an application for bail on behalf of his client.
He asked the court to admit his client to bail and also implored the court to allow his client to be remanded in EFCC custody pending when he would be able to meet the bail conditions the court might impose.
In a short ruling, the judge, Nicholas Oweibo, allowed bail to the defendant in the sum of N1 million and two sureties in like sum.
READ ALSO: Man Defiles 16-year-old Girl, Remanded
The sureties, according to the court, must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, show a tax clearance certificate of three months as well as their passport photographs.
The defendant was also ordered to deposit his passport with the court.
The judge adjourned the trial till 27 June for the commencement of the trial.
JUST IN: Court Jails Ex-Imo Commissioner
A former Commissioner for Transport in Imo State, Laz Anyanwu, was on Tuesday sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Anyanwu, who served during the administration of ex-governor Rochas Okorocha, was sentenced after he was found guilty of the charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judge, K. A Lewanya, while sentencing the former commissioner said that the jail term would serve concurrently.
READ ALSO: Man Jailed After Sending Romance Scam Proceeds To Nigerian Family From US
The judge said that the convict was found guilty of fraud , looting of public funds and stealing.
The justice said that the former commissioner was found guilty of diverting N180 million of state funds into a private company account where he was a major shareholder and sole signatory when he superintended and doubled as commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo State transport company, ITC, which is against section 12 and 19 of the ICPC Act 2020.
The judge held that Anyanwu by that action had violated the Public Procurement Act, abused his office and used his office to gain undue advantage in his dealings during his tenure as the commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo state transport company, ITC.
The judge said that the EFCC lawyer, Micheal Ani, was able to proof beyond reasonable doubt that when Anyanwu was commissioner for transport between 2015 and 2019, he transferred the sum of N100 million from the ITC account to his private company named Oma Oil Industries Limited, which is against section 12 and 19 of the ICPC Act 2020 for a public servant.
READ ALSO: Court Jails Woman 18 Years For Child Stealing, Convict Indicts Lawyer
The judge also said that the ex-commissioner signed off another N80 million from government coffers directly to his private company account with the motive that he wanted to procure some vehicles for ITC without due process and recourse to the public procurement act.
The judge, while sentencing him to prison, said the former commissioner looted the sum of N180 million found in his account said to be for the state transport company.
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