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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Police Declare Man Wanted Over Homos*xual Act
A 50-years old man, Edo Omusi, has been declared wanted by the police in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, for disappearing after being ‘caught’ in a same s*x act in Ogiso community.
A source close to the police in the state, told our correspondent that the suspect, and one of his male friends, whose name was not given, were sighted at an undisclosed location by some youths as they were comitting the act.
Under Nigerian Laws, any person caught in the gay act is liable to 14 years in prison and if found by the community could be killed.
The duo were said to have been deeply engrossed in the act when they were found but before the person who saw them in the , “sinful and abominable act”, went for back up, they had escaped the location.
The incident which occurred on 25/4/23 at Ogiso area of the town almost threw the community into a turmoil as irate youths welding sticks and cudgels rampaged the community in search of the duo to lynch them.
It was also learnt that worried by the trend the youths in the community had to set up a surveillance team to monitor his movements. It was on one of the surveillance trips that he was reportedly caught on the fateful day, with the unidentified male partner.
It was gathered since the community reported the incident to the police, the whereabouts of the suspect, Edo Omusi has since remained unknown by all and sundry.
Speaking on the development, a top Police official confirmed the matter and explained that the Crime Investigation Department of the command is working round the clock to arrest the suspect, having declared him a wanted person.
Man, 41, Sent To Prison For Groping Woman’s Breast
A Badagry Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, on Friday, ordered the remand of a 41-year-old man, Ibrahim Lemo, for groping the breast of a woman.
The court heard that Lemo beat up his victim, Zainab Babalola, when she demanded he stopped the unlawful act
Chief Magistrate Fadahunsi Adefioye remanded Lemo after he pleaded guilty to a two count bordering on assault.
Adefioye ordered that the defendant should be remanded in Awhajigoh Correctional Centre, Badagry.
He adjourned the case until April 14 for facts and sentencing.
Earlier, the prosecutor, ASP. Clément Okuoimose, told the court that the defendant committed the offences on April 6 at 2.30 p.m. at Badagry Roundabout shopping complex, Badagry, Lagos.
Okuoimose said Lemo without lawful excuse pressed the breast of the complainant, Zainab Babalola.
He said the defendant also hit the complainant on her left eye and caused her harm after she asked him not to touch her again.
The prosecutor said the offences contravened Sections 134 and 170 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Hushpuppi’s Associate, Woodberry, Pleads Guilty, Forfeits $8m, Assets
Olalekan Jacob Ponle, known as Mr Woodberry, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
He also agreed to forfeit $8 million in proceeds of wire fraud as well as luxury cars and watches to the foreign government.
Woodberry, a known associate of the now-imprisoned internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, better known as Hushpuppi, recently in a plea declaration submitted at the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division on April 6, pleaded guilty to count one of the indictments, the Peoples Gazette reports.
According to his plea agreement, he is required to pay back the sum of $8 million he fraudulently received from the seven companies that he scammed.
“Defendant understands that by pleading guilty, he will subject to forfeiture to the United States all right, title, and interest that he has in any property constituting or derived from proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the offence,” stated the document containing Mr Ponle’s signed plea declaration.
Woodberry was also asked to waive his rights to the luxury cars, and designer watches he had stashed in Dubai.
The high-end automobiles include Rolls Royce Cullinan with vehicle no J9153, Lamborghini Urus (N4973) and Mercedes-Benz G-class (G68816).
Other items seized are four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, three Audemars Piguet watches, three gold and diamond-studded earrings, and six gold neck chains.
Last year, he forfeited 151.8 Bitcoin to the American government.
On June 10, 2020, Woodberry was arrested in Dubai alongside Ramon Hushpuppi Abbas, who is currently serving an 11-year sentence for a similar fraud charge.
Prior to his arrest, Woodberry was known for rocking and flaunting expensive designer wear and showing off his illicit wealth to his massive Instagram followers, the majority of whom had no idea his luxury lifestyle was funded by cybercrime.
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