Rampaging gunmen suspected to be bandits struck again in Katsina on Wednesday morning and reportedly abducted four men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at Jibia, a border town with the Republic of Niger.
Eyewitness reports said that the Customs men were taken hostage at the Dan-Bedi Customs checkpoint, along with an unspecified number of unsuspecting travellers on the Jibia – Batsari highway at about 10 am.
“The bandits, riding on motorcycles, arrived the Customs checkpoint this morning (Wednesday) and overpowered the officers, seized their weapons and fired gunshots sporadically into the air,” an eyewitness told reporters, adding that, “the gunmen also seized several motorists and passengers and disappeared with them into nearby the Rugu forest.”
When contacted on telephone, the Katsina Customs Public Relations Officer, Peter Duniya, declined to comment on the matter arguing that, “I am on leave.”
But a senior Customs officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Yes, we are aware of the incident but it is still fresh as it just happened this morning (Wednesday) and investigation is still ongoing. We have not even compiled the report and of course, I am not the right person to speak officially on the issue.”
This is the second time within the week that gunmen would abduct persons along the highway in the same area of Jibia. The police confirmed that suspected bandits last Sunday temporarily blocked a section of the Jibia – Batsari road and kidnapped no fewer than 19 motorists and passengers.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, unidentified gunmen equally invaded the Magama-Jibia community, also in Jibia Local Government Area, on Tuesday evening and killed two teenagers as they launched an attack on the villagers.
According to some of the survivors of the attack which occurred at about 10 pm, several other residents especially the youth who were injured during the attack are currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Jibia.
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According to a resident, “when the gunmen came to the area on Tuesday morning, they left their motorcycles outside the community and trekked into Magama-Jibia, with their weapons strapped to their shoulders.
“They moved around and later left to where they had parked their motorcycles. It was later in the night, at about 10.15 pm that they stormed the community from every side, shooting into the air.
“They succeeded in raiding some houses but some of the residents decided to confront them and they came out with sticks, matchets, and other weapons to resist the gunmen.
“It was in the process of resisting the invaders that two young boys were killed by the gunmen while several others were injured.”
For Katsina, acts of armed banditry and kidnapping have virtually become a daily routine with reports of killings and abduction of residents and motorists in parts of the state.
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From the southern parts of Katsina State including Malumfashi and Kafur, to the central area including the university town of Dutsinma and to Jibia in the north-eastern flank, the hoodlums have remained consistent and more daring in their attacks on communities.
The development comes on the heels of certain peace deal and dialogue initiative which government said it had with sections of armed bandits and kidnappers in the state, designed to tackle the menace.
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Court Jails UK Ex-convict One Year For Defrauding Hotel
Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos, on Friday sentenced a United Kingdom ex-convict, Ahmed Adebola, to one year imprisonment for defrauding Radisson Blu Hotel of N4.4 million.
Justice Dada sentenced the defendant after he pleaded guilty to an amended one count of obtaining by false pretence, offence which contravenes Section 312 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had, on May 30, charged the convict on an amended one count of obtaining by false pretence.
The EFCC counsel, Ahmed Yerima, said that the Radisson Blu Hotel Management wrote a petition against the defendant to the commission, after he defrauded the hotel of the sum of N4.4million.
The prosecution submitted that the EFCC received a report from the hotel sometime in December 2020 and alleged that the defendant, who had lodged in their facility, off and on, made payments through credit cards and American Express in favour of the hotel and the payments were recalled by the unified payment system.
Yerima said, “Based on the information gotten between December 15 and 16, 2020, the defendant checked into the hotel again and was arrested based on the earlier allegations against him.
“A search was conducted on him and nine different credit cards, bearing different names, were recovered from him in which six out of the nine were American Express.
“Two United Kingdom driver licences were recovered from him at the point of arrest, all of which contained the same information, including the picture of the defendant and the only difference was the name.
“The defendant said that the cards were given to him by one Jim Collins, whom he met in the UK and he was aware that the credit cards were not legally issued and that he did not know the owners of the card.”
The prosecution further said that an investigation was extended to the National Crimes Agency in the United Kingdom to confirm the authenticity of the cards, the driver licences and the criminal record of the defendant, if any existed.
“The team received a response from the NCA stating that the driver licences were forged documents, including the credit card.
“The NCA also said that the defendant was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment in the UK for offences bordering on fraudulent bank card, motoring offences and others which later resulted in his deportation,” the prosecution said.
Delivering judgement, Justice Dada sentenced the defendant to one year imprisonment.
Dada said, “The defendant is hereby sentenced to one year jail term, having been on bail till now or pay an option of fine of N2 million.
“All the items recovered from him is hereby forfeited to the Federal Government and must write an understatement never to go back to the same crime again.”
Nigerian Jailed 235 years For N525m, €64,000 Fraud, Loses Lekki Houses
Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court, Uyo, has convicted and sentenced Scales Olatunji.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) labelled him “a notorious international fraudster”.
The convict bagged 235 years imprisonment for internet fraud and money laundering.
Olatunji pleaded “not guilty” after arraignment in July 2019 on 45-count charges.
One reads: “That you, Scales Olatunji Ishola “M”, Meraiyebu Charles “M”(at large), Gabriel Adeyemi Olugbenga “M”(at large), Ojomo Oluwatobi Ayodele “M”(at large) and Adekola Oluwatoyin “M”(at large), between January 2017 to October 2018 converted N525,172,580”.
The theft of the funds, which formed part of proceeds of unlawful activities to wit: fraud (Business E-mail Compromise and Identity Theft), violated Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
Also, Olatunji on or about May 15, 2018, sent electronic messages (email) using firstname.lastname@example.org to one Monica Goulmoen of the Charity Association for providing girls and boys in Kobane with a football pitch.
He impersonated Per Ravn Omdal, a former Norwegian Football Association President, demanded and received €64,000.
The offence negates offence contrary to Section 22 (3)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.
Delivering judgment, Justice Okeke convicted Olatunji on all the 45- counts preferred against him by the EFCC.
The judge said the evidence of the prosecution witnesses were consistent and the prosecution established his guilt.
The prosecution was also able to establish the offence of cybercrime as it relates to count six to forty five of the charges.
The judge sentenced Olatunji to seven years imprisonment on counts one to five, and five years imprisonment on counts six to forty-five.
The sentence shall run from the date of arrest. The money in his account will be sent to the affected Norwegian citizens through the EFCC.
Olatunji’s properties in Lekki: House No. 6, Road 2 West-end Estate in Ikota and House No. 10, Donatus Odum Street, Ikate are to be sold and the proceeds restituted to the victims.
The EFCC commenced a probe after the convict was caught on March 20, 2019 at his Ikota residence. The action followed a petition from the Oslo Police District in Norway.
N25.7bn Fraud: Appeal Court Affirms Ex-bank Boss’ Conviction, Reduces Jail Term
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on Thursday affirmed the conviction of former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB Plc, Francis Atuche, for N25.7bn fraud but reduced his sentence of 12 years to six years.
The court also affirmed the conviction of Atuche’s co-convict Ugo Anyanwu, who was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by the lower court for stealing and conspiracy to steal.
Anyanwu’s jail term was also reduced to eight years.
Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court sitting at Ikeja had on June 16, 2021, sentenced Atuche, to 12 years’ imprisonment for N25.7bn fraud in the bank.
While his former Chief Financial Officer, Ugo Anyanwu, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for stealing and conspiracy to steal and Atuche’s wife, Elizabeth, was discharged and acquitted.
But dissatisfied with the judgement of the lower court, Atuche approached the court of Appeal to challenge the judgment.
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