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Rivers Court Remands Couple Over Alleged N500m Fraud

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has remanded a couple; Mr Emmanuel Dike and his wife, Ugochi Dike in the Port Harcourt Correctional Center over alleged N500 million fraud.

The couple who are facing five counts of conspiracy and fraud in suit Number FHC/PH/458c/ 2023 were also granted bail by the trial Judge, Justice Patricia I. Ajoku.

When the matter was mentioned in court on Wednesday, the couple separately pleaded not guilty to the charge filed by the Federal Government through the Port Harcourt Zonal Officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

According to the charge, the accused persons allegedly defrauded a company – Clipboard Office Superstores Limited, of the sum of N500 million with the pretence that it was for investment purposes that would yield the company 10 per cent interest.

READ ALSO: Mob Attack Kogi INEC Headquarters

Parts of the counts read, “That you Ugochi Eziaku Dike, Emmanuel Dike, Dike and Phils Associates Ltd.; Kelechi Chigozirim Ahiawe (still at large). and Ampletech Integrated Services Ltd, sometimes between August 24, 2020, and February 15, 2021, at Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to commit a felony, to wit: obtaining money by false pretence, and thereby committed an offence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section l(3) of the Same Act.

“That you Ugochi Eziaku Dike, Emmanuel Dike, Dike and Phil Associates Ltd., Kelechi Chigoirim Ahiawe (still at large). and Ampletech Integrated Services Ltd, at Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court. fraudulently converted to your own use, Five Hundred Million Naira, (N500, 000, 000.00) only, property of Clipboard Office Superstores Limited contrary to Section 383(1) and (2) (a) of the Criminal Code Act, and punishable under section 390 (9) of the same Act.”

Also at the mention of the matter, the defense counsel, Jerome Okeke, told the court that he had filed an 11-paragraph affidavit to support his bail application.

Okeke pleaded with the court to grant his clients bail, assuring that they would be present at all sitting and would not jump bail.

READ ALSO: 25 Dead, 15 Injured In Kwara Tanker Fire

But the prosecution counsel, Dr Ben Ubi who also filed an 18-paragraph affidavit to counter the bail application, told the court to refuse the bail plea.

Reacting to the arguments on the bail application, Justice Ajoku granted the bail application by the defense counsel.

Justice Ajoku granted bail of N1 million each to the couple with a surety that must be up to grade level 12 civil servants in Rivers state and should present a letter of employment and certificate of occupancy.

The court continued that the surety must reside within the jurisdiction of the court, produce passports, photograph and admonish the lawyer to ensure his clients appear in court in the next sitting.

The court, however, adjourned till January 30, 2024, for trial and remanded the accused persons in the Port Harcourt Correctional Center, pending when they meet the bail conditions.

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Metro

27 Year Old Kills Father, Removes His Eye In Abia

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A 27-year-old man, identified as Chinalu Ogbonna, has allegedly killed his father, Maduka Ogbonna, and removed his left eye.

Vanguard gathered that the incident happened at midnight on Monday at a compound opposite Junior Secondary School, Amuzukwu in Umuahia North council.

READ ALSO: Cooking Gas Price Rises By 38% To N16,250

Though the cause of the incident is still sketchy, Vanguard learnt that the suspect who was arrested by the youths of the area confessed to have wanted to use his father for ritual.

Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Abia State Command, ASP Maureen Chinaka,was yet to respond to a text message and calls placed on her mobile number.

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Troops Rescue 10 Kidnap Victims In Kogi

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Troops of the Nigerian Army on Monday, rescued 10 passengers onboard a Peace Mass Transit Bus, who were kidnapped while traveling from Calabar to Abuja.

The passengers were rescued in Kogi.

This is contained in a statement by the Director, Army Public relations, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Nwachukwu said the rescue operation took place at Ogugu Community, along Enugu-Kogi Road in Olamaboro Local Government Area of the state.

He said the troops swiftly mobilised to the scene of the kidnap incident in response to a distress call where the kidnappers had demobilised the bus, abducted the passengers and moved them into the nearby Ette forest.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: One Missing, 15 Rescued In Boat Accident 

According to him, the gallant troops diligently tracked and engaged the armed gang in a fire fight, compelling them to relinquish their hostages.

“The swift and decisive action of the troops led to the successful rescue of the passengers,” he said.

Nwachukwu also said that army troops, in another operation, raided IPOB/ESN Enclaves in Egbuoma/Osiam in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo on Monday.

He said the operation resulted in the neutralisation of one terrorist and recovery of one Mercedes Benz 350 4matic from their camp.

The Army spokesman said the troops in Nasarawa on Monday, quelled an attack on Katakpa village in Toto Local Government Area of the state, following a distress call.

READ ALSO: Rescued Ekiti Kidnapped Schoolchildren, Teachers Discharged From Hospital

He said that an armed group identified as the Bassa militia group had invaded the village and annihilated the Sarkin Katakpa.

According to him, the troops acting on a distress call, embarked on a fighting patrol to the community and successfully repelled the attackers.

“During the incident, troops recovered two AK 47 Rifles, two AK 47 Magazines, two G3 Rifles, two G3 Rifle Magazines, 41 Cartridges of 39mm ball special ammunition and 45 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.

“Troops have dominated the general area and continued further exploits to nab the assailants.

“The Nigerian army remains committed to ensuring safety and security of citizens and will continue to conduct operations to sanitise troubled areas and maintain peace and stability in the country,” he added.

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Six Dead, 20 Injured In Anambra Building Collapse

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The Anambra State Emergency Management Agency has confirmed the death of six people in the building collapse incident that occurred in the commercial city of Onitsha on Monday.

According to the agency, about 20 other people were rescued from the rubbles of the collapsed building. Most of them sustained various levels of injuries and are currently receiving treatment at a nearby hospital around the market.

“About six bodies recovered from the rubbles have been deposited at the morgue, while those who sustained varying degrees of injuries were taken to the nearby hospital for medical attention, rescue efforts are still ongoing,” SEMA officials said in a statement released on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Sets Up Tripartite Economic Advisory C’ttee

The Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has visited the Ochanje building site in the commercial city of Onitsha to inspect the extent of damages and cause of the incident.

While at the scene, the governor promised that he would ensure that the victims of the collapsed building receive justice.

The collapsed three-storey building still under construction, which was meant to serve as a market on completion, collapsed at about 8 pm on Monday, while some of the workers and traders were still in the building.

Soludo who was visibly angry at the scene said he was not aware that the construction of the building was going on at the market.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Three-storey Building Collapses In Lagos During Downpour

He said, “When investigations are completed, the developer, the Chairman of the market and every other person involved in the disaster will be prosecuted and jailed.

“The remaining building under construction by the same developer, near the collapsed one will be demolished immediately after rescue operations on the site have been completed.”

Soludo also stated that any construction in any market in Anambra State without his express approval will be demolished while vowing that every other existing building must pass through an integrity test.

Also, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Beverly Ikpeazu-Nkemdiche also mourned the victims of the collapse and assured the families that the state government would make sure that no one who was culpable in the disaster went unpunished.

READ ALSO: Flood: Many Feared Dead As Church Building Collapses During Service In Anambra

The governor was joined on the visit by top government officials, where he ordered that more excavators be brought to the site of the collapse to help in the rescue operations.

As of the time of filing this report, rescue operations were still ongoing to search for more trapped victims in the rubble.

Earlier today, some yet-to-be-ascertained number of persons have been trapped as a building under construction caved in near the Ochanja market in Onitsha, Anambra State.

It was gathered that the building, meant to serve as a market on completion, collapsed at about 8 pm on Monday with some of the workers still inside the building.

The situation created panic around the area as passers-by and residents were making efforts to rescue the trapped victims from the rubble.

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