Okeke was named on the Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 For 2016 and was featured on the magazine’s June 2016 cover. A year later, CNBCA named Okeke as a finalist for Young Business Leader of the Year (West Africa).
A Nigerian entrepreneur and a Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 honoree Obinwanne Okeke has been sentenced to a 10-year jail term for computer and wire fraud by an American court.
Popularly known as Invictus Obi, Okeke was found guilty of causing approximately $11 million in known losses to his victims between 2015 and 2019.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to the crimes in June.
“Through subterfuge and impersonation, Obinwanne Okeke engaged in a multi-year global business email and computer hacking scheme that caused a staggering $11 million in losses to his victims,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“Today’s sentence further demonstrates EDVA’s and FBI’s worldwide reach in vigorously pursuing justice on behalf of American victims and others and holding international cybercriminals accountable, no matter where they commit their crimes.”
Okeke, the founder of Invictus Group, has a degree in International Studies and Forensic Criminology and Masters of International Relations and Counter-Terrorism Studies from Monash University in Australia, according to his official profile.
Okeke was named on the Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 For 2016 and was featured on the magazine’s June 2016 cover. A year later, CNBCA named Okeke as a finalist for Young Business Leader of the Year (West Africa).
He was featured regularly in Nigerian and international media. Okeke also earned high praises from Nigerian politicians.
His Invictus Group claims to have investments in oil and gas, construction, energy solutions, technology and agriculture.
As part of the scheme, 33-year old Okeke and other conspirators engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment. In April 2018, a Unatrac executive fell prey to a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials.
The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices. Okeke participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totaling nearly $11 million, which was transferred overseas.
Additionally, Okeke engaged in other forms of cyberfraud, including sending phishing emails to capture email credentials, creating fraudulent web pages, and causing other losses to numerous victims.
“The FBI will not allow cyber criminals free reign in the digital world to prey on U.S. companies,” said Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. “This sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working with our partners at the Department of Justice and our foreign counterparts to locate cyber criminals across the globe and bring them to the United States to be held accountable.”
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
Nearly 5,800 people suspected of killing health workers, selling defective medical equipment and lying about their travel history have been arrested in China for epidemic-related crimes since January, the state prosecutor’s office said.
One case involved a shopper who beat another customer to death for not wearing a mask in a supermarket.
Other cases included a person who deliberately mowed down medical workers with a car, and another was arrested for stabbing a health inspector with a dagger when monitoring temperatures.
Some have also been accused of embezzling money collected from fundraisers to help coronavirus patients, selling defective medical equipment and lying about their travel history or health condition.
“From January to July, 5,797 people were arrested and 6,755 were prosecuted,” the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said in a statement Thursday.
The statement did not specify how many people were still in detention or whether some had already been sentenced.
China has largely brought the spread of the novel coronavirus under control — since it first emerged in the central city of Wuhan in December 2019 — with strict lockdowns, aggressive contact tracing and close monitoring of neighbourhoods.
The country has also deployed a range of smartphone apps to track the whereabouts of people to quickly identify possible cases.
Wearing a mask is mandatory in supermarkets, cinemas or on public transport, and many choose to wear one while outdoors as well, as a safeguard against the virus.
China has not reported any locally transmitted infections in recent days.
A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria against the Edo State government.
In the suit, the union urged the court to freeze the account of the state government over alleged refusal to obey a court order asking the state to offset the seven months salary arrears owed its members since 2015.
It asked the court to enforce the judgment of a Federal High Court which ruled in their favour.
Ruling on the application on Thursday, Justice Okon Abang explained that the suit was filed in bad faith with the aim of crippling the activities of the state government, a few weeks to a major election.
He insisted that the union adopted a careless and nonchalant approach to enforce the judgment secured since January 2014, having failed to take steps to enforce.
The judge questioned why the union surreptitiously approached the court during a vacation to have the entire accounts of the state frozen without stating the exact amount allegedly owed the workers.
While dismissing the suit, he described the action of the applicant as a gold-digging exercise, adding that it was speculative and laced with ulterior motive aimed at satisfying the interests of members of the union to the detriment of the state.
Members of the union had joined their counterparts in the 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in 2014 to protest over the alleged failure of the state governments to grant autonomy to the judiciary.
The trial of alleged kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans continued on Thursday at the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.
Evans’ counsel, Mr Victor Opara, told the court that the police hastily paraded the suspect without obtaining a statement from him.
The lawyer was cross-examining an Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Inspector Idowu Haruna, in the trial-within-trial of Evans and his co-defendants for the attempted kidnap of the Chairman of the Young Shall Grow Motors, Vincent Obianodo.
He told the court that his client was arrested on June 10, 2017, and was paraded the next day as a kidnapper without first giving a formal police statement.
“His capture was celebrated nationwide, he was paraded on June 11, 2017, and you immediately concluded that you had arrested a notorious kidnapper before his statement was taken.
“The statement of the defendant was recorded for the first time on July 1, 2017. His statement was taken without his lawyer being present,” Evans’ lawyer told the police officer.
He added, “I can also confront you with photographs alleging serious beating of the first defendant (Onwuamadike) while he was in your custody.”
The IPO, in his response, admitted that Evans’ statement was not taken immediately he was arrested at his Magodo residence in Lagos.
He also testified that the first defendant did not say that he would opt out of having a lawyer present.
Under re-examination by the prosecution counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule, the police officer explained why Evans’ statement was not immediately taken by the police when he was apprehended.
“Immediately the first defendant was arrested, he gave numerous information on other gang members and his victims. It took us a lot of time to be able to investigate and get information on this case.
“We had to liaise with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of FESTAC, that is where he gave his statement,” Haruna said.
Evans and his co-defendants are facing seven counts of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, attempt to kidnap, and sales and transfer of firearms.
According to the prosecution, they committed the offences on August 27, 2013, on Third Avenue in FESTAC.
Meanwhile, the court also took testimonies in another related case involving Evans and Victor Aduba, a dismissed member of the Nigerian Army.
Both men allegedly kidnapped a businessman, Mr Sylvanus Ahamonu, and the police said they held him hostage for at least nine weeks and collected a ransom of $420,000 from his family.
In the case, Evans counsel also claimed that the police hastily concluded that his client collected a $420,000 as ransom from Ahamonu based solely on the allegation of the complainant.
He said, “He wasn’t arrested on June 28, 2014, on the day of the alleged incident but years later, and prior to the victim (Ahamonu) giving his statement, you had not had any contact with the victim.”
“In Exhibit A (the statement), the victim talked about assassins and not kidnappers. He said they talked about killing him and not kidnapping him.”
“The $420,000 were paid in three tranches by Ahamonu’s brother, Dominic ($200,000), Ahamonu’s wife ($200,000), and one Onyebuchi ($20,000).
“Did you go through bank records to ascertain whether money was withdrawn, and the source of the alleged ransom? Did you also trace the phone numbers used to negotiate the alleged ransom? Did you do a fingerprint analysis of the guns recovered from their alleged hideout at Igando?” Opara asked the IPO.
Responding, Haruna testified that the allegation of $420,000 ransom being paid was based solely on Ahamonu’s statement to the police.
He added that bank records were not traced during the investigation.
The police officer said, “We did not do a fingerprint analysis of the guns recovered from their hideout at Igando. For security reasons, I cannot reveal the numbers used to call during the incident.”
“We did not match those numbers with those used to call the defendant due to issues with the service provider. The $420,000 ransom was paid in the dead of the night,” Haruna revealed.
While being cross-examined by Aduba’s counsel, Mr Emmanuel Ochai, Haruna explained the role of the dismissed soldier in the kidnap of Ahamonu.
“The second defendant (Aduba) did not negotiate ransom; he collected the ransom.
“After he was arrested, he was first taken to an army barracks for disciplinary action. Four AK47 and AK49 rifles were used for the operation,” Haruna stated.
The US continues to grapple with racial injustice as protests continue in several cities in the wake of shootings.
Relative calm returned to Kenosha, Wisconsin, overnight Wednesday into Thursday after two people were shot dead during protests the night before, while unrest in Minneapolis prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency, as the United States continues to grapple with racial injustice.
Kenosha authorities had on Wednesday identified the officer who fired seven shots at the back of Jacob Blake, paralysing the Black man, and sparking anti-racism protests.
After three nights of civil strife – including arson, vandalism and the shootings that killed two people on Tuesday night – calm appeared to take hold in Kenosha.
Violent protests had erupted on Wednesday night in the Midwestern city of Minneapolis, 598km (372 miles) northwest of Kenosha, following the death of a Black homicide suspect who, police say, shot himself.
The governor of Minnesota declared a state of peacetime emergency.
The city has been the centre of protests following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, who died in May after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd’s death and further violence against Black people have led to broader anti-racism protests and demonstrations against police brutality in cities across the US.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey imposed a curfew following what he described as mass looting of businesses, destruction of property and unrest. Authorities also said misinformation was spread concerning the death of the suspect.
A video posted on social media, which could not be verified immediately by Reuters news agency, showed shots being fired and ransacking of shops.
Minneapolis police posted a surveillance video of the shooting on Twitter, saying that the victim, a suspect in a homicide, committed suicide and that no weapons were fired by police.
The video shows a Black man shooting himself at the entrance of a building as a nearby group of people ran away and police approached the scene.
Other unverified videos posted on social media appeared to show police shooting demonstrators with less-lethal munitions as they moved away from authorities.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency in Minneapolis and said the National Guard would be deployed in the area.
“Dangerous, unlawful behavior will not be tolerated. The Minnesota National Guard and State Patrol are headed to Minneapolis to help restore order,” Walz said in a statement.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul had on Wednesday identified Rusten Sheskey as the white police officer who shot Blake after the latter opened his car door on Sunday. Blake’s three young sons were in the car. Kaul also said investigators found a knife on the floor of Blake’s car.
Rifle-toting civilians had come to Kenosha during the protest, among them 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who was arrested on Wednesday on homicide charges in connection with Tuesday night’s shootings. Rittenhouse, a police supporter, was arrested at his home in Antioch, Illinois, about 30km (20 miles) away.
Anti-racism protests have become a polarising issue ahead of the November 3 presidential election, which Vice President Mike Pence and other Republicans described as a choice between “law and order” and lawlessness at their national convention on Wednesday.
“The hard truth is you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” Pence told the crowd seated on a lawn at historic Fort McHenry in Baltimore in reference to the Democratic challenger to President Donald Trump.
Teenager charged over killings at Kenosha protest Police in Portland, Oregon, had on Wednesday declared a demonstration near a US immigration agency building as an “unlawful gathering”, ordering the crowds to disperse. Police said they made 11 arrests in the city which has been the scene of weeks of anti-racism protests and unrest.
Violent protests also erupted in Oakland, California, resulting in the arrests of several people after multiple fires were set during the demonstrations, according to police.
Oakland police said on Twitter a fire was started at the Alameda Superior Court by people who protested in solidarity with Wisconsin demonstrators on Wednesday.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) postponed three play-off games scheduled for Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks, protesting against racial injustice, boycotted Game 5 of their play-off series against the Orlando Magic.
NBA players and officials were to meet on Thursday to decide whether the boycott would continue.
Tennis player Naomi Osaka pulled out of the semi-finals of a tennis tournament in Ohio on Wednesday in protest against the shooting of Blake.
Osaka, who has a Japanese mother and a Haitian father and has been a vocal supporter of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, said in a social media post: “Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman.”
Three days after he was rearrested, the suspected serial killer in Oyo State has revealed how he escaped from police custody and went back into the dastardly act for which he was apprehended earlier.
Nineteen-year-old Sunday Shodipe made the revelation on Wednesday when he was paraded along with other criminal suspects at the Police Command Headquarters in Ibadan, the state capital.
Those also paraded by the police include members of a robbery gang suspected to have perpetrated the bank heist in the Okeho area of Ibadan, as well as some suspected kidnappers among others.
During a chat with reporters, Shodipe who spoke in Yoruba disclosed that he went back to Akinyele Local Government Area, where he was said to have killed some residents, to perpetrate another killing on the instruction of his handler.
He said, “My escape from police custody was masterminded by my handler, a herbalist known as Mr Idris Adedokun. When we were together in the cell, he called one of the police officers – one Inspector Funsho to allow us take a bath.
“Inspector Funsho did not allow us, but after three days, my handler assured me that he had everything under control and that I would soon be able to take my bath and run more errands for him.
“He later told Inspector Funsho that he needed dry gin as a herbalist for his personal use but he was denied access to such luxury in detention. My handler’s lawyer came to the police station in Mokola and took N200,000 from him to hold brief for him.”
The suspect added, “My handler told me that my confession landed us in trouble, that I should not have confessed. After my escape, I went back to Akinyele on my handler’s instructions and matchetted another woman but she did not die in the process.
“While on the run, I usually go to Bodija market with caps to hide my identity because I knew I was wanted by the police. I do not know those who captured me but I suspected when they asked for my help to push their car but I didn’t run.
“I was not at rest because I knew the police were after me. I was caught along Bodija but I live in Moniya.”
Back In Custody The Commissioner of Police in Oyo, Chucks Enwonwu, who paraded Shodipe and others, confirmed the killing of another person by the suspect.
He identified the victim as one Mrs Oladeji Funmilayo who did not die during the attack but lost the struggle at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan where she was declared dead.
“Without mincing words, all police tactical teams, including the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Anti-Kidnapping Squad, Swift Response Squad, Federal and Safer Highway patrol teams… have been working assiduously to keep crimes and criminality in the state to the barest minimum and also make the good citizens of Oyo State sleep with both eyes closed,” Enwonwu said.
He added, “Consequently, this has yielded positive results and some criminal elements, including those arrested at the robbery incident of July 28 at a first generation bank in Okeho, the arrest of the prime suspect in the serial killings of Akinyele Local Government Area, Moniya Ibadan – Sunday Shodipe a 19-year-old who escaped from lawful custody in August 11, 2020 but rearrested on August 23 at Bodija area of Ibadan.
“The escape has generated many ripples considering the circumstances behind his escape.”
Enwonwu disclosed that the prize of N500,000 provided by the Oyo State government for the rearrest of Shodipe had been given to the bounty hunters.
He told reporters that the Command has made headway in series of high profile criminal investigations in the state.
According to the police commissioner, the suspected serial killer is back in custody and some of the Okeho bank robbery syndicate in which a mobile police officer was killed have been arrested.
He thanked the residents of the state for valid intelligent tips that made the arrests possible and assured them that the police were better equipped to confront and win the war against crime in Oyo.
‘I Had No Choice’ Another suspect who was one of the bank robbers in Okeho, Mohammed Ilyasu, also narrated his ordeal.
Ilyasu claimed that as an electrician, he was invited to Ibadan for work but he never knew he was being engaged for a robbery operation.
He explained that he got to know about the robbery plot when he got to Okeho, stressing that he declined to be a part of the robbery group.
“I am an electrician and a graduate of the University of Abuja since 2010. I studied economics and served in Ekiti state in 2011/2012,” the suspect told reporters.
A photo taken on August 26, 2020, shows to operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad at the Police Command Headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
He said, “There were three people in the car, so he (the man who invited Ilyasu) brought out a pistol that I have received secret information that I can’t leave the group but participate in the robbery and after series of threat, I caved in.
“I had no choice; that was how I got into it. I regret everything that happened. The night I came, he brought out a rifle and taught me how to use it, instructing me to just shoot it into the air during the robbery.”
Shodipe, who was on the run for 12 days, was rearrested with the help of private investigators who came from Akure, the Ondo State capital.
He was handed over to the police and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, thereafter, took him into custody.
Four AK-47 rifles, two assault rifles, four locally made pistols, as well as live and expended ammunition were among the items recovered from the suspects.
The police have discovered another container filled with banned drugs at the APM Terminal in the Apapa area of Lagos State.
Noble Reporters Media gathered that the 40-foot container with number tcnu9465832 was intercepted by personnel of the Area ‘B’ Police Command in collaboration with operatives of other security agencies.
The container was said to have landed on Lagos shores on Friday night and was offloaded into the international container terminal which has its operational headquarters in Hague, Netherlands.
Shortly after its arrival, the Commander of Area ‘B’ Police Command, Soji Akinbayo, had notified all relevant agencies at the port for a joint inspection.
They include officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the Nigeria Customs Service, among others.
The container is said to be filled with contraband drugs concealed with iron brushes, making it the third of such to be intercepted by the security agencies.
The items seized include 485 cartons of tradol, 122 cartons of tramol, 150 cartons vitaglobin syrups, 127 cartons of bonjela antiseptic, seven cartons of cigatrim powder, and 80 cartons of scrubbing brush.
According to the police, the containers were imported by the same set of suspects with origin from Pakistan via Europe (Hamburg) to the port in Apapa.
Noble Reporters Media had reported how the security operatives intercepted the first and the second containers also filled with banned drugs.
Protests erupted in the US city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, after police shot a black man in the back several times from close range as he got into a car on Sunday evening, according to cellphone video of the incident.
The man, named as Jacob Blake by Wisconsin governor Tony Evers, was airlifted to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee and was in serious condition, Kenosha police said.
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin,” Evers said on Twitter.
“While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.
“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country.”
Police said the shooting occurred when they were responding to a domestic incident at about 5:11pm.
Cellphone footage of the incident shows a black man followed by two police officers with guns drawn as he goes around the front of a gray SUV.
As he opens the door and tries to get into the driver’s seat one of the officers pulls on his T-shirt and he appears to be shot repeatedly in the back.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Blake’s three sons were in the car at the time and he had been trying to break up a fight between two women.
“They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever,” Crump said on Twitter.
Crump represents the family of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 when a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
After nightfall in Kenosha, a crowd of protestors faced off against riot police, according to footage posted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Kenosha city later declared an overnight curfew.
Wisconsin Department of Justice said its criminal investigation division was investigating the shooting.
“The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave,” it said in a statement early Monday.
The death of Floyd ignited massive nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.
The Lagos State Government has arraigned a driver, Happiness Elebiju, suspected to have caused the incident that killed 12 persons on-board a commercial boat along the Ilashe waterfront community in the state in July.
Elebiju was arraigned on 10 counts of involuntary manslaughter before Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on Monday.
The charge was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, who told the court that the accident was caused by the defendant’s action of carrying passengers exceeding the capacity of the boat.
Adeyemi decried that the overcrowding and the illegal activities of boat operators led to the drowning of the 12 passengers.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts.
Thereafter, the DPP asked the court to order the remand of the defendant at the correctional centre.
She also informed the trial judge that the state was ready for trial as two prosecution witnesses were already in court to testify against the defendant.
The defence counsel, however, asked the court for time to prepare for the trial.
In her ruling, Justice Oyefeso ordered the remand of the defendant at the correctional centre and adjourned until Thursday for the commencement of the trial.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has denied the allegation of conspiring to witch-hunt anyone.
Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, faulted the claim in a statement on Monday.
He was reacting to the comments made by a lawyer, Victor Giwa, who claimed that the minister ordered his arrest because he refused to implicate Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Giwa made the allegation in a statement on Sunday entitled, ‘Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) Is Using Donald Wokoma, My Erstwhile Client Against Me For My Refusal To Testify And Indict Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of EFCC, At The Justice Ayo Salami Panel Investigating The EFCC Boss’.
He explained that he was invited by the Justice Ayo Salami led panel, which is investigating the corruption allegations against the suspended EFCC boss, on August 18 and 19.
The lawyer, among many other claims, said he was asked to testify against Magu through an alleged conspiracy between the AGF and Donald Wokoma, a former special adviser to the Vice President whom he said he represented and secured a judgement in his favour.
But Gwandu described the allegation against the minister as ‘flimsy’, stressing that they were untrue.
According to him, Malami never met with Giwa and has never discussed any issue with Wokoma, nor asked anybody, personally or by proxy, to engage Giwa to testify against Magu.
The minister’s spokesman insisted that Malami, who did not set up the investigation panel to probe the suspended EFCC boss, was not saddled with any responsibility to procure witnesses for the panel.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation is never a member of the panel nor does it fall within the realm of the AGF’s authority to invite witness(es) for a presidential probe panel.
“The claim by Victor Giwa, Esq is therefore fictitious, unfounded and a figment of the imagination of mischief-makers who want to create unnecessary attention and tarnish the good image of the Attorney-general of the Federation and Minister of Justice and labouring incessantly these days, to falsely cast aspersion on the AGF’s hard-earned reputation,” Gwandu stated.
He, however, challenged Giwa to come and substantiate his allegation with details of when he met with the AGF on the issue, where they met, and how the meeting went.
Gwandu also asked the lawyer to answer whether the minister met him in person or sent a representative, in what capacity was the representative if there was any, and what the terms of their engagement were.
He asked Giwa to reveal what the purported offer to testify against Magu was, how it was made, as well as to name who the witnesses were.
Nobody is entitled to condemn Mr Ibrahim Magu before he is afforded the opportunity to defend himself in the corruption allegations levelled against him.
Mr Wahab Shittu, who is the lawyer to the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said this in a statement sent to on Sunday.
He insisted that his client was innocent of the corruption allegations against him, although he has yet to be given the chance to prove his innocence.
The legal practitioner explained that the statement was in reaction to an online publication that the panel led by Justice Ayo Salami investigating Magu had recommended his sack and prosecution to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He noted that following an earlier report of similar nature, the presidential panel advised them to ignore the story.
According to Shittu, the suspended EFCC boss is yet to formally present his defence and proceedings are ongoing, and witnesses are still lined up for next week beginning from Monday.
He decried that despite repeated demands, his client has not been served with copies of allegations against him while the instrument embodying the Terms of Reference was not served on him until 35 days after proceedings had commenced.
The lawyer added that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, whose memo triggered the proceedings, has yet to be summoned to testify to support the allegations against Magu.
Among other issues raised, Shittu said his client was unable to gain access to official documents and other information necessary for his defence due to his suspension from office.
While the presidential panel was investigating the allegations of corruption against Magu, President Buhari affirmed his suspension from office on July 10.
A statement from the government explained that the presidential directive was to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.
Read the full statement by Magu’s lawyer below:
23rd August 2020.
SALAMI PANEL CAN’T SUBMIT INTERIM REPORT WITHOUT HEARING FROM MAGU- WAHAB SHITTU
Gentlemen of the Press,
Based on press inquiries on my clients’ response to the story on Media captioned “Exclusive, Salami panel asks Buhari to fire, prosecute Magu for corruption”, we wish to state as follows:
We are unaware of the source of the story and we are actually shocked that such a false story is being orchestrated in the public space, contrary to the stage of ongoing proceedings before the panel. We wish to state with high sense of responsibility that our client is yet to formally present his defence. Proceedings are ongoing and witnesses are still lined up for next week beginning from Monday. Please note that the earlier report of similar import published by The Pilot was brought to the attention of the panel and we were advised by the chairman of the panel to ignore the story. Our attitude is also to ignore this latest story as falsehood not reflecting the realities on ground. We all know that in spite of repeated demands, our client has not been served with copies of allegations against him. The instrument embodying the Terms of Reference was not served on my client until August 8, 2020 (35 days after proceedings have commenced). That the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), whose memo triggered the proceedings, is yet to be summoned to testify to support the allegations against our client. He who “asserts must prove”. That our client was excluded from the initial stages of the proceedings with several witnesses testifying in his absence. That counsel to our client was not allowed to cross-examine many of the witnesses who had testified until recently. That our client is yet to be granted access to petitions/presentations, case files and exhibits admitted in the proceedings. Please note that we have written to the panel to that effect. That our client was accosted on the street and compulsorily requested to appear “immediately” before the panel without opportunity to access documents to adequately prepare his defence. That our client was subsequently detained for ten days after appearing before the panel in unpleasant circumstances. This detention is not covered by the Terms of Reference arising from the instrument constituting the judicial commission of inquiry. That our client, owing to his suspension from office, is unable to have access to official documents and other information necessary for his defence. That cases pending before superior courts of records such as Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and The Supreme Court are being reviewed in the proceedings. We believe that this development is subjudice and unhealthy for our jurisprudence. That witnesses appearing before the panel were not sworn on oath before giving evidence as stipulated under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, 2004 on whose authority the instrument setting up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry is derived. It is curious and worrisome that an administrative panel of inquiry headed by His Lordship, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, having sat and taken evidence (both oral and documentary) in the past one month, has suddenly metamorphosed into a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. How this comes within contemplation of a commission of the Tribunal of Inquiry Act, 2004 is very questionable. We also raise serious objection to piecemeal release of the so-called interim report in the social media, particularly the WHISTLER online medium which claimed to have seen the interim report. It is instructive to state that the online medium went ahead to recklessly engaged in libelous publication where it listed individuals, and companies that being investigated for corruption by the EFCC allegedly paid bribes to my client. We are shocked that such a libelous publication against my client without hearing from him. This panel must address this weighty issue before the commencement of today’s proceedings. The Salami panel also revealed the identities of eight suspects that allegedly paid the bribes to Magu through pastor Omale and Shanono. Shanono allegedly received NGN570,698,500 from China Zhonghao Nigeria limited through the Zenith Bank account 1018895662 of his company, Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Ltd. “The transfers were in about 43 tranches between 5th December 2014 and 23rd June, 2015. The china Zhonghao Coy is being investigated by the EFCC for abandoning a road contract awarded to the company by the Zamfara State Government between 2012 and 2019”, the panel noted. An aide to a formal managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nathniel Uyo, was alleged to have paid the sum of N10 million into an Ecobank Account Number 3912014141 of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry on 09/06/2018. The report said the former NDDC MD “was then being investigated by the EFCC over an alleged attempt to bribe members of the Akwa-Ibom State APC Appeal Committee in Abuja”. Pastor Omale, according to the Salami panel, also received N10 million from a Bureau De Change operator, 7*7 BDC Limited, through his Church’s Ecobank account. The report said that the BDC was being investigated by the EFCC for, “receiving over N1.6 billion (N1,600,000,000), part of the N27 billion (N27,000,000,000) Insurance Premiums looted during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan”. A former Chairman of the Niger State Pilgrims Agency, Liman Kantigi, who was being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly misappropriating funds during his tenure at the agency, also allegedly paid N200 million bribe to Magu through Shanono. Kantigi, through his company, Sadiq Air Travels, allegedly transferred N200 million into the Access Bank Account of Shanono’s company, the report said. Weeks before paying the alleged bribe, the EFCC was said to have traced N4 billion to two Guaranty Trust Bank accounts linked to Kantigi. A government contractor, A.G Ferrero & Co. had also allegedly paid N213 million to another company belonging to Shanono, Newttech Aluminium and Roofing Service Ltd. “A.G Ferrero & Co. was a contractor to Jigawa State Government during the tenure fo Sule Lamido between 2007 and 2013. Lamido was investigated by the EFCC during the period”. The report said. The Salami panel said Pastor Omale, through his Church, also received N1.3 million from the company being investigated for alleged link to EFCC’s N1.5 billion money laundering case against a former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye. According to the panel, “Apartment Le Paradisi transferred One million three hundred and twenty thousand naira (N1,320,000.00) into Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry Eco Bank Account Number 3912014143, on 22/04/2014. The company had testified before the EFCC, in respect of a case involving the former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye who was then being investigated for laundering about One billion five hundred million naira (N1,500,000,000.00). Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, was alleged to have paid N30,744,000 to Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Limited over his investigation for alleged looting of N6.3 billion while serving as governor of the state. Senator Jonah David Jang transferred the sum of thirty million seven hundred and forty-four thousand naira (N30,744,000.00) into the UBA account Number 1018895662 of Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Ltd, on 18th July 2016. Senator Jang, a former Governor of Plateau State is being investigated by the EFCC for alleged looting of Six Billion three hundred million naira (N6.3bn) belonging to Plateau State Government”, said the report”. The entirety of the publication above is first-class falsehood from the pit of hell. None of the issues arose from the proceedings of the judicial commission of inquiry. I recall Pastor Omale appearing before the panel to confirm openly that none of the transfers into the church’s accounts emanated from Magu and that Magu never donated to his personal or church account. It is also instructive to note that no character by the name Shanono ever appeared before the judicial commission of inquiry. The purveyors of this fake news may assume they are destroying the sterling image of Magu, but I have news for them. Majority of Nigerians however cannot be fooled. I can only refer to the testimony of former SGF Babachir Lawal on Magu thus “But now in the case of Magu, the narrative is that corruption is fighting back. These are the impressions and the consequences of such conducts. Initially, I had the feeling that the system would come after Magu, especially the press and social media. If you are very discerning, you will know they are with him. The preponderance of opinions is in support of Magu’s position. The views being laid out are as if it is a witch-hunt. There are better ways to end Magu’s reign because no matter what anybody tells you, Magu tried. I used to joke that if you are a thief and you are caught by Magu, nobody can release you unless you cut off his hands. – Culled from The Punch Newspapers.
Media front-page lead story of Sunday 23rd August 2020 in a banner headline reported “Magu May Face More Investigations, Criminal Prosecution” I am at a loss of how the paper arrived at this conclusion when it is clear to all that the only thing going for Magu is his innocence. We will not join further issues on the publication with the paper at this stage.
We wish to confirm that the proceedings are still ongoing, and my client is yet to present his defence. We are therefore shocked at the suggestion that an interim report has been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari. We all know that this is a democracy anchored on respect for the rule of law. Central to the rule of law is the element of fair hearing. Section 36(1) of 1999 Constitution (as amended) is explicit on this. It provides;
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.”
We urge those bent on prejudicing the proceedings of the panel by planting false stories in the public space to think of the interest of our country and not prejudge our client whose commitment all along is service to the country. The only thing keeping our client going in spite of the desire of mischief-makers to pitch him unfairly against the authorities is his conviction of his innocence. Please no one is entitled to condemn our innocent client before he is heard or before he is afforded the opportunity of defending himself on the merits.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has warned police officers in Oyo State against complacency following the rearrest of the suspected serial killer, Sunday Shodipe.
The suspect was rearrested on Sunday after he escaped from the police custody at Mokola police station in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
In a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, the IGP directed that all hands must be on deck to bring the case to a positive and successful closure.
Read Full Statement Below:
In reply please quote Ref No. CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.3/6 Date: 23rd August 2020
The Director of News …………………………….
SUSPECTED OYO SERIAL KILLER, SUNDAY SHODIPE, BACK IN POLICE CUSTODY
Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Oyo State Police Command, have re-arrested the notorious murder suspect, Sunday Shodipe who escaped from lawful custody on 11th August 2020. He was re-arrested today, Sunday, 23rd August 2020 by Police operatives at the Bodija area of Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital.
It would be recalled that the erstwhile fugitive is a prime suspect in multiple murder of innocent citizens at Akinyele Local Government Area, Moniya, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM,mni while commending the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Command, CP Joe Nwachukwu Enwonwu and his Team for a job well done, equally expressed his sincere appreciation to the citizens for their support and understanding while the manhunt for the rearrested Shodipe lasted.
Meanwhile, the IGP has warned against any form of complacency on the part of the operatives of the Oyo State Police Command, stressing that all hands must be on deck to bring the case to a positive and successful closure.
DCP FRANK MBA FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER FORCE HEADQUARTERS ABUJA
The Oyo State Police Command has rearrested the suspected serial killer, Sunday Shodipe.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Gbenga Fadeyi confirmed the development to Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) on Sunday.
Mr Fadeyi did not give details of where the suspect is being kept at the time of this report.
His arrest comes some days after he escaped from the police custody at Mokola police station in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Shodipe, who was said to be involved in the series of killings in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state, had been declared wanted by the police.
The nineteen-year-old was earlier arrested by the police and paraded along with two other suspects on July 17 at the Oyo State Police Command.
The suspects were later charged to court but remanded in police custody.
Barely a month after their arraignment, Shodipe escaped from lawful custody on August 8.
Makinde Seeks Rearrest Following the disappearance of the serial killer, the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, ordered security operatives to ensure the rearrest of Shodipe.
Governor Makinde said the re-arrest of the suspected mastermind of at least six ritual killings in Ibadan, must be made a top priority of security operatives.
According to him, the state government places a premium on the security of lives and properties in the state and residents should remain calm and not take laws into their hands.
At a town hall meeting, the governor who was represented by his Special Adviser on Security, Fatai Owoseni, said he (Governor Makinde) shared the pains of the people of Akinyele over the incessant killings in the area, stressing that people must continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials to bring an end to the menace in the area.
“All of us have followed the incidents in Akinyele; the arrest of the principal suspect in the case and, of course, his escape from custody, after being arraigned in court.
“We are here in this Town Hall meeting and Governor Makinde has directed that we should let the people in the community know that as governor, he shares their pain; and as people of Oyo State, we share in the pain and what has happened is condemnable and unacceptable in all materials particular,” Owoseni who is a retired Commissioner of Police said.
IGP Orders Rearrest Similarly, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, also ordered the rearrest of a suspected serial killer.
Condemning the unfortunate escape of the suspect, Adamu asked the Commissioner of Police in Oyo to intensify efforts and ensure his prompt rearrest.
The IGP asked the police commissioner to speed up investigations into the circumstances that led to the escape of the suspect.
He deployed additional investigative aides to Oyo to complement the efforts of the State Police Command in the ongoing manhunt.
Thereafter, the Oyo State Police Command promised a 500,000 thousand naira reward to anyone who avails the State Command of useful information that will lead to the re-arrest of the suspected serial killer.
Five suspects have been arrested with human skulls in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State.
They were arrested and paraded at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the south-south region of the country.
Speaking during a press conference in Calabar on Friday, the State Commandant of NSCDC, Danjuma Elisha, said the suspects were apprehended following a raid on a compound in Ogoja area.
“This is a case of suspected cultism, ritualists in Ogoja Local Government Area. They were found with all the items they used in their activities.
“We raided the place because it is a compound. Eventually, four of them were found to be the people involved. So we are targeting them this time for the public to see,” he said.
When asked on the command’s response in tackling the menace of cultism in the state, Elisha said the NSCDC, police and other security agencies were doing their best.
He, however, revealed that the state government has taken decisive actions by demolishing houses suspected to be linked to cultists and their leaders, adding that security agencies have been supporting efforts of the government.
He said the suspects will be handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Abdulkadir Jimoh, said the State Police Command will continue to strengthen the security situation in the state.
The police boss also warned that those caught in criminal acts must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Unknown gunmen on Friday attacked a police station at Ikolaba residential area in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Confirming the attack, the Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo state command, Gbenga Fadeyi told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) during a phone conversation that he got wind of the attack around 9pm and was not sure of the level of damage yet.
Fadeyi added that the Ikolaba police station has been fortified by a tactical team while investigations are ongoing .
The motive of the gunmen is yet to be ascertained but there are unconfirmed reports that a policeman was killed in the ensuing shootout with the police.
A woman identified as Mrs Chizoba Eke, who was declared missing in Rivers State, has been found, days after she was abducted.
Chizoba was recovered from a well on Thursday in an uncompleted building at Igwuruta community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
The mother of two, who was kidnapped from her home along with her six-month-old baby on Monday, was thrown into the well after severe beatings by her abductor.
Luck, however, ran out on the suspect when he was intercepted with his victim’s baby by a team of policemen on a ‘stop and search’ operation at Omerelu, a boundary community between Rivers and Imo States.
Chizoba’s husband, Eke Eke, confirmed his wife’s abduction and rescue to Noble Reporters Media on Friday.
He disclosed that he was invited by the police to come to identify the baby, having lodged a complaint about his missing wife and baby.
According to Eke who hails from Imo State, the suspect is known to him in the area as Mr Chinedu and had attempted to rape his wife when she was pregnant.
Chizoba, who was in pain due to the head injuries she sustained, also narrated her ordeal to Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).
She explained that the suspect came to her house, claiming that her husband wanted her to come to Chinedu’s house to collect some money.
On his part, the Pastor of the Assemblies of God Church in Omoduku, where the victim’s family worships, Reverend Clinton Orie, believes it is the grace of God that kept the woman alive for three days inside the well.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers, Nnamdi Omoni, also confirmed the incident to Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).
He said the Divisional Police Officer at the police station in Igwuruta informed him that a woman was immediately taken to the hospital after she was rescued from the well.
Omoni promised to provide more details on the incident later.
A Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court presided over by Mr Isaac Ajim on Friday remanded the lawmaker representing Katsina-Ala East state constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly, Honourable Jonathan Agbidye in prison custody for alleged criminal conspiracy, armed robbery and kidnapping.
Agbidye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was remanded with one Denen Zuamo of Katsina-Ala town for the alleged offence.
Earlier, the police prosecutor, Fidelis Ogbobe told the court that on May 22, 2018, a Toyota Hilux van with registration number SWA-215-FM and other valuables belonging to Apin Public Health Initiatives was snatched at gunpoint along Katsina-Ala -Tordonga road in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of the state to an unknown destination.
He said that during police investigation, the duo was arrested with the said vehicle was re-registered as MKD-992-AD in Makurdi.
The prosecutor said a further investigation by the police revealed that Hon. Agbidye, Zuamo and others now at large conspired and belonged to a gang of armed robbers and terrorists headed by the notorious and wanted kingpin, Terwase Akwaza alias ‘Ghana’ who snatched, robbed and abducted the staff of Apin Public Health Initiatives.
He said the accused persons committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2) A and B and section 6(b) of the Robbery and Fire Arms (Special Provisions) Act, 2004, and Hostage, Kidnapping, Secret Cult and Similar Activities Law of Benue State, 2017.
No plea was taken for want of jurisdiction.
The prosecuting counsel told the court that investigation into the matter was still on and asked the court for another date to enable the police to complete their investigation.
Counsel to the accused persons, Barrister Terhemen Oscar Aorabe did not oppose the application for another date.
He, however, informed the court that he will formally file and apply for the bail of his client on another date.
The trial Magistrate adjourned the case to October 12, 2020, for further mention.
As at the time of this report, Hon. Agbidye and Mr Zuamo were being conveyed to the Federal Correctional Facility in Makurdi.
Three citizens of the Republic of Niger have been arrested in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State over arms smuggling.
Speaking during a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the Coordinator of defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche said the suspects are members of a notorious arms smuggling syndicate.
He explained that the foreigners smuggled the special ammunition into the country by concealing them in their vehicle.
Sokoto, usually referred to as Sokoto State to distinguish it from the city of Sokoto, is located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near to the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River
“Troops of Operation Sahel Sanity deployed at Forward Operating Base Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State on the 15th of August after an undercover operation successfully smashed a notorious illegal arms smuggling syndicate who specialise in massive arms supply to bandits in the northwest from across the international borders.
“The three suspects, all Nigeriens were intercepted at Dantudu in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State with six AK-47 rifles, two AK-47 rifle magazines and 2,415 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition concealed in various parts of their vehicles,” he said.
Speaking further, the defence spokesman said some of the nation’s “security challenges have an external influence.”
Enenche recalled that two foreigners were also arrested in Niger State recently over arms smuggling, adding that the Armed Forces will not relent in tackling the security challenges in the country.
Sokoto has been experiencing a series of attacks from bandits recently with the latest happening on August 17 in the same local government.
Just four days ago, three suspected arms smugglers – Alhaji Adamu Alhassan, Salisu Adamu and Abdullahi Sani were arrested by the troops following credible intelligence.
The suspects were said to be citizens of the Republic of Niger.
The military authorities said preliminary investigation revealed that the dangerous consignment was meant for some bandits in Isah Local Government Area of the state.