Two suspected fraudsters, Ibraheem Balogun and Adeyinka Adebola, have told the police in Lagos that they had been defrauding unsuspecting Nigerians for more than 10 years.
Balogun and Adebola were arrested on Tuesday by the Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS) of the Zone II Police Command, on the way to their shrine at Abule Titun in Obafemi Owodem Local Government Area of Ogun State. The squad led CSP Gbenga Megbope, also rescued a 64-year-old nurse, Goodluck Ogbodu, at the shrine. It was learnt that Balogun, who lives at Ugheli with the nurse, lured the victim from Delta State to their shrine to help him find a lasting solution to his back pain. But the suspects later defrauded Ogbodu of N200,000.
It was learnt that the police had been on the trail of the suspected kidnappers cum fraudsters before they were arrested when they were taking Ogbodu to their shrine. Ogbodu, who thanked the police for saving his life from the kidnappers’ shrine, described the operation as a divine intervention.
He said: “I know the leader of the gang, Ibraheem Balogun, at Ugheli, Delta State. He used to come to my house for medical check-ups. Whenever he comes, I don’t collect money from him. He was staying opposite my house.”
Ogbodu added that when the back pain was becoming unbearable for him, Balogun said he had some herbal mixture that could relieve him of his pains. He said: “Balogun said I should come with N200, 000 to meet his boss. I left Ugheli for Lagos, I was told to stop at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Camp (Redemption Camp) that he would bring a car to come and pick me.”
The victim said, when the suspect came there was no vehicle at the Redemption Camp so they had to take a motorcycle to Obafemi Owode roundabout from where another member of the gang, Adebola, came to pick them. Balogun, a father of three, confessed to the crime.
The suspect claimed that they had wanted to dupe the victim but denied being a kidnapper. He said: “At this point, I don’t need to lie to you again. I am a traditional doctor but we wanted to dupe the man, when we were arrested. I have never killed for ritual in my life. “I started this job 10 years ago. We are only looking for what we wanted to eat. We don’t kill our victims.
We only collect money from them and release after duping them.” Also, Adebola confessed to be a member of the syndicate but denied that they wanted to use the victim for ritual. He said: “I was a former film producer but I became a traditional doctor, when things were not going well. I have been duping people for over 10 years.” When contacted, the Zone II Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the arrest.
EFCC arrests social media celebrity, Mustapha, for money laundering
conomic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it arrested a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha, for alleged money laundering and fraud.
Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujarem, who disclosed this yesterday, said Mustapha was arrested last weekend, while trying to fly to Dubai, through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Uwujarem said the suspect was apprehended by operatives of the Lagos zonal office.
According to Uwujarem, the suspect’s arrest was consequent upon “actionable intelligence” of organised transnational cyber fraud and associated offence.
He said: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, has arrested a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha, for alleged involvement in internet-related fraud and money laundering.
“The suspect was arrested on Friday 18 October, 2019 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on his way to Dubai, United Arab Emirate following series of actionable intelligence reports linking him to organised transnational cyber fraud and money laundering.
“Ismaila allegedly perpetrates his fraudulent activities under the cover of being a Bureau de Change operator, to launder his proceeds of crime.
“However, the suspect has volunteered useful information while investigation continues.
“At the point of arrest, five wristwatches with a total value of N20,000,000 was recovered from him.
“The suspect will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.”
Uwujarem added that the suspect would be charged to court as soon as investigation was concluded.
Kaduna: Three die, 11 rescued in new torture centres
igeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Kaduna State Command yesterday raided two torture homes in Zaria, Zaria Local Government Area.
Three persons were said to have died at one of the centres from what the NSCDC officials said was because of the unbearable and dilapidated condition of the home.
At the centres, 11 inmates – men and children – were rescued.
The two centres are located at Limanchi Corner and Marmara, both in Zaria Local Government Area.
Unlike the two previous centres discovered in Kaduna, Malam Niga Rehabilitation Centre and another managed by Malam Ismaila Abubakar, raided recently in Rigasa, Igabi Local Government Area, the Zaria rehabilitation centre has no female inmate.
Parading the operators of the home, the state NSCDC Deputy Commandant, Mr. Nnegha Aloysious Onyema, disclosed that three inmates died as result of unbearable conditions at the centre.
He said all the inmates were in leg and hand chains.
The NSCDC boss said the 11 inmates were rescued following an intelligence report gathered by the corps.
Onyema added that the inmates were between the ages of 11 and 40 years.
He said: “We busted two of the centres, Limanchi Corner and Marmara Centres, all in Zaria. We evacuated 11 inmates ranging from 11 to 40 years of age from the two centres. One other centre had released their inmates following information that other centres have been busted but we arrested the operator.”
The state Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, in company with the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, and the Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajia Hafsat Baba, were at the state NSCDC Headquarters to inspect the rescued victims.
They all condemned the inhuman treatment meted out to the victims in the name of rehabilitation.
The deputy governor told journalists that government would take necessary actions against the operators while the victims would be provided necessary medical care before handing them over to their parents.
She urged parents to desist from taking their children to such centres else they would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
One of the victims, Abdullahi Ishola (30), from Osun State told journalists that he was lured to the centre by a family member.
He said: “A family member just took me there and all of a sudden I found myself in chains.
“I was chained in the leg and hands and ever since then, I have been under unbearable inhuman treatment. I was beaten regularly and denied foods for several days.”
Ishola, a National Diploma holder in Mass Communications from Ire Polytechnic in Osun State, thanked the NSCDC that they were finally rescued.
One of the operators of the centres, Muktar Aliyu, claimed that the inmates were brought to the centres by their parents and also denied maltreating them.
The operators, however, claimed that the inmates were brought to them by their parents for help which they do, but denied beating them.
Governor Nasir el-Rufai had led some policemen to the raid the ‘Malam Rehabilitation Centre in Rigasa Local Government Area where 147 inmates – 125 males and 22 females – were rescued.
Four of the inmates were said to be foreigners from Cameroon and Niger Republics.
This came less than a month when the police raided and rescued 300 inmates from the same Rigasa area of the state.
Grinding machine plucks off teenage student’s testicles
elt of a grinding machine yesterday accidentally plucked-off the two testicles of a 14-year-old Junior Secondary School (JSS) student in Bauchi, Bashir Salisu.
Bashir, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), is a student of Government Day Secondary School, Tudun Salmanu area of Bauchi metropolis, who sat for his JSS examination (junior WAEC), preparatory to seeking admission to Senior Secondary School.
He engages in the grinding of grains under the tutelage of a man at the Muda Lawal market, Bauchi.
Narrating his ordeal in pains at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBU-TH), Bauchi, Bashir said the sad event occurred about 10a.m. on Friday, when, in the course of running the engine, the rotating belt mistakenly got in contact with his baggy trousers and pulled him.
“When my trousers got entangled as a result of the fast rotating belt, it instantly severed my testicles and inflicted grave injuries on my private part.
“The pain was unbearable and I was rushed to the hospital, where medical personnel started treating me.
“Unfortunately, the testicles had gone and can no longer be replaced; the doctors confirmed that the situation is irredeemable,” Bashir said in tears.
The victim said he engaged in grinding to learn trade which he could rely on as jobs were not easy to come by these days.
He added: “I engage in the trade after school hours and during holidays to enable me become self-reliant during and after my studies as white collar jobs are not easy to come by.
“My parents are poor and I need to prepare myself, not only to be self-employed, but also help them and my younger brothers and sisters.”
Bashir’s father, Malam Salisu Mohammed, a farmer, said when the accident occurred, he had to struggle to contain himself.
He said: “I felt highly disturbed initially but was able to collect myself later, believing that tragedies are ordained by God and must, therefore, be accepted when they happen.
“We have intensified prayers for his quick recovery, even though we have been made to understand by medical experts that his testicles are gone for good.
“We thank God that he survived the accident; he could have been dead by now and we must appreciate such luck.
“Our major challenge now is footing the bill of his treatment; we are therefore seizing this opportunity to appeal for assistance from government, individuals and organisations.”
On her part, Bashir’s mother, Mrs. Aisha Salisu, said she was traumatised by the ordeal of her son.
She said: “He had been weeping all through until now that he was able to collect himself. Seeing him wept profusely touched me a lot and made me to express some emotions, but thank God, he is now calm.”
A Consultant Urologist at the ATBU-TH, Dr. Liman Usman, said the student sustained injuries on his scrotum and testicles caused by the belt of a grinding machine.
He said: “His trousers got entangled in the belt of a grinding machine, leading to the complete abortion of the testicles and scrotum; both testicles were severed.
“He had lacerations on his private part but these were just bruises; the inner shaft was intact.”
The consultant said it was not possible to transplant the testicles because of their complex nature, adding that efforts should be geared towards making the student to psychologically accept the situation as it is.
Usman, however, said what could be done to address the psychological feeling of the boy, was to make provision for plastic scrotum, which could only be done in hospitals abroad.
He added: “What can be done is to attach plastic scrotum so that when he feels it, he will have the impression that he had his testicles intact.
“This is good for his psychological development, but this cannot be done in Nigeria, except overseas.”
Cult war claims seven in C’River
t least, seven people have died after some cultists and Okunde community in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State engaged in a supremacy war.
It was learnt that owing to the activities of cultists in Okunde, the entire Osokom community under Okunde held a meeting to check their activities.
However, the plan leaked to the cultists and they infiltrated the community. They killed a man, Joseph Bukie Bankong.
The cultists allegedly camped in the Apostolic Church in Okunde, close to Boki Boys’ Secondary School, before striking on Monday night.
Bankong was said to have been opposed to the activities of cult groups before he was hacked to death on Monday night, as he spoke vehemently against their activities.
On Tuesday, the community rose up in search of the cultists and ended up killing six people. They include Alphonsus Etta Ewung, Otu Agbor Edum (Chief Paulinus Otu’s son).
In the resulting fight, several houses and property worth millions of naira were destroyed between Monday and Tuesday.
In a telephone interview, the state Police Commissioner, Austin Agbonlahor, confirmed the cult war.
However, he said the police have been mobilized to the area to maintain peace.
Serial killer pleads guilty to nine ladies’ murder
…says ‘I don’t tell lies as a child of God’
uspected serial killer, Gracious David West, was yesterday arraigned before a Rivers State High Court, pleading guilty to killing nine women in different hotel rooms in Port Harcourt.
West, sporting a white T-shirt and black jeans, was brought into the courtroom by heavily armed personnel of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) a day after he appeared in court without a counsel, which prompted the presiding judge, Adolphus Enebeli, to adjourn for him to secure a legal representative.
Before the trial commenced yesterday, the judge had asked West if he was okay with the choice of a counsel assigned to him for representation, since he was entitled to one considering that the penalty for each of the nine counts brought against him carries the death penalty.
“The law requires that he should be represented. The law gives him the prior right to elect a lawyer of his choice. Who do you want to represent you? Do you want him (Mr. Vincent Chukwu) to represent you? Any decision you take now will be binding on you,” Enebeli said.
West replied, “yes sir, I want him to represent me”.
When the nine charges were read to him, West pleaded guilty to each of them.
When asked: “Are you guilty or not guilty?”
He simply replied: “I am.”
When the 10th charge of the attempted murder of another lady, Benita Etim, on September 18, 2019 was being read, West interrupted, indicating that he had something to say on the incident.
The accused said he never had the thought of killing Etim. According to him, he tied her to a chair, left the hotel room and did not take any further action that could have led to her death.
West said: “Sir I have something to say on that. I never had the thought of killing her. I only tied her to the chair and left the hotel. That is all. I don’t tell lies as a child of God.”
After West had pleaded guilty to the charges, the counsel to the prosecutor (the Nigeria Police), Mrs. Gladys Imegwu, asked the court to record it. According to her, the offence to which he pleaded guilty carries the death penalty.
Again, West raised his hand that he wanted to say something, after which he appealed to the court that he was not in control of himself when he carried out the murders.
He said: “I want to beg the court on what happened to me. I wasn’t myself when I did them. That is why I spoke the truth.”
The accuse also complained to the judge that the police had not given him the N60,000 which he had at the time of his arrest, as well as his wristwatch and necklace.
The judge, however, told him that it had not reached the stage for him to make plea for leniency since the trial would play out in the courtroom.
Midway into the session, the Attorney-General through the Principal Counsel in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice, Chidi Boniface Ekeh, sought the court’s permission to take over the case from the prosecution (the Nigeria Police), explaining that it was particularly interested in the case because of the nature of the crime.
The prosecutor said the police would not object to the request, while stressing that it did not mean the police did not have the resources to prosecute the defendant.
Justice Enebeli urged both parties to cooperate, noting that “because of the gravity of the offence it should be brought to trial”. He also adjourned the matter till November 18, 2019.
Meanwhile, a mild-drama played out in the courtroom shortly before the trial commenced when West called the attention of the judge that his legs were being changed in the courtroom.
He told the judge that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives who escorted him to the court said they forgot to bring the key.
Upon the judge’s inquiry of the true situation, the SARS operatives said that someone had gone to get the key.
Much earlier, while being led into the court, West threatened to destroy the arrays of cameras pointed at him by cameramen and others who had positioned themselves with smart phones for shots.
The state Principal Counsel, Ekeh, spoke with journalists after the proceedings.
He said: “We consider the crime a serious one that the state has to rise to the occasion. The state wants to know why he killed them. We want justice for the state and the families of the victims.
“The state wants to prosecute the case to its logical conclusion.”
Also, West’s counsel, Chukwu, said that despite the suspect pleading guilty to the charges, “the prosecution should prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution should go ahead and prove their case”.
Lagos prosecutes traffic offenders, convicts 37
A Special Offences (Mobile) Court at Oshodi on Tuesday convicted 37 individuals for various traffic violations.
The alleged traffic offenders were prosecuted by the Lagos State Attorney-General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN).
Out of the 37 alleged traffic violators, 18 were charged for driving against traffic (one way), 12 for driving on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor while seven others were motorcycle offenders.
During the proceedings, the Magistrate of the Mobile Court, Mrs Omobola Salau handed out various sentences to the traffic offenders.
Some offenders were ordered to forfeit their vehicles to the LASG while fines ranging from N15,000 to N20,000 were handed out to the violators.
Offenders were also ordered to serve community service ranging from 100 hours to 25 hours.
The magistrate, while addressing the AG, said that there were no databases for traffic violations in the state.
“There are no databases for traffic offenders in Lagos State to ensure effective adjudication of these cases.
“We will appreciate if the government of Lagos State looks into this problem,” she said.
Travel agent bags 7 years in prison for forgery
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo (Mrs) of an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos Tuesday sentenced a travel agent, Oluseyi Momoh Lamoriu, to seven years in prison for forgery.
Lamoriu was charged by the economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and convicted on an eight count charge bothering on forgery and possession of fraudulent documents.
Justice Dada, while pronouncing judgement, said that the defendant, who appears not to be a first time offender since being convicted by Justice Mojisola Dada of same jurisdiction, seems not to have learnt his lessons.
“The defendant was convicted on similar charges before Justice Dada on a plea bargain agreement. It is evident that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the defendant.
“I hereby sentence the defendant to seven years in prison without an option of fine,” the judge ruled.
According to the EFCC prosecutor, Ofoma Franklin, the Lamoriu committed the offences on August 22, 2017 in Lagos.
Varsity don rues security challenges in Nigeria
A Professor of African Studies, King’s College, London, Abiodun Alao, has ascribed the multi-dimensional security challenges facing Nigeria to the inevitable outcome of accumulated neglect of the entrenched flaws inherent in the nation body politic.
He said: “Right from independence, we had a faulty understanding of what a nation should mean, and we did not make any serious attempt to build cohesion among the various groups that came together to form the entity called Nigeria.”
Alao, who was the Guest Lecturer at University of Ilorin’s Convocation Lecture on Tuesday, maintained that all the security problems that are now suddenly emerging were because the structures of the country’s foundation as a nation could no longer withstand the accumulated contradictions that had been heaped on it.
To address this, he called on the federal to make comparative religious teachings compulsory at under graduate levels in the nation’s institutions so as to deradicalise the minds of the youth.
According to him, the kidnapping, herders/farmers and the Boko Haram issues that have become endemic can be reduced through education, adding that over spending on military at the expense of education and issues of health would not help in reducing the security challenges facing the country.
He lamented that most of the government schools that accommodate the teeming youths in the country are dilapidated.
Ebonyi earmarks N1bn for widows, teachers
Ebonyi State government, on Tuesday announced that it has set aside the sum of N1billion for empowerment of widows, youths and less privileged and training of teachers in the state.
While N500million is for teachers’ training and another N500million is for the empowerment of widows, youths and the less privileged.
The sum of N50million was also approved for Gifted School, a special school take off which would train best students harvested from various parts of the state.
The school will take off with 200 students on 10th of next month.
The State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr. Uchenna Orji and his Education counterpart, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima announced this while briefing journalists on the outcome of the state Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.
“The state Executive Council today approved the sum of N500million for training of teachers. We are training them on method of teaching after which we will organise examination for them to ensure they don’t only get the method of teaching but also specialize in the subjects they teach our children.
“A resolution was also taken and N50million was approved to harvest the best brains we have in our state as young as six and train them. They have a target goal to start school on November 10, 2019. Our target is that the school will start with 200 students,” Chima said.
Lagos-Badagry Expressway: Lawmaker sends SOS to FG, decries work pace
A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Setonji David has urged the Federal Government not to pay a lip service to the reconstruction of Lagos-Badagry Expressway, decrying the work pace.
David, representing Badagry Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly, made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
According to him, though the project has been approved by the Federal Government, the snail pace at which the work is going will elongate the sufferings and the agonies of the residents of the area.
“We are going through hell on Lagos- Badagry Expressway. Nobody wants to ply the road again. The journey from Mile 2 to Badagry in the 80s and early 2000 was just 30 minutes maximum, but now we spend 5 hours.
“It seems the Federal Government is paying lip service to the plights of Nigerians in this area otherwise, the contractor would have been well mobilised for serious work.
“Our people are really suffering. Sometimes, I wonder whether Badagry has been abandoned in the state by the Federal Government. I left my home in Badagry at 5:00a.m. and I could not get to Lagos until 10:a.m.
“I spent hours from Badagry to Lagos this morning in a journey that should have taken me ordinarily 30 minutes and at worst 40 minutes to get to Lagos.
“The road is in terrible shape, extremely bad as if the people of Badagry have done something wrong to belong to Nigeria,” David, the Chairman, House Committee on Home Affairs, said.
According to him, though the Federal Government had awarded contracts for some sections of the road, the snail pace at which the work was going would make the residents suffer for many years.
David said that the section from Okokomaiko to Agbara, given to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency to fix, was not making at any appreciable progress, “this is going at a very slow pace”.
“The way they (FERMA) are going, that project will not be completed in five to six years. That means our suffering continues,” David said.
He added that the section from Agbara to Seme border, also approved by the Federal Government might not be completed in many years to come.
According to him, as a representative of the people, my finding showed that the contractor was not well mobilised to commence serious job.
“I learnt that project was awarded for about N36 billion and the contractor was paid N1 billion for a year, that means in another 36 years, that project will not be completed.
“It is like Federal Government has abandoned us in Badagry. Federal Government needs to come and do something urgently. We don’t know why Badagry should be neglected.
“The contractors should be paid and monitored to expedite action on the road. The pace of work must be increased because as we speak, it is extremely slow.
According to him, the corridor is vital to the nation’s economic development because it leads to other West African countries such as Republic of Benin, Ghana, Togo and others.
The lawmaker decried the condition of the road, saying immediately after leaving Nigeria; motorists enjoy good roads in other neighbouring African countries.
He said that the road had totally failed and there was nothing to be maintained except carryout outright reconstruction.
David said: “We are suffering and the impression residents have is that they have been abandoned in Badagry.
“The economic activities have completely been eroded. Who will do business in that kind of environment? We call on the Federal Government to do something to alleviate the suffering of our people.
“No business can thrive in that kind of environment. Things that ordinarily cost N100 in Lagos is being sold at N200 in Badagry because of the bad road.”
NAN recalled that the road had been divided into three sections. The first phase from Eric Moore in Lagos to Okokomaiko (Channel zero to 20) is being handled by the Lagos State Government.
The second phase- Kilometre 20 to 32 (Okokomaiko- Agbara) is being undertaken by FERMA while the Federal Ministry of Works is to handle the largest chunk of the project from Agbara (kilometre 32) up to Seme Border.
The Federal Government through the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) on June 19 flagged-off repair and maintenance works on part of the Lagos-Badagry expressway.
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