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Crime

Court jails ex-Imo commissioner, Laz Okoroafor-Anyanwu for three years over fraud

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A high court in Owerri, Imo state, has sentenced Laz Okoroafor-Anyanwu, a former commissioner for transport, to three years imprisonment for fraud.

Delivering the judgment on Tuesday, K.A. Lewanya, presiding judge, found Okoroafor-Anyanwu guilty of diverting N180 million of state funds into a private company account where he is a major shareholder and sole signatory.

At that time, the convict doubled as commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo state transport company (ITC).

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused him of violating the public procurement act, abuse of office, and using his office to gain undue advantage in his dealings during his tenure as a commissioner and ITC chairman.

The EFCC said while Okoroafor-Anyanwu was commissioner between 2015 and 2019, he transferred the sum of N100 million from the ITC account to his private company named Oma Oil Industries Limited which is against sections 12 and 19 of the ICPC act 2020 for public servants.

He also approved the transfer of another N80 million from government funds directly to his private company account under the guise of procuring vehicles for the management of ITC without due process and recourse to the public procurement act.

Upon arraignment in 2020, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

However, the judge held that Michael Ani, EFCC’s counsel, was able to prove the case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge also ordered that the looted N180 million found in his account be forfeited to the Imo state transport company.

Crime

Court sentences Lagos cosmetics surgeon, Adepoju Anuoluwapo to one year in prison

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A federal high court in Lagos has sentenced Adepoju Anuoluwapo, a Lagos-based medical doctor, to one-year imprisonment.

In 2020, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) arraigned Anuoluwapo for obstructing the agency’s investigation.

The commission commenced an investigation into the activities of the cosmetic surgeon after the death of Nneka Onwuzuligbo, one of her clients, over failed plastic surgery.

Anuoluwapo, along with her medical facility, were arraigned on a five-count charge before Mohammed Liman, the trial judge.

The FCCPC had accused the cosmetic surgeon of failing to honour its summons repeatedly and refusing to produce certain documents for investigation.

Some of her clients had taken to social media to lament how Anuoluwapo’s cosmetic medical procedures inflicted serious bodily injuries on them.

Subsequently, the federal government shut down her facility — MedContour Services Ltd., located in Lagos, while the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) suspended her license.

THE CONVICTION

In a post published on X, Babatunde Irukera, the immediate former chief executive officer (CEO) of FCCPC, said the cosmetic surgeon was convicted on all five counts of charges filed against her.

“Dr. Anu Adepoju & her medical practice convicted in all 5 counts charged by FCCPC,” Irukera wrote.

“The wheel of justice may grind slow, but we must see it through. What we need are enforced with audacity & will to prosecute competently & diligently. Good day for consumers of professional services.”

THE SENTENCE

The presiding sentenced Anuoluwapo to one year imprisonment on each of the four counts, which will run concurrently.

The judge suspended the imprisonment on the condition that the medical doctor pay a N100,000 fine for each count.

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Crime

Cameroonian profs jailed for ‘sedition’ seek Nigeria’s intervention

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Six Cameroonian professors in Nigerian universities, alongside four others imprisoned in Cameroon, have appealed to the house of representatives for help.

The academics said they were arrested in Nigeria on the orders of the Cameroonian authorities over “frivolous allegations of plotting to destabilise the government” of President Paul Biya.

The professors were meeting to discuss the welfare of Cameroonian refugees who had fled to Nigeria, when they were arrested on January 5, 2018.

The academics, who claimed to be refugees and registered asylum seekers in Nigeria, alleged that they were illegally arrested and repatriated to Cameroon.

They were reportedly tried at a military tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Kondengui maximum security detention facility in Cameroon.

In March 2019, a federal high court in Abuja ruled that the arrest and subsequent detention of the academics was illegal, unconstitutional and violated the deportees’ rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution.

The UN Human Rights Special Procedures Working Group had asked the Cameroonian government to release the academics over rights violations.

‘OUR CLIENTS WERE ABDUCTED’

In March, the academics petitioned the house of representatives, seeking its intervention.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, Joseph Fru, counsel to the academics, said his clients were illegally imprisoned by the Cameroonian authorities.

“There is a clarification that we need to make that is fundamental and cardinal. They (our clients) were abducted. They were not arrested,” he said.

“When you say someone is arrested — there is a legal course for them to be picked up by the forces of law and order.

“And in a normal arrest situation, you have probable cause that you are being suspected of committing a crime and before you get to that point, there has to be a procedure you follow to get either an arrest warrant or search warrant that may lead to their apprehension.

“But when someone arbitrarily, without any legal course, is picked up and then held for as long as they were held in Nigeria before being sent to Cameroon, that is called an abduction.

“An abduction does not end when we know where they are. That illegal act continues and abides with them until that illegality is cured. And to this point, that illegality has not been cured, and that is why we are still in prison.

“The second thing is that they were not repatriated. You repatriate someone when you go through a legal channel and you exhaust all the legal processes and the court decides that they go back to where they came from to answer in that jurisdiction.

“Before you repatriate someone, there has to be a bilateral treaty that is observed. None of that in this case.”

Fru, who was flanked by family members of the academics, said relevant government agencies of the Nigerian government were missing at a hearing organised by the house of representatives committee on public petition on Tuesday.

He said the government agencies include the office of the attorney-general of the federation, secretary to the government of the federation, ministry of foreign affairs, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Department of State Services (DSS), and United Nations (UN) high commission country representative.

Fru expressed hopes that the house would intervene and secure the release of the professors.

“We adjourned for 11 June, 2024 because the committee is not happy with the fact that the last time, they were elements of the government of the executive arm that were required to be at the hearing but none of them showed up,” he added.

“So motions were moved and it was adopted that these entities should necessarily appear in the next hearing so that resolution to this can be taken.

“In the event they do not show up, the committee is ready to move forward. How they move forward depends on their deliberation and that is above my pay grade.

“The chairman said they were going to give these entities a last chance to appear so they can have enough information to go by and come up with a resolution.”

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NDLEA arrests 80, convicts 12 drug dealers, seizes 3,000kg drugs in FCT

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested over 80 suspected drug dealers with over 3,000kg of drugs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between January and March.

Kabir Tsukuwa, Commander of Narcotics (CN), NDLEA, FCT Command, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Tsakuwa said that over 50 suspects had been prosecuted adding that out of the number, 12 had been convicted and sentenced to different jail terms. He said that the command had been going after the drug peddlers and the records were there to show from the arrest and seizure over the years.

“If not for the continuous effort of the agency and the command in particular, the drug situation in FCT and even the entire country would have been worst,” he said.

The NDLEA commander said that the current situation of drug abuse in the FCT was not a peculiar one as it was same world over. Tsakuwa said that drug abuse was a major concern to all countries of the world.

He said that all regional and global bodies like ECOWAS, EU and UNODC were advocating for global concerted efforts to deal with the challenge of drug trafficking and abuse. He said: “the drug situation varies from countries to countries, states to states and even localities.”

According to him, the command has maintained consistent raids of drug joints within the FCT, even though, that cannot be said to have been dismantled completely but it is a continuous process.

“There is no society that is crime free, not even the developed world.

“In 2023 alone, we arrested over 500 suspects with over 7,000kg of assorted drug seizure and conviction of over 200 offenders.”

Tsakuwa said that the issue of drug abuse was serious, adding that Nigerians must join in the continuous fight against the drug menace. He emphasised that there was a strong nexus between drug abuse and other criminalities like kidnapping, insurgency, theft, armed robbery among others.

“When drug abuse and trafficking is dealt with, the rise in other criminalities will certainly drop.

“Although, we have had cases where we carry out operations of drug joints, but the next minute, they are back again.

“Be that as it may, we shall continue to give in our best to ensure sustainable action in our efforts.

“We shall not rest until we achieve our desired goal of drug free environment in the Federal Capital,” he added.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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