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N900m Fraud: SFU Opens Evidence Against Syndicate

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The Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force on Tuesday opened evidence in the trial of a seven- member syndicate which allegedly defrauded customers of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) of N900 million.
The Tide source reports that the case is before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
The members of the alleged syndicate are:  Gideon Oluwatimilehin, Abiodun Aina, Samuel Adenitire, Oluwasegun Daliu, Olaitan Ajibola Sheu, Moyosore Sulaimon and Adeyinka Akinjinrin.
They are facing a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy to defraud, unauthorised modification of FCMB computer materials and software, and stealing of money.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, prosecution team led by Mr Benedict Bennett called its first witness, Insp Shuaib Jeremiah.
The witness, an investigator with the Nigeria Police Force, told the court that the alleged crime was committed in three stages across Abuja, Lagos and Akure.
He said that the defendants pulled off the heist simultaneously in March 2018 and stole  more than N300 million from the FCMB in the three places.
The investigator said that as soon as the police began investigations into the alleged fraud, all the accounts of the beneficiaries across the country were blocked.
“The development led to the arrest of one Ashiru Mohammed, a cart pusher in Sokoto, who mentioned the first defendant, Gideon Oluwatimileyin.
“Mohammed’s statement to the police revealed that the first defendant, in a bid to make him part with his ATM card, lured him with N60,000 which was paid into his bank account in three tranches,” Jeremiah said.
He said that it was through the cart pusher that investigators were able to obtain the mobile number of Oluwatimileyin which led to his arrest.
Jeremiah said that Olaitan Ajibola was arrested in Gbagada, Lagos.
He said that Ajibola, in a statement to the police, said that he gave his Autmated Teller Machine (ATM) card to Sulaiman, the fifth defendant, in Egbeda, Lagos.
“During investigation, the police found out that Sulaiman used the proceed of the fraud to purchase exotic cars found in his car mart,” he said.
The witness said that one Samuel was arrested in Akure but he had jumped bail.
“All the defendants were arrested through a statement of each member of the syndicate revealing the role of one another.
“They all voluntarily provided statements to the police,” he said.
The Tide source reports that according to prosecution, the defendants committed the offences alongside others who are now at large, in  March 2018.

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Senate Urges NDDC To Complete Okitipupa Power Sub-Station

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The Senate yesterday in Abuja urged the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to complete the installation of a transmission power sub-station in Okitipupa council  of Ondo State.
According to the Senate, completing the installation of the transmission power sub-station is  urgent in order to restore electricity to Ondo South Senatorial District comprising Okitipupa, Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Irele and Odigbo Local Government Areas (LGAs).
This was contained in a statement signed by Mr Olumide Akinrinlola, the media aide of Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, representing Ondo South at the senate.
He said that the senate acted on the motion filed by Tofowomo on, the urgent need to restore power back to the affected area before the end of the year.
The  Senator, who is of  the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lamented that the Southern Senatorial District was hosting the Omotosho Power Plant in Okitipupa LGA with a capacity of 512.8MW and 451MW Net since 2005 without residents benefitting from power supply.
“The situation is embarrassing  because I continue to wonder if Ondo South is part of Nigeria because suffering from electricity blackout for about 14 years has grounded many economic activities.
“Almost 90 per cent of my people have been deprived of electricity since 2007 and since put them uninterrupted darkness.
“The district is hosting the Omotosho Power Plant in Okitipupa LGA with a capacity of 512.8MW and 451MW Net  since 2005 without the people benefiting from the distribution of electricity.
“The intervention came in 2012 by NDDC in a contract; 132KV transmission and 132KV/33KV sub-station and line were  awarded in Okitipupa LGA.
“As at today, 85 per cent of the job has been completed and all the 145 Transmission Line Towers from Omotosho Power Station to the Sub Station has been completed.
“The sub-station’s outstanding works remain 15 per cent of which can be accomplished without delay if all the necessary machinery are put in place.
“The substation can be ready for transmission to the federal feeders in Irele, Odigbo, Ilaje, Ese-Odo and Okitipupa LGA within the shortest possible time,” Tofowomo told the senate.

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Delta Assembly Passes Anti-Grazing Bill

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The Delta State House of Assembly yesterday passed a Bill for a Law Prohibiting Open Grazing, Indiscriminate Breeding, Rearing and Marketing of Livestock in Delta also known as “Anti Grazing Bill”.
The passage of the bill followed a motion for the third reading moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Mr  Ferguson Onwo, during the plenary of the Assembly in Asaba.
The motion which was unanimously adopted by the house, was seconded by the Minority Leader of the Assembly, Mr Innocent Anidi.
Earlier, the Chairman of House Committee on Special Bills,  Mrs Pat Ajudua, had presented the report on the bill on the floor of the House, which was received and adopted.
Ajudua, while presenting the bill,  said that inputs of stakeholders formed part of the proposed law.
She noted that the bill when signed into law would  prohibit the carrying of firearms, either licensed or otherwise, by residents or individuals in the state,  just as it seeks to address the arbitrary rearing and movement of livestock.
In his reaction, the Speaker, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, expressed happiness over the development, saying that the people and residents of the state would be very happy that the bill was passed.
“Dear colleagues, I congratulate all of us on the passage of this very important bill.
“Today, the house has fulfilled the commitment of our dear state to the agreement reached at the South-South Governors’ meeting held here in our state capital, Asaba.
“By virtue of this bill, this house has demonstrated its resolve to protect the people of the state from the menace of clashes between herders and farmers.
“I must therefore, commend all the sponsors of this bill, for recognising that the security of lives and property of the people of the state as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) are sacrosanct,” Oborevwori said.
Oborevwori said that with the passage of the bill, well-meaning persons who seek to carry on the business of breeding, rearing and marketing of livestock should do so within the boundaries of the law.
“Also, farmers can now go about their businesses without fear of anyone grazing on their crops.
“This for sure will boost food production in the state; dear colleagues, this Bill is a right step in the right direction as our women can now go to their farmlands without fear of molestation.
“Once again, I thank you all for your untiring support as always and for your resolute commitment in the passage of people oriented bills, such as this.”

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FG Tasks Media On Fight Against Fake News, Misinformation

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The Federal Government has urged the media to complement the government’s efforts in the fight against fake news and misinformation in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha gave the advice yesterday at a training of “Communication Managers on Fake News and Hate Speech’’ in Abuja.
The training was organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms.
Mustapha, represented by Mrs Veronica Agugu, the Director, Public Affairs Department in the office of SGF, described fake news as false and misleading information presented as news.
He urged media practitioners and managers to assist in bridging the divide between governments and citizens in terms of implementation of government reform policies and programmes.
“Strengthening transparency in governance will require public sector to public communication as a tool to systematically raise citizens awareness which in turn would reduce the potency of hate speech in the country,’’ Mustapha said.
Dr Bala Muhammad, a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano State, described media managers as media literates.
He urged them to unite against fake news and misinformation to promote peaceful co-existence in the country.
Muhammad said that most of the users of social media were not media literate, hence they easily fall for fake news and misinformation in the country.
Mr Yushau Shuaib, one of the resource persons, expressed concern over the huge number of social media users who were not media literate.
Shuaib stressed the need for relevant stakeholders to redouble their efforts in regulating the activities of social media in the country.
Mr Dasuki Arabi, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, said the training was to tackle the growing incidences of fake news, and hate speech occasioned by internet technology in the country.

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