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Three Nigerians Face $5m Cyber Fraud Charges In US

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Three Nigerian citizens were extradited from the United Kingdom and arrived in the United States over an alleged participation in multi-million dollar cyber fraud schemes.
According to the US Department of Justice, last Wednesday, the defendants are Oludayo Kolawole John Adeagbo also known as John Edwards or John Dayo, a 43-year-old Nigerian citizen and UK resident, Donald Ikenna Echeazu who also bears Donald Smith or Donald Dodient and Olabanji Egbinola,
They engaged in cyber-enabled business email compromise (BEC) fraud schemes in the Western District of North Carolina, Southern District of Texas and Eastern District of Virginia.
The scams allegedly perpetrated by the defendants targeted unsuspecting victims including universities in North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, and attempted to cause more than $5million in losses.
Adeagbo and Echeazu are charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and aggravated identity theft for defrauding a North Carolina university (the University) of more than $1.9million via a business email compromise scheme.
The summons was returned by a federal grand jury in the Western District of North Carolina on April 17, 2019, and was unsealed on Tuesday following Echeazu’s initial appearance in federal court in Charlotte.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, from August 30, 2016 to January 12, 2017, Adeagbo and Echeazu colluded with other individuals to obtain information about significant construction projects occurring throughout the United States, including an ongoing multi-million-dollar project at the victim university.
They went ahead to execute the scheme as they allegedly registered a domain name similar to that of the legitimate construction company in charge of the university’s project and created an email address that closely resembled that of an employee of the construction company.
They used a fake email address to allegedly deceive and direct the university to wire a fund of more than $1.9million to a bank account controlled by an individual working under the direction of defendants.
Upon receiving the payment, the accomplices allegedly laundered the stolen proceeds through a series of financial transactions designed to conceal the fraud.
The wire fraud conspiracy charge and the money laundering conspiracy charge each carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.
The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence consecutive to any other term imposed.
The FBI Charlotte Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham Billings of the Western District of North Carolina is prosecuting the case.
Adeagbo was also charged in the Southern District of Texas with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud and the report said he faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted on the charges.
The FBI Houston Cyber Task Force conducted the investigation with the assistance of the FBI Cyber and Criminal Investigative Divisions with other security agencies.
Also, Egbinola, a 42-year-old man is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to a criminal complaint issued by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, from September 26, 2018 to December 26, 2018.
Egbinola is alleged to have conspired with others to defraud a Virginia-based university. He and co-conspirators created and used a fraudulent email account that incorporated the name of a construction company that had a large, ongoing contract with the university.
Using this email account, Egbinola and collaborators deceived the university into transferring $469,819.49 to a bank account controlled by Egbinola and his accomplices.
That money was quickly laundered and transferred overseas through numerous transactions. Evidence obtained during the investigation showed that Egbinola repeatedly accessed the email account used to defraud Virginia University.
All three defendants were arrested April 23, 2020, by UK authorities at the request of the United States and ordered extradited on September 3, 2021.
All three defendants filed appeals, all of which were rejected by the UK High Court on July 12, 2022.

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FG Declares Thursday Additional Holiday For Eid-el-Fitri

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The Federal Government has declared tomorrow, Thursday, as additional public holiday to commemorate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, made this known in a statement he shared on the ministry’s X account, yesterday.
The statement said, “The Federal Government has approved Thursday, April 11, 2024 as an additional public holiday to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
“The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, while congratulating the Muslim Ummah for a successful completion of a month of spiritual rejuvenation, reiterates President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s firm commitment to providing a safe and prosperous Nigeria for all to thrive.”
Saudi Arabia, on Monday, said the crescent of Shawwal has not been sighted, indicating that the fasting would continue on Tuesday.
It also added that the Eid-el-Fitr would hold today, Wednesday, to mark the beginning of the new Islamic month.
The Federal Government had earlier on Sunday declared yesterday (Tuesday) and today, (Wednesday) as public holidays to mark the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

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Engage In Credible Opposition, We Won’t Hunt You, Fubara Tells IPAC …As Group Passes Confidence Vote On Rivers Gov

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that the right climate will be created for all political parties to operate so that they can engage with Government and offer credible opposition.
The Governor emphasised that it was the best thing to do, especially because the opposition political parties have acknowledged that elections are over, and are resolved to offer effective support required to advance good governance in the State.
Governor Fubara spoke on Monday when he played host to the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Rivers State Chapter, led by its Chairman, Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, at Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Governor insisted that an egalitarian society will be engendered so that people can feel free to voice their opinions without intimidation, because, according to him, those criticisms will contribute to having more focused implementation of policies that serve the general good of the State.
“So, we are happy to identify with you. We are assuring you, even when you leave here, criticise me, I don’t have problem with that, it is meant to spur me to do well. We will continue to give you the freedom. We will not cage anybody. We will not revoke your property.
“You can also take my message to your National Secretariat, we will continue to stand on the right path. We will support them because we can see that they are also doing what is right. Anytime they need our support, let them feel free to ask for it,” the Governor said.
Governor Fubara commended IPAC for identifying with his Administration, and pledging to collaborate efforts for the good of the State.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that no person who truly loves Rivers State, whether embittered, or not, will gladly want to burn down the State to achieve personal or political agenda.
The Governor said whatever political strength anybody claims to have, it amounts to nothing without the State and its people.
Governor Fubara assured that his team in Government will steadily work, genuinely, to protect the interest of the State.
While thanking the delegation for the vote of confidence passed on him and investing him as their Grand Patron, Governor Fubara urged them to tread the path of peace always in their activities.
Governor Fubara promised to consult with them and include their interest whenever appointments are made, and promised to donate a utility vehicle to enhance their logistics, while committing to support the upcoming programme of the body.
In his address, the Rivers State Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, thanked Governor Fubara for the opportunity to meet with them, and announced that IPAC has passed a vote of confidence on the Governor.
He also announced the decision of IPAC to honour the Governor as the Grand Patron and Leader of the umbrella body of all political parties in the State.
“IPAC is a roundtable of political parties saddled with the responsibility of enlightenment, advocacy, educating, and inspiring courage among political parties and the society at large.
“With the elections come and gone, it is practically the time for governance and to ensure all derivable of dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.
“Herein lies the core of our visit today to forge a collaborative bond with you, His Excellency, to foster partnership for the overall interest of Rivers State.
“We heartily congratulate you on your victory at Supreme Court judgement, which affirmed your election at the polls. To this end, we in IPAC have passed a vote of confidence on His Excellency, and assure you of our collaborative, collective and individual support to succeed now, and in the course of your administration, and after,” he added.
More than 17 State Chairmen of Registered Political Parties in the State were in the delegation to pay a solidarity visit to the Governor.
Highlights of the visit were the presentation of a large plaque of portrait picture, certificate as Grand Patron, IPAC T-Shirt and Fez Cap by IPAC Chairman to Governor Fubara.

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Our Position On Rivers PDP Ward, LGA, State Excos Unshaken -Fubara

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The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked as fake and misleading, the purported list of Caretaker Committee members circulating in the social media and published in some national dailies on Thursday, April 4, 2024.
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, who said this after a meeting with the NWC at the National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza in Abuja, last Thursday evening, restated that the resolutions of a meeting held between the NWC and members of the Board of Trustees (BOTs) and PDP Governors’ Forum in Abuja in March on the issue remain valid.
Governor Fubara reiterated the position of the party that the executive officers whose tenures had expired in March, shall remain in their various capacities until the three months’extension period approved by the NWC elapses, and new congresses conducted to replace them.
He recalled that a letter signed by the National Organising Secretary, Hon Umar M. Bature, dated Wednesday, March 27, 2024, addressed to the Chairman, Rivers State Caretaker Committee, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Aaron Chukwuemeka, and titled: “Approval of Wards, Local Government Area and State Caretaker Committee Members for Rivers State”, had clearly resolved the issue of the authentic members of the Caretaker Committees at the affected levels.
The letter, copied the Acting National Chairman, Amb. Umar Iliya Damagum; Deputy National Chairman, South, His Excellency, Amb. Taofeek Arapaja; the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara; National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; and National Legal Adviser, Ajibade Kamaldeen Adeyemi, SAN, reads in full, “Following the expiration of the elected Ward, LGA, and State Executive Members in Rivers State, the National Working Committee (NWC), pursuant to the provisions of Section 29 (2) (b) of the Constitution of our Party, has, on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) approved the appointment of the expired Excos as Caretaker Committee Members.
“For the avoidance of doubt, attached to this letter is theauthentic list of the Caretaker Committee Members in Rivers State. These Caretaker Committees shall run the affairs of our Party at their appropriate levels for a period of three (3) months effective from the dates of their expiration, i.e. March 14, 18, 21, 2024 for Wards, LGA, and State, respectively.
“Please note that the NWC equally approved that anywhere vacancies have occurred due to death, removal, resignation, or defection, such vacancies shall not be filled.
“While thanking you for your continuous commitment, please accept the assurances of the NWC’s highest regards”.
Governor Fubara emphasized that the party stands on the agreement reached on the issue as encapsulated in the letter by the NWC to the State Chairman of PDP dated March 27, adding that no amount of intimidation, clandestine moves, wasteful lobbying and needless expenditure of public funds will change the position already taken.
The Governor stated that the list purported to be members of the Caretaker Committees of the party in the state was only the imagination of its purveyors, and advised those whose names were removed in the fake list and gullible members of the public to ignore it in its entirety.
He said that the party did not at any time remove or replace the names of officers whose tenures had been officially extended for three months, pending possible National Executive Committee ratification on April 18.
Governor Fubara insisted that what was published on Thursday and circulated on social media is not only fake, concocted and manipulated to suit the desperate ambitions of enemies of the State and its people, but a deliberate attempt to provoke members and cause discord in the party.
He observed that the list published in some national dailies and circulated on social media on Thursday was the handiwork of politicians who were spending public funds to cause unnecessary tension, anxiety and friction in the polity, and also distract the Government from the real task of governance in the State.
The Governor urged the elected officers of the party at ward, local government, and state levels whose names were removed and replaced with fictitious names to remain calm, and go about their legitimate duties as officers of the party.
He also warned those fomenting trouble and fanning the embers of confusion and disunity to retrace their steps, and embrace peace or face severe consequences.
The Governor also warned those whose names were forced into the fake and fabricated list of purported Caretaker Committee members being circulated not to be deceived by anybody with unmerited appointment, and avoid parading themselves or showing their presence at any party offices pretending to be officials, as anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law for forgery and impersonation.

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