Eleven students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), were on Monday arraigned by the Ibadan Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), before Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, Osun State, for their alleged involvement in internet fraud.
The defendants included Perekebena Olombeni Micah, Nnekwelugo Nnaemeka, Moyosore Favour Oluwasakin, Aghwaritoma Wisdom Obaro, Daniel Olashile Maiye and Gbolahan Khalid Adesina.
Others were Yinka Temitope Jayeola, Olumuyiwa Emmanuel Adeleye, Abiola Emmanuel Oluwadare, Busari Abdulazeez Ayodeji and Okesipe Tobiloba Paul.
They were arraigned on different count charges, ranging from one to six charges as preferred against them by the EFCC.
Nine of the defendants were arraigned on one-count charge each, while the remaining two – Micah and Obaro – had six-count charges filed against each of them.
One of the counts read: “That you, Perekebena Olombeni Micah sometimes in 2023 in Osogbo, Osun State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did fraudulently impersonated the name – Pies – through your Whatsapp account phone number +1(414)367-9473 by claiming that you are an American female in love with your victims in the United States of America with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015.”
Another count read: “That you, Aghwaritoma Wisdom Obaro on or about 1st November 2023 at Ile-Ife, Osun State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, fraudulently impersonated by representing yourself to be a white man by the name Alex Stephens from United States of America to one Megan Johnson, through your Google Chat and your email address ([email protected]) with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015.”
After the reading of the charges, all of the defendants pleaded not guilty, after which the prosecution counsel, Oluwatoyin Owodunni, prayed the court for trial dates and the remand of the defendants at a Correctional Centre.
In response, defence counsels to Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Micah, Adeleye and Okesipe informed the court of “motions for bail applications” filed on behalf of their clients which had been served on the prosecution.
They therefore urged the court to admit the six defendants to bail in the most liberal terms.
Having listened to the prayers of both parties, Justice Ayo-Emmanuel, admitted Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Micah, Adeleye and Okesipe to bail.
Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Adeleye and Okesipe were admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million each while Micah was granted bail in the sum of N3 million.
Other bail conditions included two sureties in like sum, with the first surety to be the defendant’s father or mother.
Also, the second surety must be a relative, sibling, clergy or civil servant with the Osun State Government, while the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means and their residential and office addresses.
In addition, the statuses of the sureties must be provided and verified by the court registrar.
The judge remanded the remaining defendants at the Ilesa Correctional Centre, Osun State, pending the perfection of their bail conditions.
The matters were adjourned until November 29 and December 12, 2023, respectively for the commencement of trial.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the defendants were among the 69 suspected internet fraudsters arrested on November 1 at Oduduwa Estate area of Ile-Ife, following actionable intelligence on their alleged involvement in fraudulent internet-related activities.
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE