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Nigeria: Obasanjo’s in-law granted bail over alleged $4m fraud

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos on Thursday granted John Abebe, the younger brother of the late Stella Obasanjo, spouse of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo bail over alleged four million dollars fraud.

Mr Abebe is facing a four-count charge of forgery, fabricating evidence, using fabricated evidence and attempt to pervert the cause of justice slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).



He, however, denied the charges during his arraignment on July 26 and was remanded for a week at the Ikoyi Prisons by Justice Mojisola Dada.

At Thursday’s bail proceedings, Kanu Agabi, Mr Abebe’s lawyer, via a bail application dated July 25 and supported by an 11-paragraph affidavit, asked the court to grant Mr Abebe bail.

Mr Agabi said the judge should take cognizance of Mr Abebe’s high status in the society and that the defendant in a bid to absolve himself of the charges had hired the services of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

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“My Lord, the fact that the defendant has taken the trouble to hire the services of the calibre of counsel here shows that he is not interested in jumping bail.

“He is anxious because his reputation is at stake, the granting of bail is in your discretion and it is not at all a formality.

“Lastly, My Lord, there is a principle that applies during sentencing particularly when Your Lordship wants to apply a fine in terms of imprisonment.

“This applies to bail, the bail should be affordable, if not the bail would be an illusion. Merely looking at the defendant, you will see he is a man of rank and position.

“Our law permits bail to the defendant and that provision will be useless if he cannot avail himself of the bail,” Agabi said.

Responding, Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC counsel, in an application supported by an 8-paragraph affidavit, said Mr Abebe should face justice irrespective of his status.

He told the court : “Every citizen of Nigeria is being called before the law and before the law there is no high profile or low profile
person, justice is blind.

“If the court is minded to give bail, we want the bail to be such that it would compel his attendance in court as these are serious allegations against him.”

Granting Mr Abebe bail, Justice Dada noted that documents before her revealed that investigations had been concluded in the case, adding that the chances of interference in the proceedings from the defendant were low.

“In view of the facts before the court, I hereby grant the defendant bail upon the submission of his international passport to the court registrar with one substantial surety.

“The surety must own property in a choice area of Lagos and must provide proof of ownership,” she said.

Following the ruling, it was brought to the judge’s attention by the defence that Mr Abebe’s passport was still in the possession of
the EFCC.

Justice Dada said: “Since the passport of the defendant is with the EFCC, he is hereby granted bail on fulfillment of other conditions.”

According to Rotimi Oyedepo, the EFCC prosecutor present at Mr Abebe’s arraignment on July 26, the defendant committed the offence on June 22, 2010 in Lagos.

“Abebe knowingly forged BP Exploration Nigeria Ltd’s letter dated Nov. 30, 1995 to Inducon (Nigeria) Ltd.

“He committed the forgery by inserting in page two of the said letter the following words: Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the NPIA. The $4 million buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields.

“He purported same to have been issued by BP Exploration Nigeria Limited,” the EFCC prosecutor said.

The prosecution claimed that the defendant used the said forged letter as evidence in suit: FHC/L/CS/224/2010 between Abebe,
Inducon Nigeria Ltd and Statoil Nigeria Ltd at the Federal High Court.

The evidence was admitted and marked exhibit BB in the suit.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Turkish Authority Arrest Baghdadi Sister

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After US President Donald Trump confirmed the death of (IS) leader Baghdadi on press conference at the White House.

Turkish officials says, mtirkeu The sister of The sister of former Islamic State(IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been captured in northern Syria.

The 65-year-old, named as Rasmiya Awad, was detained in a raid near the town of Azaz, officials said.

Turkish officials, cited by several media outlets, said the arrest could yield valuable intelligence about IS.

His death was hailed as a victory for US President Donald Trump, but critics argue that IS remains a security threat in Syria and elsewhere.

One Turkish official told Reuters news agency the arrest of Baghdadi’s older sister may help shed light on “the inner workings” of IS.

Media captionAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself during a raid by US commandos

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director hailed the arrest as “another example of the success of our counter-terrorism operations”.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigerian authorities freed 450 captives in Kaduna

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Nigeria police has been commended over their role in  rescuing nearly 450 people from a building in the northern city of Kaduna where they were detained and allegedly tortured.

Those held were all men and boys – some were found chained up.

Image result for nigeria police freed hundreds

The detainees, not all Nigerian, said they had been tortured, sexually abused, starved and prevented from leaving – in some cases for several years.

It is not clear how they got there. Some of the children told the police that their relatives had taken them there believing the building to be a Koranic school.

But the police say there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the building was ever a school.

Eight suspects have been arrested.

They were taken to a stadium in Kaduna overnight to be cared for while arrangements are made to find their families.

Nigerian authorities say the nearly 500 freed captives will be given medical and psychological examinations.

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