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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

‘Myca’ laid to rest after bloody Incident.

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Philippine

Scores of people calls for justice after witnessing the burial ceremony of late Myca Ulpina,

The authorities has come under criticism over the death of the 3- year old child.

Ulpina was what police called “collateral damage”, an unintended death among some 6,600 people whom police say they have killed in shootouts during President Rodrigo Duterte three-year crackdown.

Filipino activists say tens of thousands are being killed as police terrorize poor communities, using cursory drug “watch lists” to identify suspected users or dealers, and executing many of them under the guise of sting operations.

Police and the government reject that as lies and say those killed were armed and resisted arrest, including the toddler’s father, Renato, whom they said used his daughter as a human shield in a June 29 incident in Rizal province, near Manila.

“I can’t count how many masses I’ve held for victims of the war on drugs, but one thing I’ve discovered is none of them fought back,” priest Noel Gatchailan said at the mass on Tuesday, his eyes welling with tears.

“Sorry Myca, for I wasn’t able to protect you … Sorry that you were born at a time when the poor are targeted and killings are rampant. Sorry if they’re saying you’re collateral damage.”

About 60 people crammed into the space, mostly standing, among them activists, family and friends wearing T-shirts that said “Justice for Myca”, and “stop the attacks against the poor”.

In a yard outside strewn with trash, old clothes and broken furniture, a group of police carrying assault rifles stood guard.

Ulpina’s killing comes as the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council prepares to vote this week on a resolution that calls for a U.N. investigation into the drugs war, heeding pleas from activists and lawyers for the international community to intervene to stop the bloodshed.

The Philippines has dismissed the resolution as interference and cited Duterte’s approval rating, which hit a record high last month, as evidence of resounding public backing for his anti-drugs campaign.

Foreign governments are being “misled by false news and untruthful narratives”, according to Duterte’s spokesman, while the Dangerous Drugs Board,

The country’s narcotics control body, on Tuesday said facts were being distorted “to present a morbid picture of the anti-drug campaign”.

Accounts of what happened vary. Police said operatives had tried to buy drugs from Ulpina’s father, who pulled a gun on them and killed one of their officers while using the child as shield.

Ulpina’s mother, who has asked not to be identified by name, said police burst into her home without a warrant as her family slept.

Her daughter was killed by a stray bullet and wasn’t used as a shield, she said.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Diezani ‘s $40 million jewellery confisticated

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A Nigerian court has ordered the imminent seizure of Dieziani ‘s $40 million worth of jewellery.

The items included hundreds of bangles, rings, earrings, necklaces and watches and all the items were found at a property owned by Alison-Madueke.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said in a statement that all of Diezani ‘s Jewellery would be seized.

Alison-Madueke, was charged by the EFCC in absentia for money laundering in 2017. Her whereabouts are unknown, and a London-based lawyer who has represented her did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2017, a court allowed the government to permanently seize a $37.5 million apartment block she owned in an upscale Lagos neighbourhood.

We guess Diezani ‘s Jewellery will be converted to cash and put back into the coffers of the country.

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