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Supreme Court grants Malami’s petition of to extradite Nigerian over wire fraud

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The Supreme Court has granted the request for the extradition of a Nigeria, Princewill Ugonna Anuebunwa wanted in the United States for his alleged complicity in some criminal activities.

The extradition request was made by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami though the Central Authority Unit (CAU) of the Federal Ministry of Justice, headed by Akutah Pius Ukeyima.

A five-member panel of the Supreme Court, in a judgment on Wednesday, allowed the appeal by the AGF, restored the June 1,2020 judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja and set aside the November 6, 2020 judgment by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

The Court of Appeal had, in its judgment in the appeal marked: CA/A/CV/387/2020 filed by Anuebunwa reversed the Federal High Court judgment, which granted the AGF’s request to surrender Anuebunwa for trial in the US on a pending two-count charge of “conspiracy to commit wire fraud; wire fraud, and aiding and abetting.”

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The Court of Appeal also ordered a retrial at the Federal High Court, a decision the AGF appealed to the Supreme Court, with Anuebunwa filing a cross-appeal to challenge the order for retrial and prayed that he should be set free.

Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, in the lead judgment of the Supreme Court, which Justice Tijani Abubakar read on Wednesday, faulted the Court of Appeal’s judgment and proceeded to set it aside.

Justice Ogunwumiju upheld the judgment by Justice Ekwo (of the Federal High Court) that the AGF supplied sufficient materials, as required under the Extradition Act, to warrant the grant of the extradition request.

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She allowed the appeal by the AGF and dismissed the cross-appeal by Anuebunwa on the grounds that it was without merit.

Other members of the panel – Justices Musa Dattijo Mohammed, Centus Nweze, Abubakar and Emmanuel Agim – agreed with the lead judgment.

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Anuebunwa had, in his defence at the Federal High Court, denied committing the offences for which he was to be extradited and claimed to be in the business of wine supply since he graduated from the Ogun State University.

He also denied knowing his alleged co-conspirators, except Chibundu Joseph Anuebunwa, who he admitted being his brother, who once travelled to the US.

The judgment of the Supreme Court delivered on April 13, 2022 came about three years after Anuebunwa’s brother, Chibundu Joseph Anuebunwa was convicted and sentenced to one year jail term by Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos State.

Chibundu was found guilty on a two-count charge of conspiracy to steal and retaining stolen property, contrary to Sections 411 and 328(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Justice Dada, in her judgment in January 2020 said: “The defendant must forfeit the sum of N29.220 million found in his procession to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and because the defendant did not waste the time of the court and also being a first time offender, he is hereby sentenced to one-year imprisonment or an option of fine of N1.5 million.”

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Lagos teenager dies after father’s beating

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Lagos teenager dies after father’s beating

The Police in Lagos State have begun an investigation into the death of a 19-year-old boy allegedly beaten to death by his father.

The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the incident on Thursday.

 

Also read: Police arrest man with human skull in Ogun

 

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The spokesperson said that the Alagbado Police Division received a report of the alleged crime on Tuesday.

He said, “At about 12.00 p.m. on July 5, at about 2.00 p.m., one Olumide gave his son, Adeyemi a deep cut under moderate correction, at his right hand side with a shovel over an undisclosed offence.”

Hundeyin said that the young man sustained injury as a result of the impact of the shovel attack

“The young man was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment.

“But when the injury became serious, he was taken to the General Hospital Ikeja, where he gave up the ghost as a result of tetanus infection, as confirmed by the doctor on duty.

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“The scene was visited by detectives of the division.

“However, the father of the victim is currently at large and the case is under investigation,” he said.

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Police hunt ‘area boys’ for killing final-year Bayelsa varsity student over N150 levy

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Police hunt ‘area boys’ for killing final-year Bayelsa varsity student over N150 levy

There is outrage in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State following the stabbing to death on Monday of a final-year student of the Niger Delta University.

Community sources who spoke to our correspondent on Wednesday said the victim, Francis Palowei, was at the Sand Dump, a popular spot among the students for relaxation and socialising when some youths in the area stabbed him to death when he failed to give them N150.

 

Also read: From lounge to Kirikiri prison, Nigerian DJ alleges police brutality

 

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Palowei, who hailed from Obrigbene community in the Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, was expected to graduate on Wednesday, July 24, 2024, when the university would hold its next convocation.

Theheute gathered that men of the Nigeria Police Force had gone to the community and started searching for the perpetrators.

According to one source, who pleaded anonymity, students of the institution have also joined in the search for the perpetrators while the shock of the incident has made some students shun classes, with a greater majority attending classes.

The Public Relations Officer of the university, Indoni Engezi, who confirmed the incident, told Theheute that the incident did not affect academic activities as “the university is a different community.”

Engezi said the issue affected the host community, Amassoma, and that the police were already on top of the situation.

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“The owner of the sand dump does not charge any fees for using the premises, but some youths usually charge N150 from anyone who wants to use the premises”, he said.

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The Police Public Relations Officer, Musa Mohammed, said the Commissioner of Police, Francis Idu, had deployed additional manpower to the community to maintain the peace.

Mohammed said the police had launched a manhunt for the killers.

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Bribery still thriving in Nigeria

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Bribery still thriving in Nigeria

A new report by the National Bureau of Statistics and the UNODC on corruption in Nigeria cements the country’s soiled reputation as a place of sleaze. Entitled ‘Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,’ it revealed that about N721 billion was received as bribes by public officials in 2023. This is huge, amounting to about 0.35 per cent of GDP. The Bola Tinubu administration has a huge task to clean up the rot.

According to the survey, the average cash bribe was N8,284, an increase from N5,754 in 2019. The report stated that corruption was ranked fourth among the most important problems affecting the country in 2023, after the cost of living, insecurity, and unemployment.

 

Also read: EFCC arrests seven illegal miners, two others for N1.2m bribe

 

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It indicates that 56 per cent of Nigerians interacted with a public official in 2023, down from 63 per cent in 2019. Despite this reduction, bribery remains widespread, with an average of 5.1 bribes paid per bribe payer, totalling approximately 87 million bribes nationwide. This is a decrease from the 117 million bribes estimated in 2019.

Bribery is more common in rural areas, with citizens paying an average of 5.8 bribes compared to 4.5 bribes in urban areas. On payment mode, the report noted that over 95 per cent of bribes were paid in monetary form (cash or money transfer) in 2023. “It said public officials were more likely to demand bribes. It also mentioned private sector actors, including doctors in private hospitals.” Bribery increased from 6.0 per cent in 2019 to 14 per cent in 2023.

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Corruption manifests in every sphere of Nigerian life; most noticeably in elections, the judiciary, government agencies, procurement/contracts, payroll, and extortion by security agents. For many, corruption is “the single greatest obstacle preventing Nigeria from achieving its enormous potential.”

No sector of the state is free from this pest. In March, the UNODC decried the prevalence of corruption in the judiciary. The agency found that 20 per cent of those who had contact with the Nigerian judiciary were confronted with a request to pay a bribe.

The EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, claims that some religious organisations are “more corrupt” than public offices in Nigeria. The EFCC noted that it recovered $550 million by stopping ‘ghost workers’ on the public payroll. The erstwhile Muhammadu Buhari administration implemented the Treasury Single Account and recovered $370 million in unremitted tax.

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But he undermined the war by pardoning two ex-governors convicted of corruption. A former Accountant-General of the Federation allegedly stole N109 billion from which he returned N30 billion. Despite many court judgements, the government refuses to account for recovered assets. The corruption case against a former governor was discontinued in 2019 after an apparent political deal with the Buhari administration.

After assuming office, the Tinubu administration began prosecuting some public officials. The EFCC has questioned ministers under Buhari such as Hadi Sirika, Saleh Mamman, and Sadiya Faruq over the alleged diversion of public funds.

This is reflected in Nigeria’s average score in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2014-2023 is 27 out of 100; it ranked the 145th most corrupt out of 180 countries.

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The United States-based Center for International Private Enterprise argues that the anti-corruption war in Nigeria fails primarily because the government is “selective, ineffective and themselves lack credibility.”

PwC says corruption could cost Nigeria up to 37 per cent of GDP by 2030 if not addressed urgently. The UNODC adds, “Corruption aggravates inequality and injustice, and undermines stability, especially in the world’s most vulnerable regions.”

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Worse, Tinubu has not articulated a definite plan yet, though he ordered a probe of the CBN. Many senior figures in the incumbent administration have been accused of corruption, including top leadership of the All Progressives Congress. A minister is on suspension over corruption allegations.

Therefore, to defeat graft, Tinubu must fashion and implement a pragmatic plan.

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