The Ibadan Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned 11 students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) arrested for alleged internet fraud.
According to the Commission’s statement, the suspects were arraigned on November 6 before Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, a judge of the federal high court in Osogbo, Osun state.
Recall that on November 1, the EFCC raided off-campus hostels in OAU’s host community of Ile-Ife, arresting about 69 suspects.
Most of the suspects were released but 11 of them were said to have cases to answer.
The defendants: Perekebena Olombeni Micah, Nnekwelugo Nnaemeka, Moyosore Favour Oluwasakin, Aghwaritoma Wisdom Obaro, Daniel Olashile Maiye, and Gbolahan Khalid Adesina were arraigned on different count charges.
Others were Yinka Temitope Jayeola, Olumuyiwa Emmanuel Adeleye, Abiola Emmanuel Oluwadare, Busari Abdulazeez Ayodeji and Okesipe Tobiloba Paul.
Nine of the defendants were arraigned on one-count charge each, while the remaining two, Micah and Obaro, had six-count charges levelled against each of them.
One of the counts reads:
“That you, Perekebena Olombeni Micah sometime in 2023 in Osogbo, Osun State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court 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 reads, “That you, Aghwaritoma Wisdom Obaro on or about 1st November 2023 at Ile-Ife, Osun State, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.”
Upon their arraignments, they all pleaded “not guilty” to the charges read to them.
Consequently, Oluwatoyin Owodunni, the prosecution counsel, prayed the court for trial dates and the remand of the defendants at a correctional center.
In response, defense counsels to Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Micah, Adeleye and Okesipe informed the court of “motions for bail applications” filed on behalf of their clients.
Judge Ayo-Emmanuel however admitted Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Adeleye and Okesipe to bail in the sum of N2 million each while Micah was granted bail in the sum of N3 million.
The other bail conditions are two sureties in like sum, where the first surety must be the defendant’s father or mother, and the second surety must be a relative, sibling, clergy or civil servant with the Osun government.
Ayo-Emmanuel adjourned the cases to November 29 and December 12 respectively for commencement of trial and remanded the defendants at the Ilesha correctional center in Osun State pending the perfection of bail conditions.