The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned no fewer than 11 students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, before the Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, the state capital, for their alleged involvement in internet fraud.
The OAU students were arraigned on different count charges, ranging from one to six charges as preferred against them by the EFCC on Monday, November 6, 2023.
The students arraigned are Perekebena Olombeni Micah, Nnekwelugo Nnaemeka, Moyosore Favour Oluwasakin, Aghwaritoma Wisdom Obaro, Daniel Olashile Maiye, Gbolahan Khalid Adesina, Yinka Temitope Jayeola, Olumuyiwa Emmanuel Adeleye, Abiola Emmanuel Oluwadare, Busari Abdulazeez Ayodeji, and Okesipe Tobiloba Paul.
According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the EFCC spokesman, Dele Oyewale, nine of the defendants were arraigned on one-count charge each, while two others – 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 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.”
Upon their arraignments, they all pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to them.
The prosecution counsel, Oluwatoyin Owodunni, later prayed the court for trial dates and the remand of the defendants at a correctional centre.
In response, the counsels for Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Micah, Adeleye, and Okesipe informed the court of “motions for bail applications” filed on behalf of their clients which have been served on the prosecution, urging the court to admit the six OAU students to bail in the most liberal terms.
The presiding judge, Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, after listening to the prayers of both parties, 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 were two sureties in like sum – first surety must be the defendant’s father or mother, second surety must be a relative, sibling, clergy or civil servant with the Osun State Government- the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means and both residential and office addresses of the sureties, as well as their statuses must be provided and verified by the court registrar.
The judge, therefore, adjourned the matters to November 29 and December 12, 2023, for the commencement of trial and remanded the defendants at the Ilesha Correctional Centre in Osun State pending the perfection of their bail conditions.
The defendants were among the 69 suspected internet fraudsters arrested on November 1 at the Oduduwa Estate area of Ile-Ife in Osun State following actionable intelligence on their alleged involvement in fraudulent internet-related activities.