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$9.6bn Fraud: How INTERPOL Arrested Fleeing Briton, James Nolan In Italy

The International Criminal Police Organisation has arrested a Director of Process and Industrial Development Limited, James Nolan.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nolan, an Irish national, who allegedly jumped bail in 2022 in the ongoing $9.6bn P&ID scandal in Nigeria, was arrested by the INTERPOL on January 27 in Italy, while on a visit to his wife.

A source in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission confirmed the information to NAN.

“Yes, we got the information through informant sources,” the official said.

The source said the next line of action was for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to apply to INTERPOL for Nolan’s extradition back to Nigeria to stand his trial.

NAN reports that counsel for Nolan, Paul Erokoro, SAN, in a telephone chat, said he had also heard about the report.

“There is a report that James Nolan was arrested but the EFCC is actually in the better position to confirm. They might have heard from INTERPOL. But I have not spoken to him (Nolan) and I don’t have firsthand confirmation but I have heard about the report,” he said.

According to NAN, Nolan, who also has British citizenship, was at the centre of the controversial Gas Supply Processing Agreement which was signed in 2010.

After he was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the counts preferred against him, a Federal High Court, Abuja, on November 7, 2019, granted him a N500m bail but the bail was later varied to N100 million due to his inability to meet the bail condition.

However, after he perfected his bail conditions, he failed to appear in court for trial since 2022.

A sister court, where the embattled Irish was also standing trial had, on September 28, 2022, revoked his bail.

The then presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed (now elevated to Appeal Court), in a ruling, issued a bench warrant for his arrest for jumping bail.

Mohammed ordered that Nolan should be arrested by security agencies, including INTERPOL, anywhere he was sighted within or outside Nigeria and be produced in court to stand trial.

“As far as this court is concerned, the absence of the second defendant (Nolan) in court implies he has jumped bail,” he had said.

The judge gave the order after the anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Bala Sanga, made an application to the effect. He equally granted the EFCC’s request to continue his trial in absentia.

Also a brother judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, on July 6, 2023, ordered Nolan’s surety, George Kadiri, to forfeit his N100m bail bond to the Federal Government over his inability to produce the defendant in court.

Justice Egwuatu, in a ruling after Sanga moved the motion, also ordered Kadiri, who was absent in court, to be remanded in prison custody until the payment of the N100 million.

NAN reports that Nolan is standing trial in about eight other cases for his alleged involvement in the controversial gas supply agreement with the Federal Government.

The contract became the subject of litigation following the award of a whopping sum of $9.6bn judgment debt against Nigeria.

While eight of the matters are before the FHC in Abuja, a case is before the FCT High Court, besides the London case.

Meanwhile, the matter was fixed for Thursday before Justice Donatus Okorowo of a FHC could not proceed.

While Sanga and Michael Ajara were in court, Justice Okorowo was said to have gone on official engagement.

Nolan had, on November 20, 2023, opened his defence in absentia without calling any witness.

Nolan’s counsel, Ajara, who had told Justice Okorowo that he did not intend to call any witness, said that after his evaluation of the evidence of the prosecution in the matter, he would be relying on the case of the prosecution.

The judge then fixed February 15 for the adoption of the final written addresses of the parties.

Nolan is being prosecuted in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022 for allegations bordering on money laundering offences.

A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales had, in October 2023, quashed the $11bn awarded against Nigeria in a case filed by the P&ID Ltd.

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Woman who masterminded self-kidnap, two others nabbed in Benin

A Benin, Edo State-based woman, Blessing Ogunu, who allegedly masterminded her own kidnap has been arrested by police operatives in the State.

The woman who is now cooling her feet with two other suspects in police custody, was arrested on 23 March, 2024.

The Command’s spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, in a statement on Monday in Benin, said the suspect was arrested with two other accomplices, Esther Anthony and Ukpebor Joel.

According to him, “The Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber Crime Unit received a complaint from one Samuel Prince Omomuzo, of No 102 Ihama Road, GRA, Benin City who reported that one Blessing Ogunu, a staff of Bliss Legacy Limited, Benin City was kidnapped in Benin and the kidnappers demanded for four million, eight hundred thousand naira (N4,800,000.00) ransom.

“The operatives, using technical intelligence, arrested the supposed victim of the kidnap, one Blessing Ogunu, Esther Anthony and Ukpebor Joel.

“During interrogation, the supposed Blessing Ogunu confessed that she masterminded her self-kidnap because her company refused to allocate land to a customer whom they have received money from.”

Nwanbuzor disclosed that the suspects would soon be charged to court.

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NAF airstrikes eliminate 30 terrorist kingpins, fighters in Borno

The Air component of the Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), has executed a precision airstrike on the hideouts of ISWAP terrorists, killing over 30 of their fighters within Kolleram village along the shores of Lake Chad.

This is contained in a statement by AVM Edward Gabkwet, the Director, Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on Tuesday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the airstrikes conducted on April 13, were a decisive blow against terrorism in the North-East.

He said the operation yielded significant success as the Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) post-strike conducted revealed the neutralisation of over 30 terrorists.

Gabkwet said that among those neutralised were some senior commanders of the insurgents including Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah, and Mallam Ari.

“Additionally, numerous vehicles, motorcycles, and logistical assets were destroyed, severely hampering the terrorists’ operational capabilities.

“Intelligence gathered after the air strike further indicated that the aerial bombardment effectively obliterated a key facility within the Kolleram enclave, which served as a hub for the terrorists’ food processing activities, including grinding machines.

“The success of these airstrikes underscores NAF’s commitment to eradicating terrorism and ensuring the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.

“By neutralising key terrorist figures and destroying their logistical infrastructure, the operation has significantly degraded the capabilities of the ISWAP group in the region.

“These airstrikes complement the ongoing efforts of ground forces in the Lake Chad flank and represent a crucial step forward in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria,” he said.

(NAN)

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Francis Okoye arrested in Anambra bound commercial bus with firearms, POS machine

A 22-year-old man, Francis Obinna Okoye, has been arrested by operatives of Edo State Police Command’s Monitoring Unit for alleged possession of firearm.
Also recovered from him was a blue-coloured pos machine.
Okoye who resides at No 26, Jatto Street, Okolo, Lagos State, was arrested on 7 April, 2024.
A statement by the Command’s spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the suspect was apprehended by the  operatives while on stop and search duty along Lagos-Benin expressway, by Ovia river axis.
He was intercepted in a commercial bus loaded with passengers from Lagos state heading to Anambra state.
The suspect allegedly confessed in his statement that one Emma whose surname is unknown, gave him the gun to threaten his uncle, Mr. Paul Okoye, who was alleged to have killed his father with chams.
However, when operatives of the Command took him to Lagos on Monday, 8 April, 2024, to arrest Mr. Paul Okoye, they found out that the suspect lied to the operatives.
“The suspect will soon be process to
court,” the Edo Police Command spokesperson said.
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