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Seven years After Escape From Prison, NDLEA Arrests Wanted Abuja Drug Kingpin

Seven years after his escape from prison custody following his conviction for drug dealing, a notorious major distributor of illicit substances within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Ibrahim Momoh, popularly known as Ibrahim Bendel, has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA during a raid of his hideout at Filin Dabo, Dei-Dei area of the FCT.

Ibrahim Momoh was first arrested on 27th November, 2014 with cannabis sativa weighing 385.1kgs, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on 22nd July 2015 but while serving his jail term at Kuje, he escaped from prison custody on 16th May, 2016.
Following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on 20th November 2022 stormed the warehouse of the fleeing ex-convict, Ibrahim Momoh, and recovered 81 jumbo bags of cannabis weighing 1,278kgs. The store was located within his poultry farm in Dei-Dei area of the FCT. Though Momoh was not around at the time, his warehouse manager, 55-year-old Ghanaian, Richard Forson Gordon was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to two years in jail. The Agency thereafter declared Ibrahim Momoh wanted.
The manhunt for the drug lord paid off on 5th November 2023 when operatives again raided his hideout at Filin Dabo, Dei-Dei area of Abuja where he was arrested with 56.9kgs of cannabis sativa and 42.7 grams of Diazepam. In another raid in the same area of the FCT on Monday 13th November, a suspect Yusufa Ibrahim, 27, was arrested with 75.3kgs of cannabis.
Meanwhile, a massive operation in the forest of Efon Alaye in Efon local government area of Ekiti state on Saturday 18th November 2023 has led to the destruction of 52,500 kilograms of cannabis sativa covering over 21 hectares of farmland while a total of ninety two bags of same substance weighing 1,380 kilograms were recovered and another 250 bags weighing 3,000kgs stored in different huts on the farm were also burnt.
No fewer than 15 suspects were arrested on the farm during the operation. They include: Okikiri Julius, 27; Ozoemene Friday Efajemu, 31; Tosin Ibrahim, 18; Israel Samuel, 25; Godwin David, 39; Friday Isaac, 19; Ayomide Igbekele, 18; Joshua Daniel, 27; Emmanuel Nwachukwu, 19; Emeka Onyeama, 31; Ani Augustine, 27; Obasi Ogbu, 32; Orsusue Peter, 23; Daniel Emmanuel, 18; and Yinusa James, 22.
In Ondo state, five persons including another wanted drug kingpin, Christopher Onyebuchi, 40, were arrested at New Bridge Compound, Idoani on Wednesday 15th November and a total of 1,945 kilograms of cannabis recovered from them. Others include: Olorunda Ojo, 52; Femi Tomoye, 22; Abdurahman Salahu, 29; and Momoh Jimoh, 31. Onyebuchi had earlier been arrested by NDLEA on 25th March 2022 with 89kgs of same substance but jumped bail after he was arraigned at the Federal High Court, Akure. Operatives in the state also on Sunday 12th Nov raided Upemen village in Owo where they recovered 1,834kgs of same substance with 273kgs also seized the previous day, Saturday 11th Nov at Ipesi Akoko.
While NDLEA officers in Sokoto recovered 290kgs of cannabis from a female suspect, Fatima Salmanu, 20, at Gangaren Tashar, Illela Sokoto in Sokoto North LGA on Thursday 16th Nov, their colleagues in Edo state evacuated 808kgs of the same psychoactive substance stored in a forest at Igueben on Monday 13th Nov.
Not less than 231kgs of cannabis were recovered and five suspects arrested in a joint raid between NDLEA operatives and soldiers in Kwande council area of Benue state on Monday 13th Nov. Those arrested include: Denen Terhemba, 25; Liambee Iorhuna, 36; Iorhuna Sughnen, 20; Aboh Sonter, 23; and Msendoo Tyokaa, 36.
While operatives in Ogun state on Tuesday 14th Nov arrested a suspect, Tony Jonah at Abule Iroko, with cannabis sativa weighing 67kgs, those in Lagos arrested Chike Agu at Ago Palace way, Isolo with 364.3kgs of Loud, a variant of cannabis.
In Imo state, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Owerri -Onitsha expressway on Monday 13th Nov intercepted a truck marked XS 669KRD driven by one Orji Ifeanyi, 33. A search of the truck led to the seizure of 82,320 pills of opioids including Tramadol 225mg, and Diazepam as well as 32.5 litres of codeine cough syrup and 100 pieces of Molly weighing 49.62 grams.
The War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy campaign of the Agency continued in equal measure in schools, markets, worship places and others across the country in the past week. Some of them include: WADA advocacy lecture for Muslim faithful at Badagry Central Mosque, Badagry, Lagos; WADA sensitisation lecture for students of Government Science College, Wase, Plateau state; WADA sensitisation lecture for students of Anglican Girls Secondary School, Ogidi, Anambra state; WADA advocacy lecture at St. Thomas Grammar School, Otan Aiyegbaju, Osun; WADA advocacy lecture for students and staff of Government Junior Arabic Secondary School, Maigatari, Jigawa state as well as students and staff of Mainland Technical College, Oron, Akwa Ibom state.
While commending the officers and men of the FCT, Ekiti, Ondo, Sokoto, Lagos, Edo, Benue, Ogun and Imo Commands for the arrests and seizures of the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) urged them and their compatriots across all formations of the Agency to intensify the offensive action tempo against drug cartels as the yuletide season approaches while maintaining a balance with their drug demand reduction efforts.

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EFCC arraigns forex broker for alleged N2b investment scam in Uyo

The Enugu Zonal Directorate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Friday, July 19, 2024 arraigned one Rufus John Isip, a self-acclaimed forex broker before Justice C. S. Onah of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Isip was arraigned alongside his company, ITM-IT Resources Limited on an eight-count charge bordering on fraudulent conversion, money laundering and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N2, 022, 081, 172 (Two Billion, Twenty-two Million, Eighty-one Thousand, One Hundred and Seventy-two Naira).

Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Rufus John Isip while being the Director of ITM-IT Resources Limited and ITM-IT Resources Limited sometime in December 2020 and May 2021 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of (431, 331, 172. 00) Four Hundred and Thirty-one Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-one Thousand, One Hundred and Seventy-two kobo from one Michael Okon, the Director of N-Rex Resources Limited under the false pretence that it is an investment in Vandera, an online investment platform, on his behalf, which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.

Count eight of the charge reads: “That you, Rufus John Isip while being the Director of ITM-IT Resources Limited and ITM-IT Resources Limited sometime between December 2020 and May 2021 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, converted the total sum of (N730, 870, 000. 00) Seven Hundred and Thirty Million, Eight Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira to crypto currency (Bitcoin) and transferred same into your Binance Wallet knowing that the said money formed part of your unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 15 (3) (4) of the same Act”.

He pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him.

In view of his plea, Khamis Mahmud, counsel to the EFCC prayed the court to remand him in EFCC custody on the grounds that “we are still investigating him on other cases”.

The defence counsel, Samson Ewuje however, did not pose any objection.
Justice Onah adjourned the matter to October 14, 2024 for trial and the defendant was remanded at the Uyo Zonal Directorate of the EFCC.

Isip was arrested based on a petition from one Michael George, alleging that he lured him to invest in his online trading platform called Vandora.io. According to the petitioner, the defendant told him that it was more profitable to trade on his platform with a minimum trading capital of $100, 000. 00 (One Hundred Thousand Dollars) and that he would earn more profit if he involved more investors.

The petitioner thereafter invested, reached out to other investors and companies who also invested in the defendant’s phony online trading platform and after 60 days (as agreed) for the investors to start earning their profits, the defendant disappeared into thin air.

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EFCC presents more witness against Fayose in alleged N6.9bn fraud trial

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, July 19, 2024, presented its 14th prosecution witness, PW14, Sahibu Salisu, a former Director of Administration and Finance, Office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, in the trial of alleged N6.9bn fraud involving a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and his company, Spotless Investment Limited, before Justice Chukujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC had, on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, re-arraigned Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9bn ( Six Billion Nine Hundred Naira).

The defendants had first been arraigned on October 22, 2018 before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

At the resumed sitting on Friday, Salisu told the court how he paid the sum of N200m and another N2billion to a firm, Sylvan MacNamara, for security purposes on the instruction of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, the PW14 , who disclosed that he served as the Director of Administration and Finance between 2011 and 2015, explained the process of payment, saying, “ Once the NSA gave approval for payment, we processed it accordingly. The payments we made were mainly for operational activities.”

When asked to state the roles of the NSA Office , he said: “The roles of the NSA Office are purely about the security of the entire country. And any money expended on security was expected to be retired.”

When shown a document tagged Exhibit S, which was the payment voucher raised for the fund, he said: “It is the payment mandate raised by me as the Director of Administration and Finance on the NSA’s instruction. The first figure was N200 million in favour of Sylvan McNamara and it was paid to the company’s Diamond Bank account. It was the NSA who gave me the account details.”

He said though the NSA did not tell him the purpose for which it was meant, the memo raised and the mandate payment showed it was for physical security infrastructure. “All the payments made from the Office of NSA were supposed to be for security activities and security structures,” he said.

When asked who signed the payment mandate, he said: “I will sign my own part as signatory B. “Thereafter, I would take it to the NSA for final signature, which was approval. Then, I would take the mandate to the Central Bank of Nigeria for payment.”

Giving further testimony on the exhibit S, he said the former NSA and him appended their signatures on it. According to him, the payment was made and there should be retirement, after the purpose for which money was paid for had been completed. He, however, stated that “ Up till I left the office, I could not say whether or not the money was retired.”

When asked about the exhibit S1, which was payment to Sylvan McNamara to the tune of N2 billion dated June 13, 2014, he said: “We paid the amount of N2 billion to Sylvan McNamara on the instruction of the NSA. I was not a signatory to this account, so I am not in a position to know whether it was retired after payment. The NSA and former Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ibrahim Mahe, would be able to know whether it was retired or not”.

Salisu, under cross-examination by the counsel to the first defendant, Ola Olanipekun, SAN, testified that all payments made by the NSA office were made through the bank and they had to raise the mandate before it was done.

When asked if the former NSA told him that the N200m and N2bn were for security purposes, he said: “No. The NSA never informed me that the money was for security purposes and the NSA never complained about this payment.”

During cross-examination by the counsel to the second defendant, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, Salisu testified that he was familiar with financial regulations, adding that “In relation to retirement, once money is given to a recipient, you are supposed to bring the receipt of what you have been asked to supply with a memo attached to it. That is the retirement of such a fund-the financial regulations only apply to public servants.”
According to him, the schedules of his duties did not extend to security matters.

When asked if he knew what made the former NSA to first approve the payment of N200million and subsequently N2 billion for Sylvan McNamara, he said: “As I said earlier, all payments in the office of the NSA are for security purposes”. Also, when asked if he made a statement to the EFCC when he was invited during investigation, he said, “Yes”.

Thereafter, Ojo tendered the statement of the witness and was admitted by the court as exhibit A19. The witness also confirmed to the court that no one ever queried the instructions of the NSA.

Counsel to the first defendant, Ola Olanipekun, SAN, made an application before the court, seeking the permission of the court to allow his client travel abroad on health grounds. There was no objection from the prosecution counsel.

In his ruling, Justice Aneke granted Olanipekun’s request to enable his client travel abroad for medical check.

The case was adjourned to October 18, 2024 for continuation of trial.

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NSUK 300-Level student killed in foiled robbery attempt in Akwanga

A 300-level student of Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), Mustapha Osama, was reportedly killed in a foiled robbery attempt in Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

The incident occurred on Friday night around 8 PM along the Gudi-Akwanga road, according to sources.

Osama, who has been buried in Doma on Saturday morning according to Islamic rites, was said to have been hit by a bullet fired by the gunmen.

A family source confirmed that the deceased was driving when he was struck by the bullet.

The robbery attempt was thwarted by operatives of the Nigeria Police who responded immediately to a distress call, according to the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ramhan Nansel.

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