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Kidnap-for-Ransom: Court adjourns case against Serikin Fulani, two others in Kwara for hearing

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By Saka Laaro, Ilorin

Justice Adenike Akinpelu of the Kwara State High Court in Ilorin on Tuesday adjourned kidnapping case brought against Serikin Fulani in the State (ardo), Alhaji Usman Adamu and two others by the Kwara state director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to January 18 for continuation of hearing.

The Serikin Fulani, and two others were accused of kidnapping one Abubakar Ahmad and allegedly collected a ransom of N1million before his eventual release after spending 20 days.

Speaking after Tuesday proceedings, the State DPP, Ayoola Idowu, said that four witnesses had so far been called, adding that progress had been made so far on the matter.

“Today, we have made progress. We called a total number of four witnesses. The first one is the exhibit keeper. He tendered his evidence at the last adjourned date and he was cross examined today.

“One Mallam Bami was also called to give his evidence. We also called the alleged victim of the case, Abubakar Ahmad. He had also given his evidence. We also called the man that took the marked ransom to the Serikin Fulani. Every other thing you may want to know, please contact the attorney general.

“Yes. The first defendant’s lawyer also brought up application for bail for his client, but we told the court that the application was not ripe for such, while the Judge adjourned the matter to Wednesday, January 18, 2023,” he said.

During the proceedings, the victim of the alleged kidnap, Abubakar Ahmad, had told the court that he was kidnapped and tortured for 20 days in Army barrack, Ilorin until his people paid a sum of N1 million ransom to effect his release.

Abubakar Ahmad said he’s a driver and of Fulani tribe and a member of vigilance group in Eyenkorin area of the Ilorin metropolis.

He said he was kidnapped on a Friday, last year July by three army personnel after a meeting with Chairman of vigilance group in the state, Alhaji Saka, who he said is also Seriki Gaa Saka, Ilorin.

“As I was about to leave Alhaji Saka office, I saw three persons in army uniform driving recklessly to overtake me and I had to stop. They ordered me into their vehicle, Sienna car, took my car key and my phones, which they immediately put off. They tied my hands to the back and covered my face. All these happened in broad daylight at about 3:00pm.

“What I later learnt when the vehicle stopped was that we were in Army barrack and leader of Fulani Bororo, Alhaji Usman Adamu, later came in. He asked me how many language I understand. I told him I only understand two languages, namely Fulani and Yoruba.

“He later called two of my abductors aside and told them in Hausa that they should tie me well. My hands were again tied at my two elbows and was taken to cell at about 6:00pm.

“When it was 20 days, one of the military men, Sahu, came at about 9:00pm and drove me in a vehicle with two other military personnel. We passed through Shao town, linking Ilorin-Jebba expressway. We got to Olooru, Kambi village and the vehicle parked along the bush on the expressway. I was told to climb on motorcycle and that was when I saw Serikin Fulani of Kambi village. The motorcycle took me to the palace of Serikin Fulani and that’s when I saw my father, my two brothers and two of my father’s friends.

“Serikin Fulani of Kambi village asked one of my brothers if I’m the one they’ve been looking for, saying, ‘since you said you won’t give us money until you see him. Here he is.’ My brother answered that I’m the one and handed over N1million cash to Serikin Fulani Kambi and we left there to go home.”

During a cross examination by the first defendant’s lawyer, Adebayo Adelodun SAN, Abubakar denied that he was asked during his stay in the Army custody about kidnapping of a Chinese that later died.

While Adelodun SAN put it to the plaintiff that he only concocted the kidnap story to evade allegations of kidnap and that he was not kidnapped but arrested, Abubakar denied it.

Mr. Yahaya Aminu, counsel to Serikin Fulani Kambi, Malam Gide Gidado, said that his client handed a parcel to military before Abubakar’s release in the statement Abubakar wrote with the DSS.

Abubakar, however, denied it, saying that his father only asked him to thank the Seriki Kambi for role played in his release.

Also, the PW4, Mallam Farouq said that Abubakar’s brother informed him of the kidnap and told him that Serikin Fulani, Usman Adamu, had said that money should be found to get Abubakar freed.

He said that money was contributed for his release, adding that the money was taken to the lawyer and to the DSS who marked the naira notes.

“We got to Kambi village and we were asked if money was brought, we said yes and asked them to bring Abubakar out before we pay them. That was when they produced Abubakar and we gave them N1 million cash,” he said.

Crime

Alleged $9.6bn P&ID scam: Hearing in EFCC’s suit against fleeing Briton stalled

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Hearing in two separate money laundering suits filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against British national, James Nolan, could not proceed on Wednesday at a Federal High Court, Abuja.

The matter, which was scheduled for adoption of final written addresses of parties by Justice Donatus Okorowo, suffered setback due to failure of Nolan’s counsel, Michael Ajara, to file and serve his processes on the EFCC”s lawyer, Bala Sanga.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Okorowo had, on Nov. 20, 2023, fixed today for adoption of the final addresses after Nolan, who jumped bail and fled Nigeria in the alleged 9.6 billion dollars Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd scandal, opened his defence in absentia without calling any witness.

Ajara had told the judge that he did not intend to call any witness upon resumed hearing in the matter in the last adjourned date.

He said after his evaluation of the EFCC’s evidence, he would rely on the case of the prosecution and Sanga did not object, upon which the matter was fixed for today.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, Ajara had not filed their final written address.

The lawyer prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him do the needful.

The anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Christie Makar, who held Sanga’s brief, did not oppose the oral application.

Justice Okorowo consequently adjourned the matter until May 6 for adoption of final written addresses.

NAN reports that the EFCC is prosecuting Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited and Nolan in the charged marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022 as 1st and 2nd defendants in the case.

Also, the commission is also prosecuting the sister case marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/273/2022 filed against Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd, another company, and Corrado Fantoli as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively before Okorowo.

Fantoli, also a foreigner and an associate of Nolan, was one of the suspects behind the alleged $9.6 billion P&ID fraud.

The suspect, said to be at large, alongside the company, was arraigned in absentia on Nov. 25, 2022, on eight-count money laundering charge.

He was not present in court or represented by a lawyer when they were arraigned.

The court also declared him wanted and ordered for his arrest anywhere he is sighted after Sanga made application to the effect.

Fantoli and Giovanna Beccarelli, who had also been declared wanted and an arrest warrant issued against her, were said to be directors and signatories to the company’s Guaranty Trust Bank account number: 0123849451.

Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd and Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited are two of the over 30 companies associated with the $9.6 billion scam.

NAN reports that other cases linked to the scandal are currently before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, Justice Zainab Abubakar of FHC, Abuja, besides other charges at FCT High Courts.

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

Judge Knowles held that the award was obtained by fraud and that what had happened in the case was contrary to public policy.

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Crime

NAF bombs terrorists hideouts in Borno

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The Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai, OPHK, and the Nigerien Air Force on Tuesday eliminated scores of terrorists and destroyed their hideouts in Damasak and Mobbar local government areas of Borno State.

A statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information of NAF, AVM Edward Gabkwet, on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the interdictions were under the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF.

Gabkwet said the terrorists had attempted to attack troops of Sector 4 of the MNJTF at Lada, a border town between Niger Republic and Nigeria, and subsequently fled across the border into Nigeria.

According to him, the fleeing terrorists who were on eight motorcycles were later tracked to two locations in Zarri village, about 28 kilometers east of Damasak and Mala Alide in Mobbar areas of Borno.

He further stated that they were observed hibernating in the village with their motorcycles hidden under trees.

“Subsequently, airstrikes from the Air Component of OPHK and Nigerien Air Force, under the watchful eye of Niger’s Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, struck the terrorists’ locations.

“Real-time ISR footage later confirmed numerous terrorists were eliminated and several structures within the targeted areas destroyed.

“Collaborative efforts of this nature have continued to yield positive outcomes on both sides of the border.

“It has also led to the reduction in terrorism and other forms of cross-border crimes perpetrated by criminals crisis-crossing the borders to evade justice,” he added.

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Crime

Sex Scandal: We won’t oppose any sanction against lecturer — ASUU UNN

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the union would not oppose any sanction against the lecturer allegedly involved in sex scandal in a video trending in the social media.

Chairperson of ASUU, University of Nigeria Nsukka, (UNN), Dr Oyibo Eze said this in Nsukka on Tuesday while reacting to the alleged attempt by a lecturer in UNN to have sex with a female student in his office on Monday.

“ASUU will not oppose any sanction if after investigations, the suspect is found guilty of allegation to have attempted to have sex with a female student in his office.

“We should all know that every action has its consequences,” he said.

He said that ASUU condemned the alleged act by the lecturer identified as Mr. David Udom-Udom of the Social Science Unit, School of General Studies (GS) of the UNN.

“I saw the trending video of the alleged act yesterday and this morning I went  to GS department and confirmed the incident in the viral video on Monday.

“Lecturers should see students as their children by displaying high sense of discipline, morality and avoid asking sex for mark.

“It is condemnable and that is what happens when a dog eats the bone hung on its neck.

“Our job as lecturers is to teach students not to harass them sexually,” he said.

Reacting to the incident, Comrade Enoch Utazi, the President, Students Union Government (SUG) of the UNN, also condemned the alleged act by Udom to have sex with a student for mark.

Utazi said SUG would follow the matter to its logical conclusion to ensure that the affected randy lecturer was punished according to rules and regulations of the university.

“SUG will ensure this randy lecturer is punished to serve as deterrent to others who exploit female students sexually in order to give them mark,” Utazi said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chris Alumona, the Chief Security Officer of UNN, when contacted, confirmed the incident and said that the randy lecturer Udom-Udom had been arrested and handed over to the police.

Alumona said his office acted on tip-off from UNN Department of Students Affairs on what was happening on Monday in Udom’s office

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