Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, has convicted a notorious ‘Yahoo yahoo’ kingpin, Akpojivi Onoriode.
The 29-year-old convict was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a one-count charge bordering on cybercrime.
Onoriode, a graduate of Delta State University, Abraka and a father of two, was arrested by operatives of the Uyo Zonal Office of the commission in the early hours of Saturday, May 4, 2019, following intelligence report exposing him of living above his means. He was picked up at his lavishly furnished duplex on Plot 10, Block VI, Unical Satellite Town, Calabar, Cross River State.
Upon his arrest, Onoriode popularly known as “Blinks” or “Mr. White”, confessed to having offshore accounts in China, and narrated how he started the business of defrauding people quite early, while he was still an undergraduate at Delta State University, Abraka, in Delta State.
Shocked by the weight of evidence gathered against him by the EFCC, the commission’s Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, said in a statement yesterday that Onoriode chose not to waste the time of the court as he pleaded “guilty” to the charge.
In view of his plea, the EFCC counsel, A. S. Abuh, informed the court of a plea bargain arrangement entered between the convict and the commission, dated June 19, and filed on June 20.
“I hereby pray the court to convict and sentence him based on the terms of the agreement,” she said.
Delivering judgement on Wednesday, Justice Amobeda held that: “It is a known fact that crimes of this nature appear now to be prevalent in our time. I do hereby sentence the convict to six months imprisonment with an option of fine of N500,000.
“The convict shall forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria the instruments used in the commission of the offence being thus:
Acura ZDX with registration number SMK 245 DQ (Lagos)
Range Rover En-vogue with registration number FST 772 EQ (Lagos) Mercedes Benz E 300 with registration number LSD 393 EG (Lagos) and the seven bedroom duplex situated at Victory Way Extension, Satellite Town, Calabar, Cross River State.”
Earlier, Justice Amobeda convicted another graduate of Delta State University, Abraka, Obabueki Philips, who was equally arraigned by the anti-graft agency on a one-count charge bordering on impersonation and cybercrime.
When Obabueki was arrested, he admitted that his area of specialisation was impersonation, and that he usually sends out fraudulent emails to defraud his victims.
A forensic analysis of his laptop led to the recovery of quite a number of highly incriminating scam documents that further indicted him of the crime.
In view of his guilty plea, Abuh informed the court of the plea bargain arrangement entered between the commission and the convict and also prayed the court to convict and sentence him based on the agreements therein.
The court thereafter sentenced him to six months imprisonment with an option of fine of N50,000.