Tension As Police Take Over Venue Of Yoruba Self-Determination Rally - IReporteronline
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Tension As Police Take Over Venue Of Yoruba Self-Determination Rally

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The police have taken over Mapo Hall, Ibadan the venue of the rally organised by the Prof Banji Akintoye-led Ilana Odua to sensitise people about Yoruba self-determination.

Akintoye, who is an 86-year-old Emeritus Professor of History, was scheduled to lead the rally but our correspondent observed that the venue is surrounded by armed policemen and armour personnel carrier.

There are more than 20 police vehicles including patrol vans in Mapo Area.

The organisers have also not been seen at the venue although some members were said to have come earlier and left because of the situation there.

However, a truck-mounted with a megaphone was later seen with a few Yoruba agitators going towards Oritamerin from Bere side.

Calls put across to some of the organisers were not picked. But it was gathered that they were strategising for the next line of action.

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Nigerian, Ghanaian Arrested For Duping COVID-19 Patients On The Pretext Of Supplying Oxygen Cylinders

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Two African nationals have been arrested for allegedly cheating people on the pretext of providing them oxygen cylinders, police said on Sunday.

 

The accused have been identified as Cheema Benneth (42), a native of Nigeria and Jonathan Kojo (44), a resident of Ghana.

On May 5, a man told the police that he needed an oxygen cylinder for his relative suffering from Covid-19.

 

After finding a phone number on social media, he contacted the accused, who told him to pay Rs 16,000 for an oxygen cylinder and Rs 4,000 as a transportation charge. The complainant transferred Rs 20,000 to their account, officials said.

 

The accused assured him that the cylinder would reach his address. However, the victim did not receive any cylinder and when he tried to contact the accused, they blocked his number, a senior police officer said.

 

“During the investigation, it was found that foreign nationals were involved in the cheating racket spread across India. On Thursday, police apprehended Benneth from Green Park in south Delhi. Based on his disclosure, his associate Kojo was also nabbed on Saturday,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Shibesh Singh said.

 

Police recovered 163 SIM cards, 19 mobile phones, five laptops, four debit cards and other articles from their possession.

 

During interrogation, Benneth told the police that he and his associates in India and abroad were cheating people via different modes.

 

After seeing the rising demand for oxygen cylinders in Delhi, they planned to cheat people via this mode. They flashed their mobile numbers on different social media platforms, promising to provide oxygen cylinders to needy people, police said.

 

The accused disclosed that he collected phone numbers of the needy people from social media and, along with his associates and started sending messages to them regarding the availability of oxygen cylinders, they said.

 

One of his associates in Bangalore provided the bank accounts to receive the money. After withdrawing the money, their share was deposited in their respective bank accounts. Their other associates in Africa also assisted in this fraud, Indian Telegraph reports.

 

Police found that they were using more than 20 bank accounts for cheating and they have duped more than 1,000 people across India of over Rs 2 crore.

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Nigerian Governor’s Aide Arrested In U.S. Over $350,000 Fraud

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An aide to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State is currently enmeshed in over $350,000 (about N140 million) COVID-19 unemployment fraud in the United States.

Abidemi Rufai, who works as Senior Special Assistant to Mr Abiodun, was arrested last Friday, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York before boarding a flight to Amsterdam.

He is scheduled for a detention hearing Wednesday.

The money wired is said to be unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Wire fraud according to the United States Department of Justice is punishable by up to 30 years in prison when it relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially-declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statement

The Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said in a statement that his team “worked diligently with a federal law enforcement team to track down the criminals who stole funds designated for pandemic relief since the first fraud reports to their office in April 2020″.

“This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of ESD fraud,” Ms Gorman said.

Mr Rufai reportedly used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with ESD for pandemic-related unemployment benefits, the statement added.

He is also accused of filing fraudulent unemployment claims with Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania.

“Rufai used variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems,” Ms Gorman continued.

“By using this practice, Rufai made it appear that each claim was connected with a different email account.

“Rufai caused the fraud proceeds to be paid out to online payment accounts such as ‘Green Dot’ accounts, or wired to bank accounts controlled by ‘money mules’.

“Some of the proceeds were then mailed to the Jamaica, New York address of Rufai’s relative. Law enforcement determined more than $288,000 was deposited into an American bank account controlled by Rufai between March and August 2020.”

Also, the Special Agent in Charge FBI Seattle, Donald Voiret, said “the FBI and our partners will not stand idly by while individuals attempt to defraud programs meant to assist American workers and families suffering the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

PREMIUM TIMES understands the case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG).

“The fraud on ESD is being investigated cooperatively by the FBI, DOL-OIG, Social Security Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations.

“The Washington Employment Security Department is cooperating in the investigation,” the report on the United States Department of Justice website read.

“The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth Wilkinson, Cindy Chang, and Benjamin Diggs of the Western District of Washington, and Trial Attorney Jane Lee of DOJ’s Cyber Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).”

PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr Rufai’s principal, Governor Abiodun, on the matter but his spokesperson, Kunle Somorin, asked our reporter to call him back.

Hours later, he is yet to respond to calls and text messages.

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JUST IN: El-Rufai Declares NLC Boss, Wabba, Other Labour Leaders Wanted Over Strike In Kaduna

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The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has accused the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLc) and its leaders as saboteurs after the halt in economic activities due to the ongoing industrial action.

Consequently, El-Rufai declared the NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba ‘wanted’ while pledging his prosecution under the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

The Governor made this disclosure via a tweet on Tuesday, saying, “KADUNA UPDATE: Ayuba Wabba & others of NLC declared wanted for economic sabotage & attacks on public infrastructure under Miscellaneous Offences Act.

“Anyone that knows where he is hiding should send a message to Ministry of Justice, Kaduna. There will be a handsome reward!”

Ripples Nigeria had reported that Wabba in his remarks on Monday, commended the workers, saying there will be no retreat or surrender by the organized labour to ensure the realisation of their demands is met by the El-Rufai led government.

According to the labour leader, “the 5-day warning strike in Kaduna state is a decision of the highest body of labour, the decision has been communicated to all security agencies of government. It is the beginning of the struggle of labour, hope our politicians will cooperate with us to ensure we protect our democracy by delivering its dividends to the citizens including workers.”

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