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RCCG pastor jailed two years for issuing $1.6m dud cheque

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday sentenced Ayodeji Oluokun, an assistant pastor of the Redeem Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, to two years imprisonment for issuing 1.6 million dollar dud cheque.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oluokun was charged alongside his company, Peak Petroleum Industry Nigeria Ltd., on an amended six-count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheque, stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, in her judgment, held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charge of issuance of dud cheque against the defendants.

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Taiwo, however, discharged and acquitted the defendants of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.

“The defendant issued two cheque in the sum of 1.6 million dollars to the nominal complainant, which was dishonoured because there was no fund in the defendant’s account.

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“Issuance of cheque for lack of credit is a strict liable offence.

“If the defendant was truly expecting some money till the end of July 2014 as claimed by him, he would have waited till he received the money before issuing the cheque on June 24, 2014,” said Taiwo.

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The judge said the first defendant knew all of these and still went ahead to issue the cheque dated June 24, 2014.

“It is hereby in the view of this court that the defendant was deliberate in issuing the dud cheque.

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“He is hereby found guilty of counts one and two of issuance of dud cheque.

“The defendants, however, are discharged and acquitted of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences as the prosecution failed to establish the facts against them,” she said.

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The judge thereafter sentenced the first defendant to two years in prison or payment of a fine of N2 million, and the second defendant to a fine of N2 million.

She ordered the convict to make restitution of 1.6 million dollars to the nominal complainant within 18 months.

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The defence counsel, Mr Edoka Onyeke, in his allocutus, prayed the court to grant the convict a non custodial sentence, adding that he was a pastor and could use his pastoral work as service to humanity, through community service.

“My lord, apart from the defendant being a first offender, if he is incacerated, he will not be able to carry out the necessary things on behalf of the second defendant so as to make the restitution easy.

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“The first defendant is a pastor of a church. This is a very good opportunity for him to engage in community service instead of custodian sentence so as to preach the word of God.

“On a final note, the defendant has promised to involve the nominal complainant in order to make the restitution,” Onyeke said.

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Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Samuel Daji, however, urged the court to convict the defendants as charged.

He argued that the convict and the nominal complainant had not been on talking terms, thereby making the terms of restitution difficult to meet.

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He also prayed the court to order the defendant to forfiet his property in order to pay up the debt.

“My lord, from the evidence before this court, the defendant is not committed. It has been nine good years my lord.

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“A dollar was N150 at the time the loan was granted to the defendant. The defendant does not even greet the nominal complainant unless it is of utmost necessity.

“There is an evidence that the defendants never want to settle this case.

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“The defence counsel said he is a pastor. My lord, the more reason he should be given a custodial sentence in order to server as deterrent to others.

“The court has stated mandatory sentence. We shall be asking for restitution. I shall be urging the court to order the defendant to forfeit his property so as to use it to pay his debt,” Daji said.

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The EFCC counsel had submitted that the defendant issued a Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd. cheque of 1.6 million dollars payable to GOSL Nigeria Ltd.

He said when presented for payment, the cheque was dishonoured on the ground that there were no sufficient funds standing to the credit of the account on which the cheque was drawn.

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The offences contravened Sections 1(1) (b) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D 11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and Section 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State and section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences.

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Elderly Woman Falls On Her Knees To Pray For Peter Obi In Jos Rally

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As political campaigns for the 2023 general elections commenced on Wednesday, a elderly woman has been captured praying for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, during a solidarity rally held in Jos, Plateau State.

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The Director-General of the Obi-Datti Campaign organization, Doyin Okupe, in a tweet on Wednesday disclosed that the LP candidate and his vice, Datti Baba Ahmed, will attend the Jos rally although the party is yet to commence campaigns officially.

”Today in Jos, HE Peter Obi & his running mate Datti-Ahmed, will honour an invitation from the Middle Belt forum to attend a solidarity rally. We are yet to commence our own campaigns.

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To comfort our students, We urge the FG to quickly resolve the lingering ASSU Crisis,” the tweet read.

Amongst persons seen at the venue to welcome the LP flag bearer was an elderly woman on her knees in the midst of other supporters praying for Peter Obi at the Rwang Pam Stadium Jos, Plateau state.

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UNIBEN releases post-UTME, DE screenings date

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The University of Benin has fixed dates for its Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry screenings for 2022/2023 session.

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The university in a notice by its Registrar, Ademola Bobola on Wednesday in Benin, said the exercise would hold between Nov. 14 and 25.

Bobola said the screening would be conducted in designated centres at the Ugbowo main campus of the institution, using the Computer Based Test mode.

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“Only candidates who applied through JAMB for the 2022/2023 UTME and Direct Entry admission and chose the University of Benin as First Choice and scoring 200 and above for UTME candidates are eligible for this screening exercise,” the registrar said.

Bobola, however, referred admission seekers to the institution to the university’s official website.

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Presidency denies authorising Katsina security outfit to carry arms

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The Presidency has denied that any state has been issued authorisation to procure automatic weapons for its security outfit.

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Last week, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu had accused the Federal Government of bias in refusing to allow the Western Nigeria Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun Corps, to carry sophisticated firearms, while allegedly granting approval to the Katsina State security outfit to carry sophisticated firearms.

That was as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba said that quasi-security outfits established by state governments have no legal basis to function during the 2023 general elections.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said the possession of automatic weapons and AK-47 remains illegal in the country.

“The Presidency wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits,” the statement reads.

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“Under this administration, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them”.

The Presidency however said neither Katsina nor Ondo is allowed to purchase automatic weapons for security outfits.

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“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.

“In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their vigilantes for a five-day period….

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“in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,” emphasising that “the vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them”.

The Presidency added that it “appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters. As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities”.

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President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying he has received reports “of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism” by operatives of state security outfits.

“He thanked them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels”, the statement added.

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Furthermore, the Presidency called on leaders at various levels “to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season”.

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