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BIG STORY

EFCC Nabs Bishop Defrauding People In God’s Name

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Benin Zonal Office has arrested a Bishop and suspected fraudster, Giniko Obi, for allegedly defrauding thousands of people of millions of naira, in the guise of helping them “fight poverty”.

Obi, founder of Beloved Gideon Foundation, based in Agbor, Delta State, with outreaches in Bayelsa, Onitsha, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Benin City, however, denied any involvement in fraud claiming that he was only “doing the will of God by trying to help the people fight poverty”.

According to him, it was his desire and God’s will to see people prosper that led him into operating what appears to be a Ponzi Scheme. Obi who claim to be a consecrated Bishop, possessing a diploma in theology explains thus:

“We write books such as ‘24 Nuggets for Successful Living’, ‘36 Nuggets for Successful Living’, ‘48 Nuggets for Successful Living’. We organise seminars and conferences on how to be successful. We tell the people to subscribe to these publications. If you subscribe with N10, 800, we give you N15, 000. If you subscribe with N18, 000, we give you N23, 000. I had about 30,000 subscribers and I was paying them”.

According to him, when he left Agbor for Lagos, his desire was to expand his subscription base but his subscribers were impatient.

“If they allowed me to hold the conference in Lagos, I would have paid them,” he claimed.

However, some of his victims who have continued to throng the EFCC office, since his arrest, described him as a “fraud”.

One of them, Janet Amaka Okafor, said the Bishop sold a dummy to them by claiming that he was from the famous Gideons International, based in the United States.

She said: “He organised seminars in Agbor market that he was from Gideons International and that their mission was to help eradicate poverty in Nigeria.

“He told us that unlike in the past when Gideons International distributed Bibles and Christian literatures, their mission now was to eradicate poverty”.

On how she became a victim of the scheme, Okafor, 35, who claims she has never participated in any Ponzi scheme in the past said she fell for his tricks because the “Bishop” swore with the Bible.

“The Bishop knelt down and swore with the Bible. He convinced us that he was from Texas, USA and we believed him. I subscribed with N10, 800 and he paid me N15, 000. It was after this that he engaged over 60 of us as canvassers. I brought many people including my relations and friends. All together, they invested over N5 million”.

Another victim, Bessie Nwadibire, 67, said the Bishop was very deceptive from the beginning.

“When he came to the market he gave out drinks and dashed some people money as much as N50, 000 as he said the poverty rate in Nigeria was too high,” Nwadibire said, praying and hoping that the Bishop will be made to refund her money.

Expressing gratitude that the EFCC has arrested the Bishop, she said, “Before he was arrested, we went into hiding, because all the people who invested their money into the business through me have threatened to kill me unless I refund their money. The money is over N8, 000, 000 (Eight Million Naira) only”.

The same tale of woes has become the lot of Wisdom Aderemor Okpuzor, a civil servant based in Agbor.

Okpuzor who said she had to flee her home for fear of being attacked described the Bishop as “callous and evil”.

The suspect will soon be arraigned in court. (NAN)

BIG STORY

Ajimobi’s Family Knew I Was At The Gate, Says Oyo Deputy Gov

Peter Okunoren

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Oyo Deputy Governor, Rauf Olaniyan, has insisted the family of the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi was aware of his presence at the gate of the residence contrary to its claim.

Olaniyan was denied access to the Oluyole Estate residence of the late Governor on Sunday during the 8th day fidau prayers for Abiola Ajimobi.

Though the family, on Saturday in a statement by Bolaji Tunji, who is the spokesman for the late governor, explained the fidau was going to be a private affair, Oyo State Government took out newspaper pages to console with the family on Sunday.

The Deputy Governor was, however, denied entry to the building when he visited to join the prayer. He waited for between 10 and 15 minutes at the gate before leaving. He was told that the key to the gate was with Mrs. Ajimobi, who was attending the fidau prayer held in the compound.

Tunji, in a statement, had denied that Olaniyan was deliberately denied entry because the family was not aware of his planned visit and arrival at the gate.

He added that that on making efforts to facilitate access for him later, they discovered that he had left. The family offered apologies for the incident.

But in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Omolere Omoetan, Olaniyan countered the explanation that the family was unaware he was waiting at the gate.

He said it was another act of rebuffing hands of fellowship being extended to the family of Ajimobi by Governor Seyi Makinde.

The statement reads in part: “Again, some members and aides of the former Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi continue to rebuff the hand of fellowship extended to the family of the late governor by the government of Oyo State led by His Excellency, Engr. Seyi Makinde.

“Today at the 8th day Fidau Prayers of the former Governor Oyo State Isaika Ajimobi, the Deputy Governor, Engr Rauf Olaniyan, was denied access to the venue of the event.

“The Deputy Governor, who led the government delegation comprising himself and some commissioners, on the approval of the governor, was kept waiting at the gate for over 15 minutes. Even when security men at the gate went in to tell them he was at the gate, no directive came back to grant his Excellency access.

“At a point, the security personnel in uniform and mufti at the gates became very hostile and the ADC to the Deputy Governor was manhandled by men of the police force. It was at this point that the Deputy Governor decided to leave the scene that was becoming tense while waiting in his car.

“Having waited for a while to see if the situation would change to no avail, he proceeded to take his leave.

“It should be noted that the Deputy Governor put a call through to Alhaji Kunle Sanni, Chairman of Oyo State Muslim Council, who was among the officiating ministers, that he was at the gate and was being denied entrance. Alhaji Sanni responded that his hands were tied. This is a clear indication that what transpired was premeditated.

“There was no truth in the family saying they were not aware that the state government delegation was at the gate because Mr Bolaji Tunji was severally called by men of Civil Defence at the gate.

“Even if the Deputy Governor arrived when the prayers had started, it is a well-known fact in Islam that when prayers are on-going and a male walks in, it’s an indication that the prayers have received Allah’s acceptance.

“However, Engr Raufu Olaniyan wishes to re-iterate that the visit of the government delegation to the 8th day Fidau Prayers of His Excellency Senator Isaika Ajimobi was a clear demonstration on the part of His Excellency, Engr Seyi Makinde, that the late governor is held in high regard. He stated that it was only fitting for the state government to show respect to the late governor at the Fidau prayers held in his honour.

“The Deputy Governor also wishes to put it on record that despite the way he was treated by the Ajimobi family, which he refuses to hold personal, he has displayed maturity as required of the public office at this level. He holds no grudges and he will continue to pray that Allah grants the departed former Governor Al-Jana Firdaus.

“Engr. Raufu Olaniyan will also like to draw the attention of the Oyo state Commissioner of Police to the highly unprofessional and unruly conduct of the police personnel at the premises.”




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BIG STORY

LASTMA Official ‘Stabs’ Lover, ‘Kills’ Self Over Alleged Infidelity

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Homicide detectives of the Lagos State Police Command have commenced investigation into an alleged attempted murder and suicide by a Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Emmanuel Mekuri, 47.

Mekuri, a resident of Araromi area of Morogbo allegedly stabbed himself to death after stabbing his live-in lover, Patricia Ogunshola, 37, on the right thigh.

It was gathered that the incident occurred around 1am in front of Ogunshola’s 13-year-old daughter.

The Nation reports that this incident is the second spousal homicide in two weeks on grounds of alleged infidelity.

Trouble was said to have started between the couple after Ogunshola accused her partner of infidelity.

The duo was said to have had an arguement that degenerated into physical fighting around past midnight.

Although it was unclear which of them introduced a knife in the fight, The Nation gathered that Mekuri stabbed the woman on her thigh and aimed for her head but she fled the room.

Mekuri allegedly stabbed himself on the stomach such that his intentines came out and he died on the spot.

The teenager, said to be the man’s stepdaughter, was said to have raised alarm and attracted neighbours’ attention who called in the police.

Detectives were deployed to the scene immediately and a knife covered in blood was found.

Confirming the incident, police spokesman Bala Elkana, a Superintendent (SP) said investigation was ongoing, adding that the woman was in stable condition.




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BIG STORY

632 Students Fail Law School Final Exams, No Date Yet For Call To Bar Ceremony

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A total of 632 students failed this year’s Law School final examinations out of the 2,515 students who sat for the examinations held in January.

The Director General, Nigerian Law School (NLS), Professor Isa Hayatu Chiroma (SAN) said, in a statement on Sunday, that the Council of Legal Education (CLE) held a virtual meeting last week to consider and approve the release of the results.

Chiroma said a breakdown of the results showed that five students got First Class and were placed under the category of ‘”outstanding performance,”constituting 0.2 percent of the total students that sat for the examinations.

He aded: “Candidates graded in Second Class Upper: 77 (3.06 %).

“Candidates graded in Second Class Lower Upper: 633 (25.17 %)

“Candidates in Pass: 1,067 (42.42 %)

“Candidate with Conditional Pass: 82 (3.26 %)

“Candidates who failed: 632 (25.12 %)

“Absent: 17 (0.7 %)

“Withheld: 2 (0.08%)”

Chiroma said the dates for screening and call to bar would be communicated to the affected students in due course.




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