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Abuja court turns down EFCC plea bargain, jails corps member without fine option

Ajayi Temitope Ayokunle, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), was sentenced to two months in prison without the option of a fine by Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday.

In addition to his imprisonment, the 30-year-old corps member who posed as Dr. Joshua to defraud an American citizen, Maria, of $1000, will forfeit a cash sum of $500 and a sophisticated android phone to the federal government.

Justice Ekwo, who was outraged by the shocking rate of cybercrime among Nigerian youths, rejected the convict’s plea bargain with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

At the Tuesday arraignment of the convict, the lawyer to EFCC, Mrs Dichi Gershom Umar drew the attention of Justice Ekwo to the plea bargain and urged him to convict the defendant with an option of fine, a request the Judge rejected instantly.

The EFCC counsel said that the defendant had by the plea bargain confessed to committing the Cybercrime offence and agreed to forfeit the $500 dollars cash in his account and the android phone used to commit the crime to the federal government.

However, Justice Ekwo, who was not comfortable with the terms of the plea bargain, subjected the convict to questioning while in the dock.

The convict told the Judge that he read Political Science in one of Nigeria’s universities and currently undergoing his one year mandatory service with the NYSC.

Apparently not happy with the unremorseful attitude of the defendant, Justice Ekwo said the issue of options of fines will not happen in his court in order to serve as deterrent to other criminally minded youths.

The judge subsequently ordered him to remain in prison for two months beginning from November 23.

The charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2021 is contrary to section 22 (2) of the Cybercrime Prohibition, Prevention Act 2015.

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