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HURIWA cautions Police against unlawful arrest in Imo



MINISTER OF CULTURE, NOA AND EFCC SHOULD WORK ON CULTURAL REORIENTATION AGAINST 419 OFFENCES BY COUPLES, YOUTHS- HURIWA Prominent civil rights advocacy group: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to liaise and partner actively with credible civil rights organisations, the Federal ministry of Culture and Creative Economy and the National Orientation Agency to create massive enlightenment and sensitize couples and youths in Nigeria about the necessity of pursuing legitimate sources of income and the avoidance of all traces of advanced fees fraud in Nigeria. HURIWA raised the alarm that more and more couples and families are getting caught by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over their alleged involvement in mind-boggling and mind-blowing criminal acts of frauds and advanced fees fraud running into billions of Naira just as the Rights group said the trend should be clinically tackled from the root causes of these trends which can at best be situated around the unprecedented collapse of the hitherto respected African tradional and cultural values and the effects of unbridled materialism and unethical globalisation. HURIWA which applauded the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for calling attention to the worrying trend of married couples increasingly getting entangled in criminal cases of frauds and advanced fees fraud, also called on the anti-graft agency to think of setting up a team made up of psychologists, sociologists, Anthropologists in Nigerian Higher academic institutions to articulate learned opinions on the remote and immediate causes of the involvement of multiple numbers of couples in the disturbing cases of sophisticated fraud and then to proffer far-reaching solutions to the scandals which has deeper implications to the place of African culture and tradition globally. HURIWA recalled that recently, the Head, Cybercrime of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Nura Buhari, attributed the increase in the number of couples committing crimes to greed and loss of traditional values. “It’s just the 21st century generation where people believe they can make money through the internet by identifying a glitch or system weakness and committing fraud,” Buhari said in an interview with one of the nation's fast growing online newspapers. The EFCC official was reacting to the rising number of couples caught by the agency for their involvement in internet fraud. On 28th November 2023, the Commission arraigned a couple, Oriyomi Idowu and Ruth Idowu, before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos over false pretence, money laundering, stealing, retention of stolen property and forgery to the tune of N2,757,188,000.00. The couple were arraigned alongside Food Commodity Processing Enterprise, Bonway Food Processing Company Limited, Samee Idowu Company Limited and Farmex Integrated Companies Limited, which all belong to Ruth Idowu. According to EFCC, sometime in 2023 in Lagos, Ruth converted the sum of N10,000,000 to purchase a GLK Benz, purchase sum derived from converting the sum of N500,000,000 belonging to Creditpro Business Support Services with the aim of disguising the illegal origin of the funds. The accused also dishonestly retained the sum of N936,619,876 in UBA account, property of Creditpro Business Support services, knowing same to be funds fraudulently obtained from Creditpro Business Support Services but the defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. EFCC also arraigned another couple, Aisha Malkohi (a.k.a Ummitah, Arab Money) and her husband, Abubakar Sadiq Mahmoud (at large), over alleged fraud involving the sum of N410,518,000 meant for the purchase of cars from Saudi Arabia. They were arraigned on 8th December 2023, before Justice Aisha Mahmud at Kano State High Court after they obtained the sum of N225,259,000 belonging to Farida Ibrahim between 6th January to 16th December, 2022. The said money was reportedly paid into a Zenith Bank account bearing Abubakar Sadiq Mahmoud for the purchase and supply of 64 cars, from Saudi Arabia. But Malkohi pleaded not guilty to all the five counts read to her. Malkohi was arrested by EFCC investigators in Kano following a petition from two people–Farida Ibrahim and Ibrahim Mohammed Abdulrahman–alleging that she conspired with her husband and defrauded them under the guise of supplying them with cars, gold, electronics and kitchen utensils from Saudi Arabia. EFCC carried out an investigation that revealed the defendant had collected a total sum of N410,518,000 through bank accounts belonging to her company–Golden Grass Hill International Ltd– and her husband’s Zenith Bank account. Further investigation also revealed that the defendant, alongside her husband, who is still at large, diverted the monies into several bank accounts. On 19th December 2023, the Enugu Zonal Command of the EFCC arraigned another couple, Mr. Udeani Sunday and his wife, Udeani Amaka, before Justice M.G. Umar of the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu. They were arraigned on three-count charges bordering on obtaining the sum of N2,750,000.00 by false pretence in an alleged land fraud. According to EFCC, between 10th July 2019 to 19th December 2019 in Enugu, the couple lured one Onugu Chinyere to deliver N2,750,000.00 to them under the pretence that they’d sell a plot of land behind Ebenezer Anglican Church, Ala-Uguaji along Enugu/Port Harcourt Road to her, but like the other couples they also pleaded not guilty and the case was adjourned till February 6, 2024. "Looking at these cases and the established harmonious pattern of couples increasingly becoming partners in the crime of fraud from a deeper philosophical point of view, is actually left for philosophers and free thinkers like us to weigh in. So why are couples who ought to behave as embodiment of good behaviour and the supposed teachers of morality and ethics to their children, now turning around to become undesirable social elements?", HURIWA affirmed. Speaking further on the breaches of family cohesion and the collapse of well respected African cultural value systems, HURIWA argued that there are actually a formidable body of scholarly works on the renowned African cultural values, one of which states that in Africa, the sense of family unit, ethics and etiquette are fundamental to understanding who the African is at all times. Professor Oliver Onwubiko listed the following African cultural values: sense of community life; sense of good human relations; sense of sacredness of life; sense of hospitality; sense of the sacred and religion. HURIWA has therefore advocated a coordinated approach and the intra-governmental synergies between the EFCC, Federal ministries of information and culture and some credible CSOs, to work out a template and implement strategies for promoting the reversal of the authentic African cultural values and for families and youngsters in Nigeria to be enlightened persistently to embrace the pursuit of legitimate wealth and reject shortcuts to wealth as it were.
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Prominent Civil rights advocacy group- Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HUTIWA) has cautioned the police against unlawful arrest of innocent citizens of Imo state.

The police, HURIWA in a statement, insists, are not above the law and must comply totally with the provisions of the law since it is a creation of the law.

HURIWA also advised the police to understudy the South East where they are posted from all parts of the Country, so they get acquainted with the socio-cultural practices and traditions of the people of the region to avoid the unlawful arrest of members of the African traditional Religions on the disguised allegations that they are using their shrines to pray for persons perceived as being responsible for the spate of attacks that targeted strategic national security assets in the South East of Nigeria.

HURIWA said security forces have consistently attacked shrines of African traditional worshippers and have had to parade them as collaborators with the so called unknown gunmen and at the end of the day, the police have failed to get any conviction from all these arrests.

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HURIWA which condemned strongly the attacks on strategic national security assets and have also condemned the killing of police operatives, also accused the police in the South East of Nigeria and especially the Imo State command of the widespread use of extrajudicial execution of suspects in their detention facilities and during their security operations in parts of Imo State just as the Rights group said the allegations that police dump unidentified corpses of young Igbo boys in the Federal medical centre in Owerri, Imo State, is a serious indictments that must be investigated by the International Criminal Court in The Hagues Netherlands so those responsible for these crimes against humanity are prosecuted for these odious and gruesome killings.

HURIWA also faulted the parade of a so-called bomb maker by the police in Imo State just as the Rights group said from the photo evidence of what the police termed bomb making equipment which they paraded with the lone suspect as celebrated in some sections of the Nigerian media.

“It would seem that what the police calls ‘bomb making’ materials are some locally fabricated non-lethal explosives that are used during burials to shoot 21 gun salutes to deserving members of the Igbo communities which in Igboland is called NKPO NA ANI.

HURIWA recalled that The Imo State Police Command on Friday said it arrested and paraded a 50-year-old-man one Simeon Onigbo, suspected to be a bomb manufacturer for the Indigenous People of Biafra.

“The State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Micheal Abattam, disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri.The command said it was last Wednesday it uncovered and raided the IPOB bomb manufacturing camp at Uba Umuaka in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, based on the credible information that was made available to the Police.”

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