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Naira Abuse: Lagos Court Convicts Bobrisky, Defers Sentence till April 9

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The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, April 5, 2024, secured the conviction of Idris Okuneye, a.k.a Bobrisky, before Justice Abimbola Awogboro sitting at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos over mutilation of the Naira notes.

 

He was arraigned on Friday on a four-count charge bordering on mutilation of the Naira notes to the tune of N490, 000, 00 (Four Hundred and Ninety Thousand Naira).

 

Count one reads: “That you, OKUNEYE IDRIS OLANREWAJU, on the 24th day of March, 2024, at Imax Circle Mal, Jakande, Lekki, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, whilst dancing during a social event, tampered with the total sum of N400,000.00 (Four Hundred Thousand Naira) notes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act, 2007.”

 

Another count reads: “That you, OKUNEYE IDRIS OLANREWAJU, between July and August, 2023 at Aja Junction, Ikorodu, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, whilst dancing during a social event, tampered with the sum N50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act, 2007.”

 

He pleaded “guilty” to the charges when they were read to him.

 

In view of his plea, prosecution counsel, S.I. Sulaiman sought to invite the investigating officer, ASE I Bolaji Temitope Aje, to give a brief review of the facts.

 

Aje narrated to the court that the EFCC received intelligence on some individuals, who are in the habit of mutilating and spraying the Naira notes at social parties and event centres in Lagos.

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“Based on the intelligence, the EFCC set up the Special Operations Team to observe and monitor activities of individuals, who are involved in the habit of mutilating the Naira.

 

“The team visited many event centres and monitored social media pages, where the Naira was being abused.

 

“During the course of the monitoring, the team came across videos on social media, where the defendant was seen abusing the Naira.

 

“The team then proceeded to download these videos via our office laptop computers and also went further to copy these videos on compact discs.

 

“In the light of the foregoing, a letter of invitation was written and forwarded to the defendant.

 

“The defendant honoured the invitation. When he got to our office, he was voluntarily cautioned. Thereafter, he volunteered to write his statement .

 

“The defendant was shown a video,where he was spraying money on an artiste called Segun Johnson. The defendant confessed that he was the one in the video. He was also shown a video at IMAX Circle Mall, where he sprayed a total sum of N400,000 at a movie premiere. The defendant also admitted that he was the one in the video and that he carried out the abuse.

 

“The defendant was also shown two other videos of him spraying the Naira at Aja junction, Ikorodu, and White Stone Event Centre, Ikeja, Lagos .

 

“The defendant admitted to spraying money in these videos. He was, therefore, served with a bail condition.

 

Sulaiman, thereafter, sought to tender, in evidence, the defendant’s statements and compact disc copies of the video attached to the certificate of identification.

 

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Justice Awogboro admitted and marked the documents as exhibits.

 

In view of the above, Sulaiman prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendant accordingly.

 

Justice Awogboro,thereafter, ruled, “upon the admission of guilt by the defendant, testimony of PW1 and following the evidence tendered, the defendant is declared guilty as charged.

 

Bobrisky, in his plea for mercy told the court, said: “I am a social media influencer, with five million followers; and in all honesty, I was not aware of the law.

 

“I wish I can be given a second chance to use my platform to educate my followers against the abuse of the Naira. I will do a video on my page and educate people on that. I will not repeat the offence again. I regret my action”, he pleaded.

 

The defendant’s counsel, Ayo Olumofin, prayed the court for leniency. He appealed to the court to temper justice with mercy, considering his status as a first-time offender as well as his “ sincere remorse for his actions.”

 

Pleading further, he said, “He will lead the crusade against the abuse of Naira. He is also an employer of people ; and if he goes to jail, the people he employs will suffer. He has cooperated with the EFCC and has not wasted the time of the court. We urge the court to caution the defendant and allow him to go. He has given evidence that he will be useful to the country. We urge you to grant a non-custodial sentencing option of fine.”

 

After listening to both parties, the Judge deferred judgment in the matter to Tuesday, April 9, 2024 and also ordered that he be remanded in the EFCC custody.

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