Naira Marley’s trial resumes after adjournment

Controversial Nigerian rapper, Afeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley is back in court for the continuation of his trial. Naira Marley was arrested on the 10th of May this year, alongside four others for offenses bothering on credit card fraud. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Naira Marley before Justice Oweibo of  the Federal High Court, Ikoyi on an 11-count charge bordering on cyber fraud. After spending weeks in prison, Justice Oweibo granted Naira Marley bail to the tune of NGN2,000000 and two sureties in like sum. 

The musician had been picked by the anti-graft agency alongside his friends at his Lekki apartment. The names of the arrested friends were given as Rahman Jago, Guccy Branch, the popular musician, Zlatan Ibile and one other. However, after a few days in their custody EFCC released Naira Marley’s friends for want of evidence.

Naira Marley’s case has resumed before Justice Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday 23 October. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sought to tender the apple computer and iphone they seized from the rapper as exhibits before the court. An EFCC investigator named Nuhu Buhari told the court at the opening of trial on wednesday that the agency found damning evidence on credit card fraud from the musician’s computer. The anti-graft investigator further said that an analysis of Naira Marley’s computer revealed that he frequented 5 of the most visited websites which deal in buying and selling of stolen credit cards. 

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While answering questions from the prosecution counsel, Buhari said that during analysis, the cache and history files revealed that the most visited sites by the user of the computer include arder007.org, Zuni.sa, nationwidecheckbalance.co.uk,  ferunshop.net, AMD cocoa.co.uk. Buhari also described the services carried out by each of the websites.

It would be recalled that the musician had released a controversial song titled ‘am I a yahoo boy?’ few months before his arrest. Many alleged that Naira Marley was indirectly supporting internet fraud with the song. Little wonder many concluded that his arrest was the government’s reaction to the release of the song ‘am I a yahoo boy?’ by the suspect. However, none of these insinuations made any meaning to the musician as he has gone ahead to release two more, equally controversial singles titled ‘Jo Soapy’ and ‘Pxta’. He first released ‘Jo Soapy’ then followed it with ‘Pxta’ few months after. Both songs have been heavily criticized for their sexual content.

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The matter was adjourned till thursday, 24 October for continuation of trial. However, the matter took a new twist on Thursday morning when the prosecution counsel and two other senior lawyers started dragging seat spaces in the courtroom. This prompted Justice Nicholas Oweibo to apologize to the learned counsel for the government’s inability to provide enough seats in the courtrooms and adjourned the case till December 11th and 12th 2019 for continuation of trial.  

There has been a massive clampdown on internet fraudsters since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration whose body language has been that of zero tolerance to corruption. Under the current EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu’s watch, the anti-graft agency has recorded milestone achievements in the fight against cyber crime with the prosecution of hundreds of internet fraudsters. 

Just recently, a Dubai-based billionaire and social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly called Mompha was arrested in a joint operation by the EFCC and InterPol. He was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja as he was about to leave the country for United Arab Emirate, his base. The anti-graft agency, through their Instagram account posted that the billionaire Bureau de Change operator was wanted in connection with some fraud allegations. In the post, EFCC disclosed that the suspect was cooperating with the agency and has agreed to his involvement in some of the allegations. In a picture attached to the post, the smiling Mompha could be seen holding a case of watches. EFCC seized the watches which it valued at about NGN20,0000,000.00. The suspect has been detained pending further investigations. 

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