Nineteen individuals have been sentenced to prison by an Edo High Court for their involvement in internet fraud, commonly known as “Yahoo Yahoo.”
The convictions were handed down in separate judgments by Justices Efe Ikponmwonba and Mary Itsueli in Benin.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) issued a statement identifying the convicts as Fidelis Esajini, Nicholas Azeke, Marvelous Alakpa, Adelike Destiny, Osamwingie Osarenwinda, Mathias Friday Gbenga, Collins Etiosa Iyekeoretin, Anyanwu Miracle, Justice Aifo, Emmanuel Efetobor, Osahenie Uwoghiren, Emmanuel Osifo, Timothy Nowamagbe, Desmond Taiwo, Atunu Ewomaoghene, Elvis Onojebe, Promise Uduaghan, Francis Okoliko, and Omokaro Omonefe.
The charges against the convicts included retention of proceeds of crime, fraudulent representation, and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents. Upon arraignment, all of them pleaded guilty to their respective charges. The prosecution counsel requested the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
The defense counsel, however, appealed for leniency, highlighting that the defendants were first-time offenders who had turned a new leaf. Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced several individuals to three years imprisonment with an option of a fine, while others received varying prison terms or fines. Justice Itsueli sentenced three individuals to three years imprisonment with an option of a fine.
The court also ordered the forfeiture of assets, including vehicles, electronics, and funds in the defendants’ bank accounts, to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the EFCC.