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Top 10 ‘Criminal Court Cases’ That Shook Nigeria In 2022

9 min read

With the spate of insecurity in the length and breadth of the country, crime cases have become so prevalent and worrisome in Nigerian.

No doubt, 2022 is a “red letter year” full of criminal cases which include: kidnap, rape, money laundering, fraud, corruption, human trafficking, murder among others.

However, after a thorough screening has identified 10 different criminal court cases that shook 2022. Sodiq Adelakun writes…

Death of Dowen College pupil, Sylvester Oromoni

In the footage, in December 2021, a pupil of Dowen College, a boarding secondary school in the highbrow Lekki Phase 1 Estate in Lagos, seemed to be fighting for his life.

A few days later, the boy, named Sylvester Oromoni, same as his father, died a few days to his 12th birthday.

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Mr Oromoni, Sylvester’s father, accused five pupils of the school – Aslem Temile (14), Benjamin Favour (16), Michael Kashamu (15), Edward Begue (16) and Kenneth Inyang of killing his son. He claimed that the pupils bullied his son to death after he refused to join a secret cult. He claimed his son named these pupils moments before he passed on.

However, on November 30, 2022, the mother of the slain pupil complained that the body of her son was still in the morgue and yet to be buried even after a year.

In her words, “Today, November 30, 2022 makes it a year since the demise of my son and the body is still in the morgue, yet to be buried. This one-year memorial being held today is to tell Nigerians and the entire world about the current position of the inquest and the antics of Dowen College.

“I am equally aware that some civil society organisations and NGOs in Abuja and Lagos are equally observing the one-year memorial today to mark his one-year untimely demise. May the soul of Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr) and all departed souls rest in perfect peace, Amen.

“At this point, I wish to call on the Honourable Coroner to please do the needful by urgently bringing the inquest to an end as Nigerians and the entire world are waiting for the dispensation of justice in this case as justice delayed is justice denied.

“This struggle is not only about my late son, but my own way of preventing the future occurrence of this tragic incident.”

Deborah Samuel’s death

A female student, Deborah Samuel, was gruesomely murdered in Nigeria’s northwestern Sokoto State, after she was accused of blasphemy. Efforts by the authorities to identify and arrest those involved in her murder have met with protests, which have further stoked religious tensions across the predominantly Muslim state.

According to media reports, unidentified assailants hunted down and killed Samuel after she sent a WhatsApp voice note to her classmates, that some of them deemed to be insulting to the Prophet.

In one of several videos that went viral, causing uproar, men with sticks can be seen beating and stoning the lifeless, bloodied body of a woman, reported to be Samuel. The video also showed young men celebrating, with one man holding up a match box and saying that he used it to set her on fire and killed her.

Nigeria’s population is roughly split between the Christian majority south and Muslim majority north. While the constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression, thought, and conscience, the country’s criminal law makes it an offense to insult religion. Sharia, or Islamic law, applicable in the country’s 12 northern states, including Sokoto, criminalizes blasphemy. The authorities have held people incommunicado and Sharia courts have sentenced those convicted of blasphemy to death.


Court sentences Baba Ijesha to 16 years for sexual assault

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court has sentenced Nollywood actor and comedian, Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, to 16 years imprisonment over sexual assault.

Justice Taiwo gave the judgment, adding that the jail term will run concurrently.

Baba Ijesha was convicted for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old daughter of his colleague, actress and comedienne, Damilola Adekoya, whose stage name is Princess.

Recall that operatives of the Nigeria Police arrested Baba Ijesha April 2021 for sleeping with the victim since she was seven years old.

He was reported to the police on April 19, 2021 by Princess at Sabo Police Station and transferred to the Gender Unit of the State CID, Panti, Yaba, Lagos for proper investigation.

The suspect confessed to the crime and was also captured by a CCTV camera in the house of the complainant.

Few days later, Baba Ijesha was arraigned before Justice Taiwo facing a six-count charge of child defilement bordering on allegations of indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration.

In further court proceedings, it was ruled that the CCTV recordings on Baba Ijesha may have been tampered with.

In February 2022, a defence witness and expert in CCTV installation and maintenance, Adeleke Lawrence suggested this before an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court last year.

Lawrence alluded to this while being led in evidence by Babatunde Ogala (SAN) in the trial of the Nollywood comedian.

Four video recordings of Baba Ijesha were played during resumed proceedings following the request of Ogala.

The last court appearance finalised the case in June 2022 and fixed the final judgment for July 14, 2022.

The judge ruled that there was no evidence before the court, which proved that the embattled Nollywood actor was tortured into giving the statement to the police.

Nnamdi Kanu

On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, announced in a press conference in Abuja that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, had been arrested and extradited to Nigeria from Kenya, after being intercepted in the East African country on Sunday, June 26, 2021, by Interpol.

He said Kanu was extradited to face trial in Nigeria for charges bordering on treasonable felony instituted against him at the Federal High Court in Abuja, in response to years of separatist agitation for an Independent Republic of Biafra.

Kanu, a British-Nigerian activist, in 2014 founded IPOB, with the sole aim of restoring the state of Biafra which existed in Nigeria’s eastern region during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967–1970.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday, October 13, 2022, termed the rendition illegal and dropped all terrorism charges leveled against Kanu by the Federal Government, after series of court appearances since the rearrest.

Justice Oludotun Adebola, upheld the appeal of the detained IPOB leader and discharged and acquitted him, adding that his abduction was unlawful.

However, the AGF, Malami had since the announcementannouncement, declared that Kanu was only discharged but not acquitted.

He added that there were other issues predating Kanu’s rendition “on the basis of which Kanu jumped bail” which remained” valid issues for judicial determination.”


Sunday Igboho Saga

Three weeks after Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho was declared wanted by Nigeria’s secret police, the Benin Republic Police on Monday evening arrested him.

Igboho, a campaigner for Yoruba self-determination, was arrested in neighbouring Cotonou, Benin Republic, while trying to travel to Germany.

A local newspaper in the neighbouring country, Banouto, reports quoted Beninise authorities as saying Mr. Igboho was nabbed at Cardinal Bernardin International Airport in Cotonou.

The embattled Yoruba Nation activist, Mr Sunday Adeyemo, was released by the Benin Republic Government on Monday, March 7, 2022.

The activist, was released on Monday to the leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba Self-determination Groups, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, Professor Banji Akintoye, and his deputy, a French Language Expert and Chieftain of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, Professor Wale Adeniran.

In a statement issued by the Communications Secretary to Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, Akintoye described Igboho’s release as a “Triumph of Truth over Darkness in Yoruba Land.”

Ahmed Idris ordeals

In July 2022, a High Court sitting in Abuja ordered the remand of the former Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris, in Kuje prison over his alleged involvement in the illegal diversion of public funds to the tune of about N109 billion.

The EFCC said Idris and his co-defendants are indicted on a 14-count charge of stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109.5 billion.

Idris was arraigned alongside Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman, and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.

Idris was alleged to have received a gratification from one Olusegun Akindele, worth N15.1 billion, in exchange for accelerating the payment of 13% derivation to the nine oil-producing states in the federation.


Abba Kyari charged with drug trafficking

In March 2022, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) filed charges against suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari. Kyari alongside six others were charged with drug trafficking.

Kyari was declared wanted by the NDLEA after it obtained a video footage of him negotiating a drug deal with its investigators, which led to his suspension.

The other defendants in the case are members of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector-General of Police, ACP Sunday J. Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu.

Others are the suspected drug traffickers that were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne.

Hushpuppi’s Dilemma

Fraudster and social media influencer, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, has been jailed for his role in an international fraud syndicate.

Abass, who flaunted his wealthy lifestyle on his Instagram page which had 2.8 million followers, was arrested in Dubai and flown to the US where the judge of a court in Los Angeles convicted him in November 2022 and ordered him to pay $1,732,841 (£1,516,182) in restitution to two fraud victims.

According to court documents in California, Abbas pleaded guilty in April 2021 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering admitted to attempting to steal more than $1.1m from someone who wanted to fund a new children’s school in Qatar.

The document added that he also admitted to “several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses”, the US justice department said.

Omobolanle Raheem’s death

A member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Mrs Omobolanle Raheem has been killed by members of the Nigeria Police force.

The incident took place at Ajah Under Bridge, Lagos State on Christmas day while the deceased was on her way back from Christmas church service.

A member of Lagos branch and a lawyer working with the deceased revealed that some policemen moved the body after the incident and is asking the bar for assistance “before the police changes the narrative”.

Many Nigerians have taken to social media to express outrage over the killing and call for justice for the deceased.

Prominent Nigerians who have sent their condolences to the bereaved family include: Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba; and a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.

Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the police spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, on behalf of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Alkali Baba Usman condoled the family of the deceased.

He said the action of the police officer does not represent the core values of the Nigeria Police Force.

Also, The Inspector General of Police has recommended the suspension of Assistant Superintendent, Drambi Vandi, for killing Omobolanle Raheem.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Force Headquarters, Abuja, Olumuyiwa Adejobi said the suspension of the trigger-happy corp was in line with the internal disciplinary procedure of the force.

It has been reported that Vandi, had shot Mrs Raheem on close range on the Christmas day at Ajah area of Lagos state.

In the same vein, The Chairman of Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area, John Campos, has directed the naming of a street in the area after the slain 41-year-old lawyer, Bolanle Raheem.

Campos made this known during a visit to the family of the deceased lawyer on Wednesday.

The husband of the deceased lawyer, Mr Gbenga Raheem, while speaking to sympathisers, appealed for calm, saying nothing could bring back his wife.

She was the Chief Executive Officer of Croston Homes and co-founder, City Building, a real estate and property.

Court sentences Nigerian Kidnapper Evans to Life imprisonment

An Ikeja High Court on February 25, 2022 sentenced kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, to life imprisonment for kidnapping Donatus Dunu, the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd in 2017.

Five people were arraigned alongside Evans, but the court found only two of the defendants, Uche Amadi and Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu guilty.

An employee of the pharmaceutical firm testified in 2018 that a ransom of U.S.$260,000 was paid to the kidnappers for Dunu’s release, but that he had not been freed.

Dunu was held for three months before escaping and telling police where Evans was hiding.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi said during the sentencing that the men showed no remorse for their crimes and that a lesson needed to be taught.

The gang has been linked to various other kidnappings.

According to NAN, this is the first judgment delivered in the five kidnapping trials Evans is facing at various high courts in Lagos State.