Usoro’s NBA Presidency: 2 Lawyers Arraigned For Alleged Electoral Fraud
Photo caption: Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) former President,NBA
Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
Two lawyers, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide, were today arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos over alleged manipulation of 2018 Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, election that produced Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) as the President of the association.
The two lawyers were alleged to have manipulated about 1004 eligible votes, that gave Usoro victory over other contenders.
Both Sarah and John, were arraigned before Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor on 14 counts charge of the offences, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Arraigning the two lawyers, EFCC’s prosecutor, Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari Bala, told the court that the defendants in August, 2018, conspired among themselves, altered the email addresses and phone numbers of about 1004 eligible voters for the national elections of NBA, which they acted upon as genuine.
The two lawyers were alleged to have committed the act to favour the former NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN).
Some of the voters’ names alleged to have been falsified were: Gabriel Abijo Oladipo with Supreme Court of Nigeria (SCN) No. 043280; Uthman Adeleye Oluwaseun with SCN No. 088449; David Anakor SCN No. 015233; Chiagoziem Bethel Aninilu, SCN No. 114439 and Bankole Isaac Toyin with SCN no. 024643.
The two lawyers were alleged to have used smoke model on IP address 220.127.116.11 to commit the electoral fraud.
The offences according to the prosecutor, are contrary to and punishable under sections 27(1)(b), 13, 22(2), 22(3) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention etc) Act, 2015.
Both Sarah and John denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following their plea of not guilty, their counsel, N. E. Ogeibe and Deborah Ogundele, pleaded with the court to admit their clients to bail in the most liberal terms.
The counsel told the court that the first defendant, Sarah, is a senior lawyer of over 15 years at the BAR who will not jump bail nor temper with the evidence of the charge.
Upon the applications of defendants’ counsel, Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor, admitted the two lawyers to bail in the sum of N500,000.00 with one surety each.
The judge while adjourning the matter till April 14, 15, 16, 20, 21 and 22, 2021, for defendants’ trial, also ordered that the defendants be remanded in the EFCC’s custody for seven days, to fulfill the bail terms, after which they will be transfer to the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS).
Count one of the charge marked FHC/L/118c/2020, reads: “that you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime in August 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to knowingly alter the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of about 1004 National (One Thousand and. Four) eligible voters of the Nigerian Bar Association 2018 elections with the intention that such inauthentic data will be acted upon as genuine during the said election and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27(1)(b} of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) ACT, 2015 and punishable under Section 13 of the same Act.
Another count reads: “that you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 19th day of August 7.018, within the jurisdiction of this Court fraudulently used the unique identification features such as Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number 509043280 of one Gabriel Abijo Oladipo to vote as the same Gabriel Abijo Oladipo through your Smite modem on IP address 18.104.22.168 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 12 (1) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) ACT, 7.015 under the same Act.