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Awujale cancels 2021 Ojude Oba Festival

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Awujale denies statement on Sunday Igboho

The Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr) Sikiru Adetona, has cancelled the 2021 edition of the annual Ojude Oba Festival.

This was confirmed in a statement issued by the Coordinator of the Festival and Baagbimo of Ijebu, Chief (Dr.) Fassy Yusuf.

Awujale attributed the cancellation of the annual fiesta to the detection of the lethal COVID-19 Delta variant in Nigeria.

The festival was earlier scheduled to hold next week after the Eid-el Kabir celebrations.

Please read the statement from the Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland below:

THE Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona has approved the cancellation of the 2021 edition of the Annual Ojude Oba Festival of Ijebu Od

In a Press statement issued by the Coordinator of the Festival and Baagbimo of Ijebu, Chief (Dr.) Fassy Yusuf, the cancellation was attributed to the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic, its likely upsurge with the Delta variant and the negligible number of people that had taken the anti-COVID 19 vaccine.

Rather than expose peoples who will converge on Ijebu Ode from all over the world to participate in the ancient and unique socio-cultural and religious festival of the Ijebu nation, with its parade of traditional-age groups and the spectacular durbar with unsurpassable equestrian display, to avoidable and preventable health hazards, the monarch directed that the 2021 edition be cancelled.

This is the second time in its known history of more than one Century that the festival that unites Muslims, Christians, and adherents of other faiths will be cancelled. The Ojude Oba Festival is normally held two days after the Eid-el Kabir (Ileya).

In his message to the Ijebu nation on the occasion of the 2021 Eid-el Kabir (10th of Dhul-Hijja 1442 AH), the monarch thanked his subjects for the peace, progress, and tranquillity pervading Ijebuland.

He prayed for additional economic and social prosperity within Ijebuland and charged his people to remain resolute and be optimistic that sooner than later, Ijebu State would become a reality.

Oba Adetona further charged his people and visitors to Ijebuland during and after the festival to ensure they wear their nose masks, wash their hands regularly with soap, keep social and physical distances at public places, get vaccinated against the pandemic, and adhere to other medical protocols as directed by the federal, state, and local government authorities.

The Awujale thanked all the sponsors of the festival for the mutually beneficial partnerships that have ensured the unparalleled success of the annual festival in the past, while also hoping that the 2022 edition would be a reality.

He further thanked his subjects for their unflinching love, affection, loyalty, and solidarity in his sixty-one years on the throne as Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland.

Chief Yusuf disclosed that whilst the monarch regrets that COVID-19 would not allow him to host his usual guests and visitors, he assures all that he is in high spirit and will be celebrating the Eid-el Kabir with his family and very few others as dictated by medical protocols.

Oba Adetona prayed for the return of peace and prosperity to all troubled areas of our great and beloved country, Nigeria.

The Ojude Oba Festival is one of the biggest culture fiestas celebrated in the South-West region, attracting top multinationals as sponsors with culture enthusiasts attending from different parts of the world.

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NIMC captures more than 60 million Nigerians

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on Thursday announced it has registered more than 60 million Nigerians for the unique National Identification Number (NIN) records in the National Identity Database (NIDB).’

The Commission said the feat could not have been possible without the cooperation of all stakeholders, including the general public.

Its Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Kayode Adegoke noted in a statement “the transformational value of a robust and inclusive foundational Identification system in today’s world cannot be overstated.”

” As a Commission, we’re committed to keeping this momentum of scaling up and speeding up NIN issuance nationwide for better identification, authentication and improved service delivery,” Adegoke added..

Adegoke who commended Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami for his leadership in driving the programmes of the commission, emphasised that NIN remains “the Primary Identification for all citizens and legal residents”.

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Abba Kyari opens up on alleged bribe to arrest Hushpuppi’s ally

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Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari has denied receiving a bribe from a Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

The United States Department of Justice had said ongoing investigations showed that Hushpuppi allegedly bribed Kyari to arrest one Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, one of his accomplices in Nigeria.

Reacting to the allegations on Thursday morning, the DCP in a statement on his verified Facebook page said his hands are clean.

According to Kyari, nobody demanded money from the embattled Instagram influencer, stating that the focus of the police was to save people’s lives that were purportedly threatened.

Kyari explained that Hushpuppi had informed the police that somebody in Nigeria was threatening to kill his family. He added that the social media celebrity, who was based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before his incarceration, also sent the suspect’s phone number, urging the police to act fast to save his family.

He however said the suspect was allowed to go after investigation showed they were long time friends with disagreements over money. Kyari insisted that he did not demand a dime from Hushuppi, saying the only time they had discussions about money was when the fraudster demanded to know who sews his native clothes and caps, adding that after linking both party, Hushpuppi sent N300,000 for five sets of attires.

Kyari said the clothes and caps were delivered to his office after which someone collected them for Hushpuppi. He urged anyone interested in further pursuing the matter to contact Vincent for confirmation.

He urged his supporters to remain calm, stating that those working towards damaging his reputation would be disgraced.

The statement reads in part, “For those who are celebrating that this is an indictment on us and mentioning some fictitious big money, They will be disappointed once again as our hands are clean and our record of service for two decades is open for everybody to see. They will continue seeing us serving our fatherland and we will continue responding to ALL distress calls from ALL Nigerians provided they are life threatening.

“For good Nigerians who appreciate our service, please don’t worry as our hands are clean and they should please not respond to those celebrating and creating many false narratives without any evidence. We are used to such types of people and false newsmakers and distributors”.

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How Hushpuppi bribed IGP’s team leader Kyari in $1.1m deal – U.S.

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The United States Department of Justice has narrated how Hushpuppi, a fraudster from Nigeria, bribed Nigeria’s celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.

How it started

The statement from the office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said a federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week said Hushpuppi, with real name Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, admitted to being part of an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a business person attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar.

He also admitted to subsequent laundering of illicit proceeds through bank accounts around the world.

However, trouble began among Hushpuppi and other conspirators on the sharing formula of the money received after they played the roles of bank officials and created a bogus website to steal the $1,1m from the business person.

The dispute led one of the conspirators, Vincent, to inform the victim that Hushpuppi is a fraudster.

However, Hushpuppi, in retaliation, contacted Abba Kyari, to help arrest and jailed Vincent.

According to the statement released by the U.S., Hushpuppi transferred to Kyari’s account after the police officer sent him the photos of Vincent in prison.

The statement said:

“Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria. According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.”

Please read the full statement below:

Six Indicted in International Scheme to Defraud Qatari School Founder and then Launder over $1 Million in Illicit Proceeds.

Nigerian National Known as ‘Hushpuppi’ Admits Money Laundering in School Financing Scam and Additional Cyber and Business Email Compromise Schemes.

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week alleges an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar – and the subsequent laundering of illicit proceeds through bank accounts around the world.

The three-count indictment returned on April 29 and unsealed Monday charges three U.S.-based defendants who were arrested last week – as well as three defendants believed to be in Africa – with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.

The criminal complaint that initiated the prosecution in February was also unsealed Monday, revealing that Ramon Olorunwa Abbas – also known by his social media handle of “Ray Hushpuppi” – was initially charged in this case. Court documents ordered unsealed today show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20. A version of Abbas’ plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in the school-finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.

“The defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “Mr. Abbas, who played a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means. In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will identify and prosecute perpetrators of business email compromise scams, which is a massive and growing international crime problem.”

“Mr. Abbas, among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans,” said Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad. Today’s announcement deals a crucial blow to this international network and hopefully serves as a warning to potential victims targeted with this type of theft.”

According to the indictment, Abbas allegedly conspired with Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, a.k.a. “Abdul,” 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria, to defraud the Qatari businessperson by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance construction of the planned school. Juma allegedly posed as a facilitator and consultant for the illusory bank loans, while Abbas played the role of “Malik,” a Wells Fargo banker in New York, according to court documents. Vincent, in turn, allegedly provided support for the false narratives fed to the victim by, among other things, creating bogus documents and arranging for the creation of a fake bank website and phone banking line.

Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe, a.k.a. “AJ,” 26, of Brooklyn, New York, allegedly played a role in the fraud, assisting Abbas with a call to the victim posing as “Malik.” Special agents with the FBI arrested Anifowoshe in New York on July 22.

The conspirators allegedly defrauded the victim out of more than $1.1 million.

The proceeds of the fraud allegedly were laundered in several ways. According to the indictment, Abbas was assisted in laundering the proceeds of the fraud by Rukayat Motunraya Fashola, a.k.a. “Morayo,” 28, of Valley Stream, New York, and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka, a.k.a. “Bolamide,” 34, of Linden, New Jersey. These two defendants also were arrested on July 22 by FBI agents.

Approximately $230,000 of the stolen funds allegedly were used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s social media posts. Other illicit proceeds from the scheme were allegedly converted into cashier’s checks, including $50,000 in checks that were used by Abbas and a co-conspirator to fraudulently acquire a St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship, as well as a passport for Abbas obtained by creating a false marriage certificate and then bribing a government official in St. Kitts.

Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria. According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.

Anifowoshe, Fashola and Agbabiaka were arrested in New York and New Jersey on July 22, and they are expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles in August. All three are currently free on bond.

A criminal complaint and an indictment contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Both conspiracy counts alleged in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term.

The FBI is investigating this matter as part of Operation Top Dog. The FBI thanks the government of the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai Police Department for their substantial assistance in this matter. The FBI also thanks the Kenyan Office of Attorney General, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations for their substantial assistance.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter.

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