The trial of a 19 -year-old Cybercrime kingpin, David Oritsegbeyiwa Ofoeyeno, who was exposed through a joint operation of the Akin Fadeyi Foundation, the Nigerian Police and (AFF) and the management of a student of the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), could not go on at the Federal High Court, sitting in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, due to the transfer of Justice Uche Agomoh, the presiding judge.
Ofoeyeno, a 300-level student of Media and Communication Studies at ABUAD, was the head of a syndicate that defrauded some girls by bullying and threatening to release their nude pictures online.
He was uncovered through a covert investigation AFF initiated with the office of the Inspector General of Police and after receiving complaints from victims through the FLAGIT App.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, the prosecution was ready to go on with trial as it had four witnesses in court; three of which were female students of ABUAD who are victims of the cyber bully syndicate and the Director of Students’ Affairs of the university, Mr Wahab Babatunde.
But when the case was called, Justice Agomoh announced that she has been transferred to the Oyo State Division of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan.
“Let me announce to this court that I have been transferred to Ibadan Division and I have just two days more to spend here in this Judicial Division. The Prosecution has four witnesses lined up for today and if I should begin with the trial, I can’t take all the four and there would be adjournment, so it is better to adjourn this case, so probably the case can be taken over by another judge,” she said.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Femi Falade, and the defense counsel, Mr P.O Omokhase, did not object to the position of the judge on the matter and the case was adjourned till April 22 for definite hearing.
Speaking on the delay necessitated by the Judge’s transfer, ABUAD’s Students’ Affairs Director, Mr Babatunde Wahab, said the prosecuting counsel could still explore the option of filing an application for fiat so that the transferred judge can continue to hear the matter from her new division so that this case can be adjudicated upon expeditiously and without delay,” he said, adding that “ABUAD remains committed to its philosophy of graduating students both in learning and character”.
The prosecuting counsel sees this as a good option and possibility.
The matter commenced in November 2020 with the arraignment of Ofoeyeno after the Akin Fadeyi Foundation in collaboration with the Nigerian Police busted the syndicate of cyber bullies.
Students, who filed complaints on the Foundation’s FLAGIT App, said the accused person had extorted huge sums of money from them after threatening to upload their nude videos and pictures on social media platforms.
Ofoeyeno was arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit a felony with cyber fraud, attempt to defraud, impersonation, threat to expose nudes, cyber stalking, among others.
He was alleged to have cyber bullied 17 identified girls across various universities in Nigeria, including Elizade University in Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, and Kaduna State University.
Ofoeyeno’s arrest followed six months of covert investigations carried out by the Police whose support were enlisted by the Foundation in collaboration with the Afe Babalola University and with the cooperation of the office of the First lady of Ekiti, Erelu Bisi Fayemi.
AFF released detailed information that the group usually approaches and lures ladies into relationships and would consequently deceive them to send their nude photos for beauty pageant entries.
One of the victims was on the verge of suicide due to constant threats and extortion when she was mentally counseled encouraged to report on the FLAGIT App by Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode of the Media Concern for Women and Children Initiative.