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India-bound Drug Trafficker Bags 25 Years Imprisonment

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Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by Fellow Press

Three months after vomiting and excreting eighty (80) wraps of cocaine following his arrest by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, at the screening point of terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos, a Delhi, India-bound passenger, Freeman Charles Ogbonna, has been sentenced to twenty-five (25) years imprisonment by a Federal High Court.

Ogbonna was arrested on Sunday 31st March while attempting to board his flight to Delhi, India via Doha on Qatar Airways, with a Liberian international passport, bearing the name: Carr Bismark. He was taken for body scan, which tested positive for ingestion of illicit drugs.

Preliminary checks revealed his real identity as Freeman Charles Ogbonna and was subsequently placed under observation in NDLEA custody where he started to manifest signs of discomfort. Obviously choked by the volume of illicit drugs in his stomach and another substance taken to hold back excretion, the suspect soon began to retch before starting to vomit and excrete wraps of cocaine he ingested almost simultaneously.

The suspect who claimed he was recruited into drug trafficking by one of his relatives eventually passed out a total of 80 wraps of cocaine weighing 889 grams through his mouth and anus over a period of four days. The great risk that almost took his life notwithstanding, Ogbonna said he was given the drugs to swallow at a hotel in Ipodo area of Ikeja with a promise to reward him with N300,000 cash if he successfully delivers the consignment in India.

He was subsequently arraigned before Justice Dipeolu Deinde Isaac of the Federal High Court, Lagos in charge number FHCL/378/2024 for committing an offence contrary to section 20(1)(b) and punishable under section 20(2)(a) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30 LFN 2004. Delivering his judgement on the case on Monday 1st July 2024, Justice Dipeolu sentenced Ogbonna to 25 years in prison without an option of fine.

Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) commended the MMIA Command and the prosecution team for a fast and diligent handling of the case, adding that the judiciary remains a strong pillar in the coordinated and concerted effort to curb the scourge of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria. He said Ogbonnas conviction will further send a strong signal to his ilk that there will be no hiding place for drug barons and their mules.

Femi Babafemi

Director, Media and Advocacy

NDLEA Headquarters Abuja

Tuesday 2nd July 2024

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Nigerians paid N721bn in cash bribes to govt officials in 2023 – NBS

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Last Updated on July 12, 2024 by Fellow Press

A survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that Nigerians paid a staggering N721 billion in cash bribes to public officials in 2023.

The survey, titled “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,” released on Thursday, July 11, revealed that over 95 percent of these bribes were in monetary form.

According to the report, there has been a decline in Nigerians’ confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts during the period under review.

The report stated, “Overall, it is estimated that a total of roughly N721 billion ($1.26 billion) was paid in cash bribes to public officials in Nigeria in 2023, corresponding to 0.35 percent of the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.”

The report further revealed that bribes paid in a public official’s office and on the street accounted for approximately 35 percent and 36 percent of all bribes respectively while, 11 percent of bribes were paid in respondents’ own homes, while 7 percent occurred in public buildings such as restaurants, malls, or stations.

The report highlighted that healthcare professionals and public utility officers were the most frequent recipients of bribes, accounting for 30 percent and 24 percent of encounters respectively. Police officers followed closely with a contact rate of 20 percent

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Vice President Trump, President Putin Of Ukraine – Biden Goofs At NATO Summit

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Last Updated on July 12, 2024 by Fellow Press

U.S. President Joe Biden had a series of verbal slip-ups on Thursday alongside the NATO summit in Washington, an unfortunate development for the 81-year-old as he tries to move past concerns that he is too old to run for re-election.

Verbal gaffes are not unusual in the long political career of Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, but there is closer attention on him amid the fallout from his dismal debate performance against Republican candidate Donald Trump last month.

Trump, who is 78, and also has faced concerns about his age, frequently made false claims during the debate and often rambles during campaign speeches.

Below is a summary of Biden’s mistakes on Thursday.

BIDEN MISTAKENLY CALLS ZELENSKIY ‘PUTIN’

Biden mistakenly referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as “President Putin”.

“And now I want to hand it over to the president of Ukraine, who has as much courage as he has determination, ladies and gentlemen, President Putin,” Biden said at the NATO summit, drawing gasps from those in the room.

“Going to beat President Putin, President Zelenskiy. I am so focused on beating Putin,” Biden said while correcting himself.

BIDEN MISTAKENLY REFERS TO HARRIS AS TRUMP
During a news conference on Thursday evening, Biden mixed up the name of his vice president, Kamala Harris, and his rival Trump.

“Look, I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president if she was not qualified to be president. So start there,” Biden said as he responded to a question from Reuters about his confidence in Harris.

BIDEN FUMBLES ‘CHIEFS OF STAFF’
Biden also struggled at the news conference to find the words “chiefs of staff,” mistakenly referring to the group of the country’s top uniformed military leaders as “commander in chief,” the title he holds as president.

“And so our military is working on following the advice of my commander in chief my, my, my, the chiefs of staff, of the military as well as the secretary of defense and our intelligence people.”

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