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Hushpuppi to Spend 11 Years in US Prison for Fraud

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Hushpuppi Lazio

By Adedapo Adesanya

Popular Nigerian Instagram influencer, Mr Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, has been jailed for more than 11 years in the United States for his role in an international fraud syndicate.

Hushpuppi flaunted his wealthy lifestyle on his social media page, which had 2.8 million followers until it was disabled.

The judge in Los Angeles also ordered him to pay $1,732,841 in restitution to two fraud victims and will serve his sentence in federal prison.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to money laundering and admitted to attempting to steal more than $1.1 million from someone who wanted to fund a new children’s school in Qatar, court documents in California said.

The fraudster tricked his victim into providing funds for the school “by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website”, according to a statement from the then-acting US Attorney Tracy Wilkinson on the US justice department’s website.

Other suspects were allegedly also involved, the US justice department said, with Abbas playing a key role.

Mr Abbas 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.

“Ramon Abbas… targeted both American and international victims, becoming one of the most prolific money launderers in the world,” said Don Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, in a court document.

“Abbas leveraged his social media platforms… to gain notoriety and to brag about the immense wealth he acquired by conducting business email compromise scams, online bank heists and other cyber-enabled fraud that financially ruined scores of victims and provided assistance to the North Korean regime.

“This significant sentence is the result of years’ worth of collaboration among law enforcement in multiple countries and should send a clear warning to international fraudsters that the FBI will seek justice for victims, regardless of whether criminals operate within or outside United States borders,” the statement added.

Mr Abbas apologised for his crimes to Judge Otis D Wright in a handwritten note, saying he would use his personal funds to pay back his victims.

He also said he had only made $300,000 from the crime he was being tried for.

Business Post reported that Hushpuppi’s luxurious lifestyle came to an abrupt end in 2020, when he was arrested while living in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

He also masterminded the sum of €2 million scam perpetuated on SS Lazio in a payment intended for an ex-Feyenoord player, Stefan de Vrij.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Aminu Adamu Lands in Prison for Insulting Aisha Buhari

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Aminu Adamu Aisha Buhari

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A student of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Mr Aminu Adamu, has been remanded in prison for allegedly ‘insulting’ the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs Aisha Buhari.

A few days ago, news filtered in that Mr Adamu was kidnapped by some security officials to Aso Rock, Abuja, over his post on Twitter that the President’s wife was feeding fat on the taxes paid by the poor masses.

This did not go down well with the First Lady, and the student, who is reportedly due to write his final year exams next week, was taken away from his campus and allegedly tortured.

This action angered many Nigerians, who asked Mrs Buhari to release the man or charge him in court.

On Tuesday, the student was charged to court by the police, and he was remanded in the Suleja correctional facility in Niger State, pending when his bail application would be heard next Wednesday.

According to his lawyer, Mr C.K. Agu, the student was arraigned before a court sitting in Abuja, but he pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him.

“Even in the court session yesterday, we notified the judge about the efforts made to have him released on bail, but we did not receive any reply from the police.

“We applied to the court to release the student on bail on health grounds and the fact that he will sit for the exam on December 5.

“The court has ordered the police to provide the bail application before it for consideration between Tuesday and Wednesday,” Mr Agu informed BBC Hausa Service.

On June 9, 2022, Mr Adamu posted a picture of Mrs Aisha Buhari at the presidential primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja held two days earlier and wrote in the Hausa language, “Su mama anchi kudin talkawa ankoshi,” which loosely means “Mama is feeding fat on poor people’s money.”

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House of Reps Probes Incessant Attacks on INEC Offices

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The House of Representatives has condemned the incessant attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

At the plenary on Wednesday, the green chamber of the National Assembly said the actions of the arsonists could put the nation’s democracy under threat.

On November 10, 2022, an INEC building in the Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State was burned, with over 65,000 uncollected PVCs destroyed by the arsonists. A similar incident happened in Osun State and a few days ago, the office of the electoral body was attacked in Ebonyi State.

It was gathered that since 2019, about 42 attacks have been carried out on INEC offices in 14 states and to the House of Reps, this is worrisome.

In order to curb this, the parliament has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the incessant razing of the offices of INEC within three weeks and produce a report of its findings.

At the plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, the House urged the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and other security agencies to liaise with the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minster of Justice in bringing the perpetrators to book.

The decision to probe the matter followed a motion on notice moved by a lawmaker, Mr Olarewaju Ibrahim Kunle.

According to him, the attackers destroyed the main building of INEC in Ogun State earlier this month and other facilities such as 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags, eight electric power generators and 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).

The lawmaker said on the same day, arsonists and thugs set ablaze the INEC building at Oke Iresi, Ede South Local Government of Osun State.

He warned that if these systematically orchestrated attacks on personnel and facilities of the agency are not checked, the 2023 general elections could be disrupted.

Mr Kunle appealed to his colleagues to take urgent action to protect democracy in Nigeria.

His appeal was welcomed, with the parliament calling on “politicians and stakeholders to admonish their supporters to refrain from attacks and violence before or during the 2023 elections.”

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Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Unveils Platform for Youth to Explore Business Prowess

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Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

An initiative to give an opportunity to youth in the country to explore their creativity and business prowess has been introduced by Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited.

The platform known as FUZE talent hunt will employ a holistic approach to youth empowerment and feature four categories across music, dance, fashion and technology, a statement from the leading pension fund administrator (based on assets under management) said.

According to the subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, the first-of-its-kind talent hunt aims to promote indigenous talents.

The chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Mr Olumide Oyetan, explained that the project was to the benefit of Nigerian society, adding that as a future-ready organisation, Stanbic IBTC valued talent, creativity and innovation and created the platform to shine the spotlight on youngsters and provide the necessary support they require to succeed, regardless of their chosen sphere of influence or industry.

He stated that youth empowerment had become increasingly essential with the heightened unemployment rate declared by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at over 33 per cent.

On her part, an Executive Director at Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Ms Nike Bajomo, disclosed that the “primary goal of the FUZE Talent hunt is to create a platform for Nigeria’s talented youth to engage and learn from other youths while also gaining access to funds and best-in-class mentoring to support the actualisation of their dreams.”

She urged young Nigerians to participate in the event, stating that the audition application is free, and the public would be relied upon to vote for their preferred candidate, who would be showcased at the grand finale in December 2022.

“FUZE is open to all Nigerians between the ages 18 and 35 years. To participate, you can download the Stanbic IBTC Events App on either the android or iOS store, register and upload an audition video,” she said.

It was disclosed that the winners of the FUZE Talent Hunt would be unveiled at the FUZE Festival slated for December 21, 2022, and in addition to the chance to win N32 million, contestants will gain recognition in the industry and winners will receive mentorship to support their careers.

“Around the world today, young Nigerians are making a statement on the global scene, putting their names and communities on the roadmap to greatness.

“The average young Nigerian is bursting with talent and potential waiting to be harnessed, and we are here to give them the support they need to soar high. After all, Nigeria is our home, and we drive her growth,” the chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mr Demola Sogunle, said.

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