US yet to grant us access to Nigerian detained for fraud ― Presidency

Posted by News Express | 24 December 2018 | 1,191 times

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• Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa has revealed that the authorities of the United States of America are yet to grant the Nigerian consulate access to Okufolajimi Abegunde who was arrested and charged for fraud.

According to a statement issued by her Special Assistant on Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun on Friday, she insisted that her office is yet to get any official notification from Abegunde’s family.

Recall that an online medium had reported that Abegunde’s mum claimed she had written Dabiri-Erewa’s office seeking the Federal Government’s intervention in the prolonged detention of Abegunde in West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason, Tennessee.

Dabiri-Erewa stated that after investigations into the matter, the Nigerian Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia has written to the detention centre for access to Abegunde who has pleaded to guilty of the crime.

She noted that the access has not been granted by the US Department of State.

“However, when the Nigerian consulate in Atlanta became aware of the detention of Mr Abegunde, who claimed innocence, a letter was written to the West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason, Tennessee (where he is detained) requesting consular access.

“The consulate in Atlanta is awaiting response for consular access to Mr Abegunde through the US Department of State in Washington.”

TribuneOnline gathered that Abegunde alongside seven others were arrested in February and charged for cybercrime and business email compromise conspiracy on June 25, 2018, by a US Department of Justice.

They were alleged to have defrauded some US companies and individuals to the tune of $15 Million USD.

However, Abegunde claimed his address, which links him to the crime, was used by his friend, Mr Ayodeji Ojo who stayed with him alongside his wife and two others in 2016.

While hoping that Abegunde’s innocence will be upheld by the court, Dabiri-Erewa warned Nigerians to be careful with how they deal with acquaintances on financial matters.

“The case of Mr Abegunde underscores the need for our citizens to be careful in how they deal with people, even acquaintances, especially when it comes to financial matters.

“Mr Abegunde’s pleas that his friend, Mr Ayodeji Olumide Ojo, used his address to open a bank account in a US bank, will hopefully be proven right in court.

“Unfortunately, Mr Ojo, his friend, who has been previously indicted by the US Department of Justice and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud is currently at large.

“The consulate will undertake a consular visit to Mr Abegunde as soon as consular access is granted by the US authorities.”

Sourced from a Tribune report

Source: News Express

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