A newly-wed man, Azeez Bamidele, was on Wednesday sentenced to six months in prison by an Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos State for internet fraud.
Justice Mojisola Dada sentenced the newly-wed after he had plead guilty to a charge of possession of fraudulent documents, proffered against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Delivering judgment during the virtual proceeding, the judge said: “The defendant, having pleaded guilty is convicted as charged.
“He is hereby sentenced to six months imprisonment starting from March 18, 2020 when he was first remanded by this court.
“He is however granted an option of a fine of N50,000 in lieu of his prison term.
“The defendant shall upon his release from custody do a written undertaking to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the EFCC to be of good behaviour and not to be engaged in any criminal activities within or outside the shores of this country.”
The defence counsel, Mr Babatunde Hamzat, in his allocutus (plea for mercy), had earlier asked the court to temper justice with mercy based on the convict’s status as a newly married man.
“The defendant having pleaded guilty to the charge, I plead with the court to temper justice with mercy; he is a young man who just got married in December previous year.
“He was influenced by peer pressure and having been in custody since March this year, he has shown remorse and he is now penitent.
“We plead with the court to give him a fine, or if possible, community service. He is a young man with a lot to offer and he has shown remorse and turned a new leaf,” Hamzat said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the offence violates Section 318 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011.
The Prosecutor for the EFCC, Mr Idris Mohammed, said the commission had received intelligence report on a case of cyber crime, obtaining money by false pretense and stealing in the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
He said that on March 7, a raid was conducted by operatives of the anti-graft agency and Bamidele and some unspecified number of people were arrested.
“He was arrested with a Samsung mobile phone which was analysed as part of the investigation. The defendant operates three different email accounts and fraudulent documents were printed from his email.
“He was confronted with our findings and he admitted committing the crimes and his statement and documents printed from his email addresses are all attached to the information which were tendered as evidence before the court.
“I urge your lordship to convict the defendant as charged,” he said.