Channels Television had reported how the victim was handcuffed, tortured, and suffocated while being questioned by about three policemen at his home.
One of his flat-mates and a Congolese, Steve Lumbwe, had said in an interview that he witnessed the incident that led to Badmus’ death.
“I found Omo (the deceased), my tenant on handcuff. There was a plastic where they put paper spray on him. I asked the police ‘why are you doing this to him’? They said he’s a drug dealer, he must take out the drug and I was like ‘no, he doesn’t sell drugs’.
“My tenant was on handcuff and he started calling ‘Steve, I can’t breathe’. I started fighting with them and tried to help the guy but the other one (police officer) took me out as well,” he narrated.
The incident, which came barely one week after another Nigerian Jelili Omoyele was shot dead in Johannesburg over an alleged 300 Rand parking lot debt, sparked outrage in Nigeria.
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had said that the incident was gradually eroding the confidence of Nigerians on the determination and ability of the authorities to “put a stop to further and deliberate killings of Nigerians” living in South Africa.
A Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja has heard how an American citizen defrauded a Nigerian businessman of $145,000 (about N52 million) in a Green Card scam.
The businessman, Olukayode Sodimu, testified on Friday as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the American, Marco Ramirez.
He claimed that he got to know the alleged serial conman through a newspaper advertisement.
The American, who was first re-arraigned before Justice Josephine Oyefeso on June 22, 2017, was re-arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada on amended 12 counts bordering on conspiracy and obtaining under false pretence.
He was docked alongside his companies – USA Now LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and USA Now Capital Group by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC accused Ramirez, who faces two separate criminal suits at the Special Offences Court, of defrauding five Lagos-based Nigerians of $1.5 million.
In the first suit, the American was accused of allegedly defrauding two Nigerians—Gabriel Edeoghon and Oludare Talabi of $ 388,838.
In the second suit, he allegedly defrauded three Nigerians — Ambassador Godson Echejue, Abubakar Umar, and Sodimu of $1.2 million.
According to the EFCC, the offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 14 of 2006.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
A Convincing Lecture
At Friday’s sitting, Sodimu while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, M. Owede, told the court that he first got to know Ramirez and his company in 2013 through an advertisement in a national newspaper for an Employment-based Fifth Preference (EB-5) American Investment programme.
He said, “The advert in the paper said that USA Now LLC was the regional centre for the EB-5 Investment Programme and that one could invest $500,000 in it.
“It stated that by investing $500,000, the investor and his children under 21-years of age will be issued a U.S. Green Card, which implies permanent residency in the U.S.”
Sodimu also testified that after seeing the advert, he verified the authenticity of the programme and that he found out online that such programme existed and that he attended a seminar which was advertised in the newspapers to be holding in Eko Hotels.
He said that at the seminar, Ramirez gave a lecture and thereafter had a meeting with him.
“The defendant mentioned that a number of Nigerians had benefited from the programme that they had either received Green Card or were about to get one through his offers,” the businessman narrated.
He said further, “He presented Umar who is the second Prosecution Witness (PW 2) in this case as someone who had paid his $ 500,000 and Umar’s process had reached the final stage and he was about to do his medicals.
“I believed him and I chose to participate. I met him several times after that day to verify his claims and make enquiries. He gave me a brochure that had some explanations and stated that he had American government backing for the programme.
“He gave me a pre-qualification questionnaire. I filled it and he took it back to the United States.
“I got an email from a lady he told me was his personal assistant. Based on the responses on the questionnaire, I was given sets of forms and requirements I had to meet.”
Sodimu claimed that he was required to pay $500,000 to a separate account called an investment account and that he was required to pay an additional $45,000 as administrative fees into the defendant’s bank account.
“He said that being an investment, the $500,000 is repayable with interest after five years – I read through the agreement given to me before paying a kobo.
“The agreement made it clear that all the money, including the $45,000, was refundable if the investor was not accepted by the American government,” the witness testified.
Sodimu told the court that in June 2013, he paid the $45,000 administrative fee in five tranches within a week and two months later, he paid $100,000, which was the first instalment of the $500,000 investment fee.
He said, “As at the time the $100,000 was transferred, I had the whole money but in naira. The banking regulation is that one can only register such amount of money from the inflow from the proceeds of export.
“At the time, I could only get $100,000 in tranches and the defendant was putting so much pressure on me.”
Sodimu said that while he was figuring out how he was going to get the balance of the $500,000 investment fee, he found out via the internet that Ramirez and his spouse were under investigation by the FBI in America for fraud.
“When I saw the news report, I was very worried and very concerned. I called Marco and I told him what I saw on the internet. He confirmed it but said it was just a minor problem and it will soon be resolved.
“I took a flight to the U .S. a few days later to find out what was going on and I had a meeting with him and from the discussion, I realised things were far worse than he claimed on the phone.
“I spoke to his lawyer and officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Texas and I found out that he was under investigation by the FBI, following a petition by his victims.
“When it became obvious that I could have been duped, I remembered some people I saw during the seminar and I made some phone calls and I was able to identify four people who were in similar or worse situations than mine.”
Sodimu told the court that he and other alleged victims of the American made several fruitless efforts to contact him to refund their money.
When they realised they had been duped, Sodimu said they petitioned the EFCC through the law firm of Festus Keyamo & Co.
He said that in 2015, he and the other victims learnt that Ramirez was still coming to Nigeria to transact businesses.
Sodimu said the American was apprehended by the anti-graft agency during one of his business visits to Nigeria.
“Till now, he has not paid me back the $145,000, neither has he issued me a Green Card,” he said.
Justice Dada adjourned the matter until November 13 for the continuation of trial.
First, there was Tutu, the “African Mona Lisa” sold last year for 1.5 million dollars.
Then a second portrait by revered Nigerian painter Ben Enwonwu called Christine, sold in mid-October, for 1.4 million dollars.
Both record sales of famous works by the late “father of African modernism”, captured the emergence of Nigeria’s art market.
A decade ago, major African artists were largely absent from international auctions. But the continent is now a major attraction in contemporary and modern art.
Since his death in 1994, Enwonwu’s star has only risen, epitomising the growing industry and value for art.
His two masterpieces were sold by two of London’s most prestigious auction houses, Bonhams and Sotheby’s.
“Africa is one of the fastest-growing markets in the art world today, and Nigeria is equal on the top with South Africa,” Giles Peppiatt, director of African art at Bonhams, told AFP.
His auction house was one of the first in Europe to bet big on the continent with “Africa Now” beginning in 2007, auctioning African art as a stand-alone sale.
In the vibrant commercial capital of Lagos, with 20 million people, its cultural season, awash with literary fashion and art festivals, culminates this weekend with the international fair “ART X”.
Three years after it began, the fair has emerged as one of the premier art events on the continent, exhibiting the rich array of African modern and contemporary art.
The famous Tutu, “lost” for almost 40 years and spectacularly found in 2018, almost by chance, in a London apartment, was the surprise attraction of the last edition, drawing several thousand attendees.
A show-reel of Nollywood’s actresses, traditional leaders, wealthy collectors and artists trooped to the painting of the mysterious Yoruba princess.
At the end of the year, Nigeria’s economic-hub becomes awash with glamour and arts.
Thousands of visitors rush from one exhibition to another, from ART X to the Lagos Biennale of contemporary art, Lagos fashion week and LagosPhoto, all of which take place between October and November.
But alongside the art, is an increasing market and appetite amongst investors and collectors.
New galleries like Art Twenty One have opened in recent years.
And the auction house Art House Contemporary Limited, whose turnover is more modest than that of its European peers, regularly exhibits the most notable artists in the region: Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo, El Anatsui or Peju Alatise.
Collectors or investors?
This year, some twenty galleries and more than 90 artists will be represented at ART X, with representatives from Tate Modern (London) and Smithsonian (Washington) expected to attend.
Creative audio installations by renowned artist, Emeka Ogboh, based between Berlin and Lagos, will grace the background of the anticipated fourth edition of the fair.
If the appetite for contemporary African art continues to grow, apart from outliers that exceed one million dollars, the majority of works are still sold at “reasonable” prices in comparison with the rest of the world: “between $10,000 and $60,000,” Peppiatt says.
“Events like Art X are changing the game, they enable cities like Lagos to shine and attract many enthusiastic collectors,” he explains. “This is a very exciting moment.”
The West African oil giant and largest economy on the continent has a growing middle class of rich bankers and industrialists, with a burgeoning appetite for purchasing contemporary art.
The biggest bids still take place in Europe, where the market is better structured, and better protected against fake works.
Yet collectors increasingly fly to buy works in London or New York and then bring them back to Africa, says Jess Castellote, director of the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, a private museum that will open next year in the suburbs of Lagos.
“There are collectors, art lovers who want to reconnect with their culture, their legacy,” he says, explaining that as well as art enthusiasts, serious investors have taken interest in art.
In Nigeria, as in South Africa, multi-million dollar investment funds have sprung up to acquire works and resell them as dearly as possible, again betting on rising demand for art.
“Rich Nigerians who used to spend 250,000 pounds ($320,000) on a watch or a luxury car now prefer to invest in a painting or a sculpture,” Castellote says.
Eniolorunda said that the Command worked on a lead which came from interrogating one Lucky Otuba, a suspected member of the gang who accompanied the mother of the victims to report the case.
He added that they moved into action by contacting other anti-human trafficking agencies, including the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) which led to their rescue from the syndicate led by one Madam Taye based in Mali.
“Our efforts actually paid off as they were able to track them in Mali, identify them and hand over to our embassy and through the help of IOM, one of our principal partners, they were brought to Lagos and subsequently to us in Benin,” the Immigration Comptroller said.
Narrating her ordeal, Miriam told Channels Television that the whole incident has remained confusing as she cannot really tell how they agreed to go on the trip.
She said the person who recruited them for the journey, one Madam Blessing, had told them that they were going to work as hairdressers in Senegal before ending up in Mali where they were eventually rescued.
The victim said, “I cannot explain how we agreed to travel with her. it is as if we were not with our senses.”
Mr Simeon was allegedly shot by yet to be unidentified gunmen in the early hours of Saturday in Johannesburg, a city in South Africa.
The spokesperson for the association, Mr Sunny-Wenike Douglas, explained that until his death, late Simeon was a Taxify driver.
The victim was said to have been killed almost immediately after dropping off his clients in a part of the city.
Douglas added that an investigating officer with the South Africa Police Service confirmed that a case of murder had been opened on the matter.
He vowed that his association would follow up with the case to ensure that the killers were arrested and brought to justice.
On June 12, a Nigerian insurance officer, Mrs Obianuju Ndubuisi-Chukwu, was murdered in South Africa while attending a conference there.
Her killing was followed shortly by the murder of a Nigerian teenager who was also shot dead in Johannesburg.
Read the full statement below:
NIGERIAN CITIZENS ASSOCIATION SOUTH AFRICA (NICASA)
The Nigerian Citizens Association South Africa received with sadness and regrettably announce the tragic death of a national Late Mr Benjamin Simeon, 43years old and a native of Okposi in Ebonyi State, who was allegedly shot by yet to be unidentified gunmen around the wee hours of today the 3/08/2019 at Verona and High Street in the south of Johannesburg.
Late Mr Benjamin Simeon until his death was a Taxify driver and survived by a pregnant wife, who also is from the same community with him and has two other children from the same wife.
At arrival at the deceased residence, the NICASA representative led by the PRO met with the inlaw of the deceased Mr Emeka Isaac, also from Okposi in Ebonyi State and other of his kinsmen from Ebonyi, friends and well-wishers.
It was learnt that the deceased transports workers who close late shifts at night, under a prearranged pick up plan and was just on one of such trips when he was shot twice almost immediately after dropping off his clients.
Mr Emeka Isaac who is married to the deceased’s sister said he had got a call at around 3:00am from an unknown office number which he didn’t pick, and thereafter a call from the wife of the deceased alerting him of her husband’s unanswered phone, which led to several calls been made.
Finally, someone who was earlier called by the police informed him of the deceased having some likely issues with the police, the phone number of the police was forwarded to him and he only got the sad news after calling the phone number of the police.
The remains of the deceased were taken by the paramedics that arrived the crime scene in company of the SAPS and has since been deposited at the Johannesburg mortuary after the deceased was confirmed dead.
The deceased’s vehicle and phone were recovered and handed over to Mr Emeka Isaac (the inlaw).
We got in contact with the detective in charge of the case who confirmed the case of murder was opened at the Moffatview SAPS and we have received the case number and direct contact of the investigating police officer.
We will furnish same to the appropriate authorities for further action.
We shall follow up with the case to ensure that the killers are arrested and justice is served.
We pray for God to grant the family, friends kinsmen comfort at this difficult time, and them the strength to bear the loss. while calling on all to remain vigilant in their dealings with one another.
A Nigerian peacekeeper was killed Saturday in an attack on the United Nations’ stabilization mission in Mali, the UN said.
The victim “succumbed to his wounds following the armed attack by unidentified assailants” in Timbuktu, a statement said. A Nigerian peacekeeper was also injured.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply saddened” by the assault, which he said could amount to a war crime.
In a separate incident Saturday, three Chadian peacekeepers were wounded when their mine-protected vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Tessalit, in Mali’s Kidal region.
The UN’s MINUSMA mission was established in Mali after radical Islamist militias seized the north of the country in 2012. They were pushed back by French troops in 2013.
A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability. But the accord has failed to stop the violence.
Since their deployment in 2013, more than 190 peacekeepers have died in Mali, including nearly 120 killed by hostile action – making MINUSMA the UN’s deadliest peacekeeping operation, accounting for more than half of blue helmets killed globally in the past five years.
“We commiserate with the families and friends of Ms Faye Mooney and Mr Matthew Oguche, and wish to assure that the security agencies will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to apprehend the killers and bring them to justice,” the minister said.
The assailants were said to have invaded the resort, shooting sporadically and kidnapped three other persons in the process.
Condemning the attack, Mr Mohammed described the dastardly act, which led to the death of the Nigerian and the Briton while visiting the popular resort, as a setback to efforts to promote tourism in the country.
He, however, noted that the Federal Government had recently stepped up efforts to stem the wave of violence and banditry in some parts of the country.
The minister revealed that one of the measures put in place was better intelligence gathering and increased collaboration by the security agencies.
He noted that the efforts have started paying off, as the level of violent attacks, banditry, and kidnappings, was being reduced nationwide.
”The government will not relent until all parts of the country are made safe for all, whether they are tourists, business people or ordinary Nigerians who just want to live their lives under an atmosphere of peace and security,” Mohammed said.
Earlier, a Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Harriett Baldwin, condoled with Mooney’s family in a tweet.
Baldwin, who is also the Minister of State at the Foreign Office and Department for International Development, said the UK government was working with the Nigerian authorities.
Read her tweet below:
#Nigeria#Kaduna Shocked to hear of the tragic killing of a British NGO worker. We are working closely with the Nigerian authorities and offering consular assistance. Thoughts and deepest condolences with her family at this truly difficult time. @UKinNigeria
The Ethiopian Airlines management has confirmed that a retired Nigerian Ambassador, Abiodun Bashua, was among other nationalities aboard the ill-fated Ethiopian air which crashed shortly after taking off from the airport in Addis Ababa on Sunday, March 9, 2019.
He was a retired Ambassador and on contract with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Kenya’s Transport Secretary, James Macharia, said passengers from at least 35 nations were aboard the Ethiopian airlines’ flight 302.
The Ethiopian airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet was en route to Nairobi, Kenya when it crashed, killing all passengers and eight crew on board. The plane is the latest version of the Max 8 B737, described as the world’s bestselling modern passenger aircraft and one of the industry’s most reliable.
Meanwhile, U.S. aerospace giant, Boeing, said on Sunday it was “deeply saddened” about the deaths of all 157 people aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and would provide technical assistance to find out why its aircraft crashed.
The brand new Boeing 737 — which was delivered just last year — was heading from Addis Ababa to Nairobi when it crashed.
“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane,” the company said in a statement.
“We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team,” it said.
The single-aisle Boeing 737 MAX is one of the world’s newest and most advanced commercial passenger jets. But the company has come under fire for possible glitches with the plane, which entered service in 2017.
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has appealed to Nigerians, especially his supporters across the country to be peaceful.
He made the appeal at the second signing ceremony of the peace accord held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja on Wednesday, two days to the elections.
The former vice president noted that while he is running for the office of the president in the coming polls, his ambition does not worth the life of any Nigeria.
“As we prepare to sign off on this peace accord, as representatives of our party and people, may I freely quote the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan which remains a benchmark for me, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail as February 16 2019 approaches – ‘My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian,” Atiku was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Paul Ibe.
Atiku added, “I appeal once again, to our citizens, to go out and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice, to be peaceful at all times, and confident in our democracy, its institutions and processes.”
He noted that the gathering of presidential candidates, including President Muhammadu Buhari at the event demonstrated the importance of the coming polls.
The PDP candidate added that it was an indication of how the nation’s democracy has matured, not only to its people but also to the international community.
He, thereafter, appealed to the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force to be fair arbiters in the polls while letting neutrality prevail.
Atiku said, “For emphasis and in the spirit of fair play, I also urge our security agencies, not to embark on indiscriminate arrests of members of the opposition, 24 to 48 hours before elections, as has been the case in previous elections.”
“Hopefully, our democracy should emerge stronger from this process with the 2019 elections proving better managed than the 2015 process, which was adjudged free and fair with the then opposition’s victory unobstructed,” he added.
The former vice president asked President Muhammadu Buhari to use his good office to ensure that eligible people who cast their vote were confident in the process and in the belief that their votes would count.
He also advised other candidates to note that the election was about the future of Nigeria, stressing the need to abide by the will of the people as freely expressed through elections, under the terms of the nation’s constitution.
“Once again, despite concerns expressed by my party leaders concerning likely electoral malpractices and the intimidation of voters and observers, I trust that our election officials and security services will do their duty in accordance with their oath and obligations,” the PDP candidate said.
“So, please go out this Saturday to vote for your future and the future of our great nation.
Atiku thanked his party as well as former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and members of the National Peace Committee among other stakeholders for their effort towards ensuring the success of the elections.
More than 100 migrants who were stranded in the central Mediterranean for three days during a diplomatic standoff between Rome and London after their rescue off the coast of Libya arrived in Italy on Thursday.
Rome decided this week to allow 105 people to land in Italy following a back-and-forth with British authorities over who should take them. Nearly 700,000 people have landed on Italian shores since 2013.
One of the groups to arrive at Sicilian city Catania on Thursday, which included six women, 32 teenagers and six children, was Vitoria, a 21-year-old Nigerian who told AFP that she had been in Libya for just over a year before setting off over the weekend.
She said that she had spent nearly six months in dreadful conditions in a Libyan prison after a failed first crossing last year. The country’s notorious detention centres have been blasted by human rights groups and the United Nations as “inhuman.”
“I was not afraid of the water, because God created the water. I’m not afraid of death. We all die one day. I’m more afraid if the Libyan police were to catch me again, because they are so wicked,” she said.
Vitoria was one of those who had been on the Aquarius rescue ship, chartered by SOS Méditerranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres, since Monday night, after being saved on Sunday by a smaller boat — the Astral — run by a Spanish NGO following a call from the Italian coastguard.
The crew on the first boat had been told that Libya was coordinating the rescue operation, meaning that the migrants were to be taken back to the North African country.
However, when the Astral met the migrants on Sunday the Libyan coast guard were nowhere to be found and didn’t respond to radio calls. At that point they decided to take them on board, and that’s where the standoff began.
As it was not officially coordinating the rescue, Rome asked London to deal with the migrants as the Astral bears the Union flag. On Sunday night London asked the Astral to transfer them to the Aquarius, which flies the flag of Gibraltar.
The two ships met Monday morning about 30 nautical miles off the coast of Tripoli, but waited all day for written confirmation of the transfer from either London or Rome.
In absence of a response from London — the British coast guard told AFP that the incident wasn’t their responsibility — Rome authorised the transfer on Monday night, but waited until Tuesday night to give the go ahead for them to travel to Catania.