Barristers & Solicitors
Cybercrime: Naira Marley’s Absence Stalls Trial

The absence of the embattled Nigerian Singer, Azeez Fashola, a.k.a. Naira Marley, charged with cybercrime yesterday stalled his ongoing trial before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Consequently, the trial judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, adjourned the matter until November 13 and 30 for continuation of trial.

Recall that the police in Lagos had detained Naira Marley and his associate, Mr. Sam Larry, in connection with death of Nigerian artiste, Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as “Mohbad.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting the defendant on charges bordering on cybercrime.

Fashola, who sang the popular song: “Am I a Yahoo Boy,” was consequently arraigned on May 20, 2019, before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, but he pleaded not guilty.

The court had accordingly granted him bail in the sum of N2 million with two sureties in like sum.

Trial has since commenced in the case and still ongoing.

On October 6, Justice Oweibo had issued a warrant for production of the defendant, following his absence from trial on the last date.  Oweibo’s order followed an application for production warrant by the prosecution, Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari.

When the case was called, Naira Marley’s Lawyer, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), informed the court that the defendant is still absent from his trial, in spite of the court’s order for his production.

In response, the prosecutor told the court that although she had prayed the court for a production warrant of the defendant, he is still absent.

“My lord, at the last adjourned date, we prayed for a production warrant and the court granted same. However, the defendant is still not produced.

 “We pray for a further date in order to follow up with the police,” she said.

The court consequently, adjourned the case until November 13 and 30 for continuation of trial.

According to the EFCC, the defendant committed the offences on different dates between November 26, 2018 and December 11, 2018, as well as May 10, 2019.

The commission alleged that Fashola and his accomplices conspired to use different Access Bank ATM cards to defraud their victims.

It alleged that the defendant used a bank credit card issued to another person, in a bid to obtain fraudulent financial gains.

The EFCC also alleged that the defendant possessed counterfeit credit cards belonging to different people, with intent to defraud, which amounted to theft.

The alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 1 23 (1) (b), 27 (1) and 33(9) of Cyber Crime (Prohibition) Prevention Act, 2015.