By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Justice Josephine Oyefeso of an Ikeja High Court has fixed May 4 for the adoption of written addresses in a N535,000 fraud case against a former staff of First InlandÂ Bank, Seun Shonibare.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,Â had on Oct 13, 2008 arraigned the accused person on a two count-charge of conspiracy to steal and stealing. Specifically, he wasÂ alleged to have in 2008 used the online bulk download option to withdraw the money from the account of a former staff of the bank. The offences according to the anti-graft agency is contrary to Sections 516 and 390 of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.
The trial judge asked the parties to file their final written addresses within 21 days and another seven days for reply, before giving the date for adoption. The bank had claimed it discovered the alleged fraudulent withdrawal in the course of its routine audit of the virtual card sales platform, before informing the EFCC.
The bank alleged that Shonibare withdrew the money from the account of its former staff, Abiodun Modupe, who had absconded before investigation of an earlier fraud discovered by bank. The accused had during investigation claimed that he acted on the instruction of the ex-staff, but the bank suspected him since the former staffÂ had escaped from an N18,602,200 fraud investigation.Â The money according to the revelation, was used for the virtual card download. It was allegedly withdrawn by Shonibare from the salary account of Modupe, which the bank did not close at the time of the incident.
They went to bed that night, men, women and children having put in a hard dayâ€™s work in these
serene farming communities with expectations of waking up the next morning to continue with the joys and pains of life, but alas for the majority of them it was to be a journey into eternity to meet with their maker as their expectations were brutally cut short later that night.
While they slept with a false sense of security men with deadly intentions came in their hundreds in the dead of the night and surrounded the villages, armed with guns, machetes and other crude killing implements and lay in wait and an advance team was sent into the village that began setting fire on the buildings in which the villagers were sleeping.
The fires were a signal for those of them carrying guns to begin to shot into the air, and both these actions were enough to violently rouse the villagers from the deepest of slumbers and to run out of their homes into the cold embrace of death, into the paths of the attackers who began to systematically hack down defenseless and alarmed men, women, children with machetes and other cudgels.
Heads were severed from bodies, ears from faces, arms and legs from torsos, intestines gorged from stomachs and it was a gory sight by the time the attackers withdrew leaving the smoldering villages in utter ruins with hundreds of dead and maimed victims lying everywhere and the wailingâ€™s of the few survivors rising up to the heavens in deep anguish but escaping the ears of security forces.
This Hammer House of Horrors occurred in the early hours of Sunday between the citizens of the same country but members of different ethnic groups in the Jos area of Plateau State, and while Nigeria has over 250 different ethnic groups within its borders who all seem to be in one state of conflict or the other, this attack stands out as one of the most dastardly to have ever happened.
As I stared at some of the pictures of the dead and injured on the BBC and other media sources from the internet, for the first time I began to contemplate that may be Nigeria was indeed a strange contraption and that it was better for the various ethnic groups to go their separate ways rather than kill and maim each other, exercises that we seem to relish and indulge in at the slightest provocations.
From the pogroms of the Sixties, the Civil War years, and right through the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, millions of Nigerians have been cut down, caught in a vortex of violence that seems a natural means for addressing differences that are tied to primordial ways of thinking in a world where men have already been to the Moon and an internationally manned space station has been set up in outer space.
The recurring violence in and around the Jos area in the last 10 or more years has become the defining point of this difficult challenge facing Nigeria as â€˜indigenesâ€™ and â€˜settlersâ€™ groups have repeatedly fought battles that have left hundreds of thousands dead and maimed, and properties worth billions of Naira vandalized, burnt or demolished.
But try as I could my mind could not explore further that primitive and simple option of splitting up Nigeria along ethnic fault lines as there had to be some other solution that could enable people of different ethnic groups to cohabit peacefully, and in my search for answers I turned to the Creator to stabilize my heart and to provide comfort for the grief that the latest round of killings was causing.
As I pondered about His creation and the natural order that exists because the Sun rises and sets daily, and in the Earth revolving on its axis and yet rotating round the Sun, and of the Moon rotating round the Earth, it dawned on me that immutable principles and laws were at work that sustained these processes and made certain human existence on this planet.
It followed that there had to be higher principles and laws that we needed to search for and adopt that make it possible for over 250 ethnic groups to cohabit peacefully and prosper in the process the same way hundreds of thousands of cars, buses and trucks daily throng the streets of a city filled with millions of people having different plans but able to go about doing it.
What make this possible are the Highway Code and the various rules of driving, ensuring that traffic rules and regulations are known by the drivers and enforced by the authorities and making it possible for people to move from place to place and fulfill their daily expectations while leaving the roads accessible to all.
Those principles and laws that will make for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, notwithstanding the over 250 ethnic groups within its borders are out there and we need to earnestly begin to grope for them in the hope that we will find them and once found, implemented with speed to avert the mindless loss of lives that occur regularly in this country.
We must avert mindless loss of lives in this country