By Rotimi Ojomoyela— Ado Ekiti
The trial of a 19-year-old suspected cybercrime kingpin, David Oritsegbeyiwa Ofoeyeno, who blackmailed female students with nude videos, has been put on hold over the transfer of Justice Uche Agomoh, the presiding judge of the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti.
Ofoeyeno was arraigned before the Federal High court for allegedly defrauding some girls by bullying and threatening them with their nude videos.
Four witnesses, three of which were Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, female students and victims of Ofoeyeno cyber tricks, and the Director of Students’ Affairs of the university, were expected to testify against the suspect, on Tuesday.
Ofoeyeno, a 300-Level student of Media and Communication Studies at ABUAD, was being tried for allegedly defrauding students of the university and other institutions, by flaunting their nude videos, which he acquired through tricks and handiworks of other syndicates.
When the matter, which has reached a witness stage, came up on Tuesday, Justice Agomoh announced to the court that she had been transferred to Ibadan, Oyo State Division of the Federal High Court.
The jurist said: “Let me announce to this court that I have been transferred and I have just two days more to spend here in this Judicial Division.
“The prosecution has four witnesses lined up for today(Tuesday) and if I should begin with the trial, I can’t take all the four and there would be an adjournment.
“So it is better to adjourn this case, so probably the case can be taken over by another Judge,” she stated.
After the prosecution and defence counsel had consented to the position canvassed by the judge, Justice Ugomoh adjourned the case to April 22 for witnesses to testify in the matter.
The prosecution was being midwifed by Akin Fadeyi Foundation in collaboration with ABUAD.
The Ofoeyeno’s prosecution commenced in 2020, after receiving a litany of complaints from some students that the accused person had extorted millions of naira from them through threats that he was in possession of their nude videos and could upload such on social media platforms.
The 19-year-old Ofoeyeno was discovered to be the kingpin of a cyberbully cartel across tertiary institutions in Nigeria, following six months of covert investigations carried by the University, following a complaint on the foundation’s Flagit app.
Ofoeyeno was docked on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit a felony with cyber fraud, attempt to defraud, impersonation, threat to expose nudes and cyberstalking, among others.
He was alleged to have cyberbullied 17 identified Nigerian girls across various universities in Nigeria, including Elizade University in Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, and Kaduna State University.
But four of his victims were at the same institution with him and were minors when the action started.
Allegations against him in the charge, which has the Inspector-General of Police as the complainant, is that Ofoeyeno aka Chaz, between September 2019 and October 2020, conspired to commit felony to wit cyber fraud against a young girl who was then a minor (name withheld) and committed an offence punishable under Section 27 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention) Act 2015.
He was also alleged to have sent electronic messages that he has the nudes of his victim, with a threat to make it public with the intent to defraud and obtained some money from her, committing an offence punishable under Section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention Law, 2004).
He was alleged to have used a bank account number with the name Amaju Gina Olamateyo to obtain the money from his victim, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention) Act 2015.
An account that investigators at Akin Fadeyi Foundation declared was untraceable because it had no BVN, adding that the bank should be investigated.
Commenting on the logjam necessitated by the judge’s transfer, ABUAD’s Students’ Affairs Director, Mr Wahab, said the prosecuting counsel could still exploit the option of filing an application for fiat, so that the transferred judge could still be presiding over the case from her new Division.
“The prosecuting counsel sees this as a good option and a possibility so that this case can be adjudicated upon expeditiously and without delay,” he said.