A Federal High Court sitting in Warri, Delta State has remanded in prison custody five persons involved in the alleged conspiracy and attempt to extort and Professor Maureen Etebu, the former Vice Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko in Warri South West local Government area of the State.
The five persons arrested by the Operatives of the Zonal Headquarters of the Nigerian Police, Zone 5, are Dr. Vincent Akpoveta (38yrs), Stanley Erobosa (40yrs), Doboikiabo Warmate(47yrs), Edgar Daniel Biu (47yrs) and Ibrahim Abubarkar (34yrs) are to be in police custody till February 3rd, 2021.
At the adjourned sitting the Presiding Judge, Justice Emeka Nwete ordered that they take of plea for the five accused charged with eight counts of defamation, extortion and criminal conspiracy. They all pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Only Edgar Daniel Biu, who is the 4th accused, was mentioned in all the eight count charges.
While the moves by legal Counsels to the accused, Barr. N. Trofaniowei (4th respondent), Barr. Ray Enogeh (3rd respondent,), Barr. N. Ohre (1st respondent),, Barr. H..O Omyebuolose (3nd respondent) and Barr. P. O. Itsyeli, to convince the court on the need to grant their clients bail failed.
The Police Prosecuting Counsel, Barr. N. A Ukpebor opposed the applications for bail, alleging that the accused may tamper with the prosecuting witnesses and that the purported medical report tendered by the 4th and 3rd accused were fake.
According to Barr. N. A. Ukpebor the purported medical report is not a medical report affirming their state of health, adding that even the 4th accused is not resident in the Court division, but resides in Abuja. “
The Presiding Judge, Justice Emeka Nwete in his ruling on the bail applications turned down the request of the accused persons and ordered them remanded in prison custody.
It would be recalled that in the suit filed by the Inspector-General of Police and numbered FHC/WR/66CC/2020, with eight count charges of alleged criminal extortion and attempt to defame the characters of the Former Vice Chancellor, Maureen Etebu which is punishable under section 24(2)(a)(b)(1) of the cybercrime prohibition and Proclamation Act, 2015.
In the charge sheet presented in Court, the three accused were alleged to have ‘in June 2020 sent an offensive and absence mails to the former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Maureen Etebu thereby committing offences punishable under section 24(a)(b) of the cyber crime Prohibition and Revocation Act,.
That in June, 2020, they sent email to the former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Maureen Etebu with attempt to extort N150, 000,000 from her and another attempt in June, 2020 to extort sum of N200, 000,000 punishable by sections 24(2)(a)(b)(6)(1) and (1) of the cyber crime Prohibition Act, 2015.