By Uche Bibilari
Gwagwalada (FCT), – An FCT High Court, in Gwagwalada, Abuja on Tuesday sentenced a 20-year-old student, Wisdom Okeke, to six months
imprisonment for internet fraud.
Okeke, who was docked by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an attempt to defraud members of the public by posing as an investment trader using Melvin-8783 as username.
He pleaded guilty to the charge and begged the court for leniency.
Delivering judgment, Justice Aliyu Shafa, sentenced Okeke to six months imprisonment or to pay a fine of N50,000.
Shafa said that the death of the convict’s father and his sick mother could not be used as excuse to commit crime.
The judge warned the convict not to use his parents as the cause of committing crime and told him to be of good behaviour.
Shafa ordered that the iphone 7 cell phone used by the convict to perpetuate the crime should be confiscated and destroyed by EFCC in the interest of justice.
Earlier, the convict had pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy, adding that he would not indulge in such act again.
“I am so sorry I did not mean to start fraud, my father died in 2008 and this pushed me into this crime. I am just left with my mum, who has been sick for over one year now.
“I am a student of Oko Polytechnic and am really passing through a lot, I will not continue in such act again. I have learnt my lessons and I will change,” he said.
The Defence Counsel, Mr Adaji Abel, in support of the allocutus by the convict, told the court that Okeke, who had no previous conviction record in Nigeria was remorseful and repentant.
“Okeke is the only son of his mother, who is currently bedridden in the village, and could not make it to the court.
“Despite the frequency of this condemnable act in our society, my Lord should temper justice with mercy and grant the convict a second shot to life for the interest of his education and his sick mother.
“He is a first time offender and had no previous criminal record; he knows the implications of being convicted by this court in the future.
“I am asking the court to use his discretion and grant him an option of fine or community service,” Abel pleaded.
EFCC Counsel Mariya Shariff told the court that Okeke, sometimes in 2022 in Abuja, did attempted to cheat unsuspecting citizens by presenting himself as an investment trader using Melvin-8783 as username.
Shariff said the convict committed the offence through an Instagram account to obtain financial gains, knowing such to be false.
She said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 95 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 322. (NAN)