By Isaac Aregbesola
Abuja – The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, says the Nigerian Consulate in Atlanta has stepped into the case of a Nigerian, Mr Okufolajimi Abegunde arrested in U.S. since June 25.
Dabiri-Erewa said this in statement by her Media Aide, Abudul-Ramon Balogun on Monday in Abuja.
She said that her office had got more insight into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Abegunde.
The presidential aide said that the consulate had written a letter to U. S. Authority requesting consular access to Abegunde.
She noted that U. S. department of Justice in June arrested and charged eight people including Abegunde with cybercrime and business email compromise conspiracy.
”They were alleged to have defrauded some U.S. Companies and individuals to the tune of 15 million dollars.
”However, Abegunde claimed innocence, saying his address was used by a friend of his, Mr Ayodeji Ojo, who was apparently being previously charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and is currently at large.
”Abegunde along with the seven others, currently have a criminal case against them in the U.S., had his detention hearing on June 25, ” she said.
She said, however, when the Nigerian consulate in Atlanta became aware of his detention it wrote a letter to the West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason, Tennessee where he was detained requesting consular access.
”The consulate in Atlanta is awaiting response for consular access to Abegunde through the U.S. Department of State in Washington.
”The consulate will undertake a consular visit to Abegunde as soon as consular access is granted by the U.S authorities,” she said.
She warned that the case of Abegunde underscored the need for Nigerians to be careful in how they deal with people, even acquaintances, especially when it comes to financial matters.
”Abegunde ‘s pleas that his friend, Mr Ayodeji Olumide Ojo, used his address to open a bank account in a U.S. bank, will hopefully be proved right in court
”Unfortunately, Ojo , his friend, who has been previously indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud is currently at large,” she said.(NAN)