Staff of Sterling Bank, especially those who were made fair game for attack by ‘dubious’ blogger, Tega Oghenedoro alias Fejiro Oliver, are now heaving a sigh of relief. The blogger, who writes using pseudonyms, was arraigned and remanded in prison custody in Lagos for cyber stalking.
In 2014, Oghenedoro was arrested at the Abuja Airport by the DSS for attempting to extort N50 million from the governor of Niger State. The ‘blogger’ was a staff of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) in Asaba as a camera man, when he used a pseudonym to demand N50 million from the Niger State government as a condition for dropping a juicy story on the governor.
After the news of Oghenedoro’s detention broke last Friday, a Facebook user familiar with his mode of operation, Obiri Ebilade, wrote on the blogger’s wall: “Many days for the thief, one day for the owner. I think hand don touch Oliver Fejiro, the serial blackmailer.” Ebilade is the former president of the National Association of Delta State Students (NADESSTU).
Before his arrest and arraignment in court, Oghenedoro and his accomplice, Dennis Ukpabi, a disgruntled former staff of Sterling Bank, used the controversial Secret Reporters Blog to publish libelous stories about his former colleagues. Ukpabi’s leverage was knowledge of the details of a 2014 fraud investigated by the bank which led to the sack of a member of staff responsible for the crime.
Ukpabi, who departed the bank unceremoniously over petty squabbles with some of his colleagues, allegedly contracted the services of Oghenedoro to inflict maximum damage on his perceived enemies in the bank. Oghenedoro swung into action by publishing vicious and slanderous stories about Ukpabi’s perceived enemies on the payroll of Sterling Bank using his online platform. He was later arrested and remanded in prison custody.
Immediately after Oghenedoro’s recent arrest, his associates blamed the former governor of Delta State, Chief Emmanuel Uduaghan, for his ordeal. Truly so, Uduaghan had petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, alleging intimidation and threats from the person of Oghenedoro alias Fejiro Oliver.
Ukpabi and Oghenedoro were arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos last Friday for acts punishable under the provisions of Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention etc.) Act, 2015.
The first charge read, “That you Dennis Ukpabi and Tega Oghenedoro between 1st – 13th February, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of Federal High Court, conspired together to commit felonies, namely, knowingly and intentionally sending intimidated, hatred, insulting and needless anxiety messages and thereby committing an offence punishable under section 27 (1) (b) of Cybercrime (prohibition, prevention etc. Act 2015).”
Another charge read that the accused sent offensive messages to Desalu, Busola Awosile, Nyenke and Adeyemi Odubiyi, which are said to be ‘’punishable under section 24 (1) (b) of Cybercrime (prohibition, prevention etc. Act 2015.’’
Dennis Ukpabi and Tega Oghenedoro however pleaded not guilty to the charges. But the prosecution counsel, Mr. J. Oloruntoba, asked the court to remand the defendants in prison custody.
Frantic efforts were made by lawyers representing the two defendants; Mrs. Kitan and Mr. Inibehe Effiong, to persuade the court to admit them to bail. Effiong, who is an associate of Oghenedoro, informed the court that the defendants were accosted by the police and arraigned surreptitiously without proper and adequate notice. Effiong, a self-styled human rights activist, was also his lawyer in the 2014 extortion case with Niger State government.
The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, asked the defendants’ counsel to bring a formal application for bail and promised to hear it expeditiously.
The judge remanded them in Ikoyi Prisons.