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Naira Marley’s Trial Stalled for Cybercrime Stalled

The trial of Nigerian artist Azeez Fashola, known as Naira Marley, faced an unexpected delay on Monday in a Federal Court in Lagos. The trial judge, Justice Nicholas Owiebo, was absent due to attendance at a judges’ conference.

Charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with cybercrime, Fashola was arraigned on May 20, 2019, pleading not guilty to the charges related to cyber fraud. The court granted him bail and the trial has been in progress since then.

Despite ongoing proceedings, the trial encountered a setback on Oct. 6 when Fashola was absent, prompting Justice Oweibo to issue a production warrant. This warrant, requested by the prosecution, was followed by the defendant’s continued absence from the last adjourned date on Oct. 30.

The defence counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), informed the court of the defendant’s continued absence despite the production order.

The court then adjourned the case until Nov. 13, scheduling a further continuation on Nov. 30.

The EFCC alleges that the defendant, along with accomplices, engaged in fraudulent activities using Access Bank ATM cards between November 2018 and May 2019. They claim Fashola used someone else’s credit card to gain financial advantage and possessed counterfeit credit cards to defraud individuals.

The charges brought against Fashola are in violation of sections of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition) Prevention Act, 2015. The trial is set to resume on Nov. 30.

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