An undergraduate student of Rivers State University, Chika Eguma Ekwodu, has received a two-year jail term for impersonation and obtaining money by false pretences.
Justice P. I . Ajoku of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, jailed Ekwodu after he pleaded guilty to the two-count charges read to him.
Ekwodu’s journey to the Correctional Centre began when he was arrested by the operatives of the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over internet-related offences.
He was later charged to court and arraigned on two-count charges bordering on impersonation and obtaining money by false pretences.
The offence contravenes Section 22(2) (b) (ii) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2) (b) (iv) of the same Act.
One of the count charges read: “That you, Chika Eguma Ekwodu, on the 5th day of June, 2023, at Rivtaf Golf Estate Port Harcourt, within jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did fraudulently represent yourself as one Scarlett, a bitcoin trade expert with intent to gain advantage for yourself, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(ii) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2) (b) (iv) of the same Act”.
In view of his guilty plea, the prosecuting counsel, M. Abubakar presented a witness and prayed the court to convict and sentence him accordingly.
However, N. F. Okemini the defence counsel prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, stressing that the defendant “is a first-time offender with no previous criminal records and a student who is currently writing his exams.”
She then prayed the court for an option of fine in lieu of imprisonment to enable him continue his education.
The judge convicted and sentenced Ekwodu to one year imprisonment on each count with an option of fine of N200, 000.00 payable into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He was also ordered to forfeit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria his purple-coloured iPhone 14 Pro and the sum of $4,500, which are proceeds from crime.
Additionally, the defendant was asked to depose an affidavit of good behaviour before the court.