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How We Tracked Man Behind Claim That Fashola Wrote PEPC Judgments – Police

Posted by Thandiubani on Mon 15th Apr, 2024 -

Testifying before the court on Monday, a police investigator, Inspector Ikemba Cyprian said his team was able to track Victor through his phone number by deploying technology.

Police investigators have revealed how they were able to track the man behind an online publication that accused the ex-works and housing minister, Babatunde Fashola of writing the judgments of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).
The investigators spoke when they appeared by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, April 15.
Ibezim Chike Victor, who is alleged to be one of the three individuals linked to the publication made on an online platform –, is being tried on a six-count charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/434/2023 brought against him by the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Victor is charged with criminal conspiracy, cyberstalking, and defamation, among others.
Testifying before the court on Monday, a police investigator, Inspector Ikemba Cyprian said his team was able to track Victor through his phone number by deploying technology.
Lead in evidence by prosecuting lawyer, E. O Ochai, Cyprian said the defendant’s phone number – 08146435568 – was provided by Fashola in two petitions, dated August 7 and 8, 2023 which he addressed to the IGP.
The witness said the nominal complainant (Fashola) stated, in the petition, that the publication was to the effect that his premises were surrounded by soldiers because he was writing judgments for the PEPC that was hearing petitions, challenging the last presidential election.
He said immediately the petitions were assigned to his team, Fashola was invited and he volunteered a statement.
“We analysed the phone number on the petition and found that belonged to the defendant,” the witness said.
He added that upon realising that the number belonged to the defendant, Victor was invited and when he subsequently responded to the invitation, he volunteered a statement.
The witness added that, in his statement, dated August 10, 2023, the defendant admitted that he bought the MTN SIM card and registered it.
Cyprian said the defendant told investigators that he had given the phone, containing the SIM card to one of his friends called Tope, who is still at large.
Ochai applied to tender the defendant’s statement, but Victor’s lawyer, Kanayo Okafor objected on the grounds that Sections 6(2)(d),17(2) and 15(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) were not complied with.
In a ruling, Justice Bolaji Olajuwon overruled Okafor and admitted the statement on grounds of relevance.
The witness added that when his team contacted the Court of Appeal, authorities of the court said the judgments of the PEPC were written by Justices on the panel and not any outsider.
He said his team also contacted the Nigerian Army Headquarters and was told that no soldier was deployed to Fashola’s premises as claimed in the offending publication.
“At the completion of the investigation, we found that the defendant made the publication to smear the hard-earned reputation of the nominal complainant. We also found that there was no siege on the nominal complainant’s house by the army,” he said.
The witness added that the investigation also revealed that the nominal complainant did not write the judgment as claimed in the defamatory statement.
He added that the investigation revealed that the defendant and other of his collaborators use the same office and share the same phone number.
“We found that the publication was such that could lead to the breakdown of law and order,” the witness said.
At the completion of Cyprian’s testimony, Okafor prayed to the court for an adjournment to enable him to return on a later date to cross-examine the witness.
Although Ochai objected to the defence lawyer’s application for adjournment, Justice Olajuwon adjourned till April 19 for cross-examination.

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