A Federal High Court in Lagos has extended the trial of Nigerian singer Azeez Fashola, also known as Naira Marley, who is facing charges related to cybercrime. The trial was adjourned until November 13 and 30 due to the defendant’s absence in court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Naira Marley on charges related to cybercrime, which were filed on May 14, 2019. Naira Marley, known for his song ‘Am I a Yahoo Boy?,’ pleaded not guilty when arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo on May 20, 2019. The court granted him bail of two million naira with two sureties in like sum.
The trial had already commenced but is ongoing. On October 6, Justice Oweibo issued a production warrant for the defendant after he failed to appear in court on the last trial date. The warrant was granted at the request of the prosecution by Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari.
It’s worth noting that Naira Marley and his associate, Sam Larry, were detained by the Lagos police in connection with the death of Nigerian artist Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as ‘Mohbad.’
During Monday’s proceedings, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN) informed the court that the defendant was still absent from his trial, despite the court’s production order. The prosecutor explained that even though they had obtained a production warrant, the defendant was still not produced in court.
The court subsequently adjourned the case to November 13 and 30 to continue the trial.
According to the EFCC, Naira Marley is accused of committing the offenses on various dates between November 26, 2018, and December 11, 2018, as well as on May 10, 2019. The commission alleges that Naira Marley and his accomplices conspired to use different Access Bank ATM cards to defraud their victims. It further alleges that the defendant used a bank credit card issued to another person with the intent to obtain fraudulent financial gains. Additionally, the EFCC claims that Naira Marley possessed counterfeit credit cards belonging to various people with the intent to defraud, which constitutes theft. These alleged offenses are in violation of the provisions of Sections 1, 23(1)(b), 27(1), and 33(9) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition) Prevention Act, 2015.