Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court, sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has convicted and sentenced five internet fraudsters, Henry Nwankwo, Miracle Okoroji, Peter Chima, Okon Mike Edem and Francis Victor Akpan to various terms of imprisonment for cybercrimes.
They were convicted on Thursday, last week, after pleading guilty to charges bordering on criminal impersonation, upon being arraigned by the Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Four of the convicts, Nwankwo, Okoroji, Chima and Akpan,were arraigned on one-count separate charge while Edem answered to twocounts for being in possession of fraudulent documents and impersonation.
One of the charges read: “That you, Miracle Okoroji sometime in 2022 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this HonourableCourt with intent to obtain property and gain advantage for yourself, fraudulently presented yourself as Jim William an American to your victims on Instagram and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) and (ii) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C.) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (b) (iv) of the same Act.”
They all pleaded guilty to their various charges and,given their pleas, counsels to the EFCC, S. S. Aribido and Joshua Abolarin,prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
However, defence counsels, Rose Esenowo, Victor James and Udeme Tom, prayed the court for leniency in sentencing them.
Okeke convicted and sentenced them as follows: Edem to six-month imprisonment on each of the two countswithout an option of fine while Chima, Nwankwo, Okoroji and Akpan bagged six-month, three-month, one-month and three-month jail terms,respectively, without an option of fine.
All the sentences run concurrently.
The convicts’ journey to the correctional centre started when they were arrested by operatives of the Uyo Zonal Command of the EFCC for internet-related offences.
They were later prosecuted and convicted.