EFCC arraigns Cubana Chief Priest Wednesday over naira abuse

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to arraign a popular Nigerian celebrity, Pascal Okechukwu, better known as Cubana Chief Priest, for allegedly spraying and mishandling the Nigerian currency – naira- at a social event.     

He will be arraigned on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, before Kehinde Ogundare, a justice of the Federal High Court, Lagos State.

Okechukwu is facing three counts of allegedly spraying and tampering with the naira at a social event, contrary to the provisions of the Central Bank Act of 2007.


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The case was filed on April 4 by EFFC’s prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), along with seven other lawyers representing the commission’s chairman.

Count one of the case alleged: “That you, Okechukwu Pascal on 13th Feb. 2024, at Eko Hotel, within the jurisdiction of the court, while dancing during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same for two hours, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007.”

In count two, it was alleged: “That you, Okechukwu Pascal, sometime in 2020, in Lagos during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same for two hours, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007”.

Also, count three of the offences against the accused alleged: “That you, Okechukwu Pascal, sometime in January 2024, in Lagos during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007”.

This is coming barely two weeks after the EFCC arrested and arraigned controversial cross-dresser Idris Okuneye, also known as Bobrisky, for naira abuse.

He was arrested on the night of Wednesday, April 3, in Lagos State.

Consequently, the Federal High Court, Lagos State, sentenced Bobrisky to six months imprisonment without the option of a fine on Friday, April 12.

In her ruling, the judge, Abimbola Awogboro, said the judgment would serve as a deterrent to others fond of abusing the naira.

Selective arraignment?

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Meanwhile, The ICIR reported that several videos have surfaced on social media platforms, including X, Instagram, and TikTok, showing public officials, monarchs, and some Nigerian celebrities spraying the naira notes in public. 




     

     

    As of the time this report was filed, the EFCC and related agencies had not arrested any of them.

    Some of these videos and reports exposed the Governor of Niger State, Umaru Bago, a lawmaker from Borno State, Ibrahim Abuna, and the Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa abusing the naira. 

    The CBN had said it would prosecute the minister, but she has continued as a cabinet member in President Bola Tinubu’s government without an arrest. 

    Another video showed how the Olu of Owode-Egba, Ogun State, Aremo Sowemimo, sprayed naira on a musician during an event. The ICIR reported that the monarch was suspended for two months by his aggrieved fellow monarchs but has not been arrested by relevant government institutions and prosecuted for it.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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