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Nigerian Minister Defends Trial of Detained Binance Executive as U.S. Lawmakers Express Concerns

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In response to calls from U.S. lawmakers urging President Joe Biden to secure the release of detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, Nigerian Minister of Information Mohammed Idris has issued a statement.

Idris affirmed that Gambaryan’s trial has followed due process at all stages. “Prosecutors are confident in their case based on the evidence gathered,” he stated. He also disclosed that the next court hearing is scheduled for June 20, 2024.

The minister emphasized that Binance would have the opportunity to defend itself in court, describing the charges against the company as involving “severe” financial crimes.

Contrastingly, U.S. lawmakers have described the charges against Binance’s head of financial crime compliance as “baseless.” In a letter publicized on June 4, 12 U.S. politicians expressed concerns about Gambaryan being “wrongfully detained” by the Nigerian government. The letter, primarily signed by members of Congress, accused Nigerian authorities of attempting to extort Binance and claimed Gambaryan had been denied meetings with his legal counsel without the presence of armed guards or other Nigerian officials.

However, the Minister of Information countered these claims, asserting that Binance had received consular access and that all standard diplomatic protocols were followed in accordance with the rule of law.

The minister further clarified that Gambaryan was considered a flight risk, which led to his bail being denied on May 17. This decision was influenced by the escape of another Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, from Nigerian custody in March. Anjarwalla is currently the subject of an Interpol Red Notice.

A Nigerian court had previously dismissed Gambaryan’s defense argument that he should not be solely held responsible for Binance’s operations. Attorneys for Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) asserted that constitutional provisions permit the prosecution of company executives.

Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen, and Anjarwalla were arrested in February on charges of money laundering and tax evasion. Anjarwalla fled illegally to Kenya, while Gambaryan remained in the notorious Kuje Prison.

In their letter, U.S. lawmakers emphasized that the prison was “designed to hold ISIS combatants” and urged President Biden to involve the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs in handling Gambaryan’s case.

The letter also raised concerns about Gambaryan’s health, noting that he had contracted malaria and that a court order for proper medical care had not been followed.

As of the time of publication, the White House had not issued an official response.

Crime

17-year-old Kills Father in Edo

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An anti-death penalty advocate and human rights defender, Arthur Judah Angel has been killed by his 17-year-old son over money at  Ugboha, in Esan Southeast Local Government Area of Edo state.

It was discovered that the young boy buried his father in a swallow grave behind his father’s house.

Chidi Nwabuzor, the spokesman for the command, told our correspondent on Wednesday that a preliminary investigation revealed that the deceased’s son had threatened to kill his father and carried it out when he hit him with a sledgehammer.

Acording to the PPRO, “On July 15, 2024, at about 09.00 hours, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ugboha Division in Edo State received a complaint that one Arthur Angel Jr. (17 years old) brought a complaint of a shallow grave discovery at the backyard of the compound where he lived with the deceased.
“Immediately, the DPO mobilised his men and they moved out to the scene. On getting there, they saw a shallow grave and decided to exhume the body. When the body was exhumed, they discovered that it was the lifeless body of Arthur Angel, 70, and at a closer look, they saw a sharp injury on the back of the deceased’s head. The body was taken to the Uromi Hospital mortuary.

“According to the DPO, a preliminary investigation revealed that Arthur Angel Jr. had on several occasions threatened to kill his father because his father was expecting some money from Amnesty International.”

He noted that the suspect had a feeling that the money had been paid to the deceased and decided to use the sledgehammer to hit him behind the head while he was asleep.
He said, “As we speak, the suspect has been successfully transferred from Ugboha to the homicide section of the Edo State Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation”.

Angel’s cousin, Michael Ihaza, on Tuesday, when contacted by reporters, confirmed the assassination of his uncle.

According to him, “I cannot tell if he had any problem with anyone. He won several cases over family land but I don’t know if that brought issues between him and anyone.

“He never reported any threat to his life to me. However, his 15-year-old son who reported the case to the police in Ugboha has been taken into custody for questioning, but I don’t think he has a hand in his father’s death.

“His son was arrested the same day he was killed. The narrative that is making the rounds within the police circle and in town is that the boy is also a suspect.
He added that, “My late uncle fought for humanity in his lifetime. He worked on prison reform and was a gentleman. I never heard that he had any problem with anyone. The police said they are investigating the matter so we don’t want to say anything that will jeopardise the investigation. Hopefully, the culprit will be identified and brought to justice.”

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Lagos Man ‘Kills’ 19-Year-Old Son With Shovel

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A Lagos man simply identified as Olumide is on the run after his 19-year-old son, Adeyemi died from injuries he inflicted on him with a shovel.

Olumide was said to have inflicted a deep cut on Adeyemi at his right hand side with a shovel while correcting him over an undisclosed offence, Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the incident on Thursday.

Hundeyin said that the young man sustained injury as a result of the impact of the shovel attack

“The young man was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The Police in Lagos State have begun investigation into the death of a 19-year-old boy allegedly beaten to death by his father.

The spokesperson said that the Alagbado Police Division received a report on Tuesday, of the alleged crime.

He said: “At about 12.00 p.m. on July 5, at about 2.00 p.m., one Olumide gave his son, Adeyemi a deep cut under moderate correction, at his right hand side with a shovel over an undisclosed offence.”

Hundeyin said that the young man sustained injury as a result of the impact of the shovel attack

“The young man was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment.

“But when the injury became serious, he was taken to the General Hospital Ikeja, where he gave up the ghost as a result of tetanus infection, as confirmed by the doctor on duty.

“The scene was visited by detectives of the division.

“However, the father of the victim is currently at large and the case is under investigation,” he said.

(NAN)

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Two Suspects Arrested in Connection with Vigilante’s Death

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The Lagos State Police Command reported that two individuals have been taken into custody in connection with the fatal incident involving a vigilante member in the Epe area.

The command’s spokesperson, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed this on Thursday.

Mr Hundeyin said that the Epe Police Division got a report on Monday at about 4.30 p.m. that an Ibile vigilance member, simply identified as Oluwafemi, 45, was attacked on Friday at about 2.00 p.m. by suspected hoodlums.

He said the hoodlums reportedly attacked the vigilante at a refuse dump site, at Afero Village, Epe, while attempting to stop them from scavenging disposed of contaminated frozen turkeys from dump site.

According to the police image-maker, the vigilante who sustained injuries on parts of his body was rushed to Epe General Hospital, where he was treated and discharged.

He said, “However, on July 15, 2024 at about 2.30 p.m., his condition relapsed and he was taken back to the hospital. Doctors on duty battled to save his life, but unfortunately, he gave up the ghost. His corpse has been deposited at the mortuary. The two suspects have been arrested in addition to the 12 already handed over to the task force on a Saturday over scavenging contaminated turkeys. Investigation is ongoing.’’

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