Naira abuse: Bobrisky jailed without fine option

"Sentencing him to 6 months imprisonment after he cooperated with the investigation, pleaded guilty and gave such a soul moving allocutus is like killing a cockroach with a sledgehammer."

Naira abuse: Bobrisky jailed without fine option
Images of Bobrisky

A Federal High Court in Lagos State, on Friday, sentenced convicted cross dresser, Idris Okuneye (alias Bobrisky), to six months in prison for abuse of the Naira.

The court did not give the cross dresser an option of fine.

Bobrisky was  prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court convicted him on April 5, following his guilty plea, but reserved sentence until April 9.

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The court had ordered Okuneye to be kept in the custody of the EFCC pending  sentencing.

However, due to Federal Government’s declaration of April 9, April  10 and April 11 public holiday, the case could not proceed as scheduled.

On Friday, Justice Abimbola Awogboro sentenced the convict without an option of fine.

The judge held that  imprisonment would take effect from the date of the cross dresser’s arrest.

Okuneye  was  taken away by EFCC operatives immediately after his sentencing.

The EFCC had, on April 4, filed a six-count charge against Okuneye.

The charge bordered on Naira mutilation and money laundering.

He was consequently arraigned on April 5 and he pleaded guilty to the first four counts.

The court struck out the last two counts following an application by the EFCC.

On April 5, Mr Bolaji Temitope, a  prosecution witness and  Assistant Suprintendant of  EFCC,  gave evidence before the court and narrated the circumstances surrounding prosecution of Okuneye.

After review of the facts of the case, EFCC counsel, Mr Suleiman Suleiman, prayed  the court to convict the cross dresser.

According to EFCC, Okuneye  committed the offences on March 24, at Circle Mall, Jakande, Lekki, Lagos State.

The commission stated that Okuneye tampered with the cumulative sum of N400,000 while dancing during a social event, by spraying same.

Okuneye also sprayed various tranches of money such as N20,000 and N50,000 at various events in 2022 and 2023, according to EFCC.

The offences contravene  Section 21(1) Central Bank Act of 2007 and Section 19 of Money Laundering Act of 2022.

Legal Practitioner reacts…

First Bab Isa, a legal practitioner has raised issues with what he considers the harshness of Bobrisky’s conviction.

According to Isa “The law is the law so it is difficult to argue the legality of Bobrisky’s conviction and sentence for Naira abuse. I mean he even pleaded guilty. So, he is guilty, period.

“But his sentence has opened a Pandora box and our administration of criminal justice system has lost a golden opportunity to be merciful.”

“Sentencing him to 6 months imprisonment after he cooperated with the investigation, pleaded guilty and gave such a soul moving allocutus is like killing a cockroach with a sledgehammer.”

“He begged for mercy, even promising to carry out a campaign to educate the public about the crime of Naira abuse and the court still went ahead to slam him with a 6 months jail sentence without an option of fine.

“One would think that this is the sort of crime that should attract a non custodial sentence like community service but we are a society obsessed with locking people up.”

“I heard the court even asked him if he was a man or woman before sentencing him, as if he was on trial to prove his gender. Was the whole trial and sentencing some sort of gender reveal charade? Like, we have convicted and sentenced him and he will serve in an all male prison; so, hallelujah Bobrisky is a man!”

“Bobrisky sentencing will discourage others from plea bargaining with our law enforcement agencies and pleading guilty to save the time of the court. Anyhow we look at it? We have lost an opportunity to be merciful!”

“Some persons are saying this will deter others from abusing the Naira. Okay o. We hope so. But, I hope all of us, including the EFCC, know that there is no expiry date in crime. So, all those who have abused the Naira before should be arrested and locked up for 6 months abi? We have the videos everywhere o. Our prisons go full dey throway!”

“Let’s learn to be merciful!”