Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja
A woman, Hadiza Bello, and three other accomplices have been sentenced to 160 years in prison by a Federal High Court, sitting in Yola, Adamawa State, for dealing in fake naira notes.
The convicts were dragged before the court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, after they were caught at a checkpoint along Girei-Yola Road.
A statement from the ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said five suspects — Hadiza, Mohammed Dauda, Bello Salisu, Ali Adamu and Hassan Bello, were involved in a deal to exchange the sum of N5m counterfeit notes for N1m real notes, adding that Hassan, a native doctor, could not be sentenced because of his death before conviction.
The statement said, “A Federal High Court sitting in Yola, Adamawa State, has sentenced four persons, including a woman, to 160 years’ imprisonment on a multiple-count charge of conspiracy and possession of counterfeit bank notes.
“Justice Abdulazeez Anka, who handed down the sentences to the convicts in the case brought by the ICPC, ruled that they would spend 10 years in prison on each of the four counts preferred against them.
“Three of the convicts, Hadiza Bello, Mohammed Dauda and Bello Salisu, had in March 2017, left Kaduna and were joined by the fourth convict, Ali Adamu, from Kano, to meet a native doctor, Hassan Bello, who was a counterfeiter at Wamdeo Uba, Borno State, with the intention to procure about N5m counterfeit bank notes to exchange for about N1m genuine bank notes from a customs officer.
“The deal with the customs officer did not go through for undisclosed reasons. However, as they made their way back, they were caught at a checkpoint on Girei-Yola Road, with counterfeit N1000 bank notes to the value of N5, 504,000 by soldiers on duty and subsequently handed over to the ICPC.”
The anti-graft body said investigation launched by its officers led to the residence of the native doctor at Wamdeo Uba, where he was arrested.
“A search conducted on the premises revealed more counterfeit N1000 bank notes reading the same serial number to the value of N26,000.
“At the conclusion of investigations, except for Bello Salisu, who was charged with abetment to commit an offence of possession of counterfeit bank notes, the other four suspects, including the native doctor counterfeiter, were arraigned on four counts of being in possession of counterfeit bank notes, which is an offence contrary to sections 5(1) (b) and 6(2) (b), and punishable under Section 5(1) (c) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act, cap. C35, LFN 2004,” the statement added.
In his ruling, Justice Anka found the accused persons guilty on each of the four counts and sentenced them to cumulative 40 years’ imprisonment each, although the sentences would run concurrently.