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Nigerian studying in Cyprus nabbed in Benin over fraud allegations

A Nigerian studying at the Cyprus International University, Nicosia, Okail Shedrack, has been arrested in the Republic of Benin over cyberfraud-related allegations.

The PUNCH gathered that Shedrack was arrested on February 7, 2023, in Porto-Novo.

Efforts to hear from the Benin police authorities proved abortive, as a message sent through the means provided on their website did not go through.

However, a document obtained by our correspondent, reportedly given to an ally of the student, translated from French, revealed that Shedrack was arrested for suspected fraud-related case.

Part of the document read, “Chief prosecutor of fraud carried out through electronic information network or computer system.

“Fact provided for and repressed by Articles 566 of the law 2017-20 supporting code provided by the Republic of Benin.

“We enjoin the manager of the said remand centre to receive it and hold deposit until it is ordered otherwise.

“Request any agent of the public force to whom this mandate will be exhibited to lend a hand for its execution if necessary in witness.

“Whereof of this mandate of the deposit has been signed by us and bearing our seal.

“Done in our our public prosecutors office on February 15, 2023 at 3:54pm.”

Our correspondent reached out to the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, Dr Olukayode Aluko, who confirmed the incident.

“Two of my officers have been handling it, and the authorities there have confirmed that they have electronic evidence that he was involved in some of these criminal acts here and he has confessed. He has a sister here who has been asked to get a lawyer,” the envoy told The PUNCH on Sunday.

However, Aluko expressed concern over the rate of criminal activities reportedly being perpetrated by some Nigerians in Benin Republic, saying they had been embarrassing.

“The question you should ask here is what is a Cyprus student doing here on holiday?

“They have their own laws and each country is governed by laws. His matter is being attended to, he’s in detention, he has confessed to be doing what he was said to be doing. They found things that have happened even in the past linked to his phone. There are evidences against him, he’s not disputing it,” he added.

He said many young Nigerians were often involved in either ‘yahoo yahoo’ (cybercrime) or prostitution in the country, adding that at least tens of them were often rounded up on a daily basis.

“Look, it’s so embarrassing here, on the average, they arrest about 25 Nigerians every day over this same issue, mostly young people. Most times, we would ensure release of some of them.

“They now embarrass innocent Nigerians.”

He lamented that even when some Nigerians were repatriated, they often came back to get involved in the same things they were arrested for.

He said the fact that the policy of the Economic Community of West African States allowed one to travel into any ECOWAS state within 90 days did not mean such privilege should be abused to perpetuate crimes.

Reacting, the National Association of Nigerian Students said the Federal Government should see to the matter as they might not know what was going on in Benin Republic.

“Many Nigerians are in prison there and here in Nigeria, how many foreigners are in our prisons?

“They should not do to us what we didn’t do to them.

“Government should come to Nigerians aid over there and assist in anyway they can,” NANS Zone D coordinator, Adejuwon Olatunji, said when our correspondent sought his reaction.