Justice Mohammed Owolabi of the Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan on Thursday convicted and sentenced one Hammed Mutiu to nine years imprisonment for visa racketeering.
Justice Owolabi jailed Mutiu after he found him guilty of a 16-count charge of obtaining money under false pretense, uttering and forging documents filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC filed the charge after receiving a petition jointly written by four of his victims in which he was alleged to have collected N4,350,000 with the pretence that he had secured Canadian visas for them.
According to the charge, Hammed merely claimed to be what he was not in order to take advantage of the Nigerians who were desperate to seek greener pasture outside the shores of the country.
Count one of the charge reads: That you Hammed Babatunde Mutiu on or about the 23rd of May, 2018, at Ibadan within the Ibadan Judicial Division of this honourable court with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of One Million Naira (1,000,000.00) only from one Zekeri Zakky Emestemhe by falsely pretending that it was part payment of the cost price of Canadian Visa you have secured for him, and thereby committed an offence.
In his judgment, Justice Owolabi lamented the growing menace of visa racketeering and the consequence on the Nigerian people.
He noted that culprits like Hammed deserve to be accordingly punished to serve as deterrence to others.
“The offence of which the defendant is charged is very rampant in our society. I, therefore, found the defendant guilty on counts 1 to 16 and thereby sentence the defendant to nine months imprisonment with hard labour with effect from today, 19th December, 2019,” the judge held.