37-year-old Nigerian in US detention seeks FG intervention for justice
A 37-year-old United States-based Nigerian, Olufolajimi Abegunde, has demanded urgent review of his conviction and 78 months sentence by the United States security intelligence over money laundering and other related offense.
Besides, Abegunde is seeking the intervention of the Federal Government through President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, his counterpart at the ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Diaspora Commission for Justice and Equity to prevail.
The young promising entrepreneur and founder of FJ Williams Inc., a US based ICT company, was found guilty of financial irregularity after he received a deposit of $26,900 from a friend and facilitated the cash withdrawal of the same sum; a transaction considered illegitimate.
Although, Abegunde is currently serving 15th of the 78 months jail term, he insisted the process and procedures through which his conviction was executed, was devoid of legal representation, equity, fairness and rule of law, thereby calling for review of the matter.
Addressing journalists in Kano, yesterday, Concern Group, led by Salisu Manager, explained that Abegunde ‘s prosecution and subsequent incarceration in the United States prison for crimes he didn’t commit is huge embarrassment to Nigeria and entire black race, and should not be allowed unchallenged.
The group is calling on U.S authorities, particularly the U.S Attorney General, Merrick Garland, the U.S Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the American Civil Liberty’s Union (ACLU), the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM), the MAACP and the U.S media for justice over Abegunde matter.
Manager narrated how the saga began, “Abegunde relocated to the U.S. from Nigeria in 2014 to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas. Upon graduating with the class of 2016, and recognising opportunities in the remittances industry, Abegunde incorporated FJ Williams Inc., doing business As (DBA) TranzAlert.
Abegunde’s travails began in August 2016 when his longtime friend, Ayodeji Ojo, visited the U.S. from Nigeria along with his pregnant wife and infant daughter. Ojo and his family were accommodated by Abegunde at his home in Atlanta, Georgia, Manager said.
“In an interview by security agents, Ojo disclosed that at the time of the visit, he had a wholly legitimate check of $26,900 that was issued to him by Bank of America. Ojo claimed that he intended to cash the check and utilise the funds for expenses associated with his family’s trip, including medical expenses related to his pregnant wife.
“According to Ojo, after being unsuccessful in his attempts to cash the check at multiple Bank of America branches, due to the relatively large size of the check, he was advised by a Bank of America banker to open a new bank account at another bank, let the check go through the clearing process before the funds would become available to him,” Manager added.
The group however appealed to relevant authorities in Nigeria and Diaspora to carefully revisit the case and ensure that justice prevails.