Nigeria has produced numerous successful people who have made significant achievements in domains such as politics, entertainment, sports, and business.
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However, not all Nigerians who have made their mark have done it in a favourable way.
Some prominent Nigerians have been convicted of crimes and have spent time in prison abroad.
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In no particular other, here is a list of some of the most prominent Nigerians who have served, and are serving jail sentences abroad, the crimes they committed and the consequences of their actions:
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1- Ike Ekweremadu: Nigeria’s serving lawmaker and former deputy president of the Nigerian Senate, made it into this infamous list after he got sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in the United Kingdom alongside his wife, Beatrice and a medical doctor, Obinna Obeta, for organ trafficking.
Ekweremadu’s verdict became the first of its kind within the UK criminal court system, under the Modern Slavery Act.
The lawmaker’s ordeal started after he got embroiled in a conspiracy to arrange the travel of a young Nigerian man who was identified as David Nwamini to Britain in order to exploit him for his kidney. The organ was needed for Ekweremadu’s sick daughter, Sonia.
21-year-old, Nwamini, had testified that the Ekweremadus flew him to Britain in return for up to £7,000 ($8,800).
While it is legal in Britain, to donate a kidney, it is a crime to do so for financial or material reward, and the maximum sentence under the legislation is life imprisonment.
2- James Onanefe Ibori: Popular politician and former Governor of Delta State from 1999 – 2007, also served a jail term in the United Kingdom. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for money laundering.
Ibori’s corruption charges started with the filling of petitions by his kinsmen. And after several legal backs and forth by both the EFCC, under Nuhu Ribadu, and the UK govt, to arrest Ibori, he was finally in 2010 arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and extradited to the United Kingdom where he was convicted.
However, released from prison via court order in 2016 after he served four years of the 13 years he was sentenced to serve.
3- Abidemi Rufai: Until his arrest, Rufai also known as Sandy Tang, was a former senior special assistant to the Ogun State governor Dapo Abiodun. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment for wire fraud by a United States District Court in 2022.
45-year-old, Rufai was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York on his way to Nigeria in May 2021 for stealing more than $500,000 in pandemic relief benefits from the United States government.
He pleaded guilty in court admitting that he used stolen identities to receive more than $350,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits from Washington state.
During his trial, Rufai apologised in a letter to the court and blamed his actions on gambling addiction and pressure to provide for his wife and children.
“My actions are outrageous and inexcusable. I am now a rehabilitated man that is ready to live a crime-free life and also be a responsible man to my family and my community as a whole,” he wrote.
However, the US court sentenced Rufai to 60 months in jail and ordered him to pay more than $600,000 in restitution.
4-Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – He is the son of Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, a wealthy banker and businessman, who attempted to blow up a US-bound plane on Christmas Day in 2009.
He pleaded guilty to the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder of 289 people, attempted destruction of a civilian aircraft, placing a destructive device on an aircraft, and possession of explosives, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the US in 2012.
5- Ramon Olorunwa Abbas a.k.a Hushpuppi, Hush, or Ray Hushpuppi: Popular socialite and social media influencer was jailed in 2020 after he was arrested in Dubai and extradited to the United States.
Abbas, who was known on Instagram for posting pictures and videos of his lavish spending on exotic cars, watches, designer clothes, and bags from expensive brands, pleaded guilty to money laundering and fraud. He was sentenced to over 11 years in a US federal prison in November 2022.
Before his sentencing, Hushpuppi wrote a personal letter to the court narrating his source of wealth, criminal adventure and regrets. He apologised to his family members for bringing them shame while commending the FBI for doing a thorough job while bringing him to justice.
6- Obinwanne Okeke: Until his arrest and conviction, Okeke a.k.a Invictus Obi, was a globally-renowned businessman who had investments in oil and gas, agriculture, private equity, alternative energy, telecom and real estate. He operated his holdings under the ‘Invictus Group’.
However, he was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for internet fraud to which he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on February 16, 2021.
7- Burna Boy: Unknown to many, Nigerian grammy winning musician, Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, has been jailed for a gang-related crime.
Burna Boy did his time at the HM Prison Chelmsford after he was arrested by London Police for allegedly being part of a gang that stabbed someone to death.
He was tried as a minor and sent to jail. After 11 months in jail, he was released on the grounds of being of ‘good behaviour’.
8- Sauce Kid: Babalola Falemi, popularly known as Sauce Kid, was a rising hip-hop star in the Nigerian music scene until he was arrested in 2016, and jailed for two years in an American prison for stealing $15,388.
US police said Sauce Kid was caught with a card-encoding device and with about $6,000 cash.
He was initially charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, eight counts each of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, and possession of 15 or more fraudulent bank cards. He reportedly pleaded guilty to one of the counts of aggravated identity theft. And in exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed the other counts, reports said.
Sauce Kid was released in 2018 after serving his jail term. He has been trying ever since to relaunch his music career.
9- Godwin Okpara: He is a former Nigerian international footballer who was part of the National team squads that participated in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2000 Summer Olympics.
In 2005, Okpara was arrested by French police on charges of raping his 13-year-old adopted daughter. He was found guilty and imprisoned in June 2007 for 13 years. His wife, Linda Okpara, was also sentenced to 15 years in jail for the torture of the same girl.
10- Segun Victor Ikudehinbu: Finland-based Nigerian football playing for Kotkan Työväen Palloilijat, was found guilty and sentenced to two years and two months imprisonment for two counts of rape in September 2017.
Ikudehinbu, a defensive Midfielder, appealed the verdict denying any wrongdoing and claiming the intercourse was consensual, but his sentence was upheld at the Itä-Suomi Court of Appeals.
-These are just a few examples of Nigerians who have served jail terms abroad. Many others have been convicted of various crimes in different parts of the world.