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Bobrisky appeals against imprisonment, seeks fine instead for naira abuse conviction

Controversial figure challenges six-month sentence, arguing for leniency citing lack of prior convictions and cooperation with authorities.

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In a bid to overturn a contentious ruling, Idris Olanrewaju Okuneye, better known as Bobrisky, has lodged an appeal against the six-month imprisonment handed down by the Federal High Court in Lagos. The conviction stems from charges of abusing the naira, a case that has sparked debate and garnered significant attention.

Represented by his legal counsel, Bimbo Kusanu, Bobrisky is seeking to sway the Court of Appeal to substitute the prison term with a nominal fine of N50,000 for each of the four counts he was found guilty of. The sentence, imposed by Justice Abimbola Awogboro on April 12, 2024, lacked the option of a fine, leaving Bobrisky incarcerated without recourse.

Initially pleading guilty on April 5, 2024, to four counts of naira abuse, as brought forth by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Bobrisky now contends that the severity of the punishment does not align with his clean criminal record. He asserts that the trial court failed to consider mitigating factors, such as his prompt compliance with authorities and his cooperation during the investigation.

Central to Bobrisky’s appeal is the argument that the trial court’s imposition of the maximum sentence was disproportionate and punitive, disregarding provisions within the Administration of Criminal Justice Law. By neglecting to account for his positive conduct and lack of prior convictions, Bobrisky asserts that the lower court’s decision resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

Moreover, Bobrisky challenges the court’s reasoning, suggesting that the emphasis on foreign perceptions of naira abuse was misplaced. He contends that the intent behind legislation such as the Central Bank Act 2007 is to deter Nigerians from tampering with the currency, rather than catering to external viewpoints.

With the appeal now before the higher court, Bobrisky anticipates a fairer consideration of his circumstances and a more proportionate outcome that reflects both the gravity of the offense and his cooperation with the legal process.

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