Cocaine Trafficking: Lagos Socialite Arike Ogundipe Pleads Not Guilty; Granted Bail

Suspected drug kingpin and Lagos socialite, Mrs Fumilola Arike Ogbuaya a.k.a. Arike Fumilola Ogundipe was arraigned by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday,June 21, before Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos in an amended charge No. FHC/L/124c/2017, Federal Republic of Nigeria versus Omolara Odeyemi a.k.a. Ariyo Monsurat Olabisi and Fumilola Arike Oggbuaya a.k.a. Arike Fumilola Ogundipe.

The defendant who is facing a three count charge of conspiracy, aiding and procuring of substances found to be cocaine pleaded not guilty to all three count charge.

The defence counsel Barrister Onifade also applied for the bail of Mrs Fumilola assuring the court that she will be available for trial but the prosecuting counsel, Barrister Abu Ibrahim strongly opposed the bail application. Abu presented a letter from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stating that the defendant jumped bail in a case brought against her by the commission.
Justice Shagari in her ruling granted her bail application on the ground that the first defendant, Omolara Odeyemi a.k.a. Ariyo Monsurat Olabisi had been granted bail. The bail was granted in the sum of five million naira with two sureties in like sum. Both sureties must be civil servants on grade level 14 within the jurisdiction of the court. Sureties to submit evidence of utilities like water and light. The prosecution council was also mandated to verify the bail conditions.

She was however remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of the bail conditions. The case was also adjourned to June 28 and 29 2017 for trial.
Mrs. Fumilola was implicated in a case of unlawful exportation of 1.595kg of cocaine to Saudi Arabia in February 2017 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA).
Officers visited her Lagos residence on a follow-up operation but she was not at home. The suspect also ignored official invitation for several months from the Agency requesting her to clear herself in the ongoing cocaine investigation.

When all attempts to reach her failed, she was declared wanted. Few weeks later, she presented herself before the NDLEA for investigation.
The Agency had also secured an interim forfeiture order for several assets worth billions of naira traced to Mrs Fumilola. Besides, the Agency is working on a final forfeiture order on the landed properties and assets traced to Mrs Fumilola Arike Ogbuaya a.k.a. Arike Fumilola Ogundipe in Lagos, Ogun and Osun States.
The assets include Arike Plaza, some plots of land and buildings in strategic locations. The Lagos socialite who is a distributor of alcoholic drinks is needed by the NDLEA in an ongoing investigations. She hails from Ilesa, Osun State.

The NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) has expressed great optimism with the development adding that there was enough evidence to successfully prosecute Mrs Fumilola.
“I am glad with the arraignment and I am confident that the defendant will be diligently and successfully prosecuted. There is enough evidence to win the case because we have done a detailed investigation” Abdallah stated.

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