Crime

Valentine’s Day: Lawyer Says Ladies Who Extort Men Risk 20 Years’ Imprisonment

By Sandra Umeh (NAN)

Ahead of Valentine’s Day celebration, a former publicity secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Douglas Ogbankwa, has warned that ladies who extort men risked 20 years’ imprisonment.

Ogbankwa in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), warned women against false representation aimed at extorting men during the celebration.

He noted that, “experiences by some male folk over the years, have shown that some ladies are deliberately poised for extortion during the valentine season, all in the name of love.”

According to him, ladies, who ignorantly carry out acts of deceit, broken promises, or extortion, may be held liable under the provisions of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act (419).

Ogbankwa stressed that girls, who were in the habit of collecting money in advance in the guise of transport fare to visit men on such occasion, but deliberately fail to do so, could be charged with fraud and prosecuted under the Act.

“It is important to note that many Nigerians are ignorant of this; for instance, a woman who collects money from a man as transportation fare to visit him, and then fails to show up can be charged with obtaining money by false pretence.

“Such persons could be prosecuted pursuant to Section 419 of the Criminal Code of Nigeria.

“Again, where a person obtains such money with the intention of collecting more when she arrives, such crime has now transcended to Advance Fee Fraud and liable for prosecution under the Advance Fee Fraud (Prohibition) Act,” he said.

Ogbankwa noted that suspects could consequently be charged to court and prosecuted by either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), or the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

He said that Section 1(1)(2) of the Advance Fee Fraud (Prohibition) Act, provides among others, that;

“A person who by false pretence, and with the intent to defraud, induces any other person in Nigeria or in any other country, to confer a benefit on him or on any other person.

“By so doing, or permitting a thing to be done on the understanding that the benefit has been or will be paid for, commits an offence under this Act.

“A person, who commits an offence under Subsection (1) or (2) of this section, is liable to conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 20 years and not less than 7 years without the option of a fine,” he explained.

Ogbankwa, therefore, noted that while the celebration of Valentine’s Day remained historic for certain cultures and people, its purpose should not be abused.

Accordingly, he urged all to be guided, since ignorance of the law was never an excuse.
NAN reports that Valentine’s Day, also called the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated annually on Feb 14.

It originated as a Christian feast to honour a Christian martyr named Saint Valentine.

Through later folk and traditions, the day has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.

Nigeria is not left out, as the day is being interpreted and observed by many, as Lovers’ Day.

While families choose to see the feast as a day to share agape love to individuals and society, others take it as immoral love between a man and woman.

The colours red and white typically grace the environment on this day.