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No, former Nigerian state governor not sentenced to death for fraud

A report published on 27 February 2020 claims that Theodore Orji, former governor of Abia state in southeastern Nigeria, has been sentenced to death by hanging for fraud. 

Orji currently represents Abia Central district in the Nigerian senate. 

“Breaking: Court Today Sentenced Ex Governor TA Orji To Death By Hanging For Alleged Fraud Of 150B,” the headline of the report reads

“After every investigation of alleged fraud by the former governor of Abia State, the federal capital territory high court today sentenced ex Governor TA Orji to death by hanging,” it reads.

The report, which has been shared over 12,000 times on Facebook, ends abruptly with: “Details soon.” But, nearly two weeks after publication, the report has not been updated. We investigated if it was true.

Investigation still ongoing

Orji and his son Chinedum Orji are being investigated by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on allegations of N521 billion fraud. The allegations follow the 12-year jail sentence for fraud of Orji’s predecessor, senator Orji Uzor Kalu, in December 2019.  

The father and son were both quizzed by the anti-graft agency in early February. But as of 10 March there is no evidence they have been charged to court.

Orji Senior still serves as senator in the country’s national assembly, while Chinedum Orji still presides over Abia state’s house of assembly, as speaker.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act of 2002, by which the ex-governor could be tried, does not prescribe the death penalty. Theodore Orji has not been sentenced to death. – Allwell Okpi 


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