Nigerian suffers injustice, racism, maltreatment in US detention facility

Abegunde Olufolajimi at Graduation in US
Abegunde Olufolajimi at Graduation in US

Olufolajimi Abegunde, a Nigerian residing in the state of Georgia, Atlanta in the United states is currently suffering from injustice and discrimination in the hands of United States law enforcement agents and the courts, PRNigeria has learnt.

In a note written by Mr Abegunde from his detention facility and obtained by PRNigeria, the Chemical Engineering graduate from Babcock University in Ogun State and Master’s Degree holder in Business Administration from the United States explained that he started his business in the state of Georgia specifically in money remittances licensed in the United states and with the Central Bank of Nigeria respectively.

Trouble started when Mr Ojo an old friend of Mr Abegunde had in his possession a cheque, written and authorized by Bank of America, which he attempted to cash at multiple bank of America location in Atlanta area but was turned down due to relatively large seize of the check.

Mr Ojo was advised by bankers to open a new bank account to be able to access the funds to perform the transaction. Mr Ojo needed a U.S.A address to enable him to open the account because he wasn’t resident. Mr Abegunde who had known Mr Ojo for more than 14 years saw no wrong in helping a friend.

He was however arrested on Wednesday February 7, 2018 at the airport while trying to work on a suitable flight schedule for alleged conspiracy to defraud unsuspecting victims.

Mr Abegunde has been detained unfairly and suffering irreparable psychological trauma.

His detention notes obtained from PRNigeria reads in part:

“I was arrested on Wednesday February 7 2018 and have been unfairly detained since the date of my arrest through my predicament I have suffered irreparable psychological trauma. I have been unfairly treated as though a hardened criminal all because I granted a longtime friend of mine permission to use my address to open a bank account clearly for justifiable reason, this was my thought process at the early periods of my arrest.

“I did not realize that the situation was way more complex by my freedom has been unfairly taken away, I have had time to reflect and I have been able to connect the dots that I previously did not pay attention to. It totally breaks my heart to state that unfortunately racism prejudice, bigotry and stereotyping that has been sweeping through the united states in recent years is now present in the justice system.

“My goal in writing this letter is to hopefully create a situation where my assertions will be investigated such that culpable individuals such as investigators prosecutors and all others concerned with my case are held wholly accountable. I also hope that by shining the light on my situation, repeat occurrences would be minimized.

“I am a founder of a technology startup and money service business with tremendous potential I worked incredibly hard to get admitted into and eventually earned a Master of Business Administration from the Prestigious May Business School Texas. I earned a highly coveted internship and distinguished myself at Cox Automotive, a leading digital marketing portfolio.

“Prior to coming to the United States, to school, I had eight years professional work experience, founding two startups and managing capital intensive projects in the leading information technology firm in Nigeria, computer warehouse group. I earned a Bachelor of science degree in computer science from Babcock University Ogun Nigeria 2006.

“Even though there was no probable cause for my arrest, there is also no single strand of evidence tying me to this charges on the indictment, I being Nigerian am not entitled to the same rights and privilege’s as other defendants. For example, it appears that Dana Brandy who controlled the email account m, according to line 23 on page 5 of the indictment, as well as James Dean a US citizen residing in Indiana were granted bail upon being apprehended. During report date before Judge Lipman on Friday, April 13th 2018.

“While I face the humiliating experience of being in the courtroom in handcuffs and leg chains,  these defendants were not even present in court, as it appears as though they were exempted from appearance. It can be argued that these defendants played a role in the scheme described on the indictment  I make this argument because at the last report date, the attorneys representing these two defendants stated in an open court that their clients would be seeking some kind of plea agreement as their clients did not intend to take the case to trial.

“It is my understanding that plea agreements generally imply an admission of guilt, while defendants James Dean was said to have travelled out of his base in Indiana, to another State, within the USA for work related reasons, spending quality time with their families, friends and loved ones, eat food of their choices, have access to health care anytime they are in need of it. Even though I have never been interviewed by pre-trial services, my attorney communicated to me that pre-trial services claims I am a flight risk. While being detained at the West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason TN, I had the opportunity to meet Dimitar Petlechkov, an illegal immigrant from Bulgaria, and also, a fellow resident of Atlanta GA, who was indicted on 20 count of defrauding FedEX, to the tune of millions of Dollars even though Petlechkovs indictment was comprehensive and contained detailed facts that Petlechkov did not dispute, he was granted bond and did not spend a single day in detention prior to his being convicted. Sadly, it appears as though Petlechkov is more equal than me, even though I am legally authorized to live in the US.

“The government did not have any objective justifiable reason to indict me, there is no evidence linking me to the fraudulent activity, in an effort to build a case against me, the government abused its powers. This has caused me unimaginable pains, misery and suffering. My wife was destabilized by being associated with a criminal investigation even though she did nothing wrong. In terms of business (FJ WILLIAMS INC), I have suffered unquantifiable losses as I have been away from business since my detention in February.

“I have missed out in raising my daughter, she turned 3 in February, I have missed my wife, after spending one year apart we had scheduled a trip to go to the Caribbean Islands.

“I have suffered and will continue to suffer perpetual reputation damage as most people will perceive my being in detention as my being guilty. Today it is Olufolajimi Abegunde that is facing this life altering situation where I have been unfairly and unjustly indicted, arrested and detained. It can be anyone else if action is not taken now.”

Mr Abegunde is appealing to the Nigerian authorities, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora Affairs and the Nigeria in Diaspora Organization to wade into this matter.