By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed Dec. 2 for arraignment of Prof. Obiajulu Obikeze of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University and four others over allegations bordering on forgery.
Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date due to the absence of the 3rd defendant, Chief Israel Ezue, in court.
While the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the complainant, Obikeze, Dr Raymond Ofor, Chief Ezue, Sir Amobi Nwafor and Okafor Bethram IK are 1st to 5th defendants respectively.
Prof. Obikeze (1st defendant), who works with Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, formerly Anambra State University Igbariam in Anambra, is charged alongside four others with 11 counts.
In the charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/184/2021 dated and filed on July 6 by the prosecuting counsel, Celestine Odo, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offence around January 15, 2019, at Awa, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra.
The charge is brought pursuant to Section 68 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2019, and Section 106(c) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
In count one, the five defendants and others now at large were alleged to have conspired to commit forgery offence contrary to Section 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of Nigeria, 2010.
While count two accused them of uttering forged documents, count three accused them of making a forged letter to the Special Adviser to the Governor of Anambra on Chieftaincy and Towns Union Matters titled, “Submission of Awa Chieftaincy Constitution,” knowing it to be false, with intent that it may be acted upon as genuine at the Government House, Awka, Anambra State.
The count said this is to the detriment of the people of Umu-Nzekwe as well as Ezeani families of Awa, and also that the Special Adviser may in the belief that it is genuine be induced to treat the said letter, an offence punishable under the law.
When the matter was called, the police prosecutor, Odo, told the court that his office could not produce Ezue in court because of the inability to serve him with the charges.
Although the lawyer urged the court to grant him leave to amend the charges to allow the four defendants who were in court take their plea, the judge refused the prayer.
The arraignment was, however, stalled due to the absence of the 3rd defendant in court.
Counsel to the defendants, Chief Okey Obikeze, informed the court that his clients were on administrative bail.
Justice Ekwo, who placed them on the administrative bail earlier granted by the police, adjourned the matter until Dec. 2 for arraignment.