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Forgery : Police lose bid to send Aregbesola to prison

By Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA—The Nigeria Police yesterday arraigned the 2007 gubernatorial candidate of the opposition Action Congress (AC), Engineer Rauf Aregbesola and a lawyer, Mr Olayinka Okedara before an Abuja high court sitting on a six count charge of conspiracy and forgery.

The arraignment followed an earlier order procured from the court to prosecute the duo upon alleged establishment of prima facie case against them. But the Police yesterday lost its bid to send the two accused persons to prison.

A Superintendent of Police (SP), Mr Boniface Asogwa who is prosecuting the accused persons in court had opposed the oral application for extension of bail earlier granted the accused persons by the Senior Magistrate Court sitting at Life Camp.

He had predicated his opposition to the bail application on the ground that they were just arraigned for the alleged forgery offence and that they needed to bring a fresh formal bail application before the court before they could be allowed home.

He argued that in the absence of such fresh formal application, the accused must be remanded in prison pending when the normal procedure for bail was complied with.

But the trial judge, Justice Talba Abubakar, in a short ruling disagreed with the police that a fresh bail application must be brought.

He specifically held yesterday that since the two accused were formerly on bail which they never abused and that since there was no evidence from the prosecution to the effect that they could jump bail, he said he would exercise his discretion in their favour more so when the offences were bailable.

It would be recalled that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, had, last week, warned judges over the exercise of their discretion with respect to bail.

He had specifically described as worrisome attachment of strenuous conditions to bail granted applicants in ordinary cases that are bailable.

He had said such attachment amounted to giving the bail with right hand and taking it with left hand which he said must stop.

The trial judge, Juustice Talba has however adjourned hearing in the case till March 1 and 2, next year.


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