By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Nigeria Police Force, on Tuesday, docked a Professor, Obiajulu Obikeze before the Federal High Court in Abuja over his alleged involvement in the forgery of chieftaincy documents.
Obikeze, who works with the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, formerly known as Anambra State University Igbariam in Anambra, was arraigned on an 11-count charge, alongside four others.
The other Defendants that took turns to plead not guilty to the charge that was read to them before trial Justice Inyang Ekwo, were; Dr Raymond Ofor, Chief Ezue, Sir Amobi Nwafor and Okafor Bethram IK.
Police, in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/184/2021, alleged that the Defendants committed the offence around January 15, 2019, at Awa, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra.
It alleged that the five Defendants and others now at large, sent 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 Prosecution told the court that the offence was committed, “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.
It alleged that the Defendants committed an offence contrary to Section 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of Nigeria, 2010.
Meanwhile, after the Defendants pleaded their innocence to the charge, Police lawyer, Celestine Odo, applied for their remand at a Correctional Center.
Odo equally told the court that 19 witnesses were lined up to testify in the matter.
However, counsel to the Defendants, Kelvin Nwofo, SAN, persuaded the court to allow his clients to continue the administrative bail that was earlier granted to them by the Police.
He told the court that his clients would be available to face their trial.
In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo retained all the terms of the administrative bail that was previously granted to the Defendants.
He subsequently adjourned the matter to May 23 for commencement of trial.