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Court fixes Oct 6 for hearing in forgery trial of Anambra university prof


From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Proceedings in the trial of Prof Obiajulu Obikeze and four others have been moved to October 6, by the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.

Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date for a report on the takeover of the matter by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

The decision was informed by a complaint by counsel for the AGF, Joe Agi, SAN, that he was yet to get the file in respect of the matter.

Prof Obikeze, Dr Raymond Ofor, Chief Israel Ezue, Sir Amobi Nwafor and Okafor Bethram IK, who are 1st to 5th defendants, respectively, are being prosecuted over allegations bordering on forgery of chieftaincy documents.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the Inspector-General of Police, was the earlier complainant before the AGF took over the suit.

Agi had on June 10 informed that he had been authorised by the AGF to take over the matter from the police and asked for an adjournment to enable him to study the case.

Justice Ekwo then fixed today to enable the AGF chamber to review the suit and report back to the court.

Upon resumed hearing, Agi also informed the court that though the matter was slated for the report, pursuant to the fiat given to him, he was still pursuing the case file.

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He said he was in the process of getting the file.

The lawyer then applied for another date to enable him to get the file.

The defence counsel, Kelvin Nwufo, SAN, did not oppose the application.

However, the senior lawyer said he had a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the matter.

The judge consequently adjourned the matter until Oct. 6 for report.

Obikeze, who works with the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, formerly known as Anambra State University, Igbariam, was arraigned on Feb. 22 alongside others on 11 counts.

Others include Dr Offor, current President-General of Awa Community in Orumba North LGA and a retired director with the Anambra Ministry of Education; Chief Ezue, a tyre merchant in the northern states of the country; Sir Nwafor, an architect by training and Mr Bethram, a retired headmaster at a primary school in Agulu in Aniocha LGA of the state.

The prosecution had in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/184/2021 dated and filed on July 6, 2021, accused the defendants of committing the offence around Jan.15, 2019, at Awa, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra.

In count one, the five defendants, and others now at large, were alleged to have conspired to commit a 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.

The document is titled, “Submission of Awa Chieftaincy Constitution,” knowing it to be false, with the intent that it may be acted upon as genuine at the Government House, Awka, Anambra State.”

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