From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Proceedings in the trial of Prof Obiajulu Obikeze and four others on the alleged forgery of chieftaincy documents were stalled on Tuesday at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
The development occurred shortly after the matter was called for trial commencement.
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When the matter was called, the police prosecutor, Celestine Odu, informed the trial judge, Inyang Ekwo, that the matter was scheduled for trial and that he was ready to proceed.
But Kelvin Nwufo, SAN, counsel for the defendants, said though he was ready for the trial, the prosecution was yet to respond to his motion filed, seeking an order dismissing the charge against his clients.
Responding, Odu said he had not seen Nwufo’s application.
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Justice Ekwo then directed Nwufo to avail Odu with a copy of the motion in the open court.
After being served in the open court, the prosecutor indicated his intention to respond to the application within 14 days.
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The judge adjourned the matter until June 10 for a hearing of the motion.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the Inspector-General of Police, is the complainant, Obikeze, Dr Raymond Ofor, Chief Ezue, Sir Amobi Nwafor and Okafor Bethram IK are 1st to 5th defendants respectively.
Obikeze, who works with the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, formerly known as Anambra State University Igbariam in Anambra, was arraigned on Feb. 22 alongside others on 11 counts.
NAN reports that in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/184/2021 dated and filed on July 6, 2021, by Odu, the defendants were alleged to have committed 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.”