A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Justice Absulazeez Anka has adjourned till 14th of November, 2022 for the adoption of the final written address in the criminal trial of an Epe High Chief, Olajide Ikuforiji.
Ikuforiji who is being prosecuted by barrister Chukwu Agwu of the Police Special Fraud Unit, Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in charge number FHC/ L/ 323c /2016 is currently facing a two counts charge bothering on forgery and uttering of forged documents.
Specifically , the defendant was charged by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) under sections 2(c)of the Miselanious Offences Act 2004, Law of the Federation of Nigeria .
According to the two counts charge, Ikuforiji a was alleged to have forged the minutes of the emergency meeting of Eko Epe Forum held on the 20th of October, 2022 at the residence of Otun Mogaji Ngeri.
Consequently the trial of the defendant went on before Justice A.M Anka and the prosecution closed its case after calling four witnesses and tendering several exhibits and Justice Anka thereafter adjourned for the defendant to open his defense.
However, rather than open his defense, Ikuforiji opted for a no- case submission which was later dismissed, but not satisfied with the ruling of the court in the no -case submission, Oljide Ikuforiji appealed the ruling at the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal, but the appellate court while delivering ruling on the defendant’s appeal on July 23, 2020 in suit number number CA/L/1447c/ 2018 sustained the decision of the trial court and ordered the defendant to return to the lower court and open his defense.
But instead of the defendant to obey the decision of the appellate court which directed him to return to the lower court for his trial, he was said to have jumped bail and absconded since September 2020 despite service of hearing notice dated 22nd of December, 2020 directing him to appear in court on the 20th of January 2021 while all efforts at tracking him had not been successful since then.
Following his continued absence in court, the prosecutor sought for bench warrant for his arrest which was granted by the court, but they were unable to apprehend him.
Consequently the prosecution on the 13th of June 2022 applied to the court that the defendant be tried in abstention in line with section 352 ( sub 4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) , 2015 and the trial court granted the application
At the resumed trial of the case today, Ikuforiji was equally absent in court, but his counsel, Mr K. S. Lawal was present and announced his appearance .
While giving reason for the absence of the defendant, Lawal tendered a hand written medical report from one M. H. A Clinic, Lagos, but Barrister Chukwu Agwu countering the presentation of the medical report, submitted that the report is suspect.
Agwu further told Justice Anka that it has being the modus operandi of the defendant to further delay and probably defeat the cause of justice.
Justice Anka after listening to both parties , directed the prosecution to filed his written address and serve the defendant’s lawyer. The judge then adjourned the matter till the 14th of November, 2022 for adoption of final written addresses.