* Source : 123RF.com

Forgery:  Court Remands Epe High Chief, Ikuforiji 

 A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today revoked the earlier bail granted to Balogun of Epe, Chief Olajide Ikuforiji and granted him a fresh basil conditions. 

The court also ordered Ikuforiji to be remanded in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Ikoyi, Lagos pending the perfection of the terms of the fresh basil granted him. 

It would be recalled that Ikuforiji who is currently facing trial for alleged forgery and uttering of forged documents in a two count charge had for some times not been attending to his trial consequent upon which the prosecutor, Mr. Chukwu Agwu from the Police Special Fraud Unit, Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos sought for a warrant of arrest which was granted by Justice Abdulazeez Anka.

However, at the resumption of trial today, the defendant alongside his lawyer, K.S Lawal appeared in court.

In his submission before the court, K.S Lawal the defendant counsel told the court that he had two applications pending before the court and urged the court to allow him to move same. 

Lawal said the first motion is asking the court to set aside the earlier warrant of arrest granted against the defendant while the second motion is seeking to set aside the earlier order  which foreclosed  the defendant’s  case due to his prolong absence in court  to open his defense or filed any written defence 

But the Prosecutor, Mr.  Chukwu Agwu in his opposition to   hearing of the two applications said he was just served with an advance copies  of the motions at the court premises earlier in the day  and as such,  the applications are  not ripe for hearing.

On the issue of the application seeking to set aside the bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant, after a prolong argument, and the defendant’s inability to clarify the true state of his sureties, the court revoked the earlier bail granted him and granted a fresh bail with new terms. 

The court also directed the defendant to remain in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Ikoyi, Lagos pending the perfection of the fresh bail terms 

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 on 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 Miscellaneous Offences Act 2004, Law of the Federation of Nigeria.

Counts one of the   charge, alleged that Ikuforiji   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 of Epe land while count two alleged that he uttered forged documents. 

Consequently, upon his arraignment the trial went on before Justice Abdulazees Anka and the prosecution closed its case after calling four witnesses and tendering several documents as exhibits 

The trial judge 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 on the no -case submission, Oljide Ikuforiji filed an  appeal at the Court of Appeal, Lagos division, but the appellate court while delivering ruling  on the defendant’s appeal  on July 23, 2020 in Appeal  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 ordered him to return to the lower court for his trial, he had refused to turn up for his trial 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 since then had not been successful since then. 

Following his continued absence in court, the prosecutor, Chukwu Agwu sought for bench warrant for his arrest which was granted by the court, but the police 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. 

Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned till January 16, 2023 for continuation of trial.

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