The Nigerian police on Friday arraigned 24 people before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for allegedly forging their certificates while seeking employment into the Police College.
While the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, is the complainant, S. Jonathan and 23 others are 1st to 24 defendants respectively.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, they pleaded not guilty to the 106 counts bordering on forgery and impersonation.
Some of the charges filed by the prosecution counsel, Mathew Omosu, read in part, “You… sometimes between 2018 to 2020 at the Nigeria Police College Borno, being bound by law to state the truth, did swear on oath, and gave an information that is false and as such committed an offense punishable by law.
“That you…on the same date and place, did assume the name, designation of police officers, and thereby committed an offence punishable by Section 42 of the Police Act…”
After taking their plea, Omosu prayed the court remanded the defendants in a correctional centre pending the determination of the matter.
However, Justice Ekwo asked the prosecution how long the defendants had been in custody.
The prosecution responded that they had been in detention since July. Counsel to 1st to 8th defendants, Shittu Dan-Shita, made an oral application for their bail.
“in the interim, we have an application for the bail of 1st to 8th defendants,” he said.
The judge, who noted that the court would commence its vacation on December 22, asked the lawyer to file a formal application, assuring that he could hear the motion even if the court began its vacation.
Ekwo adjourned the trial until January 25, January 26 and January 27 next year for trial continuation and ordered that the defendants be remanded, pending the next hearing.
“They will be remanded but on the condition that they be given medical attention,” he said.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the proceeding, Dan-Shita said he would file the bail application on time in a bid to get the defendants released.
“My Lord is disposed to come out of his vacation to even hear the application for bail.
“The prosecution filed 106 count charges against 24 defendants and as you can see, all of them pleaded not guilty,” he said.
The NAN noted that while Saidu Jubril represented 9th to 16th defendants, Adam Ugwanyi was the counsel to 17th to 24th defendants and the National Human Rights Commission was represented by Mariam Kadril.