Justice Mohammed Madugu of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Bwari, Abuja on Monday ordered the remand of a factional leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Edozie Njoku, and one Chukwuemeka Nwoga at the Suleja Correctional Centre.
Njoku and his co-defendant, Nwoga, are to remain in custody till November 30, when the court would deliver ruling in the bail applications.
The judge fixed the date for ruling shortly after arguments were made for and against the bail applications by counsel in the matter.
Njoku and Nwoga were earlier arraigned on a 14-count criminal charge bordering on forgery, an offence which attracts imprisonment of maximum of 14 years jail term if found guilty.
The Inspector General of Police, in the charge, had accused them of forging a Supreme Court judgment and the letterheaded paper of retired Justice Mary Peter-Odili.
The defendants however pleaded not guilty to the entire 14-count charge, following which their lawyer, Mr Panam Ntui, sought permission of the court to argue their bail applications filed on November 25.
Although, the prosecution lawyer, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Rimamsonte Ezekiel, opposed the hearing of the applications on grounds that he was not served, the court permitted the defendants to move, stating that there was evidence that the police was served.
Arguing, Ntui urged the court to admit the defendants to bail in the most liberal terms, noting that the defendants have proved that they are law abiding citizens and persons who have respect for the court by appearing before the court voluntarily and not under duress.
Ntui, who further argued that the defendants would not jump bail if granted, disclosed that the defendants have never breached the administrative bail granted them by the police, adding that the offences they are being charged with are bailable.
Responding, CSP Ezekiel vehemently opposed the granting of the bail, claiming that the defendants, especially Njoku, would jump bail on the grounds that he also holds a British passport.
Ezekiel, in addition argued that the defendants if released on bail are likely to commit further crime, tamper with evidence as well as threaten witnesses.
He pointed out that counts 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the charge prescribed a maximum of 14 years jail term as punishment for offenders and as such the court should deny them bail.
After listening to the arguments of the counsel to parties in the suit, Justice Madugu announced that ruling will be delivered on Wednesday, November 30.
He subsequently ordered the remand of the defendants at the Suleja Correctional Centre pending the ruling.
Justice Madugu earlier vacated the bench warrant issued against the defendants since the last time they voluntarily came to court for their arraignment.
In the charge marked: CR/12/2022 and dated October 21, the defendants were accused of conspiring with others to forge judgment of the Supreme Court.
Count 10 read: “That you Chief Edozie Njoku, Chukwuemeka Nwoga on or about June 30, 2022 in Abuja and others now at large dishonesty and deliberately forged the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in suit number: SC/CV/686/2021, with the name of Chief Edozie Njoku as the 2nd respondents knowing that he was not a party to the case, using same as a genuine judgment of the court with intent to mislead members of the public and ridiculing the judicial system of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hereby committed an offence punishable under section 366 penal code law.
Count 11: “That you Chief Edozie Njoku on or about July 18, 2022 and about 10.30am at the Force Headquarters of Nigeria Police Force, Area 11, Abuja and other places paraded and personating yourself as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance which you know the act to be false and criminal, thereby committing an offence which is punishable under section 179 of the penal code.”