LAGOS HIGH CHIEF CHARGED TO COURT FOR FORGERY

The Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU) yesterday arraigned the Balogun of Epe, Chief Olajide Ikuforiji, at the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged forgery.

He was accused of forging the minutes of an emergency meeting of the Eko Epe Forum held on October 20, 2012, over a chieftaincy tussle.

The police said he did so “with intend to defraud,” adding that he “fraudulently uttered (presented) a forged and false” document with intent that it may be acted upon as genuine.

The police said it was to prejudice the Oba of Epe, S.O. Adewale, as well as Alhaji Adio Oduola and Alhaji Tunde Bello.

Ikuforiji pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.

His lawyer, Ovie Adollo, objected to the charge on the ground that two other cases on the same issue were pending at the Lagos State High Court and at the Federal High Court.

“With this charge, three different courts are being invited to sit and decide on the same subject-matter,” he said.

According to him, Ikuforiji and the Olu of Epe were the defendants in the suit before Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson of the Lagos State High Court, where he said issues had already been joined.

“We also filed an action before Justice Babs Kuewumi (of the Federal High Court), which is still subsisting. The best decision is to await the decision of the courts. They are just interested in hounding the defendant,” the lawyer said.

But, prosecuting counsel Effiong Asuquo said the other cases were civil actions, which he said cannot prevent the filing of a criminal charge.

“It is trite that both (a civil case and a criminal case) can go on at the same time,” he said.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka directed Adollo to file a formal objection to the charge, as well as a bail application.

He adjourned till October 5 for hearing.

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