A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Bwari, on Monday, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of a factional leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Edozie Njoku.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Mohammed Madugu, directed the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies in the country to arrest the APGA chieftain for allegedly forging a judgement of the Supreme Court.
The defendant was alleged to have presented the forged judgement as genuine, with the intention of misleading the public and ridiculing the judiciary.
He was further accused of forging the letterheaded paper of a retired Justice of the apex court, Mary Peter-Odili.
In his ruling, Justice Madugu, ordered that Chief Njoku and his alleged accomplice, Chukwuemeka Nwoga, should be arrested and produced in court on November 28 to face a 14-count criminal charge.
Two counts in the charge against the defendants, marked CR/12/2022, and dated October 21, read: “That you, Chief Edozie Njoku and 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.
“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”.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Rimamsonte Ezekiel, who is a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, had informed the court that though the two defendants has since been served with a copy of the charge against them, they deliberately made themselves unavailable for trial.
He, therefore, prayed the court to issue the bench warrant to enable security agencies to arrest the defendants and compel their appearance to defend the allegations against them.
However, a lawyer that appeared for the defendants, Mr Panam Ntui, urged the court to refuse the application for a bench warrant.
He told the court that the 1st defendant, Chief Njoku, travelled to Imo state, hence his inability to appear for trial.
Ntui pleaded for a short adjournment, stressing that though the defendants were yet to be personally served with the charge as required by law, they instructed him to appear in the matter as a mark of respect they have for the court.
While countering Ntui’s claim, the prosecution counsel insisted that the defendants were duly served with the charge.
CSP Ezekiel told the court that he had on November 17, called the 1st defendant on phone to also notify him of the case.
He told the court that owing to the call, the 1st defendant, sent one Mr Okoro C. Ben, who signed and collected a copy of the charge.
Likewise, nominal complainants in the matter, APGA and its Chairman, Chief Victor Oye, who were represented by Mr. Stephen Nwoga, told the court that the 1st defendant was in Abuja and not in Imo state as claimed by his lawyer.
They told the court that the 1st defendant, Chief Njoku, held a press conference in Abuja last Thursday, wherein he allegedly insulted the Supreme Court and the police, describing the charge against him as frivolous.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Madugu held that there was no cogent or verifiable reason to justify the absence of the defendants in court.
The trial judge said there was evidence before the court to establish that the defendants have been duly served with the charge.
He held that refusal of the defendants to make themselves available before the court was deliberate and intentional.
Consequently, Justice Madugu acceded to the request of the prosecution counsel and accordingly issued warrant for the two defendants to be arrested and produced for arraignment on the next adjourned date.