By Benjamin NworieÂ in Abakaliki
Chief Whip of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Chike Imo Ogiji was yesterday arraigned before Abakaliki Magistrate court for alleged an certificate forgery.
Ogiji was arrested and detained by the police before he was arraigned yesterday. He faced a four count charge of allegedly forging his First School Leaving Certificate and Primary School testimonial.
In suit No. MAB 33/C/2018, the offence is punishable under section 118 of the Criminal Code Act, cap C38 Laws of the federation 2004 and section 467 Cap C38 Laws of the federation as applicable in Ebonyi State.
Some of the charges read â€œthat you Ogiji Chike Imo, on the 10th day of November, 2006 at Abakaliki in the Magisterial district of the court did knowinglyÂ swore false affidavit touching on a first school leaving certificate purportedly issued to you in the year 1984 by
Community Primary School Uduku Ettam Okpuitumo in Ikwo local government area, Ebonyi State and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 118 of the criminal code cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Ebonyi State of Nigeria.
â€œThat you Ogiji Imo Chike, between 2007 and 2015 at Abakaliki in the Magisterial district of this court did forge an entry schedule marksheet and state Exams for community primary school Uduku Ettam Okpuitumo in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State for the year 1986 with intent that it may be used or acted upon as genuine and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 456 and punishable under section 467 of the Criminal Code Act, cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Ebonyi state of Nigeriaâ€.
After the charges were read to him, Ogiji pleaded not guilty.
His Defence Counsel, Emeka Odom urged the court to grant him bail on self-recognition, adding that he was presumed innocent at this stage until proven guilty.
â€œThe fundamental issue in this application for bail is to ensure that he is available to face trial. We urge this court to admit him to bail on self-recognition. He is a person of repute and he is representing Ikwo South state constituency in the state House of Assembly, he is also the Chief Whip of the Assembly.
â€œThe accused is enjoying police administrative bail and is so religious in granting police interview. He came from police to this court, manifesting that the respect he has for the law of the nation,â€ he told the trial magistrate.
The Prosecuting counsel, Peter Amadi urged the court to refuse the accused person bail, stressing that he was apprehensive that the accused may jump bail.
In his ruling, the trial Magistrate, Stella Ogoke granted him bail for N20,000Â and a surety in like sum and adjourned the matter toÂ 11th June, 2018Â for trial.
She further directed the prosecution to make available his prooof of evidence of the alleged crime.