Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Three students of the University of Abuja were yesterday arraigned before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, for allegedly using forged certificates of the National Examination Council (NECO) to gain admission into the university.
The suspects, Effiong Theresa, Solomon Victor and Abdulkabir Mohammad, who pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge of forgery preferred against them, were however granted bail in the sum of N200,000 each with one surety in like sum.
The Magistrate, Idayat Akanni Olaide, said the surety must not be lower than a level eight civil servant and should also be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court.
According to the First Information Report (FIR) read by the clerk of the court to the suspects, the alleged offence committed is in breach of Section 364 of the Penal Code.
The FIR read: “Forgery is contrary to Section 364 of Penal Code. On October 19, 2019, the registrar of the University of Abuja laid a complaint to the AIG Zone 7 of the police headquarters in Abuja for investigation.
“It revealed that you Effiong Theresa Etim with June 2017 NECO SSC No: 501569013; Solomon Victor, June 2017 NECO SSC No: 10506512111, and Abdulkabir Mohammad with June 2012 NECO SSC No: 105016543, with these certificates upon which you gained admission or sought admission into University of Abuja are forged. You are thereby suspected to have committed the above offence.”
The court was also told that the fourth suspect, Yakubu Joy Adama, who committed the same offence, couldn’t make it to the court for arraignment.
In a chat with journalists after the court sitting, the Police Prosecutor, Chijoke Okezie, expressed his readiness to ensure that the case is well prosecuted.
According to him, “They have been arraigned for the offence of forgery and the matter has been mentioned and the adjournment taken for hearting.
“One is absent, and efforts are on to get her. We are going to look for her.”
On the bail granted to the three suspects, Chijioke said he has nothing against it as long as they would make themselves available in court when needed.
“Bail is a right. They are entitled to bail as long as they will come back the day they are asked to comeback. There is no need to object to bail,” he said. The court adjourned the case to April 23, 2020, for commencement of trial.
As at time of filing this report, the defendants were yet to perfect their bail conditions, which may see them heading to detention till the bail terms are fully met.
NECO has stated that the move to drag the suspects to court is part of a wider plan to begin a massive crack down on individuals using forged NECO certificates in tertiary educational institutions across the country.