By Alex Enumah
Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday ordered the remand of Dr. Obinna Uzor and his lawyer, Eziafa Enwedo, in the custody of the police pending the hearing and determination of their bail application in a forgery suit.
Justice Abang made the order shortly after the defendants alongside three others said to be at large, were arraigned before him for allegedly using a forged originating summons and court processes to obtain a judgment from an Abuja High Court in a bid to unseat Senator Ifeanyi Ubah representing Anambra South.
The judgment has since been set aside by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The defendants in the six-count criminal charge preferred against them by the police were said to have conspired and used a forged motion with No. M/4017/19, and forged originating summons to obtain a judgment from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court that ordered the removal of Senator Ubah of the Young Peoples Party (YPP), as the lawmaker representing Anambra South Senatorial District.
The defendants at large in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/78/2020 are: Anani Chuka, Aroh Ifunanya and Faith Samuel.
According to the charge, the defendants, by their action, committed an offence contrary to Section 3(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 Law’s of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 1(2) of the same Act.
The defendants however pleaded not guilty to all the six-count charge and their lawyer, Mr. Chukwudi Igwe, accordingly prayed the court to release the first defendant on bail but withdrew his application for bail of the second defendant pursuant to which same was struck out.
However, the prosecution lawyer, Mr Afam Osigwe, objected to the oral application for bail on the grounds that the prosecution intends to put facts before the court in opposition of the application for bail.
Osigwe noted that Dr Uzor was hitherto at large and deliberately refused to make himself available for trial until he was declared wanted by the police.
In his ruling, Justice Abang allowed the first defendant, Enwedo, to continue to enjoy his existing bail granted to him on March 19, 2020, while he ruled that the second defendant, Uzor, be remanded in police custody till July 6 when his formal bail application will be heard.
The court also held that the police should call the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to carry out Covid-19 test on Uzor and submit the test result to the court before the adjourned date.
“The court cannot order his remand in prison having regard to the current situation and since his medical condition is not known. The court have to be slow in remanding defendants in correctional centre.
“The court will take further decision as regard to his custody upon submission of result of his Covid-19 test,” Justice Abang ruled.
Justice Bello Kawu of the FCT High Court sitting in Kubwa had on April 11, 2019, sacked Ubah from the Senate over the allegation that he used a forged National Examination Council (NECO) certificate to contest the senatorial election that held in Anambra South on February 23, 2019.
Justice Kawu directed INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return it issued to Ubah and issue a fresh one to Uzor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who came second in the election.
The judge in January this year also upheld his judgment sacking Ubah after refusing Ubah’s request to set aside the judgment on account of lack of fair hearing.
However, Ubah, who contended that he was neither joined as a party nor served with any process with respect to the suit, subsequently persuaded the Court of Appeal in Abuja to set aside the judgment he said was obtained against him by fraud.
Shortly after the appellate court’s verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court, the FCT High Court indicted and sacked three of its staff, even as it demoted three others over their alleged complicity in forgery of the court’s processes.
An investigative panel that was set up by the court, said it found that the six judicial officers, connived and compiled a fraudulent case file and fabricated the judgment that was sought to be used in removing Ubah from the Senate.
Part of the charge read: “That you Eziafa Samuel Enwedo on or about September, 2019 at the Federal Capital Territory within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire with Anani Anacletus Chuka, Aron Ifunanya, Faith Samuel and Obinna Uzor all of who are at large to commit a felony to wit forging originating summons number CV/3044/18 Anani Anacletus Chuka Versus Ubah Ifeanyi Patrick and others and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(b) of the miscellaneous offences Act Cap M17 Law’s of the Federation Of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 1(2) of the same Act.
“That you Eziafa Samuel Enwedo (m) and the following other persons now at large that is Anani Anacletus Chuka (m), Aron Ifunanya (f), Faith Samuel (f) and Obinna Uzor (m) sometime in 2019 at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja made a press release to Elombanews with attached court documents that Senator (Dr) Ubah Ifeanyi Patrick, the distinguished Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District at the 9th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has by that judgment been removed from the Senate on the grounds of having forged his NECO certificate and that his party, Young People’s Party (YPP) did not conduct primaries, a message or news that is grossly offensive or indecent, obscene or menacing, and you caused annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to the said Senator (Dr) Ubah Ifeanyi Patrick, even though you knew the information to be false, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 15(1)(a),(b) Cyber Crime Act 2015”.