Counsel absence stalls Epe chief trial over forgery

Further hearing in the trial of Chief Olajide Ikuforiji, the Balogun of Epeland, Lagos, before a Federal High Court, Lagos, was stalled today, due to the absence of prosecution and defence team.

Chief Ikuforiji is being tried before Justice AbdulAzeez Anka by the men of Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi, Lagos, on a two count-charge of forgery.

He was first arraigned before the court on August 11, 2016, when he was alleged to have forged minutes of an emergency meeting of the Eko Epe Forum held on October 20, 2012, over a chieftaincy tussle.

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

He was also alleged to have done so to prejudice the Oba of Epe Kingdom, S. O. Adewale, Alhaji Adio Oduola and Alhaji Tunde Bello.

The alleged offence is contrary to Section 1 (2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Ikuforiji pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.

During the trial, the prosecution had called its witnesses and tendered the said forged documents which were admitted as exhibits.

At the end of prosecution case, the defendant filed no-case-submission, which was dismissed by the trial judge and he was called upon to open his defence.

At the resumed hearing of the matter today, only the defendant was in court. And both the defendant’s counsel and prosecution counsel were conspicuously absence.

Following the absence on the counsel, Justice Anka while adjourning the matter till January 13, 2020, for definite hearing of defence, ordered that the hearing notice be issued for the prosecution and that the defendant should income his counsel of the adjourned date.

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