A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, presiding over by Justice Abdul-azeez Anka, has adjourned till 14th of November, 2022 for the adoption of the final written address in the criminal trial of Chief Olajide Ikuforiji.
Ikuforiji, an Epe High Chief, who is being prosecuted by the Police Special Fraud Unit, Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in charge number FHC/ L/ 323c /2016 is currently facing a two counts charge bothering on forgery and uttering of forged documents.
Ikuforiji was charged under sections 2(c)of the Miselanious Offences Act 2004, Law of the Federation of Nigeria .
According to the two counts charge, Ikuforiji was alleged to have forged the minutes of the emergency meeting of Eko Epe Forum held on the 20th of October, 2012 at the residence of Otun Mogaji Ngeri.
Consequently the trial of the defendant went on before Justice A.M Anka, as the prosecution closed its case after calling four witnesses, tendering several exhibits and the court thereafter adjourned for the defendant to open his defense.
But, rather than open his defense, Ikuforiji opted for a no-case submission which was later dismissed, but not satisfied with the ruling of the court in the no -case submission, he appealed the ruling at the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal, but the appellate court while delivering ruling on his appeal on July 23, 2020 in suit number number CA/L/1447c/ 2018 sustained the decision of the trial court and ordered the defendant to return to the lower court and open his defense.
Instead of the defendant to obey the decision of the appellate court which directed him to return to the lower court for his trial, he was said to have jumped bail and absconded since September 2020 despite service of hearing notice dated 22nd of December, 2020 directing him to appear in court on the 20th of January 2021 while all efforts at tracking him had not been successful since then.
Following his continued absence in court, the prosecutor sought a bench warrant for his arrest which was granted by the court, but they were unable to apprehend him.
Consequently, the prosecution on the 13th of June 2022 applied to the court that the defendant be tried in absential in line with section 352 ( sub 4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA), 2015 and the trial court granted the application
At the resumed trial of the case today, Ikuforiji was equally absent in court, but his counsel, Mr Kadiri Lawal was present to represent him.
While giving reason for the absence of the defendant, Lawal tendered a hand written medical report from one M. H. A Clinic, Lagos, but Police counsel Barrister Chukwu Agwu countered the presentation of the medical report.
He submitted that the report is suspicious, that it has been the modus operandi of the defendant to further delay and probably defeat the cause of justice.
Justice Anka after listening to both parties, directed the prosecution to file his written address and serve the defendant’s lawyer.
The judge then adjourned the matter till the 14th of November, 2022 for adoption of final written addresses