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Wanted Ikuforiji Appears in Court As Judge Orders His Remand in Prison

An Epe High Chief, Olajide Ikuforiji, who was declared wanted by a Federal High Court in Lagos, over failure to appear to answer a forgery case has been remanded in prison pending determination of the case.

Justice AbdulAzeez Anka, gave the order after revoking the bail earlier granted to him and admitted to a fresh bail terms.

Chief Ikuforiji, who is a senior brother the former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, is currently facing trial on a two count-charges of alleged forgery and uttering of forged documents of documents, Newsdish reports.

He was formerly arraigned before the court sometime in 2018, by the men of the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Ikoyi, Lagos.

However, midway into the trial of the charge, the defendant failed to appear before the court, the development, which compels the prosecutor, Mr Chukwu Agwu to ask the court for a bench warrant which was granted by the court.

At the resumed hearing of the charge today, defendant’s lawyer, K. S. Lawal, Informed the court that he had two pending applications, which are ripe for hearing.

Lawal told the court that one of the applications is asking the court to set aside the earlier warrant of arrest against his client, while the second motion is asking the court to set aside the earlier order which foreclosed the defendant case due to his prolonged absence to open his defence or filed any written defence.

But the prosecutor, Mr. Chukwu Agwu in his opposition to the hearing of the two applications, informed the court that he has just been served with an advance copy of the motions at the court premises and as such the applications are not ripe for hearing.

On the issue of the application seeking to set aside the Bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant, after a prolong argument, and the defendant’s inability to clarify the true state of his sureties, the court revoked the earlier bail granted the defendant and granted a fresh bail conditions with new terms.

The defendant was charged under sections 2(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act 2004, Law of the Federation of Nigeria.

Counts one of the charge, alleged that Ikuforiji forged the Minutes of the Emergency Meeting of Eko Epe Forum held on October 20, 2022, at the residence of Otun Mogaji of Epeland.

Consequently upon the arraignment of the defendant, the trial went on before Justice AbdulAzeez Anka and the prosecution closed its case after calling four witnesses and tendering several exhibits.

The trial judge, Justice Anka thereafter adjourned for the defendant to open his defense.

However, rather than open his defense, Ikuforiji opted for a no- case-submission which was later dismissed by the court.

Disatisfied with the court’s decision, the defendant headed to Appeal court, to challenge the dismissal of his no-case-submission in a suit marked CA/L/1447c/2028.

However, the appellate court while delivering ruling on the defendant’s appeal on July 23, 2020, upheld the lower court decision and ordered the defendant to return to the lower court and open his defense.

But instead of the defendant to obey the decision of the appellate court which ordered him to return to the lower court for his trial, he had refused to turn up for his trial since September 2020, despite service of hearing notice dated December 22, 2020, directing him to appear in court. While all efforts to get him tracker since January 20, 2021, were not successful.

Following his continued absence in court, the prosecutor, Barrister Agwu sought a bench warrant for his arrest which was granted by the court, but the police were still unable to apprehend him.

Consequently the prosecution on June 13, 2022, applied to the court that the defendant be tried in absentia in line with section 352 ( sub 4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) 2015, and the trial court granted the application.

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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