By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Chairman of Kogi Elders Forum, and a legal practitioner, Chief Julius Elukpo has been arraigned before a Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court on a one count of forgery.
Elukpo who was alleged to have used forged signatures of two other persons to write a petition to the Minister of Health on March 22, 2017.
When the charge was mentioned to Elukpo, he pleaded not guilty.
However, the police prosecutor , Sgt. Obi Ubana told the court presided over by Mr Seidu Hussein that Elukpo in the petition alleged corruption, fraud and injustice against some management staff of the Federal Medical Centre , Lokoja.
He explained that the police investigated and established that two of the signatories on the petition were forged, prompting the state Commissioner of police to institute the case against Elukpo.
Ubana said that the offense is contrary to Section 364 of the penal code , saying that the offense carry a maximum of 14 years imprisonment if find guilty .
He told the court that he had lined up five witnesses , including the two persons whose signatures were allegedly forged by the defendant to prove his case.
The prosecutor then asked the court to remand the defendant in prison custody and asked for the adjournment of the case , saying that the case of forgery is not ordinarily a bailable one.
Counsel to Elukpo, Mr Muizdeen Abdulahi , while making oral application for bail of Elukpo urged the court to use its discretion in granting his client bail.
He said that Elukpo is well respected member of the bar in Lokoja who will not interfere with investigation or jump bail.
Responding , the prosecutor , Ubana urged the court not to grant the bail , saying that Elukpo had consistently failed to honour police invitations, saying that forced the police to arrest him on March 8 and consequently charged him to court today.
In his ruling , the Chief Magistrate agreed with the prosecution that the case was ordinarily a bailable one but explained that the court can still exercise its discretion over the application.
Hussein consequently granted Elukpo bail on self recognition with aN50,000 bond. He seriously warned him not to interfere with investigation and not to commit any other fgemce.
The Chief Magistrate them adjourned the case till March 19 for mention.