A lawyer, Chief Julius Elukpo was on Friday arraigned before a Lokoja Chief Magistrates court on one count of forgery. Elukpo who is also the Chairman of the Kogi State Elders Forum 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 read to Elukpo, he pleaded not guilty. However, the police prosecutor , Sgt. Obi Ubana told the court presided over by Seidu Hussein that Elukpo in the petition alleged corruption, fraud and injustice against some management staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.
He said 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. Sgt Ubana said that the offence was contrary to Section 364 of the penal code, saying that the offence carries a maximum of 14 years imprisonment if found 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.
Ubana 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 Muizdeeen Abdulahi , while making oral application for bail, urged the court to use its discretion in granting his client bail. He said that Elukpo is a 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 this 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 N50,000 bond. He seriously warned him not to interfere with investigation and not to commit any other offence. The Chief Magistrate then adjourned the case till March 19 for mention.