Professor Obiajulu Obikeze and four others were, on Tuesday, arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja on allegations of conspiracy and forgery.
The defendants, who pleaded not guilty to the 11 counts, were allowed to continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted to them by the police.
This was against the position of the prosecution counsel, Celestine Odo, that they be remanded pending their formal bail applications.
The defendants, who were represented by their lawyer, K. C. Nwufo (SAN), are Obikeze, Dr Raymond Ofor, Chief Ezue, Sir Amobi Nwafor and Okafor Bethram.
Obikeze works with the Chukwuemeka Ojukwu University, formerly Anambra State University, Igbariam.
In the charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/184/2021, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences around January 15, 2019 at Awa, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The charges were brought pursuant to Section 68 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2019, and Section 106(c) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
In the first count, the five defendants and others now at large were alleged to have conspired to commit forgery, an offence contrary to Section 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of Nigeria, 2010.
In the second count, they were accused of uttering forged documents, while they were also accused of making a forged letter to the Special Adviser to the Anambra State Governor on Chieftaincy and Towns Union Matters titled, ‘Submission of Awa Chieftaincy Constitution’, knowing it to be false, with the intent that it might be acted upon as genuine at the Government House.
The matter has been fixed for March 23 to 25 for trial.