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A lawyer, Julius Elukpo was on Friday arraigned before a Lokoja Chief Magistrates’ Court on a one-count charge of forgery.

Elukpo who is also the Chairman of Kogi State Elders Forum was alleged to have forged the signatures of two 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 Chief Magistrate, Mr Seidu Hussein that Elukpo had in the petition alleged corruption, fraud and injustice against some management staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.

He said that after police investigation, it was established that two of the signatures on the petition were forged, prompting the state Commissioner of Police to institute the case against Elukpo.

Ubana said that the offence is contrary to Section 364 of the penal code and prescribes 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 sought for adjournment.

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.

However, the prosecutor urged the court not to grant the bail, saying that the defendant had consistently failed to honour police invitations.

He said that the police had to arrest the accused on March 8 and consequently charged him to court.

The Chief Magistrate agreed with the prosecution that the case was ordinarily bailable, but explained that the court can still exercise its discretion over the application.

Hussein consequently granted Elukpo bail on self recognition, with a N50,000 bond.

He warned the defendant not to interfere with investigation or commit any other offence.

The Chief Magistrate them adjourned the case till March 19, for mention.

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