Arraigned in court for alleged OBT, degree forgeries, as chief magistrate to rule of bail Jan 23, 2023
A 22-year-old dark-complexioned man identified as Salihu Nasiru Ibrahim has been nabbed by operatives of the Rivers State Police Command in Port Harcourt in a racket involving N15m for procurement of US Dollars in a foreign exchange deal gone sour.
The accused, Ibrahim, said to be the son of a Director at the National Agricultural Biotechnology Development Agency in Abuja, is now standing trial at the Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court 10 presided over by A.O Amadi-Nna where a battle for bail is raging.
According to a charge sheet made available to newsmen, Ibrahim is accused of obtaining the N15m from one Grace Ogolo to help her change it at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Dollars at the government rate but did not change it and did not return the money since July 2022.
The charge sheet prepared by a Superintendent of Police (SP), Sewari Alphaeus, said the offence contravened Section 1 (b,c) and is punishable under Section 1 (2,3) of the Advance Fee Fraud Laws of the Federation 2006.
Count Two alleged that Ibrahim forged Police Identity Card to be regarded as a police officer. The prosecution said other forgeries would be unveiled as the case would progress.
When the case was called up on Monday, January 16, for bail, the defence team led by Leticia Mukoro, quoted Section 18 of Magistrate Court Law of 2004 which she said empowered the court to grant bail to the accused.
Mukoro argued that the Supreme Court’s position was that as long as the case did not have capital punishment, bail could be granted by the Chief Magistrate.
She also mentioned that there was an existing relationship between the defendant and complainant who she said knew that Ibrahim was not a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or Bureau De Change (BDC) to expect him to change money into foreign exchange.
She added that settlement of the case was underway, stressing that the accused was a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who should be allowed to go out and serve his fatherland.
The prosecutor, however, immediately opposed the bail plea. Supporting the opposition for bail, Benjamin Awuse, the oversight counsel for the complainant, said in the statement by the accused had admitted committing the listed offences.
He said further particulars of the charge indicated that a serious felony was committed by forging police identity and forging a university degree with which Ibrahim wants to serve in the NYSC.
The counsel told the court that the accused may not come back to the court because of other things to be revealed when the trial commences.
Above all, he said, the court did not have jurisdiction to grant bail. On hope for a settlement, he said the parties were not discussing such a thing.
The Chief Magistrate, however, fixed January 23, 2023, for ruling on the bail application.