Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has ordered the remand of a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, Dr. Obinna Uzoh, in the custody of the police, pending when COVID-19 test is conducted on him to ascertain his health status.
Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling on Thursday, said the court would only decide after his health status has been ascertained, whether or not to send him to prison pending the determination of his bail application.
The judge gave the ruling after Uzoh and his lawyer, Eziafa Enwedo, were arraigned on a six-count charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/78/2020 filed in the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and signed by Theophilus E. Oteme of the Legal/Prosecution Section of the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
Uzoh and Enwedo were alleged to have used a forged originating summons and other court processes to obtain a forged judgment from a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to unseat Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, representing Anambra South.
The forged judgment has since been set aside by the Court of Appeal, Abuja upon an appeal by Ubah.
The police alleged that they conspired and used a forged motion with No. M/4017/19, and forged originating summons to obtain the upturned judgment that sacked Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Peoples Party, YPP, as the lawmaker representing Anambra South Senatorial District. It was also alleged that the judgment presented by the duo was forged.
The police said, by their alleged acts, the defendants committed an offense contrary to Section 3(b) of the miscellaneous offenses Act Cap M17 Law’s Of the Federation Of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 1(2) of the same Act.
The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to them by an official of the court.
Defense lawyer Chukwudi Igwe prayed the court to allow Enwedo (who had earlier been granted bail in relation to a separate charge) on bail.
Igwe, who noted that his bail application for Uzoh, filed before arraigned, would not be allowed by the court, withdrew the same, following which the court struck it out.
Lawyer for the prosecution, Afam Osigwe, urged the court not to allow the defense lawyer to apply orally for bail on the grounds that he planned to place facts before the court to oppose bail for the defendant when they eventually file a formal application for bail.
Osigwe claimed that Uzoh was hitherto at large and deliberately refused to make himself available for trial until he was declared wanted by the police.
The ruling, Justice Abang allowed the Enwedo, who is the 1st defendant, to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted to him on 19th March 2020, when he was initially arraigned alone.
The judge ordered that the 2nd defendant, Uzor should be remanded in police custody till July 6 when his formal bail application will be heard.
Justice Abang directed the police to request the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to conduct the COVID-19 test on Uzoh and submit the result of the test to the court before the next adjourned date.
The judge added: “The court cannot order his remand in prison having regard to the current situation and since his medical condition is not known, the court has to be slow in remanding defendants in correctional centers.
“The court will take the further decision as regard to his custody upon the submission of the result of his COVID-19 test,” the judge said and adjourned to July 6.