Professor Obiajulu Obikeze and four others were charged with conspiracy and forgery of the Anambra chieftaincy before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday.
The defendants were permitted to keep the administrative bail given to them by the police after they pleaded not guilty to the 11 counts.
The prosecution’s attorney, Celestine Odo, had requested that they be detained awaiting their formal bail petitions.
The defendants who were represented by K. C. Nwufo (SAN) are Obikeze, Dr Raymond Ofor, Chief Ezue, Sir Amobi Nwafor, and Okafor Bethram.
Obikeze collaborates with Chukwuemeka Ojukwu University in Igbariam, previously Anambra State University.
The defendants were accused of committing the offences around January 15, 2019 in Awa, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, according to charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/184/2021.
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Section 68 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2019, and Section 106(c) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, were used to bring the accusations.
In the first count, the five defendants and those who are still at large were accused of conspiring to commit forgery, a crime punishable under Section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of Nigeria, 2010.
They were also accused of uttering forged documents and writing 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 would be acted on as genuine at Government House.
The date for the trial has been set for March 23-25.