AN FCT High Court on Wednesday fixed July 6 for ruling on whether to refer the case of alleged certificate forgery preferred against a Kwara lawmaker, Ahmed Ndakene, to the Police Command in the FCT.
The matter which was slated for ruling on report from the police investigation could not go further as the court was informed by the police that the report was not ready.
The police, who was represented by Sgt. Buba Irimiya apologised to the court for the delay and equally craved the court’s indulgence for an additional one week in order to submit the report.
Irimiya told that the court that he believed that investigation had been concluded, however, the report was yet not ready.
In response to the police submission, Labio Oji, the complainant’s counsel frowned at police’s submission and urged the court to use its discretion to refer the matter to a higher police station.
He premised his application on Section 1 ( 1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ( ACJA), 2015 .
According to Oji, the section advocated and ensured speedy dispensation of justice.
He further said the court was not a dumping ground as the police station which was given two weeks to submit the report of its investigation could not deliver on the responsibility assigned to it.
In addition, Oji told the court that since it was a court of summary jurisdiction, it should use its discretionary power to refer the matter to a higher police station.
In his argument, he equally said he felt the station had obvious challenge and could not meet up with the two weeks given by the court, hence his application.
He concluded by saying that the failure of the police to submit its report within the stipulated time had amounted to justice been delayed, which he said was justice denied.
Alex Edim, the defence counsel in reply to Oji’s application objected on grounds that the section cited by Oji at a cursory look was in favour of the defence position.
He argued that to refer the matter to another police station will take more time as they will commence on the investigation all over.
Edim also refuted Oji’s submission that the matter be referred to a higher police station as according to him all police station were headed by a Divisional Police Officer ( DPO).
The counsel in addition said the application of his learned colleague was design as a ploy to further delay the proceedings of the court.
He further said by the counsel’s application, the court would need time to research on authorities in order to deliver a ruling on his application, thereby leading to further delay.
Edim therefore urged the court to dispense of the matter within a short time as the prolonged continuation of the matter will continue to affect the performance and duties of his client because of the criminal allegation hanging on him.
The counsel cited Section 36 ( 6) of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution ( as amended). He concluded by urging the court in the interest of justice to grant the police the time requested for and deny Oji’s application.
Oji, in reply referred the court on its order made on June 11, which assigned the case to Utako Police Station to investigate the matter and report back within two weeks.
According to him, the failure of the police to submit the report within the stipulated time constituted an offence already.
The judge, Inuwa Maiwada after listening to the arguments of both counsel adjourned the matter until July 6 for ruling on the applications brought by counsel.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court in the last adjourned date directed the Utako Divisional Police Station to conduct an investigation into the allegation brought against Ndakene by way of direct criminal complaint by Mahmud Babako.
Babako, who was a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election that Ndakene emerged as winner, on the platform of the APC had alleged that the defendant forged his certificate.
Babako alleged that Ndakene, who represents Edu/Moro/Patigi Federal Constituency of Kwara, had criminally breached the provision of Section 88(1), 89(3) and 109c of the Administrative Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
He alleged that Ndakene forged his certificate and presented same to the Independent National Electoral Commission in the form he used to contest for the 2019 election.
He also alleged that the defendant deposed on oath to facts which were not true and his occupying the seat of his constituency was based on false information and forged documents.
– July 01, 2020 @ 14:45 GMT