Kogi State High Court sitting in Lokoja has adjourned to October 23, for ruling on an Ex parte motion urging the court to issue a Bench Warrant for the arrest of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Deputy Governorship candidate, Mr Sam Ranti Abenemi.
The trial Judge, Justice A.S. Ibrahim reserved the ruling after hearing submissions of the State Counsel and Kogi State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Badama Kadiri Esq and Counsel to the Defendant, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa (SAN).
In the Case No: HCL/112c/2023 between: The State – Complainant/Applicant and Sam Ranti Abeneml – Defendant, the state government alleged forgery of GCE O’Level certificate against the defendant.
Charged with Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Documents as Genuine and Possession of Forged Record, the SDP Deputy Governorship candidate was said to have tendered a forged 1979 Ordinarily Level Certificate in his Form EC9 submitted to INEC.
The Prosecuting Counsel, said the offence was contrary to Sections 158, 164, 366 and 368 respectively of the Kogi State Penal Code.
According to him, a complaint was written to the Director of Security, Department of State Services (DSS) by one Shaibu O. Abdullahi, the vice chairman, Kogi Central Senatorial District of the SDP.
According to him, Abdullahi had alleged in the “Complaint” that Abenemi presented a forged GCE result to the Independent national electoral Commission (INEC) for the November 11th, 2023, Governorship Election.
The SDP Deputy Governorship Candidate, according to Abdullahi, lied on Oath in his Form EC9 (Substitute) Affidavit in support of particulars, that he obtained the said GCE result.
The Prosecution further submitted that during investigation of the complaint by the DSS, several invitations were extended to the defendant but he failed to honour them.
He said that the case diary was forwarded to the office of the DPP for Legal Advice and the Legal Advice declared a prima facie case of Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Documents as Genuine and Possession of Forged Record against Abenemi.
Kadiri submitted that the Defendant had also refused to appear in court for his trial and went ahead to file the Motion Ex Parte to compel appearance through a Bench Warrant.
The motion, supported by a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Ayegba Momoh, a Litigation Registrar in the state Ministry of Justice prayed the Court to grant an Order issuing a Bench Warrant for the arrest of the Defendant answer the case against him.
He also prayed for an Order of the Court directing all Police Officers, Officers of the Department of State Services (DSS), Officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) or any other person executing the warrant of arrest to apprehend the defendant.
Counsel to the defendant, J.S. Okutepa (SAN), flanked by J.O. Adele (SAN) and 12 other lawyers, told the court that the State was only exhibiting the “Audacity of Arrogance in trying to procure a Bench Warrant against the defendant.”
He said that by the 9th of October when the prosecution were filing the Motion Ex Parte, they had not even served notice on the defendant adding, “As at 9 am when Your Lordship sat, the Bailiff had not been mobilized to effect service.
“If he (Abenemi) had been served, he would have been here. He has nothing to run away from. Granting this motion will be a dangerous precedent to set for criminal jurisprudence.
“Justice is not only for the DPP or Kogi State, it is also for the defendant. Justice hurried is justice denied. We should all flee from appearance of impropriety”, Okutepa cautioned.
The trial judge, Justice A.S.Ibrahim adjourned to October 23, for ruling on the Motion Ex Parte.