The police in Edo on Wednesday arraigned a Legal Practitioner, Smart Agbonlalor, aged 65, and Uwangue Osaigbovo, aged 55, in Benin for allegedly forging a land approval document, purported to have been issued by the Oba of Benin.
The two defendants were arraigned on a two-count bothering on conspiracy and forgery before an Ogbeson Chief Magistrates’ Court, Benin.
The Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Kehinde Iyawe, said that the defendants on July 19, along Benin/Auchi Road, Aduwawa, within Oregbeni Magisterial District, conspired to commit felony.
Iyawe alleged that the defendants forged the document in their bid to take possession of a land measuring 100ft by 200ft with beacon No N35/B, 46/B, 54/B, 55/B in Aduwawa area of Benin City.
Iyawe said the defendants alleged that the document was purportedly issued by the then Oba of Benin, Oba Akenzua ECMG, on April 15, 1966.
He said the defendants knew the document to be false because the landed property belonged to one Henry Okwarobo, the Majority Leader of the Edo State House of Assembly.
The prosecutor said that the offences contravened Sections 516, and 484 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the defunct Bendel State, 1976, which is now applicable in Edo.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against them.
The defendants’ counsels, S. C. Ugoke and M. I. Ukpebor, appealed to the Chief Magistrate to grant their clients bail in the most liberal terms.
They said their clients would not jump bail and would always appear in court.
The police prosecutor did not oppose the bail application.
Consequently, Chief Magistrate, Prince Mutairu Oare, admitted the defendants to a bail in the sum of N200,000 each, with one surety in the like sum.
He said that the surety must be a responsible person and must depose to an affidavit of means.
Oare also directed that the surety must deposit two recent passport photographs of himself and that of the defendants with the court.
He added that information about the surety’s residence should be verified by the court registrar.
The chief magistrate adjourned the case until August 23 for hearing.