The Lagos State Police Command on Thursday arraigned a 30-year-old man, Toluwalope Akanni, for allegedly forging the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Certificate of Return, pretending to be a House of Reps member.
Akanni was accused of forging the signature of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the Commission’s seal on the Certificate of Return.
The suspect, who resides at Madogun area of Oke-ara in Ogun, was alleged to have forged the document to impersonate a House of Representatives member to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
This was disclosed by a prosecutor, Augustine Nwabuisi at a Yaba Magistrate Court during Akanni’s arraignment on Thursday.
Akanni, who was arraigned on a seven-count charge bordering on forgery, stealing and breach of the peace, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Prosecutor told the court that the defendant committed the offences on June 10 at the Ijaye Ojokoro area of Lagos.
Nwabuisi said that the defendant convened a meeting where he solicited for funds from people for his inauguration.
He said that Akanni had told some of his victims that he would secure federal appointments for them.
Nwabuisi also alleged that the defendant collected N665,000 and a brand new Samsung S9+ worth N260,000 from one Miss Jessica Eyimofe.
He added that Akanni collected N430,000 from one Mrs Dolapo Tunner, and N125,000 from one Mr Odulanmi Murtala, who he promised to secure jobs for.
“My lord, the defendant also claimed to be a lawyer; he told everyone that he had won the election.
“He also collected some money from members of his church with this scam.
“He went as far as taking people to Abuja in the guise of going for his inauguration.
“He forged INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s signature and the INEC seal on the certificate of return,” the prosecutor submitted.
The alleged offences contravene Section 365, 287 and 168 (d) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sections 287 and 365 stipulate three-year jail term each for stealing and forgery.
The Magistrate, Mrs S.O. Obasa admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum.
Obasa ordered that the sureties must be above 40 years and reside within the court’s jurisdiction.
She added that the sureties must have evidence of three years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government.
The Magistrate also ruled that one of the sureties must be a blood relation of the defendant.
She consequently adjourned the case until August 20 for trial.