- An aspiring member of the House of Representatives has been arrested and whisked away from Benue to Abuja by officers of the Nigeria Police
- Sunday Oche was arrested in the early morning of Sunday, May 8, following a petition written against him to the police
- Oche has been accused of forging a 2019 House of Representatives aspirants signature and letterheaded paper in a notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission
As all political gimmicks for the 2023 general elections thicken, the police in Benue state have arrested a House of Representatives aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sunday Oche.
Legit.ng gathered that Oche was arrested by the police for allegedly committing forgery and perjury.
Seeking to represent the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency in Benue state, Oche was arrested in the early hours of Sunday, May 8, at the Double K resort in Otukpo.
Sources who spoke on the incident said that the aspiring lawmaker was whisked away to Abuja and was detained at the Force headquarters.
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According to the source, Oche's arrest followed a petition submitted to Zone 7 Police Headquarters, Abuja and addressed to the Assistant Inspector-General (AIG).
Petition of forgery and perjury against the aspirant
Dated April 19, the petition filed by one Michael Unogwu, an APC candidate for the House of Representatives in the 2019 general elections, alleged that Oche had forged the former's signature on his private letterheaded paper.
The petition noted that Oche in the letter which he addressed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2018 - purportedly from Unogwu - informed the electoral body of his (Unogwu) decision to withdraw from the National Assembly race.
According to the illegally written by Oche, Unogwu was withdrawing from the race shortly after his (Unogwu) emergence as a candidate of APC.
The petition which was submitted by attorneys to Mr Unogwu, F.S. Jimba & Co, reads in part:
"After the submission of the name of our client as its candidate for the election by the APC, Mr Oche Sunday Oche came up with a criminal design to unlawfully replace our client as APC candidate for the election.
"In this quest, Mr Oche Sunday Oche criminally procured INEC form CF 004A(i) being notice of withdrawal of candidate, filled it with our client's information, unlawfully obtained our client's passport photograph and affixed to the said form and then forged our client's signature on the said document."
"In addition to the above, Mr. Oche Sunday Oche placed his passport photograph on the said INEC Form CF 004A(i) as the candidate to replace our client as candidate.
APC's letter to INEC indicting the aspiring lawmaker
Annexed to the petition was the letter signed by the secretary to INEC, Rose Anthony in December 2018, informing the party of the anomalies associated with the purported letter of withdrawal.
The letter also indicated the reply signed by the national chairman of APC, informing INEC that the letter of withdrawal was actually forged.
The letter signed by the national chairman of the APC read:
"After thorough investigation, the party has come to the conclusion that the purported letter of withdrawal was indeed forged, hence nullifying his purported withdrawal."
Also sighted by Legit as an annexure, was a copy of the affidavit deposed to by Oche, denying the information provided in the purported letter of withdrawal and the INEC Form CF 004A(i) were true; thereby committing perjury.
It was also gathered that, when the Zone 7 police headquarters failed to act swiftly by arresting Oche, the complainant, Mr Unogwu, through his lawyers, approached the court with a direct criminal complaint against the defendant.
The court takes immediate action
The DCC sought the immediate prosecution of Oche for forgery, perjury and an attempt to use a forged document to commit a crime.
The Chief Magistrate of the court in Bwari subsequently ordered the arrest, investigation and arraignment of Oche.
He was, however, released on bail by the Police around 8 pm Sunday night.
The incident was confirmed by Austin Agada, the Benue state chairman of APC.
CSO reacts to the whole incident
Meanwhile, a pressure group, National Liberty and Justice Movement reacted to the release of Oche by the Nigeria Police, describing it as unfortunate.
Wisdom Adeleye, national secretary of the group who spoke in Abuja Sunday, May 8, night, warned the law enforcement agency against being suppressed by the pressure from politicians in the area.
"We are very much aware of this case and we shall join the suit. Our lawyers have been briefed and they shall apply to join the suit as we await the arraignment of Mr Sunday Oche.
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The same way we monitored the case of Honourable Gololo in Bauchi, we shall be actively involved in this, to ensure justice is served. The Police should not allow pressure from any powerful politician to suppress them. The entire world is watching."
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