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Enugu Police drags traditional ruler to court for alleged impersonation

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A traditional ruler in Enugu State, Chief Emmanuel Ogbonna has been dragged to court over alleged false claims of being an engineer.

Ogbonna, who is the monarch-elect of Ogugu community in the Awgu Local Government Area of the state, was arraigned before the Enugu South Magistrate Court over the matter by the state police command on Monday.

The police levelled a two-count charge bordering on perjury against him.

The counts read, “That you, Chief Emmanuel Muodebel Ogbonna, sometime in 2011 at the Enugu State High Court, Awgu Division, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did make an oath in suit No. HAW/01/2011 between Chief Emmanuel Muodebel Ogbonna and Jonas Uchenwa and six others, that you are an engineer when you knew you never obtained any professional qualifying certificate, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 145 and punishable under Section 146 of the Criminal Code, Cap 30, Vol. II, Revised Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria, 2004.

“That you, Chief Emmanuel Muodebel Ogbonna, within same time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district, did with intent to defraud falsely represent yourself as a professional engineer when you knew you were not, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 460 of the Criminal Code, Cap 30, Vol. II, Revised Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria, 2004.”

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After the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, his counsel, Nwabueze Ugwu applied for his bail on very liberal terms.

Nwabueze told the court, “The accused is an octogenarian and Igwe-elect of his community. It is that status that is in contention; the accused is a community leader; he is always in his palace in the village and can never absent himself from court. We make an application that he be granted bail on self recognition.”

The police prosecutor, ASP Austin Aguodoh, who did not oppose the bail application, however told the court to ensure the defendant provided a reasonable surety that must have a verifiable address.

Consequently, the Chief Magistrate, Nwebiem, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N300,000 and adjourned the matter till September 14 for definite hearing.

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