Lawyer arraigned for forging client’s signature
45-year-old lawyer, Emekoba Russell, was arraigned by the police on Tuesday at Wuse Zone II Magistrates’ Court for allegedly forging his client’s signature.
The client, identified as Hadiza Ujaj, owns a property at No 364, Zone 6, Dutse Alhaji, Abuja, which is at the centre of the case.
According to the police, Mr Russell, residing in Zone 6, Dutse Alhaji, Abuja, forged Ms Ujaj’s signature on an irrevocable power of attorney that was executed in his favour.
The defendant faced a four-count charge of forgery, using a forged document as genuine, criminal misappropriation, and criminal intimidation.
During the arraignment, Mr Russell pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecution counsel, Edwin Inegbenoise, informed the court that the case was reported by Ms Ujaj through a petition to the Inspector General of Police on November 9, 2022.
Mr Inegbenoise stated that the complainant had only entered into an oral agreement with the defendant for the management of the property.
However, the defendant went behind her and forged her signature on a power of attorney.
Mr Inegbenoise further revealed that Mr Russell had been collecting rent on behalf of the complainant but had misappropriated a significant portion of it for personal use.
Additionally, he allegedly threatened harm to the complainant if she failed to pay him a percentage of the proceeds from the property’s sale.
The charges against the defendant are in violation of sections 363, 366, 308, and 397 of the Penal Code.
Magistrate Chukwuemeka Nweke granted the defendant bail in the amount of N500,000, with two sureties who must each provide the same sum.
One of the sureties is required to be a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) unity bar.
The case was adjourned to August 16 for the commencement of the hearing.