The Nigeria Police have apprehended Engr. Sunday Oche, a House of Representatives candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), for suspected forgery and perjury.
Engr. Oche, who is vying for the Federal Constituency of Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo in Benue State, was arrested at the Double K resort in Otukpo in the early hours of Sunday and taken away to Abuja, where he was held at the Force headquarters until the night.
According to sources, Oche was arrested after a plea was submitted at Zone 7 Police Headquarters in Abuja on April 19, 2022, by one Mr. Michael Unogwu, the APC candidate for House of Representatives in the 2019 federal elections.
Engr. Oche allegedly forged Mr. Unogwu’s signature on his private letterhead paper, causing a letter to be sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2018 as a purported letter of withdrawal from the National Assembly race, shortly after his (Unogwu’s) emergence as the APC’s candidate.
“After the APC submitted our client’s name as its candidate for the election, Mr. Oche Sunday Oche came up with a criminal plot to unlawfully replace our client as APC candidate for the election,” according to the petition presented by Attorneys to Mr. Unogwu, F.S. Jimba & Co. Mr. Oche Sunday Oche obtained INEC form CF 004A(i) (notice of withdrawal of candidate) for this purpose, filled it out with our client’s information, unlawfully obtained our client’s passport photograph and fastened it to the said form, and then forged our client’s signature on the document.
“In addition to the foregoing, Mr. Oche Sunday Oche put his passport photo on the said INEC Form CF 004A(i) as a candidate to replace our client.”
“Furthermore, Mr. Oche Sunday Oche faked a letter of withdrawal dated November 15, 2018, sent to the APC National Chairman, purporting to withdraw our client’s candidacy from the General Election.” As a result of the aforesaid, Mr. Oche Sunday Oche’s name was forwarded to INEC as an APC election candidate.”
The petitioners included the supposed letter of withdrawal, INEC Form CF 004A(i), and a letter of mandate from the party requesting that Mr. Unogwu’s name be substituted for Engr. Oche’s.
The letter signed by Rose Oriaran Anthony, Secretary to the Commission (INEC), in December 2018, informing the party of the anomalies associated with the purported letter of withdrawal, as well as the reply signed by the APC national Chairman informing INEC that the letter of withdrawal was actually forged, were also annexed.
“The party has concluded that the supposed letter of withdrawal was indeed faked, thereby nullifying his purported withdrawal,” the letter signed by the APC national Chairman reads in part.
A copy of an affidavit deposed to by Engr. Oche, implying that the information supplied in the supposed letter of withdrawal and the INEC Form CF 004A(i) were true, was also spotted as an annexure by our reporter.
It was also learned that after the Zone 7 Police Headquarters failed to act quickly in arresting Engr. Oche, the Complainant, Mr. Unogwu, approached the Court with a direct Criminal Complaint against the defendant, seeking his immediate prosecution for forgery, perjury, and attempting to commit a crime using a forged document through his lawyers.
Following that, the Chief Magistrate Court in Bwari ordered his arrest, inquiry, and arraignment.
The police, on the other hand, freed him on bail at 8 p.m. on Sunday night.
Comrade Austin Agada, the APC’s Benue State Chairman, verified the news to our correspondent over the phone late Sunday night.
Meanwhile, the National Liberty and Justice Movement, a pressure group, has described Engr. Oche’s release by the Nigerian Police as unfortunate.
Comrade Wisdom Adeleye, the group’s national secretary, warned the law enforcement agency against being stifled by political pressure in the area at a speech in Abuja on Sunday night.
“We are well aware of this case and intend to join it.” Our lawyers have been advised and will apply to join the suit as we await Mr. Sunday Oche’s arraignment.
“We will be fully involved in this, just as we were in the instance of Hon. Gololo in Bauchi, to guarantee justice is delivered.” Any prominent politician’s pressure should not be used to suppress the police. Adeleye stated, “The entire world is watching.”