A senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial zone, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo is in the centre of an alleged certificate forgery scandal as a Lugbe Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the senator over his inability to honour a court summon on a suit accusing him of presenting a forged NYSC Exemption Certificate.
The suit filed by Benjamin Youdiowei, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa said Ewhrudjakpo’s NYSC Exemption Certificate with code No: 139708 dated Feb. 2, 1998 on his nomination form to INEC was fake.
Youdiowei alleged that Ewhrudjakpo was still in possession of the document which he continued to use as part of his credentials.
He stated that the defendant committed the offence of cheating, impersonation, forgery which were at variant with sections 363, 368, 366 and 324 of the Penal Code.
At the resumed trial, Mr. Seidu Jibrin, Counsel for the plaintiff, told the court that the matter was fixed for hearing but expressed concerns that the defendant had consistently failed to honour the summons.
However, Mr Ijere A.O, Counsel to Ewhrudjakpo apologised for the absence of the defendant adding that his client traveled out of the court’s jurisdiction.
Ijere prayed the court to grant the defendant one more date to enable him appear.
Jibrin opposed the application of the defendant’s counsel and prayed the court to issue a bench warrant to ensure Sen. Ewhrudjakpo appears under section 352(1), 131 and 134 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act 2015.
Jibrin told the court that Ewhrudjakpo was aware of the case, adding that the defendant was duly served with the notice of sitting.
The counsel for the defendant, however, opposed the application of the complainant counsel and for warrant of arrest to be issued.
He prayed to the court to grant his client one more grace in the interest of justice.
Delivering his ruling, the judge, Abubakar Sadiq held that the defendant was aware of the case but chose to stay away.
“In the circumstances, I hereby issue a bench warrant against the defendant. I also order that the matter should be referred to the Wuye Police Station for further investigation,’’ he said
Sadiq further ordered the police to report to the court before Dec. 11, 2019.