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Immigration official and two others remanded for forging documents

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A Federal High Court sitting in Katsina on Monday remanded a passport officer with the Nigeria Immigration Service, Peter Ethan, and two others in prison custody till November 13, 2018 for attempting to procure a Nigerian passport with false documents.

The other two accused persons are Michael Okoro and Jennifer Okoro.

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Justice Hadiza Shagari directed that the accused should be remanded in prison till November 13, when she would entertain their applications for bail.

The trio are facing a three-count charge bordering on alleged presentation of false documents to procure the passport for Michael.

Specifically, count one of the charges read, “That you Mr Okoro Kelechi Michael, male ,Nigerian, and Miss Okoro Nnenna Jennifer, female, Nigerian, both of Lugbe, Abuja, and Mr Peter Ethan of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Katsina State Command, on or about the 5th of April, 2018 at the Passport Office in Katsina, conspired to make a false statement for the purpose of procuring a passport for Mr Okoro Kelechi Michael and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 10(1)(h) of the Immigration Act, 2015 and punishable under the same section.”

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Count two read “That you Mr Okoro Kelechi Michael, male, Nigerian of Lugbe, Abuja, on or about the 5th of April, 2018, at the Passport Office in Katsina, knowingly made a false statement for the purpose of procuring a standard Nigerian passport for yourself to wit; presenting a Katsina State residential letter that contains false information about your place of residence, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 10(1)(c) and punishable under section 1(h) of the Immigration Act, 2015.”

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The third count read, “That you Mr Peter Ethan, male, Nigerian of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Katsina State Command, on or about the 5th of April, 2018 at the Passport Office in Katsina, within the jurisdiction of this court, counselled Mr Okoro Kelechi Michael to make a false statement for the purpose of procuring a standard Nigerian passport for himself and thereby committed an offence, contrary to section 10(1)(h) and punishable under section (10)(1)(h) of the Immigration Act, 2015.’’

The trio pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecution counsel, Collins Obilor, told the court that he was ready for their trial.

Counsel for the first and second accused persons, Sunny Elias, however, told the court that his clients were not served the charge sheet on time, the allegation which Obilor refuted.

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Elias made an oral application for bail for the accused persons, which the presiding judge overruled.

Justice Shagari assured Elias that she would give him enough time to formally file the bail application and serve the other parties concerned.

She fixed November 13, 2018 to hear the bail application and revoked the administrative bail hitherto enjoyed by the accused persons.

She also directed that the trio be remanded in prison custody till the next adjourned date.

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