Nigerian Activist, Charles Arukwe Arrested and Arraigned on Alleged False Charges in Enugu after Exposing Extortion | #NwokeukwuMascot

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..For Exposing Extortion, Nigerian Police In Enugu Arrest, Arraign Activist, Charles Arukwe On Trumped-Up Charge | #NwokeukwuMascot 

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 The Enugu State Police Command has arraigned and remanded in prison custody a rights activist, Charles Arukwe on a trumped up charge of alleged forgery.

His arrest, police sources told SaharaReporters on Tuesday, followed his consistent petition against the operatives attached to the Awgu police station over unbridled extortion of residents over the years.

In a three-count charge marked MGB/13c/2023, which SaharaReporters obtained, the police are accusing Arukwe of forgery of a motorcycle sale agreement which the lawyer that prepared the agreement faulted.

 

 

The charge had been brought first before a Senior Magistrate, Jude Umezulike on January 8, 2023, and rejected for lack of evidence to support the charge. 

It was brought again before Magistrate P.U Igwiloh, who now remanded the activist in custody on Friday, March 15, 2024.

 

The charge had the Commissioner of Police as the complainant and Ekene Charles Arukwe as the accused.

 

It partly read: "Count One: That you Ekene Charles Arukwe (M) and three others now at large on the 26th day of June 2022 at about 2:30 pm at Arukwe's Quarters Onoli Awgu within Awgu Magisterial District did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: FORGERY/COMPOUNDING FELONY AND PREVENTING OF JUSTICE and thereby committed an offense punishable under Section 495 of the Criminal Code Cap 30 Volume II Revised Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria 2004.

 

 

"Count Two: That you Ekene Charles Arukwe (M) and three others now at large on the same date and time at the aforesaid Magisterial District did Forge one motorcycle sale agreement with seal Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) between Blessing Goodluck (as seller) and Mr. Arukwe Charles Ekene (as Buyer) and thereby committed offense punishable under Section 443 of the Criminal Code Cap 30 Volume II Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria 2004.

 

 

"Count Three: That you Ekene Charles Arukwe (M) and three others now at large on the same date and time at the aforesaid Magisterial District did aid the escape of Chibuike Okolie by preventing Nigeria Police Force Awgu Division personnel and Awgu neighborhood watch Awgu not to arrest him knowing very well that he is involved in a case of murder of one Damian Onyekeleorji dated 25/10/2020 and thereby committed an offense punishable under Section 156 of the Criminal Code Car 30 Volume II Revised Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria 2004."

Speaking to SaharaReporters on the trumped-up charges, the lawyer who prepared the sale agreement, Mr Fidelis Onuma, said the charge was a pure police witch-hunt against Arukwe for being a stumbling block on their extortions. 

Onuma said: "Actually that document was not forged that is the mistake police make sometimes. I also visited the police station and made a statement that the document was not forged it was my seal that was fixed in that document and I signed it myself, so where do you talk about forgery here? 

 

"What the DCO (Divisional Crime Officer) told me was that the woman that sold the motorcycle to Arukwe didn't sign as at the date the document was purported to have been written. But that should be an arrangement between the purchaser and the seller, it can be signed at any moment. The woman was saying that she signed the document sometime in April while the document was prepared in September the previous year. I told the police that we reached out to the woman but her phone wasn't connecting because I ought to have seen the seller before preparing the document since she was not available to personally come to my office but I requested the original copy of the receipt of purchase of the motorcycle and I saw it. 

 

"The original copies of the purchase of the motorcycle were given to Arukwe who was brought to me by the woman. So based on the original documents given to him by the woman that I prepared the agreement. So after the agreement document had been prepared we reached out to the woman but she wasn't available. I was told that she is an Evangelist and always out of the town. I said ok, take it to her, let her take it to her lawyer to explain to her the content of the agreement before she could sign. 

 

 

"Arukwe left I didn't see him again till I was called at the police station that the document was forged. You can't talk about forgery when I own up to the content of the document and I am the maker with my stamp and seal on it. Assuming Arukwe had signed the woman's signature you can talk about the forgery of her signature but the woman admitted to having signed the document but she signed on a different date. We are not talking about stolen property here. Nobody complained that the motorcycle was stolen. The fact is a forgery, so how do you establish forgery - you bring the original writeup or signature and juxtapose it with the supposed forged writeup or signature. 

 

 

"But in this case, the woman owned up and said I signed my signature but it wasn't at the time Arukwe was saying I signed that I signed. So, where is the forgery? Arukwe said that the woman signed before her husband as a witness and the husband also confirmed it. It calls for evidence and definitely I will testify in the case."

 

 

He added, "So, it has been a recurrent decimal on the side of the Awgu Divisional Police for many years with Arukwe of which I have been handling his matter sometimes. It is a pure case of witch-hunt because Arukwe has been denying them access to all the N20,000 or N5,000 they collect as bail, so they are not happy with him. This charge is simply a trumped-up charge to get at Arukwe."

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