IKEJA- An Ikeja High Court has rejected a bail application filed by a National Youth Service Corps member, who was convicted and Helen Bando, jailed for using forged documents to process an Indian visa.
In her ruling, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye dismissed the application, which was filed by Bando’s counsel, Mr Ayo Olumofe.
Olumofe had asked the court to grant the convict bail, pending the determination of her appeal against the one-year jail term handed her by Ipaye on November 3, 2014.
He argued that Bando would have completed the sentence before the Court of Appeal concludes hearing of the appeal which would make it a nullity.
However, the judge held that the granting of bail was at the discretion of the court which must be exercise judicially and judiciously.
She said the convict-applicant had not presented sufficient evidence before the court which could warrant it to revert itself.
Ipaye noted that the Court of Appeal usually gave accelerated hearing to criminal appeals.
“After a careful consideration of the facts before the court, I find nothing exceptional or compelling to exercise the court’s discretion in favour of the convict-applicant.
“This application is hereby refused,” the judge said.
It would be recalled that Ipaye had sentenced Bando and her accomplices, Samuel Obiakor and Segun Alimi, to one year imprisonment each.
She had overruled a plea bargain agreement between the trio and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
According to the deal, each of the defendants will pay a N50,000 fine and will be sentenced to a maximum of six months imprisonment.
However, in her judgment, Ipaye noted that Section 75 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State was only to guide the court.
She said the court was not bound by the plea bargain agreement between the defendants and the ICPC.
The judge said the desperation of the first defendant (Bando) to travel outside Nigeria made her conspire with the others to submit forged documents to the Indian High Commission.
Ipaye said the action of the defendants had brought the country into disrepute and could lead to the denial of visas to other Nigerians with genuine intentions of travelling.
She therefore sentenced them to one year imprisonment each with no option of fine on the one-count amended charge.
The judge held that Bando’s sentence would begin from the day of the judgment while those of the other convicts would commence from June 2014 when they were first remanded in prison.