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Sack Certificate Forgers From Your Govt, HURIWA Tells Buhari

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Worried that the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari to damaging allegations of academic certificates’ forgery amongst some of his top officials is an indication that Nigeria is becoming a country of fraudsters, President Buhari has been urged to purge his administration of such persons.

Besides, a pro-democracy and civil rights body – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which made the appeal, also stated that such tendencies to accommodate persons with questionable academic credentials will rubbish the national policy on education which is constitutionally enshrined (section 18 (1)) which emphasizes merit and honesty at all times.

Specifically, President Buhari has been tasked to relieve from their offices such persons like his senior Special Assistant on prosecution Mr. Obono-Obla who has been clearly indicted of using fake West African Examination Certificate [WAEC] by the issuing authority which appeared before the Federal House of Representatives very recently.

HURIWA recalled that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on June 5th 2018, described as “altered and invalid” the results and certificate it allegedly issued to the Chairman, Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Property, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla.

HURIWA recalled that WAEC whilst testifying before the House of Representatives ad hoc Panel investigating Mr. Obono-Obla’s alleged forgery, WAEC Registrar, represented by the Deputy Registrar, Mr. Femi Ola, said available evidence indicated that the results were “altered” and thus “invalid.”

“Considering the results, particularly on what is before me, I would say what I have brought here is the authentic and genuine one; his is not because it has been altered and such alteration renders it invalid,” Mr. Ola told the panel.

“From our record, the genuine candidate is Ofem Okoi Ofem, 09403/247 of Mary Knoll College, Ogoja. The exam number and number of subjects are the same. The difference is the grade in English literature in which he claimed to have scored C6 despite being marked absent in the true, certified copy,” he added.

HURIWA recalled that when asked by the National legislators  how he would qualify Obono-Obla’s results, the WAEC Registrar said it was “fake, not genuine.”

HURIWA recalled that the Chairman of the Reps Investigative Panel, Mr. Aliyu Pategi (APC, Kwara) lauded WAEC for striving to maintain its “integrity and probity.”

Quoting news reports, HURIWA stated that the House committee Chairman added that the implication was that Obono-Obla gained admission to the University of Jos with a fake WAEC result.

Also, HURIWA has asked president Buhari to sack with immediate effect the Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun for making use of allegedly forged NYSC discharged certificate which amounted to a serious misdemeanor that should fetch her a criminal prosecution and jail if proven in the competent court of law.

“The current administration must desist from polluting the international image of Nigeria by toleration many persons of questionable academic credentials who are working in the federal government of Nigeria when there are millions of highly qualified Nigerians from diverse fields searching frantically for employments.”

“The silence of the current government to the cacophony of allegations of certificate forgery involving top rated government officials shows that the corporate image of the country is imperiled and if this silence and failure to act persists, then the rest of the world will see Nigeria as a country of certificate forgers.”

Corruption also includes such crime like forgery of academic credentials which runs contrary to section 15 (5) of the constitution which makes it obligatory that government must abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.

HURIWA disclosed that it has briefed some patriotic lawyers to head to court to secure the legal sanction of all the identified persons in government with fake certificates just as it has started drafting a bill to compel the forensic investigations of all the academic qualifications tendered by all federal government officials to weed off the holders of forged certificates and sanitize the federal government.

HURIWA reminded President Muhammadu Buhari that the Black’s law dictionary clearly identified certificate forgery as a grave criminal offence and as a specie of fraud even as the Rights group wondered why a government that makes heavy weather of its anti-corruption campaign is the same that accommodates top officials with highly questionable academic credentials.

HURIWA told President Muhammadu Buhari thus: “Both the Criminal and Penal Codes that apply in the southern and northern parts of Nigeria prohibit forgery, citing Sections 463 of the Criminal Code which provides for three years imprisonment for forgery while sections 362 to 364 of the Penal Code deal with forgery with punishment of up to 14 years imprisonment with option of fine or both.”

“It becomes life imprisonment if, amongst others, the thing forged purports to be a document which is evidence of title to public debt of Nigeria or a state, or of another country, or forges a document that  purports to be a debt of Nigeria, or signature of the president or governor of a state,”.

Also, both forgery and perjury are criminal offences, the Criminal Code views perjury as an offence whether made under judicial oath, that is a court proceeding or document or not, while under the Penal Code, perjury must be an evidence given under oath or under express provision of law compelling a person to state the truth.

Forgery and perjury are both criminal offences that goes to one’s integrity and credibility. ”

“It vitiates the moral and legal trust that public service demands. It calls to question a person’s qualification and competency. And we must etch new paradigms in public services by proceeding in the Courts of Law against forgers and those who lie under oath.”

HURIWA CONDEMNS POLICE SIEGE OF EKITI GOVERNMENT HOUSE

HURIWA has condemned the reported siege by armed police operatives of the government house in Ekiti State and the reported attack of the governor and his deputy.

HURIWA has also condemned as unconstitutional the reported invasion of armed police operatives of the campaign office of the governorship candidate of Ekiti state Professor Olushola Kolapo and the disruption of the campaign rally of the People’s Democratic Party.

The Rights has therefore expressed consternation that men and officers of the Niferia police force beginning from the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Kpodum Idriss have become members of the armed wing of the All progressives congress.

Besides, HURIWA has cautioned the armed security forces to respect the rule of law and abide by the statutory demands of their duties to the people of Ekiti State and halt any further attempts to employ intimidation, harassment and psychological torture all in an attempt to scuttle a free, fair, transparent and peaceful conduct of the governorship poll scheduled for this Saturday July 14th 2018 in Ekiti State.

HURIWA described the physical attacks on the persons of the governor and his deputy by the armed police as an ‘assassination attempt’ and has called for a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate this grave crime and bring the perpetrators and their political sponsors to book.

HURIWA in a statement by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director miss Zainab Yusuf stated that:

“We have just been alerted by our members in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State of the unusual large numbers of armed security forces parading the streets of Ekiti State just few days to the much anticipated governorship poll in which the Presidency has openly declared her determination to win by all means.

“We were also informed of a reported siege of the Ekiti State government house by armed police and the direct physical torture by the police of the duo of the Ekiti state governor and his deputy in clear violation of section 308(1).

“We view the attempt on the lives of these two gentlemen as serious crimes that must not be swept under the carpets. We absolutely condemn this primitive resort to self-help by the presidency that has decided to unleash brute force on the people of Ekiti State so as to manipulate the electoral process to favour his political party (APC) and to deny the electorate their constitutional right to elect their own governor that will promote and protect their general interests.”

Citing section 39 (1) and 40 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, HURIWA said it was unlawful and unconstitutional for armed police to invade the government house in Ekiti on the instruction of the Inspector General of Police to inhibit and violate with reckless abandon and crass impunity, the enjoyment by the people of their freedom of movement and association which are guaranteed under several international human rights laws and the supreme law of Nigeria which is in the 1999 Constitution that have unambiguous and binding human rights provisions in chapter 4″.

“The attack on the governor and his deputy should be considered attempted murder and the culprits must be arrested, prosecuted and sanctioned in the competent courts of law. The police which is a creation of a statute is not above the law.”

Specifically, section 39 (1) provides that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and receive and impart ideas and information without interference, “even as section 40 provides that “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and to associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.”

HURIWA believes that it is criminal for armed police maintained at public costs to become slaves to some forces and to be employed in Ekiti State to curtail the constitutional rights of the citizenry.

HURIWA said by virtue of several constitutional provisions must operate with the invitation of the State governor who is the Chief security officer of the State just as the Rights group faulted the decision of the President to deploy the police to achieve pre-determined political goal.

HURIWA stated that Section 215 (2) (3) (4) (5) stated thus:

(2) “The Nigeria police force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of Police and any contingents of the Nigeria Police Force stationed in a State shall, subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of police, be under the command of the commissioner of Police of that State.

(3) “The President or such other Minister of the Government of the Federation as he may authorize in that behalf may give to the Inspector-General of Police such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary, and the Inspector-General of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be compiled with.”

(4) “Subject to the provisions of this section, the Governor of a state or such commissioner of the Government of the State as he authorize in that behalf, may give to the Commissioner of police of that state such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order within the State as he may consider necessary, and the commissioner of police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with – provided that before carrying out any such directions under the foregoing provisions of this subsection the commissioner of police may request that the matter be referred to the President or such minister of the Government of the Federation as may be authorized in that behalf by the President for this directions.”

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