Counsel’s absence stalls Akume’s alleged certificate forgery case

Posted: January 31, 2014 in akume george, News, Politics
Tags: , , ,

The absence of counsel to the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, in an Abuja Federal High Court on Thursday stalled the case against former Benue governor, George Akume.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akume is standing trial for alleged certificate forgery.

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NAN recalls that Mr Phillip Agbese, a civil rights activist from Benue had sued Akume in 2013, accusing him of forging the West African School Certificate, WAEC.

Joined in the suit are WAEC, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Inspector General of Police and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as 2nd to 5th defendants.

When the case came up for hearing on Thursday, the court was informed of a letter written by the NYSC asking for an adjournment because their counsel had travelled for the burial of his mother.

A copy of the letter was served on the plaintiff and other defendants in the matter on Wednesday.

NAN reports that it was the second time the case would be adjourned at the instance of the NYSC since the suit was instituted last year.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed then adjourned the case to March 20 for hearing.

Agbese’s counsel, Amobi Nzelu, had urged the court to declare that the defendant was not the bona fide owner of certificate No SCO 39633 purportedly issued him by GSS Otukpo, Benue, in 1971.

The plaintiff also asked the court to declare that the WAEC result allegedly issued to Akume did not belong to him and that the defendant did not obtain any degree from the University of Ibadan as claimed.

Nzelu, in his submission, prayed the court to declare that the documents Akume presented to INEC following which he was cleared to contest the Benue governorship election in 1999 and 2003 were forged.

He further asked for an order of the court to declare Akume’s Benue North-West senatorial seat vacant since he did not possess the requisite qualification to contest for the said position, ab initio.

The plaintiff’s counsel requested the court to order WAEC to produce the duplicate or certified true copy of the certificate purportedly issued to Akume.

He also asked the court to order the NYSC to produce the certified true copy of certificate No. 043655 issued to the defendant.

The plaintiff, therefore, asked the court to grant an order of interlocutory injunction restraining Akume from parading himself as a senator representing Benue North-West senatorial district in the National Assembly.

However, Mr Sebastian Hon, SAN, Akume’s counsel, in his submission before the court through a statement of defence, denied all the plaintiff’s claims.

Hon said that although his client lost the original copies of his WAEC, Degree and NYSC certificates, he had collected the certified true copies of the said certificates from the issuing institutions.

Akume’s counsel further said that the said institutions had, thereby, confirmed the authenticity of his client’s certificates.

He urged the court to strike out the suit as lacking in merit as it was a smear campaign against his client.

He, therefore, put the plaintiff to the strictest proof of the allegation against the senator. NAN

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