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Certificate scandal: HURIWA calls for forensic audit of NASS members

…Nneoma Ndibe 

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has challenged the clerk of the National Assembly and the Senate President  Bukola Saraki, to invite an independent forensic analysts to verify the certificates tendered by members of both Houses of the National Assembly before running for offices.

HURIWA  in a statement on Tuesday by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, said the auditing is neccessiry against the backdrop of allegations that fake certificates is in wide circulation  in both the Senate and the Lower Legislative Chambers.

The rights groups cited the recent cases involving  Senator Andy Uba from Anambra State and Dino Melaye from Kogi state have been fingered, saying  “it has become a National emergency to verify the authenticity of the Academic Certificates of members and staff of the nation’s apex legislative institution”.

HURIWA stated that in both Chambers of the National Assembly over half a dozen Members have either been dismissed by the competent courts over certificate forgery or the matters are pending before different courts in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state and Jos in Plateau state.

The rights group in the statement affirmed that certificate forgery which is a grave crime has posed some of the most disturbing international embarrassments to Nigeria following the “outbreak of epidemic” of fake certificates in the national assembly.

“We hereby call on the leadership of the National Assembly namely the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives Mr. Yakubu Dogara and the Clerk of the National Assembly Mr. Sani Omolori to activate mechanisms by way of inviting independent forensic investigators to conduct transparent, open, and rapid verification of all the Academic Certificates being paraded by both the members of the national assembly and the bureaucracy”. 

“This must be done in order to purify the process of law making in Nigeria and to check the institutionalization of impunity in high places. It is not only criminal but ethically challenging for supposed law makers to actually be persons of dubious academic records,” the group asserted.

HURIWA while expressing doubts at the veracity of on the allegations that Senator Andy Uba parades a fake Secondary School Certificate,  however called for an Independent verification of all the certificates currently in circulation at the National Assembly.

The  group noted that an online medium claimed; “it has obtained a copy of the letter from the West African Examination Council (WAEC), which was addressed to George Smith of Public Agencies, located at 57 Peel Road, Wembley Middlesex, HA9 7LY in the United Kingdom, which confirmed that “Letter reference no. L/CR/CONF/05465089 dated 21st November, 2013 is fake.”

The said letter from WAEC was dated February 12, 2014.

“Mr. A.A. Okelezo, as you rightly observed, reported as the Controller of our branch office in Calabar on 7th October, 2013 having been deployed from the Ikeja Zonal Office.

“He was never the Head of National Office, as indicated at the foot of the letter under reference. The signature on the document is in no way similar to his signature,” the letter was quoted as saying.

The letter signed by O.M. Adebayo, Deputy Registrar in charge of School Exams Department, disclosed that “the Examination conducted in May/June 1974 was GCE [General Certificate of Education] and not WASSCE as indicated on the Confirmation of Result.

“The Certificate No: SC 544753 with candidate No. 05465089 was found to be fake, as signatures on the document were forged. Also, the serial number quoted on the ‘certificate’ was non-existent in our system. In addition, the spelling of GRADE as GARDE let the document out as fake.”‎

“Uba’s falsified results claimed that he earned the following grades: English Literature 4, English Language 7, Christian Religious Knowledge 7, Economics 4, Statistics 6, Mathematics 6, Physics 4, and Chemistry 6,” Sahara Reporters alleged.”

HURIWA said the country can’t afford to have legislators with dubious academic claims in the 21st century when in actual fact there are millions of highly educated Nigerians scattered all over the country. 

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