The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has urged the Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit (SFU), to commence investigation into an alleged forgery and fraud in the scandal relating to Senator Dino Melaye's graduation from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
In a petition forwarded to the SFU of the police with a copy made available to the media, CSNAC's chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, said if the scandal is not thoroughly investigated, it is capable of sending a bad impression about the efficiency of the nation's institutions.
The petition reads: "Following a publication from SaharaReporters, an online based newspaper, the media has been rife with issues of accusations and denials with respect to the fact that Mr. Dino Melaye, a senator in the National Assembly representing Kogi West, did not graduate from ABU as he has always alleged and severally submitted to INEC under oath for the purpose of elections.
"The Nigerian Senate Ethics Committee invited the said University’s Vice Chancellor; Prof. Ibrahim Garba, to appear before it to give clarifications on the issue.
"During his appearance, he made representations to the effect that from the university’s ‘available records’ Mr. Melaye had graduated from the university in the year 2000.
"This is in spite of academic records available to the public showing that some Professors at the Geography department manipulated and forged school records to help Mr. Melaye ‘graduate’."
CSNAC noted that, "A report by the said SaharaReporters dated the 27th day of March, 2017 however revealed that whistle blowers from ABU; a combination of exam officers and Librarians have repudiated the claims by the university’s Vice Chancellor that Mr. Melaye graduated from the university.
"The reports further stated that more documents including the Joint Convocation Brochure have been seen to prove that Mr. Melaye did not graduate as opposed to the representations of the Vice Chancellor, based on the fact that the senator’s name was clearly absent from the document and also absent from the Alumni directory of ABU amidst other critical facts."
The coalition stated that it is alleged that Mr. Melaye having not passed Geography 307 (Long Field Trip) a compulsory course required for graduation, nothing short of a crime of forgery would have resulted in his alleged graduation.
"One Prof. D.O Ogbonna (Late) was singled out with respect to the alleged forgery, following claims that he added two course units to Mr. Melaye’s Total Earned Course Units without recourse to the teacher, Dr. A.L Bello, who was the supervisor of the course.
"It was also reported that after a major academic scandal broke out in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mr. Ogbonna was quietly eased out of ABU by allowing him to retire along with some other Professors who had engaged in grade inflation.
"In addition to the above, there are also reports that Mr. Melaye’s classmates who reached out to SaharaReporters after the scandal broke out said he spent at least 7-8 years studying at ABU before he left under questionable circumstances unable to fulfill his course work.
"On the basis of the above conflicting reports, we hereby urge and request your office to conduct an independent, fair and unbiased investigation in the interest of public confidence and in a bid to uphold the integrity of Nigeria’s federal institutions, so as not to make a continuous mockery of the caliber and integrity of persons representing the people in public offices.
"We are of the view that if this scandal is not thoroughly investigated, it is capable of leading watching international media and institutions into a justifiable conclusion as to the corrupt, inefficient and fraudulent nature of Nigerian educational institutions, the supposedly revered Nigerian senate and the country as a whole.
"The requested investigation has become a necessity in the face of the current administration’s commitment to eroding corruption from our public institutions," the coalition said.