When Lawal Idris, the lawmaker representing Ajaokuta Federal Constituency of Kogi State, goes to the All Progressives Congress (APC) House of representatives primary as he formally begins his quest for another stint at the lower chamber, it will be with a forged certificate from Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech).
That certificate was already investigated by the Police and dismissed by the institution itself.
In early 2017, the Commissioner of Police, General Investigation Section, Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Police at Alagbaon, Lagos, had received a complaint of forgery of institutional certificate/documents, attempted murder and threat to life against Idris. Acting on this, it wrote the Registrar of Yabatech for advice.
A letter on behalf of the Commissioner of Police by Abutu Yaro, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, to the Yabatech Registrar, exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, read: “This Office is investigating the above mentioned case reported through petition by Mr. Aloysius .A. Okino.
“You are kindly requested to furnish this office with the following:
"I. Confirm if Lawal Mohammed Idris was actually a registered student of your institution and his Matriculation No. before being awarded a National Diploma Certificate in BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION with LOWER CREDIT on the 26th day of June 1987.
"II. Confirm the authenticity /genuinety or otherwise of the attached certificate awarded and duly signed on 20th of October 1990 to the aforementioned candidate, and
"III. Any other relevant information that could enhance our investigation in this case.
"Your prompt response will be appreciated, please.”
Attached to that letter was a document purportedly from Yabatech, which read: “This is to certify that Lawal Muhammed Idris, having passed the prescribed examinations, has on the 26th day of June 1987 been awarded the NATIONAL DIPLOMA In Business Administration Lower Credit.”
The certificate was supposedly signed by the registrar and the Rector. It was dated October 20, 1990.
On April 10, 2017, the Police followed that up with an invitation the Yaba Tech Registrar. This second letter, also written by Yaro, read: “This office is investigating the above mentioned case reported through petition by Mr. Aloysius .A. Okino, in which your office features prominently.
“In view of this, you are therefore requested to report for an interview with the Commissioner of Police, General Investigation Section, Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon Close Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday 12th April, 2017 at 1000hrs in connection with a case under investigation.
“You are to report to the Officer-in –Charge ‘LEGAL. SEC GI’ who will take you before the Commissioner of Police.
“This request is compelled by urgent law enforcement requirement and you are kindly further requested to treat with utmost urgency.
“Accept the esteemed regards of the commissioner of police please.”
The following day a letter from Adenuga Adijat on behalf of the Registrar, addressed to the CP and titled ‘Re: Authentication of Certificate: Lawal Mohammed Idris’, disowned the said certificated.
“Your request on above refers,” Adijat wrote.
“Please be informed that Lawal Mohammed Idris was not a registered student of the college and the attached certificate which was said to have been issued to him did not emanate from Yaba college of Technology.
“Kindly discountenance his claim. Thank you.”
Arrest And Dismissal of The Accomplice
Yabatech then embarked on its own internal investigations, and fished out its member of staff who helped Idris forge the certificate.
In September 2017, Charles Oni, its Director of Public Relations and Media, disclosed the name of the dismissed staff member as Seun Adekoya.
He said Adekoya, a registry staff member who was involved in sale of certificate to the serving federal lawmaker, was arrested by the State Crime Investigation Division (SCID) and detained but later granted bail.
When operatives of the SCID searched Adekoya’s house, blank Yabatech certificates, statement of results, stamp pad and other college items were found.
After his release on bail, Adekoya, who was queried by Yabatech management and later dismissed from the institution, also jumped bail.
“After he was released on bail, he resigned his appointment but the college rejected it and dismissed him,” Oni had said back then.
“If he is on bail, the Police should look for him. We don’t know anything about his whereabouts. When his house was searched, all manner of college materials were found.”
In his statements to the Police, Adekoya, 35, confessed to forging a 1987 National Diploma certificate for Idris.
He stated that he got to know Idris through a friend called Kunle Owoseni in September 2015; and that after Kunle had introduced Idris to him in the school premises as his direct boss, Idris later approached him in confidence that he presented fake 1987 National Diploma Certificate of Yaba College of Technology to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when he was to contest for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2015, and that he needed a perfection of the forged certificate.
He stated further that having collected photocopy of the fake result, he did a fake perfection for him in consideration for payment of N10million, which he shared with Kunle Owoseni and some other staff of the college.
He also confessed it wasn’t his first time faking results of Yabatech for interested persons and politicians during the period when he worked with Ologunore Jasper Abiodun and Peter Oyebanji of Exams & Academic Record in Year 2016.
He said since he had direct access to the Department of Exam and Records, which made it easier for him to be in possession of original school results, he always advised his candidates to originate letter of confirmation of such fake results from their respective offices, which he normally intercepted and treated personally by replying such organisations that the fake results were genuine.
He revealed that he had done fake results for notable Nigerians, such as Wilson Sandra, attached to Edo State Government in the Department of Internal Revenue, Ejoubo Petera, Abayomi Ojo Ajayi, Flora Bassey Oke, Deru Olayinka Folashade and Olubunmi Olufunke, attached to the Department of State Security (DSS) in Ikeja, Lagos.
He added that he usually compensated the office of the registrar through his boss, Jasper Abiodun. He listed some of those he had settled as Mrs. Adewale Iziogba, Ogunore Jasper Abiodun, Aluko Olugbenga , Arejiogbe Bayo, Funke Madamidola, Mrs Helen Ibitayo, Olagunju Nasiru and Amapakabo Charity.
With the aid of the forged certificate, Idris passed INEC’s screening and earned a seat at the House of Representatives, and even went on to chair the House Committee on Steel.
He is currently seeking a second term in office on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).