Mohammed Lawal Idris, the lawmaker representing Ajaokuta Federal constituency of Kogi State at the House of Representatives, has been sued before a Federal High Court in Abuja for allegedly submitting falsified documents to the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC).
Court documents exclusively seen by SaharaReporters show that INEC and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are joined as defendants in the suit with idris, who is the APC candidate for Ajaokuta Constituence House of Reps election in 2019.
Ahead of hearing in the matter, which kicks off on January 8, 2019, the court has invited the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force CIID Headquarters, Abuja, and Abutu Yaro, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), General Investigation Department, Force CIID Annex, Alagbon, Ikoyi, to “tender documents and to give oral testimony as it pertains to presentation of false information to INEC by the third defendant and falsification of National Diploma result/certificate in Business Administration from Yaba College of Technology, which the second defendant (INEC) acted upon as genuine to conduct the 2015 National Assembly general Election”.
In October, SaharaReporters had reported how Idris allegedly forged a certificate from Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech). The certificate was 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 Alagbon, 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 DCP Yaro, 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.”
Yabatech then embarked on its own internal investigations, and fished out its member of staff who allegedly 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. In his statements to the Police, Adekoya, 35, confessed to forging a 1987 National Diploma certificate for Idris.
Idris, though, denied the allegations. Responding via a statement by his lawyers, he described “the author of the said publication” as having “serious symptoms of typhoid fever or mental imbalance”, and claimed that the Police had cleared him.
“For clarity and professional purpose, we wish to use this forum to put some issues straight to the entire Nigerians, Ajaokuta Federal Constituency people of Kogi State and the management of Sahara Reporters in particular that; the authors of the said publication, without any iota of doubt, may indeed have serious symptoms of typhoid fever or mental imbalance. In fact, a good political analyst may even be right to call them as political jobbers,” his lawyers have said.
However, shortly after, when SaharaReporters visited the General Investigation Section, Force CIID at Alagbon, DCP Yaro, who conducted the investigation into the forgery case, confirmed that Lawal had actually not been cleared.
“To the best of my knowledge the man has not been cleared of the criminal offence," Yaro said.