Benue Rep-elect loses seat, faces prosecution over forgery.

ADE ADESOMOJU, ABUJA

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the
Independent National Electoral Commission to
nullify the Certificate of Return issued to Christian
Abah for the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo
Federal Constituency seat in the House of
Representatives at the forthcoming 8th National
Assembly.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, delivering judgment in
the suit, challenging Abah’s eligibility to stand for
the election, held that the allegation of certificate
forgery levelled against him by the plaintiff, Mr.
Hassan Saleh, had been established to be true.
Abah was said to have forged an Ordinary National
Diploma certificate in Accountancy, purportedly
obtained from the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, in
1985.
Justice Ademola said his findings revealed that an
earlier judgment of the National/State Assembly
Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Makurdi,
delivered on September 6, 2011, and a letter by the
Registrar of the polytechnic, Mr. Suleiman Buba,
affirmed that the certificate presented by Abah to
INEC was forged.
The court ordered the Inspector-General of Police,
Mr. Solomon Arase, to immediately commence
prosecution of Abah for forgery and perjury.
Abah, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic
Party, had earlier been declared unopposed and
elected being the only candidate presented for the
March 28, 2015 election.
The court, in his judgment, declared all the votes
that accrued to him in the PDP’s primary, held on
December 6, 2014, as wasted and also declared
Saleh, who came second as the winner of the
primary.
He ordered INEC to issue a fresh Certificate of
Return to Saleh.
The court also ordered the incoming Speaker of
the 8th National Assembly to swear in Saleh as the
member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo
Federal Constituency.
The court also berated the conduct of the counsel
for PDP and Abah in the suit, Mr. S.I Ameh (SAN),
for the frivolous applications and tactics to delay
the hearing of the case.
Justice Ademola therefore ordered that the
processes filed in the suit and his judgment be
served on the Nigerian Bar Association, the Legal
Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, the Legal
Practitioners Privileges Committee with a view of
taking appropriate sanctions against Ameh.
The judge also imposed a N450,000 fine on the
three defendants – the PDP, INEC and Abah in
favour of the plaintiff.
The court berated both the INEC and PDP for
promoting “the culture of impunity” by their failure
to disqualify Abah from participating in the election
in view of the court judgment that had since 2011
affirmed that he (Abah) presented a forged
certificate for the purpose of standing for an
election.

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