A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday nullified the certificate of return issued to a Benue State Rep-elect, Christian Abah, over his forging of academic certificates.
Delivering judgment, Justice Adeniyi Ademola held that the allegation of certificate forgery levelled against him, by the plaintiff, Mr. Hassan Saleh, was true.
Justice Ademola also ordered INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to Saleh, who came second in the primary election conducted by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
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.
Ademola also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to nullify the certificate of return issued to Abah of the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency.
He also ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to immediately commence prosecution of Abah for the crime of forgery and perjury.
The judge held that his findings revealed that an earlier judgment of the National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi delivered on September 6, 2011, affirmed that the certificate presented by Abah to INEC was forged.
He also said that a letter by the Registrar of the Federal polytechnic, Mubi, Mr. Suleiman Buba, affirmed that the certificate presented by by Abah to INEC was forged.
The judge also declared all the votes that accrued to Abah in the PDP primaries held on December 6, 2014, as wasted and also declared Saleh the winner of the election.
Saleh had challenged Abah’s eligibility to stand for the election on the ground that he forged an Ordinary National Diploma certificate in Accountancy purportedly obtained from the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, in 1985.
Abah, the unopposed People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the election, was the only candidate presented by the party for the March 28, 2015 election.
Ademola also frowned at the conduct of Mr. Sunday Ameh (SAN), counsel to Abah and PDP for what he described as “frivolous applications and tactics to delay the hearing of the case.’’
The judge also ordered the three defendants – the PDP, INEC and Abah to pay a total of 450,00 fine the plaintiff.