FOLLOWING the eventual resignation of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Nigerians have begun to campaign for another of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide who has been accused of certificate forgery, to resign or be fired.
Okoi Obono-Obla, Buhari’s Special Assistant on Prosecutions, as well as the Chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, was accused of parading a Senior Secondary Certificate that had been altered, and therefore, not valid.
The case had been investigated by a panel of the House of Representatives, during which officials of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) testified that the certificate Obono-Obla parades is not valid because it had been altered.
Also, the University of Jos, where Obono-Obla obtained his law degree, testified that the certificate which WAEC said was not valid, was what the accused person used to gain admission.
The Nigerian Law School, whose Director General, Isa-Hayatu Chiroma, also testified before the House of Reps panel, however, said it does not have a copy of Obono-Obla’s WAEC certificate as the minimum requirement for admission into the Law School does not include WAEC.
One of the disparities noticed in the Obono-Obla’s WAEC result, according to the House investigative panel, was that “the Certified True Copy, CTC, of the result for Candidate No: 094051247 May/June 1982, showed that the candidate (Obono-Obla) was absent at the exam for Literature. (But) in the result with the University of Jos, he claimed to have credit in Literature in English”.
In its final report, the investigative panel stated that “the Law degree obtained by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, having been done fraudulently, should be withdrawn by the University of Jos”.
It also asked the Body of Benchers to “withdraw the Law School Certificate awarded to Ofem, Okoi Ofem (now known as Chief Okoi Obono-Obla) as this was based on the degree which he obtained from the University of Jos through fraud”.
Though the report of the House investigative panel has been public knowledge for several months now, the Buhari administration, like it did when the Adeosun’s forgery scandal was first reported, has refused to even issue an official statement on the matter.
Obono-Obla, till date, continues in his various offices at the presidency. Following Adeosun’s resignation, many are digging up the matter, urging him to also resign, or that President Buhari should show him the exit door.
“It’s impossible to see any excuse for retaining Chief Obono-Obla in the role of heading asset recovery for govt,” tweeted former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, on Saturday.
“Kemi Adeosun’s case began as compliance failure. With forged WASC, Obono-Obla isn’t even a graduate to begin with. Keeping him there is messed up and beyond.”
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