UPDATE: Court Dismisses Certificate Forgery Suit Against Obaseki | Independent Newspapers Nigeria

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Saturday dismissed a certificate forgery suit filed against Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state.

The All Progressives Congress instituted the suit, wherein it alleged that the Edo state Governor had forged a University of Ibadan Degree certificate.

By the suit, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the claim of Obaseki that he had a degree from the University of Ibadan in 1979 was false.

Among other reliefs, they prayed the court to declare as false and contrary to Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2010, Obaseki’s claim in INEC form CF 001 that he obtained a degree in Classical Studies from University of Ibadan.

But delivering judgement, the trial court dismissed the forgery suit for want of merit.

Justice Mohammed held that both APC and one of its chieftains Edobor Williams, failed to prove the allegations of forgery against Obaseki.

It was the opinion of the court that none of the witnesses called by the plaintiffs confirmed ever seeing Obaseki’s original certificate.

More so, the court found out that none of the testifiers visited the University of Ibadan or other relevant educational bodies to ascertain the validity of Obaseki’s certificates, which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the September 19 governorship poll in Edo State.

The plaintiffs’ reliance on photocopies of Obaseki’s credentials without arming themselves with the original copies before filing the suit was fatal and injurious to their case.

Justice Mohammed noted that the onus lies on who alleges to prove his case.

Consequently, the plaintiffs, according to the court failed to lead credible evidence to substantiate their claims that Obaseki submitted forged or false documents to INEC.

Justice Mohammed held that the plaintiffs only placed reliance on photocopies instead of going to various institution to verify Obaseki’s claim regarding his certificates, adding that Obaseki through his witnesses was able to explain convincingly the discrepancies in the certificates.

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Further more, the court said the issue of forgery is a criminal offence which requires that the allegations must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The trial Judge held that the case of the plaintiffs lacked evidence, not to talk of whether proven beyond reasonable doubt.

The court held that the evidences tendered before it were at variance with the allegations.

Having called witnesses who tendered direct evidence in his defense, the court stated that Obaseki’s presentation of his original copies of all his certificates put to rest any claim that he forged his certificates.

He added that one of the witnesses from the University of Ibadan, Mr Abayomi Ajayi, went further to show that Obaseki actually graduated from the UI in 1979 and met all necessary requirements to gain admission into the faculty of Arts where he bagged a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies.
“It is my conclusion that plaintiffs failed to prove their allegations of forgery against the defendants.

“Plaintiffs case has failed and it is accordingly dismissed”, the court held.

Read the Source post on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.