Senator Biobarakuma Wangagha Degi Eremieyo, the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Bayelsa State, has won the certificate forgery suit filed against him by Godsgift Eriaye of the Bayelsa Integrity Group.
The lawmaker who represents Bayelsa East district in the National Assembly contested the November 2019 poll as a running mate to David Lyon who won the election.
Lyon was, however, sacked by the Supreme Court hours to his inauguration after the apex court affirmed the judgement of a lower court which disqualified Senator Eremieyo on the ground that he presented forged and falsified documents for the poll.
This paved the way for the inauguration of Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of Bayelsa State, succeeding former governor Seriake Dickson.
Almost 10 months after the judgement of the apex court, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Bwari dismissed the certificate forgery suit against Senator Eremieyo.
Although Justice Abubakar Musa delivered the judgement on November 13, the certified true copy was made public on Friday.
“The name Degi Biobaragha on the first school leaving certificate from Ministry of Education of Rivers State of Nigeria with number RS/EV1/76/013360 from State School Bassambiri (now State School 1 Nembe) is an error and misspelling of the first defendant’s name, Biobarakuma Degi,” part of the document read.
The court held that notwithstanding the error in the spelling of the name, the certificate was genuine, belonged to, and was issued to the senator.
It also declared that the name Adegi Biobakumo on the West African Examinations Council’s General Certificate of Education ordinary level of June 1984 with Certificate Number SG 851767 was an error and a misspelling of the first defendant’s name, Biobarakumadegi, and that the certificate was genuine and was issued to Senator Eremieyo.
The court stated that the Masters in Business Administration Statement of Result from Rivers State University of Technology dated February 14, 2002, bearing the name Degi Biobarakumawangagha was genuine, belonged to, and was issued to no other person than the first defendant.
It accordingly awarded the sum of ₦500,000 for the lawmaker against the claimant, Eriaye.
Justice Musa also declared that there was no evidence so far to establish a prima facie case of forgery or any other crime at all against the senator to warrant his prosecution by the IGP in the circumstances.
In the suit which had the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, as the second defendant, the claimant had sought a declaration “that the First School Leaving Certificate from Ministry of Education of Government of Rivers State of Nigeria with number RS/EV1/76/013360 from State School Bassambiri bearing the name Degi Biobaragha which the first defendant claims, and has presented before various authorities as belonging to him and has obtained various benefits on account of same including, in particular, his current membership of the Senate of the National Assembly of Nigeria, was not duly issued to and does not belong to the defendant, but to another person by the stated name, and the use of same by the defendant is unlawful and constitutes a forgery and falsification of same”.
He had consequently asked the court to mandate the Inspector General of Police to immediately commence criminal prosecution of Senator Eremieyo
In its judgement in a pre-election matter in respect of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election delivered on February 13, the Supreme Court had affirmed the verdict of a Federal High Court which decided that Senator Eremieyo was disqualified from participating in the election on grounds that he submitted forged and falsified documents and also made a false declaration to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the election.
The judgement led to the invalidation of the election of Mr David Lyon as the governor-elect and Senator Eremieyo as deputy governor-elect in Bayelsa State.