A FEDERAL High Court, Abuja, headed by a justice, Nyang Ekwo, has confirmed the genuineness of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate of Enugu state Governor Peter Mbah.
The court found the corps and its director-general guilty of misrepresenting material facts and awarded N5 million against them.
In the judgment delivered on Monday, November 6, Ekwo maintained that the evidence presented in court demonstrated that the governor was called to service in 2001 but completed service in 2003.
According to the court, Mbah applied for and was reinstated for the NYSC in 2003 after requesting and obtaining permission from the organisation midway through his service to attend the Nigeria Law School.
Ekwo also pointed out that while the NYSC did not challenge the evidence that Mbah served in the law firm of one Udeh, he berated the corps for not charging the governor for forgery if it believed it didn’t issue the certificate in contention to him.
He concluded that by refusing Mbah’s NYSC certificate, the NYSC was insincere and behaved cunningly.
Mbah had filed a lawsuit against the NYSC and Ibrahim Muhammad, the Corps Certification Director, for issuing a disclaimer that refuted the issuance of the discharge certificate that had been granted to him on January 6, 2003.
On May 15, Ekwo issued a restraint prohibiting Muhammad, the NYSC, and any of their representatives from publishing anything about the certificate while the substantive matter was being heard and decided.
The order followed an ex parte motion filed by Emeka Ozoani on behalf of Mbah.
However, the NYSC, in its preliminary objection submitted on May 19 and received on May 22, requested an order dismissing the lawsuit due to lack of jurisdiction and competence.
The NYSC claimed the lawsuit was premature for the court’s jurisdiction to solidify since the plaintiff/respondent had allegedly refused to abide by the terms of Section 20 of the National Youth Service Corps Act.
On February 1, the NYSC sent a letter, signed by Muhammed, stating that the corps had not issued Mbah’s NYSC certificate.
The ICIR reported that the Director-General of NYSC, Dogara Ahmed, a brigadier-general, said the NYSC certificate submitted by Mbah to INEC to enable him to participate in the 2023 governorship election was not issued by the organisation.
Ahmed stated this on May 19 while featuring on Arise News Television magazine programme ‘The Morning Show’.
In a ThisDay newspaper report on February 7, a group claimed that it found out that Mbah forged his NYSC certificate.
The group ‘Total Support for Rule of Law and Justice Initiative and Enugu Progressive Forum’ sought Mbah’s disqualification from the governorship election.
Mbah headed to court and sued the NYSC for N20 billion after the organisation alleged he forged the certificate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Enugu state.
The result was challenged at the tribunal by the (LP) candidate Chijioke Edeoga and Chris Agu of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP).
However, the three-member tribunal led by Kudirat Murayo Akano rejected the accusations and upheld Mbah’s election in its decision.
In its ruling, the tribunal found that Mbah’s paperwork presented to INEC to contest the election did not contain the NYSC certificate.