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Sacks Rep. Usman over certificate forgery

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 Sacks Rep. Usman over certificate forgery

NJC recommends Justice Abba Aji to S’Court, 7 others for elevation

*Declares second runner up winner

The Supreme Court on Tuesday nullified the election of Mustapha Usman as member of the House of Representatives representing Yola South, Yola North, and Girei Federal Constituency of Adamawa state.

In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, the apex court held that he was not qualified to have contested the National Assembly election held on February 23, 2019 as a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Justice Eko held that by the NYSC Act, it was compulsory for the candidate to serve out his one year service before seeking for employment and “therefore, cannot serve two masters at a time.”

The Supreme Court also condemned the decisions of the lower court which after finding out the actual truth about Mustapha’s NYSC certificate based their decision on moral grounds instead of the law.

The apex court further stated that it found out that Mustapha had presented a forged first school leaving certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for clearance during the nomination process.

It noted that INEC ought to have disqualified the candidate when it was brought to its notice that Mustapha had presented a forged certificate.

Justice Eko also made a consequential order setting aside the decisions of the two lower courts and ordered INEC to declare the second runner up at the election as the winner of that election and issue him or her with certificate of return to enable the speaker House Representatives swear him or her in as member representing Yola South, Yola North, and Girei Federal Constituency of Adamawa State.

It should be recalled the Court of Appeal in Abuja had affirmed the election of Mustapha Usman and dismissed the appeal filed by Abdulrauf Abdulkadir Modibbo for lacking in merit.

Similarly, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court had in a judgment on May 3 also ordered the APC and INEC to recognize Mustapha Usman as the winner of the February 23 National Assembly election for Yola South, Yola North and Girei Federal Constituency of Adamawa State.

But, the Supreme Court upturned the judgements of the two lower courts, declaring that Modibbo had established against Usman the offences of age falsification, forgery of his first school leaving certificate and participating in partisan politics while serving as a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) which violated Paragraph 9, Section 4 of the NYSC Act.

“No law, not even the 1999 Constitution envisages that a person can be a serving member of the House of Representatives and at the same time a serving corps member. Even if the penalty is extension of service for a period of three months as stated in the 9th Paragraph, Section 4 of the NYSC Act, a person who is a law -breaker cannot be allowed to also be a lawmaker. Therefore, no person must be allowed to benefit from his illegal activity,” Justice Eko declared.

Modibbo had brought the action through his lawyer, Olugbenga Adeyemi, alleging that Usman supplied false information to INEC in Form CF001 where he stated that he was born on September 29, 1985, while on February 1, 2012 he made a declaration before an Adamawa High Court that he was born on September 29, 1986.

The court noted however, that the failure of Modibbo to appear to defend the allegations was bad for his case. Moddibbo in reacting to that ruling had vowed to appeal the judgment at the Supreme Court

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