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Court To DSS: Probe Bayelsa Deputy Governor For Certificate Forgery

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Court To DSS: Probe Bayelsa Deputy Governor For Certificate Forgery

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Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo was sworn in on Friday, February 14, 2020 (image courtesy: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun)

A court in Abuja has asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to investigate the newly inaugurated deputy governor of Bayelsa state, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, over forgery allegation.

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Benjamin Youdiowei, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Friday approached the Area Court in Lugbe, Abuja, alleging that Ewhrudjakpo presented a forged NYSC Exemption Certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Ewhrudjakpo, according to Youdiowei, has been using the allegedly forged NYSCT certificate – dated February 2, 1998, with number 139708 – as part of his credentials.

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The presiding judge, Abubakar Sadiq, had on 27 November, 2020, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Ewhrudjakpo following his absence from the court for the day’s proceedings.

He had also ordered the police to investigate the deputy governor before issuing a fresh order directing the DSS to take over the investigation.

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Ewhrudjakpo was sworn in alongside the state governor, Duoye Diri, after the February 14, 2020 judgment of the Supreme Court nullifying the victory of APC and its candidates in the November 2020 governorship election in the state.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgment read by Justice Ejembi Ekwo, last week Thursday, ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificates of Return presented to the APC deputy governor-elect, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo and the governor-elect, Lyon, on 21 November, 2020.

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A five-man panel of the apex court, led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, disqualified the deputy governorship candidate deemed to have presented fake certificates.

Lyon got 352,552 votes to defeat the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Duoye Diri, who polled 143,172 votes.

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But based on the judgment, Diri has since been sworn in as the number one citizen of the oil-rich state.

Meanwhile, Degi-Eremienyo has said that he did not forge any of his certificates.

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“All my academic certificates are in the public domain. Whether they are genuine or forged are verifiable matters,” he said on Thursday.

“If these certificates exist and have not been altered in any manner, it would mean they are genuine. The next enquiry would then be if the names appearing thereon belong to me or belong to some other persons.”

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