ALLEGED PERJURY: Court Okays Tinubu’s Trial

ALLEGED PERJURY: Court Okays Tinubu’s Trial

Deborah Musa, Abuja

Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday accepted a suit filed by civil society group, Incorporated Trustees of Centre for Reform and Public Advocacy, to apply for an order of mandamus that will compel the Inspector General of Police to prosecute the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Sen Bola Ahmed Tinubu over an alleged perjury.

Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the application in line with Sections 31 and 32 of the Police Act and Section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015, where the organisation seeks to prefer charges against the APC flag-bearer, following an allegation that he lied on oat, giving false information in respect of his educational qualifications.

Justice Ekwo granted the leave while delivering ruling in an ex-parte application filed by the group who made their argument through their lawyer, Mr Ugo Nwofor.

The ex-parte application was filed by the group following the alleged refusal of the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to effect the arrest and prosecution of Sen Bola Tinubu.

While moving the application, Nwofor informed Justice Ekwo that it was predicated on the rule of the Federal High Court to first obtain permission of the court before proceeding with a suit seeking order to compel the police chief to carry out his constitutional duties.

The judge in a brief ruling held that the ex-parte application was meritorious and subsequently granted it, fixing November 1 for hearing of the substantive suit.

The main suit dated July 4 by the group has the Nigerian Police Force and the Inspector General of Police as first and second respondents, respectively.

The non-governmental organisation said the legal action against the police was necessitated by the IGP’s refusal to take action on its petition against Tinubu over an offence it claimed the presidential candidate was indicted by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1999.

The applicant maintained that by Sections 214 and 215 of the Constitution and Section 4 of the Nigerian Police Act, 2020, the police had the statutory responsibility to “prevent, detect and investigate criminal allegations whether brought to their notice by individuals, person or persons, corporate bodies, institutions etc”.

Consequently, the applicant in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1058/2022 is asking the court for, among others, “An order of Mandamus compelling the respondents to comply with Sections 31 and 32 of the Police Act and Section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in respect of alleged crime laid out in complaint of the applicant encapsulated in the letter of June 16, 2022 received by the respondents on the same date and titled: Demand for Criminal Prosecution of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu under Sections 191,192 and 463 of the Criminal Code Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 Consequent upon the Findings of the Lagos State House of Assembly Ad-hoc Committee, 1999”.

The applicant also claimed that by Section 31 of the Nigerian Police Act, the respondents were duty bound to investigate alleged crime brought to them and report their findings to the Attorney General of the Federation or of a state, as the case may be, for legal advice.

It further claimed that Tinubu “forged all the educational certificates he listed in his INEC Form CF 001, which he admitted he did not possess in annexure C”.

Recall that Sen Bola Tinubu has recently informed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, when he submitted his educational details in a sworn affidavit that he didn’t attend primary, secondary schools and his university certificates stolen by unknown soldiers.

The electoral law mandates candidates to submit their personal credentials that will be published for public scrutiny ahead of elections. The former governor of Lagos State, however, claimed he had two degrees from two American universities, which he further stated had been stolen by unknown soldiers during the military junta of the 1990s.

The claim appeared in an affidavit submitted by Sen Tinubu to the electoral office as part of his eligibility for the 2023 presidential election.

The documents released by the INEC showed Sen Tinubu left the columns for his primary and secondary education empty. But he said, he obtained a degree in Business and Administration in 1979, may be referring to his previous claims of attending the Chicago State University.

“I went on self-exile from October 1994 to October 1998. When I returned I discovered that all my property, including all the documents relating to my qualifications and my certificates in respect of paragraph three above, were looted by unknown persons.

“My house was a target of series of searches by various security agents from the time the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was forced to adjourn following the military takeover of government of November 17, 1993.

“I was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Banking and Finance. I was also a plaintiff in one of the two suits against the Interim National Government in 1993.

“I went on exile when it became clear to me that my life was in danger”, Tinubu said.

Recall that the electoral law mandates candidates to submit their personal credentials that will be published for public scrutiny ahead of elections.

Meanwhile, the APC Presidential candidate latest claims appear to contradict his previous election submissions, especially in 1999 and 2003 when he ran for office as a governorship candidate in Lagos State. Recall that Sen Tinubu claimed both times that he attended primary and secondary schools.

According to him, he attended St Paul Children’s Home School, Ibadan from 1958 to 1964; while his secondary education was at Government College, Ibadan from 1965 to 1968.

From Ibadan, the APC Presidential flag-bearer said he proceed to Richard Daley College, Chicago, from 1969 to 1971, may be a preparatory study that qualified him to gain admission into the Chicago State University as claimed.

He stated finally to have attended both Chicago State University and the University of Chicago, though he has rescinded on that of University of Chicago.

Importantly, the Chicago State University recently on its website in reply of inquiries by curious Nigerians confirmed Tinubu as its student, graduating with a degree in Business and Administration on June 22, 1979.

All the submissions were, however, challenged as fraudulent by a prominent Nigerian lawyer, Late Gani Fawehinmi and it was not decided in his favour but that of the defendant on technical grounds.

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