By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Prosecutions, Mr. Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, has been indicted by the report of a House of Representatives panel over forgery of his secondary school certificate and wrongful utilisaiton of public funds.
Obono-Obla and members of Special Investigative Panel, which he serves as chairman, were asked to refund N17 million excess funds collected as honoraria for sittings and indicted for violation of the presidential order on flying business class.
Obono-Obla, who the committee asked to be subjected for prosecution, in a reaction, yesterday, said he had challenged the propriety of the House Committee to investigate the presidential panel, saying the House does not have powers to investigate criminal matters.
The report emanated from the House resolution to investigate the activities of the Special Investigative Panel chaired by Obono-Obla upon claims that the panel was exceeding its mandate.
The House, in the course of its investigations, received a claim that the chairman of the panel, Obono-Obla, forged the secondary school certificate with which he used in gaining admission to study Law in the University of Jos.
The university in its response to the House panel, had confirmed that the result which the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, deposed was forged was what Obono-Obla presented to gain admission into the university to read Law.
The committee in its findings deposed as such: “In view of the petition received from Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria against the Chairman of the panel, Chief Okoi Obono Obla, copies of the statement of result, which he was alleged to have used to gain admission to study Law was sent to the West African Examination Council and University of Jos for verification. The university confirmed that the statement of result sent to it was the result Chief Obla used to gain admission to study Law.
“However, the Certified True Copy, CTC, of the result for Candidate No: 094051247 May/June 1982, showed that the candidate was absent at the exam for Literature. In the result with University of Jos, he claimed to have credit in Literature in English in the statement of result issued to him by Mary Knoll College, Calabar.
“However, WAEC disclaimed the result in the Certified True Copy sent to the committee. This cast doubt as to the integrity and character of the Chairman of the Panel.”
In its recommendations, the House panel, among others, in its report deposed that the “Law degree obtained by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, having been done fraudulently, should be withdrawn by the University of Jos.
“The Body of Benchers should withdraw the Law School Certificate awarded to Ofem, Okoi Ofem (now known as Chief Okoi Obono-Obla) as this was based on the degree which he obtained from the University of Jos through fraud.
House lacks power to investigate my educational qualification—Obono-Obla
Responding to the allegations. yesterday, Obono-Obla said: “We are in court challenging the power of the committee to investigate my panel as well investigate my educational qualifications.
“The House of Representatives has no power to investigate my educational qualifications. If is alleged that I forged any certificate it is a criminal offence that has to be investigated by the Police.
“The House of Representatives has no power to investigate crime. This is a hatchet job masterminded by some members of the National Assembly who are under investigation by my panel. The intention is to smear and ridicule me.”