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Alleged Certificate Forgery: Court strikes out case against Bindow

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Monday, struck out a suit challenging the educational qualification of Governor Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa State.

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Governor Jibrilla Bindow

The court, in a ruling by Justice Inyang Ekwo, terminated further hearing on the matter for lack of jurisdiction.

Justice Ekwo held that the suit which was lodged before the court by President Muhammadu Buhari’s in-law, Mr. Mahmud Ahmed, had turned academic since it originally sought to disqualify the Defendant as candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the last governorship election in Adamawa State.

The plaintiff, who is also a chieftain of the APC in the state, had in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1377/2018, alleged that the Bindow who eventually lost the governorship contest, was parading bogus certificates.

He alleged that Governor Bindow supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in his Form CF 001, by purporting to have sat for the West African Examination Council, WAEC, in June, 1983 and to posses the General Certificate of Education, GCE, issued by the examination body.

The plaintiff further accused the Governor of falsely declaring his educational qualification and date of birth for the purpose of nomination/election into the office of Governor of Adamawa State for the 2019 general elections.

Equally cited as Defendants in the suit were the APC, INEC, WAEC and the Registered Trustees of Centre for Reform and Public Advocacy.

However, before hearing could commence on the matter, Bindow, through his lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, filed a preliminary objection, wherein he notified the court that he lost the gubernatorial election the suit sought to bar him from contesting.

In the motion he filed pursuant to section 285 (13) of the 1999 constitution (4th Alteration 2017), Uche, SAN, urged the court to declined jurisdiction to entertain the matter on the premise that there was no longer a reasonable cause of action in the suit.

He prayed the court not to allow itself to be pushed to engage in a fruitless academic exercise.

In his ruling, Justice Ekwo upheld the objection, saying there was no need for the court to proceed to deliver judgment on the substantive issues.

The court further declined jurisdiction to adjudicate on the subject matter of the litigation, noting that by virtue of section 285(13) of the 4th Alteration to the 1999, Constitution, the suit had become an academic exercise.

According to the court, “The general election of the governor of Adamawa state, the subject-matter of the suit and which election the plaintiff sought to have the 1st defendant disqualified from contesting, took place on March 2019.

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“From the above circumstances, it would amount to a vain exercise for this court to exercise the jurisdiction to hear and determine this case, as none of the reliefs claimed can reasonably be granted.

“I consequently decline jurisdiction to try this suit, the same having become an academic exercise by virtue of section 285(13) of the 1999 constitution (4the Alteration 2019).

“I make an order striking out this suit. The preliminary objection succeeds and I will not go into the substantive matter.” Justice Ekwo held.

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