FORGERY is a serious crime all over the world. Nigeria, no doubt, is not an exception. I feel quite nostalgic anytime l recall the sacking of the then Speaker, House of Representatives in 1999, Alhaji Yusuf Buhari.
He was liked, respected and highly admired by his colleagues because of his administrative ingenuity and the way he was carrying every legislator along at the lower chamber of National Assembly. Little did anyone know that the eloquent, tall, handsome man who exuded confidence presented fake degree certificate purported to have been obtained from Toronto University, Canada.
After thorough investigation was conducted, it was discovered that the certificate he paraded was non -existence. He was immediately removed from the revered office. It was certainly, a rude shock to his colleagues, friends and political associates.
Honourable Buhari instantly became profoundly dishonourable to Nigerians, particularly those who ab initio perceived him as a good man. This, obviously, made him to evaporate before the eyes of the public for a long while and ultimately destroyed his political future which was hitherto bright.
This writer, however, thought that Nigerians, particularly politicians, both elected and appointed persons would have learnt a lesson from the Buhari issue. Quite unfortunately, it seems nothing was learnt and history keeps repeating itself.
Let us also, recall the matter that removed Senator Evans Enwerem from the Senate Presidency. It was same certificate issue, where his name became a controversy whether it was Evan or Evans. There was discrepancy in his West African School Certificate (WASC).
Recently, there has been a plethora of cases on alleged forgery of certificates by some politicians and even career civil and public servants. This is quite disturbing and disheartening, bearing in mind the grave consequences the nauseating and despicable act will have in our society and nation.
Undoubtedly, that of the sacked deputy governor-elect of Bayelsa State, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo was very unfortunate and unthinkable. How could someone has so many names in his certificates? His case badly affected the governor -elect. The rest is history. It is rather sad! What of the Remi Adeosun matter of forged NYSC Exemption Certificate?
It was demeaning considering the calibre of woman (former minister of Finance). What of the acting DG of Federal lnstitute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO)? He was said to have claimed he possessed a doctorate degree from a university in Benin Republic.
It was discovered that the PhD certificate was not in his file in the office. The man’s name is Chima lgwe. When the board intervened after series of petitions were written asking lgwe to produce his PhD certificate, what was found in his file after 17 years claim that he was perceived as a doctorate holder was just a letter written by somebody purported to be his supervisor -something like “to whom it may concern”.
The letter said he(lgwe)finished his PhD in his laboratory. The letter was said not to have been signed by neither the Vice Chancellor nor the Registrar of University D’Abomey Calico, Benin Republic.
In oder to eschew this disgrace and bad reputation for Nigeria and Nigerians, particularly, institutions concerned, there is urgent need to carry out thorough investigation on every candidate seeking elective position in the country.
Same need to be done to persons to be appointed into offices. The certificates of such people must be seriously scrutinised by ICPC or/and any other intelligent agencies with a view to detecting whether fake certificate was presented. This will definitely save us from embarrassment.
ICPC should as a matter of urgency call on the public, civil societies and groups to write petitions on anyone they feel has questions to answer. This ugly trend of forgery must be nipped in the bud. How will international community perceive us as s nation?
Think of the effect it will have on our diaspora brothers and sisters. Let all hands be on deck to checkmate this. Those found guilty must be jailed to deter and dissuade others from engaging in it. They are common thieves and criminals who should visit prison or correctional centers.