Certificate forgery: Bayelsa deputy gov cleared by NYSC, INEC tells tribunal

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The Independent National Electoral Commission said on Friday that the National Youth Service Corps had cleared the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, of alleged forgery of his exemption certificate.

INEC lawyer, Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), said this before the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting Abuja.

Bawa gave this as the reason for his decision not to call any defence witness in the case.

The petitioner, Vijah Opuama, who contested the November 16, 2019 governorship election on the platform of the Liberation Movement, a party that was later deregistered by the Independent National Electoral Commission in February this year, had asked the tribunal to disqualify Ewhrujakpo for forgery of a National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate.

He also urged the tribunal to cancel the November 16, 2019 governorship election and order a fresh poll.

Opuama had closed his case on June 9.

Justice Ibrahim Sirajo-led three-man tribunal had on Thursday admitted as exhibit a letter from the NYSC to the Department of State Security confirming that it corrected a spelling error on Ewrhrudakpo’s exemption certificate which the petitioner challenged as forged.

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At the resumed hearing in the case on Friday, INEC’s lawyer, Bawa, said there was no need to call any witness since NYSC had admitted it issued the certificate.

Also, the Peoples Democratic Party’s lawyer, Mr Emmanuel Enoedem, said the NYSC’s letter had exonerated Ewhrudjakpo.

The tribunal adjourned till June 17 for further hearing.

The Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri, and his deputy will take their turns to call their defence.

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