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Why NJC should sanction Justice Kawu over judgment sacking Ubah, by HURIWA

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HUMAN Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to sanction the Abuja High Court judge, Justice Bello Kawu, over a judgment purportedly delivered by him sacking Senator Ifeanyi Ubah from the Senate for forged certificate.

The judge had in his ruling noted that the first defendant presented a forged and fake National Examination Council (NECO) result with candidate No: 31474672FC to run for the said general election to the third defendant.

“To the best of my knowledge, Exhibit ‘B’, which was the NECO result of June 2003, with candidate No: 31474672FC presented by the first defendant to the 3rd defendant as his NECO result is forged and fake of which its original carried Biology, with F9 but the one presented by the first defendant to the third defendant did not carry Biology subject, evidence of fake result.

“Exhibit B, the NECO logo and signature and so on are different from the ones on original NECO certificate, same having been cloned”, the judge had ruled.

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But the National Co-ordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a press statement yesterday, said the judgment by the Abuja High Court presided over by Kawu dated April 11, 2019 marked as suit No: CV/3044/18, directly undermines judicial integrity.

Onwubiko said that contrary to the claims made in the said verdict by Justice Kawu, the NECO certificate presented by Ubah was in no way forged, adding that the judge may have been deceived or does not have the right information, or chose not to seek for the authoritative briefing of the issuing authority of NECO certificate before such an ‘extensively defamatory determination.’

He added that in the judgment, the judge committed a ‘factual error’ by stating that the National Assembly election of February 23, 2019 was curiously held on February 16, adding that the judge exhibited extensive lack of appreciation of the conceptual distinctions between the words ‘certificate’ and ‘statement of result’ which he interchangeably identified as one and the same.

“The judge reached a laughable but defamatory conclusion that Senator Ifeanyi Ubah forged his NECO certificate which he erroneously called statement of result and for which he wrongly claimed that NECO issued the statement of result which any candidate can print out from NECO’s website.

“We are absolutely worried that a judge of a high court could reach such a sweeping determination without any sort of forensics or even calling for evidence from the Federal Government agency that is the custodian of the certificate, which was tendered by Ubah to INEC and which the electoral body verified to be correct and which both the court of first instance and appellate court had certified to be correct. Sadly, the court relied only on the affidavits tendered by the plaintiffs.

“The judge even said that the logo on the statement of result and the certificate are not the same. Is the judge a forensic scientist or a criminologist?” he further said.

He, however, urged the NJC to collaborate with some agencies of government like NECO and WAEC to educate the judges, give them updated information, especially in areas that have to do with verification or authentication of certificates that are tendered in courts.

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