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Court Clears Way For Wike To Contest Election, Throws Out Forgery Case



Wike Lamido

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Friday, rejected pleas to disqualify Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State from participating as a candidate in Saturday’s governorship election.

The plaintiff, Elvis Chinda had dragged Wike and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to court on the allegation that Wike presented a forged declaration of age certificate to INEC as a candidate for the election.

The presiding judge, Justice Iyang Ekwo in his ruling affirmed that the allegations made against the governor were criminal and affirmed that the plaintiff had failed to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt.

Besides, he affirmed that the plaintiff did not get the requisite evidence to prove that the documents in contention were actually genuinely obtained from INEC.

The crux of the allegation was that the declaration of age certificate titled “Statutory Declaration of Age”, attached to Wike’s Form C.F.001 and made on his behalf on October 3, 1986, by one Collins Nyeme Wike claimed that Nyesom  Wike at the time of deposition, was a native of Rumuepirikom in Obio /Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State

It was, however, deposed that “As at 3rd October 1986, there was no local Government Area known as Obio /Akpor Local Government Area in existence in Rivers State. 

“As at 1986, Rumuepirikom was not in Obio /Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State , but in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State being the parent LGA from where Obio /Akpor Local Government Area was carved out”.

“That the certificate of birth ( Statutory Declaration of Age) was purported sworn to and issued at the High/Magistrate’s Court Registry, Port Harcourt but allegedly bears stamp of the Judiciary Probate Registry ,Port Harcourt.

“There was no Court Registry, whether in 1986 or afterward known as High/Magistrate Court Registry Port Harcourt. No such Registry existed or exists any where in Port Harcourt or Rivers State”.

Chinda deposed that in 1989, when Wike expressed desire to contest for the local chairmanship of Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area Council election in Rivers State  which INEC had fixed 35 years  age for eligibility and that because “Wike was 30 years of age then and ineligible for that election. In order to qualify for that election, he forged the Certificate of birth now in contention. He has used it in subsequent elections.”

Justice Ekwo in his ruling, however, deposed that:

“In our statutes, forgery is a criminal act. It entails the fraudulently making of a forged documents. It is a criminal offence. The onus is on the plaintiff to establish ingredients of the allegation with credible and convincing evidence.

“I find that the plaintiff has not proved allegations against the 1st defendant beyond every reasonable doubt or at all.”

While noting that no forensic evidence was produced to back the allegations he observed that the plaintiff had earlier acted as a lawyer to a plaintiff in a similar case which was struck out and he thus charged Chinda with an abuse of the court process.

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