Cross River Information Commissioner in Certificate Scandal

In Breaking News, Education, National News, Reports
Chief Akin Ricketts - Cross River State Commissioner for Information
Chief Akin Ricketts – Cross River State Commissioner for Information

by crossriverwatch admin

Facts have emerged that the Cross River State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Akin Ricketts did not present genuine documents to earn his appointment as commissioner in the State.

A law firm, Okimasi Ojong & Co, in a petition to the State Governor Liyel Imoke, is demanding an investigation into the certificates the Commissioner claimed to have received.

In the petition dated March 5, obtained by crossriverwatch, the firm said it was acting on the express instructions of Abubakar Efoli of Yakurr Local Government Area.

The firm said the investigation has become necessary because it has in its possession evidence that the certificates being paraded by Ricketts may have been forged.

The petition further alleged that, the Institute of Mass Communication Technology, Plateau State, from where the commissioner claimed to have his National Diploma and Higher National Diploma does not exist.

The petition reads in part: “Akin A. Ricketts as a public servant did not graduate nor did he attend any school as he claimed during his screening and credential submission.

“He claimed to have graduated from the Institute of Mass Communication Technology, Jos with a Diploma and Higher National Diploma in 1986-1989 as contained in his attached credentials.

“This prompted immediate investigation wherein the Plateau State Government through the Ministry of Education quickly refuted his claim by a replied letter dated March 1, 2013.”

Crossriverwatch investigations however reveal that the Institute of Mass Communication Technology, Jos may have existed at some time in the past before it became defunct, but the school and its certificates were never recognized or accredited by any relevant government agency like the Plateau State Ministry of Education and National Board for Technical Educational which is responsible for accrediting Diploma awarding institutions in the country.

In a reply to crossriverwatch inquiry, M.C. Dakur, the Permanent Secretary in the Plateau State Ministry of Education said “The ministry wishes to state that it has no records of the existence of an Institute of Mass Communication Technology, Jos. Your media organization may wish to check with the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE for the list of accredited Diploma awarding Institutions in Nigeria.

“This may be necessary as the NBTE is the legally authorized body to accredit all Diploma awarding Institutions in Nigeria”.

Further checks with the NBTE also indicate that the Institution is not known to the body. In response to crossriverwatch inquiry, J.S. Aboi, the Director of Programs of the NBTE said “I wish to inform you that the Institute of Mass Communication Technology, Jos is not known to the Board and none of the programmes it is running is accredited by the board”.

Documents obtained by crossriverwatch from Government House, Calabar (Peregrino Lodge) also contain glaring discrepancies which leaves even a casual viewer wondering how those who scrutinized the commissioner before approving his appointment failed to see them.

In his registration of birth certificate, it is recorded that the commissioner was born on September 4, 1964 while his certificate of baptism from Methodist Church Nigeria indicate the date of the commissioner birth as August 1, 1964.

The commissioner also claimed in his curriculum vitae that he finished from Uwie Nursery and Primary School in Port Harcourt in 1968 when he would only have been barely four years following from his date(s) of birth.

In an affidavit of loss of documents and certificates sworn to at the High Court of Rivers State, Port Harcourt Division, the commissioner claimed his WAEC result got missing and could not be found.

He later contradicted his earlier claim in the said affidavit when he said “That I attended Uwie Nursery/Primary School Warri, in present day Delta State”.

A top government official in the State told crossriverwatch that “We are deeply embarrassed by this revelation. Chief Ricketts did not have to lie to the governor. Even an SSCE certificate qualifies you to hold the office of commissioner. He should have simply told his Excellency the truth from the beginning.

“As it stands, his fate is quite uncertain. But I do hope that he will get over this and let this also serve as a lesson to other younger persons who are aspiring for public office anywhere in the country.” Our source said.

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