by crossriverwatch admin
CrossRiverWatch has reliably gathered that the Cross River State Command of the Nigeria Police is under undue pressure from powerful sources in the State Government to abandon the ongoing certificate forgery investigation against the State Commissioner for Information, Chief. Akin Rickett.
The State Criminal Investigation Department SCID, Diamond Hill had in March, 2013 opened an investigation following allegations of certificate forgery against the commissioner by Honourable Bassey Ewa who represents Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and one Abubakar Efoli.
The duo alleged 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, demanded an investigation into the certificates the Commissioner claimed to have received.
In the petition dated March 5, which was 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 had become necessary because it had enough evidence in its possession to prove that the certificates being paraded by Chief Akin 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 read 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 at the time also revealed that the Institute of Mass Communication Technology, Jos actually existed at some point in the past before it became defunct due to the institution’s inability to obtain accreditation for its courses.
Our findings also revealed that 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 by CrossRiverWatch also indicated that the Institution is not known to the body. In response to our 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 programs it is running is accredited by the board”.
Documents obtained by CrossRiverWatch from Government House in Calabar also contained glaring discrepancies that called for scrutiny.
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 indicated the date of the Commissioner’s 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.
He later contradicted his claim in an affidavit of loss of documents and certificates sworn to at the High Court of Rivers State, Port Harcourt Division, where he claimed his WAEC result got missing and could not be found when he said: “That I attended Uwie Nursery/Primary School Warri, in present day Delta State”.
Upon CrossRiverWatch inquiry, Uwie Nursery and Primary School also wrote to inform us that they do not have the details of the commissioner in their records and that he never attended the school.
Both Chief Akin Rickett and Hon. Bassey Ewa were invited to the State CID in Calabar and their statements were duly obtained.
But a reliable police source who refused to be named told CrossRiverWatch that: “That case may have been buried. You know it is also somehow political and there is pressure from some powerful people in the state government who are calling for a cease fire between both parties for the police to exercise restraint.
“There are those who feel that going deep into the investigation means the police are taking sides with one of the political camps in Yakurr and this is election period when things are very daisy”.
But the spokesperson of the police in the state, DSP John Umoh debunked the allegation saying the police is almost getting to the end of the investigation.
He told CrossRiverWatch that “The police is almost getting to the end of its investigation of that matter. So that allegation is not true by any shred. The IPOs in the matter are working round the clock to ensure we get to the root of the matter. Whoever will be prosecuted will be prosecuted and the parties involved will get justice”.
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