A member of the House of Representatives from Kogi State, Lawal Mohammed Idris, who was in 2018 exposed by SaharaReporters for presenting forged academic certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission to contest the 2015 and 2019 National Assembly elections, has been finally charged to court over the offence.
In a Federal Capital Territory High Court document dated February 4, 2020 sighted by SaharaReporters on Thursday, Idris was accused of presenting a fake National Diploma certificate purportedly obtained from Yaba College of Technology in 1987 to the electoral commission in order to run for the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency in Kogi under the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
To smuggle himself into public office and live fat on tax payers money, Idris also forged a West African Examinations Council certificate in 1984, which he presented to be eligible for election.
In a six-count charge, the police is accusing Idris of forgery and making false declaration to deceive the public.
The charge sheet seen by SaharaReporters reads in part, “That you Hon. Lawal Mohammed Idris, 59, of Federal House of Representatives, Abuja, and Adekoya Oluwasheun now at large, sometimes in 2015 within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire among yourselves to commit an office to wit forgery and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 97 and punishable under section 364 of the Penal code Act.
FLASH: A member of @HouseNGR from Kogi State, Lawal Mohammed Idris, who was exposed by SaharaReporters in 2018 for presenting forged academic certificates to @inecnigeria to contest the 2015 and 2019 National Assembly elections, has been finally charged to court over the offence. https://t.co/uXWLXIdlL6 pic.twitter.com/sjSQvYTYGr— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) February 20, 2020
“That you Hon. Lawal Mohammed Idris, 59, of Federal House of Representatives, Abuja, sometimes in 2015 in declaration made by you in INEC Form CF001, before the Commissioner of Oath, made a false statement that you attended Yaba College of Technology and obtained National Diploma from Yaba College of Technology dated June 26, 1987, which you know or have reason to believe to be false to wit seeking election in the Federal House of Representatives, Ajaokuta, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress in 2015 and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 164 and punishable under section 364 of the Penal code Act.
“That you Hon. Lawal Mohammed Idris, 59, of Federal House of Representatives, Abuja, between 2014 and 2015 forged West African Examination Council certificate dated June 1984 with certificate No: PO.0503292 purported to have been signed and issued by WAEC and you submitted same to INEC Headquarters in satisfaction of your requirement to seek election in the Federal House of Representatives, Ajaokuta, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress in 2015 and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 164 and punishable under section 364 of the Penal code Act.”
If found guilty, Idris could spend 14 years in prison with the option of fine or both.
Recall that in 2018, SaharaReporters had exposed how Idris, through the help of one Seun Adekoya, a former staff of Yabatech’s Department of Exams and Records, obtained the forged National Diploma certificate after paying N10m.
After the matter became public and a huge scandal, the management of Yabatech equally came out to deny ever having Idris as a student of the institution at any time in history.
Adenuga Adijat on behalf of Registrar of the institution at the time had while responding to an enquiry from the Commissioner of Police, General Investigation Section, Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Police at Alagbon, Lagos, said, “Please be informed that Lawal Mohammed Idris was not a registered student of the college and the attached certificate which was said to have been issued to him did not emanate from Yaba college of Technology.
“Kindly discountenance his claim. Thank you.”
Charles Oni, Director of Public Relations and Media of Yabatech at the time, confirmed that Adekoya was involved in sale of certificate to the serving federal lawmaker.
He revealed that when his house was searched by operatives of the SCID, blank Yabatech certificates, statement of results, stamp pad and other college items were found.
Oni said, “After he was released on bail, he resigned his appointment but the college rejected it and dismissed him.”
Adekoya has since jumped bail and been on the road despite efforts by police authorities to arrest him and make him answer to his offence.