The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has said there was no proof yet that President Bola Tinubu forged his academic record at the Chicago State University (CSU).
This was made known in a report by the BBC’s Global Disinformation Team published on Wednesday.
Recall that Nigerians have been reacting as to whether Tinubu forged his certificate following the recent release and deposition of his certificate by CSU to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
A United States court had asked CSU to release the president’s certificate to Atiku, who contested for Nigeria’s most coveted political seat under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election.
While Tinubu, through his aides, has reiterated that his certificate from the CSU was not falsified, BBC disclosed that there has not been any proof that he forged his academic record.
Recounting the development that led to the certificate saga, BBC said there are three versions of the CSU certificates for Tinubu.
“The CSU released several diplomas issued between 1979 and 2003. We analysed all of them.
“There are three different diplomas for Mr Tinubu that we refer to throughout our analysis:
“The original one, from 1979, which he has said in the past was lost when he went into exile in the 1990s.
“The second one, that he submitted to INEC – supposedly a replacement diploma from CSU (it is similar to diplomas issued by CSU in the 1990s).
“Additionally, CSU holds another replacement diploma for Mr Tinubu that they say is probably from the early 2000s that he never collected.
“The allegations on social media are based on a comparison between the document Mr Tinubu submitted to INEC and the 1979 diplomas released by CSU.”
According to the British media organisation, the deposition by CSU’s registrar, Caleb Westberg, also attested to it that the Nigeria’s leader did not forge his diploma.
“Mr Westberg said the template of CSU’s diploma has changed several times over the years. He said any request for a new diploma would resemble the current template at that time, no matter when the student graduated,” BBC said.
It also disclosed that, “The BBC reached out to Mr Tinubu’s team to get a copy of the diploma in question. They sent what they said was the only existing copy of the diploma. It is a black and white photocopy identical to what was submitted to INEC.
“Another claim, made by a fact-checking organisation in Nigeria, was that the diploma Mr Tinubu submitted was not from CSU as its diplomas do not include the phrase “with honors” under the degree name.
“But the BBC found that while this was not reflected in the other diplomas released by CSU, it does appear in Mr Tinubu’s diploma issued in the early 2000s, which was authenticated by Mr Westberg during his deposition.
“It has the words “with honors” – a match with the diploma with the same detail submitted by the president to INEC.”
“Mr Westberg said that the school could authenticate this particular diploma because it was still in its possession as it was never picked up,” it stated.
“Not every student graduates from university with honours. Mr Tinubu, as attested to by CSU in several court documents seen by the BBC, did graduate from CSU with honours.”
Lastly, the BBC contacted CSU with questions about its diplomas and it referred us to a statement that read in part: “We are confident and always have been in the veracity and integrity of our records regarding Tinubu’s attendance and completion of graduation requirements”.
Kogi Gov’ship Election Petitions Stolen By Gunmen – Police
The Kogi State Police Command has confirmed that gunmen attacked the secretary of the state governorship election tribunal, Mr David Umar Mike on Monday in Lokoja and made away with sensitive petition documents on the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state.
The state police command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP William Aya, disclosed this in Lokoja on Wednesday.
The police authorities said the attackers of the state governorship tribunal secretary carted away all the petition documents filed by five political parties at gunpoint.
According to the police authorities, the documents carted away from Mike include, petitions filed by four (4) Parties: Action Alliance (AA), Action People’s Party (APP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) as well as two (2) Record Books/a Bag containing his personal item.
The police added that the incident happened just before the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) office at about 13:20hrs on Monday, while victims were on their way to the tribunal venue at the state High Court complex, Lokoja.
Police said, “On Monday, 04/12/2023 at about 1820hrs, one Mr David Umar Mike ‘m’ Secretary to Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal along with Labode Apreala (f) Confidential Secretary and Hassimu Adamu Assistant Secretary, came to State Criminal Investigation Department, Kogi State Police Headquarters and reported that on the said date, three of them left their Hotel rooms in Lokoja about 1300hrs, heading to their Office at the High Court Complex driving in his (David’s) Peugeot 406 Car.
“That just before the CBN at about 1320hrs, one SUV vehicle which had earlier overtaken him blocked his car with two other SUVs following behind.
“All of them surrounded and blocked him as he attempted to reverse. That he saw about seven hooded men all heavily armed and dressed in black attire who shot severally into the air and dragged him and his two other colleagues out of their car, ransacked the car and made away with all the petition documents.”
SP Aya added that the state Commissioner of Police, CP Onuoha Benthrand, had ordered for a thorough and diligent investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, the police command has advised the general public to avoid statements that may prejudice ongoing investigation into the matter even as the command appealed to anyone with useful information on the incident to provide same to the command.
SDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had traded words over the attack on Monday with both sides pointing an accusing finger at each other.
While the SDP alleged that the attack was perpetrated by hired political thugs, the APC said it was staged.
Benue LGs Dissolution Lawless – Senate Minority Leader
The Senate Minority Leader and Senator representing Benue South, Abba Moro, has condemned the recent dissolution of local government chairmen in the state by Governor Hyacinth Alia, describing it as “lawlessness”.
In an interview on live television, Wednesday, Senator Moro expressed his disapproval of the Governor’s action, stating that it was a violation of the Nigerian Constitution.
He maintained that the governor did not have the power to unilaterally dissolve elected officials, and such actions could only be taken through due process and legal means.
He said, “Let me say clearly from the beginning, the constitution doesn’t provide for caretaker. Two years plus ago, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Ekiti State that sacked council chairmen that the governors do not have power to sack local government council and constitute caretaker committees.
“And even went further to say that the state houses of assembly do not have power to dissolve councils and that the state governors do not hide under laws made by the state assembly to dissolve elected councils.
“How can you now say you are investigating 23 local governments, 276 council wards and all of them have been found corrupt? If you find somebody, prosecute him.
“The issue now is that the action that the State House of Assembly has taken which they said he followed is wrong. What is wrong is wrong.
“This is the lawlessness that is taking place in Benue State. Is that correct? We must rise up against this thing.”
Third Republic Lawmakers Demand Unpaid Salaries, Allowances
Former lawmakers elected in the Third Republic, on Wednesday, demanded the immediate payment of their unpaid salaries and allowances to make ends meet.
The lawmakers made the plea while leading a delegation of the Third Republic Forum to present an award of selfless service to an alumnus of the Third House of Assembly and current member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Bayelsa State, Frederick Agbedi.
A member of the group, Basil Okafor, said President Bola Tinubu, who was elected Senator on the platform of the Social Democratic Party belonged to the set now battling to have their entitlements paid to them
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an octopus in battle, has fought from 1992 till date to make input and he is today the President. We have a lot of problems that we now think that having a President who is one of us, having members of the House of Representatives and multiple Senators, that some of these problems can be addressed. We have problems with our claims and salaries that were not paid at that time. We have problems that we are seeking the face of this government to see how they can help us resolve.
“And we know that having Agbedi here, he can help us coordinate his fellow members to champion this cause and the press should also help us in any way to highlight some of these problems that are facing us because we are the old boys of this current government,” he said.
He noted that the rules governing the activities of the 10th House were put in place by the Third Republic lawmakers, adding that the current lawmakers now only amend the rules to meet current realities.
Also speaking, the National Organising Secretary of the group, Hajiya Amina lauded Agbedi for his contribution to the development of the Nigerian society.
“We are here this afternoon to honour our own, the man called Fred Agbedi. He is a man who represents the interest of his people, who even represents the interest of women and fought for the creation of the Ministry of Women Affairs. He is women-friendly,” she said.
Stressing the difficulty the Third Republic lawmakers are facing owing to unpaid entitlements, she said, “Many of us have died. When we came here, we were 593, but over 250 have gone. Most of the women are dead.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) was 31 years since we were sworn in as members of this parliament. Our grandchildren can now vote and be voted for but we still have problems.
“If Moshood Abiola and Babagana Kingibe have been honoured and recognized, we were the foot soldiers. We were the delegates that voted them into power. What about us? Why can’t we be honoured and our standing salaries paid?
“Some of us are half dead. I am also half dead because my engine is knocked. I am just trying to make life easy for myself. We are calling on the government and the President to help us.”
While thanking his guests for the honour done to him, Agbedi called on the Federal Government to quickly pay up the salaries and allowances owed to the ex-lawmakers saying, “All their entitlements should be given to them. Even the President, Bola Tinubu will benefit from this.”
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