A Federal High Court in Abuja has imposed a penalty of N5 million on the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for the claim that Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State held a fake discharged certificate.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, declared the Director General of the NYSC and the corps, who were defendants in the lawsuit, to be at fault for distorting significant facts.
The judge affirmed the authenticity of the certificate provided by Mbah to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), confirming its validity as a legitimate document issued by the NYSC.
Justice Ekwo further held that evidence before the court showed that the governor though was mobilised for service in 2001, he, however, completed his service in 2003.
According to the court, Mbah, midway into his service, sought and after receiving permission from NYSC to attend the Nigeria Law School, was reinstated into the NYSC in 2003.
Furthermore, the judge noted that the NYSC didn’t dispute the evidence of Mbah’s service at Udeh’s law firm but criticized the corps for not pursuing forgery charges against the governor if they genuinely believed the NYSC certificate was not issued to him
Recall that Governor Mbah had sued the NYSC and its Director, Corps Certification, Mr Ibrahim Muhammad, for publishing a disclaimer, denying the issuance of a discharge certificate issued to him on Jan.6, 2003.
Justice Ekwo, on May 15, granted an order that prohibited the NYSC, Muhammad, and their agents from making any publications while the substantive matter was pending.
This order was the result of an ex parte motion brought forward by Mbah’s counsel, Mr. Emeka Ozoani, SAN.
On May 19, the NYCS filed a preliminary objection, and by May 22, they sought an order to dismiss or strike out the suit, arguing that it lacked jurisdiction and competence.
It argued that an appeal to the president was a condition precedent to instituting an action against the defendants in any court of law in Nigeria.
According to the NYSC, consequent upon the refusal of the plaintiff/respondent to comply with the provisions of Section 20 of the National Youth Service Corps Act, this suit is premature for the jurisdiction of the court to crystalise.
The NYSC had, on Feb. 1, written a letter signed by Mr Ibrahim Muhammed saying that the NYSC certificate belonging to Mbah was not issued by the corps.
Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner of the Enugu state governorship election held on March 18 by the Independent National Electoral Commission