Senator George Akume
By Omololu Ogunmade
Former governor of Benue State and senator representing Benue North-west zone, George Akume, Saturday described allegation of certificate forgery levelled against him as callous and an abuse of court process.
Akume, who also described the allegation as outright falsehood, said he read the report of a suit “concocted by one Philip Agbese and purportedly filed with the Federal High Court Abuja as reported on Page 9 of THISDAY newspaper of Saturday 16th February 2013” with disbelief.
Agbese had on Friday dragged Akume before the court, alleging forgery of his West African School Certificate (WASC) and degree certificate from University of Ibadan and prayed the court to nullify his election into the Senate, saying he lacked the qualification to seek election into the upper chamber.
In the statement signed by his media aide, Mrs. Beckie Orpin, Akume, who said the onus of proof lies with Agbese, added that he had briefed his lawyers who are accordingly waiting for court summons.
The statement read in part: “This allegation is laughable; but I weep for our country Nigeria because of the brazen manner citizens are allowed to abuse the laws of our land with impunity.
“This allegation is a classical case of a smear campaign on a thorough breed and it is capable of casting doubt in the minds of well meaning citizens and may have the possibility of denting the reputation distinguished Senator George Akume has built over time. I therefore set out to clear the air as follows.
“The distinguished senator has an unquenchable taste for knowledge and in spite of his modest background his parents enrolled him in L.G.E.D Wanune at a tender age.
He thereafter gained entrance into the then Government Secondary School Otobi now Federal Government College Otobi as one of the pioneer students and graduated with Aggregate 21 in 1971.
“These records are still there in the school as well as with the examination authorities for any doubting Thomas who cares to check. It is this excellent showing that propelled him to pursue a higher certificate (HSC) at St. Louis College Jos in the then Plateau State.
“That he gained admission into the Premier University of Ibadan (Jos Campus) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1978 and a Master of Science in Industrial Labour Relations from the same school in 1986 is not in doubt. His mandatory one year national assignment took him to Advanced Teachers College Akwanga and he has a discharge certificate.
“What with the arrays of distinguished secondary, higher school certificate and university mates in the states and federal civil services, diplomatic corps and even the judiciary will an Agbese set out to demean Senator Akume.”