Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The House of Representatives has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP).
This followed the adoption of the report of the Hon. Aliyu Ahman-Pategi-led ad-hoc Committee on the Need to Investigate the Legality and Modus Operandi of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel, which indicted the presidential aide for forgery and misrepresentation.
“The President should discharge Chief Okoi Obono-Obla of his responsibility as Special Adviser and Chairman of the SPIP.
“Chief Obono-Obla should be prosecuted by the Inspector-General of Police and charged to court for forgery and misrepresentation”, the report demanded.
In an amendment to the report by the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Edward Pwajok (SAN), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris was also asked to investigate and prosecute Chief Obono-Obla, who is also a Special Adviser to the President, for the alleged crime.
Also, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), President, NBA, Director-General, Nigeria Law School and the Vice Chancellor, University of Jos were all enjoined to investigate the matter and ensure that Obono-Obla was prosecuted.
The Ad-hoc Committee had conducted an extensive public investigation on the activities of SPIP in July following allegations of corruption contained in the audit report of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the financial transactions of the Panel.
Apart from this, there were also allegations of abuse of powers and forgery of West African Examination Council certificate against Obono-Obla.
Making its findings known in July, Ahman-Pategi had said that whereas the WAEC result (Examination No. 09403/247 May/June 1982) with which Chief Obono-Obla obtained admission and studied Law at the University of Jos as Okoi Ofem Okoi showed that he made five credit passes, including Literature in English, official letters from WAEC dated April 11 and 17 2018 and signed by Mr. A. A Okelezue and Mr. Olu Adenipekun, respectively, showed that Obono-Obla was absent for Literature in English.
WAEC Deputy Registrar, Mr. Femi Ola, had also affirmed that Obono-Obla’s result was altered, not genuine, and invalid.
The Committee also noted that a letter by University of Jos dated July 11, 2018 and signed by the Registrar, Monday Danjem, confirmed that Obono-Obla gained admission into the Law Faculty of the University of Jos with the same controversial result.
Adopting the Ad-Hoc Committee’s report, therefore, the House resolved that “the Law Degree of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, having been obtained fraudulently, should be withdrawn by the University of Jos”.
Other recommendations contained in the report was that President Buhari should be urged to dissolve the Panel in view of the arbitrary use of powers and abuse of Office by the Chairman and that the Code of Conduct Bureau should be utilised to perform the function that the panel sought to perform in the current anti-corruption drive.
The report also recommended that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) should investigate the allegations of corruption contained in the Audit Report of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the financial transactions of the panel and prosecute the culprits and that the Law Degree of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, having been allegedly obtained fraudulently, should be withdrawn by University of Jos.
The lawmakers therefore urged the Council of Law Education to withdraw the Law School Certificate awarded to Ofem Okoi Ofem (now known as Chief Okoi Obono-Obla) as it was based on the degree which he obtained from University of Jos through fraud.