Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has called on the National Assembly, Nigeria Police Force and Department of State Services(DSS) to immediately commence investigation on a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva over alleged certificate forgery and identity theft.
Sylva, a former Governor of Bayelsa State recently emerged the gubernatorial candidate of the APC in the state.
But in a swift reaction, Sylva described Frank as a political prostitute and jobber who was busy making unsubstantiated allegations to please his pay master.
Frank, in a petition through his solicitors, Principal Partner of Graylaw Practice LP, Edward Omaga Esq also called on the Senate President, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the DSS, among others to look into the matter.
He urged the National Assembly to summon Sylva and officials from his alma maters in Nigeria and Switzerland to explain the inconsistencies in the identity of the politician.
Frank explained: “Sylva’s primary school certificate carried his name as Anagha Timipere as evident in documents the ex-Minister filed before a court in the United States as part of an ongoing defamation suit brought by his lawyers.”
He noted that Anagha Timipere was different from Marlin Anagha Timipre, which is the name on Sylva’s WAEC certificate.
He claimed that the ex-petroleum minister had also obtained his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Port-Harcourt, with the certificate bearing Anagha Timipre Marlin.
Frank insisted that this clearly contradicted Sylva’s 2011 doctoral degree certificate in International Relations from Ubis University, Switzerland, with the name Chief Timipre Sylva.
He further claimed that Sylva neither participated in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme nor did he obtain an exemption certificate as required by law.
The petition reads: “Obviously, the certificates mentioned above have visible anomalies and do not depict the true identity of Chief Timpre Sylva. It is confusing as to who Chief Timipre Sylva is; who Anagha Timipre Marlin is; who Marlin Anagha Timipre is and who Anagha Timipere is.
“There is no evidence anywhere showing that Chief Timpre Sylva ever changed his name from Anagha Timipre Marlin to Timipre Sylva in 1986 after he purportedly graduated from University of Port Harcourt.”
“Investigation by our client reveals that there is also no record that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has NYSC Discharge or Exemption Certificate, as the case may be, either in the name of Anagha Timipre Marlin or Timipre Sylva.”
The obvious discrepancies in the documents caused the petitioner to insist that Sylva may have forged his academic certificates or had them stolen from a third party, “an offence that violates Section 438 of the Criminal Code Act and carries a 14-year prison sentence.”
Frank claimed that after Sylva learnt that his identity inconsistencies could imperil his governorship quest, he filed processes to change his name to Timipre Sylva in an official government gazette of May 12, 2022.
He said before seeking to change his name in an official gazette, Sylva had already served as Bayelsa State governor between 2007 and 2012 and also Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, among other top-level state and federal positions.
Frank also called on the National Assembly to summon Sylva and officials from all the academic institutions that issued him certificates to confirm the actual identity of who they awarded the academic certificates.
The institutions include Ajeromi Central School in Apapa, Lagos, West African Examination Council (WAEC), University of Port-Harcourt and Ubis University, Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Sylva has said that in the past few months, there had been series of attacks and campaigns of calumny against him in the media, falsely accusing him of all sorts of misdemeanour, including falsification of certificate and defamation.
Sylva, in a statement issued yesterday said a careful analysis of all the publications revealed an orchestrated attempt by some disgruntled elements and known blackmailers to dampen his political enthusiasm and commitment to continue his service to the nation and Bayelsa State in particular.
According to him, since emerging as the APC gubernatorial candidate for Bayelsa State, a certain Timi Frank, a political prostitute and jobber has been busy making unsubstantiated allegations against Chief Timipre Sylva, doing the bidding of his pay master.
The former minister noted that through Frank’s attention seeking and imbecilic allegations, he has thrown overboard decency and resorted to gutter tactics in confusing the ordinary person on the street.
On the alleged use of multiple names, Sylva recalled that a Federal High Court, in Abuja, in 2022 dismissed the alleged certificate forgery case filed by the Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI) against him.
He claimed that the court in a copy of its ruling dated March 8th dismissed the matter following an application by the lawyer to the plaintiff, Edward Onaga, seeking the withdrawal of the case.
Sylva added: “It is worthy to note that Chief Timipre Sylva has already sworn an affidavit in respect of the identity issue and has gone ahead to do a Deed Poll, which has already been gazetted. So all legal processes have been duly followed.
“So for anyone to impute that Chief Sylva did not go to school or falsified his certificate is a clear demonstration of a man who suffers from memory loss. It’s only an imbecile that can concoct such mischievous and misleading information to sell to the public.
Anyone who is in doubt about Chief Sylva’s academic qualifications or certification can also go to the University of Port Harcourt where he graduated in 1986. His classmates are everywhere in Nigeria. Rotimi Amaechi former Minister of Transportation is one of his classmates and the Abia State Governor-elect who is the current president of the University Of Port Harcourt Alumni was a year behind Chief Sylva, at the university.”
Sylva maintained that these unfounded allegations against him are clearly borne out of the minds of those elements who could do nothing to halt the impending move to take Bayelsa state from those who have kept the state on its knees in the last decade.
He said he would not be intimidated or blackmailed into buckling down because of any sponsored falsehood and harassment from any quarters