A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Okey Amechi has asked the Rector of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Prof. Kalu Osonwa, to clear the air about the manner in which a student, Chief Gregory Okwuchukwu Okafor was awarded a National Diploma, OND, result from the institution.
A human rights group, Centre for Reform and Public Advocacy (CRPA) has also petitioned the RSet featured imageector over the matter.
In the petition, Amechi said Okafor, a businessman in Aba, and a member of the Aba Sports Club 1926, had indicated interest in contesting election for the office of the President of the Club scheduled for December 1, 2021.
The lawyer said going by the Constitution of the Club, an aspiring member must be a holder of at least a Diploma obtained from a tertiary institution.
The petitioner alleged that Okafor, having not the said academic qualification, secured admission during the 2018/2019 academic session into the department of Business Administration and Management.
Amechi said; “Surprisingly, Chief Okafor who had up to the closure of nominations for the office of the President of the Club maintained he was a student of Abia Poly, suddenly brought a purported OND statement of result, dated November 30, 2021.
“This statement of result purportedly showed that Okafor had graduated from your school with effect from August 1, 2020”.
He noted that the National Diploma statement of result issued to the student which the institution said took effect from August 2020, was despite the disruptions in academic activities across the globe in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amechi doubted the authenticity of the said result issued to Okafor, stressing that as at December 2021, the school was yet to graduate students of the 2018/2019 session.
Contesting the authenticity of the result, the SAN stated; “The Diploma statement of result, though dated November 30, 2021, still bears the letter headed paper of a long retired Registrar of the school, Chief Mrs C.A Nwabughiogu, instead of the current Registrar, Mr. Oriaku Chinyere C., while an attestation letter to the Aba Sports Club also dated November 30, 2021, had Oriaku’s letter headed paper.
Amechi demanded the Polytechnic to verify in writing, the status of the ND Statement of result issued to Okafor to avoid legal actions.
Meanwhile, CRPA has also requested the institution to verify and make public, the authenticity of the ND result issued to Okafor.
CRPA added that in dealing with its request, the Polytechnic should be guided by the need to protect the sanctity of the academic certificates of Abia state Polytechnic.
In another petition written to Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC), Mr. Collins Opurozor noted the contradictions in the process leading to the award of ND to the businessman.
He urged the anti corruption commission to investigate the matter and bring those culpable to book.
The lawyer and the rights group had noted that the letter headed paper of the immediate past Registrar was used to issue the Diploma resulted dated November 30,2021, when she had retired from the polytechnic.
Contacted about the petitions , the Rector of the Polytechnic,Prof. Kalu Osonwa, directed inquiries to the Registrar.
However,the Registrar, Mr. Oriaku Chinyere. C, dismissed the allegations when asked about the issue of the attestation letter he sent to the Aba Sports Club 1926 and the Diploma statement of result ,both dated November 30,2021,bearing his letter headed paper and that of the immediate past Registrar of the Polytechnic ,Chief Mrs C.A. Nwabughiogu, respectively, signed by one Ogbuji Ebere Peace.
Oriaku admitted that there have been many inquiries about the matter which the school had answered and supplied the necessary pieces of evidence to prove that the allegation of certificate racketeering is false.
“I can tell you that those things are false allegations being peddled by those who don’t know the operations of the institution. All documents necessary for clarification on the matter are with us and we’re ready to make them available. But I can categorically tell you that those allegations are false,” Oriaku said.
The Immediate past Registrar ,Chief Mrs Neabughiogu,explained that she retired from the polytechnic before November 30,2021 and doesn’t know what happened after her retirement.
She admitted that any letter headed paper bearing her name cannot be valid after she had retired.