In a significant legal development, a Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed allegations of forgery against Enugu State Governor, Peter Mbah.
The court also imposed a hefty fine of N5 million on the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for falsely claiming that Governor Mbah’s discharge certificate was fake.
Governor Peter Mbah had initiated legal action against the NYSC and its Director of Corps Certification, Ibrahim Muhammad, following the publication of a disclaimer by the NYSC, denying the authenticity of a discharge certificate issued to him on January 6, 2003.
However, NYSC, in its preliminary objection, dated May 19 and filed on May 22, had sought an order dismissing or striking out the lawsuit, citing lack of jurisdiction and competence.
Delivering a comprehensive judgment on Monday, Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled in favor of Governor Mbah, asserting that the certificate presented by him to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was genuine and had been validly issued by the NYSC.
Justice Ekwo further contended that the Director-General of the NYSC and the corps had misrepresented material facts in the case.
The court established that Governor Mbah had, midway through his service, obtained permission from the NYSC to attend the Nigeria Law School in 2003, following which he was reinstated into the NYSC.
Justice Ekwo emphasized that the plaintiff’s unchallenged evidence regarding the issuance of the discharge certificate by NYSC in 2003, after completing his service at a Lagos law firm, was compelling. Furthermore, the court noted that the NYSC failed to present counter-evidence, leaving no doubt that Governor Mbah had indeed served the mandatory one-year service.
Among other findings, Justice Ekwo underscored that the burden of proving forgery allegations rested squarely on the NYSC, and the organization had failed to meet this burden. The court found Governor Mbah’s evidence more credible and weighty. As a result of this ruling, Governor Peter Mbah has been cleared of all forgery allegations,
This landmark judgment marks a significant victory for Governor Peter Mbah and reinforces the principle of justice and due process in Nigeria’s legal system. It also underscores the importance of maintaining the integrity of public officials and institutions through fair and transparent legal proceedings.