Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Appeal Court Sacks Hassan Sale, Benue Reps member

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, yesterday set aside a Federal High Court judgment, which ordered House of Representatives member, Hassan Saleh of Benue State to immediately vacate office.

In his place, the Appellate Court has ordered Christian Abah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to replace him. His earlier sack was on the ground of alleged certificate forgery upon which he was barred by the Federal High Court from being inaugurated.

Saleh had challenged the eligibility of Christian Abah to stand for the election on the ground that he forged an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) certificate in Accountancy purportedly obtained from the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, in 1985.

Abah was the unopposed candidate for PDP in the April 11, 2015 election.

The judgment of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered last year which nullified the election of Mr. Christian Abah as a member of the House of Representatives from Benue State on the ground of certificate forgery was however set aside Monday.

The Appellate Court held that the judgment of Justice Ademola was pervasive because the ingredients of criminality in the allegations against Abah was not proved let alone beyond reasonable doubt.

In the Appeal Court lead judgment delivered by Justice Tani Yusuf Hassan, it was held that the allegation of forgery of certificate brought against Abah ought to have been proven before an order withdrawing the certificate of return issued to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could be validly withdrawn.

Justice Hassan also held that the Federal High Court was wrong in its order that INEC should issue a new certificate of return to Saleh and dabbling into the issue of the nomination when in actual fact, the allegation made by Saleh against his opponent has not been proven by any law court.

The court therefore, upheld the certificate of return earlier issued to Abah by INEC and ordered him to be inaugurated as a member of House of Representatives from Benue State.

The Federal High Court had last year nullified the certificate of return issued to a Benue Rep-elect, Christian Abah, for allegedly forging a diploma of the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, which he allegedly used to secure the nomination of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2015 general election.

Justice Ademola had held that the allegation of certificate forgery against Abah by the plaintiff, Mr. Saleh was true, having been established by an election tribunal in 2011.


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