The Department of State Service (DSS) said the exemption certificate the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) issued Bayelsa State Deputy Governor Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo was altered.
Ewhrudjakpo alongside Gov. Douye Diri were beneficiaries of a Supreme Court’s judgment, which nullified the election of Governor-elect, David Lyon of the APC 24 hours to the inauguration on the premise that his running mate, Degi-Eremienyo’s educational certificates bore different names and smacked of forgery.
The deputy governor has also been dogged by claim instituted by the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State, Vijah Opuama, via a petition before the tribunal, alleging that Ewhrudjakpo submitted forged exemption certificate and documents that contain false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.
The embattled Bayelsa number two had denied the forgery slur saying the NYSC misspelt his name, “I wish to once again request for the correction of my NYSC Exemption Certificate issued in 1998. I graduated from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt, in 1998, and was exempted from the mandatory national service on the grounds of age.
“However, when my Exemption Certificate was issued, there was an error in my surname. My surname was spelt Ewhnwjakpa instead of Ewhrudjakpo, which is the correct name both on my graduation certificate and other documents. I had earlier written requesting the correction, all to no avail.”
On Monday, the Head of Legal Department at DSS, Abdulsalam Ibrahim, at the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal in Abuja said upon an order by Abuja court directing the agency to investigate allegation of certificate forgery against Ewhrudjakpo, it approached the NYSC for clarification on the discrepancies on the certificate.
Ibrahim who was led in evidence by the petitioner’s lawyer, Pius Danbe Pius, said: “My lord, on February 22, 2020, we received a letter from an Area Court in Lugbe, Abuja, asking the DSS to investigate the NYSC exemption certificate of Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the present Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State.”
The DSS officer said his agency reached out to the NYSC.
He said the DG of NYSC wrote to the DG of DSS, confirming alteration in the surname in the exemption certificate issued Ewhrudjakpo.
Ibrahim told the tribunal that the alteration was done by the NYSC at the instance of Ewhrudjakpo.
Respondents’ lawyers, including Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), Chris Uche (SAN) and Chukwuma Machwkwu Umeh, did not object to the tendering of the documents, following which the tribunal admitted them and marked them Exhibits P1, P2, P3 and P4.
Upon a request by Pius, Ibrahim read the conclusion of the report of the investigation conducted by his agency, which the tribunal had admitted in evidence.