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Appeal Court reinstates Plateau lawmaker sacked by High Court over certificate forgery

Appeal Court

The Court of Appeal, Jos division on Monday re-instated the member representing Jos North/North constituency at the Plateau state House of Assembly, Ibrahim Baba Hassan, who was sacked by the Federal High Court sitting in Jos over alleged certificate forgery.

The lawmaker was taken to a federal high court since 2015 by Abdul Nasir Saleh, who challenged the authenticity of the lawmaker’s Diploma Certificate in Business Administration which he claimed to have obtained from the University of Jos.

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Saleh contested party primaries with the lawmaker on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 but came second.

The high court sacked the lawmaker, ordered him to pay the sum of N25million damages to the plaintiff and also ordered him to return his salaries and allowances to the government.

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But the counsel to the lawmaker, Solomon Umoh appealed the matter at the Court of Appeal, Jos Division.

In a consensus judgement by Justice Mudassiru Oneyangi, Tani Hassan and Habeeb Abiru, the Appeal Court set aside the ruling of the federal high court based on the ground that the plaintiff filed the matter before the court after 14 days of the primaries of their party in 2014.

Justice Oneyangi said the court heard the matter for more than three years and according to section 285 (10) of the 1999 constitution, a High Court must deliver judgement within 180 days on the issue of pre-election matter.

He said, “The matter has spent more than three years as against 180 days and in the first instance, the High Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter because the case was filed before the court after 14 days of the stipulated time guiding the court regarding pre-election matter.”

“And therefore all written judgement by the court was nullified and void. There is merit in the appeal; the High Court judgement is hereby set aside,” he ordered.

But the counsel to the plaintiff, David Ibeawuchi, said they would study the judgement before they take their next line of action.

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