From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Abia State House of Assembly has set up a committee to investigate alleged certificate racketeering at the State polytechnic, Aba.
The setting up of the committee followed a petition sent to the House by the Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Abia State (CCSGA), signed by its chairman and secretary, Johnson Eme and Veronica Nwaogu, respectively.
They alleged that the Polytechnic issued a Diploma statement of result to a businessman, Chief Okafor Gregory Okwuchukwu, which showed that he graduated on August 1, 2020, when his classmates were still studying and yet to complete the required duration for the course, having gained admission in 2018.
The CSOs had urged the Assembly to investigate if the businessman could have completed the duration for the Business Administration and Management course when the Covid 19 pandemic halted academic activities worldwide in 2020.
The group further urged the House to investigate and conduct a public hearing on the matter.
After the petition was read at the plenary, Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Chinedum Orji, described the matter as a sensitive, important and critical matter which must be thoroughly investigated.
He announced a former Speaker of the Assembly, Chikwendu Kalu as chairman, while Hon. Jerry Uzosike, Hon. Emeka Okoroafor and Hon. Uzodike Aaron, as members and gave them two weeks to report back to the House.
According to the CSOs, “There is alleged certificate racketeering in the Abia State Polytechnic , Aba, with reference to a questionable Diploma statement of result with registration number, 2018NDE/04397/BA, issued to one Gregory Okwuchukwu Okafor who is doing evening part time programme in the institution.
“In the petition which we have made available to the Speaker as it has become a public document, we request the Abia State House of Assembly to constitute a panel of enquiry and conduct a public hearing to unravel the truth of the matter.
“The alleged Diploma statement of result states that the certificate was signed on November 30, 2021 bearing the name of the retired registrar of the polytechnic, Chief Mrs. C.A. Nwabughiogu , instead of the current Registrar, Mr. Chinyere Oriaku.
“Looking at the statement of result, it is very doubtful and highly questionable as it was signed on November 30, 2021 bearing the name of a long retired Registrar of the institution, one Chief Mrs C.A. Nwabughiogu instead of the current Registrar, Mr. Chinyere Oriaku.
“This is not possible because the retired Registrar is not supposed to have issued an official document with her headed paper when she had retired from the polytechnic. From date on the statement of result ,it is clear that the candidate may have been given the result before he actually sat for the examination. On November 30, 2021, the Polytechnic wrote an attestation letter that the student’s statement of result was being processed ,but had earlier issued him a statement of result on August 1, 2020. This is akin to delivering a child before pregnancy”.
The CSOs also stated that the sanctity of the certificates as issued by the Polytechnic is paramount over primordial interest and urged the petition to be investigated without delay.