Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Sylva Dragged To Court Over Alleged Certificate Forgery

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has been dragged before a Federal High Court in Abuja over allegations of certificate forgery.

In the court documents obtained by Reporters on Friday, a civil society organisation, Transparency Advocacy For Development Initiative, TADI, which is the plaintiff, is seeking the court to ascertain the true identity of the one-time Governor of Bayelsa State and serving minister.

The suit which is marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1563/2022 seeks amongst other reliefs; A DECLARATION that by the interpretation of Sections 366, 364 and 158 (2) of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja 1990 read together with the Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Timipre Sylva is overdue for arrest and prosecution for the offences of identity theft, impersonation and forgery.

TADI’s Director of Compliance, Adamu Kabir Matazu, speaking with journalists in Abuja, said an investigation took the organisation to the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the minister had instituted a libel case against a journalist, Jackson Ude.

SaharaReporters had in August reported that Ude, an editor of an online platform, Pointblank News, denied claims of victory by the minister’s supporters in the alleged defamation suit before the US Court.

Addressing the newsmen, Matazu said, “In the course of hearing, Chief Timipre Sylva signed a Verification of Interrogatories Answers dated April 2022 and attached various academic documents in proof of his identity. The said academic documents included a First School Leaving Certificate with No. 092915 dated 1st July, 1976 issued to ANAGHA TIMIPERE who finished from Ajeromi Central IA School, Araromi-Apapa, Lagos State, Nigeria.

“Also, Chief Timipre Sylva claims to hold a West African Examination Council (WAEC) General Certificate of Education with Certificate No. PO851528 and Candidate No. 21735215 dated December 1981 issued to MARLIN ANAGHA TIMIPRE with the following results: English Language – Grade 6; Literature in English – Grade 6; Religious Knowledge – Grade 3; History – Grade 3; and, Commerce – Grade 6.

“We uncovered also that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources parades a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from University of Port-Harcourt dated 19th August, 1986 issued to ANAGHA TIMIPRE MARLIN. Finally, he holds a Doctorate Degree in International Relations (Honoris Causa) from UBIS University in Geneva, Switzerland dated 22nd September, 2011 and issued to Chief Timipre Sylva.

“You will agree with us that the certificates mentioned above have visible anomalies and do not depict the true identity of Chief Timpre Sylva. We are confused as to who Chief Timpre Sylva is; who Anagha Timipre Marlin is; who Marlin Anagha Timipre is and who Anagha Timipere is. There is no evidence anywhere showing that CHIEF TIMPRE SYLVA ever changed his name from ANAGHA TIMIPRE MARLIN to TIMIPRE SYLVA in 1986 after he purportedly graduated from University of Port-Harcourt.

“Our investigation reveals that there is also no record that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Discharge or Exemption Certificate, as the case may be, either in the name of ANAGHA TIMIPRE MARLIN or TIMIPRE SYLVA. The question we as well as other anti-corruption crusaders all over Nigeria are asking is: WHO IS CHIEF TIMIPRE SYLVA?   

“While we are still asking, records abound that CHIEF TIMPRE SYLVA intentionally presented the aforementioned inconsistent academic documents before the Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Screening Committee in 2007 as well as the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives in 2019 under oath for purposes of screening into the positions of Governor of Bayelsa State and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, respectively.”

The group, TADI hence on September 1, filed an Originating Summons before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria.

Included in the suit as defendants were the Director-General, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).

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