Allegation of certificate forgery against Sylva laughable—ex-classmates

Yenagoa—Chief Eki Allen-Inain, a former classmate of Chief Timipre Sylva, the immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, has described as laughable the allegations of certificate forgery and identity theft levelled against the Okpoama-born politician.

Recall that a former deputy national publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, called on the National Assembly, Nigeria Police, and Department of State Services (DSS), among others, to investigate Sylva over alleged certificate forgery and identity theft.

Frank made the requests in a petition addressed through his solicitors to the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Inspector General of Police, and the Director General of the Department of State Services on the matter.

In the petition, dated March 31, 2023, and signed by the Principal Partner of Graylaw Practice LP, Edward Omaga, Frank urged the National Assembly to summon Sylva and officials from his alma maters in Nigeria and Switzerland to explain the inconsistencies in the identity of the politician.

However, Allen-Inain reacting to the petition in a statement on Thursday said Sylva who has had a public career spanning over thirty years couldn’t have possibly committed the crimes he has been accused of.

He noted that Sylva’s biography is in the public domain and has many classmates through his academic journey who are ready to testify in his favour, saying the allegations are borne out of sheer ignorance.

Allen-Inain who is the president of the Government School School (GSS) Twon Brass (class of 1976) further said the allegations are a ploy to divert attention and distract people from issue-based campaigns as the Bayelsa gubernatorial election approaches.

According to him, “There seems to be a lot of heat in Creek Haven following His Excellency Sylva winning the APC gubernatorial ticket for Bayelsa State. Bayelsans should be wary of such mudslinging that earns us nothing good.

“It is obvious that the reason behind Timi Frank’s allegation reported by an online newspaper is nothing but to cause distractions from issue-based conversations as the gubernatorial election campaigns draw near.”

Allen-Inain maintained that Timi Frank has inadvertently signalled the preferred strategy of Governor Douye Diri’s campaign which he alleged “will be based on propaganda and not concrete dividends of his over three years old administration. Bayelsans will not be bamboozled by their shenanigans.”

Meanwhile, Timipre Sylva, reacting to the allegations in a statement on Wednesday through his media aide, Horatius Egua, said the allegations against him are a mere attempt to “dampen” his political pursuits.

The statement noted that: “In the past few months, there have been a series of attacks and campaigns of calumny against Chief Timipre Sylva in the media, falsely accusing him of all sorts of misdemeanour, including falsification of certificate and defamation.

“A careful analysis of all the publications reveals an orchestrated attempt by some disgruntled elements and known blackmailers to dampen the political enthusiasm and commitment of Chief Timipre Sylva to the call to continue his service to the nation and Bayelsa State in particular.

“Ordinarily, Chief Sylva would not want to dignify the character behind these defamatory publications with any response but for the purpose of letting the general public, especially the good people of Bayelsa know the reasons for these barrage of attacks, we have decided to address a few issues raised in the publication.”

On the alleged use of multiple names by Sylva, the statement recalled that a Federal High Court, in Abuja, in 2023 had dismissed the alleged certificate forgery case filed by the Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative against him.

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