Certificate Forgery Saga: Nigerian Customs Boss, Detain Vendor, Burn Newspapers.
It was a black Friday for Abuja residents on September 11, 2009, as the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Alhaji Abdullahi Inde Dikko ordered the seizure of 2000 (Two Thousand) copies of vol.1, No.9 of “The Premier Tabloid”, an Ibadan-based newspaper, with the caption: “DikkoGate: How Customs boss forged his way to the Top”. The raid took place near customs headquarters in Zone 3, FCT Abuja.
Huhuonline.com authenticated checks revealed that the Newspaper's agent, Mr. Oluwatosin Testimony, was arrested by Customs officers on the orders of Alhaji Dikko and taken to the Customs Security Post at Zone 3 Headquarters where he was detained for hours. All the seized copies were later brought out to the open and set ablaze.
According to a statement made available to huhuonline.com from Festus Keyamo's Chambers, the legal luminary reacted to the unwholesome actions and said:
''The story that Alhaji Dikko is so desperate to kill is the allegation by his former boy, Mr. Olajide Oyewole Ibrahim, that almost all the certificates of the Customs boss were forged for him by the boy. Instead of Alhaji Dikko to respond by publishing his certificates (if he has one at all) he has resorted to this stone-age tactics that cannot save his job. If Dikko feels that a crime has been committed by the vendors circulating newspapers containing a story on him, he can report to the Nigerian Police, but cannot resort to self help to vent his spleen.
''I once again call on the President, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to save the Customs Service and Nigerians this national embarrassment by ordering the immediate probe of these grave allegations and not to continue to play the ostrich on this matter.''
One would have thought that the era of barbaric, cruel and indiscriminate arrest of journalists, confiscation of news prints and equipments as well as closure of media houses have gone for good in Nigeria, but recent actions perpetuated by Nigeria Customs helmsman apparently revealed that we still have wolfs in human image under the guise of 'order from above' in this part of most populous black Nation. This however, is a striking signal for the two national legislative houses to expedite actions for the passage of Freedom of Information Bill (FoI) which is waiting endlessly before them. This in no doubt helps to sanitize our system, especially for the likes of our public officers who are power drunk and grossly abuse it.
It would be recalled that this ugly development was coming when legal counsel to the Customs boss Chucks Nwana rebutted the claims contained in the petition against his client saying it was false, baseless and lacks merit. He further accused Olajide Ibrahim (the petitioner) and his legal counsel of cheap blackmail and extortion. But what was witnessed on Friday in Abuja has ostensibly countered his entire defense, as Alhaji Dikko has been doing everything within his powers to destroy every facts and evidences against him over this matter of forgery scandal.
Earlier, Huhuonline.com published an affidavit by Olajide Oyewole Ibrahim, the petitioner and former friend of the Customs comptroller general.
AFFIDAVIT REGARDING MY RELATINSHIP WITH ALHAJI ABDULLAHI DIKKO
I, OLAJIDE OYEWOLE IBRAHIM, male, Muslim, Nigerian citizen, resident of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, do hereby make oath and state as follows:
1. That my name is Olajide Oyewole Ibrahim and the following facts have already been written and submitted to my lawyer, Barrister Festus Keyamo. I now thought it fit to also make an affidavit.
2. That I knew Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, the present Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service since 1995, while undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) scheme with the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) at Plot 22, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
3. That during that time, i.e. 1995, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko was serving as a Superintendent of Customs (CS) and resided in his official quarters at Block 18, Flat 'F', Eric Moore Towers, Surulere, Lagos.
4. That sometime in 1995, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko approached me as the officer in charge of Training and Courses Department of the Nigerian Institute Management, to sneak out blank programme certificates on Finance and Accounts for him, which he intended to fill himself and present as authentic certificates. He explained to me that he needed these certificates and many others to get rapid promotion.
5. That I obliged Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko of this request and secured on his behalf two (2) course participant certificates covering the years 1995 and 1996. (Copies of the certificates are hereby attached as Exhibits 'A and B'). He thereafter filled them himself and forged the signatures on them.
6. That on the completion of my National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme in 1996, the Institute discovered these missing certificates from the booklet of certificates in my custody and when I could not account for them for fear of implicating Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, my name was withdrawn from the list of corpers to be considered for employment.
7. That as I could not be retained, I told Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko of my predicament, but he promised me he would get me into Dangote Group at that time through one of his friends Alhaji Idris Shuaib Mikati. But in the meantime, I became an errand boy for him. This situation of running errands for him continued for years and I later forgot about getting a regular employment.
8. That sometime in 1999, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko confessed to me because of my closeness to him, that his West African Examination Certificate (WAEC) result was defective and implored me to assist him get another result.
9. That in that same year i.e. 1999, I assisted Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko through the help of a staff of WAEC, to get him a fake WAEC result bearing the name of Government College, Kaduna and with the date of issuance as 1980. (Copy of the WAEC result is attached as Exhibit 'C').
10. That in the year 2000 when Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko wanted to become a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), they discovered that the WAEC result was not genuine.
11. That prior to their discovery, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko had already submitted the said WAEC certificate to the customs authorities as his and could not withdraw same.
12. Following that discovery, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko abandoned his ambition of becoming a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Nigeria and opted for membership of the Association of National Accountants (ANAN) situate at Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba, Lagos.
13. That with the assistance of two (2) members of staff of ANAN, one Mr. Bello who was then in charge of examination and one Mr. Ojelade in charge of registration at the Institute, Alhaji Dikko was admitted as a fellow of ANAN.
14. That it was the said Mr. Bello who suggested that we got somebody to write the ANAN examination of behalf of Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.
15. That suggestion warranted my contracting one Mr. Ganiu Memudu to write the ANAN examination on behalf of Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.
16. That initially, Mr. Ganiu Memudu was reluctant to write the examination for Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko but after much pressure from me and Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, Mr. Memudu yielded and wrote the ANAN examination conducted sometime in March 2000 at the Auditorium of the University of Lagos. (Copy of the ANAN Certificate is attached as Exhibit 'D').
17. That sometime in 2005 when Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko was promoted to the rank of Comptroller of Customs in charge of investigations, I approached him through his wife Hajia Shadiat Abdullahi for assistance in securing a job.
18. That Hajia Shadiat Abdullahi response to my request was that I was trying to reveal the confidentialities between myself and her husband, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko adding that Yoruba men could not be trusted. That response made me to leave their residence on the said date.
19. That sometime in February 2006, on arriving from a religious vigil with my wife, I was informed by my landlady that some persons came in a Toyota Corolla Car looking for me with the aim of offering me a job as a clearing agent at the Ports.
20. That my landlady further added that she suspected foul play since only two persons alighted from the said Toyota Corolla car while the others sat back.
21. That my landlady's intimations got me worried and scared leading me to relocate my wife and kids. Besides, the persons who came looking for me did not leave any contact address nor phone numbers behind, thereby raising my suspicion.
22.. That I thereafter met one retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. E.O. Abai who promised to plead with Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.
23. That when Mr. Abai got through to Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko via his phone, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko promised to deal with me and added that I may be killed any moment from then.
24. That thereafter, Mr. Abai advised me to enforce my rights in a law court.
25. That on April 24, 2006, a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere granted my prayers that I should not be intimidated or harassed by Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko nor any of his agents. (Copy of the Enrolment of Order is attached as Exhibit 'E').
26. That on November 21, 2006, I was arrested by Police Officers from Panti Police Station based on a petition written by one Superintendent of Customs, Mohammed Lawal alleging that I collected the sum of Two Million, One Hundred Thousand Naira (N2,100,000.00) from him to settle the case between me and Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.
27. That after being detained for two (2) weeks in Panti, I was arraigned before an Ebute Metta Magistrates Court for stealing. The charge was later struck out because the complainant, Alhaji Dikko could not summon the courage to come to court to testify. (Copy of the charge sheet and the proceedings are attached as Exhibits 'F' and 'F1').
28.. That meanwhile, during one of the days of the hearing of the criminal matter, that is on January 12, 2007, I was picked up at the premises of the Magistrates Court by Police Officers from the Abuja Police Command based on a petition written again by Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko alleging that some documents, money and computers belonging to him were stolen from his Abuja residence on November 4, 2004 and that I may be responsible for their theft.
29. That thereafter I was detained for forty (40) days at Apo Legislative Quarters and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ladan (who was in charge of the matter) thereafter told me that the only condition for my release was for me to withdraw the Fundamental Rights suit I filed against Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.
30. That on February 20, 2007, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, E.O. Abai came to Abuja to see the then I.G, Mr. Sunday Ehindero to secure my release. I was further asked to see Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ladan on the 22nd of February, 2007
31. That on that day, i.e. February 22, 2007, I was taken to the High Court, Abuja by the same Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ladan but incidentally the court did not sit on that day which stalled my arraignment.
32. That my wife and I later went straight to the I.G's office and the then I.G., Mr. Sunday Ehindero instructed his Principal Staff Officer (PSO) Mr. Solomon Arase to look into the matter.. That led to the invitation of all the Police Officers involved in the matter.
33. That after asking some pertinent questions, like whether Alhaji Dikko originally reported any case of robbery to any Police Station, (the answer being negative) and having satisfied himself that the allegation was frivolous, he ordered my release.
34. He further advised me not to go about threatening Alhaji Dikko about his past, and that he was sure that Alhaji Dikko would leave me alone on that note.
35. That thereafter I returned to Lagos where, to my surprise, one Inspector Habilla, a family friend of Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko and two (2) other Customs Officers, Messrs Enemoh and Mohammed Lawal continued to trail me. I reported this incident to Mr. Arase, the PSO to the then Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ehindero, who promised that all would be settled.
36. That sometime in August 2008, I was informed by a friend of mine that I had been declared wanted by the Abuja Police Command in connection with robbery.
37. That I made frantic efforts and discovered that the Punch and Tribune Newspapers of April 28, 2008 carried the advertorials which declared me wanted in connection with robbery. (Copy of the Punch Newspaper advert is attached as Exhibit 'G')..
38. That it was at that point I realized that the plan was to arrest me as an armed robber and either shoot me like the Boko Haram leader or keep me perpetually remanded in prison custody as a robber awaiting trial.
39. That since I had no godfather, I immediately went into hiding, and I have been running from pillar to post all these months, because of the almighty power of Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.
40. That on the 4th of August, 2009, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr.. E.O. Abai advised that I summon courage and find out details about the advertorial from the Abuja Police Command.
41. That on the 7th of August, 2009, in the company of Mr. E.O. Abai, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, I met with the Commissioner of Police, Abuja, Mr. John Haruna. We went with the newspaper publication and the attached affidavit.
42. That the said Commissioner of Police, Abuja, Mr. Haruna said that he knew nothing about the publication and immediately summoned the command's spokesman, Superintendent of Police, Mr. Jimoh for explanation.
43. That the Abuja Police Command's spokesman further contacted the I..P.O supposedly handling the matter, one Mr. Danjuma Attah who confirmed that the case has no case file and that I should go in peace.
44. That the following week, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko was named as the Comptroller-General of Customs and the Abuja Police Command's spokesman, Mr. Jimoh called the retired Commissioner of Police, Mr. E.O Abai to notify me that I should come to the Abuja Police Command that there is now a case file against me which has been sent to court in respect of a charge of armed robbery.
45. That since the genesis of my travails life has been unbearable for me and my family. My mother collapsed and died later when she heard that I was arrested at the premises of a Magistrates Court in Lagos and taken to Abuja in handcuffs. Similarly, owing to lack of adequate parental care, I lost my four (4) year old son to an illness.
46. That at present, due to the newspaper publications I cannot walk freely nor seek employment cum business opportunities for fear of being identified as an armed robber. This has left my wife as the only bread winner of the family.
47. That before I met Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, I never had any criminal record. All that I did for Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko was done in ignorance and immaturity and to help his career to where he is now that he so desperately wants to protect at the expense of my life and freedom.
48. That the real intention of Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, the new Comptroller-General of Customs, is to silence me, either by indefinite remand as an armed robber in a prison yard, or to kill me like the Boko Haram leader.
49. That it was at this point everyone I met recommended Barrister Festus Keyamo to defend me. I then came out and contacted him.
50. That I depose this affidavit in good faith and in accordance with the Oaths Act.
Sworn to at the High Court Registry, Ikeja
this ………. day of …………………….. 2009