Battle to strip Bayelsa Deputy Governor begins, DSS to probe certificate forgery

This immunity of the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State has come under political turmoil in an endless power tussle in the state.

An Abuja Area Court on Friday ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to investigate the allegation of forgery of National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) certificate against the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.

Report indicated that an APC leader from Bayelsa State, Benjamin Youdiowei, had gone to the Area Court in Lugbe, Abuja, making accusation that Ewhrudjakpo presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his nomination as a candidate, a forged NYSC Exemption Certificate.

Youdowei alleged that Ewhrudjakpo had been using the allegedly forged document as part of his credentials.

The NYSC certificate is dated February 2, 1998, with number 139708.

The presiding judge, Abubakar Sadiq, had on November 27, 2019, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Ewhrudjakpo following his absence from the court for the day’s proceedings.

He had also ordered the police to investigate the deputy governor before issuing a fresh order directing the DSS to take over the investigation.

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Ewhrudjakpo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was until his swearing-in as the Bayelsa State deputy governor on February 14, 2020, the senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District.

He was sworn in with the state governor, Duoye Diri, following the February 14, 2020 judgment of the Supreme Court which nullified the victory of All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidates in the last governorship election in the state.

Meanwhile, since the deputy governor has been sworn into office, he has immunity and cannot be prosecuted on criminal cases but can be investigated. However, except this is a pre-election suit, actions may not go beyond investigation.

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