There appears to be no end in sight to the crisis rocking national leadership of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) .The latest twist is that the Police have indicted seven national officers of the party loyal to Chief Victor Umeh for deliberately forging their signatures in the resolution passed on June 6 by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party for the convening of a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
Also, the Police observed that “in the course of the scientific examination and comparison carried out on each of the handwritings in the columns of documents marked ‘NEW’ and ‘OLD’ I observed that the handwritings in the relevant columns of documents marked ‘NEW’ were consciously written probably,with a view of disowning them in future”.
The leadership crises in the party earlier resulted in the removal of Chief Umeh and Alhaji Sani Shinkafi as national chairman and secretary respectively.They were replaced by Alhaji Sadeeq Masalla and Dr. Ifedi Okwenna.This is what Chief Umeh and his group have risen up against.
Ever since, the unfolding battle for the control of the party gave rise to two separate litigations by both sides with the Umeh faction filing a suit that is pending before Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) while an earlier suit filed by a chieftain of the Masalla faction pending before Justice R. O. Umezuluike, the Chief Judge of Enugu State High Court.
Both sides have as well written petitions against the two presiding justices. While Chief Umeh and his group have asked the National Judicial Council (NJC) to discipline Justice Umezuluike, claiming that he had violated his oath of office as a Judicial officer on the one hand, the Masalla faction is on the hand urging Justice Yusuf to disqualify himself from presiding over the suit by Chief Umeh, alleging a presumed “romance” between him (Yusuf) and Chief Umeh.
Furthermore, some documents submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) informing the umpire of a change of leadership in the party were purportedly “tampered with” leading to accusation and counter accusation on both sides. This has further resulted in the two factions making claims and counter claims questioning the signatures of the persons who endorsed the resolution for the NEC meeting where Chief Umeh was removed.
Obviously piqued by the seeming denial and further affidavit filed by the seven officers disowning their participation in the June 6 APGA meeting, the Masalla group asked the Police to investigate the purported forgery of the documents with a view to establishing if actually the affected officers committed perjury, having lied on oath.
It was learnt that Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar on July 24, through his Principal Staff Officer 11, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Murtala Mani ordered the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) in-charge of D-Department (FCID) to investigate the petition by the Masalla faction.
In a report by the Police Forensic Department with reference number DFX/124/2012 dated October 23rd and signed by the Forensic Document Examiner,Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ralph Onwuzuluigbo, the APGA officers were confirmed to have been the ones who actually signed the signatures in contention.
According to the report, which was obtained from the Force Headquarters, Abuja, analysis on the documents were carried out using Video Spectral Comparator (VSC-5000) and other distinguished apparatus.
“In the course of scientific examination and comparison carried out on each of the handwritings in the relevant columns of documents marked “New” and “Old”, I observed that the handwritings in the relevant columns of documents marked “New” were consciously written probably with a view of disowning them in future but the disguise notwithstanding, in comparing with each of the handwritings in the relevant columns of documents marked “Old”, I found inherent features of identity between them”.
In a detailed account of the findings on the signature and handwriting of each of the officers of APGA, the Police declared that handwriting of Chief Chris Ndigwe and Hon. Chris N. Ndigwe on documents marked “Old” and “New” were written by one writer.
Also, they concluded that it was the same thing with the documents signed by Alfred Nwosu and Hon. Chris Nwosu; Bernard Akoma and Bernard Akoma; Ukpemetus Ugometu and Ukpemetus Ugometu; Hon. E. A. Shonibi and E. O. Shonibi; Alhaji Abubakar and Abubakar Adamu and Alhaji Ibrahim Garba and Alhaji Ibrahim Garba.
The Police report noted that “all the signatures in the relevant columns of documents marked “New” and “Old” are not structurally the same, probably, were signed with a view of disowning them”. This report is believed to have had cleared the air as to whether or not two-third of members of the APGA-NWC convened the NEC meeting of 16th July during which Umeh and Shinkafi were removed.
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