The Advocacy for Justice and Accountability, a Civil Society Organisation, has given the Imo State House of Assembly Speaker, Chiji Collins, seven days ultimatum to resign.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the speaker has been enmeshed in an alleged certificate forgery scandal, which has prompted some of his colleagues in the House to seek for justice.
In a letter dated July 15, obtained by NAN on Thursday in Owerri, the group advised the embattled speaker to resign and submit himself for investigation for alleged certificate forgery.
The letter, signed by the Country Director of AJA, Yomi Balogun, demanded that Collins should return the salaries and emoluments paid since 2015 till date to the coffers of the State government.
The CSO said an order of Mandamus to investigate his Doctorate degree and National Youth Service Corps certificate would be obtained from court if he fails to resign as directed.
AJA said: “It has, therefore, become imperative that you immediately step aside as the Speaker of the Imo State Assembly and subsequently resign as a member of the State Assembly.
“You should also desist from drawing public funds using this obviously false and fraudulent foundation on the bases of which you were elected.
“As part of our tenets, we shall in seven days seek and take out an order of Mandamus for the full investigation and prosecution of your person to unravel the circumstances surrounding your PhD certificate.
“Having graduated and obtained a first degree at an age not above 30 years to be qualified for an exemption certificate under the Act, which you claimed you obtained from NYSC, it becomes imperative to investigate such certificate.
“We also want to ensure that all such emoluments, salaries and allowances earned by you from 2015 till date and as may have been enabled by this incredible qualification submitted in INEC form CF001 by you is returned to the people of Imo State and the interest of tax payers in the State.”
According to the group, the speaker tendered under oath a falsified certificate, thereby committing perjury, an offence punishable under the law.
Balogun said the call for the speaker’s resignation would not shield him from possible prosecution.
Reacting to the development, a member of the State House of Assembly, Frank Ugboma (PDP Oguta State Constituency), said the legislature was aware of the petition against the speaker.
He said: “Within three months in office, the issue of the Speaker’s certificate saga came up and the Speaker constituted a five-man panel to investigate the matter, of which I was a member.”
Ugboma said the committee had invited Collins to appear for questioning several times, but he refused to appear.
The lawmaker advised the speaker to listen to the call and resign honourably because he could not be a judge in his own matter.
When contacted, the Speaker’s Special Assistant on Media, Emeka Ahaneku, said the group was trying to blackmail his principal.
Ahaneku said only the National Universities Commission had the power to determine degrees and its equivalent.
Ahaneku said the integrity and profile of the CSO was in doubt, adding that the speaker has through his legal team written to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to investigate the profile of the CSO.