Listen to article
Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State was vindicated by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, which ordered the NYSC to pay him N5 million in damages. The court’s decision stemmed from the NYSC’s false allegation that his discharge certificate was fake.
Justice Inyang Ekwo’s decision pointed out that the Director-General of the NYSC and the corps, as defendants in the case, were responsible for misrepresenting vital facts.
The judge’s decision confirmed the authenticity of the certificate Governor Mbah submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, stating that it was validly issued by the NYSC.
Justice Ekwo’s verdict restated that the evidence presented in court unequivocally revealed that the governor, mobilized for service in 2001, had effectively completed his service in 2003.
The court’s documentation confirms that Governor Mbah, at a point during his service, obtained the NYSC’s permission to pursue studies at the Nigeria Law School, and in 2003, he was reinstated into the NYSC.
Additionally, the judge mentioned that the NYSC did not dispute Governor Mbah’s service at the law firm of one Udeh. He criticized the corps for not pursuing forgery charges against the governor, even if they were uncertain about the issuance of the NYSC certificate.
Conclusively, the judge stated that the NYSC’s denial of Governor Mbah’s NYSC certificate was driven by bad faith and mischief.
A lawsuit was initiated by Governor Mbah against the NYSC and its Director, Corps Certification, Mr. Ibrahim Muhammad, due to their publication of a disclaimer that denied the issuance of a discharge certificate to him on January 6, 2003.
Justice Ekwo, on May 15, ordered a restriction that prohibited the NYSC, Muhammad, and any of their agents from making such publications until the substantive matter is addressed.
The order was a direct outcome of an ex parte motion put forth by Governor Mbah’s counsel, Mr. Emeka Ozoani (SAN).
In response, the NYSC submitted a preliminary objection dated May 19 and officially filed on May 22, seeking an order to dismiss or strike out the suit due to jurisdiction and competence issues.
The NYSC raised three significant arguments in their defense. One of these arguments was that Governor Mbah did not fulfill the requirement of appealing to the president, as prescribed by Section 20 of the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap N84, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, before bringing the suit against the defendants.
The NYSC contended that making an appeal to the president was a prerequisite that must be fulfilled before instituting any legal action against the defendants in any court of law in Nigeria.
On February 1, the NYSC sent a letter signed by Mr. Ibrahim Muhammed, stating that the corps did not issue the NYSC certificate belonging to Mbah.
Governor Mbah, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the victor of the Enugu State governorship election held on March 18 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).