Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and governorship candidate of All Progressives (APC) Timipre Sylva is in a deep mess as Citizens Initiative for Better Nigeria (CIBN) has called for his immediate sack over alleged irregularities in his academic certificates.
The group also threatened to lead a protest and barricade the National Assembly Complex, Aso Rock Villa, and Bayelsa State Government House next week to demand that Sylva be brought to justice as a matter of urgency.
The Publicity Officer of the group, Patriot Abdulmalik Alpha disclosed this at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
The group expressed displeasure over the lukewarm attitude of the Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigerian Police and for keeping mute in the face of corruption.
CIBN maintained that the fight against corruption and all forms of criminalities should start from those occupying public offices.
Abdulmalik said, “We recall vividly that while undergoing screening as Governorship and Ministerial candidate before the Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Screening Committee in 2007 as well as the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives in 2019, Chief Timipre Sylva presented certain academic certificates which have been found to contain noticeable anomalies.
Read Also: Nigerian don bags UNESCO senior fellow award
“It was indeed the duty of the DSS and Police to do due diligence and check the authenticity or otherwise of the said academic certificates but they failed to perform their duty for reasons we cannot fathom. Nevertheless, Chief Timipre Sylva has been unable to prove to the satisfaction of Nigerian citizens that the academic certificates which he parades everywhere to date are not falsified, forged, or stolen from a third party.
“We are amazed that the DSS, Police, and National Assembly of Nigeria have decided to keep mute in the face of corruption, fraud, and sheer criminality. As far as we are concerned, the fight against corruption and all forms of criminalities should start with persons who occupy public offices.
The security operatives cannot be found to be chasing ‘Yahoo Yahoo Boys’ up and down when the real criminals are in government circles.”
CIBN queried why the Minister waited until May 2022 before regularising his “names” after he had used them to confer undue advantage on himself when he was screened and given the positions of Governor of Bayelsa State in 2007 and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources in 2019.
He said the group would resist any ploy to make the laws applicable to only poor people in Nigeria. The group encouraged the Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI), which filed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1563/2022 seeking an order of mandamus to compel the Director General of DSS and Inspector General of Police to perform their legal duties under Sections 1, 2 (3) and 8 of the National Security Agencies Act, 1986 by arresting and prosecuting Sylva for identity theft, impersonation, and forgery punishable under the extant laws.
“Let us point out that CIBN will resist any ploy; to make the laws applicable to only poor people in Nigeria. We encourage TADI to fight in court; while we pursue justice through other civil actions.
“In the next few days, we shall lead patriotic Nigerians; in their thousands to barricade the National Assembly Complex, Aso Rock Villa, Bayelsa State Government House, and other strategic locations for the purpose; of demanding that Timipre Sylva be; brought to book as a matter of urgency.
“Meanwhile, we call on the good people of Bayelsa State to; resist the candidature of Timipre Sylva at the staggered; Governorship Election slated to hold in 2024. The last time we checked, Bayelsa State being; part of the oil-rich region has; reputable professors, technocrats, and administrators who are also contesting; to become governor. The electorates must not take chances or; allow a person like Timipre Sylva with a “controversial identity” to; win the election and govern them anymore.
Abdulmalik said, “As we wait for the case against the Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), and; others to be; heard on 24th January 2023, we appeal to the conscience of President Muhammadu Buhari being; a leader with zero tolerance for corruption to; remove Timipre Sylva from office as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.”
“He must not be; allowed to continuously remain in public office and; use taxpayers’ money to defend illegalities which; he committed years ago in his personal capacity. If Nigeria must be; taken more seriously in the comity of nations, then no citizen no matter how highly placed should be; considered too big to be; treated in accordance with our laws,” Abdulmalik added.