Leke Baiyewu and Godwin Isenyo
The authorities of the Ahmadu Bełlo University, Zaria, are still meeting over the alleged certificate scandal against Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi-West senatorial district in Kogi State.
The Information Officer of the institution, Mr. Adam Mohammed, had told our correspondent on Tuesday that the management would take a decision on the matter and make its finding public on Wednesday.
“We are gathering all the facts from the faculty and department, and will make a press statement tomorrow. Thanks,” he said.
But the entire saga took a twist on Wednesday as the Information Officer rebuffed repeated calls to his cell phone.
When he was called with a number not known to him, he picked the call, but as soon as he discovered that the call was from The PUNCH, he became hostile.
He said, “ABU is not a motor park institution. We have ways of checking our systems for facts and records on such an issue. If your newspaper wants any information on the Melaye issue or any issue at all, you can write the vice-chancellor,” he said.
When reminded that he had promised that the university’s management would meet on the matter on Wednesday and give its position on Melaye’s academic status concerning his BSc degree in Geography, Mohammed declined and hung up.
But feelers from ABU indicated that the authorities were still meeting as regards the Melaye case.
A top source at the institution, who pleaded not to be named, said there appeared to be a problem with the senator’s Bachelor’s degree in Geography, adding that the management was being careful because of the political implication of the matter.
Another source, however, told our correspondent that the ‘social media’ report on the issue was unreliable.
“What I can tell you is that I know that the senator in the eye of the storm, I think, he did his Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy (MIAD) in the university and ABU, as an organised university, cannot admit any student without a first degree to study for a postgraduate degree.
“But I don’t know whether he used the BSc degree in Geography to apply for admission or not. For me, I don’t see anything wrong in the university issuing a statement to clear the air on the matter,” the source stated.
Meanwhile, Melaye has expressed his intension to drag an online news medium, Sahara Reporters, before a court on Thursday.
Melaye wants to sue for defamation and will be demanding N5bn compensation from Sahara Reporters.
This is despite that the fact that the Senate, on Tuesday, decided to investigate the allegation based on a point of order raised by a former Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, calling for a probe into the scandal.
Melaye’s intension to take legal action against the news medium was made known on Wednesday when he invited the Senate Press Corps to a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Abuja to cover the filing of the litigation.
Sahara Reporters had, in a report, alleged that Melaye did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State, adding that he was parading a fake certificate.
But Melaye had, on Tuesday, said he was ready for the probe by the Senate.
He said, “I am here to respond to the issue raised by Senator Ali Ndume. I want to say, to me, it is a welcome development. Democracy is about investigation and no senator is above investigation. To me, it is a welcome development and it will finally clear the air on all the malicious and vindictive allegations.
“To say that I did not graduate from ABU is to say that I am not a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ABU is a very prestigious university in this country and it is not possible for one to be running a master’s programme in the university when one did not graduate from a university. I have successfully completed one and I am doing the second one.” (Punchng.com)