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BREAKING: Nigerian Govt Sues Stella Oduah Over Alleged Document Fabrication, Others

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BREAKING: Nigerian Govt Sues Stella Oduah Over Alleged Document Fabrication, Others

Nigeria’s anti-corruption body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has charged former aviation minister Senator Stella Oduah with eight counts of document fabrication and conspiracy to commit a felony, among other crimes.

The Federal Government of Nigeria through the EFCC on June 26, 2023, filed the charges against the former lawmaker who represented Anambra North Senatorial District between 2015 and 2023.

The suit was filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division by Ochugwu Ogbeh W.A. Esq. and Ibrahim Mohammed Esq. of the Legal and Prosecution Department of the EFCC in Benin City, the Edo State capital, with the Federal Government of Nigeria as the Complainant and Oduah as the only Defendant.

Stella Oduah
Stella Oduah

In the court document on Sunday, Count One reads, “That you SENATOR STELLA ODUAH AND D.A O. OSHINOWO at large) sometime in the year 2017 at Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit make a document titled ‘Re: Request for Notional Youth Service Confirmation which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3(6) of the miscellaneous offences Act CAP M17 of the revised edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and Punishable under section 3(1) (c) of the same Act.”

Count Two reads, “That you SENATOR STELLA ODUAH AND D. A. O. OSHINOWO at large) sometime in the year 2017 at Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did fabricate an incorrect document with intent to cause injury to wit titled Re: Request for National Youth Service confirmation with intend that it may be acted upon as genuine. the representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 156 of the Penal Code Act and Punishable under section 158(1) of the same Act.”

Count Three reads, “That you SENATOR STELLA ODUAH sometime in the year 2011 at Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did forward your credential to Federal Government of Nigeria among which is an affidavit and Extract from police Crime Diary, that you lost your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Certificate the representation you know to be false which led to your nomination as a cabinet Minister and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 39(2)(a) and punishable under Section 39(2)(b) of the same Act.”

Count Four reads, “That you SENATOR STELLA ODUAH sometime in the year, 2011 at Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did forward your credential to Federal Government of Nigeria among which is an affidavit and Extract from police Crime Diary, that you lost your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Certificate the representation you know to be false which led to your nomination as a cabinet Minister and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 157 of the Penal Code Act and punishable under Section 158 (1) of the same Act

According to Count Five, Oduah in 2014 forwarded her credential to the “Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the year 2015 among which is an affidavit and police report that you lost your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Certificate the representation you know to be false which led to your Election as a Senator Representing Anambra North Senatorial District and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 157 of the Penal Code Act and punishable under Section 158 (1) of the same Act”.

He was also accused of forwarding the credential to INEC in 2018 “among which is an affidavit and police report that you lost your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Certificate the representation you know to be false which led to your RE Election as a Senator for the second term Representing Anambra North Senatorial District and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 157 of the Penal Code Act and punishable under Section 158 (1) of the same Act”.

Count Seven reads, “That you SENATOR STELLA ODUAH sometime in the year 2018 at Federal Capital territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did retain the aggregate sum paid to you as salaries and allowances by Federal Government of Nigeria as a Minister of Aviation and two-term Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from the Tax Payers Money knowing that same represent proceeds of your unlawful activities to wit: obtaining by false pretense and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 and Punishable under the same Section 17[b] of the same Act.”

Count Eight reads, “That you SENATOR STELLA ODUAH sometime in the year. 2011- 2023 at Federal Capital territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud did obtain the aggregate sum of salaries and allowances as Minister and Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from Federal Government of Nigeria under the pretence of being qualified with your credentials, the pretence you knew or ought to know to be false and thereby committed an offences contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offence Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”

In May 2022, the NYSC disclosed that Oduah did not complete the mandatory one-year NYSC programme.

This was disclosed in a letter, marked NYSC/DHQ/PPRU/783/Vol III, which was in response to an inquiry made by a group known as the Concerned Anambra North PDP Stakeholders.

The group had written to the NYSC, alleging that some officials of the agency colluded with Oduah to bury the truth.

The NYSC, however, responded through a letter by the Director-General of the programme, which was signed on his behalf by the Director of Press and Public Relations. The agency said Oduah commenced her NYSC programme in 1982 but absconded.

The NYSC denied colluding with the former aviation minister to hide the truth.

The letter reads in part: “In response to your request, we wish to state that the facts of the matter remain as follows: Stella Adaeze Oduah was mobilised for national service in 1982/1983 service year and deployed to Lagos State.

“After the orientation course, she absconded and never completed the national service. The consequence of this is that she is not qualified for the issuance of the certificate of national service.

“Section 2 (1) of the NYSC Act makes it obligatory for every Nigerian who graduates to ‘make himself available for service for a continuous period of one year from the date specified in the call-up instrument served upon him.’”

According to the NYSC Act, the four categories of individuals exempted from the national service are those who graduated above the age of 30, those who have served in the Armed Forces or the Nigeria Police for a period of more than nine months; those who served in intelligence organisations and individuals who bagged national honours before graduation.

It remains unclear how Oduah’s failure to complete her NYSC escaped the scrutiny of agencies like the Department of State Services (DSS), which usually investigates ministerial nominees.

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