A member of the House of Representatives, Nse Ekpenyong, was on Thursday arraigned at the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, for alleged forgery of a polytechnic diploma.
Mr. Ekpenyong represents the Oron Federal Constituency, Akwa Ibom State.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), which arraigned the federal lawmaker on a nine-count charge, accused him of forging a national diploma certificate of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Abia State.
“That you Nse Bassey Ekpenyong on or about 22 November 2012, at Uyo, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did make a document to wit: Abia State Polytechnic National Diploma Certificate in Business Administration with No. 001181 dated 22nd November, 2012 with intent that it may be acted upon as genuine which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1 (2) (C) of the Miscellaneous Offenses Act Cap M 17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under section 1 (2) of the same Act,” says one of the charges preferred against the lawmaker.
Mr. Ekpenyong pleaded not guilty to the charges. And from the accused box, he watched as his lawyer, Emmanuel Isangedoho, argued for his bail which was opposed by the EFCC.
The lawmaker wore a brown color Niger Delta wear. He cut the image of a dejected and lonely man. He occasionally brought out a white handkerchief to wipe his face.
The presiding judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, said the case would be treated speedily.
She granted the lawmaker bail in the sum of N10 million and adjourned the case to April 12.
The EFCC was represented by Ahmedu Arogha.
The case is coming amid a controversy over the genuineness of the university certificate of a Nigerian senator, Dino Melaye.
Mr. Melaye, a former member of the House of Representatives, from Kogi State, was accused of falsely claiming to have graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
On Tuesday, ABU vice chancellor told the Senate Mr. Melaye graduated from the school with a third class bachelors in geography.
A Senate committee cleared Mr. Melaye of wrongdoing, basing its decision on the VC’s testimony.
But the school’s position has been questioned, with some Nigerians demanding evidence beyond an oral testimony by the vice chancellor.