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Anambra police arrest Punch correspondent over certificate forgery reports on UNIZIK lecturer

PUNCH correspondent

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Anambra police arrest Punch correspondent over certificate forgery reports on UNIZIK lecturer

Some policemen attached to the Anambra State Police Command have arrested the PUNCH correspondent in the state, Tony Okafor, over reports on a suspended senior lecturer of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Dr. Peter Ekemezie.

It was gathered that Okafor was manhandled by the police team before his detention for over six hours at the Area Command.

The reporter said the police claimed to be acting on a petition by Ekemezie.

He said,

“At about 11.15am, two plain-clothes policemen came to Aroma junction, a meeting point for journalists in Awka, the Anambra State capital and said I was under arrest. When I inquired, they said a lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University wrote a petition against me.

“While the policemen were still explaining to me, the lecturer, Peter Ekemezie, surfaced and started shouting ‘arrest him, he is the purveyor of my travails’.

“The policemen first took me to ‘B’ Division and later transferred me to Awka Area Command, where I was detained for six hours after the intervention of the State Commissioner of Police, John Abang, and the Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed. I was taken on bail by a colleague.”

The police spokesperson, Mohammed, however, denied that Okafor was arrested, adding that he was only invited to make a statement based on Ekemezie’s petition against him.

There was an allegation against him. We are investigating an allegation from the petitioner. The allegation is still under investigation. Ask the person and he will tell you the allegation,” he said.

When our correspondent asked the spokesperson if the petitioner provided any evidence for the allegation, he said, “That is what the police are investigating now. That is why I said it was an allegation.”

The PUNCH had run a series of investigation on the lecturer, which culminated in his suspension after years of the alleged cover-up.

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He was to be promoted from the position of a senior lecturer to a Reader (associate professor) when our correspondent began reporting on the matter.

Ekemezie was employed by UNIZIK in July 2010, but his employment immediately generated controversies because he was allegedly employed as Lecturer I Level 11, instead of Lecturer 2, Level 9.

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Sometime in 2013, one Mrs Egolum claimed that the 46-year-old collected money from her to help her process a special degree programme at the University of Port Harcourt.

An investigation into the allegation by a senior staff committee set up by the management of UNIZIK led to the discovery that Ekemezie himself was allegedly parading a forged BSc certificate.

The committee’s recommendation to the management was reportedly swept under the carpet.

A few years after, some lecturers accused Ekemezie of using plagiarised works to gain promotion and special favour from the institution, an allegation confirmed by another committee set up by the school.

Like the BSc certificate, the recommendations were also allegedly ignored.

Ekemezie himself wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, accusing some lecturers of fighting against his promotion and planting incriminating documents in his curriculum vitae to implicate him.

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The police investigated and discovered that he lied.

He was subsequently charged with giving false information and certificate forgery.

Still, the university did not act.

The Chairman of the Governing Council, UNIZIK, Azeez Bello, while promising that the council would act on the matter, said some members of the institution’s senate might have been compromised.

Ekemezie’s claim to being an external examiner at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, and the University of Benin were denied by the authorities of those schools.

The Anambra State indigene had concocted lies against Punch correspondent with which he filed a suit against him before a magistrate’s court. The matter was struck out.

He also sent more than 20 threat and abusive text messages to the journalist.

Further investigation into the academic records of the lecturer showed that he allegedly did not also meet the minimum number of years for his postgraduate diploma, master and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

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