By Our Reporter
Alhaji Isa Yahaya Mohammed, the man who claimed to be an official of the Department of State Services, (DSS),
while testifying before the Enugu State Governorship Election Court last Tuesday, has been discovered not to be a serving officer of the secret police, investigations have revealed.
Yahaya, who claimed while giving testimonies at the court that he is a serving Deputy Director in-charge of Operations at the DSS, had even contradicted himself in his written deposition where he wrote that he was Deputy Director (Strategy).
Yahaya said the failure of NYSC to maintain proper record-keeping was the cause of its inability to trace Mbah’s initial certificate.
Giving evidence, Yahaya, who also identified himself as DSS Deputy Director, Operations and Strategic Department, said the security agency commenced investigation into the discharge certificate controversy following a petition to it by Mbah dated February 8, 2023.
According to him, there was an exchange of correspondences between Mbah and NYSC at every stage of their interaction.
But contrary to his statement, a source in the secret police declared that Yahaya retired as an Assistant Director of the DSS some years ago, suggesting that the secret service never, at any time, gave him the mandate to be in Enugu to give evidence on behalf of any of the contenders at the tribunal.
This information equally suggested that all he did at the court was a hatchet job, aimed at confusing the court, especially as the NYSC was not on trial.
According to our source, “Yahaya who testified at Enugu governorship tribunal is no longer with the DSS; he left the DSS some years ago.
“But some people are desperate to help Gov. Mbah with his case and this involves some people at the top.
“So Yahaya, who does dirty jobs for the DSS, was recruited to testify in favour of Mbah,” the source said.
The DSS source revealed that contrary to the posturing of Yahaya at the tribunal, the DSS rarely responds to subpoenas, as its mandate does not include such investigations that would require it to be summoned to open court sessions.
It was also discovered that a powerful Northern traditional ruler from Kano state, is linked to Mbah’s group of companies and so they decided to recruit the claimed DSS operative to do the dirty job for them.
The sources said because of the nature of the mandate of the secret police, there was no way the DSS would be involved in such an issue because, except otherwise stated, the duties of the service are secret and their findings are mostly classified and do not involve staging drama in courts over matters they are not prosecuting.
Continuing, the source said, “It is not possible for the DSS to be subpoenaed on such matters. Even when we are called to investigate issues such as certificate forgery by a public officials, it is done discreetly and the findings are classified and shared only with relevant authorities on the basis of need to know only.
“It is unheard of to find the service tendering before the courts or any member of the public, facts and materials from our investigations. It is not part of what we do here.
“It will be unheard of for the DSS to put itself in a position where it is seen to be contradicting a federal government agency, especially in a matter it has no direct interest in.
“You must know that the service must be aware of the position of the NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) on the matter. NYSC has made it clear that the man you are talking about (Peter Mbah) did not obtain his discharge certificate from them.
“How can the DSS, a federal government agency which mandate does not include issuing NYSC certificate or screening such, be contradicting another important federal government agency? It cannot happen.
“Our job here is to protect the integrity of the Nigerian Government and its institutions and not to run them down”, the source volunteered.
Other DSS sources similarly said there is no position like Deputy Director, Operations or Deputy Director, Strategy at the DSS headquarters.
They added that Yahaya could never have come from the DSS.
“We do not have such positions as you mentioned in our office. I don’t know where that person came from, but it is certainly not from our office,” the sources maintained.
In the document tendered by the so-called witness from the SSS or DSS, he described himself as the Deputy Director, Strategy. I wish to inform you that the position of Deputy Director does not exist in the service. What you hear is Assistant Director and then Director”, the source said.
Meanwhile, a legal practitioner, Joseph Maduabuchi Iloh has sumilarly said the DSS is not, by its mandate, supposed to involve itself in investigating forgeries.
Iloh, who spoke on the controversy, said it was the duty of the Nigerian Police and not the DSS to conduct investigations relating to forgeries and other crimes considered as not threatening the internal security of the country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Enugu State amid protests and allegations of over voting.
According to the INEC declaration, Mbah polled a total of 160,895 votes to defeat his closest rival, Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party, who secured 157,552 votes.
But before the result was announced, the media had been awash with allegations that Mbah forged his NYSC discharge certificate.
Although he denied it, the Director General of the NYSC, Brig. Gen. Yushau Dogara, in addition to a letter repudiating the discharge certificate submitted by Mbah to INEC, also went on national television to disclaim the purported certificate.