Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Authorities have been urged to investigate a fraudulent syndicate issuing fake certificates from Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to civil society organizations wanting to attend international meetings such as the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C., USA.
Dr Godswill Agbagwa, a Catholic priest and President of the Center for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics (CSAAEINC), an international non-profit organization registered both in Nigeria and the United States, spoke to journalists on the matter in Abuja.
According to Agbagwe (who is in the country for the International Youth Leadership, Career Building and Enterprenurship Summit, holding at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State on June 2nd, and the Youth Constitutional Conference of the June 15th at Imo State University), the World Bank Civil Society Team is worried that some persons who applied for visas to attend the Spring Meetings from one of the African countries tried to seek asylum in the United States at the end of that meeting.
The cleric, recently elected to represent African CSOs at the World Bank/IMF Civil Society Policy Forum Permanent Working Group, is worried that this may run off negatively on genuine civil society organizations as the United States under President Trump tightens its immigration policies.
Agbagwa said the fake certificates were discovered while the IMF/World Bank team were trying to verify the authenticity of some organizations that applied to be part of the 2018 World Bank Spring Meetings.
“One of the things I want to bring to the attention of the Nigerian government is the issue of forging of certificates by Nigerians who want to attend programmes like the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings. There is a website that is creating fake certificates from CAC for Nigerians. This shameful act was brought to my attention by the team. I was asked to look at some of the certificates and to confirm if the certificates were coming from CAC. I was very depressed hearing about that because that does not portray a good thing for us. And we are calling on the Nigerian government to look into it and crack down on those who are doing these things.
“We do not know exactly why they are doing this, but these programmes are meant for civil societies who are legally registered in Nigeria; but then people are going to forge certificates and to submit them to the World Bank so that they can attend this civil society policy forum.
“I do not find it very funny because it continues to question the integrity of other genuine civil society organizations who are Nigerians,” Agbagwa said.