President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominee as national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Lauretta Onochie, may be setting herself up for criminal charges following her appearance before the Senate committee on Thursday.
While being screened by the committee on INEC, Onochie claimed under oath that she resigned her membership of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in 2019.
“Since 2019, I have not had anything to do with any political organisation, including Buhari support groups.
“When APC was doing re-validation of party members, I did not take part in that exercise,” she said.
But evidence has emerged to show that the former presidential aide may have lied under oath.
In a plaintiff witness statement filed before the high court of the federal capital territory, Onochie swore under oath that she is a member of the APC. The suit involves a case between her and one Emeka Ugwuonye and the date indicates that it was received in the registry of the court on June 2021.
In paragraph 3 of the statement, Onochie stated, “That I am engaged in active politics and a member of the neighborhood watch and had also contested the local government elections under the Conservative party in the United Kingdom. I am also a member of the All Progressives Congress and a volunteer at the Buhari Support Organization, BSO”.
In both instances, Lauretta Onochie presented conflicting statements on oath about her partisan status. From the records of her testimony, she could have perjured herself.
Perjury is a serious criminal act. It is described as the offence of willfully telling an untruth or making a misrepresentation under oath.
Under Nigeria’s criminal law, any person who commits perjury is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years. If the offender commits the offence in order to procure the conviction of another person for an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life, he is liable to imprisonment for life.