1999 Toronto Saga: How Former Speaker, Salisu Buhari, Declared False Age and Forged University Certificate

Salisu Buhari
Salisu Buhari

On the 3rd of June, 1999, Salisu Buhari, a young Nigerian business man who made his fortune dealing in computers, was elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, a position which constitutionally made him the number 4 citizen in Nigeria. Unknowing to his colleague, the government and the whole of Nigeria, Salisu Buhari was not qualified for the position he held. Few weeks after he was elected, findings revealed that Salisu Buhari, the sixth Speaker of the House of Rep. forged and forced his way to grab the mantle. The News Magazine released an article on the 19th of July, 1999 claiming that Salisu Buhari is seven years younger than the age he claimed, and that he didn’t attend the University of Toronto in Canada not to talk of graduating from the institution. The News Magazine had more than enough proofs to back their claims thus suppressing all  threats made by Salisu Buhari and his lawyers to sue them for libelous publication.


It was made known to the world that Salisu Buhari, the self acclaimed Toronto University graduate, was actually born in 1970 and not in 1963 which he claimed. This rendered him unqualified to be the Speaker as section 65 subsection 1 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria disqualified anybody under 30 years from contesting membership of the House of Representatives. Also, it was made known that Salisu Buhari didn’t attend the University of Toronto in Canada not to talk of graduating with a degree in Business Administration in 1990. The university of Toronto, when asked, denied Salisu Buhari attending the university. The management said they couldn’t find any record relating to the name Salisu Buhari. Carlo Villanueva, an official of the Institution said: “Regarding your request for confirmation of degree for Mr. Ibrahim Salisu Buhari. We have searched our records and could not find anybody with the name you are inquiring with”.

Letter from University of Toronto
Letter from University of Toronto denying the studentship of Salisu Buhari | The News Magazine

Also, Salisu Buhari claimed that he did his national youth service at Standard Construction, Kano. This was proven to be a big lie as records at the NYSC secretariat in Abuja could not produce his name among the 1991 corpers who served in the scheme.


Blockaded in every way, Salisu Buhari had no way of escaping the consequences of lying and forgery. After several open denial of the allegations, and threats to sue The News Magazine, Salisu Buhari On Thursday, July 23, 1999, eventually faced Nigerians and admitted declaring false age and forging certificate. He said in tears: “I apologize to you. I apologize to the nation. I apologize to my family and friends for all the distress I have caused them. I was misled in error by zeal to serve the nation,I hope the nation will forgive me and give me the opportunity to serve again.” He then resigned and walked into the shadows.


This is indeed shameful and detrimental to the reputation of Nigeria and Africa. Salisu Buhari learnt his lessons. We hope others will!


Thanks for reading- OldNaija




* The NEWS magazine (hard copy)- Salisu Buhari: The Crook In The House; July 19, 1999 (pgs. 14-19); [Accessed, June 1, 2017]

* BBC News: Nigerian speaker quits in tears; Thursday, July 22, 1999 [Accessed, June 3, 2017]


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