By Taiye Agbaje
The arraignment of two staff members of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) over allegations bordering on forgery, on Tuesday, suffered a setback due to the absence of Magistrate Emmanuel Iyanna in court.
Although Ruth Idowu, who appeared for the nominal complainant, Olufunmilayo David Omosule, and defendants’ counsel, Michael Ajara, were in court, Magistrate Iyanna was said to be indisposed.
The matter, which was on number six on the cause list before the Chief Magistrate Court sitting at Zone 6, Abuja, was, however, adjourned until May 30.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two workers; Mr Wasiu Sule, the Head of Legal Services and Secretary to OGFZA’s Board and Mr Alenju Ngofa, who is the Human Resource Head of the organisation, are facing allegations bordering on forgery and falsification of documents.
In the charge, Sule and Ngofa are 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.
While Mr Ngofa was sighted at the court on Tuesday, Mr Sule was conspicuously absent.
The matter, which was reassigned to Iyanna, was formerly before Magistrate Mabel Segun-Bello of Wuse Zone II Magistrates’ Court.
The case was reassigned following the elevation of Segun-Bello to the Federal High Court as a judge.
NAN reports that OGFZA and Omosule had been locked in legal battle over the legality or otherwise of the plaintiff’s suspension, following his petition against some management staff of the agency on alleged corruption.
Omosule had alleged that the defendants wilfully and maliciously distorted his records “to appear as though he does not possess any requisite qualification to be employed at OGFZA or any qualification at all to be considered for promotion.”
He said their action was tantamount to forgery and falsification of documents contrary to Section 363 and 364 of the Penal Code, which is detrimental and injurious to his person.
The agency had via a letter dated April 18, 2011, suspended Omosule as the manager of its Abuja office, on the grounds that he refused to comply with its letter dated Dec. 3, 2010, which had directed him to present the originals of his credentials for verification.
Omosule, however, refuted the claim of the authority, stating that he made available to the organisation, Certified True Copies (CTCs) of his educational certificates /credentials, including GCE ‘O Level certificates and degree certificates as instructed.
Omosule had claimed that the originals of his credentials were misplaced in untraceable circumstances as at 2010 when the report to submit originals was made.
The claimant also averred that the CTCs of his certificates submitted to the agency were certified by the issuing institutions, which included West African Examination Council and the University of Ado-Ekiti, then Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti respectively.
The claimant is therefore seeking the court ‘s declaration that he was still a staff of the organisation and entitled to all the rights, privileges and benefits due to him by reason of his employment.
He is praying the court for an order directing the defendant to reinstate him to the position of a director, on grade level 17, a position he claimed his contemporaries were currently.
Omosule is equally seeking for the order of the court to direct the agency to pay all his outstanding salaries, benefits and entitlement since 2011.
In addition, he is asking the court to order the organisation to pay him the sum of N50 million as exemplary and general damages.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
edited by Sadiya Hamza