By Christiana Ekpa
A court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory has summoned top House of Representatives Speakership contender, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila over allegations of crime.
Also, an Abuja based legal practitioner, Paul Ajiroba, has approached a Federal High Court, Abuja, with a suit seeking to disqualify Hon. Umar Bago from the race for Speakership of the House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly.
An FCT Court has issued criminal summons against Gbajabiamila to appear it on 10th of June which is just 24 hours to the 9th Assembly election.
In the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/598/2019, with Bago, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Polaris Bank Plc as 1st to 3rd respondents and filed on June 3, 2019, the plaintiff asked the court to restrain Umar Bago of Chanchanga Federal Constituency of Niger state from contesting for Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th Assembly.
The plaintiff, who claimed to be passionate about good governance, transparency and integrity in governance also prayed the court to void the nomination and election of Umar Bago, having not qualified to run for such office.
The plaintiff, amongst others, wants the court to determine, “Whether by virtue of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the first defendant is qualified to aspire and to run for the office of a member of the House of Representatives since 2011, having been dismissed or relieved from his employment from Afribank Nigeria Plc (now Polaris Bank) for misappropriation, conversion of depositors’ money to personal use and related offences.
“Whether by virtue of the sack, dismissal or compulsory relive of the first defendant from the employment of the Afribank Plc (now Polaris Bank) for financial misappropriation, conversion of depositors funds to personal use and financial impropriety, the first defendant is not qualified from running for the office of Member, House of Representatives, or even Speaker of the House”.
The plaintiff said in an affidavit he deposed to personally, that he is aware that Hon. Bago, who has been a member of the House since 2011, is currently aspiring for the position of Speaker of the House of Reps.
Ajiroba said Hon. Bago had worked as a manager of Minna Branch of Afribank Plc in 2008 and was sacked in 2009 for allegedly mismanaging depositors’ funds, thereby defrauding the bank and embarrassing it before its customers.
The plaintiff averred that the first defendant allegedly dipped his hands into the funds belonging to one of the customers of the bank and converted about N200 million against normal banking process.
He alleged that “That Umar Bago had dipped his hands into the said account and had converted same to personal use, in abuse of his office, without the consent and approval of the bank and its customer”.
He further averred that when the owner of the money demanded for the money, it was not available for payment, causing the bank a serious embarrassment.
This development, he said led to the sack of Hon. Umar Bago for abuse of office, financial impropriety and conversion of depositors’ funds to personal use from the bank in 2009 and as such, unfit and unqualified to aspire for the position of Member of the House of Representatives or even Speaker of the House.
The suit, which was filed Tuesday is yet to be assigned to any judge.
Meanwhile, the FCT Court acting on a Direct Criminal Complaint filed by one of CUPP member parties ,the Action Peoples Party led by Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere ordered Mr. Gbajabiaila to appear on Monday, 10th June, 2019 less than 24 hours to the election of the leadership of the House for his arraignment.
The charge is pursuant to Section 156 and 158 of the Penal Code of FCT.
Reacting to the development the Bago Campaign organization led Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, Spokesman, who stressed that Bago has nothing to hide from the public said. “Our attention has been drawn to a feeble attempt by desperate persons aimed at gderailing Hon. Umaru Bao’s principled quest for equity, justice and fairness in electing principal officers of the National Assembly, particularly the House of Representatives.
“Coming under the guise of a judicial inquest into the decade long sparkling career of Hon. Bago – spanning through three banks, including the nation’s apex financial institution – we make bold to state that the action of these desperados would, in the end, only be tantamount to searching for a pin in a haystack.
“Although yet to be formally served with any processes in this regard, we observe that the judicial gambit is a last ditch attempt aimed at injecting life into an ebbing campaign of one of the speakership aspirants, who is being haunted by his past profile of proven conviction by the Supreme Court of Georgia for wilfully stealing a client’s $25,000. He disclosed.
“Instead of frontally confronting this brutal fact, which is currently the subject of litigation before the Federal High Court, Abuja, they have rather embarked on a voyage of smear campaign and mudslinging against the person of Hon Bago, in the mistaken believe that it would gain for them the traction which endless forum shopping and endorsement trips have so far failed to achieve.
“We would be glad to accept service concerning this suit, as we have already instructed our legal team to take it on, on accelerated basis.
It is also our charge to our lawyers to commence defamation processes against the purveyors of this mindless falsehood.
“This would be in direct opposite to the stance of an ‘anointed’ aspirant who, according to reports, besides evading service since May 24, 2019 when a case was instituted against him, is said to have employed harassment, inducement and falsehood to scare the plaintiff off the case.
“Notedly, the current turn of things may well provoke a proper inquiry by the media, governmental agencies, Non-governmental Organisations and the public into the doggy issues of dual personality, multiple dates of birth, social security number fraud and several other infractions which has trailed the said aspirant.
“We reiterate that for us at the Hon. Bago Campaign Organisation, we have no baggage to carry, despite devious attempts to foist one on us.
“In fact, we welcome an inquest into the ‘past’ and ‘present’ of aspirants to the exalted office of Speaker, House of Representatives. He revealed.
All efforts to speak to speak to Gbajaiamila Campign group was unsuccessful as the calls was not responded to.