From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

An Abuja magistrate court has fixed July 23, 2021 for the arraignment of two staff members of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) for alleged forgery and falsification of documents.

The trial judge, Mabel Segun-Bello, sitting in Wuse 2, fixed the date following the suspension of the 64-day industrial action embarked upon by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

The new date had been communicated to parties in the suit through hearing notices served on them by the court bailiff.

The arraignment which was initially scheduled on April 26, stalled due to the strike. The court had, on March 16, gave the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, three weeks to produce two staff of OGFZA; 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 organization for arraignment.

The court gave the order after counsel to the nominal complainant, Nkereuwem Akpan, informed the court that the accused persons had evaded service of court processes on them despite several attempts.

While the complainant is Mr Olufunmilayo David Omosule, the first and second defendants are Sule and Ngofa respectively.

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The magistrate also gave the police commissioner the go-ahead to investigate the defendants on allegations levelled against them.

OGFZA and Omosule had been locked in a 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 the 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.