The Chairman of the Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Stephen Odey, has dismissed claims that he was dismissed from the services of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and therefore not qualified to contest for the position of Senator in the Cross River North Senatorial byelection.
Dr Odey who spoke with some journalists on Monday morning stated that he was absolved of any culpability of forgery and fraud by a Magistrate Court where he was arraigned on trumped up charges while discharging his duties as staff of Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC) office in Calabar.
He said Justice A. Onyebueke who presided over the matter discharged and acquitted him on claims that he stole money from an individual, Chief Williamson Akpan which NIMASA constituted a committee to investigate him and within three days investigation started into the matter he was served a dismissal letter while investigation was still ongoing.
In the ruling sited by this writer and delivered by Justice A Onyebueke, a Chief Magistrate grade one, she declared that a prema facie case was not established against Dr Odey as the complaint in the matter, one Chief Williamson Akpan who had earlier written to the Inspector General of Police to withdraw the matter did not make appearance in court.
“The evidence of PW 1, the IPO in this matter is taken as hearsay evidence which has not created any prime facie case for the accused person to answer” . Justice Onyebueke ruled.
She accordingly discharged and acquitted Dr Odey of any culpability in the matter.
After his acquittal, Dr Odey through his lawyer, Joe Agi, SAN, asked for reinstatement on his job but with that not forthcoming from NIMASA, he approached a High Court to asked the court to compel NIMASA to pay him compensation and all entitlement and the court ruled in his favour.
“Based on the ruling of the High Court, my counsel garnished the account of NIMASA and the CBN paid me compensation and I have so far been paid 10. 4 million naira while we are still pursuing further payments through the Supreme Court”.
He attributed the online publication which claims that he was dismissed from NIMASA as the handiwork of political opponents who are scared of his towering profile and grassroots acceptability.
” The authors of that malicious piece online did not contact me for clarification or my position before going to press “.
He said his mission for seeking Senate post is to change the narrative in political representation in the northern senatorial district and will deliver when given the mandate.