By Olanrewaju Oyedeji
The Federal Housing Authority is presently caught in a dilemma over how to handle the crisis it has been enmeshed in for four months running following the suspension of the Managing Director of FHA Homes Limited, the mortgage bank facilitated by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Mr. Roland Igbinoba.
Igbinoba, who insists that he had done nothing wrong to warrant any disciplinary action has since faulted his suspension on the alleged instruction of the Managing Director of the FHA, Prof. Mohammed Al-Amin and petitioned the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
He has also initiated contempt proceedings against Al-Amin and Haytuddeen Atiku (appointed to act in Igbinobia’s place) for their refusal to obey an order made by the National Industrial Court, Abuja on June 19 this year, directing his reinstatement.
Igbinoba, in his originating processes, accused the Board of Directors headed by Al-Amin of not according him fair hearing and opportunity to defend himself against allegations raised against him before he was purportedly suspended.
He stated that he was summoned to an emergency board meeting of the FHA Homes Ltd at the instance of Al-Amin and that he was, at the meeting, served with a letter dated June 2, 2015 and containing unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations on his person and office without being given the opportunity to defend himself or at least be heard.
He, therefore, asked the court to order his reinstatement and declare his suspension as illegal, null, void and of no effect.
Shortly after Igbinoba filed the suit, the court heard an ex-parte he filed along with it and granted an order for interim injunction directing Al-Amin to reverse Igbinoba’s suspension and Atiku to vacate the position pending the determination of the substantive suit by Igbinoba, challenging his suspension.
Igbinoba, in the contempt proceedings initiated against Al-Amin, the FHA and FHA Homes Ltd, stated that despite the service of the interim order made on June 19 by Justice M.N Esowe of the NIC on Al-Amin and others, he (Al-Amin) has refused to reverse the suspension contained in a letter dated June 2, 2015, while Atiku has refused to vacate the position of Acting MD of FHA Homes.
In the application for an order of committal dated June 30, 2015, Igbinoba is praying the court to commit both Al-Amin and Atiku to prison for disobeying the court order which had been served on them on June 22, 2015.
His lawyer, Chukwunweike Okafor, stated as part of the grounds of the application that Al-Amin had in various paid advertorials and interviews in newspapers “acknowledged being aware of the court order of June 19, 2015.
“The said Haytudeed Awal Atiku refused to vacate the position of the Managing Director wherein he said the 3rd respondent (Al-Amin) has informed him not to vacate the said position.”
He is, therefore, seeking “an order of committal to prison custody of the 3rd respondent (Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the FHA) for disobedience to an order of the court made on June 19, 2015 wherein the respondents were mandated to reverse all the steps they have taken, relinquishing and restoring the control and powers vested in the claimant/applicant as Managing Director of the 2nd respondent.”
In the second prayer, the applicant asked for “an order of committal to prison custody of Haytuddeen Awal Atiku (Acting Managing Director, FHA Homes Ltd)” for the same reason of disobeying the June 19, 2015 order of the court.
As at the time of filing this report, the verdict of the court, which had been on recess, was yet being awaited, even as the outcome of several in-house interventions being carried out within the authority and ministry were yet to be concluded.