The President, Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON), Dr Nnamdi Ilodiuba and his rival, Mr Yusuf Haruna Malgwi, will today, October 3 meet with the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), DIG Mike Ogbizi, over the lingering crisis facing the institute.
Safety Record gathered that the warring ISPON leaders would at the meeting scheduled for the DIG’s office in Garki Area 10, Abuja submit their reports on reconciliation meetings initiated by Ogbizi.
Recall that the Ilodiuba-led group had petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, against the Malgwi-led group, which it said had continued to parade itself as the authentic ISPON leadership in spite of several court orders and despite a subsisting expulsion.
It was gathered that Adamu handed the case over to Ogbizi, who met and enjoined the two warring groups to meet and resolve their differences amicably.
When contacted for details, Dr Ilodiuba referred Safety Record to National Spokesman of the institute, Engr. Timothy Iwuagwu.
Iwuagwu, who spoke with this reporter on phone today, disclosed that Malgwi initiated the first gathering on Sunday, September 27.
However, he denied that the gathering was an official meeting.
Asked if the gathering was a meeting, Iwuagwu, said, “There is no such official thing. The only thing is that the recalcitrant, break-away group, the people who are violating the Federal High Court order, now, having been taken to the highest criminal investigation unit of the police in Area 10 Garki, Abuja, felt they are now ready to ‘talk’.
“Mr Yusuf Malgwi invited the president of the institute so that they could meet somewhere in Port Harcourt. It was not a formal meeting. So the president feeling that he could not have a meeting privately with anybody regarding ISPON matter, called the national spokesperson and one of the board members to join him. Coincidentally too, Mr Yusuf Malgwi came with the person he refers to as his Deputy and a one-time President of the institute, Mr Shaw Fregene.
“It was not a meeting as such. We wanted to hear why they came. But they wanted to create something that is very terrible. Trying to ask him how the matter could be settled, they asked whether he was going to collect what they called ‘What’s due to him’ – if it is money; anything. He asked them what is that that is due to him. That’s when I reacted. And the president said they should never talk about such thing; that he could never come and discuss something that is unlawful. I said that for them to have mentioned that it means they don’t know what they’re saying.
“Be that as it may, we brushed that aside. EFCC is already investigating them. They wanted him to tell the EFCC to stop the case.”
Iwuagwu further alleged that Malgwi initiated the September 27 gathering to prevail on Ilodiuba to stop the EFCC from continuing investigation into a petition against some members of the institute in the Delta State branch.
According to him, this was included in the report to be submitted to the FCIID.
He stated, “Like I said, it was Mr Yusuf Malgwi inviting Dr Ilodiuba for a talk so that he would see how he could give soft landing to the Warri group, who are being investigated by the EFCC. And at that meeting, he tried to make some offers, a sort of inducement which the president rejected totally. He (Ilodiuba) said that if they know they have money to return to the institute, they should take it to the institute’s account.
Iwuagwu added, “It went to another level, where we rescheduled another meeting for 1st October. That meeting held and we were thinking that they were actually waiting for reconciliation.
“But what they went to ask is for us to reverse what the court said; that we should disregard the court judgement against them.”
Asked for the Ilodiuba-led group’s response to the alleged demand, Iwuagwu said, “The response is that it is very absurd and terrible that educated and learned people would come to demand such thing.
“It is terrible for people who are educated to behave like people who are not educated. Since when did educated people begin to ask anybody to disregard court judgement?
“First of all, they said we should consider bringing back Mr Benson Adam-Otite as registrar and remove Mr Bola Aborode. They also demanded that the report we sent to EFCC should be withdrawn, because one of them reported the President to EFCC and they lied to EFCC. Now that they’ve seen that the case they reported to EFCC is not working, they are now using it as a bargaining chip, that we should tell EFCC not to investigate them so that they could also withdraw their own.
“We said they should never do that; that EFCC should intensify its work. That was our own position. And when we said that, Yusuf Malgwi got angry and said that he does not recognise any of the judgements of the court. He said he had no regard for any judgement from any court except that court is the Supreme Court. That what was scattered the meeting.
“We were not compelled to discuss with them, but each time your enemy calls you for settlement, you don’t behave as if you’re too stubborn. So we decided to come and listen to them. So this is what we heard and it was unacceptable.”
“All these things are in the report which we are going to submit today.”
Reacting, Registrar of the Malgwi-led group, Mr Benson Adam-Otite, confirmed that Malgwi is in Abuja to submit his report to the FCIID today.
He said, “Based on the petition they (Ilodiuba group) submitted to the IG, we were all invited by the DIG, and after looking at the documents and everything involved, they (the police) said it’s an internal matter and that we should go and meet and resolve it.
“We have met in Port Harcourt, met in Abuja before we went to Port Harcourt and we also met in Lagos yesterday (Wednesday).
“Based on what happened in that meeting, Nnamdi Ilodiuba walked out of the meeting and his members followed him.
“They walked out on us. So the meeting in Abuja today is to submit the report of our meetings. So it is the two presidents – Nnamdi Ilodiuba and Malgwi – that’re supposed to go and meet the DIG today to submit the report.
However, he debunked allegations that Ilodiuba and his team walked out of the October 1st meeting because of unfavourable demands from Malgwi’s team.
Adam-Otite said, “I don’t know what you mean by unfavourable demands. There is nothing that favours anybody. When you’re trying to resolve issues, there must be a shift in your position. So, both of them were elected at different fora. Both of them sat in the meetings as presidents. So, if we’re going to have a report, both sides will submit reports to their presidents.
“What the demands are: (1), Whatever cases we have in court, we will go to court together and resolve it; (2), Both sides will withdraw both suspension and expulsion; (3), Both sides branches will submit report to their leader and both leaders will go and make a presentation at the joint AGM.
“Those are the demands and Ilodiuba refused. He said every report must come to him. How do reports come to you for things you don’t know about? So he is claiming that he is the president and everybody must report to him. And the other party refused. That’s why he stormed out of the meeting. Nothing more. So I don’t know the demands that are unfavourable.”
He noted that everything must be done in the interest of the institute and not interest of individuals if the crisis must be resolve.
He further debunked allegations that the Malgwi-led group demanded ouster of Aborode as Registrar as one of the conditions for reconciliation.
“Nobody said anything about the registrar being removed. Bola Aborode’s name was never mentioned. So that was a lie,” he said.
Also, he warned the Malgwi’s team would not hesitate to reject any demands that is not in the “interest of the institute”.
Asked if reconciliation should be expected anytime soon, Adam-Otite said, “It is in the hands of Ilodiuba. Whatever he wants, if it is not in the interest of the institute, I don’t think Malgwi will accept it.
“Our fight must be in the interest of the institute. If it is in the interest of individuals, then I don’t know where we’re going.”