The President of Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (BMCSL), Pastor Oyinmiebi Bribena and his wife, Beatrice, have declared that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) never invited them for any questioning or interrogation before declaring them as wanted persons.
In a swift response to some media reports on June 8, 2022, Biribena has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa to enforce their fundamental rights.
The EFCC had in a statement by its Head, Media and Publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, declared the couple wanted for allegedly defrauding Nigerians to the tune of N2 billion.
Prior to their declaration as wanted persons by the EFCC, the President of BMCSL had earlier filed an originating summons before the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, against the anti-graft agency.
He had sought the determination of some questions with regard to the powers of the EFCC to interfere in disputes between members of the cooperative society, considering the provisions of the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act of 2004.
Reacting to the declaration, Bribena, who is also a pastor in a popular church, said: “We did not receive any invitation letter from the EFCC and were not aware of any summons or pending charge against us by the EFCC.
“It is therefore surprising that the commission will go to such length to damage our reputation and make me and my family to go through ‘media trial’.”
He said members of the cooperative society approved that the society trade with their contributions at an Online Foreign Exchange Market for monthly returns, which ran smoothly until the unfortunate events where most of the funds were lost in the market.
He said despite the loss, he had constantly made frantic efforts to recover and refund members their contribution as authorised by the general meeting of the cooperative, but the actions of the EFCC had constituted a spoke in the wheel of progress.
Bribena, who assured contributors that all hope was not lost, stated that he would not relent in the efforts being made to clear his name.
He, therefore, called on all members of Baraza to remain calm and rest assured that with the resolve to sort out the issues on the ground, every member would recover their contributions.