NOT a few people were shocked beyond words by the screaming headline in Punch Newspaper of Tuesday, August 4, 2015, that Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora was one of Diamond Bank Plc’s chronic debtors.
The former lawmaker, according to the paper is one of the directors of Thriller Endeavours, the company that is owing Diamond Bank Plc, the sum of N122,912,031.06k since 2008. It was certainly the biggest story of that day.
Few hours later, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa twitted that she was not a director in the said company.
On Wednesday, August 5, 2015, she issued a press statement to the effect that both Diamond Bank and Punch Newspaper must have included her name on the chronic debtors list in error.
On Thursday, August 6, 2015, she filed a N500 million libel suit against Diamond Bank and Punch Newspaper.
By Friday, August 7, 2015, Diamond Bank Plc, published an apology that her name was included in error.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with the amiable lawmaker on the embarrassing situation. She said despite the public apology made by Diamond Bank Plc, her lawyers will be the ones that will determine her next line of action.
How and where did you get to know that Diamond Bank has listed you as one of its chronic debtors?
Just like you got to know from the front page of Punch, in the morning of Tuesday and that was shocking and my husband was saying no, no, it can’t be me. It is not possible. I got to know like everybody got to know from Punch Newspaper. By the time I put on my phone that morning it was calls from everywhere, Whatsapp, Twitter, etc.
Who was the first person to call you?
I can’t remember. The call came in a barrage. I was embarrassed and I was asking myself what is going on. I took my time to first get the story because I hadn’t seen it. By the time I got the story, I had to remain calm. I first issued a denial on my twit that definitely this can’t be me because I am sure that I don’t do those things. I am as sure as the sun will shine that this is not me.
I now got in touch with my lawyers to do the first thing, which is to find out from Corporate Affairs Commission. So, the lawyers went ahead, did their work with due diligence, got the certified true copy of the company. There were actually two directors of the company and my name was not there. The next thing was to go to court. By Thursday, August 6, 2015, I was in court.
Did you put a call to Diamond Bank to ask where they got their own list of directors of the company that included your name?
I wrote Diamond Bank immediately and the Punch to let them know that they must have published my name in error. I also issued my denial again in a press release. Next day, there was still confusion. By Friday morning, Diamond Bank issued a public apology in two national newspapers.
Right now, I will just wait for the advice of my lawyers.
Are you still going ahead with the court case now that Diamond Bank has publicly apologized?
That is left for my lawyers to decide. It is now a legal matter and my lawyers are in the best position to decide that. Everything will go to my lawyers.
Did Diamond Bank give any reason how they came about your name?
They have issued a public apology that they made a mistake. The rest is left to them and my lawyers to sort out. Whether it is a case of genuine mistake or forgery, that will be sorted out with my lawyers.