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Danbaba Suntai Resumption Scam: Seven Legislators Endorse Forged Letter

A group of Taraba State lawmakers led by the majority leader, Joseph Albasu of Lau constituency claims that the House of Assembly has endorsed a letter purportedly written to the legislature by the incapacitated governor of the state, Danbaba Suntai, who was ferried back to Nigeria on Sunday, concerning his readiness to resume his duties as governor.

The seven renegade legislators made the claim today at a press conference in Jalingo, the state capital.

Since returning to Jalingo in a dramatic and carefully choreographed affair on Sunday, Mr. Suntai has not met with state officials or spoken to the media as promised, apparently because he has not recovered from the severe brain injuries he suffered in a plane crash last October. Doctors in the United States had said it was unlikely he would be able to function normally again.

Undeterred, a cabal led by his wife, and two ambitious governorship candidate: Damian Dodo, SAN and Senator Emmanuel Bwatcha, have engaged in extending the scam and deepening the state’s political crisis.  Yesterday, as was earlier reported by SaharaReporters, they forged Mr. Suntai’s signature on a letter and sent it to the state house of assembly. In it, “Mr. Suntai” claimed he was ready to resume his office.

Medical sources have told Saharareporters that Mr. Suntai suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) arising from the crash, following which he was taken to Germany and later the United States for treatment and rehabilitation.

He has however not been certified fit for any tasks, can neither write nor speak coherently, often forgets people and most of the time cannot tell where he is. Mr. Suntai also requires assistance to walk or do anything.

Prior to the governor’s return on Sunday, Joke Kujenya, a Nigerian reporter who visited him on Friday, August 23 at Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Centre & Home in Staten Island, New York, reported a grim picture of the man his manipulators claim to be fully healed.

Ms. Kujenya, who in a published article said she traced Mr. Suntai to the hospital upon learning of his impending discharge last weekend, wrote as follows:

“He sat on a wheelchair in Room 503 beside his bed laid in white with three pillows well set aside each one. The name tag on his room read: Dan Fulani. He wore a red T-shirt on an off-white pair of trouser. He also wore a grey coloured sneaker to complete the outfit. On the table beside his bed was a bouquet of white flowers laced with colour pink on the edges with a bold inscription that read: “We love you”. But he did not utter a word to the reporter neither did he move his body. He only raised and lowered his head on the same spot.

“On impulse, he looked up and saw the reporter. Then he locked his eyes on the reporter squeezing his face probably for a recollection. This lasted for over ten minutes judging by the clock on the wall. After a while, he looked away and bowed his head.”

The following day, Saturday, the conspirators placed a suit on Mr. Suntai and took him to JFK Airport. He arrived in Abuja and later Jalingo on Sunday still wearing the bewildered look described by Ms. Kujenya at New York’s Seaview Hospital.

Despite all the evidence that point to Mr. Suntai’s incapacitation, however, Taraba State Assembly sources said the conspirators plans to table the questionable letter before the full house tomorrow.

Already, investigations show that the signature on the letter sent to them was forged, possibly by his wife, Hauwa.  It is in order to pre-empt plans by the 24-man Assembly to invite Mr. Suntai to appear before them to defend his letter that Mr. Albasu led six others to address the press conference today claiming the letter has been endorsed.

An aide to the Speaker of the House, Haruna Tsotwa, described today’s press conference as baseless as the House does not make decisions of that gravity through press conferences, and urged the public to ignore the antics of the renegade lawmakers.

Yesterday morning Mr. Tsotwa led a delegation of six members of the house to meet with the returnee governor yesterday, but his team was turned back by security agents guarding the governor’s lodge, Mr. Suntai’s wife later came out to inform the delegation that the governor was still sleeping.

Later in the day, Governor of Adamawa state, Murtala Nyako visited Mr. Suntai  but he could not speak to his counterpart, even a syndicated report distributed to several newspapers by Mr. Suntai aides could not deny that that his countenance did not change throughout the visit. Mr. Nyako shed tears and left the Mr. Suntai claiming that he was “recovering fast”.

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