ABUJA, OCTOBER 20, 2016 – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Federal Government not to sweep under the carpet, the allegation by Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, approached him to compromise the Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia governorship petitions in favour of APC candidates.
The party also called for an inquest into Amaechi’s tenure as governor of Rivers State between 2007 and 2015. Justice Okoro, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, alleged that Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate for Akwa Ibom State, Umana Umana, promised to pay him millions of naira as monthly allowance if he could tilt the cause of justice in favour of the APC candidate.
The apex court justice believes that his present travails in the hands of the Department of State Services (DSS) was in connection with the verbal report he made to the CJN regarding the visits made to him by Amaechi and Umana.
“My Lord, I strongly believe that this my travail is not unconnected with the verbal report I made to you on 1st, February, 2016, about the visit to my official residence by H/E, Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State and now minister of transportation.
“In that report, I told you, My Lord, that Mr. Amaechi said that the president of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress (APC) mandated him to inform me that they must win their election appeals in respect of Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State and Abia State at all costs.
“For Akwa Ibom State, he alleged that he sponsored Mr. Umana Umana, the candidate of All Progressives Congress for that election and that if he lost Akwa Ibom appeal, he would have lost a fortune.
“He further told me that Mr. Umana would be paying me millions of naira monthly if I co-operated with them,” Justice Okoro had alleged in a letter dated October 17 and addressed to the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN). Amaechi, through his media aide, has denied the allegation.
But in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, PDP said Justice Okoro’s allegation has vindicated it that there are many corrupt leaders and members in APC, but have been shielded from prosecution because of their affiliation and contributions they made to APC presidential campaign.
“The PDP view this allegation as grievous, dangerous, criminal and unhealthy for our democracy and the rule of law.
“This information by a high ranking judge must not be swept under the carpet like previous petitions and the report of the Rivers State Judiciary Commission of Inquiry that revealed so many misappropriations of funds by the former governor when he held sway from 2007 to 2015,” the statement warned.
PDP called on the President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, investigate this allegation levelled against his miniter and Umana, and bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.
The party demanded to know the funds Amaechi used to sponsor Umana. PDP said the Nigerian public would have been kept in the dark over the attempted bribery were it not for the DSS harassment and invasion of Justice Okoro’s home.
It expressed the wish that Justice Okoro and the CJN did not keep quite over the bribery attempt since February 2016 so as to expose an administration that has flouted to have zero tolerance for corruption.
The party reiterates that the recent arbitrary and Gestapo style of arrest, detention and release of justices of the High Court, Appeal Court and Supreme Court by the APC-led Federal Government was a charade targeted at gagging the Nigerian judiciary to sway justice in favour of the president and his party.
“We once again condemn in the strongest terms the frequent use of security agencies by this government to molest, harass and intimidate wellmeaning Nigerians and opposition figures in the country,” PDP added.
The statement said President Muhammadu Buogovernment was not concerned with the fight against corruption, but is simply using it to harass and intimidate opposition to his government, which, it said, was confirmed by his recent statement in Germany.
The party further called on the judiciary to remain neutral and fearless in the face of this orchestrated threat to the country’s democracy.