My attention has been drawn to the recent release of names of ‘looters’ by the APC led Federal Government through the Minister of information, Lai Mohammed.
By this publication, the Federal Government has breached our constitution by seeking to burden me with two criminal trials on the same charge, one before Justice Okon Abang and the other before the media.
In response to the scandalous publication, I wish to state as follows :
1) Since my arrest on the 5th day of January 2016 and subsequent arraignment, I have refrained from publicly discussing my persecution and travails by the government because as a lawyer, trained in the finest traditions of the Bar, I know that it is wrong to discuss a matter that is subjudice. However the present action of the government leaves me no option than to defend my name and integrity. I have therefore decided to avail the public of the true state of the contrived case against me.
2) The charge against me is that I received the sum of N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser to carry out duties assigned to me as the then National Publicity Secretary of the PDP by then President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The major crux of the prosecution argument is that I ought to have known that the money was a part of an alleged and yet to be proven unlawful activity of Col Sambo Dasuki(rtd), former NSA to President Jonathan.
3) The charge was brought regardless of the fact that neither President Jonthan who gave me the assignment and directed the release of the funds nor Col Dasuki(rtd), who effected the release of the funds have ever been interrogated nor even interviewed in this regard. As a matter of fact, officers of the office of the National Security Adviser have testified in court that the payment made to me followed all due process usually observed in the establishment.
4) It is of interest to note that the prosecution has not alleged any mens rea or collusion on my part other than the suggestion that I ‘ought to have known’ of an alleged unlawful activity. Also the alleged illegality of the funds has neither been established in law nor in fact.
5) I have NEVER held a government office and/or position and could not therefore have had any access to government funds.
6) In view of the weakness of the case against me, the APC led Federal Government resorted to all kinds of dirty tactics to dehumanise and intimidate me. They have done everything humanly possible to ensure complete persecution starting from bringing me to court in handcuffs (and parading the capture of Nigeria’s most wanted) to media trials and constant interference with my case.
7) I have been reliably informed that the Federal Government has ordered a conviction at all cost to ensure that the PDP is tainted before the elections. The government’s determination to achieve this objective is clearly highlighted by the refusal to allow me attend to my deteriorating health notwithstanding several expert medical opinion on the matter.
8) By going to the media to name me a looter (without cross-checking the definition and dictionary meaning of the word), the Federal Government has not only given a body language but has issued a direct intimidation and threat to the judiciary to get a compulsory conviction.
9) It is now clear that the APC led government that thrives in impunity and intimidation of other arms of government will not allow justice to be done in my matter. It is incontrovertible that our country has descended into the worst form of draconian rule where the executive arm directly interferes and seeks to control and determine matters within the purview of the legislature and the judiciary.
10) In view of this unprecedented executive rascality and lawlessness, I have asked my lawyers to review the implications of this latest attack by the government and take appropriate steps for redress
11) In all, my faith is firm in God that this tyranny will not last forever and that no mortal is omnipotent in my matter.
Chief Olisa Metuh