Monday 24th July, 2017
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Judges' Arrest: Umana, CSO dismiss Justice Okoro's defence

Judges' Arrest: Umana, CSO dismiss Justice Okoro's defence

A day after he named his traducers, Justice Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court has been urged to stop deceiving Nigerians with “lies” on his ar­rest by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Justice Okoro had on Tues­day accused former Rivers State Governor and current Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi and the Akwa Ibom State gov­ernorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 elections, Umana Okon Umana, of influencing his arrest because he did not in­fluence their appeals at the apex court.
But in a reaction, Umana de­scribed as baseless, allegations by Justice Okoro that he and APC attempted to induce the judge to swing the ruling of the Supreme Court in their favour.
Okoro had in a letter he wrote to the Chief Justice of Ni­geria, Mahmud Mohammed on his arrest and invasion of his Abuja residence, said that Amaechi and Umana visited him along with a clergyman, Ebebe Ukpong, in an attempt to induce him to manipulate the ruling on the Akwa Ibom governorship election petition in their favour.
The DSS had visited Justice Okoro’s home in Abuja to con­duct a search on October 7 and 8 as part of its investigation in the case of alleged corruption and abuse of office levelled against him.
At the end of the operation, the SSS said they found $38,800 and N3.5 million in cash as well as other documents pertaining to its investigation.
According to Umana, “no such meeting to discuss how to bribe judges took place between him and Pastor Ebebe Ukpong as alleged.”
Umana, in a statement is­sued by his spokesperson, Iboro Otongaran, said: “If we assume, without conceding, such a meeting took place, for a man of Justice Okoro’s standing and knowledge of the law, he ought to have known the legal implica­tions of such a visit, and should have reported to the appropriate authorities immediately. He did not do that, but is only reacting after the authorities have estab­lished a case against him.”
Otongaran said that Uma­na had no appeal before the Su­preme Court from any court judgment on the 2015 gover­norship election in Akwa Ibom State, having won his case at the tribunal and Court of Appeal.
“Umana was therefore con­fident of victory at the Supreme Court, because of the concur­rent judgments of the lower courts. But, the Supreme Court judgment had ignored the con­current judgments at both the tribunal and the Court of Ap­peal,” he said.
Also, yesterday, the Civil So­ciety Network Against Corrup­tion (CSNAC), accused the Na­tional Judicial Council (NJC) of misleading Nigerians by claiming it acted on all the petitions alleg­ing misconduct against judges.
He said contrary to the claim of the NJC, there are at least 12 other petitions against many judges, all of which, the group said, were not appropriately treat­ed by the council.
Justice Okoro confirms The AUTHORITY’s exclusive story
Justice John Inyang Okoro, one of the Supreme Court Jus­tices, whose homes were penul­timate week invaded by the DSS over alleged corruption, has con­firmed an exclusive story pub­lished in the November 8, 2015 of The AUTHORITY on Sunday.
The news story titled: “How APC plans to capture South-South, North Central”, contained excerpts of a document entitled “Political Penetration Strate­gy: South-South/North Central Strategy Plan, Draft” dated Au­gust 2015 prepared the party.
The document hitherto re­ferred to by our news medium, outlined the “capture” plans to include shuffling of security ap­parati in the zones and the rede­ployment of top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), especially in Rivers, Bayelsa and Kogi states and their replacement with the commission’s officials from near­by Imo State.
Justice Okoro, who has been granted bail and released, said he was humiliated by the Federal Government for his courageous stance against overtures purport­edly made to him by Amaechi to allegedly influence the decisions of the apex court in the appeals involving the governorship elec­tions in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states in the 2015 general elections.
Justice Okoro made these assertions in a letter he wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Judi­cial Council (NJC), Justice Mah­mud Mohammed, on October 17, 2016.
The referenced document which was obtained by The AU­THORITY indicated that the top notch of the APC had declared that “it was politically and eco­nomically suicidal for the coun­try that all the key resource-bear­ing states, are in the hands of the opposition” and therefore must be retrieved.

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