Justice John Inyang Okoro, one of the Supreme Court judges arrested by operatives of the Department of Security Services (DSS) for alleged corrupt practices, has opened a can of worms regarding his travails.
In a letter entitled “Invasion of my official residence by Operatives of the Department of State Security Service” and addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, dated October 17, 2016, Okoro alleged that his refusal to join the plot to pervert the course of justice in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states is the reason that he is being targeted for disgrace.
He specifically fingered President Muhammadu Buhari and former governor Rotimi Amaechi as the major brains behind the infamous plan to capture Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at all cost.
His letter reads in part, “My Lord, I strongly believe that my travails is not unconnected with the verbal report I made to you on February 1 about the visit to my official residence by H/E Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State and now Minister of Transport.
“In that report, I told you my Lord that Mr. Amaechi said that the President of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress mandated him to inform me that they must win their Election Appeal in respect of Rivers State and Akwa Ibom State and Abia State at all costs.
“For Akwa Ibom State, he alleged that he sponsored Mr Umana Umana, candidate of the APC for that election and that if he lost Akwa Ibom appeal, he would have lost a fortune. Mr Amaechi also said that he had already visited you and that you had agreed to make me a member of the panel that would hear the appeals.
“He further told me that Umana would be paying me millions of naira monthly if I co-operate with them. My response, as I told you on that date was that it does not lie within my power to grant his request and that I would do all within my power not to be in the panel for Akwa Ibom State.
“My Lord graciously left me out of the panel for Akwa Ibom State. That notwithstanding, the APC in Akwa Ibom State which lost the appeal at the Supreme Court believes that my presence in the Supreme Court made them lose the appeal.
“Could I have resigned from the Supreme Court simply because people of Akwa Ibom State had a matter before it? I urge my Lord and the NJC to discharge all the lies and media campaign orchestrated by those who felt I purposefully refused to help them win their election appeal in the Supreme Court.
“I’m confident that God will vindicate me at the end of this ordeal which I see as a temporary setback. I remain loyal to my oath of office and the need to be just and fair in handling matters before me,” Justice Okoro stated.
Giving account of how he was arrested earlier in the letter he said, “on Friday, October 7, 2016, at about 9.00pm, I received a phone call from an unfamiliar caller. He introduced himself as an official from the Presidency. He told me he had a letter for me from Mr President. I immediately left my study room and went to open the door. Upon the door being opened, I saw many heavily armed men with an inscription “DSS” on their uniform. One of them who was in mufti told me they were to search my house. I requested that I be allowed to inform the Chief of Justice of Nigeria but they rebuffed, rather, they seized my phone from me.
Read also: CJN says arrest of judges distressing
My Lord, the operatives of the DSS searched all the rooms in the house meticulously. They also searched the boy’s quarters and my office vehicles parked outside. At the end of the search, which lasted till above 1:30am of the October 8, they took away the following items, one iPad, three phones (only one active), USD 38,800, N3.5million and four cheque books.
“The above items were documented on the back page of the search warrant they produced and we signed.
“Also the DSS operatives informed me that their Director-General wanted to see me that night. I requested to visit their office upon the break of the day but they refused. In view of the presence of the heavily armed men who accompanied them and who were pointing their gun at me from all angles, I had no choice than to follow them to their office that night. I was detained by them in their office till Sunday they released me in the evening of that Sunday.
“My Lord, I noticed that they also brought other judicial officers (serving and retired) to their office, so, before releasing us, they asked me to make a statement concerning the money found in my house. I told them that having received the sum of $24,000 and 10,000 Pounds, a year for three years of my sojourn in this court as annual medical/vacation allowances and having not spent more than 5000 pounds, on each of three trips I have so far made abroad, I was entitled to have more than the amount received from me.
“Put differently, my Lord, the money was the balance of my estacode. My Lord as at the time of writing this report the DSS has not confronted me with any petition or complaint from my quarters whatsoever. Rather, they have grilled me asking questions on some none existing properties around the country. They have also doubted the age of my children alleging that they are toddlers. This is sad and unbelievable.”
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Source: Today Trending News