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Judge links travail to alleged bribery attempt by Amaechi

By Joseph Onyekwere (Lagos), Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) and Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja)   |   19 October 2016   |   4:20 am


• It’s not true, say minister’s aide, Peterside
• Justice Ademola hands off Dasuki’s trial

Embattled Justice of the Supreme Court, John Inyang Okoro, yesterday fired back, linking his travails to his refusal to do the bidding of the Transport Minister, Chibuike Amaechi.

Justice Okoro, who was one of the judges arrested recently by the Department of State Services (DSS) over alleged corruption said Amaechi attempted to use him to compromise the outcome of election petitions in Akwa Ibom, Abia and Rivers states at the Supreme Court.

According to Justice Okoro, Amaechi visited his official residence and told him that the All Progressives Congress (APC) must win their election appeals in respect of Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia at all costs. The justice added that the minister informed him that the decision to compromise the election appeal had the endorsement of the president.

Justice Okoro’s revelation is contained in his letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), dated October 17, explaining the circumstances surrounding the invasion of his official residence and arrest by DSS.

His words: “My lord, I strongly believe that this my travail is not unconnected with the verbal report I made to you on February 1, 2016 about the visit to my official residence by Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State and now Minister of Transport. In that report, I told you my lord, that Amaechi said that the president of Nigeria and the 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, 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 Mr. Umana would be paying me millions of naira monthly if I co-operated 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 on 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 to lose the appeal. Could I have resigned from the Supreme Court simply because people of Akwa Ibom State had a matter before it?”

Justice Okoro also recalled that he reported to the CJN about the visit of Umana to his residence before that of Amaechi.

The embattled judge who said he had eschewed corruption from his days at the magistracy up to the apex court narrated how his house was invaded by agents of DSS and gave inventory of all that was collected in his house.

“My lord, the operatives of DSS searched all the rooms in the house meticulously. They also searched the boy’s quarters and my official vehicles parked outside. At the end of the search, which lasted till about 1:30 a.m. of October 8, 2016, they took away the following items: One Ipad, three phones (only one active), $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.”

However, the media aide to Amaechi, David Iyofo said: “This accusation from Justice Okoro against Amaechi is a figment of his imagination, concocted to obfuscate and politicize the real issues for his arrest and DSS investigation of allegations of corruption against him. The claims by Justice Okoro against Amaechi are blatant lies, bereft of any iota of truth or even logic.
“Amaechi did not, and has never approached Justice Okoro in respect of the cases Okoro mentioned or any other case. This is a cheap attempt, albeit, political move to drag the name of Amaechi into something he knows nothing about. Justice Okoro should face his issues and leave Amaechi out of it. He will be hearing from our lawyers,” he said.

Also, the APC standard-bearer in Rivers State, Dr. Peterside Dakuku, said if the allegation were true , it meant then that Justice Okoro took a bribe from the highest bidder. “Amaechi cannot do such a thing. If he said Amaechi had wanted to compromise him, it means that he had taken money from the highest bidder,” he stated.

Also yesterday, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja withdrew from the trial of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Ademola, who was among the judges arrested by the DSS announced his withdrawal from the case at the resumed hearing yesterday.

He told the court that he would no longer continue with the trial on the ground of allegation of corruption levelled against him by DSS. Ademola said he was constrained to continue with hearing on the criminal case in view of the recent clampdown on him and some of his colleagues across the country.

While Dipo Okpeseyi appeared for the Federal Government, the defence counsel was Adedayo Adedeji.

Further addressing the court, Justice Ademola stated: “I am sure the prosecution and defence counsel are conversant with what has been going on in the last seven days in this country.

“One of the allegations being made against me by the DSS is that I received certain unspecified sums of money from the defendant.”

  • Noble

    Gradually we are getting there. A judge was approached and the best he could do is verbal report? Let see if a verbal report is weightier than the mini CBN in your house.

    • emmanuel

      He is talking like a drowning man. He should stop deceiving people of soft mind. Why didn’t he blow this whistle immediately the minister visited him. He is looking for who to hold unto. He should have been smarter than this. I am just thinking aloud

      • personal opinion

        What makes the ACCUSSATIONS of the Dss right and the defence of the Judge that of “a drowning man”? We are in nigeria where every thing is possible and where no one including Ameachi is an angel. Let’s give every one the benefit of the doubt. This government like all other governments will come and go, politicians will re-align again and we all will still be nigerians

      • Osanebi Osakuni

        What has timing got to do with the credibility of a man’s statement particularly on a circumstance the president’s name was dropped on a bribery scandal? Blind political follower-ship has reduced many to a mere load of mockery

    • personal opinion

      The Dss have given us their own side of the story and we have all given them the benefit of the doubt, let us do same to the Judge. After all people saw nothing wrong in the way nigeria was being run until a certain Aisha spoke up. Time will tell

    • Osanebi Osakuni

      Can a report lack integrity because it is verbal. The world knows that the anti-corruption is the biggest loser in all of this. This is impact of illiteracy, hate and religious extremism in governance. What a mockery?

    • Osanebi Osakuni

      Why have you submitted a report that suggests you a failed poor man? N3.5M to be a CBN. I have no idea of the Salary of a Supreme Court judge but will be surprised if it is less than N1M/month. Can a report lack integrity because it is verbal. The world knows that the anti-corruption is the biggest loser in all of this. This is impact of illiteracy, hate and religious extremism in governance. What a mockery? Sorry!

  • Fair listener

    A shame of a Nation. Here is a Judge, a Nation Supreme Court Judge for that matter singing like a common criminal.

    • We don’t understand your shame of a nation, where a Justice of the highest court in Nigeria was tried by the DSS on the media, then the accuser decided to let the cat out of the bag, just to clear his dented image and you are here talking of the shame of a ruined nation.

      • Fair listener

        Is it that you did not see d article, or you simply could not digest it 2 your understanding or you have challenges making up your own opinion? ‘cos you kept me wondering why you abandoned d article and chooses 2 build on my comments instead.

        • If you read & understood it very well, why is the defence of the Justice tagged in your comment as a shame of a nation? Why must you referred his defence, like a confession of a common criminal? Most of us reading such misleading comments from outside the country are beginning to wonder, why some people like you cannot see the truth or that some are writing to satisfy their paymasters.

          • Fair listener

            Articulate your own comment and leave mine alone. Use any language you can understand and stop don’t preying on ppl comments. I hope you were not a copy cat or exams cheat in your school days. The article is still there. So read it again, formulate your opinion, make your comment and leave ppl comments alone.

          • You are wrong again, because comments are bound to be criticized or support from others, but yours lack merit & is bound to attract criticism, else you may mislead the public.

          • Fair listener

            Its okay my friend Uzor, make we no take panadol 4 anoda person headache.

          • Thanks my friend, we are here to exchange ideas & learn from each other.

  • Suleiman Alatise

    Verbal report!, and this a judge of the highest court of the land.

  • Dr. Jegede, Ajibade Ebenezer

    Nigerians should be weary of this so called media aids who has nothing than to paint white black and black white to exonerate their employers. Is the judge a kid not to have known Amaechi or Umana? One should not close eye to the fact that the rights of people is being infringed upon under the guise of anti-corruption. If this judge has danced to the tune of Amaechi, the DSS would not have gotten anything to do with him. Gullibility is still so rampant even among the educated elites in Nigeria to the extent that they often instinctually react to the charade going on under this dispensation like animals in George Orwells animal farm (Napoleon is always right). Sensible people should not be carried away by the current distraction being perpetrated by this government which is not translating into meaningful national development and displaced efforts that is not improving the welfare of Nigerian people. One sided anti-corruption cannot take any country anywhere but it will rather create more bad blood. What is the government doing about the headsmen from the constituency of the head of government?

    • 100%Iboguy

      There is no sensible person that does not know the following:

      It is not possible to investigate all suspected cases of corruption at a go.
      Starting with a few of them is an indication to others that when the sensible people vote for another sensible regime during the next election their time may be up.
      It is in the favour of the masses and the country for the political class to be against themselves when it comes to punishing corruption.
      It is mischievous for any person to say that fighting corruption is inimical to meaningful development as both can go on concurrently.

  • chibu

    Peterside should please keep quiet if he has nothing better to say.
    There is nothing from what the judge said that can lead any sane person to conclude that there was a higher bidder to the perversion of justice. It will be a great relief to Nigerians to know that “all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory” This will make way for true repentance and forgiveness. Let us all admit our short comings and seek for a way out of this mess. Even if that judge is a rouge I am more inclined to believe and trust his words than anyone else.

  • Tosin

    “Amaechi can not do such a thing,” said some dude.

  • Kelvin Onuabuchi Onyia

    all these raids on the judges are already the battle of 2019 elections,’they want to use the guise of fighting corruption to intimidate,frustrate and incarcerate some of the judges that cannot dance to their tunes ,then appoint there stooges in preparation to the 2019 electoral related issues and other pending high profile cases.


    The Constitution is clear on how Judicial officers who fall short of the law be disciplined to protect the third arm of government. Petition against judges be directed NJC for consideration and if there is primae facies Case the judge will be dismissed and recommended for prosecution. The same applies to the military. Can DSS arrest an Army Colonel without going through the Chief of Army Staff! The dead bodies of DSS personel will be returned to the Director of DSS. DSS is legal personality that can sue and be sued. DSS is not above the law and must act within the law! The Constitution is clear on procedure to discipline judges and for the legal entity called DSS to act contrary to the Constitution, marks impunity! The intimidation of the Judiciary is to cow judges in preparation for 2019 Presidential Election. Buhari lead APC will fail if it thinks intimidation of judges will help them. Only delivery of good dividend of democracy will save Buhari come 2019 election! DSS should storm the house of Chief of Army Staff, Gen Burundi, alleged to own two flats in Dubai, worth $3 million. We are all equal before the law. DSS can not use corruption to fight corruption. The Director of DSS is alleged to be a Card Carrying Member of APC! If it is true, can he be objective?

  • Olori Magege

    We lost it when we abandoned our powerful deities that avenge lies. There is one in AGBARHO, Delta State. It kills anyone within thirty days who dares to lie before its alter. Its name is ONENRO. So forward match Okoro and Amaechi to Onenro shrine to swear to the truth. Do not hide under the facade of any religion. I dare both of you

  • Uwaoma, Chigozie

    I can hardly believe anything coming from any APC person.

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