By Jonathan Ugbal
The Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on prosecution, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla has threatened to slam a NGN5 billion suit on the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu for defamatory statements.
Mr. Ekweremadu had yesterday (Monday) issued a statement accusing Mr. Obla of spearheading a smear campaign against him with the help of the former Chief Judge of Enugu state, Mr. Innocent Umezulike.
And, Obla’s solicitor, Mr. First Isa in a statement issued on Tuesday morning described the allegations “wild and unfounded,” and threatened to file a suit if Mr. Ekweremadu does not withdraw his statement.
The statement titled: “This Too Shall Pass: The Antics Of A Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu,” read in part: “We hereby state categorically that the said accusation is false, illegal, malicious, defamatory, misleading, obnoxious, hogwash and ineffably puerile. Chief Okoi Obono-Obla is not aware of any smear campaign against Ike Ekweremadu, let alone to be spearheading it.
“Why a man who is fortunate to be the Deputy Senate President of a country like Nigeria, with all the security apparatuses and legal channels at his disposal will make such a wild and unfounded accusation is not far-fetched: it is a strategy in the well-oiled mechanism of playing the victim.
“Nigerians cannot be fooled anymore. Those who have cases to answer in the way they have managed our commonwealth and collective destines should step up and answer their cases.
“They cannot turn round to play victims. Nigerians are the real victims. It is on record that the Special Presidential Panel for the Recovery of Public Property headed by Chief Obla is investigating how Ike Ekweremadu and others illegally acquired houses meant for the Senate Leadership, houses which are intended to be national monuments.
“Instead of stepping up to answer questions in this regard, he turns round to accuse the Chairman of leading a smear campaign against him.
“One will expect Ike Ekweremadu to approach the police or the courts with evidence of this blatant accusation. But of course he cannot, because he knows that this accusation is a grand lie and cannot stand the searchlight of investigation and litigation.
“This accusation constitutes a gross smear on the hard earned reputation of our client, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, and we have the further instruction to institute a 5 Billion Naira Defamation suit in a court of competent jurisdiction if, 48 hours, after the issuance of this Press Statement, Senator Ike Ekweremadu does not retract his accusation and apologize unconditionally to Chief Okoi Obono-Obla.”
Mr. Ekweremadu’s statement signed by his spokesman, Mr. Uche Anichukwu has said Mr. Obla and Mr. Umezulike have been using his will stolen at Enugu state Probate Registry to carry out the campaign reports SaharaReporters.
Mr. Ekweremadu according to the report, said he was been targeted because of the 2019 elections and alleged that: “About July 2016, former chief judge of Enugu state, Hon. Justice Innocent Umezulike, in his capacity as the chief judge of Enugu state at the time, together with his lawyer, and Barrister Tagbo Ike, in connivance with some politicians, broke into the Probate Registry, Enugu, took away my will and left behind a photocopy.
“They copied the properties listed in the will and added many imaginary properties and started churning out baseless petitions to government agencies and officials. In their petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for instance, they claimed, in a demonstration of gross ignorance, that I was given money by the federal government to develop the southeast geopolitical zone but that I used it to purchase 32 properties.
“They sent similar petitions to Mr. President, the vice-president, senate president, attorney general of the federation, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Code of Conduct Bureau, director general of the Department of State Security, inspector general of Police, commissioner of police (Enugu), among others.”
He said more will be divulged at the appropriate time and stressed that God is “on top of the matter” as Justice Umezulike whom according to him “in several other petitions, attacked me and my family,” as well as accusing him of “killing several people, which the office of the inspector-general of police investigated; and probably, he will soon face appropriate charges bordering on false information,” has been dismissed by the National Judicial Council and is facing trial.
“It suffices to add that with what is unfolding now, the current smear campaign championed by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, is helping to expose those, who acted with Justice Umezulike, to steal my will. They have been peddling this so-called ‘discovery’ since July 2016,” the statement read and added that: “This too shall pass.”
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