Chief Edwin Clark
By Chuks Okocha
Elder statesman and leader of the Ijaw nation, Chief Edwin Clark, Thursday offered to testify at the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, so as to help prove that the former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, bribed the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, with the sum of $15 million.
Addressing a press conference in his residence, Abuja, Mr. Clark said: “I am ready to appear before the court, the EFCC, before the government or any other investigating organ of the government to prove that the $15 million in question belongs to the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
“Even Senator Andy Uba came to my house to tell me that the money was given by James Ibori and it was received by the former chairman of EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, through the then Director of Operation, Ibrahim Lamorde.
“How come therefore that the former Director of Operations of EFCC, who is now the Chairman of the commission, who was physically present when the bribe money was given will swear to an affidavit claiming that he did not know the source of the money.
“This is corruption and I will continue to fight to make sure that Ibrahim Lamorde is removed. By his action, he has proven that he is not competent to lead the anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria,” he said.
The former Federal Commissioner said that any attempt to stop him from speaking the truth, “ is nothing but to gag him.”
According to him, ‘’I am further alarmed why there should be two contradictory depositions by the EFCC when Bello Yahaya, a Senior Superintendent of Police with EFCC, first in 2007 in Re: Suit No. FHC/FD/81C/2007, swore to an affidavit that James Ibori made attempt to bribe them with $15 million in question but made a turnaround in 2012 in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/415/2012 to state that he had the consent and authority of the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, to swear a contrary affidavit ‘that I know as a fact that the said $15 million is an unclaimed property and no one has claimed or shown any link to the sum.”
“From the foregoing, as someone who has religiously campaigned against corruption and falsehood in Nigeria, I believe there must be a limit to official deception, I therefore find it unacceptable that the very institution set up to fight these social vices headed by Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde is now championing falsehood.
“In the light of this, I demand an immediate restructuring of EFCC so as not to make the International community view our anti-corruption agencies as ineffective, having displayed such double standards as in the James Ibori saga.
“I also demand a thorough investigation into these abhorrent roles of EFCC and their agents, those found wanting be charged to court to act as a deterrent to others, so as to restore Nigeria’s credibility before the international community and support this administration’s crusade against corruption.”
Clark, who also called for the review of the Ethics and Privileges Committee that guides the award of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), said it was absurd for Senior Advocates to open fight in courts over legal briefs.
According to Clark, the move would be akin to how the conduct of a former Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Kaasee Aondoakaa, was given a critical check and sanctioned accordingly with a suspension of his privileges as a SAN.
“For sometimes now, some senior members of the Bar and my humble self, have been showing our displeasure at the conducts of some Senior Advocates of Nigeria, particularly the way they slavishly obey their client in bringing frivolous and incompetent applications before our courts simply for personal interest.
Accordingly, he said, “Femi Falana (SAN) this week, further raised the alarm on the impunity perpetuated by not only the SAN but leaders of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Not too long ago, the profession was embarrassed by the news of two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mamien Dodo and Ade Okeya-Inneh for fighting in open court over a brief.
“I will also in the same breath, salute the courage of Justice Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja for his steadfastness and good faith in the dispensation of justice as the failed attempt by EFCC against my person was nothing but a ploy to stifle good conscience, freedom of speech and expression.
‘’As a lawyer of almost 50 years, I am conscious of the law in our Juris Corpus. I appreciate and respect every judicial process to determine every case on its own merit.
“I have never and will never wittingly or unwittingly do any act to prejudice any pending suit or bring down the sacred institution of the judiciary.
“I am also fully aware of my right and will not hesitate to state it as the truth will continue to flow from me like water and I won’t hesitate to state that any attempt to stop me, the same truth will become a flood.”