Okon Bassey in Uyo
The All Progressive Congress (APC), Akwa Ibom State chapter has described the letter written by the embattled Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice John Inyang Okoro, over his travail with operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) as self-indicting.
Okoro, an indigene of the state had in his letter to the Chairman of the National Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) alleged that former governor of Rivers State currently Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, approached him and solicited assistance for Akwa Ibom State APC governorship candidate, Mr Umana Okon Umana to win the election appeal in the Supreme Court.
Okoro. in his letter further made known that Mr. Umana Okon Umana, the APC governorship candidate in the April 11, 2015 governorship election also “visited him in his residence” in the company of Pastor (Dr) Ebebe Ukpong where he, Umana O Umana, “requested his assistance to win his Appeal at the Supreme Court.”
Justice Okoro had also claimed that in the presence and to the hearing of Dr. Ukpong, “Umana told him about ‘seeing’ the Justices who would hear the Appeal in the Supreme Court.”
Reacting to the claim of Okoro, the Publicity Secretary of APC, Akwa Ibom State, Itak Awak said “there is no iota of truth whatsoever in all the above claims by Justice John Okoro.
“The APC in Akwa Ibom State firmly declares that at no time did our governorship candidate, his friends or any APC official visit or approach Justice J. I. Okoro, or any other judicial officer for that matter, soliciting for any assistance to pervert justice throughout the period the case was in court, from the Tribunal and way up to the Supreme Court.
He argued that Justice Okoro should have known the implication for Judicial Officers to have social interaction or opening his doors for persons known for having ongoing cases before his court.
“We cannot fathom what manner of thoughtlessness and recklessness are responsible for a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria venturing such an absurd self-indictment.
“We think it is very unfortunate that Justice Okoro could plunge into concocting the wooly yarn about an imaginary visitation in which his assistance was sought so that APC may “win their Appeal in the Supreme Court”, he said
Awak expressed doubt if Justice Okoro is the true author of the letter bearing his name. “We express this doubt because we expect that Justice Okoro ought to have known that Mr. Umana Umana and Akwa Ibom State APC did not file any ‘appeal’ at the Supreme Court”.
“For emphasis, we repeat that it was the PDP and its governorship candidate who filed “appeals” at the Supreme Court.
“If Justice Okoro is the true author of his letter, it is very possible that he is craftily mixing up issues by trying so inelegantly to cover up those who actually solicited for, promised paying him millions of Naira monthly if he cooperated and, indeed, got his concrete assistance in helping them “win their Appeal in the Supreme Court.
“As a Justice of the apex court in Nigeria, Justice John Okoro cannot claim ignorance of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
“If there was any scintilla of truth in his claims that Mr. Rotimi Amaechi “told him that Mr. Umana Umana would be paying him millions of Naira monthly if he, Justice Okoro, cooperated,” one would have expected him to immediately report those trying to induce him to pervert justice to the appropriate authorities.
“That he woefully failed to report the purported crime simply means it is nothing but a figment of his imagination.
The APC stressed that if Justice Okoro claimed in the letter that he had on 1st February, 2016, given the Chief Justice of Nigeria an “oral report” of Messrs. Amaechi’s and Umana’s attempts at gratifying him with filthy lucre, he should disclosed when or on which day, times and month.
“Knowing that this was in breach of the law, why did Justice Okoro prefer to give the CJN an “oral report” of this crime instead of lodging official and written complaints of the two incidents?
“If it is factual that Justice John Okoro orally reported to the Chief Justice of Nigeria on the 1st of February, 2016 that chieftains of a political party came to his house trying to bribe him to assist in perverting justice in a case pending in the Supreme Court, what official measures did the CJN take and where is the evidence that he informed the relevant authorities with a view of bringing the suspects to justice?
“Why is it that absolutely nothing was heard or recorded of these purported attempts to bribe one of the Justices of our Supreme Court on or before the 1st of February, 2016 until the honourable Justice was arrested and questioned over corrupt practices in early October 2016? “
“For the umpteenth time, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State unequivocally declares that at no time did any APC chieftain pay any visit to Justice Okoro in either his official and/or unofficial house.
“We loudly declare that Justice John Inyang Okoro fabricated his blatant and malicious lies about Messrs. Rotimi Amaechi and Umana Okon Umana visiting his official residence and promising him future gratification as a ploy to cunningly distract public attention from the main issue of grave corruption for which he is currently being investigated”, Awak declared .
He maintained that Justice Okoro is peddling vicious and malicious lies against the Akwa Ibom State APC and its 2015 governorship candidate is not surprising saying it was a grand design by the PDP leadership in Akwa Ibom State to pivot and deftly distract attention from the main issue of corruption.
“We, therefore, naturally expected that Justice John I. Okoro will conduct himself with such decorum, dignity and integrity as late Justice Udoma did and thereby bring respect to himself and our people. It is unfortunate what an unprincipled life and weakness of character has caused.
“In all honesty, the leadership, members and supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State and, indeed, the silent majority of our people are shamed by the needless opprobrium Justice John Inyang Okoro has brought up on himself. He is the second Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria from Akwa Ibom State after the meritorious and exemplary career of late Justice Egbert Udo Udoma.
“We want to kindly advice Justice John Okoro that whilst he battles to extricate himself from the sorry situation he willfully led himself into, he should do well not to besmirch the innocent and/or try to scapegoat any innocent person”, the State APC posited.