…Mentioning my name is breach of constitution, executive rascality- Metuh
…Secondus gives Lai Mohammed 48 hours to retract statement
As the controversy over who looted public funds rages between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the latter has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of having no moral rectitude to fight corruption.
The PDP accused the President of being a direct beneficiary of the corruption freebies deployed by his party leaders to fund his 2015 presidential campaign. The opposition party added that the President ought to have known hat the billions of naira deployed for his campaigns were proceeds of corrupt activities of known All Progressives Congress (APC) governors and leaders.
The PDP reminded President Buhari of his declaration that he had no resources to run a presidential campaign in 2015.
The party further challenged Buhari to make public, the sources of fund available to his campaign in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 race as well as the names of the donors.
According to PDP, it is particularly interested in the fund allegedly provided by a South-south governor for the 2011 presidential election as well as how the cost of litigation was paid by then Buhari Campaign.
The PDP, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, and made available on Saturday, the PDP said the APC and the Federal Government cannot list names of looters and attempt to shy away from the fact that President Buhari and his party are direct beneficiaries of fund looted by APC governors.
The party said President Buhari and his party leaders have huge confessions to make on how they raked in state stolen resources to prosecute elections of 2015.
The PDP said, ” If the Federal Government and the APC are serious about fighting corruption and not just out to persecute PDP members, they should have began with the probe into the source of the billions of naira used for President Buhari’s 2015 presidential campaigns, particularly in the face of allegations that the fund was looted from treasuries of various APC states.
“Can President Buhari in all honesty claim ignorance of reports in the open media that a South-south governor looted several billions from his state accounts and diverted the sums into Buhari’s 2015 campaigns?
“Can the Presidency and the APC inform Nigerians what steps the Federal Government has taken to investigate this allegation, which has been in public domain and to clarify their roles as beneficiaries of the alleged looted funds?
“If they are not complicit, why are they not demanding the truth in the matter and the possible refund of the fund for the good of the people?
“We challenge President Buhari to tell Nigerians what he has done regarding the leaked memo showing N9 trillion ($25billion) corrupt oil contracts at the NNPC as well as the alleged stealing of N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil, all in a sector under his direct purview as minister of Petroleum.
“The Presidency should tell Nigerians what has been done to recover the stolen N18billion Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) intervention fund and the N10billion National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) fund alleged to have been stolen from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by APC officials and Presidency cabal.”
Meanwhile, the former national publicity secretary of PDP, Chief Olisah Metuh, who was named by Lai Mohammed and on trial for allegedly collecting N1.4 billion from the office of the former National Security Adviser has said that mentioning his name is a breach of constitution and display of executive rascality.
In his reaction over the release of alleged PDP looters, Metuh said, “By this publication, the Federal Government has breached our constitution by seeking to burden me with two criminal trials on the same charge, one before Justice Okon Abang and the other before the media.
“Since my arrest on January 5, 2016 and subsequent arraignment, I have refrained from publicly discussing my persecution and travails by the government because as a lawyer, trained in the finest traditions of the Bar, I know that it is wrong to discuss a matter that is subjudice.
However the present action of the government leaves me no option than to defend my name and integrity. I have therefore decided to avail the public of the true state of the contrived case against me.
“The charge against me is that I received N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser to carry out duties assigned to me as the then National Publicity Secretary of the PDP by then President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The major crux of the prosecution argument is that I ought to have known that the money was a part of an alleged and yet to be proven unlawful activity of Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) former NSA to President Jonathan.
Metuh said the charge was brought regardless of the fact that neither President Jonthan who gave me the assignment and directed the release of the funds nor Col Dasuki(rtd), who effected the release of the funds have ever been interrogated nor even interviewed in this regard.
He added that “as a matter of fact, officers of the office of the National Security Adviser have testified in court that the payment made to me followed all due process usually observed in the establishment”.
He said he never held a government office and/or position and could not therefore have had any access to government funds.
Metuh stated that he was reliably informed that the Federal Government has ordered a conviction at all cost to ensure that the PDP is tainted before the elections.
“The government’s determination to achieve this objective is clearly highlighted by the refusal to allow me attend to my deteriorating health notwithstanding several expert medical opinion on the matter.
“By going to the media to name me a looter (without cross-checking the definition and dictionary meaning of the word), the Federal Government has not only given a body language but has issued a direct intimidation and threat to the judiciary to get a compulsory conviction.
” It is now clear that the APC led government that thrives in impunity and intimidation of other arms of government will not allow justice to be done in my matter.
It is incontrovertible that our country has descended into the worst form of draconian rule where the executive arm directly interferes and seeks to control and determine matters within the purview of the legislature and the judiciary”, he said
In a related development , the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, has given the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, 48 hours to retract the statement on allegation of looters of public fund in which he was alleged to have collected a sum of N200 million from the office of the former NSA on 19th February, 2015 or face litigation.
According to a statement from his media office and signed by his Spokesperson, Ike Abonyi, Secondus said through his lawyer Emeka Etiaba SAN in a letter ref no. EESE&C/1/31/03/18 dated March 31st 2018 addressed to the Minister titled Re:Publication of false and defamatory statement against Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party: Demand for retraction, Apology and Payment of damages, is asking for N1.5billion damages plus public apology.
The lawyer said that the said publication has damaged the image of Prince Secondus as he has been ” humiliated, castigated and vilified by many as a result of the falsehood published by the Minister”.
The letter further urged Mohammad to note that if he fails to meet their demand after 48 hours, ” We shall within 72 hours from today, proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction to ventilate our clients right under the law and shall further seek the protection of the court against you”