Following the allegation by one of the arrest Justices of the Supreme Court, Justice John Inyang Okoro, that the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, visited his official residence to allegedly discuss election appeals in respect of Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State and Abia State, a civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP), has challenged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, to speak out on the issue.
SERAP urged Justice Mohammed to explain what he and the council knew about the allegation based on Justice John Inyang Okoro’s report that he informed the CJN on February 1, 2016 on the alleged visit by Amaechi.
In a letter dated October 21, 2016 and signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said it considered the allegations as a serious threat to the independence, impartiality and accountability of the judiciary, and should in the ordinary course of duties, have prompted action from the CJN and the NJC.
Justice Okoro in his recent letter to the CJN, stated that he reported the alleged visit by Amaechi to his official residence to allegedly discuss how to win election appeals in respect of Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State and Abia State to the CJN. Justice Okoro also said he the CJN about the visit of Mr. Umana Umana to his residence to allegedly make the same request of assistance to win the appeal at the Supreme Court.
The group in the letter to the CJN, said the allegation should have prompted a thorough and transparent investigations, and where there is prima-facie evidence of political interference in the ajudicial system, matter should have been to the appropriate anti-corruption commissions and agencies for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Also, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has upbraided President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for ignoring the weighty corruption allegations made by Supreme Court Justices against the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.
In a statement signed by the head of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, IPOB noted that the tacit support that the former governor of Rivers State has been enjoying from the presidency and APC has rubbished the anti-corruption posture of President Buhari and his party.
The Biafra separatist group said there was enough reason for the bribery allegations against Amaechi to be thoroughly investigated “because the law says that he that gives and he that takes bribes is corrupt.”
“It is dangerous for the government to still retain those corrupt people, if it still believes in fighting corruption with high level of transparency.
“Nevertheless, all those cabals in the government of Nigeria who claimed that the country belong to them have destroyed the country and it cannot be the same again.”
According to IPOB, both Mr. President and APC should be condemned for supporting Amaechi in his alleged ignoble mission to induce for the judges to deliver election cases against the governors of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi and Abia States.
Similarly, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has called on Amaechi to resign from his office following what it described as “stunning revelations” indicting him of attempting to bribe some justices of the Supreme Court to pervert justice in the governorship election matters that were before the appellate court.
The party said Amaechi has no moral justification to remain in office as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Chairman of the state chapter of the PDP, Felix Obuah, said in a statement in Port Harcourt that: “Amaechi is facing serious accusations by two reputable Supreme Court Justices of being behind their travails, including the raiding of their residences, arrest, detention and carting away of various vital items and documents as well as blackmail by operatives of DSS.
Obuah called on the relevant authorities to immediately commence investigation into the allegations, calling on Amaechi to first step aside from carrying out national assignments in the capacity as a member of the Federal Executive Council to allow for an uninterrupted and objective investigation by the relevant government security and anti graft agencies.
Meanwhile, the APC in the state has dismissed the allegations by the judges against Amaechi as laughable, saying they were part of ploy by those not happy with the role Amaechi played to dislodge the PDP at the centre to destroy him.
The media aide to the state APC Chairman, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka, described the allegations by the judges as baseless and unfounded.
“I consider PDP’s suggestion that Amaechi should resign because two drowning justices are looking for a tool to stay afloat as not only laughable, mischievous but exposure of a group that so desperate to expose their evil plots against a man whom they see as the arrowhead that dislodged them from power at the centre.
“These useless calls based on the unfounded and baseless attempted bribery allegations against the former Rivers State governor confirms our fears and stand that the two discredited justices made these allegations as part of a political strategy to run down the political fortunes of this rising star.
“PDP is only acting out its frustration over the key role that Amaechi played to end the corruption engineered by the past PDP administration at the centre,” the Rivers APC said.