The National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress, Muiz Banire, has offered to resign from his post pending the conclusion of investigations into his alleged bribery of a judge.
In a letter addressed to the party leadership, Mr. Banire said he was not only shocked but “extremely disturbed” by media reports claiming he paid a judge N500,000.
“As surreal as I find the allegation to be, I will not stand by and watch it negatively affect the name of the party,” said Mr. Banire, a former lecturer at the University of Lagos.
“Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is in view of the above circumstances that I wish to temporarily step aside from my position on our National Working Committee as the National Legal Adviser of our party until completion and final outcome of the EFCC investigation involving my person.”
Mr. Banire’s offer to step down from his post, a position he occupied at the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria and continued after the merger that birthed the APC, came less than 24 hours after he issued a public statement denying the bribery allegations.
Following the arrest of some judges by operatives of the State Security Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had launched a massive investigation into allegations of bribery of judges by some senior lawyers.
Mr. Banire, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, allegedly transferred N500,000 into the bank account of James Agbadu-Fishim, a judge at the National Industrial Court.
Mr. Agbadu-Fishim was among the judges who reported to the Lagos office of the EFCC on October 19 to write statements on the findings against them.
The media reports said Mr. Banire was questioned for over six hours at the Commission’s office and his international passport seized.
In his five page letter of resignation dated November 8th, Mr. Banire insisted he had voluntarily submitted himself for questioning by EFCC officials.
“The allegation, as I have come to understand it, is that a Statement of Account of one Judge of the National Industrial Court, the Honourable Justice J.T Agbadu-Fishim, who is subject of an ongoing EFCC’s investigation, contained a June 2013 entry of a ‘N500,000’ payment ascribed as being from one ‘Dr. Muiz B.’