The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has dismissed calls by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend two of his ministers accused of corruption.
The PDP had on Friday urged the president to emulate the National Judicial Council’s decision to suspend seven judges recently arrested by the State Security Service for alleged corruption.
The party said in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dayo Adeyeye, that two of the judges, Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, had alleged that they were the targets of a witch-hunt because they refused bribes from two ministers.
They named the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, and his Science and Technology counterpart, Ogbonnaya Onu.
“In order to allow for a fair and independent investigation, it is incumbent on President Muhammadu Buhari to ask these ministers to step aside pending the conclusion of investigation into the allegations,” Mr. Adeyeye had said. “The judiciary has set a very good example in its quest to fight corruption.”
But the APC said in a statement on Sunday that the call “flies in the face of reason, fairness, common sense and cause of justice”.
The statement was signed by Davies Ikanya, APC chairman, Rivers State, and emailed to PREMIUM TIMES from Mr. Amaechi’s account.
“It is a known fact that embattled Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court who are currently under DSS investigation for serious corruption charges only resorted to the cheap, convenient, everyday reaction of people caught red-handed committing crimes in order to divert attention away from the grave reality confronting them especially when faced with sufficient evidence,” the APC said.
The APC asked whether the huge sums of money reportedly found at the residences of the judges were given to them by the accused ministers.
“Are Justices of the Supreme Court unaware that relevant laws of the land imposes on them the strict duty to properly and formally report inducement of any kind in a timely manner or risk prison term of not less than 2 years?
“We urge Mr. President and Nigerians to completely disregard PDP call for the sacking of Amaechi and Onu. Why should they be sacked? What crime did they commit for PDP to call for their sack? These fine gentlemen did nothing wrong. Mr. President should not and cannot act based on mere accusations from the Supreme Court Justices without any iota of proof or evidence to back their claims,” the party said.
The APC said the opposition PDP should rather be calling for the expulsion and sack of their governors from the south-south region and the senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, “who has been involved in the pervasion of justice in governorship electoral matters by financially inducing the Supreme Court Justices under investigation”.
“Again, we stand by our earlier statement on the ignominious roles of the governors of Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta States, and the Senate Minority leader in the pervasion of the course of justice at the apex court and the subsequent failed attempt to pin the Justices’ travails on Amaechi.
“In the days ahead, more details will continue to come out. For instance, it is already in the open that Governor Nyesom Wike held a secret meeting in a hotel in Owerri, Imo State with one of the Supreme Court Justices that was arrested by the Directorate of State Services (DSS). The agenda of that meeting was for the apex court Justice to assist Wike to get a favourable judgement and pervert the course of justice in the Rivers State governorship election matter that was then about going to the apex court,” the party said.