By Uche Mbah
The last may not have been heard about the purported raid by the Economic and Financial Crimes commission, EFCC, on the residence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen, as the Southern and Middle belt Leaders forum have reacted to the threat of the EFCC to prosecute former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode, and Afenifere Chieftain, Yinka Odumakin, for peddling fake news.
In recent times, stories about the raid by the EFCC on the CJN’s house went viral, shortly after his day in the Code Of conduct Tribunal. He, however, did not appear in person at the tribunal but was represented by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, who led other 47 Senior Advocates in his defence.
The allegation of the EFCC raid, which was said to have originated from both Fanikayode and Odumakin, has resulted in spirited denials by both the EFCC and the CJN himself. Efcc was said to have invited the duo, and have threatened to sue them.
But a group, The Southern And Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, has warned the EFCC not to carry out its threat of arrest and detention of the duo, saying that their arrest and detention will only “exacerbate the already tensed situation in the polity”. According to them, “The information and statement about the siege on the neighborhood of the CJN originated from the CJN’s residence while SMBLF was having a meeting in Abuja”. This was a tacit admission that the body was the one that tipped off the duo about the raid. “We could not have manufactured such a statement if the alarm was not raised from the house of the CJN. It therefore is not fake news. This body only acted promptly to forestall any untoward incidence of arrest or embarrassment on the person of the CJN”, the body said in a release signed by one Dr Alfred Mulade.
“We are also reliably informed that the Federal Attorney-General and Minister of Justice , Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, has directed the freezing of Bank Account of the CJN, Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, vide a letter dated 14 January 2019, titled, “Re: Request for Freezing Of Bank Account subject to investigation and Prosecution Pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No.6 of 5th July 2018 on the preservation of assets connected with corruption”
It will be recalled that in the heat of the arraignment of the CJN at the CCT, the South south governor’s Forum held an emergency meeting condemning the issue and advising the CJN not to honor the invitation. An Abuja High Court later ruled that Status Quo ante bellum should be maintained.
Also a new group of Niger Delta militants gave warnings that they will “resume hostilities” if anything happens to the CJN, saying that whether or not Buhari wins the elections he must leave the presidential seat by May 29 2019.