Justice John Okoro Inyang, one of the seven judges arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) on October 7, has accused Rotimi Amaechi, former Governor of Rivers State and currently Minister of Transport in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, of trying to influence the outcome of the election appeals in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia States in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Inyang, one of the two Supreme Court justices arrested in the midnight raid of homes of judges by the DSS, detailed this allegation in a letter to Mahmud Mohammed, Chief Justice of the Federation, formally apprising him of his ordeal at the hands of operatives of the security service.
In the letter dated October 17, 2016 and titled, “Invasion of my official by operatives of the Department of State Security Services, the Supreme Court justice said Amaechi visited him early this year informing him President Buhari and the APC had detailed him (Amaechi) to inform him of their desire to capture Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia State. He said:
“My Lord, I strongly believe that this my travail is not unconnected with the verbal report I made to you on 1st February 2016 about the visit to my official residence by H/E Rotimi Amaechi, former Governor of Rivers State, now Minister of Transportation. In that report, I told you, my Lord, that Mr. Amaechi said that the President of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress mandated him to inform me that they must win their election appeals in respect of Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State and Abia State at all cost.
“For Akwa Ibom State, he alleged that he sponsored Mr. Umana Umana, candidate of the All Progressives Congress for that election and that if he lost Akwa Ibom appeal, he would have lost a fortune. Mr. Amaechi said he had already visited you and you had agreed to make me a member of the panel that would hear the appeals. He also told me Mr. Umana would be paying me millions of Naira monthly if I cooperated with them.
“ My response as I told you on that date was that it does not lie within my power to grant his request and that I would do all within my power not to be in the panel for Akwa Ibom State. My Lord graciously left me out of the panel for Akwa Ibom State. That notwithstanding, the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State, which lost the appeal at the Supreme Court believe that my presence in the Supreme Court, made them lose the appeal. Could I have resigned from the Supreme Court simply because people of Akwa Ibom State had a matter before it?”
Justice Inyang also stated in the letter to the CJN that Umana had prior to Amaechi’s visit, also visited him at home in the company of one Pastor Ebebe Ukpong. He said Umana sought his assistance to win the appeal and had told him about “seeing” (slang for holding fruitful discussion or bribing) other justices on the appeal panel.
Justice Inyang said Pastor Ukpong had objected to Umana’s comments informing him it was not for that reason he led him to justice’s home whereupon the APC Governorship candidate apologized.
The Supreme Court Justice said after listening to Umana and his associate advised them to go home and pray and also to get a good lawyer.
The judge decried his travail at the hands of the DSS operatives noting that he had done nothing to deserve it as he had all striven to be above board as a dispenser of justice.
“My Lord, up till now, I do not know what I have done. Over the years, from Magistracy till date, I have done my best to eschew all forms of corrupt practices. I have not received bribe from anybody. My Lord is quite aware of my position as regards those who take bribe in the judiciary. I detest it and I have no room for any adjustment. That is the truth,” Justice Inyang said in the letter.
Justice Inyang’s letter to the CJN confirms an exclusive story by PUO REPORTS in January over an attempt made by Dr Alex Otti to bribe Supreme Court Judges
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