By Ignatius Okorocha
The Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has said that the attempt by the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Mr. Ofem Obono-Obla, to smear his name in the midst of the current political activities was laughable.
In a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu described the suit filed against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation on behalf of the SPIP over alleged non-declaration of assets as malicious.
He said: “Let me re-affirm to Nigerians and my supporters that I have no assets declaration case to answer. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria requires public office holders to declare their assets every four years, a requirement which I fulfilled. The panel requested and obtained copies of my Assets Declaration Form from the Code of Conduct Bureau where everything is stated in black and white.
“For emphasis, all my assets were fully and comprehensively declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“What is at issue here is that the SPIP had forwarded fresh assets declaration forms to me to fill contrary to the position of the 1999 Constitution, a demand I refused to oblige because it is clearly unconstitutional. It is this refusal to disobey the constitution that that I am now being charged for.
“I am aware that the chairman of that panel wrote the same letter to some serving Honourable Judges of the Federal High Court, who also declined to fill them. One of such letters to a serving judge dated October 9, 2017 was signed by Mr. M. Sulaiman, on behalf of Obono-Obla, Chairman of the Panel.
“I am also aware that the affected judges petitioned the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami, who immediately withdrew the provocative letters and fresh asset declaration forms with apologies vide a letter dated November 1, 2017 and signed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation.
“I am further aware that the Office of the AGF had also intervened in a similar case involving the Obla Panel at the Federal High Court, Lagos and I believe all these culminated in Obono-Obla’s suspension in November 2017 before his recall.” he said.