Before My Brother Is Poisoned: Text of A Press Conference By Faith Robert, MBBS, MSc., PhD , On Sunday April 24, 2016
Gentlemen of the Press,
It is with great concern that I address you on a matter capable of greatly destabilizing our beloved country.
The media has been awash with stories of the arrest and detention without trial for over a month of my elder brother, Barrister Azibaola Robert, Managing Director of Kakatar Engineering and Construction Company Limited, and it's sister company, One Plus Holdings Limited, by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
As I speak EFCC have yet to state my brother's offence. Out of the past 32 days Azibaola Robert has been in EFCC custody, their operatives have questioned him only thrice on a $40 million contract the ONSA (office of the National Security Adviser) awarded One Plus Holdings Limited to secure oil pipelines across the Niger Delta. As we speak, the ONSA is still owing One Plus Holdings $4 million being the final payment for the said contract.
Even though EFCC have yet to formally charge my brother to any court of law10 months after launching investigation into his companies, and 32 clear days after taking him into custody, his interrogators have told him in clear terms to "say something to implicate" his cousin, former President Goodluck Jonathan or rot in EFCC custody.
On several occasions, his tormentors in EFCC have told some of us, close family members, to advise Azibaola to finger Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as a beneficiary of the security contracts and regain his freedom or keep quiet and remain in detention.
For your information, Azibaola was taken into custody on March 23, when he went to honour EFCC's invitation. This was preceded by a gestapo-like raid of his house with scores of armed mobile policemen in the dead of the night as if he was a Boko Haram kingpin. During the raid, the operatives subjected his wife and young children to a most traumatic ordeal.
From the 23rd of March to 4th of April (a period of 13 days) my brother Azibaola was denied access to his family, lawyers and medicare. Afterwards, EFCC surreptitiously got a magistrate remand order for another 14 days, which stretched his detention to 27 days.
Azibaola Robert's lawyers managed to file a suit for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights asking for bail which a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) granted on April 7th. The same High Court served a production warrant served on EFCC on the 12th of April after meeting its bail conditions.
Gentlemen of the Press, it is important to note that EFCC, an organisation created by an Act of Parliament, has continued to treat the order from a High Court of competent jurisdiction with contempt. Some officials from the Commission have even boasted that no court order can be binding on EFCC!
It is instructive to note that even the remand order by a Magistrate Court which EFCC relied on to detain my brother expired on the 19th of April. After several surreptitious attempts to renew the order in several magistrate courts failed in Abuja, they sneaked him to Lagos and obtained a fresh remand order from another Magistrate court even when there is a subsisting order and production warrant from a court of superior jurisdiction.
In EFCC custody, Azibaola, has been repeatedly bullied, harassed, threatened and psychologically traumatised to either implicate Goodluck Jonathan or be ready to face the Dasuki treatment. Some have even taunted him to get his fisherman cousin (Former President Jonathan) beg President Muhammadu Buhari to release my brother “if Jonathan indeed has any clout.”
They claim that my brother holds enough evidence to lead to the arrest and prosecution of former President Jonathan before May 29th, 2016, and must produce such by “all means.”
Seemingly reinforcing the get-Jonathan-at-all-cost-or-languish-in-detention theory is the sudden and surprising release by EFCC, last Thursday, of Mr. Atukpa Dakoru, who had been detained alongside Azibaola. The only plausible reason Azibaola hasn’t been allowed to breath his air of freedom is because of his blood ties with Dr, Goodluck Jonathan.
Concerned by the modus operandi of the police in extracting confessional statements from suspects, a worried Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last Friday at the Inspector General of Police conference, cautioned against obtaining statements from suspects under duress The condition under which EFCC seeks to obtain statement from my brother is worse than duress. They want him to manufacture evidence against Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. They cannot charge Azibaola to court simply because he has not manufactured the kind of information they want to use against former President Jonathan.
As the waiting game continues, I, as a trained medical doctor, have begun to observe significant changes in my brother’s demeanour, countenance, coordination and cognition. In fact, Azibaola’s personal physician told me that such conditions could pn;u be indicative of a systematic poisoning with psychotropic/psychoactive and other lethal drugs by EFCC operatives. Not to mention the psychological abuse that he is daily subjected to. Even terrorists haven’t been subjected to such treatment.
It is unfortunate that in targeting former President Goodluck Jonathan my brother has become a pawn on the chessboard of the current government. More unfortunate it is that EFCC, under Mr, Ibrahim Magu, has constituted itself into the accuser, prosecutor and judge in this matter and has continued to undermine the judiciary- all in the bid by the acting chairman to curry the favour of his masters and possibly be confirmed substantive chairman of the Commission.
EFCC has had 10 months to investigate my brother. They have kept him for over four weeks in custody. How many more years do they have to keep him before concluding their investigation?
In the light of the above, I bring to this to you and the world and demand from EFCC to;
1. Immediately charge him before a court of competent jurisdiction, let him enjoy the bail already granted by a High Court of the FCT or free him unconditionally.
2. Conduct a full toxicological examination on Azibaola’s blood in at least three internationally recognised laboratories in 3 different countries to ascertain the level of possible poisoning by EFCC operatives.
3. Get international experts to conduct comprehensive psychological assessment on my brother.
For the man dies who keeps silent in the face of tyranny and impunity.
Many thanks for your time.