DSS raid: Umana absolved self, advises Justice Okoro to face trial

By The Citizen
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The 2015 Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, has blasted Supreme Court Justice, John Inyang Okoro, for lying against him following his arrest and detention by security agents for alleged corruption.

Umana, who is now the Managing Director of Nigeria's Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, was reacting to widely circulated claims by Justice Okoro that he tried to bribe him to influence the Supreme Court to deliver judgment in the AKWA IBOM governorship election petition in his favour.

Okoro alleged that both Umana and Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, met him separately all in their desperate bids to compromise him to reach out to members of the Supreme Court panel that sat on the state governorship election petition to alter the outcome in Umana's favour, a plea he promptly turned down.

However, Umana said on Wednesday morning that Okoro deliberately concocted the lies as an afterthought to save himself from the embarrassment of being arrested with inexplicable huge cash in local and foreign currencies, which the DSS wants to present as evidence of proceeds of corruption against him.

Umana, who spoke in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mr. Iboro Otongaran, said he never held any meeting with Justice Okoro for the purpose of compromising him to alter the election petition outcome as claimed.

Here is the full statement:
The attention of Mr Umana Okon Umana, Akwa Ibom APC governorship candidate in the 2015 election has been drawn to a letter purportedly written by Justice Inyang Okoro and addressed to the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria. In the said letter, Justice Okoro alleged without evidence that Umana visited his residence (Justice Okoro's) and made a 'request to help him win his appeal before the Supreme Court.'

We would like to respond to Justice Okoro's baseless allegation as follows:

1) The meeting Justice Okoro is reporting is fiction. No such meeting to discuss how to bribe judges took place between him, Mr Umana Okon Umana and Dr (Pastor) Ebebe Ukpong as alleged.

2) If we assume, without conceding, that such a meeting took place, for a man of Justice Okoro's standing and knowledge of the law, he ought to have known the legal implications of such a visit, and should have reported it to appropriate authorities immediately. He did not do that, but he is only reacting after the authorities have established a case against him.

3) Justice Okoro's claim in his purported letter to the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria is therefore not only false, it is diversionary and an afterthought.

4) Justice Okoro should address himself to the facts of the case, which is between him and the State, and leave Umana out of it.

5) Contrary to Justice Okoro's claim, Umana had no appeal before the Supreme Court arising from any court judgment on the 2015 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State. Umana had won at the Court of Appeal and therefore was not and couldn't have been an appellant at the Supreme Court. Umana had won both at the tribunal and at the Court of Appeal. He was therefore confident of victory at the Supreme Court because of the concurrent judgments of the lower courts.

6) It would be recalled that after the Supreme Court judgment, which ignored the concurrent judgments of both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, and also totally disregarded the reports of the international observers, including those of the United States Government and the European Union which stated that the elections in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states were marred by widespread violence and irregularities, Umana had issued a statement expressing disappointment at the verdict and said he had moved on and left everything in the hands of God. Umana should therefore be left alone.