Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, engaged in a verbal war, over the alleged attempt to blackmail the Judiciary, using forged documents.
While Amaechi accused Wike of forging fresh documents, which he intends to use against him in court, Wike said the Minister is trying to distract attention from the crimes he committed against Rivers people, by diverting their resources.
Amaechi, in a statement by his media office, said: “Wike wants to use the elaborately distorted and most times outright, but carefully forged documents to persecute and prosecute his erstwhile benefactor in court. In the past couple of days, Wike has been telling anyone who cares to listen, bragging that he will certainly get a conviction, a judgement against Amaechi in the law courts on spurious charges of corruption, using his forged documents because he (Wike) is in control of the judiciary at the state and national level.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that Wike has been boasting that he has the judges in the Rivers State judiciary in his pocket, that he’s in full control and that the state judiciary would always give him any judgement he wants against Amaechi. Furthermore, Wike is bragging that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) is his ‘main man,’ that would readily and easily assist him get any judgement he wants against Amaechi at the apex court, using his contorted documents.
“Wike is also telling anyone who cares to listen that the Supreme Court (justices) and judges generally are not happy with Amaechi and so they would easily convict him with any forged documents he presents in court. Wike is using the recent visit of the CJN to Rivers State as his bragging right to prove his ‘extreme’ closeness to the CJN.”
Accusing Wike of running an administration that manufactures and concocts documents, Ameachi said the sole agenda of the present administration in Rivers State, has been to attack and vilify him.
“Everyday in Rivers State, there is one frivolous, false story of what Amaechi did or didn’t do. Same pattern, the same blatant lies using distorted and forged documents, same old concocted stories of corruption allegations against Amaechi told with different twists.
“Nigerians will not forget in a hurry how Wike hurriedly called a suspicious late night press conference to lie that the over $43 million found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a luxury apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos belongs to Amaechi,” the statement said.
However, Wike in a swift reaction, said Amaechi’s reckless blackmail of the Judiciary will fail. His response was contained in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu.
According to him, Amaechi’s allegation is unfounded, baseless and a figment of his imagination.
“This is another false allegation, merely concocted by the former Governor, to distract attention from the crimes he committed against the Rivers people, by diverting their resources,” he said.
The statement further read in part: “This press statement issued by Rotimi Amaechi is part of the campaign of calumny launched by the former Governor, following the foundation stone laid by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, for the construction of the Rivers State Judges’ Quarters. The former Governor sponsored advertorials and electronic adverts through proxies to stop the laudable project without success, hence the resort to falsehood and character assassination.
“We are not surprised by Amaechi’s antics to blackmail the judiciary. Ever since the Supreme Court victory that validated the election of Governor Wike, Amaechi has never failed to malign the Judiciary. Governor Wike is a law abiding citizen, who believes in the rule of law. That is why he has followed due process in tackling the issues of high level corruption against the Minister of Transportation.
“The Rivers State Governor, in line with the extant laws of Rivers State, set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the sale of valued assets of the state by the Amaechi administration.
“The Constitution of that panel was challenged by the former Governor at the state High Court and Court of Appeal. Both courts upheld the establishment of that panel. The former Governor has since approached the Supreme Court on appeal. Rather than await the verdict of the apex court, he has in his usual manner, resorted to political blackmail and falsehood. As usual, this will fail.
“It is imperative to declare that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the sale of valued assets of the state sat in the public.
“All the documents about the fraud of that administration were circulated in the public domain with Journalists writing about the activities of the Commission and publishing tendered documents. Nothing was hidden from the people of the State.
“The Rivers State Commission of Inquiry into the sale of valued state assets and other related matters, headed by Justice George Omereji, received 442 exhibits, 27 memoranda, while 25 witnesses testified before it. The Commission indicted the former governor and confirmed that N53 billion was diverted by Amaechi and his officials.
“The above statistics are relevant for the public to understand the scope of work by the Judicial Commission of inquiry.”
Insisting that State Government has very credible documents to prove the mass corrupt acts of the Amaechi administration against the people of Rivers State, the statement also decried attempt by the former Governor’s Aides to denigrate the Judiciary.
It said: “Amaechi’s sponsorship of Mr. Livingstone Wechie, will not change the facts that are known to all Nigerians. All documents tendered at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the sale of valued assets of the state by the Amaechi administration are genuine.
“Amaechi is being haunted by his ugly past. He locked up the courts for two years, forgetting that he was a beneficiary of the courage of the Judiciary. Amaechi should respect the Judiciary as a courageous arm of government that works in line with the tenets of the law.
“Without equivocation, Governor Wike stands by his declaration on the Rivers funds found at the notorious Ikoyi residence. Nothing has changed. Wike will not be distracted by this reckless and unfortunate blackmail of the Judiciary by Amaechi. At the appropriate time, the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, will be brought to justice. He is assured of fair trial.”
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