ONE of the judges arrested and quizzed by the Directorate of State Security (DSS) has alleged that he is probably being villified because he did not accede to the request to help the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win the governorship of Akwa Ibom State.
Justice Okoro made the allusion in a letter he wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), entitled: “Invasion of my official residence by operatives of the State Security Service.”
The Supreme Court justice alleged that former Rivers State governor, now Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, visited him after the 2015 general election to request that he should ensure that APC won the Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia governorship elections at the appeal stage at all cost and that he would be rewarded with millions of naira monthly if he cooperated.
Justice Okoro also alleged that the former governor told him that he had already “visited you (CJN) and that you had agreed to make me a member of the panel that would hear the appeals.
“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.
“When they lost at the Supreme Court, the APC believed it was my presence at the court that contributed to their loss. Could I have resigned from the Supreme Court simply because people of Akwa Ibom State had a matter before it?” Okoro added
The judge urged the CJN and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to disregard all the lies by those who felt he purposely refused to help them win their elections appeal in the Supreme Court.
Justice Okoro revealed how the security operatives came to his residence, searched his house from 9.00 p.m. till 1.30 a.m. on October 8 and took away N3.5 million and $38,800.
The operatives, who he said were all pointing guns at him, told him the Director-General of SSS wanted to see him in the wee hours and he had to go with them, following which he was detained.
Justice Okoro noted in the memo to the CJN that all the money taken from his house were his estacodes from trips and conferences abroad.
Reacting to the allegations, Amaechi, in a statement on Tuesday night, said “this accusation from Justice Okoro against Amaechi is a figment of his imagination, concocted to obfuscate and politicise the real issues for his arrest and DSS investigation of allegations of corruption against him.
“The claims by Justice Okoro against Amaechi are blatant lies, bereft of any iota of truth or even logic.
In the statement sent through a text message to the Nigerian Tribune by David Iyofor on behalf of Rotimi Amaechi Media Office, said “Amaechi did not and has never approached Justice Okoro in respect of the cases Okoro mentioned or any other case. This is a cheap attempt, albeit, political move to drag the name of Amaechi into something he knows nothing about. Justice Okoro should face his issues and leave Amaechi out of it. He will be hearing from our lawyers.”