A Nigerian Minister Accused of forgery in a case being handled by some Nigerian human right lawyers have petition the Nigeria Police Force, and one of the legal practitioners was invited.
The Minister of State for Mining & Steel, Mr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, has been having a running battle over some oil deals, even before he became a Minister.
Following the Minister’s petition to the police, Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq, who is the National Cordinator, Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates (COPA), was invited and he appeared.
This is what he told the police:
Today being the 21st of May, 2020, I was at the Force CID of the Nigeria Police Force, Abuja to honour an invitation extended to me by the police over a petition raised by the Minister of State for Mining & Steel, Mr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, against my person for daring to call for the re-opening and thorough investigation of gross corrupt practices and financial crimes levied against him some time ago, and which remains inconclusive.
At the Force Headquarters, the police officers acted professionally and with courtesy during the course of the questioning and interrogation. I do therefore commend their professionalism and must express my hope and confidence in the agency to be thorough, swift and unbiased in its independent verification of the issues before it in this matter. I was thereafter released on self-recognizance, and will continue to aid the Nigeria Police Force, and indeed related agencies, in this investigation from a sense of duty as a citizen and in pursuit of justice in this matter.
It is imperative, going forward, to restate that I remain resolute on the path I have taken on this matter which is for the review and thorough investigation of the allegations made against Mr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah who, being a minister under the anti-corruption government of Mr. President, must therefore be held up to the highest test of integrity through private and institutional scrutiny.
I am undeterred and cannot be bullied into silence over this matter as what is right must not be defeated by a display of cowardice to the status of the accused. Several calls have been made to my phone by unknown and faceless individuals perhaps in a bid to intimidate and harass me into silence on this matter, but while such antics are predictable, it is poor statesmanship on the parts of those unidentified individuals seeking to stop a call for an investigation into allegations of corrupt practices on the part of a serving minister of the federal republic of Nigeria.
As a good governance group and pro-transparency advocates, the Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers & Advocates (COPA) are adamant on the call for the re-opening of the criminal investigations levied against Mr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, State Minister for Mining & Steel, as only its review and conclusion can satisfy public interest and policy.
I share the concern(s) of the general public which has been expressed in the media that the political status of the accused may undermine the investigation. I am, however, equally confident that the long arms of the law cannot be bent from its intent if driven by the rule of law which demands that the process of justice must pay no mind nor respect to persons for reason of class or status.
The spotlight and attention is therefore on the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Police to act decisively and without prejudice on the allegations and verifiable material facts before it in this matter in order to restore sanity to the system and shore up public trust.
I must conclude by reiterating my resolution to pursue this matter to the best of my ability and see that justice is done in the matter regardless of whose ox is gored. I am emboldened by the distractions considered threats and harassment, and will simply not be cowed.
Let it be abundantly clear to the Hon. Minister that we shall not hesitate to catalyse the instrumentality of the law to compel and mandate the Nigeria Police Force to conclude the matter it has taken to court against the Hon. Minister.
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq.
Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates (COPA)