GOVERNOR Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, has urged chairman of the National Judicial Council and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to discountenance the petition by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against Justice Taiwo Taiwo for lack of merit.
In the said petition, EFCC had alleged professional misconduct and abuse of judicial powers against the judge for granting an order enforcing Okorocha’s fundamental human rights.
Okorocha, in the letter to the NJC Chairman and FHC Chief Judge, titled Re: EFCC Reports Justice Taiwo to NJC over Restraining Order on Okorocha, Saraki, stated that “Contrary to the impression being created by the EFCC through its chairman, the order granted by the Honourable Justice Taiwo was made pursuant to two fundamental human rights suits that I filed before the Court.”
He said the move against him by the EFCC smacked of political vendetta and persecution, adding that EFCC operatives ransacked his house in Jos, Plateau State, in May 2017, with the hope of finding something incriminating against him but found nothing.
He said that EFCC had also arrested almost all his principal staff “and in every case insisting that they must make statements to indict me. When they refused, they were kept in custody for two days.”
According to Okorocha, the EFCC was persecuting him to distract, decimate and prevent him from being sworn in as a senator representing the people of Imo West senatorial district on June 9, 2019, when the 9th National Assembly would be inaugurated.
“My political opponents accused me of nursing an ambition to contest for the position of the Deputy Senate President. In their reasoning, they said the position will give me an edge to contest as President in 2023; so, everything must be done to get me out of the way,’’ Okorocha said.
He stated that to shield himself from unwarranted attacks by EFCC, he approached the Federal High Court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.
The governor said: “Instead of the Magu-led EFCC to prove its case before the court, having submitted to its jurisdiction, it has resorted to cheap blackmail, needless name-calling and unwarranted arm-twisting, all in a bid to achieve their sinister motive of decimating me by all means.
“The position of the law that has been well-espoused in the case of Governor of Lagos State Vs. Ojukwu (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt.18) PG 621 S.C., is that it is an affront to the Rule of Law to disobey or render nugatory an order of court whether real or anticipatory, and in particular, the case equally states that parties who are before the Court must act within the dictates of equity or directions of the law and court until the matter is finally disposed.”
He said the order granted by Justice Taiwo in the fundamental human rights suit he initiated against the EFCC and others was appropriately given, in view of the facts placed before the court.