By Henry Ojelu
Former 2nd Vice-President of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr Monday Ubani has said that the return of the former Chairman of Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Mrs Ngozi Olejeme to the country to face allegations of N69billion fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC has vindicated him of any role in her initial disappearance.
The EFCC had sometime in 2017 filed a fraud charge against Olejeme alleging that she defrauded NSITF of over N69billion while she was the chairman of the establishment.
Olejeme who was then outside the country for medical treatment was persuaded by Ubani to return to Nigeria to clear herself of any wrong doing in the alleged fraud.
Upon her return and subsequent interrogation by EFCC operatives, Olejeme was released on administrative bail to Ubani despite having provided two other sureties.
She later fled the country prompting the EFCC to detain Ubani for about 23 days and requesting that he produce her.
In a lengthy statement posted on his social media handles late Friday, Ubani stated that he was informed on Wednesday that Mrs Olejeme has returned to the country and reported to the EFCC office in Abuja to face the allegations against her.
Ubani noted that he has since forwarded a letter to the EFCC to withdraw as surety for Olejeme.
Part of the statement by Ubani reads: ‘Just yesterday, two years after I was wrongly detained by Magu’s EFCC, I got a call from Abuja that Olejeme is back to the country and has dutifully reported herself to EFCC. To say the least, I was elated and grateful to God for answered prayers. Since she escaped, she has intentionally refused to call or speak with me.
“She has her reasons, it may be out of fear or for some other reasons best known to her. For now it is no longer my problem. She is back to face her case and the onus is on EFCC to prove the theft of N69billion against her. Newspaper and public trial characterisation of Magu era is gone, perhaps for good.
“Let everyone accused of crime be given fair trial and let those who are guilty be jailed while those who are innocent be discharged and acquitted. That is how it is done in every civilized clime.
“Please let everyone note that Anyone accused of crime , no matter how grievous is entitled to legal representation. On no account should public opinion be used to scare any diligent lawyer from defending any accused person especially if the accused person’s story is contrary to the spurious allegations by the Prosecutor.
“I am not pronouncing Mrs Olejeme innocent but from what I saw during her interview, the spurious figure of N69 billion is not only ridiculous, it is down right stupid to market that kind of figure to the public when the evidence on ground is nothing near that.
“While we await the trial proceedings or whatever they want to do with her, my ultimate joy is that I have been vindicated as I have no hand in her escape. I never knew her while she was the chaiman of NSITF. I played the role of a patriot in bringing her back and I am here giving glory to God for vindicating me.
” I have applied and withdrawn my suretyship of the woman from EFCC. The letter to that effect was written and acknowledged on 16th of April, 2021.”
Ubani also narrated how he had prayed that the former EFCC chairman, Magu should be disgraced out of office for flagrantly undermining his rights despite an valid court order for his release from EFCC detention.
He said: “. I prayed two dangerous prayers while in and out of detention. One, is that as long as Ibrahim Magu has refused to see the wrong he committed against me and has not apologised that God should disgrace him out of office.
“Those who are close to me and those inmates with me at the EFCC facility remembered this prayer point when it was answered. I am not rejoicing at Magu’s fall but how I wish that men in power will know and understand that power is transient and ephemeral.
“In his glory, Ibrahim Magu felt he has become God. God will never share his glory with anyone. His rise and fall is another story for another day.
“The second prayer was that Olejeme will never have peace of mind whenever she is on planet earth until she comes back to answer to her charges and prove that I neither wronged her nor Nigeria.”