₦60b looting of Amnesty Training Centre
Ex-Militants write President Buhari
By Aherhoke Okioma,
A coalition of ex-militant leaders from the nine states of the Niger Delta region has sent a strongly worded letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over the alleged efforts by the officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice led by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Mrs Beatrice Jeddy-Agba to frustrate the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) from filling proper defense against a suit filed by fifteen companies accused of alleged involvement in the 2019 looting of the Amnesty Training Centre, located in Kaiama Community situated in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The ex-militants, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Amnesty Beneficiary Forum, said instead of the officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Jeddy-Agba, to support legal representation made by the Amnesty Office against the suits filed by the accused companies to the tune of N3.8billion, plus 21 percent post-judgment fee and also requesting for special damages which can go as high as N5 billion to N8 billion, they are busy sabotaging the Amnesty Office’s efforts in court by removing legal officers from PAP.
The National Coordinator of the Niger Delta Amnesty Beneficiaries Forum, Comrade James Edward Okori, in a chat with newsmen in Yenagoa after a peace march to the secretariat of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), claimed that thousands of beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme are suspicious of the sabotage being put in place by the Federal Ministry of Justice towards the issue of the looted N60billion Amnesty Training Centre in Kaiama, Bayelsa.
“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Security Adviser(NSA), the ICPC, EFCC and DSS to investigate the officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice over their alleged role in removing the legal adviser and other legal officers from the Amnesty Office.
“We suspect that these officials may have been compromised by the accused companies. The removal of the Legal Officers attached to the Presidential Amnesty Office at this moment of such suit by the accused showed a sabotage against the Amnesty Office from defending themselves against the N3.8 billion lawsuit brought against it by fifteen companies for alleged unexecuted contracts during the tenure of the former Presidential Amnesty Coordinator, Professor Charles Dokubo, which allegedly led to the five days looting of the N60 billion Amnesty Training Complex in Boro-town, Kaiama, Bayelsa State in February 2019.
“Presently, the Amnesty Office does not have a Legal Adviser or competent legal representative. We strongly support the 124 amnesty beneficiaries that have filed cases against these 15 companies in two Federal High Courts in Abuja. The public must know that five companies out of the fifteen companies that are suing the amnesty office are allegedly not registered with the corporate affairs commission. They are suing for N3.8 billion, plus 21 percent post – judgement, and they are also requesting for special damages which can go as high as N5billion to N8billion.
“The accused officials of the Ministry of Justice, individuals and the companies allegedly involved have conspired amongst themselves in defrauding and syphoning public funds, with the recent steps they have now taken further by filing different suits at the High Court of Justice in FCT, claiming full payment of contract sum with 21percent post judgement and the sum of N100,000,000 (one hundred million naira) as general damages, which we have reason to believe that all arrangements have been made to ensure that these reliefs are granted.
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“Also, shocking is the fact that those saddled with the responsibility of defending the federal government and any of its agencies, had now reneged from her oath of office and loyalty to the country and the good work your administration is doing, by ensuring that the 15 earlier mentioned companies get a judgement against the Presidential Amnesty Programme. We strongly believe that in conspiring with Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba Ejodamen, has now filed suits through these 15 companies and claiming in excess of N3,000,000,000 and also in a desperate attempt to ensure that their reliefs are granted.
“And in a strange event, they said 15 companies’ suits which had different directors, which were filed separately on the same day were only assigned to two judges of the FCT High Court which have over 140 courts. What are the odds? We have had our observers in court throughout the court proceedings. Therefore, it will also interest you to know that the suit which was diligently defended by one of the lawyers posted to the office of Presidential Amnesty Programme, but in a bid to ensure that there is no clog on their way, the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Justice hastily posted out the lawyer who was diligently defending the Presidential Amnesty Programme against these fraudulent suits.
“All we ask for is for justice not only to be done with respect to the heinous act perpetrated by the above-named individuals and companies, but it is also our prayer that you cause urgent investigation into the matter, and urgently ask the Minister of State and his wife to step aside for comprehensive investigations into their involvement in the ongoing suits and corruption of the judicial process.”
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