The media aide to Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Uche Anichukwu, has said that the legal tussle between his boss and the Special Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property is not primarily about ownership of properties, but hinged on challenging impunity, smear campaign, and an unfolding agenda informed by the politics of 2019 elections.
Anichukwu said it is against natural justice for lawyers of the All Progressives Congress extraction to constitute themselves into a panel to try members of the opposition, relying on Decree 3 of 1984, now known as the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, 2004.
He noted that not only is the law already overtaken by the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, 2004, but that the panel was also not Gazetted in any publication in the Federal Government of Nigeria Gazette or inaugurated by the president.
His words, “So, considering the senator’s ordeals, since his reemergence in 2015, and with 2019 elections fast approaching, no one needs any soothsayer to know that the federal is up to something more sinister and diabolical, of which the asset forfeiture lawsuit is a launchpad.
“As earlier clarified by the senator, the list contains so many fictitious and repeated properties generated by the dismissed chief judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, who, in his capacity as the chief judge of the state in 2016, colluded with his lawyer, Barrister Tagbo Ike, and some politicians, to steal and doctor Ekweremadu’s will.
“They, then, churned out petitions to many government agencies. Should proper investigation devoid of bias and witch-hunt not require that Ekweremadu be invited to respond to the petition, assuming the constitutional powers to dabble into matters relating to assets declaration?
“Rather, the panel approached the court by way of Motion Ex-parte, which would allow it obtain an interim forfeiture order against the distinguished senator, without hearing him, just to achieve a maximum smear effect. It is said that the petition was authored by a former chief judge, who was sacked by the NJC for corruption and abuse of office”.