Why Okoi Obono-Obla’s office was shut by Policemen

By AdvocateNews on 12/08/2019

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Okoi Obono-Obla
Okoi Obono-Obla

OKOI Obono-Obla, chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, says he is holding the office of Yemi Osinbanjo, vice president of Nigeria, responsible for the sealing up of his office by the Nigeria Police Force.

Policemen sealed his office in Abuja on Saturday, August 10 but mo officIal reason was given.

Obono-Obla told Vanguard that he was not disturbed by his purported sack, describing what has happened as a case of corruption fighting back as his panel was investigating highly placed individuals connected to those in power.

According to him, an official of the Nigeria Football Federation who was facing corruption charges had recently boasted that he (Obono-Obla) will soon be removed after paying a visit to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).

The chairman of the Special Investigation Panel said there was a letter from the deputy chief of staff, Office of the Vice President to him in January this year advising him to suspend all investigation cases because government wanted to carry out a review of the panel.

“They say I am uncontrollable, I don’t know how they want to control an anti-corruption fighter. If you are not the kind of person I am, you can’t fight corruption because corruption is systematic, it is endemic in Nigeria. So, you need a rugged person.

“The President said all anti-corruption agencies should be given a free hand, absolutely to work, there should not be any interference. The President has never sacked me but they have sacked me many times.

“Sometimes, they write letters to me that I should suspend my work. In January I got a letter from the Deputy Chief of Staff, office of the Vice President that I should suspend all investigations that government wants to carry out a review and I said if the President was doing that, it should come from the Chief of Staff to the President.

“When I arrested one oil mogul, we investigated the company and discovered that the company had not paid $3 million. They have oil bloc. When I arrested him to get the money from him, I had a lot of phone calls from the same people and they have not been happy with me, that was in July, that I touched somebody who is close to them.

“These are all the forces and the ICPC has joined them. Why should they go and seal a government office on a non working day? It is absurd. If they want to sack me, they should sack me and not to close down government office and ordered everybody inside not to come out and that nobody should go in,” he told Vanguard.

On whether he has reported to President Muhammadu Buhari what was happening, Obono-Obla said: “You know we are on public holiday and I am in my village in Cross River State, I am not in Abuja. It was yesterday (Saturday) I got a phone call from security personnel guarding the office that an Area Commander of the Nigeria Police from Asokoro came and told them that they have orders from above that my office should be sealed up.

“This is a government office, we have sensitive security documents there. If they want to remove me, they should tell me and I will handover all the government documents in my custody, sensitive documents and case files to whoever is taking over from me.

“I only heard of my purported removal from the report in the Premium Times. The law that sets up the panel says I am directly answerable to Mr. President, I report to the President.”

Asked whether he has offended any member of the ruling APC since his travail is internal, he said: “I don’t know and I don’t care because my work is not to be selective. Corruption has no APC or PDP on the face, anybody can be corrupt.

“When I am investigating corrupt people, I cannot be selective, that is my offence because I have been very uncompromising. I don’t know why they want to control me. They gave me the job in the first place because I have the gut, I have the heart and the passion to do it, so they should allow me.

“I have gone into a lot of areas other anti-corruption agencies have not gone into.

“The National Assembly, a Committee of the House of Representatives purportedly investigated me, they came after me, that is what I am suffering.

“They asked the President to remove me and the President ignored them because I did nothing wrong. But this one is as a result of the corruption case I am handling like the Petroleum Equalization Fund.”

Frank Mba, Force public relations officer has confirmed that Obono-Obla’s office has been sealed up based on a complaint from a department of the federal government.

Posted 12/08/2019 9:13:17 PM

 

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