The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) has faulted claim that its suspended Chairman, Okoi Obono-Obla had engaged in abuse of office and was reckless in his conduct.
According to a statement by prosecutor with the SPIP, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, Obono-Obla was being persecuted for his doggedness in the anti-corruption fight by “some powerful forces at the corridors of power” who are uncomfortable with his activities.
Citing cases involving high-profile individuals being investigated by the SPIP, Ojaomo argued that the current move to edge out the panel’s Chairman was a reflection of how powerful the forces behind corruption have become in the society.
The statement reads in part: “Chief Obla has continue to investigate corruption allegations brought before the panel without putting political colouration, he investigate complaint of corruption and corrupt practices across party lines.
“At this point the only letter purportedly suspending Chief Obla is the one that emanated from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, there is no statement whatsoever from the official quarters most especially from the President spokespersons affirming the state of event on this matter.
“We strongly believe that some powerful forces at the corridors of power are into a power play on this matter. President Buhari has never complained of the activities of the Panel till date.
“Is it also a coincidence that the same time Chief Okoi Obono-Obla was alleged to have been suspended on the orders of President buhari, the head of legal unit of the panel Celsius Ukpong was also dismissed by the ICPC without any warning or disciplinary committee hearing from him?
“The modus operandi is becoming clearer, from the turn of events Nigerians can see how cancerous corruption has deepen itself into the fabric of the Nigerian system.
“Everyone that attempts to fight corruption fearlessly in Nigeria is always met with stiff resistance as some powerful forces holding Nigeria to economic ransom are hell-bent on propagating the cause of corruption in Nigeria to the detriment of President Buhari avowed zero tolerance for corruption.
“We believe that no matter how long it takes truth shall prevail and Chief Okoi Obono-Obla will complete the statutory assignment given to him by President Buhari and make him proud.
“On the allegation of abuse of office being peddled around, we would have ignored it but for the sake of posterity and to set the record straight, it is on record that Chief Obla has continue to conduct the activities of the panel in accordance with the statute creating the panel, the Recovery of Public Property(Special Provisions)Act and other enabling laws.
“The Panel is a child of circumstances and what the panel is going through today is manifestation of the reality of it purpose and importance to the successful crusade against corruption in our country. How can employment of lawyers to prosecute cases for the panel before courts of competent jurisdiction be an unlawful act?
“It was also alleged that the panel Chairman has not being taking directive from the Powerful forces at the Presidency before he investigates any petition that comes to the panel. Corruption is a societal issue in Nigeria and all members of the Nigeria public has a role to play to nip the cankerworm to the bud.
“They never said the Chairman disobey President Buhari, who he supposed to report to on the activities of the panel after getting corrupt persons convicted before the court of law.
“It is on record that President Buhari has said times without number that whoever has corruption case should not use his name to protect himself, but should go and clear his name before the security agencies,” Ojaomo said.