April 22, 2024

N3.8bn lawsuits: N’Delta ex-agitators urge Buhari to probe justice ministry officials


Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

A collation of ex-agitators under the auspices of the Niger Delta Amnesty Beneficiary Forum (NDABF) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to probe some officials of the Ministry of Justice following an abrupt transfer of legal officers attached to the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

The ex-agitators, who spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said the probe should be centred on the motive behind the transfer authorised by the Solicitor-General and the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Beatrice Jeddy-Agba.

The National Coordinator, NDABF, James Okori, said they suspected that the sudden transfer was meant to frustrate PAP from filling proper defence against 15 companies accused of involvement in the 2019 looting of the N60bn amnesty training centre located in Kaiama, Bayelsa.

Okori said they were suspecting that the officials were sabotaging the legal battle instead of supporting the legal representation of PAP against the N3.8bn suit filed by the accused companies with 21 per cent post judgement fee and special damages, which could run between N5bn to N8bn.

He said: “We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Security Adviser, the ICPC, EFCC, and DSS to investigate the officials of the Federal Justice Ministry 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 a suit by the accused showed alleged sabotage against the amnesty office from defending themselves against the N3.8bn lawsuit brought against the amnesty office by the 15 companies.

“The legal suit was for alleged unexecuted contracts during the tenure of the former Amnesty Coordinator, Prof. Charles Dokubo which allegedly led to the five days looting of the N60bn 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 N3.8bn, plus 21 per cent post–judgement, and they are also requesting for special damages which can go as high as N5bn to N8bn.”

Okori appealed to Buhari not to allow those saddled with the responsibility of defending the federal government and any of its agencies from reneging from their oath of office and loyalty to the country and the good work of his administration.

He said: “All we ask for is for justice. It is also our prayer that you cause urgent investigation into the matter. The hour has come, all ex-militants must rise up to support Col. Miland Dixon Dikio to fight against fraud and corruption in the amnesty programme.

“Dikio has repositioned the amnesty programme towards achieving its core mandates, and he has done exceptionally well since his appointment as Interim Administrator”.

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