“As I am speaking with you, petitions against Akpabio, at the EFCC, have been withdrawn by a law firm that was used by the petitioners to file them…”
Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
Lawyers from the Niger Delta have condemned claims by the Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) that former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on a plea bargain deal, in an alleged corruption case.
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Messrs Leo Ekpeyong, Ubuo Eyo and Leo Ekong argued that there was no need for such when Akpabio is not facing any prosecution. The trio, who spoke at a news conference in Abuja, yesterday, accused Sagay of embarrassing the incumbent administration with his “ unguarded comments”.
Sagay had told a national newspaper: “I know Akpabio is still under probe and, if he is found culpable, he would be invited and prosecuted. For me, the only import of him joining the President’s campaign is that he can be persuaded to make a plea bargain quickly …”
However, insisting that Akpabio is not under prosecution for any corruption-related case, Ekpeyong said the law firm that represented some individuals in the state who wrote petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleging financial indiscretion by Akpabio had withdrawn them.
“As I am speaking with you, petitions against Akpabio, at the EFCC, have been withdrawn by a law firm that was used by the petitioners to file them. There is no petition against him anywhere.
“The people behind the petitions were politicians in the state, who, out of mischief and other selfish reason wrote the petitions. But, when the law firm that they used to send the petition saw that they could not substantiate allegations made in the petitions, withdrew them in 2017 .
“I am surprised that a senior lawyer like Sagay could be talking about plea bargain when the man he is talking about is not facing any prosecution.”
Ekpeyong warned Nigerians against non-existent corruption allegations against Akpabio.
“The petitioners were unable to substantiate their allegations yet, some people are still going ahead to make allusion to the allegations. It is strange that allegations that are not grounded on truth are peddled by a learned person like Sagay,” he reiterated.
Supporting Ekpeyong’s stance, Eyo added: “President (Muhammadu) Buhari should call Sagay to order. He has, in recent times, become an embarrassment to this government.
“He has attacked the Judiciary, senior members of the Bar and other institutions. He has been convicting people in the media and discharging them in the media. He is sending a wrong signal about the government. He has been hypocritical.”
Also, Ekpeyong advised Sagay not to destroy the reputation that took him several years to build.