Ex-Deputy Speaker, Chibudom Nwuche, languishes in jail
*Details of his messy war with Rotimi Amaechi
There seems to be no end yet to the messy war between a former governor of Rivers State, who is also the current Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and the former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Chibudom Nwuche.
Sources close to the two political gladiators told us last week that the fight has turned messy and that Rotimi Amaechi is having upper hand based on his closeness to the seat of power in Abuja.
We gathered that trouble started, when Nwuche cross-carpeted to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Amaechi was alleged to see this as a threat to his authority in the state’s chapter of the APC.
Observers see Nwuche’s detention as a persecution of sort, and Rivers State chapter of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has described the allegation against Nwuche as a fabrication by the powers that be.
In a press release made available to the media and dated 18th April 2017, which was signed by the Chairman of its South South Zone, Karl Chinedu Uchegbu, CLO alleged that the allegations against Nwuche were geared towards eliminating all perceived threats in Amaechi’s 2019 ambition to run as vice president whilst also installing a stooge as Governor of Rivers State.
In the release, which was entitled; ‘Persecution of Hon Chibudom Nwuche By Rotimi Amaechi, Enough Is Enough,’ CLO said “Nwuche is perceived as a mortal threat since joining the APC and mobilising support for the party and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
“To this end, Amaechi and his few collaborators have instigated several false petitions to these agencies to either taint Hon. Nwuche’s businesses and truncate them not to allow him access to funds in their imaginary belief that he is preparing to run for Governor of Rivers State in 2019. “They have also mobilised their huge investments in the media (especially Sahara Reporters and Premium Times amongst others) to widely publicise any invitations from the law enforcement agencies in order to try him and taint him in the media.
The CLO added in the statement that one of such petitions alleged that Nwuche had a stash of dollars in his residence and that an illegal raid was hastily arranged and nothing was found.
According to them, there are ongoing investigations around this raid as “some strange fellows also joined the search and are alleged to have planted illegal arms to incriminate Nwuche and some Certificates of Occupancy taken by these people found their way to the market.
“The authorities are currently investigating this matter. The idea is to have Nwuche arraigned no matter how frivolous the allegations for illegal arms possession, but we have faith that the Nigerian Police will not allow itself to be so used by individuals to settle personal scores and fight perceived enemies.”
They alleged further that the next day, precisely on the 29th of November 2016 a five-man armed gang also raided Nwuche’s office in Abuja dressed in full military camouflage and carrying AK 47 assault rifles and harassed the staff and threatened to eliminate Nwuche.
These events, they said were after several failed attempts to taint and criminalise the civil contract an NGO of which Nwuche is a trustee has with the Amnesty office. These issues are currently subject of court proceedings.
“All these strange events began when Nwuche was invited by the South South Zonal APC to assist mobilise support for the Party and President Buhari which he gladly did.
“Nwuche contributed to host party meetings and support some state chairmen and this appeared to have angered Amaechi. Also when Nwuche was appointed by the party to chair sensitive assignments including the screening of aspirants for Edo Governorship primaries and also chair the send forth for the outgoing Governor- this angered Amaechi more and he refused to support the programme,” they said in the statement.
Investigations by First Weekly revealed that Nwuche has been making passionate appeals to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to come to his aid and grant him bail from his detention.
He said in a text message sent to his associates from detention that he should be granted bail as he said he was being detained on trumped up illegal firearms possession charge for over one week because he exposed those behind his stolen and recovered Certificates of Occupancy.
“The same criminals that joined the illegal search team in my house and stole my Rolex watch and C of Os planted the gun and they are being shielded. How come they are only raising this falsehood five months after the search of my residence. Why have the EFCC IPOs so far interrogated not been able to name the criminals who found the gun and the second one now wanted by the police for the sale of my C of Os.
“Over 18 persons raided my house whilst only three of them signed the search warrant which is illegal in the raid led by one Abubakar Madaki who has been implicated in other crimes. Why are they not being detained and are free,” the text message read.
He said further in the message that the alleged offence is open to bail by Sections 30 & 31 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and Sections 35 & 36 of the constitution.
According to him, Rotimi Amaechi is behind these plots in order to dent his (Nwuche’s) profile on account of his 2019 ambition and that he has been instigating the security agencies against him.
“They have no case against me whatsoever. They have been fishing for an offence for the past nine months and failing. I have served Nigeria at the highest levels without blemish. Should I have kept silent about all the attempts to blackmail me and my stolen C of Os?
“Please appeal to the IGP to release me on bail, while the investigations to unravel those behind the raids in my house and the armed robbery in my office and the owner of the illegal firearms continues.
“Please also speak to the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara, to intervene and protect me as my life is in danger from these people that we have so far exposed. Thanks,” the text message read.
Sources close to the duo stated that the fight has been on for some time now and that it is suspected that Rotimi Amaechi would make use of all possible means to deal with Nwuche and prevent him from having upper hands in the state.
‘We are aware of the grand plan by former governor Rotimi Amaechi to deal with our man Nwuche. We are also ready for him and we will use everything in our power to also deal with him. I can assure you of that.
“It is unfair that Amaechi could go this far after all that he has achieved in life. God has been kind to him, but he is not kind to people and I am very sure that nemesis would soon catch up with him as position is not forever,” said a source, who declined to mention his name.
However, those close to Rotimi Amaechi have denied that he has a hand in all that is happening to Nwuche.
They said that Amaechi is a man of peace and that they would resist all attempts to rubbish him or tarnish his image as a senior member of the APC-led Federal Government.
A source close to Amaechi said that people should stop rubbishing him and gave an instance of when he was alleged to be the owner of the N15 Billion recently found in Osborne Towers by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over which he said Amaechi has been vindicated.
‘We are all witnesses to all these allegations that they are mere fabrications of those that are envious of the enviable achievements of former governor Rotimi Amaechi, who started as a speaker of the state House of Assembly for eight years, governor for eight years and now a Minister of the Federal Republic. “It is a shame that we speak bad of our leaders. Those behind all these shenanigans should stop so that they would not incur the wrath of God,” said the source.