*I was not declared wanted by Police
Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution and Chairman, Special Presidential Panel on the Recovery of Government Property has stated that a publication credited to an online newspaper, www.elombah.com alleging that the presidential aide, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, has been declared wanted by the police, is a malicious falsehood perpetuated by agents opposed to the anti-corruption war and the bold utterances of Obla on corruption and its perpetuators.
According to the statement made available to www.gongnews.net and signed by Obla’s media adviser, Sebastine Eko: “at no time has the Police or any security agency served the SSA to the President on Prosecution any letter of invitation on any matter as alleged by the said online publication.
“This is just a smear campaign with the intention of rubbishing one of the voices of the anti-corruption war of the President Buhari administration, which is bent on eliminating corruption in Nigeria and returning the nation to its footing where it is no longer business as usual.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the SA to the President on Prosecution is first a respected and reputable lawyer and activist with a robust legal practice of over 25 years. He has practiced in this noble profession with passion and responsibility over the years, speaking and fighting the cause of the common man, the voiceless and earning himself the reputation of “the people’s advocate” and nicknamed “Okoi Advocate” by close friends.
“It is his sterling attributes, vocal nature and uncompromising stance for good governance that endeared him to President Muhammadu Buhari in the early days of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), where he was first the National Legal Adviser before taking up other responsibilities for the party.
It is still this his uncompromising nature and vocal stance against corruption that earned him the position of Chairman, Special Presidential Panel on the Recovery of Public Property to push further the Buhari administration’s war on corruption.”
While expressing regret that the publisher of the blog allowed himself to be used in a smear campaign against the presidential aide, the belief was stated that the false publication,”… is not unconnected with the rantings of a certain disgruntled Julius Atanawhemera (Public Relations Officer of a faction of the Unity Bar of the NBA) who had been sending threat messages to Mr. Obla as a result of his employing his estranged wife.”
According to the statement, one of the threat messages reads, “You (referring to Obla) have the effrontery to ignore the invitation of the Nigerian Police duly served on you based on my petition of assault against you! Obla, you are not above the law. I will use the law to correct ur (sic) wrongs against me & my son no matter ur (sic) position in government & the course of time. Julius Atanawhemera, Esq, NPN, Dip.”
“Julius Atanawhemera whom we believe has been perpetuating these falsehoods and twisting facts to suit his purpose, to whoever cares to listen, is making bold his threats to smear the name of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla”, the statement read.
“The claim by Julius that the SA to the President is responsible for his missing $2,000 battery, illegal use of phone is not the only claim and accusation that Julius Atanawhemera has laid against Obla. Before now, he had accused Obla to have abducted his son and wife.
The said Julius had sent text messages to Obla’s wife that her husband, Okoi Obono-Obla, is keeping his estranged wife and son. In all of these, Obla’s wrong has been providing employment to one Ms. Evbu Igbinedion whom Julius said is his estranged wife.
Ever since Ms. Igbinedion started working in the office of the SA to the President on Prosecution by virtue of her legal background, Julius has labelled all manner of accusations to Obla.”
The statement went further to provide a background to the genesis of the problem between Julius Atanawhemera and Chief Obla.
It is interesting however to note that, Mr Atanawhemera had claimed that Mr. Obla was responsible for his missing phones, assault and theft of $20,000 as opposed to the $2,000 claimed in the online report.
According to the statement, “the report by www.elombah.com about the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution and Chairman, Special Presidential Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla is totally false, a fabrication from a demented mind, meting out his frustrations on an innocent government official.
Good journalism and ethics of the profession entails that a journalist verify the information received and the source of that information. The office of the SA to the President is always open and Mr Obla is always within reach to verify any information.
The idea of hiding under the cover of the “his telephone could not be reached” is the excuse of the lazy.
“We would like to use this opportunity to state that publishing falsehoods against an individual or group constitutes an offence and is punishable by law.
“Since this publication was sponsored, Mr. Obla has been inundated with calls asking the veracity of the story. We once again assure the general public, friends and colleagues of the SA to the President that the content of the said publication is false, a smear campaign in a bid to truncate his good work in the fight against corruption.”