The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday, March 22, 2018, blamed the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for a suit filed against the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu seeking forfeiture of asset allegedly not declared by him.
According to a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, the PDP accused the ruling party of not being ready to fight corruption, adding that the APC-led administration’s obsession with Ekweremadu was an indication that the party, APC, is out to ”scandalise, persecute, and bring down its perceived opponents”.
The party frowned at the motion filed by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property seeking the forfeiture of assets allegedly not declared by Ekweremadu.
The federal government, Wednesday, March 21, 2018, asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to freeze all hidden assets that were traced to Mr. Ekweremadu.
This demand was made via an ex-parte motion filed by a legal practitioner, Festus Keyamo, on behalf of the presidential panel.
In its statement, the PDP recalled how the government rushed to arraign Mr. Ekweremadu and the senate president, Bukola Saraki, in 2016 on trumped up charges of forgery of Senate Standing Rules, even when there was not even a mention of their names in the contentious police report or proof of evidence. The government eventually withdrew the charges for lack of merit.
It also recalled how the police raided and ransacked Mr. Ekweremadu’s official guest house in Abuja in May 2017 and blamed it on false whistleblowers, whom they charged to court, stressing that nothing has been heard about the trial of the alleged false whistleblowers again.
“In the current matter, apart from relying on an obsolete law to dabble into the roles of the Code of Conduct Bureau, we are not surprised that the panel could not carry out a thorough and independent investigation on the purported property of the senator, but relied on a petition by the former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, who is standing corruption trial in several courts, after his removal from office by the National Judicial Council, NJC, in 2017.
“We recall that the senator accused Umezulike and some politicians of stealing and doctoring his will, inserting non-existent properties or properties that had nothing to do with him. It is also instructive that this calculated smear campaign is in the guise of forfeiture of phantom assets came on the heels of Senator Ekweremadu’s alarm and scathing criticism of the APC-led administration over the nation’s deteriorating democracy and in the midst of the ongoing executive-legislature faceoff, in which a ranking senator of the APC extraction identified Ekweremadu as a pillar of support to the Senate President”, the statement read.
The PDP said contrary to the federal government’s claims, Ekweremadu had assured it that he declared his assets.
It wondered why the federal government, by its own admission, rushed to court without completion of the investigation but had ”turned deaf ears to the outcry by Nigerians for the prosecution of the administration’s functionaries and friends indicted of corruption”.
“This government and party have a wet appetite for prosecution and media trial of the opposition while the investigation is on, but refuses to prosecute its members and friends indicted by even its own presidential or ministerial panels.
“While members of the opposition are taken to court on stretchers, Babachir Lawal, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, indicted by both the Senate and a presidential panel only got a pat on the back.