Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has replied Aisha Buhari, the wife of Nigeria’s president over the scandal that erupted when he reminded Nigerians that her name was mentioned in the bribery scandal involving disgraced United States’ lawmaker, William Jefferson.
Through his counsel, Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria, Governor Fayose said that he was right to mention that Aisha Buhari in the Williams Jefferson bribery case because he based his statement on the information available in court documents in the United States concerning the came.
Mary Ekpere & Co, lawyers to Mrs. Aisha Buhari has written to Fayose demanding a retraction of his press statement in which he said that she was mentioned in a 2005 Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, involving a bribery syndicate in which Nigeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar was also named.
The first lady’s letter to Fayose was dated June 22, 2016 and gave the governor five days to comply or further legal would be taken against him.
Mr. Ozekhome’s letter justified the press release by Fayose and affirmed the statement made regarding her involvement in the William Jefferson scandal saying the governor’s statement was “correct and justified in law, having regards to a court judgment convicting one Mr William Jefferson for bribery in the Halliburton case”.
Ozekhome said that the statement of Governor Fayose was correct and justified, having been factually premised on an existing court judgment.
“Our client has referred to us your letter dated 22nd June, 2016, on alleged defamation of the character of your client, Her Excellency, Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, with firm instructions to reply to and reject same in its entirety,” the letter read.
“Our client states and re-affirms categorically that the statement he made as regards the involvement of Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Buhari, in the Halliburton scandal, is correct and justified in law; having regards to a court judgement convicting one Mr. William Jefferson for bribery in the Halliburton case.
“Therein, the name of the President’s wife featured conspicuously. At page 22 of the said judgment delivered by the United State District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, USA, in criminal No 1: 07CR209, the said Mr William Jefferson was sentenced at 9.00 am on November 13, 2009, by Mark D, Lytle. Your client, Mrs Aisha Buhari was specifically mentioned in the judgment. The judge referred to Exhibits 36-87 in the following words, for clarification;
“See also Government Exhibits 36-87 (6/26/02 $170,000 wire transfer from account in Nigeria in the name of Aisha Buhari to an account in the name of The ANJ Group, LLC, identifying “William Jefferson” as Beneficiary)… Given the age of the defendant, the severity of the sentence calculated by the Probation Office, the defendant’s frequent travel overseas and unexplained wire transfers from overseas locations to financial accounts used by the defendant, the defendant cannot rebut the presumption at sentencing that he is a risk of flight.
“The said Williams Jefferson is currently serving a jail term in the USA and to the best of our client’s knowledge; this judgment has not been challenged, or set aside by any Appellate court of law anywhere
in the world.
“The statement of His Excellency, our client, is therefore correct and justified, same having been factually premised on an existing court judgment above referred to.”
On the immunity enjoyed by Governor Fayose against civil and criminal proceedings, Mr. Ozekhome said: “Your attention is also hereby drawn to Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as altered, on the immunity enjoyed by our client from civil or criminal proceedings for the period that he occupies the office of the governor of Ekiti State.
“You may therefore advise your client to wait until after 16th October, 2018, when our client’s tenure expires. When that happens, we shall join issues with your client in a competent court of law, in the event that your client does not have a change of heart.”
Madam, Visit US And Clear Your Name – Fayose
Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State had challenged wife of Nigeria’s president and first lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, to travel to the United States of America to prove her innocence in the Halliburton scam.
In a statement released on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 and signed by his chief press secretary, Idowu Adelusi, the governor commented on the alleged involvement of President Buhari’s wife, Aisha Buhari challenging her to visit the United States of America.
Such a move, Fayose maintained would convince convince Nigerians that she was not the Aisha Buhari mentioned in the judgment which convicted disgraced US congressman, William Jefferson.
Governor Fayose said, “It is on record that the president has visited the United States of America three times and his wife did not travel with him. Equally, she ought to have visited the US last year September to chair a United Nation programme but she sent wife of the senate president, Dr. Toyin Saraki to represent her.”
Fayose Exposes Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari
The Ekiti state governor on Monday, June 20, 2016 distributed a link to the US Department of Justice’s website where court documents mentioning Aisha Buhari as one who aided the transfer of bribes to Jefferson, an American lawmaker who was convicted of corruption in 2009 and is currently serving his sentence in a US prison.
Mr. Fayose broadcast this fact on Monday, June 20, 2016, soon after announcing that Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had ordered a freeze on his personal bank account.
Her husband, President Buhari had issued an insult-filled press statement on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 in response to Fayose’s allegation threatening legal action and demanding that Fayose provide proof that the Aisha Buhari mentioned in the corruption scandal which took down US congressman, William Jefferson was indeed his wife.
But, not satisfied with the statement from the presidency defending her honour, Aisha Buhari took to micro-blogging website, Twitter, to lash out at Fayose calling him a mad dog.
The Other Aisha Speaks Out From US
Meanwhile, a US-based woman, Aisha Buhari whose passport is being circulated by online supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the woman mentioned in the William Jefferson bribery scandal has denied any involvement in the case.
In a report by The Street Journal, Ms. Aisha Buhari told the news magazine that her passport was stolen in 2015 and that Nigerian politicians were dragging her name into this scandal to cover up their corruption. Online newspaper, TheCable, had reported the story exclusively showcasing Ms. Buhari’s passport.
An individual, who identifies as an All Progressives Congress supporter, had shared the full image of Ms. Buhari’s travel passport to one of The Trent’s editors on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. He claimed that the woman in the photo was the Aisha Buhari mentioned in the William Jefferson bribery scandal. Normally, we wouldn’t publish this image, but it has already been circulated widely.