Nigerian Minister Orders Police To Interrogate Lawyer For Demanding His Investigation On Corrupt Practice
The Nigeria Police has called Pelumi Olajengbesi, National Coordinator of Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates, for questioning on the orders of Minister of State for Mining and Steel, Mr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah.
Olajengbesi had asked the police to re-open and investigate the minister on allegations of gross corrupt practices and financial crimes levelled against him.
Ogah was accused by one Mrs Bridget Adeosun, Managing Director of Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited, who submitted a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, claiming that the minister forged her signature on a document to validate a non-existent Memorandum of Understanding between his company, Masters Energy Oil and Gas, and Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited sometime in 2011.
The police had charged Ogah to court and withdrew the case thereafter the EFCC arrested and interrogated him but the case was swept under the carpet.
Angered by Olajengbesi’s request for the case to be revisited, the minister petitioned the police demanding that the lawyer be arrested.
The lawyer disclosed that he honoured the invitation of the police and was released on self-recognisance.
“Today being the 21st of May, 2020, I was at the Force CID of the Nigeria Police Force, Abuja to honour an invitation extended to me by the police over a petition raised by the Minister of State for Mining and Steel, Mr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, against my person for daring to call for the re-opening and thorough investigation of gross corrupt practices and financial crimes levied against him some time ago, and which remains inconclusive.
“At the Force Headquarters, the police officers acted professionally and with courtesy during the course of the questioning and interrogation.
“I was thereafter released on self-recognizance, and will continue to aid the Nigeria Police Force, and indeed related agencies, in this investigation from a sense of duty as a citizen and in pursuit of justice in this matter.”
Olajengbesi said he would remain resolute and undeterred in the search for justice.
He stated that he cannot be bullied into silence over this matter as what was right must not be defeated by a display of cowardice to the status of the accused.
“It is imperative, going forward, to restate that I remain resolute on the path I have taken on this matter which is for the review and thorough investigation of allegations against Mr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah who, being a minister under the anti-corruption government of Mr President, must therefore be held up to the highest test of integrity through private and institutional scrutiny.
“As a good governance group and pro-transparency advocates, the Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates are adamant on the call for the re-opening of the criminal investigations levied against Mr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, Minister of State for Mining and Steel, as only its review and conclusion can satisfy public interest and policy.”
He noted that the spotlight and attention is therefore on the EFCC and Nigeria Police Force to act decisively and without prejudice on the allegations and verifiable material facts before it on this matter in order to restore sanity to the system and shore up public trust.