Why Obla Is In Trouble With The Presidency

Activities and conduct of the Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovey of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has been under critical review for sometime in the Presidency and his outright dismissal and prosecution is imminent, a top government official has disclosed.

Specifically the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister had earlier recommended to the Presidency, among others “that a thorough investigation be conducted into the allegations of forgery levelled against Mr. Obono-Obla,” while also proposing suspending him from office.”

The Presidency has also received more recently an indicting report on the Panel Chairman bordering on acts of forgery and misconduct.

According to the Office of the Attorney-General, Obla has been accused on various issues “ranging from abuse of office, intimidation and unauthorized malicious investigations, financial impropriety, administrative misconduct, and allegations of forgery/falsification or records, to mention but a few.”

In fact late last year, the matter of the madate of the Panel became an issue of judicial interpretation at the Appeal Court in the case of TIJJANI MUSA TUMSAH V. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.

In that case, the Appeal Court held that the Panel headed by Obla lacks prosecutorial powers and cannot seize properties belonging to anyone or obtain forfeiture orders against any public official.

The Court also held that the duty of the Panel upon conclusion of an investigation is to submit its report to the head of government and that the Panel, as against the conduct of the Chairman, cannot act outside its enabling Statute, the Recovery of Public Property Special Provisions Act of 1984.

Actually once when confronted with some of his alleged misconduct and other allegations, Obono-Obla pleaded profusely and was  made to sign a written undertaking to mend his ways. However, no sooner he signed that he abandoned the undertaking and continued singularly violating the law and regulations in place in the conduct of the work of the Panel.

According to an authoritative source, “following a series of violations for which he was queried, Mr. Obla submitted a written undertaking to the effect that the panel under his leadership would only act on a written mandate received from the Presidency, and will seek authorization from the Presidency to undertake fresh mandates in accordance with extant laws of the Federation.”

The main grouse against the Panel Chairman was that while the Panel was supposed to investigate only cases referred to it by the government, according to the law establishing the panel, the Chairman has single-handedly taken on cases outside of its mandate and in gross violation of Rule of Law, including violations of people’s fundamenetal human rights.

Said the source, “inspite of the specificity of the mandate of the Panel, the FG has been inundated with complaints against Mr. Obla. These include complaints of violation of the specific mandate of the Panel, human rights abuses and conduct unbecoming of an official of Government, which conduct and actions had a number of times subjected the Panel and the Government to ridicule.”

Matters however came to a head when the other four members of the 5-man Panel wrote a petition against Obla, asking for urgent action to curtail the “several identified unlawful conducts of the Chairman of the Panel.

According to the Panel members, while two cases involving NEXIM Bank and CBN, Finance Ministry, Nigeran Ports Authority were referred to the Panel, the Chairman single-handedly took on over 50 cases outside the mandate of the panel.

They also stated that “contrary to the fact that the Panel is an investigative panel by its enabling law, which lacks prosecutorial powers, Mr. Obla has unlawfully engaged lawyers to file charges against suspects without recourse to the Attorney-General’s office.”

“The man has been busy extorting money running into millions from suspects and engaged in excessive behaviour towards individuals, government agencies, private companies and even foreign missions in Nigeria,” another government source noted.

For instance after an illegal secondment of over 100 policemen to himself, Chief Obla attempted to arrest the Executive Secretary of TETFUND “with a truck of mobile policemen which led to the petition written to the Attorney-General’s office over the incessant illegal harassment.”

Among several petitions against Obla which has caused considerable concern in the government is the one by the Human Rights Writers Association bordering on allegations of forgery of WAEC result used for admission into the Law Faculty of the University of Jos.

The Office of the Attorney-General in its recommendation to the Presidency also mentioned Obla’s “unauthorized investigations of several judges initiated by Mr. Obla through the issuance of notices to them to declare their assets, an obligation which these Honorable Jugdes had hitherto complied with through the authorized agency-the Code of Conduct Bureau.”

It was also stated that Obla had used the Panel to arrogate the powers and functions of the EFCC and the ICPC.

“In the circumstances, the Government is left with no choice than to review his appointment and possibly prosecute him for allegations of forgery and possibly also for criminal extortion, “ a source noted.

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This Too Shall Fail: Activating A Legal Clamp Down On The Campaign To Smear The Hard Earned Reputation Of Chief Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla

“Our reputation is more important than the last hundred million dollars.”
– Rupert Murdoch
The blogosphere and social media space has been awash lately with stories spun from the fabric of evil minded persons and shared by likeminded persons in a bid to tarnish the image and hard earned reputation of the venerable Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution and Chairman of the Special Presidential Panel on the Recovery of Public Property.
A letter purportedly emanating from the police and addressed to the Attorney General of Nigeria and purportedly inviting Chief Okoi Obono-Obla to answer questions relating to stealing was seen online. www.elombah.com published a story with the title “Police Declare Buhari’s Aide Okoi Obono-Obla wanted for Stealing!”
This libelous fabrication of a story was also published sometime in May 2017 by PointBlank News with the caption “BUHARI’S AIDE IN KIDNAP SCANDAL, SNATCHES LAWYER’S WIFE, KID”
One JULIUS ATANAWHEMERA is the main person at the helm of this campaign to smear the image of Chief Obla.
JULIUS ATANAWHEMERA’s estranged wife, EVBU IGBENIDION works with Chief as his Personal Assistant on Legal Matters. She was referred to Chief by a political associate sometime in early 2016. It is pertinent to point out here that long before Chief employed Evbu, she has reverted to her maiden name, suggesting (as she later confirmed) that their marriage was on the rocks. Later in 2016 Chief got a call from someone who introduced himself as JULIUS ATANAWHEMERA and who told Chief that he (Julius) is having issues with his wife who is Chief’s PA and implored Chief to intervene. Chief Obla told him that he would not like to get involved with the private and family issues of any of his staff.
This must have infuriated the said Julius who began a series of activities to embarrass and hurt the image of Chief Obla in a bid to make Chief sack Evbu. JULIUS threatened Chief Obla severally through calls and text messages; and he even went to Chief’s wife law office to harass and intimidate her. The said Julius was doing all these to force Chief to sack Evbu Igbenidion, his estranged wife, as some sort of punishment to her for their marital problems. Since this was not working, Julius has resorted to a campaign of calumny against Chief Obla.
On the 7th of April 2017 Chief came to his office at the Federal Ministry of Justice from a meeting to meet a man fighting his staff and visitors and shouting at the top of his voice. Chief inquired what was happening and was told that it was the man, Julius, who accompanied a court bailiff to come and serve divorce proceedings to his wife, Evbu. That Julius started taking pictures of everyone in the office and when he was asked to stop he started fighting everyone including visitors. That was the first time Chief was seeing the man Julius in his life.
By the time Chief got to the scene and started asking questions, policemen attached to the Federal Ministry of Justice were already there trying to disperse the crowd that had gathered and then they took Julius to their operational unit in the Federal Ministry of Justice for interrogation. Chief decided to let things be so that it will not be misconstrued as if he is using the weight of his office and influence in this administration to oppress the said Julius. That was Chief Obla’s mistake. He should have taken action then and nip this in the bud. However Chief still refused to interfere in the marital issues.
Chief was however shocked at the intense obsession of JULIUS ATANAWHEMERA in causing him reputation damage just because he employed his estranged wife. Chief had initially dismissed his action as those of a man who is hurting from a marriage on the rocks. But the insane and consistent attack on Chief’s person became a cause of great concern. Things got to a head when on Monday, the 22nd of May 2017 his attention was drawn to an online publication by PointBlank News, an online news magazine at www.pointblanknews.com with the caption: “BUHARI’S AIDE IN KIDNAP SCANDAL, SNATCHES LAWYER’S WIFE, KID”
Chief immediately briefed us to filed libel proceedings against Julius and PointBlank News; we prepared processes and was ready to file when Chief asked us to hold off. Again, he was prevailed upon to drop the lawsuit. He thought filing the lawsuit will blow up the matter out of proportion and will paint him as one using a sledge hammer to kill an ant. He believed Julius was merely hurting because of his marital issues and will come off it as men do.
But this was not to be. JULIUS ATANAWHEMERA did not back down in his mission to smear Chief’s image as a strategy to get his estranged wife sacked, so that she can run to him for sustenance.
On or about Thursday the 12th Day of October, 2017, Chief’s attention was again drawn to a publication on www.elombah.com, an online news magazine with a malicious and defamatory caption that reads thus: “Police declares Buhari’s aide Okoi Obono-Obla wanted for stealing!”
This is no longer funny.
For the records:
Chief Okoi Obono-Obla was never declared wanted by the Police. He was also never invited for questioning.
He has nothing to do with all the allegations being peddle around.
He will not stand by anymore and watch his name being used as a play thing.
We call on all his relatives, friends, associates and well-wishers to ignore the stories going around as baseless and the work of a man who is going through a psychological turmoil occasioned by lost love and now being sponsored by fifth columnists and vested interest.
We have been briefed and our services retained to activate all legal channels to defend the hard earned reputation of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla. We have commenced libel proceedings against 1. JULIUS ATANAWHEMERA, 2. JACKSON UDE, 3. POINT BLANK NEWS, 4. DANIEL ELOMBAH and 5. ELOMBAH.COM. we have also filed a Criminal Complaint against these 5 persons and one EMMANUEL ULAYI for Cyberstalking. We have also petitioned the police to explain how a purported letter claiming to invite Chief Obla for questioning got to bloggers without even getting to Chief Obla himself.
“When you see a man fighting to defend his reputation, don’t stand by and do nothing; it is better for all us if the man who is fighting to defend his reputation wins. If the destroyer of reputation wins, you might just be his next victim.”
Thank You.
F. Baba Isa, Esq.,
[Counsel to Chief Okoi Obono-Obla]
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