The embattled Justice of the Supreme Court, John Inyang Okoro, yesterday, October 18, said his travails was as a result of his refusal to do the bidding of the Transport Minister whom he said tried to bribe him to influence the court decision in the election tribunal of Rivers state, Abia state and Akwa-Ibom state.
Justice Okoro who was among the judges recently arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) over alleged corruption made the revelation in his letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), dated October 17, explaining the circumstances surrounding the invasion of his official residence and arrest by DSS.
He added the minister informed him that the decision to compromise the election appeal had the endorsement of the president.
“My lord, I strongly believe that this my travail is not unconnected with the verbal report I made to you on February 1, 2016 about the visit to my official residence by Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State and now Minister of Transport.
“In that report, I told you my lord, that Amaechi said that the President of Nigeria and the APC mandated him to inform me that they must win their election appeals in respect of Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State and Abia State at all costs.
“For Akwa Ibom State, he alleged that he sponsored Mr. Umana Umana, candidate of the APC for that election and that if he lost Akwa Ibom appeal, he would have lost a fortune. Mr. Amaechi also said that he had already visited you and that you had agreed to make me a member of the panel that would hear the appeals.
“He further told me that Mr. Umana would be paying me millions of naira monthly if I co-operated with them. My response, as I told you on that date was that it does not lie within my power to grant his request and that I would do all within my power not to be on the panel for Akwa Ibom State.
“My lord graciously left me out of the panel for Akwa Ibom State. That notwithstanding, the APC in Akwa Ibom State which lost the appeal at the Supreme Court believes that my presence in the Supreme Court made them to lose the appeal.
“Could I have resigned from the Supreme Court simply because people of Akwa Ibom State had a matter before it?”
Justice Inyang Okoro also stated that he reported to the CJN about the visit of Umana to his residence before that of Amaechi. He further narrated how his house was invaded by agents of DSS and gave an inventory of all that was collected in his house. He said:
“My lord, the operatives of DSS searched all the rooms in the house meticulously. They also searched the boy’s quarters and my official vehicles parked outside. At the end of the search, which lasted until about 1:30 a.m. on October 8, 2016, they took away the following items: One Ipad, three phones (only one active), $38,800, N3.5million and four chequebooks. The above items were documented on the back page of the search warrant they produced and we signed.”
Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state was popularly known as the most controversial governor in Nigeria during the immediate past administration. And serving as a Minister in the present government, he has still maintained his controversial status.