Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, has replied the call by Lagos Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana for her arrest and prosecution, describing it as malignant. Mr. Falana had petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider the former minister for prosecution for her alleged involvement in the arms deal scandal of $2.1 billion.
The former Coordinating Minister of the economy made this known in a statement by her media adviser Paul Nwabuikwu, entitled “A Response to Femi Falana, an integrity-challenged charlatan.” It reads in parts and distinctively outlines FOUR facts to back up her stance.
The misadventure shows that the so-called learned lawyer does not have any idea what the mandate of ICC is about.
He has resorted to this action because his previous efforts to tarnish her name – through his discredited NGO, SERAP and petitions to the EFCC – failed because they were lacking in credibility.
This latest effort to try to attach her name falsely confirms that Femi Falana is nothing but a tool of corrupt elements whose interests were hurt by the work Dr. Okonjo-Iweala did in fighting corruption while she was in office”.
These elements have now made a habit of making false allegations against Dr Okonjo-Iweala whenever she receives any national or international recognition for her work. The pattern is clear and Nigerians should be alert to it. But Dr Okonjo-Iweala will not be intimidated from going on with her life and performing her duties. She will not give in to cowardly and unmanly bullying.
Falana’s latest attempt to implicate Dr Okonjo-Iweala falsely suggests that he is suffering from an ailment that may be described as Chronic Cerebral Amnesia (CCA) because he simply has no grasp of the facts.
The FIRST fact explains that Falana and his sponsors are simply trying to invent a connection where there is none, because the January 20, 2015 memo clearly documented Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s insistence that the proper procedure be followed, subject to appropriation and according to financial regulations, in which the former minister sought and received the approval of former President Jonathan for the release of part of the newly returned Abacha funds to the NSA for purchase of arms which is totally separate from the $2.1 billion issue.
The SECOND fact stressed that Okonjo-Iweala was not in government when most of the Abacha funds were recovered, accusing Falana and his sponsors who claim that billions of dollars of Abacha funds were recovered and that Dr Okonjo-Iweala should account for the recovered funds. It went on to state that Falana’s insistence on the contrary “shows how despicable he is and how he is ready to ignore facts and concoct a fiction in the service of his sponsors.”
The THIRD fact argues that Okonjo-Iweala left strong legacies as a champion of transparency and the fight against corruption while in government. Citing records that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala championed transparency and vigorously fought corruption during her two terms as Minister.
In her FOURTH stance, Dr Okonjo- Iweala reminded Falana that her mother was kidnapped and almost killed because of the former minister’s stance against corruption, saying Falana is callous beyond belief for ignoring a fact of recent Nigerian history: the kidnap of Professor Kamene Okonjo, the then 83 year old mother of Dr Okonjo-Iweala by agents of fuel subsidy fraudsters who were angry that the former Minister had blocked them from defrauding the country further.
The statement conclusively states that “Falana’s attempt to implicate Dr Okonjo-Iweala falsely is a disservice to law, justice and the image of the country. It is sad that a person who had earned some prominence as a human rights lawyer now tramples on the human rights of others as a political jobber.”
He and his sponsors are engaged in nothing but media harassment, cyber bullying and intimidation against innocent persons like Dr Okonjo-Iweala for political and pecuniary gain. That is why Nigerians should not give in to Falana’s self-imposed Chronic Cerebral Amnesia (CCA).
Below is the full statement as presented
In his petition to the ICC, Falana accused Okonjo-Iweala of complicity in the diversion of the funds for failing in her duty to prevent it . He also accused her of committing a crime against humanity by not preventing widespread and systematic corruption including the re-looting of the Abacha loot.