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NEWS 284

Elder Godsday Orubebe former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs

The Vanguard has reported why the Federal Government last week withdrew the charges against Elder Godson Orubebe, a former minister in charge of the Ministry of Niger Delta in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan who was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, on allegations of false declaration of assets. According to the Newspaper, it said sources confirmed that the decision to withdraw the charges was based on a legal advice from the Federal Ministry of Justice in which it was strongly canvassed that the case against Orubebe as presently constructed and filed was fundamentally defective. The legal advice from the Ministry of Justice was to the effect that since Orubebe was not invited to make a statement on the allegations against him, the process of arraignment was fundamentally flawed. The legal advice referred to Section 379 sub-section (1) (a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 which listed the ingredients that must be forwarded as part the process to be filed by the prosecution before the commencement of the case as including in (iv) “ copies of statements of the defendant”.

From the inception of the present administration, it was obvious it would embark on vendetta policy and Orubebe was no doubt a high profile target. Godsday Orubebe had made headline at the collation centre of the 2015 presidential election as an agent of the PDP. He had raised some objections but was denied so he protested resulting in a temporary delay in result announcement, he was taunted in the media and brandished an enemy of democracy. His Wikipedia page was immediately edited on the incident with words that represented him in a negative light.

With the withdrawal, it is obvious it was a failed vendetta move and this explains why the Police and EFCC find it difficult to secure judgment against an accuse and why they have resorted to media trial.

It is tax payers money being used for prosecutions and should be accounted for so that proper investigations would always be carried out before prosecuting the accused.

Ogaga Onokwakpor

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