National Coordinator of Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates, Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi, was on Thursday at the force headquarters in invitation by the police over his group’s forgery allegation against the Minister of State, Mines and Steel, Uchechukwu Ogah.
The coalition had, through a May 20, 2020 letter signed by Olajengbesi, a lawyer and Principal Partner, Olajengbesi & Co Law Corridor, asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to revisit the case of alleged forgery and financial crimes involving Ogah.
The group stated that it gathered from one Mrs Bridget Adeosun, who originally initiated the forgery complaint, that no action had been taken on the case by the anti-graft commission almost two months after it sent a reminder dated February 24, 2020 to the agency on the petition against the minister.
Olajengbesi, in the latest letter dated May 20, demanded that the forgery allegation against the minister should be revisited and investigated.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel, Uchechukwu Ogah had denied the allegations of forgery and financial crimes.
He had in a letter sent to Olajengbesi, described the coalition’s petition sent to the EFCC as libelous, demanding a retraction of the petition and a public apology.
But Olajengbesi, in a statement on Thursday, said he was invited by the police following a criminal complaint by the minister.
The lawyer said he honoured the summons at the Force Criminal Investigation Department of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja.
He said he was treated professionally by the police and was “thereafter released on self-recognisance.”
He, however, said despite the police invitation, he remained “resolute on the path I have taken on this matter” and would continue to demand “the review and thorough investigation of the allegations made against Mr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah.”
He said Ogah “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.”
He added, “I am undeterred and cannot be bullied into silence over this matter as what is right must not be defeated by a display of cowardice to the status of the accused.
“Several calls have been made to my phone by unknown and faceless individuals perhaps in a bid to intimidate and harass me into silence on this matter, but while such antics are predictable, it is poor statesmanship on the parts of those unidentified individuals seeking to stop a call for an investigation into allegations of corrupt practices on the part of a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He added that his group, COPA, was “adamant on the call for the re-opening of the criminal investigations levied against Mr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, State Minister for Mining & Steel, as only its review and conclusion can satisfy public interest and policy.”
He also said, “The spotlight and attention is therefore on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigeria Police to act decisively and without prejudice on the allegations and verifiable material facts before it in this matter in order to restore sanity to the system and shore up public trust.”
He added that his group would not hesitate to institute legal action “to compel and mandate the Nigeria Police Force to conclude the matter it has taken to court against the honourable minister.”
In 2011, the Managing Director, Mut-Hass Petroleum Ltd., Bridget Adeosun, had petitioned the EFCC alleging that Ogah forged her signature on a document to validate a nonexistent Memorandum of Understanding between his company, Masters Energy Oil & Gas and Mut-Huss Petroleum.