By Dipo Awojobi – The former Minister of finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has blasted a Lagos based lawyer, Femi Falana, for attempting to indict her in the controversial $2.1 billion arms scandal.
Falana had written the International Criminal Court, ICC, asking it to investigate those allegedly involved in the arms deal, including the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki.
Reacting to this, the former minister reiterated that she was successful in weeding out corruption from the country during her tenure, adding that she was only being hunted by those whose clandestine interest she refused to satisfy.
This was contained in a statement by her Media Adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, describing the call for the minister’s prosecution before the ICC as a “desperate joke by an integrity challenged charlatan”.
In her response, she stated that “the malicious attempt by Lagos Lawyer, Femi Falana, to mix Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, up in issues that have nothing to do with her in his letter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a desperate joke by an integrity challenged charlatan (ICC).”
The statement reads in part:
“This misadventure shows that the so-called learned lawyer does not have any idea of what the mandate of the ICC is about.
“He has resorted to this action because his previous efforts to tarnish her name – through 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.”
“Here are the facts: one, contrary to Falana’s lies, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged misuse of $2.1billion by the office of the former National Security Adviser. Falana and his sponsors are simply trying to invent a connection where there is none.
“The January 20, 2015 memo in which Dr Okonjo-Iweala 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 is totally separate from the $2.1 billion issue.
“The attempt to link Okonjo-Iweala to the $2.1billion issue is therefore dead on arrival.
“Fact two: Okonjo-Iweala was not in government when most of the Abacha funds were recovered. Falana and his sponsors have claimed that billions of dollars of Abacha funds were recovered and that Dr Okonjo-Iweala should account for the recovered funds.
“Fact three: Okonjo-Iweala left strong legacies as a champion of transparency and the fight against corruption while in government. It is on record that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala championed transparency and vigorously fought corruption during her two terms as Minister. Among other actions, starting from the second Obasanjo administration, she, for the first time in Nigeria’s history, published monthly revenue allocations to all tiers of government for Nigerians to see.
“Conclusively, 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),” said Okonjo-Iweala.