A Lagos based businessman, Chief Emmanuel Nwude, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation, Malam Abubakar Malami, to order an investigation into how his properties running into billions of Naira were allegedly sold illegally by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, when Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was the Chairman of the anti-graft agency.
Speaking through his lawyer, Emmanuel Ilechukwu of Metropolitan Partners Law firm,Nwude lamented that all efforts by him to get justice over the issue had been frustrated.
‘’When Obasanjo was in power ,we raised the alarm on this matter , and tried to get justice but Ribadu told us we were wasting our time ,and that we were fighting a lost battle. True to his word, nothing came out of our efforts but we resolved to continue our fight for justice. When Yar’Adua was there, he didn’t stay in office for long and therefore couldn’t look into our case or order his Minister for Justice to look into our petition against Ribadu. When Jonathan got there and we took up this battle again,we were told by people close to Ribadu that he declared that we were still fighting a lost battle as Jonathan’s administration was more or less a continuation of Obasanjo’s government where he held powerful position. But now that we have a change of government, and era of impunity is over, we want Ribadu to be invited to render account on Chief Nwude’s properties that were illegally sold under his watch”, Ilechukwu slated.
While saying that Nwude’s assets that were illegally sold by the EFCC run into billions of naira, the lawyer noted that even though the assets were forfeited to government by a court order, the judgment had been appealed by Nwude’s lawyers.
“Under the law, it is illegal to take further action on any issue that is under appeal. Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of Lagos State High Court ordered that Chief Nwude’s properties should be forfeited to the Federal Government but Nwude’s lawyers appealed that judgment and the appeal is still pending at the Supreme Court. If a matter is on appeal before the Supreme Court, under what power or what power then does EFCC have to tamper with those properties? EFCC should have waited for the Supreme Court final judgment on the issue. But it is very sad that under the watch of the former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, Chief Nwude’s assets were sold. We raised the alarm at that time but because of Ribadu’s influence, our efforts to seek justice were frustrated,” Ilechukwu said.
“We hereby publicly challenge Ribadu to come out and speak on what happened to Chief Nwude’s seized assets under his watch. There was a lot of impunity during Ribadu’s tenure at the EFCC. But now time have changed and we are under a new dispensation. We are in era of change, and that’s why we are calling for justice. Ribadu should speak out now. He should come out and tell Nigerians why he illegally sold Chief Nwude’s properties.”