Orubebe cries foul… says he regrets serving Nigeria

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Orubebe cries foul… says he regrets serving Nigeria

Orubebe cries foul… says he regrets serving Nigeria
June 03
09:06 2016

The former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, yesterday said he regrets serving Nigeria in ministerial capacity.
He rooted the reason for his comments on the criminal charges brought against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) by the Federal Government for alleged failure to declare his assets in 2011.

During his trial, Orubebe, who was led in evidence by his counsel, Mr. Selekowei Larry (SAN), told the tribunal that the charges against him were unfounded and uncalled for because the property for which he was arraigned does not belong to him.
In his remarks while giving evidence, Orubebe claimed he served Nigeria diligently and with energy at his disposal for six years and four months and that the payback for his service was the criminal charges brought against him unjustly.

“Let me make this point now here before this tribunal that the only regret I have for serving this country is this trial. It is very unfortunate, it is regrettable and it is shameful. I am sad and my heart is heavy because I am put on trial on mere empty land in the bush here in Abuja officially given to me by the same government I served.

“Nigerians may not know this and I wish to say it out that during the peak of the militancy in the Niger Delta, I slept with the militants in the Creek for two weeks, negotiatedwith them on how to adopt peaceful approach for their demands, and in the end, my efforts brought peace to this country and our oil companies have their peace and Nigeria was better for it in the area of security and economy because of my efforts, only to be compensated with this trial that has destabilized me.

“I still love this country but, I have a pain in my neck. I have respect for government and its policies. If the Code of Conduct Bureau had invited me for clarifications on my asset forms, I would have honoured them because it is a simple thing to do and because my conscience is clear.”

The former minister had, in his evidence, claimed that he did not declare Plot 2057 in Asokoro District of Abuja because as at the time he was leaving government in 2011, he had sold off the land to pay debt of his house rent of two years.
Orubebe told the tribunal that government allocated the land in dispute to him but that he sold it to his landlord, Akinwumi Ajibola for N10 million to offset the two-year house rent debt owed him.
He said it would have been criminal for him to claim ownership of the property he had sold off and the Certificate of Occupancy handed over to the buyer before he left office.
He asked the tribunal to dismiss the charge against him because he had not breached any law as far as the property in dispute was concerned.

Another witness of the former minister, who, incidentally was the former landlord, Ajibola confirmed that Orubebe was his tenant at Drive 2, House 3, Ministers Quarters, Mabushi, Abuja, and that the tenant was indebted to him to the tune of N10 million for the two-year house rent.

Ajibola claimed to be a real estate developer and chief executive of Didention Properties Limited. He informed the tribunal that Orubebe parted with the empty land allocated to him in lieu of the debt and that the Certificate of Occupancy handed over to him at the end of the transaction. Under cross-examination by government lawyer, Mr. Mohammed Diri, the witness claimed that he did not register the Power of Attorney and the Deed of Assignment because what he bought was an empty land in the bush that cannot be registered at the time.
Meanwhile, tribunal Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, has adjourned judgment in the matter till June 30. The Federal Government had put Orubebe on trial on one-count charge of failure to declare in his assets form at the end of his service, the land with Plot No. 2057 allocated to him by government.

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